Friday, February 27, 2009

Sue Morphett: Cancel her citizenship

Deeply unpleasant. I'm wary of just having a knee-jerk reaction to high executive salaries but if you wanted to capture the eyeball-popping arrogance and contempt displayed by the corporate world at its worst and most unethical then this unapologetic nightmare is your poster girl:

Chief Executive Sue Morphet saw her pay almost triple to $1.68 million after being promoted from general manager of underwear and hosiery to the company's top job. The executives' combined pay jump - from $7 million to $15 million - also included the salary of former chief executive Paul Moore, as well as a $3 million retirement bonus he was given upon departure.

Then the quislings, without apparent necessity (No Mr Carr, thanks all the same but it's not about the money, I just don't like your personality), move thousands of jobs to China. And the arrogant way she scoffed at a question about whether she'd continue to misleadingly use great Aussie icons and trade off so much jingoism and loyalty that has made the brand what it is? Beggars belief.

Don't like conditions in Australia? Move to your great utopia, China, and don't come back.

On being old and isolated

My mother is in town, staying in a flat in St Kilda which Melbournites will know is just around the corner from the Darebin area where we live. She'll be here 5 days. It's hard, juggling our needs which involve focusing on staying sane and looking after the kids with a grandma's need to see her reward for parenthood, as it's sometimes called.

Today went well. She didn't criticise beloved, in her implicit but undermining way that finds expression through questions such as "Oh, so you don't feed her X then?"

It's a good start.

I want things to be smooth, not the least for a grandma who lives as she has for most of her adult life, since meeting my father: remote from her family and long-term friends, following the follies of a complicated and, although sometimes well-meaning, ultimately very selfish man.

This move, which I've summarised elsewhere and which paid zero regard to their ability to be involved with their grandchildren's lives, was probably the fourth in their marriage that involved picking up and leaving a place where my mother was becoming happy and setting down roots.

I'm sure there are worse places in the world than medium-sized Queensland towns, but she knows next to no-one, is nearly 5 hours drive from the nearest good friend, and proper airport (kinda necessary for visiting family in Melbourne) and will now have to rebuild again.

She would have liked to have moved a lot closer to us, she did say so when he once asked, before ruling it out, and for all her faults mentioned earlier this would have been fine, same street aside.

At 70 this move has a finality about it. She knows she will be 8 hours each way away from her grandkids, the only ones she'll have, for the rest of her life. If she allows her imagination to wander, and being a big fan of Mills&Boon I know she resorts to imagination for some respite, then on occasion she will see an alternate reality, where, being no more than 2 or 3 hours away, she sees Bear and Mr Man on a regular basis, feels part of their lives, and enjoys the continuum of family that will be completely missing in the self-imposed isolation they've now signed on to.

I think it would make her sad, it certainly disappoints me a little. So I will do my best to make the quality time they have the best it can be. If she comes to the party- resisting the temptation to regress into her critical worst- then we might just manage some sort of decent relationship.

She brought books, Thomas books (yes, a hint, Bear can't get enough!), and Bear brought them to her, saying "Dan-Ma, read it Dan-ma", and they sat on the couch together and I left them with a smile.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is it the yellow peril, or the other one?

I wanted to adapt a comment I dropped, slightly off topic, on an LP Post on Submarines, into a short post to see if anyone has any thoughts on the issue.

The vague bit in Australian Defence Policy is not the how but the why. I’m not saying we don’t face security threats, potentially, just that it would be nice to see these better articulated prior to grandiose statements about the coming century and the need to keep up with people. In reference to India and China, such statements suggest we’re still suffering delusions of grandeur. In relation to Indonesia, how much is it the other way around- we are a prime source of theoretical threat to Indonesians, resulting in them needing to arm up, and so on.

I think the likelihood of us getting embroiled in total war, the kind that poses existential threat, in the next 2-3 decades, will come far more from the WWI problem (entangled alliances) than the WWII problem (a single, unplacatable, totalitarian behemoth on the rampage).

Any security wonks reading this site? I don't consider predictive security analysis to be an easy field, and my comment is more aimed at prompting discussion than putting a final, confident viewpoint.

However I am uneasy about the government's present positioning on regional issues, as much in relation to competence as ideology.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Toxic Tony: May you live in interesting times

As per the Chinese curse.

Oh, heavens, we already do.

Did you not notice, before attacking the PM for being boring? Do you really think interesting, as in a PM obsessed with his own flair and charisma, is what people want to see right now?

This interesting?

Even Anna Wintour gets it. Sort of:
Before she headed to the New York runway shows, fashion kingmaker Anna Wintour--dressed in taupe Manolo Blahnik boots, a Carolina Herrera sheath dress, and a tweed coat with a large fur collar draped over her shoulders--sat down in her office, with a perfect fresh bouquet on the desk, at Condé Nast's midtown Manhattan headquarters and discussed why "value" is in and "too Dubai" is out.

A-anyway, Kevin doesn't need to be interesting. That's why he has Peter Garrett...
...and the Liberal Party!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

All's well that ends the week

Now I'm using twitter to say the sappy stuff, my little column of nanopoetics, this seems almost too trite an observation for the blog. But I talked about being down before, about arguing over what I'd written about parenting, and left that in the air a little.

Beloved and I, and my psyche, are all fine. I was just in a little trench. I might have to be sensitive about the topics I touch on when writing for an outside audience though. It's a little smoother, and we all need a bit of smooth to get through week after week of 5 hour sleeps and constant focus on the crucial minutae of infant life.

I'm about to fetch some chocolate mints and ice cream, you've got to take these challenges seriously! G'night...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Shameless Climate Change Deniers blame Greenies

Says it all doesn't it? What need even for a post. Picture this: you sit there for a decade or so treating climate change campaigners as fruitbats, claiming they are 'extreme ideologues', and blocking at every turn a process that might have had the potential to gain a lot more headway, a number of years back, and bring on board the big recalcitrants.

Then you switch awkwardly; now it's not that there isn't some science suggesting perhaps there might be a little bit of unnatural climate change, just that the realist case points to inaction. You know, now it's derailed anyway there are other big emitters who aren't acting, so why should we?

So, where were we- Oh Yes, the most extreme weather to hit Victoria since records began, a blistering right hook of an indictment of our idiocy and petulance, science at its most brutal, basic and empirically observable, and it's all our.... it's all the fault of Greenies, extreme ones at that, who run those huge high profile campaigns against controlled burning that bring the State to its knees every year.

It's to the credit of climate change lobbyists that they've been fairly subtle about making the very reasonable claim that the evidence on their side is starting to look pretty persuasive...

...I'm not adverse to hearing the realist argument, but clearly as with non-proliferation for another example, big developing world nations are going to detach further from the process if the wealthy West doesn't show more leadership.

UPDATE: Very reasonable claim starts to get an airing at LP...

Friday, February 20, 2009

My daddy day is gone, with segue into critique of Bringing up Baby

Gone voluntarily- sort of. Two things came together; my new project has a load that will clearly be a struggle to meet on 4 days, and I am determined to have another shot at buying a house. This year, while prices are dawdling and adjusting.

So I've handed it over for a while. I might try and get it back towards the end of the year if Beloved goes back a day or two, we'll see. Failing that, I'll try for more leave, or something.

Bear and I have bonded so much during the past 16 months, with that extra day each week of 1-on-1 chittering, minxing, breaking the occasional rule and hurtling around the playground taking no prisoners.

To Beloved, as primary carer, I handed most decision-making when it comes to parenting style, and even on daddy time I take care not to undermine her efforts. Yet part of me needs to be expressed as a parent in order that I form the best bonds with my children. I am less rule-based, more intuitive, and at times feel a little on the sidelines, carried along by the momentum of it all.

I think this would be true of most parents who missed out, because of full time work, on regular time alone with their children. There is a special bonding that takes places as you work through the day together, including - Yes Ms Cast Iron B- the drudgery and housework that in fact nourishes your children and makes the fun stuff possible.

Now I feel I know my daughter as well as Beloved does. We are good mates, and I hope I have done just a tiny bit of extra work on the foundations that will no doubt come under so much pressure when she's older.

Following Mr Man's birth Beloved has been home too, but today they went out for the morning and Bear and I, perhaps for the last time in the foreseeable future, had a few hours together. We sat on the couch, read a story several times, put a puzzle together, then hit the pool and splashed around like a pair of goons.

I had plenty of sad moments but I hid them behind a cheesy grin.

I hope I can do this again before too long. I also hope I have the chance to bond in the same way with Mr Man. I have decades of bashing my head against a computer terminal to look forward to, but I know these precious moments as they learn to smile, walk, dance, and plummet face first down the slide will be gone faster than my last sprigs of hair.

On the Bringing up Baby show last night there was one 'expert' who taught couples the 1950s method (by Dr Truby King, clearly a human icepick). She had no kids, clearly didn't like them, and was dripping with jewellery earned from touting her methods. She ordered the parents not to touch or kiss their children. They sat downstairs drinking wine as their infants screamed their lungs out. Far worse than controlled crying, this was No Love Parenting. The parents cried, because they knew deep down that what they were doing was emotional abuse, but with a fluffed-up expert sitting there insisting they persevere, they lost their agency as individual, emotional, responsive parents.

In just over 2 years I've learned little, there is clearly still so much, and I'm not wedded to any one method as being ideal. I think controlled crying is too far in one direction but generally accept that with a plethora of ideas around, the bulk of parents I know are doing their best. Controlled crying, I should add, has nothing on the Truby King method...

But refusing to touch, kiss or pick them up, must do as much damage to the parents as the children, and I can't even accept that they should be able to make that choice. Still I'll be watching again next episode, with an open mind.

Maybe I'll even pepper a few indignant comments out there with my new toy...

Postscript: just to add to my confusion, apparently something we used could be called controlled crying. Up to 3 or 4 minutes of holding back, when the crying was low key. I didn't realise. I was thinking of the whole 10, 12, 15 minute routine, which I would not be comfortable with.

Post-postscript: Beloved and I have sorted through the semantics of this issue and found, thankfully, we're on the same page when it comes to crying, picking up, and getting the kidlets to sleep. Inferences of major rifts were unintented!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

T2's false start: Hockey hasn't got it

Oh no, don't put handcuffs on capitalism Mr Rudd, put them in the stocks.

Seriously, I don't hear business saying "no no please take your stimulus away from me, I don't want to break pure market doctrine!" Handcuffs. Really, what next, will he be calling for the Garter Belts of fiscal regulation to be loosened? Or perhaps making an exception for some Collins Street Lubricant....

T2 is warming up to his promotion but I don't think he gets the paradigm shift yet. The earth really is still flat and some people won't be told otherwise.

Even more fun as the two puffed up Barristers who know Better TM start to circle each other. Bring on a Liberal bloodbath, I've got some nice reds lined up that will go well with such a pleasing sight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If you are a girl, and you kiss another girl, you are 'scum'

So said one of the hyenas on Ladette to Lady last night. Nice and tasteful.

More bone ignorance included telling the girls they need to be good breeding stock (clearly if they can't or won't breed they are what, more scum?) and the implicit attack on our national dignity that comes from attempting to make Australians pronounce vowels with a pompous English accent.

As much as I enjoy some car crash TV this one is getting so jarring that it's hard to enjoy. On the other hand you couldn't script the moment when the burly mine worker slipped out "inbred tosser" while talking to an, um, inbred tosser.

How to be as unhelpful as possible - a guide for grandparents who are all talk and no action

You only have 1 child. He has 2 grandkids; you've asked for grandkids pretty much since he was about 18. You are retired. You decide to pick up and move house. You move from your home that takes 5 hours of flying across the continent, to somewhere that takes 3 hours of flying followed by 4 or 5 hours of driving. No good reason, no contacts or other reasons to move there- you may as well have picked it by throwing darts at a map of Queensland.

You remark on how odd it is that your friends have moved so they can be close to their grandkids. What an odd thing to do, you say, noting that your son doesn't come out and agree with you.

'I suppose they want to see more of their grandkids' he observes redundantly, resulting in cold silence over the phone.

You ignore all the advice you are offered in respect of selling the house, but then, when things predictably go pear shaped (selling a house isn't straightforward, who'd have thunk?) you constantly call to whinge about it.

Don't worry, plenty of time to devote to the topic, we're only having a son in case you didn't notice.

Taking 3 weeks to see pictures of your new grandson, because you can't organise yourselves to get to a net cafe as you're too busy unpacking (well, staying in a hotel by the beach while the settlement goes through can be surprisingly stressful, once again, who'd ever guess??) is a good way to show the love.

Then one of you gets organised to visit. As if to make up for being so slack about it, you decide, wait, why not go for 2 weeks instead of 1? Why not leave this to the last minute then ask said son to organise it all? It's not like he's busy making sense of a new job, looking after 2 kids, getting by on 5 hours of sleep a night which is about 1 hour more than his wife.

Because 2 weeks is what they'd be looking forward to. Especially after the last time you came for 2 weeks, and criticised Beloved's mothering, made disparaging comments about how much Bear was crying, her weight, her feeding- none of which was based on an ounce of rational evidence.

We didn't realise you could overfeed a newborn on the breast, thanks for that!

*throws out 10 scientific parenting manuals*

I'd love you to help make my wife feel like crap, that'll be a big help. Why don't you go back to your old ways of blaming me for everything my father does, while you're at it?

*gnash gnash gnash gnash*

Yesterday I bit the family guilt bullet and phoned to suggest that, perhaps, the dates could be changed and a week or so would be 'about right'. I'll never hear the end of it but I've got to draw the line somewhere.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bonding, it helps...

Mighty Mouse is starting to smile. He did so for me today, the biggest smiles I've yet seen him pull. It was magic. Later, I walked him around All Nations Park for a while, both of us silent, listening to my thongs scraping the path. A man stood practising Tai Chi, the cooling breeze promised hope for the small towns to our east and north.

I tag teamed with Beloved and Bear and I had the playground (Playnet, or "PlayInIt") to ourselves for a while. We laughed, drummed on the superstructure, hung out talking crap. We walked back slowly, kicking spikey seeds along, counting ducks and, when I was needed, she held my hand. Sitting on a concrete wall near the duck pond she broke into an unprompted rendition of "Wheels on the bus..." and I joined in the refrains.

Such good things, so much else is irrelevant. I'm a conflict of emotion this eve.

None of it is getting any better

The stories keep coming out. Children die from horrific burns, unable to be saved. More families incinerated, loved ones lost, parents burying children, vice versa.

We are all Kinglake, Marysville, Flowerdale now. There is a burnt scar that will sit in all of us forever, like a line in bark or rock indicating a time of trauma that changed everything. It is being formed still, with each new story, an ongoing wounding.

And I know it is nothing on what thousands will feel who are so much more directly affected. My countrymen, I'm sorry, it's so awful and you are so brave.

Fires, floods, recession and rent seeking

Who knew that among all this tragedy, some businesses are still determined to profit.

Nick Xenophon is determined to use a time of national calamity to seal his place in parliament and get his palms greased.

Yes the man's got a right, generally, to push hard for his constituents and the indeed-neglected basin. But this assertion

a credible stimulus package needed to deal with the problems of the Murray-Darling Basin..

is a rationally unsustainable non-sequiter. A credible stimulus package needs to be designed to provide stimulus, in a credible manner. The more the bit players hack away for their pet causes the less credibility is has.

Turnbull, as others are rightly observing, is starting to lose his footing, the rope is tight and the branch isn't bending any more.

Rudd is in excellent form, coming across as completely genuine in his awkward but heart felt efforts to empathise with the bushfire victims while at the same time setting up the most important re-calibration of political economy in this country since the era of Hawke and Keating. The awkward nerd is holding the arrogant, sneering merchant banker and twisting his nose...

But back to Xenophon and I am just going to wait another 24 hours because I am sure he can't really be planning to scuttle the entire package. I trust a deal will be done, and we will move on. He can take some money from schools and build a desal plant on the mudflats and things will move on.

Why don't we give him some of the bushfire assistance money while we're at it, clearly he's sitting on the most needy part of the country?

More early analysis at Larvatus and Pollytics.

UPDATE: I'm determined to reduce my unnecessary habit of sliding into potty mouth, and I've started above with a couple of minor edits. Kudos to Pavlov for her thoughtful counterbalanced words on this topic.

UPDATE II: Deal done it seems. Good, moving along.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"I-iiiit's Daddy"

A nice way to be greeted at the door, after pounding the pavement a little too hard between the station and home.

I was shown to the chair where I throw my bag and coat: "Here daddy".

Bear started working the tea set, pouring the plastic pot into the plastic cup she'd selected with its matching saucer. She brought it across and explained that it was tea. Good to know, a girl's also brought me "daddy's mach-ee ARTO.'

I sipped and asked about her day, Beloved told me while Mr Man fed peacefully under her chin. Apparently at child care a girl stated that her dad was "fighting fires", to which Bear responded helpfully: "I saw the fires on the nueews".

My face relaxed for the first time since I woke this morning. I listened as she "dum dummed" through "boo da-moob" (by Strauss, in case you're wondering) while pushing the little island around her bath. After, wrapped in a towel, she smiled at me in the mirror and said "I love you daddy".

The cats wandered around the perimeter of the garden while I emptied Mr Man's bath and brought in some washing. The breeze was cooler than at any time in the past few days.

The cats are eating. Bear and Mr Man are both asleep. We sit. It's nice to just be.

She was asking for it

Something called Natalie Bennett, writing in the Guardian, attempts to make a name for herself from the comfort of her warehouse conversion in Shoreditch by blending pseudo-environmentalism and cultural cringe into the bushfire version of the old "if only she didn't go out in public in that short skirt" argument.

Does the Guardian also think all those silly Asians should leave the tsunami zone?

Thanks for that bit of intellectualised xenophobia, Nat. Don't slip on the ice on your way to work... (via twitter)

UPDATE: I'll leave this as written to capture how her piece, and that sneering tone, made me feel. Hurt and angry in a nutshell. I suppose having taken a few deep breaths and distracted myself with some policy analysis for half an hour I don't feel as catty. We do need frank assessments following this tragedy and though I don't think she makes any useful points (Australia's 21 million population should move back to blighty? We should all live in humpies? Chop down every tree as per the UK, now her loved and adopted home?) and is highly insensitive, it is probably best that we Victorians give everything at least half-a-read in order that, when the ash settles, we can see if things can be done better.

Let me just add one final point; that if she didn't live a life of extraordinary privilege she would see people like my old welfare clients, who are proof that not even London manages its population and resources in a way that gives security to all of its population. But I guess they don't eat at the Ivy.

UPDATE II: The tactful Right Wing version; Abortion Done It. Unbelievable.

Their name is Hubbard and they lived in Flowerdale

They are old family friends. We have been largely out of contact, such that my incompetent parents do not have a current phone number. I googled and found a couple of listings - they were heavily involved in the local community- but that turned out to be their old number. The missing persons number doesn't have any registration for them.

I fished with Terry Hubbard when he came to the NT, and in turn I stayed on his farm, the 3 Sisters, and played saxaphone to the cattle. He is a big gregarious man with pink cheeks and a room-filling personality.

The bushfires razed Flowerdale to the ground. We saw it last night, I stopped washing dishes and stared mute as they ran across the charcoal stumps and pieces of tin sticking out of piles of ash in that post-apocalyptic desolation. They are still looking, they said, expecting to find more things that they don't really want to find.

Only then the worst possibilities hit me. If you know anything let me know please.

Elsewhere, a beautiful and poignant piece by Barista, and others from Guy, Pavlov's Cat, Helen, Legal Eagle, Hoyden and LP. A constant stream of updates as the fires take over Twitter.

The weather said 20 and showers. Fall where you're needed, you contrary bastards.

UPDATE: Flowerdale is angry and feels abandoned. Scouring articles for names, nothing yet.

UPDATE II: Thanks Leonard.

UPDATE III: Just got word they are alright, my mother rang the hardware store where he used to work. Apparently the fire stopped short of their property, a result that was beyond my hopes for them. Can relax and get some work done now!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The eye of the apocalypse and why I'm not feeling sorry for myself tonight

Melbourne squirms, wringing its wrists, not knowing what to do or how to help, as all around us firestorms are razing houses, removing historical towns from the map and burning people to death.

Just last night I was talking to Beloved about feeling a bit depressed, the usual career confusions, lack of sleep, blblblb (insert further navel gazing).

Today I go to sleep and my family are safe and I am rather the-fuck over my little whinge, and glad we are alive.

I don't know how you would put one foot in front of the other and keep going:

He had skin hanging off him everywhere and his little girl was burnt, but not as badly as her dad, and he just came down and he said `Look, I've lost my wife, I've lost my other kid, I just need you to save [my daughter]'.

Rudd looked awkward as a huge man mountain broke down in tears in his arms, but he's doing the right thing just being here. How can anyone who is safe, whose home is out of harm's way, show empathy without feeling trite? For what it's worth I'm gutted, but I don't deserve space to write about this any further.

Rudd, put your money where your mouth is and we'll know you're genuine. But thanks for being here. Me, us, all who are safe and well, can donate.

A Thousand Kisses Deep

Aside from an exceptional rendition of The Partisan, I was blown away by a spoken word piece at the Leonard Cohen concert, so much so that I feel the urge to share it here.

A Thousand Kisses Deep...

Read the words...

Hear a truncated version of them unfold...

Friday, February 06, 2009

Top 5 Bear singfest numbers

Top of the list has to be "So what.... I'm a rock star... got'm rock moves... an' I feeeeel aaaalright, tonight, s'alright, tonight....... so what... I'm a rock star..." On it goes, Pink should be impressed. Sometimes there's even air guitar.

But fear not, there's also age appropriate music like, um, Ladyhawke; Paris is Burning.

Justine Clark probably comes in third with I like to Sing, although I might be just showing personal preference for Ms Clark, who I've almost bumped into on Spring Street. Almost the same spot I saw Denton today. But I digress...

Fourth and fifth (probably a bit higher in truth, but truth can be disturbing) would have to go to some Wiggles action, probably 5 little ducks and Henry Rockpuss (Octop...).

But the best thing of all is when she pulls out the tambourine, or xylophone, and says "daddy do it toooo", and we slam out some noise and in the middle she's smiling and she says...


Get out of the way Malcolm

Get out of the way.

I got a leave pass and unbelievable seats and saw a genius


..But you don't really care for music do ya...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

On the exponential slowing of the blog that won't reach zero

If raw honesty makes for the best personal blogging, then anonymity is almost a pre-requisite. The best writing I've done was probably the first few posts as the groom stripped bare, before I caved in to my conscience and told my now-wife where she could find it. Since then, I've progressively shared the blog among the people I know in the real world and reached a point where the only people who definitely wouldn't see it are my parents.

The problems with this were embodied by an incident where I had a spray about someone, the kind that make for good, expunging, therapeutic personal blogging but which don't really embody any overall deep resentment. Their behaviour on a particular occasion tripped a few parental wires, but not so that I'd want to do anything to hurt their feelings. Perhaps I assumed that no-one was still reading, but they, being media savvy, may in fact have a feed reader. The next time we met they didn't meet my eye, and seemed unhappy, and though I don't know for certain I suspect they read and recognised themselves in the post.

Even by then I was self censoring. The gap between what tears you up inside and what can be said is vast, and encompasses perhaps the most interesting emotions- the hurt, anger, jealousy, fear, resentment and complicated love that we all try to make sense of in respect of our closest and dearest.

I have written little since Bear was born, Mr Man suffers an even greater deficit of words. But this is in part because I love them dearly, and I know, having been one of those who didn't get it, that writing 'oh I love you so much my kidlets' a hundred different ways just isn't exciting for others. Perhaps not even for me- I find I want to experience parenting more than write about it.

I can tell you Zoe was right, as of course I knew she would be: it's damn hard finding time to hit cafes or read papers. And yet it hardly matters, moments spent idling with my family are the best things ever, far beyond the worlds of career satisfaction or political critique.

What has been left out of my posts is all the close tension with family and friends, most of which they are not aware of. The abject disappointment Beloved and I feel as we find that people's talk is not matched by their walk. As we envy other friends whose family are closer, more helpful, more excited about their children. The complex posts I could write about how we know we were once like that, debating particular behaviours and what they mean. The things other parents do that we have doubts about. The things we do that we have doubts about...

The tensions between Beloved and I as we work through a period that breaks many relationships. Hanging on to the hope that some time in the future we will go out again, look each other in the eye and talk about how much we love each other. It probably wouldn't help the situation to write about how I feel gutted by each criticism or how I dread us becoming our parents- not in the 'uncool' ways, we're there already, but in the ways that drain love from a relationship.

We're ok, even good... But often I've needed to scream and I have nowhere to write it and no-one to tell.

My political blogging has been on the backburner for years. This is partly because I've found unless you write political posts all the time that readership quickly moves on- the action is all on huge meta blogs like LP which, good as they are, also represent the death of a different kind of punditry. It's also because I now work at a level in policy where these things get sensitive. There is a high level of checking, testing, and vetting and this has the palpable effect of excluding many more interesting and left-of-centre personalities from the senior levels of public life.

And I've lost most of my readers, the bloggy ones who comment and give life to the posts. This is a self-perpetuating effect because when I write about something deeply important to me and get few or no comments, I don't want to write about it again. But of course it is natural that, given how little I've written, there are less comments. I don't mean to sound petulant.

So I constantly think about closing down. The best of this blog is probably behind me, but that also makes it hard to end. It spans a wedding and 2 births and in places manages to perfectly capture moments and feelings in a way no other medium could. I know I should love it for what it is, a chorus to a play in several acts that has now reached its conclusion.

The conclusion is comedy, not tragedy, and through all the tensions parsed above I am happier than I ever thought I'd be with my fantastic family. They have been the main subject of this blog, and they, and I- we- are now embarking together on the rest of our lives.

A different trajectory. A related, but different, narrative, that may well deserve its own space.