Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Strangely Isolated Place

We've all heard of 'writer's block' and many of us have suffered from it at one point or another. It's not always the same for everybody. With the advent of the Internet (I really must stop talking about it like it's a new thing), everyone went one step further than writing; they all become publishers. With a blog for instance, you don't just upload something, you 'publish' it now. This little ramble will get published, hopefully...

Because that appears to be the problem, of sorts. I don't have writer's block, I have publisher's block! My literary output has, if anything, increased over the last few weeks, yet there's been nothing appearing on any of my blogs. I have four articles in draft format and I'm loathe to publish any of them. Why? Simple, I have publisher's block!

The thing is, my candidacy as a prospective Independent councillor for the 2011 borough council elections have had a profound affect on me in a completely unexpected way. I've suddenly developed a fear. And it is a fear, it's not paranoia, it's out and out fear.

As genial old curmudgeon Phil Hall, I'd swear and pontificate about anything that tickled my fancy. My audience is small and most of the people who read it know me of old, so they know me better than say someone just dropping in to see what I have to say about stuff. But now I've suddenly, albeit pretty quietly, launched myself onto a public stage and suddenly all the things about politics that I hate have inveigled their way into my thinking.

I was out with Roger, one of my campaign manager candidates, on Wednesday; we were drinking in our preferred watering hole - The Queen Adelaide, in Kingsthorpe (It really is a nice pub) and I told him all of the above. Not because I was seeking guidance or an answer, because, basically a problem shared is sometimes a problem halved. I came to the conclusion that what was needed is me talking about it - being honest with you.

I think there are things that you just can't overlook. For example, I swear. I have a tendency to use bad language, especially in shit like this, for affect rather than my lack of vocabulary. I actually hate swearing (and that's a statement that will raise quite a few eyebrows), because seriously I should be able to use far more colourful metaphors without resorting to base Anglo-Saxon colloquialisms. But I am lazy; nearly ten years away from a disciplined writing job has made me stereotypical at best. Another good example would be my tendency to not suffer fools lightly; especially recently. Being opinionated, as far as I can see, isn't the best way to go about starting a political career. Roger, however, disagreed, saying that politicians are opinionated and that's why we vote for them. But what if my opinion doesn't reflect the mood of the voters?

Okay, we'll throw self-doubt into the mix along with fear. Suddenly, I'm wondering if I can be ME any more.

That throws doubt on at least two of my stockpiled blog entries. The main reason being, I think they're boring. Something that has never stopped me in the past. But, they're not that boring; they just no longer seem to have relevance. I suppose, I think I ought to be writing about issues that define Phil the politician, not just Phil the bloke that writes a blog and has a fair few friends that read it and suddenly I'm all self-conscious (a very rare thing for me) and worrying that I'm just going to come across as sermonising or worse still politicising. Roger rather succinctly put when I mentioned this to him that being a politician was all about politicising.

Damn it. I like to entertain and political blogs by definition are not entertaining, not unless you want to come across as superficial and not serious enough. Hell, I'm supposed to have gravitas am I not? (Well, I do, at least three times a week, but that's a different story).

The problem is, this is a public blog and by virtue of who I am and what I'm planning, has to stay that way. Therefore, in the future, when all possibilities exist, things I say here could be taken and used against me by my political opponents. This might suggest that I'm flippant and occasionally insulting; that I have a limited degree of tolerance or that I haven't got the right degree of maturity to represent the people of my ward. But, actually, what it does is show that I'm just as human as most other people. That we all have our prejudices, or that we all have opinions that probably don't sit well against our public political beliefs.

Blogs are dangerous things and can come back and bite you on the arse and my biggest dilemma over the last couple of weeks has been whether or not I should continue this, knowing that sometimes I get so emotionally charged that I'm apt to say things I might regret.

But, guess what? I'm not some automaton, who's sole purpose is to pander to every possible person who might read this. I'd like to think that if anyone who might vote for me in 2011 reads this they will see that I'm about fairness above all else. It doesn't matter if I have extreme beliefs about specific things just so long as they see me as the right person to represent them in the local parliament. Rather altruistically, I'd like to think that displaying human traits might just be a tempting proposition for the undecided voters.

This rather steep and sudden learning curve tailed off about three minutes ago when I realised the easiest thing to do is just apply a little bit of quality control - something I accuse many others of lacking. And, if I can't make a decision about something I write, I have a bunch of conscientious friends who can advise me. Because everyone needs an editor and most people probably also need a quality controller!

Now... Election News!

Or rather no news. Nothing is going to happen just yet because I have to find out if my job is considered 'sensitive' enough to preclude me from standing for the local council. The downside of this is my job might be sensitive - it just depends on whether my grade is classed as sensitive as others in higher posts. The upshot is that I might, just might, be able to stand for the County Council elections - which if I have to be brutally honest appeals to me, because if I really want to make a change that's where change does actually happen - on a grander scale. It would allow me the ability to argue my point for a Unified Council - quite possibly the only way this county is going to save its bacon in the long run.

My intention to stand has received nothing but positive feedback from everyone I've told and had me wishing that all my friends and colleagues all lived in my ward, because if intentions were votes I'd have won already. And news travels fast; colleagues of mine at the other office were quick to mention it to me when I was over there earlier in the week. It appears that my colleagues think that I'm an ideal kind of bloke to do this kind of thing and from the obvious honesty in their well wishes and support I have to start believing it myself!

I can think of at least 6 people I wish were still alive to see these intentions.

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Right... if people want to hear my political views and other such important stuff, then http://independentchoices.blogspot.com/ is the place to visit. For all the rest, my gig reviews, album critiques, moralising and general Phil Hallisms, it's here - no major changes; I'm just going to try and apply some quality control*

* That last line was edited 7 times!

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