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Month: October 2015

On the one that got away…

It has been an awfully long time since I’ve written anything personal here. I just haven’t felt the desire nor the need. Yet a few weeks ago someone surprisingly turned up in my dreams and then on Sunday I was laying in bed scrolling through Facebook on the iPad and I saw a link that my friend Anna had shared. It was entitled, They Wrote Down Their Confessions To ‘The One That Got Away,’ But Then These YouTube Comments Almost Top Them. The title of the story is pretty self-explanatory. The YouTube video is embedded below:

I watched this and over the past few days I have been mentally composing this blog post all about what I’d say to her and about how everything played out. It is a story not many people will know. I don’t talk about her or it because it was many many moons ago. I’m just not that open. A handful of people will know the story and I’m going to be deliberately vague on any identifying details but I think it is time that I want to write all about my one that got away.

As I pointed out in the previous paragraph, it was many many moons ago. I had been through a time of internal turmoil. I didn’t know where my life was heading and I felt helpless and adrift on the sea of life. I hadn’t been in any position to meet anyone for an awfully long time. Then I slowly found myself and a path opened up, one that would change a lot of things. A path that would very quickly mean meeting her.

Now like most people my age, I have met and talked to thousands of people in my life and yet this person is the only one where I could tell you exactly the first thing she said to me and exactly the first thing I said to her. I can tell you where I was, I can tell you where she was, literally I can recall that first brief conversation perfectly. That is both scary and cool in equal measure at the same time. I knew instantaneously that I liked her and I mean instantaneously. I don’t know if I believe in love at first sight, I don’t think I do but if I did, then I’d say I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. No-one before or since has had such an immediate effect on me but she did. I liked her and wanted desperately to get to know her.

Over the coming weeks we would get to know each other, we would become friends and I think it is fair to describe us as relatively close. There was a spark. A real spark. People had told me of this spark thing but I had never believed it as I had never experienced it. I wondered how you could have chemistry with someone. It was an alien concept and not one that I truly believed existed and then I met her and boy did we have sparks, it was a veritable cascade of fireworks. That might be slightly overusing poetic license but trust me, the chemistry was real – and when I realised that other people saw it then I knew it wasn’t just in my mind.

I found this out when a mutual friend one evening said to me, ‘So…you and (name)…’ and pressed her fingers together and raised her eyebrows. I would shoot her down and move the conversation on quickly before later in the evening telling her that, ‘we’ll see…’ and not saying anything else on the matter.

Now this chemistry thing is one that I need to speak of in slightly more depth. To this day no-one else has ever been able to press my buttons to elicit a reaction like she could. Not even close. It was like she had the cheat sheet to me and how I was wired. We would fight and it was so much fun. Like real fun. We would prod and poke each other and it was just fun. I know that sounds weird how fighting can be fun but it just was. I remember once a couple of mutual friends commented how they didn’t like it was when mummy and daddy fought. I just wrote that sentence and smiled as I recalled it.

So yes we have established that there was some real chemistry. I think in my head at this point I thought things were just going to work out between us and that it was only a matter of time. At this juncture I didn’t know there were other suitors for her and to be honest pussyfooted around somewhat, waiting for the right time to ask her out instead of just biting the bullet and doing it. This went on for quite a while before someone basically told me I had to hurry up because there was someone else out there. I would find out afterwards that there was in fact two other potential beaus.

So I asked her out. She said that she really liked me…but only as friends. Dagger. I was surprised in a way because I did genuinely think that things were going to work out. The chemistry was real and we did really get on. I had really liked people before but I was infatuated with them and put them up on a pedestal and there was no real prospect of anything ever happening with them because I was the weird creepy guy who liked someone so instead of getting to know them, I would obsess about them and not speak to them. She was the first person where those tendencies weren’t front and centre. I would go out of my way to get to know her, spend time with her, talk to her. It just felt so natural.

I would have to lick my wounds and I suppose try and understand what had just happened. She went out of her way to not make things awkward and I will always be immeasurably grateful to her for that. Over the next couple of weeks word got back to me that she was going down the road with one of the other guys. That in a way cushioned the blow somewhat because I could convince myself that it wasn’t me or anything I did, it was just someone else was a better option. Whether that is true or not is unknown but I like to think that I couldn’t have read things that erroneously.

Yet despite her going down the road with another person, I still didn’t officially know of his existence. It was like a secret that everyone else knew that I wasn’t meant to know. One day – several weeks later – I sent her a message to say I knew of him and what was going on and that I was fine with things and she didn’t need to hide it from me. She seemed to react with a mixture of shock and anger that I knew but I was like, I’m cool with things and so it became more of an open thing.

A few weeks later I got a message from a mutual friend who told me that this guy was going to around later and the girl was worried about how I’d react. Now I don’t recall whether she was worried that I’d twat him or that it’d just hurt me or somewhere in-between. I genuinely don’t remember the ins and the outs but I sent back word that I was still fine and then it was set up that I’d meet him. It was like a political meet n greet, you meet someone, shake their hand, make small talk and move on. That is exactly how it went down. Yet I can you exactly what he was wearing and everything about that minute or so and it is so many moons ago it is ridiculous that I can remember such a seemingly insignificant event to such a degree. The reason I remember is because it included one of the most profound moments of self-discovery in my life.

During this conversation that probably didn’t last two minutes, I glanced at the girl and I saw the way she looked at him. She was so happy and had these big wide eyes as she gazed at him whilst I was talking to him and I learnt a valuable lesson. I learnt that my heart could simultaneously break but for it also not to matter one jot. I was totally besotted with this girl and I knew there and then that her happiness was what was important, not mine. She was happy with this guy and that was all that mattered. I could be happy that she was happy despite being so deeply unhappy. I know that doesn’t make any sense but it was how I felt at the time and even in the subsequent months I stood by that. She was happy. That was all that mattered.

Over the course of the next few weeks and months our friendship would drift, which is pretty natural. I know from my side I tried hard to keep our friendship close but I know that being friends with a single girl is different to being friends with a girl in a new relationship, certainly if you a single guy. Some months later there was an occasion where we were going to the same place, at exactly the same time, so I suggested we go there together and that was shot down so rapidly and forcefully I knew that we were never going to be close or even that social any more. That saddened me a lot but still, she was happy with the way things had worked out and despite everything that had happened, her happiness was still the only thing that mattered in my eyes between us so I really did step back.

Still this blog has the premise of what confession I’d say to her or what question would I ask, well I’ll come on to that now. Our paths were about to naturally diverge. I was to stop doing the thing and going to the place that brought us together. The last time I was to be there was known to all including her. That day came and she wasn’t sitting in her usual seat, she wasn’t there, I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye and that was the only time she ever truly hurt me. Everyone else said goodbye including people who truly fucking hated my guts but she wasn’t there to say goodbye to. I wouldn’t have made a big thing or anything but just a simple goodbye and good luck with everything would have been nice. Maybe even say we’d try and keep in contact but nothing. On that little whiteboard that people scribbled their confessions on I’d have written, ‘I wish we’d said goodbye’.

Several months later I actually walked past her and another mutual friend on the other side of the street. I saw them but I don’t think they saw me and I remember thinking about whether I should go and say hello but I chose not to. That was the last time I would ever see her. I know she’d ask mutual friends about me every so often and I just wanted to scream that she should ask me herself. I couldn’t reach out to her because she had pushed me so far away that to make contact (that I won’t lie – I have thought about infrequently over the many moons that have come and gone since) would seem maybe a touch creepy so I always decided against it.

I don’t think I regret that things didn’t work out because things did work out for her. As far as I know she is still happy with the guy she chose way back when. I won’t sit here and type that I could’ve made her happier or that I was a better person than him because we don’t know, what I will type though is I would have done anything for her and put everything on the line to try and make her happy. Yet I type this and I fully believe that she made probably made the right decision. I have no idea if we’d have worked out. What I do genuinely think is that we’d have burned very brightly but for how long, that is a very legitimate question.

She was to this day the only person who I’ve instinctively liked and fallen for hook, line and sinker. There have of course been other people that I’ve liked and developed feelings for but with her it was just there and so bold and clear that I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew she was special. She was so smart, like way smarter than me and I like to think that I’m not exactly a moron but she was so intelligent that she could’ve done anything. Couple that with her deep work ethic that honestly she could be whatever she wanted to be and make a huge success of herself. It was part of what attracted me to her, not only was she breathtakingly gorgeous and we had this chemistry, I could see the potential she had in her to do anything.

Yet here we are. At the end of my tale of the one that got away. I wouldn’t even have a date or have real interest in anyone else for several years, not because I was pining for her or mending a broken heart but because I thought that there was little point chasing after someone unless they made me feel something like she made me feel. Weirdly enough the next person I would have interest in, a very similar scenario played out and she is now happily married to the other guy.

If I saw her again I’d just tell her that despite our time of being close being short, she had such a profound effect on me as a person. She taught me so much about me, both good and particularly bad. She made me want to be a better person. She showed me that I can have real strong powerful emotions and that I could be in so much pain and for it not to be important as my feelings can be inconsequential.

It has been so long but I can remember so many things about her, her accent, the way she said my name, her smile, her eyes, even writing this it has made me smile somewhat thinking about her. We may not have made it as it were but my life was enriched just by knowing her and had I never met her then I suspect I wouldn’t know myself half as well as I do. I just hope wherever she is, whatever she is doing, she is as happy as she can be but still, why didn’t we say goodbye…?

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On whether a woman ‘needs’ to be selected for Oldham West and Royton by-election…

Needs is the key word in the title.

The first by-election of the 2015-2020 will be called following the sad passing of Michael Meacher MP, who died this week following a short illness. He had been a representative in the House of Commons since 1970 and had always been an MP of them seat (and the seat under its previous boundaries and guise of Oldham West). The result of the by-election itself should be a straightforward Labour hold, although no doubts UKIP will have their eyes on the prize but in reality Labour should triumph here with relative ease, therefore this won’t be the first real referendum on Jeremy Corbyn or on the Conservative government.

For the Lib Dems this is a seat where they’ve never finished higher than third and never really been in the game in win it as it were. In the 1990s, the party were the kings of shock by-election wins as people protested against the major parties before returning home during a General Election. These days a lot of that protest vote goes towards UKIP, so I don’t think the party should be expecting much here but that doesn’t mean the party should be ignoring the by-election. This is a good grounding for Lib Dems in the local area to get back out of the streets to promote liberal values.

Jonathan Fryer over on LibDemVoice has written that the party must take the by-election seriously and I agree with him. I certainly wouldn’t be advocating an open cheque book in the attempts to pull out something surprising but a good well run campaign seems like a sensible approach.

One key will be finding the right candidate. I have seen multiple Lib Dems saying on social media that the party needs to find a female candidate because our current line-up of eight male MPs looks bad. Whilst I would agree with the second part of the sentence, selecting a woman for this by-election is highly unlikely to change the make-up of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary team, no matter how much we’d like for it to do so.

In 2015, the party chose only one man in a seat where the incumbent was standing down, in every other situation the party chose a woman. I’m not sure the fact the parliamentary party was all but wiped out can be laid at the feet of not having enough female candidates. I’m not sure deselecting Clegg, Farron, Mulholland, Lamb, Brake, Carmichael, Pugh or Williams and replacing them with a female candidate was ever truly advocated by people, yet in all likelihood that is what would have had to have happened for a woman to be selected as a Lib Dem MP in the 2015 General Election.

So I think looking back at the campaign and the gender breakdown our our representatives on the green benches and blaming the party as being sexist or not fair to women is pretty harsh. If we select a woman here and she doesn’t pull off the upset of all upsets then will people still call the party sexist for not having a female MP?

I’ve always advocated the best candidate for the job as being the bottom line. If it is a man, a woman, I don’t really care. If they are gay, bi or straight, I don’t really care. If they are white, black or of other regional descent, I don’t care. If they are atheist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh etc. I don’t care. I think you catch my drift. All seats at all levels will have better or worse candidates, some people just don’t fit in an area, some are already well known locally. It all comes down to individuals.

Yet having said all this, this word ‘optics’ is a key one. The optics of the Liberal Democrats is not good on this front. The optics won’t change after this by-election, certainly not from the outside, yet maybe the internal optics are just as key? I think that whatever the decision it won’t change much as we have to wait until a by-election in a Lib Dem winnable seat. Should Edinburgh West go tits up then that would be a seat where the Lib Dems could feasibly win a by-election but if that did come up, Mike Crockart would seem highly likely to be the candidate having been the disposed MP in May.

Richmond Park though is probably the key. There was no sitting MP in 2015. A by-election is very possible for 2016 should Zac Goldsmith win the London Mayoral Race (which he is very much in) and although he had a 19,000 majority, political parties traditionally do not do well when they are defending a seat in a by-election. It would be a tough win for the Lib Dems but it would be very much possible. This is a seat where the lights would shine bright for the party and the optics would be glaring. Getting women as candidates into winnable seats is far more important than the likes of Oldham West and Royton.

To answer my original question, no the party doesn’t need to field a female candidate. It would probably be preferable for most people but deep down it won’t make too much of a difference in how the party is perceived on this matter. Now getting female candidates in seats where they can win, that is another story entirely. The party has many impressive women who would be excellent candidates (and indeed many men as well) but just putting females names on the ballot won’t solve a damned thing. Getting women the right experience and putting them in the right situation is the key.

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On a Lib Dem saying something offensive and dumb, a petty Tory and local journalism…

Sometimes I come across a story where literally everyone involved in it comes out badly. Today I saw such a story that the more I looked into it, the worse the secondary characters looked. sadly for the main characters, they just never looked good.

For those who don’t know anything about the story to which I can referring then you can read the write-up in the Portsmouth News. The long and short of it is a ‘rising star’ in the Lib Dems apparently said something stupid whilst drunk, well lets be fair, something beyond stupid, something flat out disgusting. She should learn to deal with alcohol better, tell her friends not to post her stupid remarks on social media or to be frank have less vile words spilling from her mouth. The words she used were, ‘joining the Tories is like joining IS.’ Yikes. You can’t defend it so I won’t but lets look at the rest of the players in this story.

She had a friend who shared the comments online, first things first, don’t share such crap. It is wrong but will also come back to bite you in the bum and make you look stupid. It isn’t a bit of fun. In this era where all our communications on social media can be scrutinised with a click of a button, learn to be careful about what you share online. If people (and I actually know activists from other parties have done so looking for dirt) went through my timeline on twitter or my Facebook books or my instagram pictures, whatever, they would find that I love Nadiya from GBBO maybe a little bit too much, I love George from Masterchef Australia maybe a little bit too much. I talk a lot of sport and talk a lot of politics but plain offensive things, no siree bob, a) it isn’t on and b) your online identity is rightly or wrongly a part of you. So don’t share things that will get you into trouble.

So he has some fault for sharing the comment (or should I say alleged comment Mr. Lawyer?) but whatever. Next up is the Tory councillor in Portsmouth who saw it and instead of looking at it and thinking, ‘oh what a foolish young woman’ instead decided to tweet the local media alerting them to the Facebook status. I mean for real. Cllr. New, you are a grown man, act your fucking age (yes I said fucking, I’d edgy and uncouth like that – big up my Portsmouth upbringing under a Conservative council – or I should say Havant Council if I’m being strictly accurate). Some 17 or 18 year-old girl apparently said something fucking stupid whilst drunk, someone who heard it thought it was either funny or true so posted it online and the adult response is to go crying to the local media? Fucking hell.

So Cllr. New has some blame and then the Pompey News itself. Oh I love the Pompey News. I have had several friends pass through those doors. It was my hometown newspaper but what on Earth are you doing giving this story the time of day? The person who said it doesn’t live in Portsmouth, the person who shared it doesn’t live in Portsmouth (although either studies or studied in Pompey). So where is the Pompey angle? No fewer than three Tory councillors in Portsmouth are quoted in the story about it. I mean come on. I know local newspapers are dying and the written media as a whole is on life support but when you are calling up or e-mailing multiple Tory councillors for a comment on a story about a drunk girls comments who doesn’t live in the area then boy that is a tenuous link for a story.

So I think a lot of people come out badly in this. Both young Lib Dems need to learn not to say (or be amused by) offensive stuff (let alone let it be shared on social media). I suppose in the old days (of you know – ten years ago) a person says something to friends when drunk and no-one else hears of it. This desire to share everything on social media is something people need to curtail (and I say that as an avid social media user). The Tory councillor who squinnyed like a fucking baby (see I am from Pompey – I used the word squinny) needs to grow the fuck up and if the local newspaper is going to react to every story where someone says something offensive when drunk then the Pompey News is going to be the main reason for the rainforests to die out.

Just maddening. The lot of it.

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