Optimism for 2018, a better year than the last?
Thought it was time I put fingers to keyboard again with a blog for the “new” year, except it is not so new now – doesn`t time pass quickly when you are not watching it!?
We saw (and heard) the new year of 2018 arrive watching bell-ringers greet the occasion in Averham Church after a delightful New Year`s Eve “do” in the parish, which is gradually taking on the mantle of a tradition locally, then watched the fireworks over Newark, on the other side of the river, as we walked back to the car. I felt a strong sense of optimism that 2018 might prove to become a better year than 2017 had been. So far that optimism is holding up – I wonder if it will last.
19th May 2018
I am looking forward to Saturday 19th May, though it is not because I am a royalist. I gather there is to be a royal wedding on that day, to which much attention has already been given for reasons both good and questionable. Married, as I am, to a lovely lady of widely mixed heritage, I wish the happy couple continuing happiness and long lives and welcome the, hopefully strong, message their wedding may bring of another small step away from racism.
Nor am I looking forward to 19th May because I am anti-royalist. Exactly 482 years ago on that date, in 1536, a still-young Anne Boleyn exited the Queen`s Lodgings at the Tower of London for the last time to be taken to her place of execution there to be beheaded. She gave a modest speech in a formula which would protect her daughter, Princess Elizabeth, accepting that her fate was decided according to the law of the land such as it then was. But the truth is that her fate was decreed by a tyrannical misogynistic bully, Henry Vlll, for whom the optimistic #TimesUp movement might specially have been designed. At the time of Anne`s beheading, Henry was already organising for his next marriage to Jane Seymour just a few days later on 30th May – but 1536 ended up being a pretty tumultuous year, closing with the Lincolnshire Rebellion and the Pilgrimage of Grace that followed. See my novel for that story*.
Nor am I looking forward to 19th May because I am a football fan, though many a household will be glued to the TV watching the 2018 FA Cup Final at Wembley. Indeed, many thousands of fans of 16 different clubs are still hopeful their club still has a chance! Now, that is REAL optimism. As a rugby fan, however, I am looking forward to the start of the Six-Nations campaign this week… will England win the championship for a record of three times in a row? They have been getting stronger under Eddie Jones for the last couple of years, but the team is wracked with injuries at the moment, so several critics have already written down their chances of victory this year. But that will have been decided well before 19th May, so that is not what I am looking forward to.
Green Liberal Democrat Conference
No – the reason I am looking forward to Saturday 19th May 2018 is that we are holding a special conference of the Green Liberal Democrats on that day to celebrate the 30 years since the GLD group was formed back in 1988. Last year marked the 40th birthday of the Liberal Ecology Group and I am proud to have been that group`s Chair at the time of the merger between the Liberals and the SDP and to have become the Founding Chair of the Green Liberal Democrats at its inaugural meeting in Nottingham in 1988.
Our 30th Birthday Conference will also be in Nottingham, at the Jubilee Campus of Nottingham University. The Jubilee Campus did not exist 30 years ago and was subsequently built on a brownfield site, winning a load of environmental awards since its creation, so it seems an eminently appropriate place to have our Conference. Indeed, we anticipate the conference programme will include a guided tour of some of the key aspects of the sustainability features of the campus for delegates to appreciate. I will write more about the Green Lib Dems` conference very soon but put the date in your diary to come to Nottingham and celebrate with us! Remember Saturday 19th May.
We have invited Simon Hughes to come as our keynote speaker since he was the keynote speaker at the inaugural meeting back in the day. We have also invited Vince Cable to come along for the day and take some time to engage with us as well as make a definitive commitment to the Party`s Green credentials going forward into the next General Election. Environmental issues and the need to get to grips with sustainable development as the potential Big Idea of the Liberal Democrats are, we believe, going to be at the heart of our political priorities if we are to climb out of the slough of despond ailing the party after the meltdown of the 2015 and 2017 General Elections.
Party membership is supposed to be high and rising but a number of recent “defections” have called into question whether we are portraying the correct message to catch the imagination of the voters of the future. I am old enough to have joined the Liberal Party when we had even fewer MPs than we have now, and I know it will take some time to drag ourselves up by the bootstraps. If we do not combat Global Warming successfully by the middle of this century the issue of whether we are members of the EU or not will cease to have real meaning in the face of the problems we might face from hugely rising sea levels, oceans full of plastics and the absence of insects to pollinate our fruit and other food crops!
There will be more about the conference coming to Facebook soon, or coming through your email inboxes if you are already Green Lib Dem members, but do book the date NOW and watch out for those details arriving!
We will, of course, be singing our new GLD Anthem which may yet have an outing before then at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Southport this March. I hope you will like it – it is a 21st Century update of the 19th Century Liberal Rallying cry, the “Land song”, with which some of you may be familiar from the Liberal Glee clubs at conferences – it should be sung to the tune “Marching through Georgia” I include it here for your enjoyment. See you in Southport or Nottingham…. Let me just do my singing exercises … me me me me – la la la la – dum dum dum dum…. Ready?
Adapted from “The Land” to the tune of “Marching through Georgia”
The Earth, the Earth
This is our Planet Earth
The Earth, the Earth
The land that gave us birth
How can we destroy it
Now we know what it is worth
Save the earth from the people
The animals are crying out to save their only home
The birds are also screeching to leave their home alone
The fish and whales are joining in amongst the crashing foam
Save the earth from the people.
Climate change is killing us from too much C-O-2
Plastic waste is everywhere in oceans grey and blue
Poison gases choking us which cars and engines spew
Save the earth from the people
Politicians we can`t trust to save our planet now
Corbyn, May and Donald Trump are names we`ll disavow
Perhaps we`ll find a way to save it, please just ask us how
To save the earth from the people
Copyright – Green Liberal Democrats January 2018
For more information on the following topics follow the links herein
England Rugby – goo.gl/y26a3U
Anne Boleyn – goo.gl/ZNrbZd
Jubilee Campus – http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/sustainability/buildings.aspx