Thursday, May 14, 2015

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

I found myself thinking a lot during the election campaign about that famous saying from Norman Kirk - that people just want someone to love, somewhere to live, something to do and something to hope for. Well, I'm no different. In the course of doing one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done, I've still had time to consider what I actually do with the rest of my life.

It's been hard to plan for the future when I've been rather publicly applying for a new job, even if it was one that on this occasion I wasn't expected to get. I'm upbeat about the experience, given it was my first shot. As my friend Martin Carr said last night - "I don't lose. I either win, or I learn something new."

But I only had five months as candidate, pity those who were at it for YEARS. Those unsuccessful candidates who stuck everything on Red 6. Giving up jobs and careers in one city to try their luck and be rejected in another, far from home. Or to stand up as the local hero in their own community and have to face the people who turfed you out every day.
You don't get paid to be a candidate either. So many people don't appreciate or know this, they assume the party supports you with a job.

It does become all consuming. I've not been a particular supportive Dad for my eldest son who's now sitting his GCSEs, or my youngest who is doing his SATS. And in the middle of all of this Rachel has completed her final year dissertation at University AND secured her first teaching job in September. All without much help from this myopic political zombie. This incredibly loving family, they leafleted, supported me in public debates and rose to an unexpected level of enthusiasm for the election. I could quite simply not have done it without them. And I'm pretty sure I don't deserve it.

In all of that time I carried on working. One of my big projects came to its conclusion with a launch event at the start of March - a look at the future for the ICAEW, a professional institute. Another reached a natural end, many others carried on, some stalled, probably because I couldn't maintain the momentum. But even during polling week I was signing off page proofs for a magazine I produce for Seneca and meeting a potential new partner for Liberty one of the other businesses I'm on the board of. And proudly, our Discuss debate series secured more sponsorship and we sealed a media partnership with The Guardian. And I've put together a launch event for Gorilla Accounting, a cracking new business serving self-employed contractors, anyway, it's in Manchester next Thursday and you are welcome to come along.

I also put my book on hold, much to the frustration of the publisher. An expletive strewn satire with 95,000 words, many of them starting with F, which required a blizzard of publicity and would have given out a mixed signal to the voters of Hazel Grove at a crucial time. We're launching it on June the 25th.

This isn't a moan, by the way. I wouldn't have it any other way. One of the reasons I gave up my full time job a few years ago was precisely to have that variety and an opportunity to live a more rounded life than the treadmill I'd found myself on. I also wanted to contribute to my community in a meaningful way, to do what I enjoy, but also to earn a better living.

The future
I have absolutely loved this. There are some very exciting political challenges I am interested in pursuing, there is a job to build on what we have created here. But right now, this week, I've got to focus. Starting with a presentation I'm meant to be writing for delivery on Saturday.

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