Sunday 31 July 2016


Sunday October 9 is the date this year for the Oxford Half Marathon. I couldn't resist the challenge when I realised that Oxford now had a half marathon instead of the 10 k I loved so much back in 2010 when I finished in 64:16. I must have been caught up in the emotion of it all; the year before I had completed the Wymondham New Year's Day 10k in 59:40 and two years later in 2012 I managed a Broome 10K in 61:19. But who cares about times when you're running past portals into your own life - three years an undergraduate (1967-70), six years a resident (1980-86). I remember being so weary when I reached the University Parks at the end of that 10K in 2010. For over an hour I had been revisiting some of the most formative experiences of my whole life.

University Parks Oxford - 10K finish - 2010

Well, I'm doing it all again in 2016! I love going back to Oxford for college gaudies every five years or so and now I have another excuse. The first picture on this blog shows a very weary me striving for the finishing line in the Parks in 2010 and the second picture reveals the route this year in 2016. I shall enjoy blogging about the Oxford run in October after I return - and keeping anyone interested up-to-date about my training for the London Marathon in April 2017 now I have secured a gold bond place to run for the Salvation Army and raise money for their drug rehabilitation/addiction services. That prospect is so exciting!

Today, the last day of July, I started my serious training for Oxford (and of course London) by completing two circuits of my local 3.5 mile up and down hill run - 7 miles in 74 minutes. Not too bad for starters; the body and mind were working in gentle harmony without too much resistance. Next Sunday, 8 miles; the Sunday after, 3 circuits (10.5 miles); the Sunday after that, 11.5 miles - and the final Sunday in August, 4 circuits (14 miles). Plus two additional one circuit runs and one gym session in each of these four weeks. Then it's off to Greece and the island of Patmos for the best part

Friday 22 July 2016


Louise was upstairs watching TV as she quilted and alerted me to the press conference. Our leader was launching his leadership campaign. That feels oxymoronic ... Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader last year so why is he having another leadership campaign? Well, the Parliamentary Labour Party - more precisely, the majority of the Labour MPs in the House of Commons - has passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership. You probably know much of the rest of the story. My point here is to say how impressive and how confident Jeremy appeared in this fifteen minute launch - and to explain why I and hundreds and thousands others will be returning him to his rightful place as our leader, our figurehead for our beliefs about how this nation of ours should be governed. Do listen over the coming weeks as he spells out what Labour will be doing in government to rescue this stricken land from a decade of nasty Tory misgovernment.

Let me address a key accusation against JC. He has not been, is not, and never will be, a good leader.

Jeremy Corbyn - leader of the Labour Party

I'll begin by referencing the political point that we anti-neoliberals will always return to: governmental oversight of a national economy is very different from family management of a household economy. Keynesian assumptions bind us together on this matter; sound economics blend beautifully with our humane and civilised beliefs that people matter and should never be sacrificed on the altar of rugged individualism and trickle-down falsehoods. We can and we should borrow and even create the money that will drive the wheels of industry, trade and commerce.

Now, imagine a family-run business making ice-cream that has expanded successfully, employs over one hundred people and whose management board is filled by three generations of the same family and a healthy representation of non-family members with varying expertise. The board also includes a handful of members of the workforce. Word has spread; this precious institution has become a byword for good management practice and social scientists are queuing up to study their management strategies and leadership styles. People reference this ice-cream dream business as a text book illustration for good leadership.

Then imagine, there is a tragic air crash and all the family members of the board are wiped out in a single moment. A distant cousin who has never gained access to the higher reaches of the firm before now finds herself, as the sole surviving family member left in the business, the managing director.

Sunday 3 July 2016


They really want to see the back of him, don't they?

The majority of  the Parliamentary Labour Party allowed themselves to be manipulated into supporting a carefully planned coup against Jeremy, their democratically elected leader, in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. The revolt was designed to satisfy the political ambitions of a few and restore the tried and failed recipes for political purpose and action that have been the undoing of the Labour movement for the best part of a decade.

Jeremy Corbyn - leader of the Labour Party and our next Prime Minister

But how dumb can you be? Jeremy was never going to be bullied or coerced into resignation. He would never abandon his own principles that have seen him through decades of opposition to mainstream Labour politics and now form the backbone of the real Labour movement and Party that has taken shape outside parliament. I am talking of the real Labour movement that was responsible for his landslide election victory as the national leader of the Party.

So much for the Labour political elite - but what of the media elite? Even my beloved Channel 4 News was guilty tonight of systemic and systematic rubbishing of the elected leader of Labour. Unchallenged assertions that at nearly 70 the strain was getting to him and his family and he was no longer willing to continue. Behind closed doors, he was considering his position. The Labour Party was unelectable with him at the helm; that was the message from the doorsteps of the country. Corbyn's lacklustre performance was the reason for the Brexit vote. The BBC is of course much worse.