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Tag: Personal

Visions in Exile: An Update

Visions in Exile: An Update

For those who have been waiting a long, long time for the sequel to my first book, Imperial Visions, there is good news! I’ve hit a key milestone for the sequel, Visions in Exile: I’ve finished the end of Part Two. In chapter terms, this means Chapter 18 out of 25, or about 72% of the way through. 16 of the existing chapters are on 3rd draft(1); one is on 2nd draft and one is on 1st draft (but will…

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2019: Year in Review

2019: Year in Review

2019 was a bit of a crazy year on all fronts. A lot of things happened that weren’t predicted and where I ended up at the end was, in many areas, very different from where I started. Personal We had a lot of ups and downs with the health of our youngest (daughter, 1). Around Easter we found out definitively that her health problems would be likely to be ongoing for years, not months, and throughout we had a large…

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Blogging update

Blogging update

As you may have noticed, blogging has been sparse recently. That was mainly because I was working as a Special Adviser which, in addition to very long hours, also meant that as part of the government, though not under a duty to be impartial, I did have to be a little careful what I said. With the election occurring, I’ve now taken up a new role outside government which should be ‘normal professional’ rather than ‘routinely working 12 hour days’…

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My local election result

My local election result

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my attempt to be elected as a Conservative Councillor for my local ward of Panshanger in the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield. Last year the Conservatives lost this ward to the Liberal Democrats by 37 votes. After a very hard-fought campaign I actually managed to secure more votes than the previous Conservative candidate. Unfortunately, the winning candidate, Liberal Democrat Jane Quinton, did even better, extending the Liberal Democrat lead to nearly 200. National issues clearly played…

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On Leaving the Civil Service

On Leaving the Civil Service

Almost a year ago today I formally left the civil service. Handing in my notice was one of the hardest things I’ve voluntarily done. I’d joined the civil service immediately after leaving university and loved it. I’d done incredibly exciting things, from meeting ministers, working on policy as it was formed, going to No. 10 and to the House of Commons and even working overseas in the Philippines. The work was meaningful, enjoyable and interesting; I’d worked with some of…

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Twilight Struggle

Twilight Struggle

Would anyone be interested in a ‘correspondence’  game of Twilight Struggle? Twilight Struggle is a great two-player game based on the Cold War. The two players represent the US and USSR and use cards to compete for influence in the other countries in the world. Cards can represent operations, like adding influence or organising coups, or historical events from hosting the Olympic Games to the Cuban Missile Crisis. In some ways, the game is slightly reminiscent of Go, in that…

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2018: First Year of the New Blog

2018: First Year of the New Blog

A short look back on my blogging over 2018. I started blogging again in April 2018. In the roughly nine months of that year I wrote just over 95 blog posts, received just over 10,000 views and 214 comments (though some people also comment on Facebook and Twitter). December was the most visited month, with just over 1,800 views – driven, as always by the Christmas Quiz – while the most popular single post was about the TEF card game,…

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Five Questions Meme

Five Questions Meme

With thanks to liv for posting the meme and for setting me the questions below. For those not familiar, the way it works is that anyone who would like questions can ask for them; they then get set five questions – potentially about anything at all – that the original poster thinks they would find interesting to answer and others would find interesting to read. So without further ado, the questions I was set: 1. Would you rather be notable…

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My first Conservative Party Conference

My first Conservative Party Conference

This week I attended my first ever Conservative Party Conference (for that matter, my first ever political conference). As a civil servant, these had been strictly off limits, a banned political activity as mysterious and transgressive as they come, so it was with particular excitement that I headed up to Birmingham on Saturday. Some people, like me, may have absorbed a number of myths about the Conference, based on media reporting; namely, that it is expensive, that it is overly…

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Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

Today’s Events – Reflections from a Leave Voter

I spent most of Sunday trying to see the Chequers Brexit agreement in the best positive light. The deal seemed a long way from what I would have liked to see in a Brexit – which, as I’ve written before, would be some form of FTA arrangement. It ceded far too much control to Brussels – and that was even before the negotiations begin, in which no doubt the position would be compromised further. But I was conscious that I…

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