Gal Holiday

Our 2015 In Scotland Part 2: July to December – A Yearning For A Lost Place

We had failed to unchain the Scots Unicorn in 2014, so I created this blog in January 2015 as a place to face up to the realities of our socially unjust Scotland. The very first post mentioned that the blog might act as a place for picking fun at people we were: right stuck up and fu’ o’ them sel’s.  Especially people who talked about social justice but did not practice what they preached.

The blog aspires to be as critical of my own, as anyone else’s life and world views. It tries to understand Social Justice as much through analysis of my own oversights and misjudgements as anyone else’s misdemeanours.

Yet, somewhat ironically and very positively, the most popularly read post for most of the year was a post about a very nice group of people from New Orleans who played a gig at Woodland Creatures, Leith Walk, Edinburgh.  Gal Holiday and the Honkey Tonk Review spent 132 days from June 29th to November 8th atop of the blog’s ‘most read post’ chart until finally being knocked off the no 1 spot by a post about Scottish sporting defeats, toughness and forgiveness.

These two posts, in themselves, may not come across as anything out of the ordinary but it is interesting to analyses the connection between the two. For example, the Gal Holiday post celebrated musical success that brought a sense of unity to the audience, whilst the later post bemoaned sporting defeat that has often brought a unifying sense of loss to the people of Scotland

The most unifying of Scots emotions: the lang held ability to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory, is one of the things that most connects Scots people.  We are united by a collective sense of something missing.

Coincidentally, whist I was writing this review of the year, one of the Gal Holiday band members posted a definition on Facebook of a word which seemes to sum up very well what is to be Scottish:


(n.) A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was, the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost place of your past.

I think this word, which I know not how to pronounce, was made for explaining how Yessers have felt since #indyref 2014. A grief for a lost place that never was. Every new dodgy Westminster announcement provides further evidence, as if we need it, of the cost of remaining in a Tory run UK.  Every new unjust policy announcement makes you think, ‘What might have been in 2014?’.

But, it is not just grief for a lost place of our past, it’s a grief for a lost place of our present and future. A lost place that could have meant: no more DWP pressured deaths of disabled people, no 5% (in one year) cuts to the Scots budget and no need for families to walk to Food Banks to receive sustenance.

I am sick of clutching defeat from the jaws of victory, it time for us as a Nation to grow up and get on with running our own affairs. 2016 needs to be focused on the future, focused on how we put in place a strategy that ensures we achieve independence as soon as is humanly possible.

Shortly after the referendum I had read a very well written PhD thesis written by Christina McMellon at the University of Edinburgh which was about happiness and childhood.  It argued that happiness is a complex thing that is dependent on time (past, present and future) and location (inside and outside) and that people express happiness in terms of being, becoming and being with others.

Being comfortable in our own-selves and being comfortable with others are central aspects of friendship and love. The connection of those two things enables people to experience happiness. And, boy, what happiness exploded in Ireland when they showed us again, this year, as always, that #lovewins.

Similarly, 2015 saw the launch of the TIE campaign:

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to make the teaching of LGBTI+ issues and topics statutory in all schools, with the introduction of a diverse and fully inclusive education programme that addresses, acknowledges and highlights such matters relating to the LGBTI+ community in a positive and progressive manner

It has been great to see the creative endeavour of the TIE campaign and you can follow their progress here.

2014 had been a good year for creative projects with young people, we had the CCYP/ENOC project which produced a serious of short films about young people’s experiences of austerity called; Austerity Bites.  This followed on from the previous SUII seminar series which involved young people talking about the interconnection of issues of gender, poverty, homophobia, racism, ageism, etc. But these issues did not get resolved suddenly in 2015, indeed in some countries they got worse.

It’s been a year when the mainstream media have continually thrown around the word extremist. But, what I find extreme is the UK government’s attack on families and children.  Half way through the year the poverty figures for the previous year (2014) were announced and we found out there were 1.1 million more children in absolute poverty (after housing costs) than would have been the case if the Liberals had not kept the Tories in power.

We also found out that in the UK over 2000 disabled people had died after being defined as fit to work by the DWP and that another 7000 had died after being put on a list of people likely to become fit to work.  As we moved into the second half of the year, I contrasted the sadness of austerity with ideas of happiness that celebrated the different people we encounter in the world.

The 4th of July 2015 involved us marching from the west end of Edinburgh to the Parliament in support of the Greek people in their fight against the ECB, Germany, The IMF and Angela Merkel. I walked for various reasons that I explained in my post of that day and because, there are a lot of connections between Scotland and Greece:

There are 11.1 million people in Greece and 5.3 million people in Scotland.  Scotland shares some similarities with Greece.  For example, both countries: eat a haggis type dish; have tourism as a strong part of their economy; have a tradition of enlightened thinking concerning democracy; know how to throw a party; and often shed tears for past glories involving them as smaller nations standing up to their bigger neighbours.

John Pilger explains the experience of Greece very well.  Syriza tried to play by the rules, make a sensible agreement and seek a logical compromise.  This approach failed when faced with an ECB that was hell bent on destroying Greece to teach all other EU nations a lesson.

The ECB stabbed Greece in the back, in the ports, in the islands and in any other economic area they could reach. Once the economy was destroyed (according to Paul Mason 250 Billion Dollars fled the Greek banks to be deposited in other countries) the ECB enabled German and US finance to cherry pick from what was left.

The Greek GDP fell from €242 billion in 2008 to €179 billion in 2014, a 26% drop. Greece was in recession for over five year.  GDP per capita fell from €22,500 in 2007 to €17,000 in 2014, a 24% drop.  The Greek economy was shrunk by 26%.  Simply put, the Greek economy was reduced to the size of the Scottish economy and Greece has twice as many people to feed as Scotland.

Think on that for a minute. The ECB was happy to remove more than 1/4 of the food from every house hold in Greece.  But of course it doesn’t work that way – some households kept all the food they had always had – where as others were left with no food at all. For ECB, read: heartless bureaucrats who do not care about the human effects of the poverty that their policies and positions create.

Time magazine chose to overlook Merkel’s role in forcing so many Greeks into poverty when announcing her person of the year for 2015.  I only have two words to say about Time magazines decision they are, ‘fucking’ and ‘unbelievable’.  Somewhere between 7000 and 10000 Greeks have committed suicide since the crisis started (that doesn’t include the figures for deaths caused by poverty, homelessness, lack of health care, etc.).

It beggars belief that Time rewarded Merkel for this state of affairs.

I was at a Greek wedding, of close friends, in Edinburgh this week and we came to the conclusion that the only way for someone in Time magazine to think what happened to Greece was a good thing was if that person was celebrating after they had taken the opportunity to pick up an exclusive Greek holiday property at basement prices.

We also weren’t convinced that Markel was the saviour of refuges. She was a central member of the European political elite that withdrew the patrols that led to so many refuges (around 3000) dying at sea.

The Greek economy failed because structural and historical problems with debt were not written off at an earlier stage and private debt was turned into public debt. The UK economy got into trouble because it was structured to reward borrowing for speculation rather than for investing in productivity.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Westminster is now run by old Etonians who are now taking care of their mates: the spivs and speculators.   The housing bubble is being refuelled by government incentives and is due to crash again in 3 or 4 years’ time (maybe even sooner).

At the centre of this shift is a need for increased local ownership and the Land Reform Bill will be crucial in stimulating this shift in our economy. A resilient and sustainable economy would increase local ownership of the economy by reducing food miles, expanding local food production and developing new innovative local businesses.

The great crash of 2007 will eventually lead to a different kind of economy. Localism, creativity, collaboration and innovation will be key aspects of that evolution.  Paul Mason’s book in 2015 went beyond localism arguments about land reform to suggest that knowledge would be the key to future economies:

Using extracts from his soon to be launched book Post-Capitalism Paul’s article critiqued the left retreat of the last 25 years – characterising it as having been reduced to shouting from the side-lines, a protest movement but not a change movement. In contrast, he outlines a potential change process where new ways of being will be stimulated by an age of information sharing, new forms of ownership, new social-contracts, collaborative production, community time banks, self-managed anti-hierarchical working, parallel currencies, etc.

A radical Land Reform Bill and a thoughtful replacement to the community charge could go a long way to making our economy more socially just and for Scotland to avoid the pit falls and mistakes made by the Westminster elite (see the Common Weal book of ideas for more on this).

So it was fantastic this year when the SNP conference voted down their leadership’s timid bill – we wait to see if Nicola has the courage she accused Ed Miliband of lacking earlier in the year at the May elections.

In July 2015 this blog argued for braver decisions at Holyrood:

Scotland would become more resilient if we raised taxes to pay our bills in ways that are equitable (those who have more pay more) and used borrowing to stimulate investment that enables wealth generation because growth would be based on sustainable change rather than credit stimulated cycles of boom and bust – deficit and borrowing.

The Holyrood elections in May 2016 will enable the electorate to hold the SNP’s feat to the fire on their pledges to enable a socially just Scotland.

A lot of political commentators don’t get the change that has happened in Scotland.  They complain there is no opposition to the SNP.  Many journalists used to be advisors to Scottish Labour – their noses are out of joint because they no longer have any clout – no one listens to their dated perspectives.

True,  Labour, Liberals and Tories have been wiped out politically but the opposition now comes from people like myself: YES voters who didn’t choose to join the SNP party and seek radical (yet consensual) reform that can’t necessarily be easily dropped by lazy journalists into traditional left and right boxes.

The main stream media are out of touch in a lot of areas.  This year there were a lot of red herrings concerning social justice and childhood issues put about by the main stream media (see a few of them in this July post).

The red herrings even included #indyref royalty Iain Macwhirter failing to do his homework and jumping on the right wing band wagon that argued that it was an infringement of human rights for parents and children to have access to a named key person in their local authority.

The named person policy was enacted to ensure parents and children didn’t have to explain the same story about their life problems to lots of different professionals. It was called for by parent’s groups, particularly parents of disabled children.

A group of litigants attempted to challenge the Children and Young People’s Act. But, of course, their attempt (and appeal) was thrown out of court as nonsense.  It wasn’t a surprise that judges argued that the Scottish Government’s legislation was proportionate.

The litigants and main stream media connected the named person to the notion of a nanny state. Assuming, as always in their right wing way, that a trickle down laissez faire approach is much more preferable than actually supporting people in their communities with appropriate services.

The litigants complained the state was infringing on human rights but the state argued they were supporting the human rights of children. Human rights can be problematic when we see them as individual rather than collective.

There were a lot of problems with the State infringing people’s rights this year but the Named Person approach was not one of them.  The state and public servant’s infringement of ‘real’ human rights issue were very prevalent this year in relation to the right to life.

Whether it be stop and search, or the deaths of Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose and Sheku Bayoh it was a dire year for the Police and issues of class, disability, ethnicity and gender.

Kevin Mckenna’s writing (in August in the Guardian) on the problems of the Scottish Police force were exceptional.  As were the articles in the Guardian and elsewhere regarding police killings in the USA.

The misogyny in the Sandra Bland case was sickening.  We got to view various incidents in all there cruel details because of the modern use of cop cameras but also because passer-bys had the guts to stop and film police brutality.

Some people think we should hide stuff that shows us in a bad light. The Police in various countries are certainly serial cover up artists.  Yet, the ‘path of lies’ leads at best to restlessness and shiftiness or at worst to paranoia and insanity.

One of the personal reason I have for writing this blog is that I feel a strong benefit when I write about my own short comings. It is important when you are going to call other people on social justice issues that you do not make out that you, your-self, are a saint.

It is important that you do not fool yourself that you are a perfect knight in shining armour and that you do not imagine that you alone have the ability to ride the white stead of social justice in the purest of ways.

The need for corporate and public sector honesty is something we should be able to achieve in Scotland. We need to ensure that it becomes a core practiced value for individuals, groups, regions and the country as a whole.

The people of Scotland shouldn’t have to go to court to find out the truth.  They shouldn’t have to wait many years for overlong inquires, such as the Chilcot inquiry or Hillsborough inquiries, to report on why their sons and daughters died.

Nor should families be ignored, whose brother/father died in custody, whilst representatives of the police brief the media with what may turn out to be a very one sided story of the case.

The chances of keeping lies private become slimmer in the present social media age. Could the use of cameras eventually return us to an era (if it previously existed) where public servants know when to resign over an issue, tell their truths immediately and admit their flaws as a point of honour?

Sometimes the truth can only be found in a partial way, there is sometimes no one account of what happened to be agreed upon. So we should also be more willing to live and inhabit the grey areas between black and white.  Those that want to force us into a decisions between black and white often reduce the social world down into issue of profit and loss, rather than humanity.

One such issue, immigration, has been full of black and white discourses this year that have sought to present refugees as underserving. Some, who advocate pulling up the draw bridge to Europe, believe that the present UK population involves some kind of racial purity.  Yet, the truth is, there can be no pure white knights in the UK because after the ice age no one lived here – we are all immigrants.

There has never been one sole language spoken in Scotland (from ancient times there were variants of Norse, Welsh (Pictish/Cymric), Gaelic, Anglo Saxon, French and Latin. This provides academics with great fun when trying to work out the various possible meanings of Scottish place names.  In short, ethnicity in Scotland has always been complex and Scotland has always found peaceful accommodations with those who have come to live and work here.

Similarly, in August the contrast between simplistic misogynous views of women’s identities and more complex constructions of female identities was never so apparent than when the main stream media made a fuss about politicians not having children.  The only possible response to this so dated of perspective was to point out – there is no single type of natural woman or man:

As Steven Seidman tells us when he analyses queer theory, normalisation processes seek to ignore the social and historical context of people’s lives and presuppose a natural way of being that doesn’t actually exist.

Those ‘natural’ stereotypes are then employed to create space, division and dualism that presupposes a ‘natural’ paternalistic social order that cannot be challenged or overcome. Ironically, songs about ‘natural’ ways of being are often utilised to celebrate diversity. For example, the Aretha Franklin song, ‘you make me feel like a natural women’, acts as a celebration of Black womanhood at the same time as it acts as an iconic song concerning LGBT rights.

This song’s flexibility stems from the possibility that the listener does not assume there is one kind of ‘natural woman’. Men can sing the song with just as much gusto as women, if we assume (as Judith Butler points out) that gender can be performed.

Similarly, it was important to argue that women’s identity should not be reduced to a single measure such as: biological productivity:

Whatever their diverse identities, we need to celebrate women and men for just being their selves. That was what was so enjoyable about the #indyref, we didn’t seek to impose a uniform identity on each other – we found different ways of just being together that were bigger, more important and so much more enjoyable than anything the present economic system has to offer – demonstrating once again that #LoveWins, always, when we let people be their selves.

Abroad in August 2015 at the beginning of the USA primary debates, Donald Trump was his usual diplomatic self. Trump is aware of the fact his relatives were immigrants to the USA, including his kin that came from Scotland. Yet, Trump’s campaign has chosen to have a very selective memory on the issue of migration .

He has made a choice to ignore his own history and be abusive about migration. In so doing, he has put the profit of maintaining his own media profile above running a campaign based on decency.

By playing hate-speech games to keep his ratings up – he has become the US equivalent of the UK’s most well-known narcissist Katie Hopkins.

George Orwell in 1984 wrote that:

‘The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.’

The irony with Trump is that he regularly and willingly destroys his own history. His identity, in the USA, is now connected with right-wing extreme views.  His links with the Scottish people, professed so strongly when we was seeking to make a buck here, have been thrown under the campaign bus.

There is something very male and aggressive about trumps approach.  He has zero tolerance for people who are different to him, so maybe we should mimic his approach and have zero tolerance for him?

This is a tricky issue, how to respond to the violence of others without becoming violent your self? How to avoid the land of anger, admit your own limitations and move on to a better place.

Remembering the Scots motto: No one “cuts” (attacks) us with impunity. Trump would do well to also remember that the ancient Scots associated their ancestors with spirits manifested in the living world. In ancient times; it was not bright to upset your ancestors and put the spirits against you.  Trump will no doubt at some point get his political just deserts and comeuppance for what has been a very divisive campaign.

At home, In September the Waverly Line Borders Railway was reopened (up to Tweedbank) and there was a Policy Lab on the subject of Universal free childcare that highlighted the need for:

  • Greater media and political recognition of the huge efforts made over the last decade to improve the quality of provision for children by Childhood Practitioners

  • A change in rigid age bands restricting the interaction of children of different ages in early years and out of school provision

  • Greater use of outdoor spaces for play and creative learning

  • A starting age of seven for schooling and greater flexibility surrounding the age children transition from early years to school settings

  • A need for gender balance regarding the numbers of men in the sector

  • Creative learning approaches that blur the boundaries between pre-school, school and out-of-school to ensure that children’s development is not harmed by rigid forms of learning and childcare

  • More integrated and community-based working to streamline processes for parents and children

  • De-politicisation of early learning and childcare and greater cross-party consensus at Holyrood

It is amazing how often, over recent decades, politicians have argued that children are our future.  Yet, at the same time, they have failed to invest in their early education.

This will be a key issue to resolve in the next 5 years, recent reports claimed to promote radical change in the early learning sector when providing a 15 year timeline for change – we can and need to do better than that time line.

We all too often defeat ourselves when faced with tricky issues. Sometimes this failure occurs because people repeat phrases about social justice without actually practicing them.

If we can’t practice what we preach on social justice in our everyday lives what chance have we of convincing others that there is a better way to live?

September brought the first anniversary of the glorious 45. It also brought tremendous schadenfreude as the Pig-gate story broke and anyone who hadn’t previously believed it, finally, accepted that the UK parliament was in fact a play-for-today dramatization of ‘animal farm’.

The Tory party, for a minute, might have wished that ‘Call me Dave’, had been more of a sailor like Edward Heath (sailors consider pigs to be unlucky because pigs have cloven hooves like the Devil and are terrified of water).

But, earlier in the year police had begun to investigate claims that Heath (who had been given the nicknames ‘traitor heath’ for giving away sovereignty to the EU and ‘the incredible sulk’ because of his behaviour after losing to Thatcher) had been involved in child-abuse.

Pig-gate provided evidence that Cameron was unfit to lead the UK when his carpet bagger behaviour was revealed to the public by his own Tory bed fellow’s memoirs.

The memoirs were published with the precise aim of injuring Cameron. the publication of the memoirs told us that Cameron had reach the stage that Blaire reached – many in his own party  now hate him and will eventually turn on him.

The media focus on Pig-gate was short lived.  Imagine, if this information had come out about Jeremy Corbin – the media would have hounded him until he resigned.

Yet, even with the main stream media moving on, in the public’s mind, pig-gate has stuck to Cameron (like a pig-in-shite):

We already knew Cameron was a conman.  The phrase pig-in-a-poke was invented for this moment because with superb irony a pig-in-a-poke is, amongst other things, defined as an object conjured up by confidence tricksters.  Cameron and his mate Osborne – are confidence tricksters

Labour continue to look on by the side-lines and the Corbin – Blairite divide enables Tory military excess in Syria and the renewal of trident to roll on.

In October I wrote a post on the issue of practicing what you preach called a river runs through our defeats but that is no reason to give up.  It involved some wisdom concerning the issue of teachers and learning from Normal Maclean the author of a River Runs Through It:

 ‘So you can teach like a prize fighter and be a great teacher, or you can teach like an architect and be a great teacher, or you can be a great teacher in shirt sleeves or on the back of a gold collar button.  It seems you can do about anything and be a great teacher.  But if you like to go around watching great teachers… …A great teacher is a tough guy who cares deeply about something that is hard to understand.’

2015 was a year that involved us licking our wounds from 2014. Pain, defeat, hurt and rejection were good for us – our arguments, beliefs and values survived, having longevity beyond the #indyref.

Yet, 2016 will finally be the year that the #indyref honeymoon ends for the SNP – we now need meat on the bone in early 2016 if we are to also provide them with whatever the equivalent is of a landslide at Holyrood.

There is a need for Yessers to be tough on the SNP – we need to set a higher standard at Holyrood and hold MSPs to a higher level of expectation than is the case with MPs in Westminster.

Toughness is appropriate if we are using it to hold political carpet baggers to account.

In October poor old Gordon Brown stood like Heathcliff in the wings of public view bemoaning David Cameron’s response since the #indyref. He had finally awoken to the reality that the vow was dodgy and accused Cameron of a potential double betrayal.

In October, Gordon squealed about tax vetoes being the potential point of betrayal – whilst Iain Macwhirter pointed out that the most serious area of double dealing was English Votes fir English laws which means that Scots MPs will now be treated like second class citizens at Westminster.

In another echo of ‘Animal Farm’ some members of the Westminster Parliament are now more equal than other members.

November brought us terrible reminders of how divided the world continues to be. Paris was attacked in January and again in November – some politicians reacted like states people, others jumped on extremist band wagons – political rhetoric was cheap, real people died and all their families now have is their memories of their loved ones.

Later in the month the UK joined the rest of Europe in a minutes silence in remembrance of the 129 lives lost, including one Briton, in the Paris terrorist attacks.

Like those at Hillsborough who simply went to a football match, those who were murdered in Paris simply went to hear a band play music. Those murdered won’t be coming back, won’t be returning home and won’t be living their lives in 2016.

We are all complicit in their deaths, we are complicit when we do not seek a peaceful solution to conflict and when we allow war mongering politicians to set the agenda without thought for what happens after the bombing, fighting and slaughter.

In December the Forth Bridge (the oldest of the Bridges over the Firth of Forth that takes the trains across) became a world heritage site and in response the Forth Road Bridge (soon to be middle child of three bridges) promptly threw a diva’s fit as if piqued at being left out of the limelight and refused to work during early December.

Luckily, the Road Bridge was quickly fixed and reopened on the Wednesday before Christmas.  During the down time I took the train over to Dalgetty Bay where my pal picked me up to go fishing in Kinross.  One benefit was that I caught more fish as I was more relaxed because I hadn’t had to drive from Edinburgh.  Every cloud has a silver lining.

In November some numpty decided to start naming storms in the UK. Rumer has it, this is another Westminster plot to Anglicize and sanitize Scotland and that the establishment are trying to get back at all those Scots who had great fun naming a 2011 storm: Hurricane ‘Baw Bag’.

You can just hear the conversation in the BBC weather room, ‘‘Ball Bag’ (said with golf balls in mouth), ‘Ball Bag’, those disgusting oinks, from now own there will be none of that contemptable, savage, backward ‘jock’ humour, we will name the storms our-self.

It is not outlandish to think this decision may an anti-scots attempt to censor our humour. Bearing in mind that BBC weather people have form in this field.  They were, after all, the people who in 2005 saw no problem in re-designing their weather map of Scotland in a way that reduced the size of Scotland and accentuated the size of England.

Are you shocked my friends in other countries – this is a true story – you couldn’t make up the ethnocentric prejudice of the BBC – their Anglo-chauvinism knows no bounds.

This issue became a hot topic of the 2014 referendum and it was not surprising in 2014 that 2 separate reviews by the Audience Council Scotland and the National Union of Journalists criticised the BBCs #indyref coverage.

Similarly, the newspapers who took a very one sided approach to the referendum have paid the price by seeing their circulation reduced by between 11% and 14%.

We learned, in December, that, the most distinguished of Yessers, William McIlvanney had died.  He will be remembered for his Novels and I am glad to say I heard him speak at the Edinburgh book festival and you could have sat and listened to him for ever.  But, my abiding memory of him is that during the 1997 campaign for devolution McIlvanney toured Scotland on a bus to convince the electorate of the benefits of change – artists, poets and writers have always been at the heart of change in Scotland and made very humorous contributions to the #indyref debate.

So when the #indyref began I thought to myself – ‘it would be great to tour Scotland on a bus like McIlvanney’, but when speaking to fellow independence supporters in Edinburgh we realised that the place we needed to be was at home. Anglicized and money centric Edinburgh was going to the most cantankerous of places in Scotland to convince.

So we stayed at home and walked all over Edinburgh, ran a stall on the Meadows and encountered some nice people. We also encountered a small minority of not so nice people.  You can read about our experiences which were neatly summed up by our colleague from Morningside.

This has been a review of the year that has sought to place 2015 events in Scotland into some kind of perspective and as we end the year we don’t want to be too backward looking. It is time to move on from the #indyref but we should never forget it.

Similarly, in December we remembered it was over 100 years since the WW1 Christmas day truce. A few years ago I discovered that our Great Great Grandfather, William Yourston, who died in WW1, had witnessed the Christmas truce. You can see a picture of him sporting a fine moustache at this site and read his letter home about the  truce.

A key argument over the year was that we should not wallow in the past.  An extract from a Buddhist blog explained the need to move on and connected the idea of moving on to forgiveness:

‘Forgiveness is a form of realism. It doesn’t deny, minimize, or justify what others have done to us or the pain that we have suffered. It encourages us to look squarely at those old wounds and see them for what they are. And it allows us to see how much energy we have wasted and how much we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.’

So my final paragraph of the year comes from that post and encourages us all to collaborate on making 2016 a much better year than the last few:

My hard learned experience, drawn from many years of being involved in change process, is that if you wish to sustain and keep glued together processes of change you need to: ‘judge not least you be judged’, get out of the land of anger, leave the land of denial, escape the land of fear and depart the land of procrastination for the real world – where people are waiting

Time for a few drinks – happy new year when it comes.