and your electron microscope

Preaching the end of me

What can I say.

I’m low.

Maybe as low as I’m likely to get at present. Engaged in a constant battle with intrusive thoughts about self harm and suicide. Actually tempted to jump off North Bridge today. Though obviously I didn’t it still scares me that it seemed easier to walk up to the edge than walk away from it (so to speak).

I’m fed up with other people being shit. I’m fed up with other people being indifferent.

I don’t appear to have any support mechanisms anymore. I appear to have systematically burnt all my bridges with any old friends or otherwise just conspired to being shite at maintaining friendships.

I just feel alone all the time.

Though the only person I hate more than you is me.

I’m fed up with my own inability to cope and I’m fed up of going through this time and time again.

What’s the point in getting better to just go back to square one at the slightest setback?

Can’t help coming back to the same question “why am I still here?”.

The only answer I have thus far is cowardice.

I’m pretty sure I won’t do “anything stupid” (though frankly I fail to see how ending this cycle of misery could be considered anywhere near idiotic) but who knows maybe one day?


The Black Spot

I thought about the full stop again today, the end of the sentence.

The last few weeks have been punctuated by feelings of being in parenthesis. Being somehow separate from everything and still unable to escape this melancholy period.

Depression is something like vanity for masochists sometimes. When your happy for everything to be your fault. To be the malevolent singularity around which the world revolves, to be the cause and effect of everything that could ever go wrong for everyone.

You ask people if they are alright or if things are going well not out of kindness or concern but out of paranoia. To reassure yourself you haven’t upset them and put your own mind at ease.

Sometimes I would be happy just to remain functionally miserable. To force a smile and wear that as armour against the world while the soft centre fails to hold. But that’s not always an option unfortunately.

I worry the sadness seeps out of me and infects others around me. So at first they become wary and eventually become frustrated and driven away by my constant trials and tests.

Faults in friends become deadly wounds piercing my sides like spears. I start to despise those closest to me and those who have drifted away overtime.

But at the same time I need people to like me, to need me more than ever.

So I can drive them away. They have to prove they care about me so i can conspire to make them not care. Why? Well people, friends, social networks they all get in the way of the end of the sentence.

So I Strive not to be missed and aim for shrugs where the bad news breaks rather than tears.

I’m waiting for the end of the sentence – but I’m still not sure I want to write it myself.


PhP help (again!!!)

Hello can anyone help me here? Want to alter this code so that my sidebar doesn’t appear on any page other than the front page of my blog

</div><!-- #container -->

<?php wp_reset_query() ?>

<div id="primary" class="aside main-aside sidebar">
<?php arras_above_sidebar() ?>  
	<ul class="xoxo">
		<?php if ( !function_exists('dynamic_sidebar') || !dynamic_sidebar('Primary Sidebar') ) : ?>
			<li class="widgetcontainer clearfix">
				<h5 class="widgettitle"><?php _e('Welcome to Arras!', 'arras') ?></h5>
				<div class="widgetcontent">
				<div class="textwidget">
					<p><?php _e('Arras is a WordPress theme designed for news or review sites with lots of customisable features.', 'arras') ?></p>
			<li class="widgetcontainer clearfix">
				<h5 class="widgettitle"><?php _e('Recent Posts', 'arras') ?></h5>
				<div class="widgetcontent">
				$r = new WP_Query(array('showposts' => 10, 'what_to_show' => 'posts', 'nopaging' => 0, 'post_status' => 'publish', 'caller_get_posts' => 1));
				if ($r->have_posts()) :
				<?php while ($r->have_posts()) : $r->the_post(); ?>
				<li><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>"><?php if ( get_the_title() ) the_title(); else the_ID(); ?> </a></li>
				<?php endwhile ?>			
			<li class="widgetcontainer clearfix">
				<h5 class="widgettitle"><?php _e('Tag Cloud', 'arras') ?></h5>
				<div class="tags widgetcontent">
				<?php wp_tag_cloud(); ?>
		<?php endif; ?>
</div><!-- #primary -->
<div id="secondary" class="aside main-aside sidebar">
    <ul class="xoxo">
        <!-- Widgetized sidebar, if you have the plugin installed.  -->
        <?php if ( !function_exists('dynamic_sidebar') || !dynamic_sidebar('Secondary Sidebar #1') ) : ?>
        <?php endif; ?>
	<?php arras_below_sidebar() ?>  
</div><!-- #secondary -->
Or is this something I should do from where this is called rather than in the sidebar file itself?
As it is appears here?
<?php get_header(); ?>

<div id="content" class="section">
<?php arras_above_content() ?>

<?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
	<?php arras_above_post() ?>
	<div id="post-<?php the_ID() ?>" <?php arras_single_post_class() ?>>

        <?php arras_postheader() ?>
        <div class="entry-content clearfix">
		<?php the_content( __('<p>Read the rest of this entry &raquo;</p>', 'arras') ); ?>  
        <?php wp_link_pages(array('before' => __('<p><strong>Pages:</strong> ', 'arras'), 
			'after' => '</p>', 'next_or_number' => 'number')); ?>

		<?php arras_postfooter() ?>

		if ( arras_get_option('display_author') ) {
	<?php arras_below_post() ?>
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<?php endwhile; else: ?>

<?php arras_post_notfound() ?>

<?php endif; ?>

<?php arras_below_content() ?>
</div><!-- #content -->

<?php get_sidebar(); ?>
<?php get_footer(); ?>

Lib Dems: in need of a reality check

It’s been something of a roller coaster for Liberal Democrat supporters since the general election. Going from the dizzying heights of becoming a party of government in coalition at Westminster (not just the Welsh or Scottish assemblies (it’s a parliament cheers Vince)) to the utter drubbing the electorate handed them last Thursday.

The reaction from Libs has been interesting also. Seemingly only Scottish leader Tavish Scott seems willing to take the blame for the poor results and admit that these were a damning indictment of the Lib Dems joining the Tories in Coalition.

Lib Dems: it matters not what progressive policies you have implemented in government, it matters not that you believe you have softened the nasty party and taken the edge off the Tories.

All the ultimately matters is the electorates perception of you as a political party – the reality is neither here nor there. But it is also worth considering the reality and perhaps, I am afraid to say, the electorate just doesn’t care as much about the same things as Lib Dems as Lib Dems do.

So all your “look, look what we’ve done” jumping up and down might only make you look like a small child begging their parent to watch them do a trick. The parent will watch but won’t give a shit.

If the Lib Dems want to win the electorate back they need to start persuading them that they are doing more harm than good as opposed to telling us that we are wrong for thinking that they betrayed us.

Obviously this is harder and requires more fortitude than playing the victim – but it’s the only way back and if nothing else it’s a damn sight better than blaming Labour for everything that’s gone wrong.

Tavish resigns!

Tavish Scott has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats

Statement from Tavish Scott 
“I want to announce that I am resigning the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats with immediate effect.
“Thursday’s Scottish General Election result was disastrous and I must and do take responsibility for the verdict of the electorate.
“The party needs a new direction, new thinking and new leadership to win back the trust of the Scottish people.
“I am honoured to serve as Shetland’s MSP in this Parliament.”
Normally one could find little fault with such a decision after such a disastrous showing in the polls and that is why many are wondering why Clegg is still leading the Lib Dems after the drubbing handed to them across the UK.
But should Tavish have gone?
Arguably the Lib Dems performance had little to do with it’s campaign in Scotland (despite those misleading and now embarrassing “only the Lib Dems can win here” leafelts) and had little to do with the Lib Dems who had sat and represented their constituencies and regions in Holyrood. Tavish Scott did the best he could with the hand he was dealt and falling upon his own sword, whilst admirable, is I believe mistaking.
The person who should resign for this is clearly not Tavish Scott. Tavish has become in effect nothing more than a proxy for Nick Clegg.
In leading his party into a coalition with the Tories Clegg  effectively signed their death warrant in Scotland and in many parts of England and Wales.
Will Clegg now resign?
I suspect not.
The Lib Dem leadership will now have a shortlist of just four: Jamie Stone, John Farquar Munro, Liam McArthur and Willie Rennie. Of those I suspect some permutation of Stone and Farquar Munro in leader and deputy roles seems most likely.
There are huge issues for the Lib Dems to now confront.
  • How much of their core support still exists?
  • Can they rebuild and fight back in Scotland or are they doomed for a generation?
  • How much of their vote have they lost by no longer being a protest vote?
Tavish has left his party but whoever comes to lead it faces the challenge of ice skating uphill. I wish them luck. Leading the Lib Dems in Scotland has become a poisioned chalice less tempting than managing the Scottish football team.
I’m sorry to see you go Tavish – it wasn’t your fault.

Gorgeous George and Gender

In the aftermath of the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections there are things to be grateful for and things to analyse and question.

I for one am grateful that the good people of Glasgow saw fit not to elect George Galloway to Holyrood.

Galloway is a marmite politician it’s almost impossible to be indifferent to him – you either love him or hate him. Galloway was a master rhetorician and remains an impressive and passionate public speaker. However he has also, in my opinion, become a shadow of his former self – a parody of the passionate crusader he once was.

There is also Galloways questionable support of certain Arabic regimes – I wonder what he makes of the Arab spring?

If anyone doubts Galloways status as an amazing orator they should watch his performance against the US Senate. Where he effectively showed them what it was to be a politician.

However despite barnstorming political performances like this Galloway is unfortunately better known and ridiculed for the likes of this:

The reason to celebrate the non-election of Galloway is simple. He is no longer a politician and has become more of a media circus. His presence in the parliament would have been an unwelcome combative influence and denigrated the institution. The Scottish people were right not to elect George despite a history of good political performances such as this:

Galloway is correct to take Paxman to task on this issue and it relates to one of the issues arising from this years Scottish election.

That of the ratio of male to female MSPS.

I would say that it is incorrect to look at the election results in debating this issue. As then all you are doing is debating the electorates decision in not electing women. You are basically doing nothing to criticise the parties involved in how they selected or promoted their candidates rather you are describing and bemoaning the perceived role of women in our society.

If you want the parties to address the issue you have to confront how they select, who they select and where they select them.

If they have a bias towards selecting men in safe seats then they have a case to answer.

If they have a bias towards selecting men in general, through whatever means, they have a case to answer.

They most certainly do not have a case to answer based on the electorates decision. The only people they have to answer to in that regard are the people they now represent.

This is a complex issue and one that needs tackling but sensationalist spreading of misleading information and data will only harm the cause of equality not strengthen it.

In politics the argument that can be dismissed because it is based on false premises is no argument at all.

Well unless it reflects the prejudices and biases of the society in which it rises – and let’s face it any argument about women being unfairly represented rises in a male dominated patriarchal society still.

It is this society that we have to change – not our voting systems, nor I suspect the parliamentary selection processes of the parties. We risk losing more by “gaming” the system to force society into a shape it is not. Of course in some cases equality legislation can work – but I suspect only in the sense that they reduce the opportunities for discrimination and not where they err on the side of positive discrimination.

Positive discrimination reinforces prejudices and I would be cautious in implementing anything like that – particularly in an electoral system.

Women are already under-represented in politics, there is lots of research that suggests they are also treated differently and more unfairly in some cases than their male counterparts. Changing the system so it makes it harder to see if a female MSP or MP is selected and elected under their own merits as oppossed to just their gender is not the way forward.

In my opinion such an approach would only denigrate the standing of our female political representitives and set the cause of a more equal and fair society back rather than push it forward.

Of course this is a complex issue and I welcome debate and discussion. I also look forward to reading better informed and reasoned takes on the issue.

I also hope you will forgive me the conceit (and perhaps irony) of using a man as a means of introducing and framing this issue.

Scotlands Portillo Moment

In 1997, John Majors Conservatives lost an election. Tony Blair and New Labour swept to a landslide victory and the Tories were completely obliterated in Scotland.

It ushered in New Labour and the age of Champagne Socialism and the Spin Doctor.

But before Noel Gallacher was invited through the door at number ten, before we were told Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction ready to launch in a mere 45 minutes there was another event that came to define the result on mayday 1997.

In the  Enfield Southgate seat Michael Portillo lost to labour.

It came as a shock to many politicians and commentators, and came to symbolise the extent of the Conservatives’ defeat.

Before the result Portillo was unable to answer the question :

“Are we seeing the end of the Conservative Party as a credible force in British politics?”

People still remember that moment and the phrase “were you up for Portillo?” came to represent a night blue turned to red and every Tory seat in Scotland vanished.

Now Scotland has it’s very own “Portillo moment” and it illustrates one of the reasons Scottish Labour find themselves facing a formidable SNP majority.

But it wasn’t Tom McCabe, Frank Macavety, Andy Kerr or Pauline McNeil or any other high profile candidate from the class of ‘99 losing their seat and it illustrates in part why Labour fared so badly in this campaign.

It was the reaction of shocked gasps of incredulity from the BBC Scotland election show panel to the taking of Shettleston that for me will define this election.

It was the moment it looked like something truly historic was happening.

The moment it started to look like the nationalists would win in a system which was set up to foil just such an event.

The SNP didn’t so much slip into Labours West Coast Citadel they stormed it.

The SNP also stormed the Lib Dems mainland strongholds.

All through the night Labour and the lib dems engaged in a back and forth trying to blame each other for their losses .

Labour repeated the mantra that the SNP had won because they had  received the Lib Dems vote and the Libs suggested that the Labour campaign played a hand.

The Lib Dems election devastation is undoubtedly down to their involvement in a coalition with the Tories. Scotand has effectively punished them.

So what of Labour? Why didn’t the centre hold?

I think they have reaped what they have sown. There has been a gradual drain of talent from the Scottish Parliament. No more do they have the Dewars, The McCleishs or even the McConnells. They became the B-team, a reserve team party – the talent went to Westminster and the Scottish electorate felt that labour didn’t care. They felt betrayed and neglected.

Now Scottish Labour have to rebuild and they have to prove to their heartlands they haven’t abandoned them. Scottish labour cannot take the Scottish electorate for granted anymore.

This is an exciting time in Scottish and UK politics.

I look forward to see where the future takes us.