Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Learning something new

I tend to giggle when I find out that I've lived for years not knowing something pretty basic in life. Today I discovered that duck tape is in fact duct tape. It's obvious really isn't it? After all why would you be taping ducks together, unless you are some sort of weird sicko.

Not that it's going to make any difference. Duck tape it has always been and duck tape it always will be.

I may be wrong, but I don't remember a year when there was so much news. Obviously it's not that 'stuff' has started happening in 2011, it's just that there seems to be a lot of 'big' things going on. The up side is that it gives me a very positive feeling that 'things' are changing, and with so many wrongs, that can only be for the good. On the downside, it means that some news that would otherwise get noticed, quickly passes by and is forgotten long before it should be. Henry Cooper passed away this weekend. Some of us remember him more for Brut 33 than for his boxing, but there was always a feeling that he was a true Brit hero...ever the underdog; never quite making it, but plucky, determined and 'nice'.

Last week I wrote a piece on superinjunctions, but didn't get a moment to post it...I may have missed my moment, so it'll stay there in the drafts gathering literary cobwebs. But do have a look on Twitter under the #superinjunction hash tag and see which names pop up.

I only remember waking up once before feeling the world had changed. That was when Tony Blair was elected. It was a sunny, warm day, the sky was blue with white clouds and the air tasted different. There was a feeling of hope, a positive buzz in the air....and things would be different.

And so it was on again this weekend. I came downstairs early after a restless night, switching on the computer as the newspaper hadn't yet been delivered. I almost couldn't believe my eyes at the news of Osama Bin Laden's death. Outside, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and when I opened the conservatory door, the air tasted different. I am sure that with the death of Bin Laden the world has changed.

There's so much chat about this, that I doubt I can add much if anything to what's been said already. So for my own sake as much as anyone else's, here's what I think. As a symbolic leader, his passing will take some of the wind out of the sails of the extremists...although I, like pretty much everyone else, expect there to be some fall out in the short term. Blood will be spilt. Should the Americans be celebrating, should we all be celebrating? Many are pointing out that it's wrong to celebrate the death of a human being. But a celebration, particularly by Americans is inevitable given the enormous impact on their psyche that 9/11 had. Equally, I hope we are in fact celebrating one less piece of evil in the world rather than an individual. And this was a battle victory...something that humans have celebrated since time began. Should he have been buried at sea? Yes absolutely it was necessary to stop there ever being a shrine. And it had to be done quickly before any debate developed to muddy the waters.

For me, though, the real question is, what does this mean for The Cat, The Boy and us as a family. Of course, only time will tell, but if this particular victory gives the West the confidence, the courage and the conviction to engage with the Muslim world in a more positive way, then we will benefit as extremism will be talked out of existence. Already, the Arab Spring is undermining the despotic rulers whose existence and our support of them helped feed the extremists in the first place. It's a smaller step than the Americans might think, but it is certainly a step towards a safer future. Let's hope the opportunity is seized with both hands.

The wind of change is blowing, let's hope it's for the good.

And talking of change, please vote FOR may not be the best system, but it's certainly much better than the one we've got at the moment.