Are online petitions a good thing?


I took a look at the online petitions that people are signing up to, Bernie. You know, about Trump coming or not coming to the UK. Seems too easy to me. Getting government to debate an issue is just a hundred thousand barking clicks away. It’s just more facebook twitter generation stuff, hardly a result of serious thought and debate, surely. For me, we have a representative democracy. We elect MPs to think stuff out for us cos we’re too busy living life , raising kids, doing a job and following the football. Online petitions seem too trivial. You know, do you like marmite? Decide in a second and click. What do you think?

Strangely, Mike, I’ve been looking at the petitions online too. You won’t like this, Mike. There’s over two thousand petitions you can sign up to in an instant. Great fun! People’s democracy, no thought needed. So I signed up to loads.

I don’t think we agree on this one, Bernie! What the bleep have you signed up to in your clicking frenzy? 

Thought you might ask. I’ve got a little list.

OK Gilbert, or is it Sullivan, give me some examples.

Huh? Well, I quite liked these five.
1. Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the UK.
2. Donald Trump should make a State Visit to the UK.
3. Give status to police dogs as ‘Police Officers’.
4. Ban all non-recyclable packaging.
5. Protect grouse moors.

Mmm, bit of logic missing regarding Trump. And interesting about the grouse moors. I don’t think either of us has ever been on one. And no more plastic bags for you then. But regarding the police dogs, I definitely agree, even though it’s obviously the most barking petition!

Note: All petitions above are genuine. The UK – a true democracy!!

Pen y Ghent (memoir)

When I was ten years old I had three or four A4 sized quiz books that I particularly enjoyed. Each had twenty or so pages on which there were twenty questions on history, geography, science, famous people, books, etc. I tried very hard to learn all the answers and, to this day, retain an inordinate number of trivial but often interesting facts in my head, for no good reason.

In one book, on one page, there were questions on geography, including, at the bottom, ink pen sketches of three mountains. One was Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 29000 feet. Another had a strange but distinctive shape that fascinated me. It was named on the answers page as Pen y Ghent, a most peculiar name indeed. I grew up knowing that Pen y Ghent was ‘merely’ a hill in Yorkshire, approximately 2300 feet in height, one of the famous Three Peaks. I vowed that I would climb it one day.

This Christmas my daughter gave me a magnificent present, a weekend away in the Yorkshire Dales. And so, fifty years after my Mum buying me that quiz book, and two days ago, I finally climbed Pen y Ghent in glorious winter sunshine with marvellous views. What a fabulous place!

For England

I stand upon the hilltop
And stare across this land
A mongrel bred democracy
Held within my hand

This realm it brings me certainty
Identity and faith
History modernity
That nothing can replace

Just like its farmland landscape
Its people weathered too
Toughened by past battles
But readied for the new

Have no doubts my brother
Say what you might say
I trust in ancient wisdoms
Deep hidden in the clay





Speck Of Dust

Gaze up at the mountain
It is granite grey
Not snow topped in optimism
It is history itself

Millions of skeletons descend from its summit
A pyroclastic flow of shattered bones beliefs and ambitions
Accelerating beyond our comprehension
Unrestricted by the stuttering stammering progress of mankind

Why do we stand apart
Glaring at each other from the four corners of the globe
Prepared to fight and die
On a speck of dust in an expanding universe



About Shortstorynorth So Far

I would like to write bits and pieces and see where it takes me. And see what others think. A scary thought really. Is a writer in control or does the blank page dictate what appears next? Let us see.

(June 2013)

Having tried to write for the past nine months perhaps I understand a little more.
I started to write a book but was defeated by its complexity and its lack of dynamic.
I wrote short stories that gave me some satisfaction in their completeness and shall persist when ideas come to me.
And, to my surprise, I felt compelled to try to write poetry.
The poems, be they good, bad or indifferent, often disturb me with their darkness but I shall continue to try, even though I find their writing overly intense.

(March 2014)

I have continued to write poems, reflecting what I do and think about, but also influenced by the news we are bombarded with every day. Media moves from crisis to crisis and horrors disappear from our view when its attention span takes it elsewhere. How well informed are we?

Below is a recent poem, with its original title. Its context, I hope, is obvious. I listen to politicians. BUT….if you live in a democracy….

Legality without morality is not acceptable!

Judgement of Solo Man

On the first day
One of my enemy was standing at the cliff edge
In his left hand he held a small child
In his right hand he held a gun pointing at me about to shoot
I shot my enemy
Both fell to their deaths

On the second day
Two of my enemy were standing at the cliff edge
In their left hands they each held a small child
In their right they held a gun
I shot them both
Enemy and children fell to their deaths

On the third day, fourth day, fifth and sixth days….

On the seventh day
I feared for my soul
I lowered my gun
The children played in the streets

(August 2014)

I am feeling tired and shall take stock a while.

(March 2015)

And then the UK election campaign arrived and I became irritated and started blogging again.

(April 2015)

Well, just over three years of blogging now. About a dozen short stories that I’ve very much enjoyed writing, but only when an idea comes along, and some comedic satirical stuff based around alter egos Mike and Bernie down the pub. Meanwhile, I’ve continued in my attempts to write poetry, compelled by contemporary events or by my own experiences, or thoughts on life, love, death and God. Enjoyable but disturbing. And recently I’ve tried to identify my ‘favourite’ 40 poems, those that I think better of, with a view to perhaps e-publishing. In truth, though, all this writing has been mainly, selfishly, for myself, perhaps to understand me a little better after all these years.

(September 2016)