When politicians make you rethink democracy, you know something is seriously wrong

I’m delighted that the House of Lords defeated the government on tax credits last night.

But the fact I am worries me. I’m actually happy that an unelected chamber has defeated an elected government (albeit one elected on a paper-thin majority under an out-dated electoral system).

I grew up firmly believing in a democratically elected second chamber. But the more I experience ‘democracy’ and the short-term thinking that is inherent in elected politics the more I find myself having sympathy for an unelected chamber.

Sure, there are still lots of problems with the basic concept but sometimes – and especially last night – they play a vital role that I’m less sure would happen with politicians who were constantly concerned about their next election or keeping in favour with their party.

I can’t say I’m happy with my thoughts though. Democracy should, in theory, always be preferred.

Huge apologies for quoting Churchill (how much worse can this post get?) but as he said, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.

That I’m leaning towards this view on the House of Lords shows – for me at least – how moribund democracy appears to be.

And that has much wider and more frightening implications than an unelected second chamber.


Engagement ring

One day you’re single, the next day…

Sorry for the radio silence recently.

You might presume I’ve had nothing to write about.

The truth couldn’t be more different.

I posted a while ago about a women I’d met online and who I really wanted to meet in person.

She originally did too, but then ‘postponed’ at the last minute (in the post I’ve just linked to, the date before postponed too!)

We did carry on talking though, and we followed each other on Twitter.

Sometimes I’d email her and we’d chat a bit, but often she’d just send me a random message wishing me a good day etc.

So my hope that she may one day want to meet was kept alive.

Once I’d met her online I basically stopped looking or talking to anyone else. Dating sites became a bore. No one else was interesting.

She just seemed perfect. Even though we hadn’t met.

Then a few weeks ago, out of the blue, early one Sunday morning she asked me if it was “too late or too early” to ask me out on a date that evening.

She’d seen on Twitter the night before that I was watching The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and asked herself why I was sat by myself watching that whilst she was sat at home alone too.

I’m a naturally sarcastic bugger, but I don’t think I dared risk a joke and simply jumped at her invitation.

We met that evening.

After the customary Spanish cheek kiss, the first thing she said to me was how she was very nervous. I was too, and I told her that.

Immediately the ice was broken. No need for either of us to pretend to be ‘cool’ or try to impress.

I’d not been so nervous about a date since my first one after my marriage ended, which was my first real date with a new person in over twenty years.

This time I was nervous because I was so optimistic about meeting her and didn’t want it to go wrong.

Have you ever met someone who you feel you already know?

That’s exactly what it felt like. There was no pressure, no stress, just flowing conversation.

And on the odd time when there was a pause in the conversation we just looked at each other and smiled.

I mentioned previously about her wonderful smile in her photos, but it’s even better in real life.

And she has wonderful eyes too.

Combined, they are wonderful multiplied.

I’d need to invent a new word to describe it properly.

We had a fantastic first date and at the end of the night I told her I’d really enjoyed the night and would love a second date if she would. Thankfully – to my eternal gratitude – she said YES!

We ended up talking on whatsapp for an hour or more when we both got home.

And we talked the next night too.

Our second date was meant to be at the weekend, but instead it was on the Tuesday.

Another great date. And our first kiss.

It was electric.

Then we talked all week.

And I stayed at her apartment over the weekend.

The next week I met her parents – their only, simple, request in order to agree to minding her cat whilst she came to Manchester with me for the weekend.

Thankfully her parents liked me. And I liked them.

And so, in room 305 of the ABode Hotel in Manchester, just under two weeks after we first met, we agreed to get married.

I know… I know…

We both know…

But we also ‘both know’ too. And when you ‘know’, why wait?

I’ve never been happier. And neither has she.

We had to wait a few days to go public until all close family were told. Thankfully everyone is delighted for us.

I was sure her father was going to kill me.

‘Finally’, last night, we went public. Thanks to everyone, from me and Beatriz, for your lovely messages on Facebook and Twitter.

And for those who are still thinking ‘2 weeks?!’, I’m going to post 9th and 13th by Jonathan Coe again below.

Life is simply too short. You have to grab opportunities when you can.

If you let them slip past you’ll only be left with regret – and that’s probably the most pointless of all the emotions.

For anyone still single (or single again) and looking for love, I hope our story shows you that you never know when your life is going to change.

Keep the faith.

Keep looking.

The right person will appear at the right time.

For you.

And for them.