Monday, 23 January 2012

A statement : The Barnet Eye and Barnet Council

On the 8th November 2011, I was told that I have prostate cancer. In the intervening weeks, I have done a huge amount of soul searching and taken a long hard look at my life and the things I spend my time doing. Writing a blog about Barnet Council takes an inordinate amount of time and creates a massive amount of stress in my life. There are many things I could do which would bring me far more pleasure and many subjects I feel I could write about, where possibly I could make far more difference to peoples lives. Barnet currently has four other bloggers who are more than capable of doing what I set out to do on my own in 2008. That is to cover the activities of the council in a way that the local press seems to not be interested in doing. I've spent a fair amount of time researching the issues, causes and treatment of cancer and I feel that there may be people who would benefit if I shared this knowledge. I also feel it is important to make the case for dyslexics and to try and dispel many of the misunderstandings and myths associated with the condition. Then there are all of the other issues I enjoy, local history, interesting things to do in Barnet, and non council related issues affecting Barnet residents such as the Thameslink service. I felt the time had come to move on. I also felt that the way forward for this blog was through more guest blogs, using the readership I've built up to give a platform for other local campaigners and activists such as Linda Edwards and Julia Hines. Their work deserves the widest possible audience.

I have one thing to say to anyone at Barnet Council who may be reading this. Thank you (in a Cee Lo Green sort of way). Your actions have made me realise that I've been getting lazy, complacent and have managed to shove my head up my own arse in relation to Barnet. Barnet Council needs as many active bloggers as possible at the moment, digging as deeply as they possibly can. Whilst in a perfect world,  I would love to do all of the things I stated above, I don't live in a perfect world. I live under the jurisdiction of Barnet Council. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. I rather suspect that when I do the round up of 2012, I will see this whole sorry saga as a huge own goal by Barnet. In other words, any major change of emphasis of this blog will just have to wait (although the guest bloggers are more welcome than ever).

There are many things I would like to say today, but it is very necessary to keep my powder dry. I can just advise one thing. Nothing I write on this blog, in relation to Barnet Council is done lightly. I have a large and informal circle of people who have advised, helped and steered me in the right direction from day 1. They are from the right, left and centre of political spectrum. They encompass a whole range of skills, talents and professions. When this blog is attacked, they are also attacked. What is heartening is that this is the message they have been at pains to make sure I understand and appreciate.

A few people have told me they are worried about me, especially following a few comments on the cancer blogs I've written recently. Please don't be. I couldn't feel fitter or more healthy than I do right now. I just perhaps share my darker thoughts a bit too much with you. Let me explain why.

In 1985, I co wrote a song. The chorus went like this

if you don't try,
if you don't try,
if you don't try,
You might as well be dead.

I have sung this song to myself ever since, whenever I've needed to motivate myself, be it to run for a bus, to drag myself out in the rain to a meeting, to get out of bed and go to work, when I've felt like dying (and I mean this mostly in relation to hangovers). It has seen me through good times and bad and helped me meet many challenges. I may be wrong, I may be deluded, but I truly wonder what certain people sing to themselves for motivation? 

On Saturday morning I had an MRI at Barnet General. I'd been stressing on it all week. On Sunday morning, I had to take a washing machine to the flat of a friend who is suffering from a far more serious cancer than I have. I have been dreading seeing him. He is one of my best friends, but I was scared to see a window into my own future. Wheras I'll probably die of something else, he's been given a prognosis of 6-12 months. He's 45 years old. When I saw him, it was great. He has the right attitude to life. It isn't money, possessions or power which matter and make us happy. It is knowing we have people who love us. Nothing else matters at all, but you only find out when you are stripped to the bare bones of your existence.

That is why I'm truly afraid of nothing apart from seeing the people I love suffer.
Many apologies for the self indulgent tone of the second section of this post. I just really don't want anyone who cares about me to worry. If I wasn't feeling strong, I wouldn't write any of this

1 comment:

Mrs Angry said...

Good man: keep up the good work - your borough needs you. You couldn't jack it in anyway as the Famous Five would have to change their name, and be something silly like, oh I don't know ... and I'm not going to speculate. Onward, and upward.