It is fair to say that the political animal within me has awakened recently. The Brexit vote was, for me, the best news I could hear. However those who didn’t agree were having none of it. The rules were clear, it was once in a life time and every vote counted. Yet it seemed they, like a child in a sports day race complaining that they weren’t ready, said that the vote should be done again in order to get the ‘Correct result’. The Leavers or Brexiteers as we became known were under attack, our intelligence questioned, our motives ridiculed. We were racist.
Scotland felt that they had suddenly stopped being in the UK and should be exempt from the UK decision. The First Minister of the Scots used it as a platform to threaten a second independence referendum despite getting a heavy beating in the ‘Once in a lifetime’ vote of 2014.
All these groups suddenly started saying the referendum was only advisory, that it needed a vote in Parliament (Which would likely be a vote to remain!) and that the Brexiteers were almost neo Nazis. Dummies were spat out on both sides. Government leaders were bought down and new ones took their place. The UK labour party declared war on it’s leader who was popular with grass roots but not the Parliamentary party.
Things calmed down politically and Brexit became an accepted fact, though a hard Brexit or Soft Brexit is now the dividing line. Then began the attacks in Europe. Immigration was a big issue for Brexit and many of these attacks seemed to highlight the failure of accepting Refugees and immigrants without question. In many countries Nationalism, and I use the word advisedly, is on the rise. Nationalism is NOT racism. Many countries accept behaviour which would be completely unacceptable in the civilised nations of Europe. The incidents in Turkey prove this. They are not ready for democracy yet they are being courted by the EU. You cannot graft inhabitants of countries still living with 7th Century values into the 21st and expect them to respect democratic values and behaviour. Multi-culturalism does not work.
For all these reasons I spent the best part of the last month channeling my inner keyboard warrior. Mostly I abandoned the fairly sane world of Facebook for the darker and faster moving world of Twitter. I was forming liaisons with the like minded and swapping barbed comments with the opposition. Eventually, of course, it all began to slow down. It was a rollercoaster for a while. It was literally defending democracy against those who refused to accept the referendum vote and wished to ignore it. Then it was establishing the fact that I was not Racist just because I was a nationalist. Still it ended and other subjects began to take over and I realised that I was spending about 4-5 hours a day seated on my sofa playing with a phone.
In the midst of all this my wife began to tackle the weight issue. We both enjoy the good life. Neither of us drank but we smoked and ate and ate and ate. The smoking went years ago but the food issue remained. I was very skinny in my younger days……
Compare and contrast……
So I decided to join her, not in a faddy diet but sensible eating. I took infrequent walks and knew the local area well before but the realisation that I was seated for hours on end was a bit of a wake up call. Cutting down on food was not enough. I began walking further AND every day. At first 3/4 of a mile was too much for me but I am extending my range. I can usually manage one and a half miles in a session and have pushed myself to go further. I have a pair of binoculars so, in combination with my new lense in my right eye, it mean there is little I miss. I am rediscovering areas I used to walk as a teenager and will attempt one day to walk from my village to the town (About 2.5 miles) and back.
The town I live in is in the midst of beautiful country lanes with farms and Churches dotted around. It offers stunning views being hilly and has everything from Medieval and Tudor to Georgian to modern buildings. I save money by walking to the local supermarket rather than the village shop (expensive to say the least.) If I succeed in walking to town and back that is £2.70 saved. Once I have achieved a goal it becomes easier to do next time. Given my health issues I know not to push myself too fast and I am sensible enough to know that I will never achieve the slim figure of my youth but I had so missed the quiet country lanes, the discovery of a quiet churchyard and the slow paced amble past hedgerows on a summer day.
Indulging in politics is all very well; indeed it is our duty to watch our leaders. I still have time for my games and tech but if, like me, you live a sedentary lifestyle or you find exercise difficult just eat more sensibly take a slow half hour walk as often as possible and just start wondering what might be over that next hill. Many are commenting favourably on the change after a few weeks. You can’t get that on Twitter or Facebook.