I’ve missed the boat. As I sit down to write this post, the fourth day of 2016 is already drawing to a close.
If I were a better blogger/person, I would have already have written my 2015 round-up and published it in the sweet spot between Christmas and New Year when there’s a flurry of such posts.
Instead, I was caught up in a flurry of holiday hosting and socialising which has only just come to an end. As John Lennon might have said, life is what happens when you’re not busy making other plans.
While I was experiencing 2015, it often felt like the lows were getting the better of the highs but looking back I can see there were a few ‘champagne moments’ along the way. So, without further ado, here’s a brief round-up of the key events from possibly the most eventful year in my life.
- Going freelance as a digital communications specialist and working with the lovely team at Helpful Technology to deliver their digital confidence and skills programme across Whitehall.
- Launching Open Rights Group Birmingham and working with passionate and principled people to protect and promote human rights in the digital age and oppose the Government’s controversial Investigatory Powers Bill.
- Getting involved with my local Labour Party in Bournville, helping my local MP Steve McCabe more than double his majority at the General Election in May and creating the Cats of the Campaign Trail blog.
- Photographing Birmingham Beer Bash for the third year in a row and having my photograph of Dismaland picked up by media outlets both here in the UK and abroad.
- Getting some much-needed good news towards the ends of the year about health issues which have affected my family throughout 2015.
- Being made redundant from my role as Communications Manager for ARK Kings Academy in Birmingham, due to a funding shortfall.
- Worries over family health issues, which thankfully improved as 2015 drew to a close.
- The stomach-churning feeling so many of us got at 10.01 pm on 7 May, when the exit polls announced the Conservatives would get the seats they needed to form a government and I would have to retire my Hell Yeah, I’m Voting Labour T-shirt.
- Watching Labour’s Andy Burnham put up virtually no opposition to the Government’s proposed Investigatory Powers Bill, even when Amnesty International (along with many other respected individuals and groups) have said the bill would effectively legalise mass surveillance put the UK government’s compliance with international law in disarray.
- Watching David Cameron use the fear, uncertainty and anger generated by the awful Paris attacks to secure parliamentary approval for bombing Syria and stooping to a new personal low by labelling opponents of bombing ‘terrorist sympathisers‘.