They say an individual’s personality is determined by a combination nature and nurture. Tom Beetham blows that theory out of the water as he’s smart, sharp and a thoroughly nice fellow to boot. For a slightly younger and more intelligent take on the same kinda stuff, do have a nosey at his musings and you’ll be able to sleep more soundly in the knowledge that, contrary to what The Daily Mail would have us all believe, we’re not off to hell in a hand-cart just yet.

new year. same me.

New year, new me. Turning over a new leaf. Out with the old, in with the new. As a society and maybe as a species, we seem obsessed with change. Forever seeking to hone the self, to shed our perceived negative traits like snakeskin, whilst seamlessly replacing them with aspirational qualities – the way we would like to be as opposed to that mediocre, uninspiring image we often see in the mirror.

remember, remember, the thirty days of Movember

Can men talk about their feelings? Definitely. Some of them. Sometimes. Perhaps. Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “yep, most of the ones I know.” However, dependent upon geography and generation, it might not ring quite as true. And I guess that highlights the crux of the issue.

on your lonesome

Travelling alone truly is reflection for the soul. Your senses appear heightened as the use of your voice declines. And whilst the world scurries around you, the highlights and pitfalls of society are amplified by your solitude.

oh! what a lovely war

Politicians of all persuasion have spent the last month ramping up the rhetoric on our ‘war’ with COVID-19. If you haven’t been party to it, were you on the ‘frontline’ with our ‘brave health working heroes’, doing your bit ‘for queen and country’, or were you simply ‘stockpiling’ roll and rice for the sunny day when we can all ‘meet again’?

Releasing terrorists is the price we must pay

Following a silence of several years our resident millennial, wee Tom, has hit his stride with two-posts-in-a-month and here he asks if the automatic release of convicted terrorists, albeit under licence and with strict controls on freedoms and behaviours, is in danger of setting a worrying precedent.

i have a dream

When big upsets come, politicians of all stripes are getting caught out. Numerous political hot potatoes have been fumbled as they scratch their collective heads and try their best to apply cost/benefit-style rationale to the voters in question. As Michael Gove now famously declared in 2016, the voters behind these turbulent times have ‘had enough of experts’.

atop the moral pyre

Teaching history, a question I hear over and over again is: why does it matter? Why study the past when the present and future is what impacts me? Equally common is the tired response, that has been thrown into every personal statement to study the subject at university for time immemorial: that we need the lessons of the past to inform us of our imminent future. I assume it should read “that we need the lessons…] and to avoid all those mistakes our inferior ancestors fell headlong into. And so it goes on, weak points circling like a drunkard chasing his own thoughts.

now boarding

I once read an article by someone professing to love nothing more than a good airport. For the author, it was an oasis of calm where he could finally ‘clear out his inbox’; dealing with those emails long avoided, and reading that book that was thus far untouched. For one, I’m not sure the feeling is mutual. Airports seem to me to have a similar atmosphere to a US embassy in Moscow circa 1962 – an oasis in the sense that it acts as a bubble to the outside world. Calming? No. And representative? Certainly not.

is it labour’s democratic responsibility to split?

It increasingly seems like the world is a conflict zone. The Middle East is busy tearing itself apart, while NATO and Russia frantically add lighter fuel to the flames; ISIS run seemingly unchecked around Western capital cities; and in the labyrinths of Westminster, the Labour Party continues to dunk a toaster in its bathwater.

can corbyn withstand the charge of the right brigade?

Jeremy is making the headlines. Not Clarkson with his brutish masculinity and off-hand humour, nor is it Kyle, preaching in his church of self-righteousness and working class inadequacy, but Jeremy Corbyn – clad in beige and sporting a scruffy beard. In recent days he has provoked a frenzy of coverage around his bid for leadership. As polls surge, his own party have clamoured to discredit both Corbyn and all the disaffected loonies in the general public that support him.