Advice about Rules I was clearing out some files last weekend and came across a document which summarized a team building exercise from Chicago in 1999, which had gathered views of colleagues about the characteristics of others. My report contained this remark from a colleague ‘Nick does not concern himself too much with Rules’. I tend towards a common sense approach to life and ask for forgiveness rather than permission if something needs to happen. This got me thinking about Rules in the modern world. We have rules on an industrial scale. I am governed by five levels of rule makers: Brussels, Westminster, Holyrood, Stirling Council and a Community Council, who all have some level of authority over my life, as well as the supreme leader at home. It feels like over-management to me. I am quite sure John Noakes of Blue Peter fame would not have been allowed to climb Nelson’s Column in the world of today. One of the five levels of authority would have banned it. When you walk on the Laigh Hills here in Dunblane there is a notice of Welcome with a list of about 20 things you should not do appended (eat pies in the park, walk the dog etc., that sort of thing I don’t recall the details). Some of these rules are common sense although noone in authority wants to take the risk of people using their common sense anymore. I lived for a while in Colombia where Rules were viewed as a challenge. Little attention was given to rules. For instance one way street signs were considered advisory. It made people very careful even when travelling in the right direction. There is a great political philosophy called anarchism; unfortunately some anarchists have given it a bad name and political parties have exploited the biased view of anarchism to provide a rationale for powerful authority. Essentially anarchism is a philosophy based on individual respect and freedom from unnecessary authority. It has many useful tenets. It would be good to have a responsible anarchism movement to support, although their very philosophy makes becoming organized, quite difficult. So tonight my advice is this. Stay well within the law, and at the same time develop a healthy skepticism around the number of rule-makers and rules managing our lives.
Advice: Types of closing remarks Tonight I am going to give some advice regarding closing remarks. George might find it useful for next season! However firstly can I remind people about advice. Theresa May should know this now. Advisors give advice; you make decisions based on that advice or not. Shooting the advisor may be satisfying but it overlooks personal responsibility. Here are some closing remark genres to consider. This day 100 years ago…. This is a useful technique which can be looked up easily on the web. It is great if something interesting happened. e.g. 100 years ago today Ann Boleyn was executed at the Tower and Henry 8 th had a big party in the palace. If that happened it might gain a millisecond of attention from the audience. However a week later it might be The Queen took her corgis for a walk in the rain. Only the most ardent royalist would find that interesting. Another topic is Immortal Words There is plenty of scope here to choose some favourites. However, there is a risk that most of the audience may not share your interests. Here is one I like from Su Tsu on the Art of War (500BCE): ´All war is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away, when far away, we must make him believe we are near.’ Anyone find that interesting? Jokes are a difficult genre. For a start people might not get it and if you have to explain it is is definitely not funny. Secondly good humour generally has an edge to it so you have a high chance of offending someone on such matters as sex, race or religion. If you go for this line be wary. That is why I have always stayed in the serious tram line for my closing remarks and avoided humour. Here is an example of humour. ‘If the yellow spotted toad is so rare then why is it found on every building site in the land’ (from Digby Jones) Possibly it is offensive to Green Party supporters and funny to house renovators. Who found it funny? Area of personal Interest This could be a theme for George. He could go through the year giving a gardener’s tip of the week. Not only will gardeners find it useful a lot of members have gardens so may stay awake. Also, he could use the opportunity to market Mo Lawn products. e.g. In late February something like this could be offered. ‘We have had some warm days this week and lots of little slugs are coming out of hibernation. Don’t forget to scatter liberal amounts of Montezumas’ slug pellets amongst your hosters to avoid them becoming a salad feast for the hungry little beasties’.