Light at the end of the tunnel and family surprises

Having spent the last couple of weeks stressing about deadlines and keeping my mum’s surprise visit home off various social networking sites, I feel like I can finally relax. I am glad mum surprised us and came back when she did as it really took the edge off what was a bit of a nervous rush with my uni work. Mum being mum managed to calm me down and got me focused. Amazing that at the age of 28 I still need her to do that from time to time!

As with most people my time over Christmas was spent busily trying to catch up with friends and family. The following weeks have been even busier. As we return to work and other commitments and assess the impact our holiday has had on our workloads , it is pretty obvious that the world doesn’t stop for Christmas.

It has been lovely to have mum home and I am looking forward to having both my parents back in the country in May. Fleeting visits make you realise how much you miss people. It is not that difficult for me to get used to the idea of people not being around.  Knowing that you can see someone whenever you want however makes a huge amount of difference to me. Even if you don’t always take up that opportunity. I suppose having your parents around is a sort of comfort blanket you take for granted.

On top of the mad rush to complete work there have been a number of deeply upsetting news stories that have captured my attention. Well before I embarked on my journey to Worcester university to become a journalism graduate, I took pride in keeping myself up to date with current affairs and political stories. I have always found that it important to stay on top of world events because the cynic in me wants to challenge anything that seems unfair. I also don’t want to be left behind when the apocalypse comes!

On top of this I have always found that the government and media feed you what they want to and at times this leads to a great deal of misinformation. I’ve always challenged what some people take as a given and I am aware that it is a part of my personality that some people find deeply irritating. I won’t apologise for it but for those of you who dislike that side of me, you can take solace in the knowledge that I know you don’t like it and frankly don’t give a %*”£!

People can sometimes confuse this for arrogance or smugness but in all honesty nothing can be further from the truth. My opinion is that if someone doesn’t like something about me they are free to either ignore it or tell me. I am happy to tone it down for the sake of a night out or social occasion but deep down I will always be the same. My values won’t change for anyone.

In recent weeks I have found myself entrenched in a moral dilemma. Journalism is a notoriously difficult field to break into. On top of that in order to get your foot in the door you may have to work for an employer or organisation that you might feel deeply offended by. At times I am probably too honest for my own good. It is well known that as a journalist your opinion means nothing and counts for even less when sourcing and publishing copy, or so it may seem.

Nowadays there seem to be more and more opinion columns, especially online. This is an area that seems particularly apt at the moment. The concept of freedom of speech is doing the rounds again after the atrocious attacks in France. Will Self, who is not the most popular commentator makes a good point when suggesting that these attacks do more than physical damage. Generally after events like this it is our civil liberties that come under threat. Secret trials, more powers for government surveillance and changes to the law that generally benefit those in power and decrease the freedom of the general public.

The argument that all of this is fine if you have nothing to hide is what will be shoved down anyones throat who dares to question whether or not this is right or wrong. That for me seems like a bit of a joke when there is such a one sided discussion in the media at the moment with regard to freedom of speech. An argument that is shrouded in and exploited by fear. Freedom of speech for you, you and you but not you because that’s not convenient for what we want to do?  People are understandably nervous at the moment but that doesn’t mean we should allow those we democratically elect to have a field day whilst we have our eyes on something else. People should always be aware that when things like this happen it gives the government the opportunity to bury a bad story. No one will care as there is bigger news elsewhere.

In todays world it seems that if your profile fits you can have freedom of speech without any responsibility. We seem to make ‘celebrities’ of those who shout loudest and provoke the most controversy. One can’t help but think that if Katie Hopkins was of arab descent and wore a headscarf she would be of far more interest to the police. As it stands however she is some form of Twitter demi god for her rants and ramblings. She is given a platform via blogs with an actual following unlike this and her musings even provide copy for the press. Describing Palestinians as ‘filthy rodents’ and advocating bombing of an entire state and its people went completely unpunished. When a Scottish nurse returned from her aid work in Africa with Ebola, Hopkins again exercised her right to freedom of speech calling Scottish people ‘sweaty jocks’ before sticking the knife into the NHS.

I have gone off the beaten track a touch and should probably get back to writing about my week!

Dry January is boring. End of. I haven’t lost the will to live due to lack of alcohol but it is amazing how people in this country fail to socialise without the use of a beer or glass of something. There generally seems to be a reluctance to do anything remotely costly in the first month of the year anyway and that is understandable after the excess of December. On top of this television is appalling, especially without Sky.

I spent my free time on Saturday in Gloucester watching my local rugby team gain a very respectable win even if the Citizen journalist who was there didn’t think so! I say Citizen journalist as in the publication the Gloucester Citizen rather than the loose term given to members of the public providing content online or to media organisations. It was the first time in an age I have really felt the cold and at the end of the match I couldn’t feel my toes!

I don’t usually get so opinionated on this blog so apologies to those who I may have shocked. I just feel like I had something I needed to get off my chest and now it’s done I feel a little better.

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