Leo was right.

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:16 pm by rachel

There are two things in the world you never want people to see how you make them – laws and sausages. Leo McGarry, West Wing

Fed up am I.

Ok. I’ve been writing a bill for an MP for the last few weeks… scrub that. I wrote a bill a couple of weeks ago and have been lobbying other like minded folks for support since then. And today one of the groups got back to me, with that beautiful Word-enabled feature, track changes all over my bill. Fundamentally changing my lovely piece of legislation.

I have a meeting with the MP in question first thing tomorrow, and anyone in my work who might know about such legislative niceties has gone home for the night.

On the one hand – annoyance. This is my bill, no one else has permission to add in whatever they didn’t get for Christmas just because they think it’s a good opportunity to do so.

On the other hand – fear. Insecurity. Perhaps they are right with the changes that they want to make.

Fed up am I.

Drinking wine am I.

Defeated am I.


whether or not this is “worthwhile’, but…

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:43 pm by rachel

Some thoughts on blogging, and a little bit (honestly, just a little) about what’s currently pissing me off.

Writing down my day to day thoughts and happenings has never really come naturally. I used to start off each year with a diary that lasted roughly one week, to be summarily abandonned. But a diary has the advantage of being private. Bearing my soul for all to see doesn’t immediately appeal; secondly, I’m not sure who would be interested. However, I shouldn’t give you the impression that I’m too modest or shy to step outside, or even type some personal thoughts occasionally – I have blogged before: prolifically so. My previous blog, I freely admit, was smug pontification, a collection of op-eds where I held forth on what was wrong with the world, and how it would all be so much better if people would just listen to me, goddamnit. Tragically, I was blogging on a right wing American website, and no one wanted to listen to me. After about a year of being abused by Americans for being a terrorist-loving Commie, I decided to quit. I’m a terrorist-loving Commie quitter.

That’s what I should call my new blog! Actually, maybe not. Big Brother and all that.

I can’t promise that this new one is going to be any different from my tried and tested, complaining about the world, self-righteous op-ed formula. I do enjoy writing, so perhaps writing down what is going on with me at the moment – the quintessential dilemma facing many people my age, to wit: what should I do when I grow up? – may help resolve things in my mind and compel me to be bold and reach, a la S Club 7, for the stars.

To properly introduce this quandary and appropriately set the scene, to quote Salinger,

all that David Copperfield kind of crap

(as all good writers must do – I could be all arty and jump about with the timeline, but I fear you, good reader, might lose interest), I’ve been working in and around politics for 5 ish years. I spent 4 years at university, essentially doing a joint degree in politics and alcohol; then 2 years working for a political party in Northern Ireland, where I became increasingly disillusioned with politics and politicians. Redundant and hungry for a society that wasn’t quite so sectarian, I moved to London at the beginning of 2004 and got a series of temporary jobs, which allowed me to blog in peace and read the BBC website at my leisure. Then I got my current position, a good 19 months ago.

So happy was I. Here I was in an organisation that I respected, doing a job I’d wanted to do since arriving in London, and happily found that it interested and inspired me. I had wonderful colleagues and my days flew by without me willing the clock to move that little bit faster. I regaled strangers in bars about my amazing job, neither conscious nor caring as their eyes glazed over. Recently it’s been much less fun. Recently, in fact, I’ve been questioning the point of getting out of bed to go to work.

When did the sheen wear off? I have some theories.

Firstly, when I hit my anniversary. The life of a Parliamentary Officer, while awfully glamorous and exciting, is also as cyclical as the Tour de France. Each year, it’s the same thing again and again. Oh yes, there may be variations and new things to work towards, but essentially, it’s the same old Recess, Conference season, Queen’s Speech, Recess, sucking up to backbenchers, Recess, trying to be more interesting and exciting than all the other people in our field, Recess. Repeat. What was challenging during the first year was dull in the second, and all the more boring because I was still full of vim and vigour for the issues – still am. But such is the malaise at work that I hope not to be here in June 2007 when the Tour kicks off again. Metaphorically, of course. Figuratively, I have big plans for when the Tour actually does kick off in my fair city.

So there is the repetition factor, which although noticeable, wasn’t the killer it could have been because I was otherwise engaged with a second job at the time of my anniversary. My manager had left, on to bigger and better pastures. I had five months of no manager and was generally left to my own devices and have felt a bit bereft. There was the odd perk – I got opportunities that would not have been extended had my manager stayed – but any advantage was only ever temporary, and this was made clear. Now that I have a new manager, I’m feeling even less useful, even though – as I mentioned before – if only people would listen to me, da da da da dah. It’s hard to say, and I’m sorry for the meananderings. My issue is probably that I have ideas about stuff, now, but because of the hierarchy in work I might as well be talking to the wall. There is a slight personality clash with my new manager as well, which doesn’t help matters.

But were I in more of a position of influence, in a more fulfilling and challenging job, is my third and, I promise, final gripe: would it matter? It could be Burly’s influence, but any idealism that I used to feel is slowly giving way to cynicism. Actually, I shouldn’t lay the blame on Burly, as cynical as he is. Step forward, Tony Blair. On top of, nay, because of everything you’ve done, you’ve made me cynical. Not the worst charge that’s ever been laid at his door, but as he’s keen to promote citizenship, I think it’s a valid enough complaint. All the lobbying in the world can’t influence a corrupt and self-obsessed government, determined to force through legislation based on dogma rather than debate. If logic and argument were the instruments of change, my job would no longer be necessary, it would all have been sorted years ago.

So work is repetitive, in a nutshell, and I don’t feel challenged or appreciated; I also don’t know whether it makes a difference. Can you hear the violins? I should also mention that about 20% of our staff have left since June, either through redundancy or voluntarily, and morale is terrible. So I’m going to look for something else, something more fulfilling and try to reclaim my idealism and stop boring my rapidly decreasing readership with such ‘me, me, me’ entries.

This is all a bit too shallow and self-obsessed, methinks. I will write something on Darfur shortly.


work in progress

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:23 am by rachel


will think of something worthwhile soon.