Personal update

We’re back!

This site hasn’t been updated for a while. Here’s a short explanation of why, and some good news.

In April 2017 I moved to Belgium to start working again with Operation Mobilisation, an international Christian NGO.

However, this coincided with a technical glitch on this site, which meant that it was almost impossible to update. Being back in Belgium has been very intensive—getting back into Flemish and French, working with an exciting team and many partners—and this has put the site on the backburner.

The good news is, the technical issue is now finally resolved (it was a caching loop, if you’re interested), and it will now be possible to post more regular updates.

In the meantime, thank you, everyone, who has continued to recommend this site. The vast bulk of the content does not age. There may be some pruning going on with older content related to past campaigns.

If you are looking for some more personal information, I’m still a member of the Liberal Democrats in the UK, but am not actively involved in politics.

The Skifter now in paperback

The Skifter now in paperback

The SkifterMy children’s / YA novel The Skifter is now available in paperback on Amazon, as well as Kindle.

“The beast came crunching down in the snow, writhing as it skidded. It stopped two feet short of where he stood waving his bag. The huge teeth were fixed in a snarl. But it was the snarl of death. A long knife, the size of a meat cleaver, trailed from its neck.”

The snow that began on December the sixth brought Birmingham to a halt and sent Scott Raynall out of school early. But deep snow brings out dark things, opening doors into the past and drawing malice, ruin and revenge into the present.

As he learns to skift through England’s darkest years, Scott is caught in an adventure which mingles magic, myth and swordplay, until he must finally confront an enchantress who threatens to unmake time for ever.

For fans of time travel, King Arthur, swordplay, and the middle ages. 11 to adult.

As a bit of background, the Skifter has been on Smashwords for about five years, a brave experiment into the new world of digital publishing. However, it wasn’t until I’d done the work to get it there that I discovered that the US tax office takes an enormous percentage of earnings, and Smashwords doesn’t actually send you any money until there’s quite a hefty royalty in your account.

As a result, the Skifter has languished, unmarketed by me, and largely undiscovered by readers.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I received this by email:

Hello!

My children are fans of your wonderful book, Skifter. We were wondering if there are any hard copies and if so if we could purchase a copy.
Regards
[name supplied]

I could not resist.

The book has gone through a serious re-edit, one map and one plan of the castle have been added, the cover has been redesigned, and the punctuation revised.

If you are desperate to read it but cannot find the requisite currency, please drop me an email at [email protected], and I will see if I can get a PDF to you.

Skifter-banner

The Skifter coming to paperback in September

The Skifter coming to paperback in September

Cover image from The Skifter

The Skifter — a children’s novel for grown-ups

There’s been a bit of interest in ‘The Skifter’ (children’s novel) over the last few days, and one kind person emailed me to ask if it was available in paperback. Well, thanks to the kind folks at Amazon, it will be shortly.  Further updates soon.

What if time were like a roll of silk, if the adventurous could slip from layer to layer, and if this were something not new, but as old as King Arthur? When snow falls thick on Birmingham, Scott Raynall is caught in an adventure which mingles magic, myth and sword play. Ghosts, giants, highwaymen, and the steady crunch crunch of horse hooves on the frozen land.

Standing for Dudley South

This year, I am standing in Dudley South for the Liberal Democrats at the General Election. I have three reasons for doing this.

First, it is absolutely essential for democracy to survive and to thrive that people put themselves forward for election. I’ve too often heard people say — in different parts of the country, and with different parties as ‘x’ — “there’s no point voting here, the x-party always gets in” or “there’s no point standing here — you could put a blue/red/yellow rosette on a donkey here and they would still win”. The truth is, no-one knows the outcome until the election is fought, but without candidates, there is no democracy at all.

Second, I believe every voter should be able to choose the party that they most support. There is a solid under-current of Liberal Democrats in almost every seat in England, Scotland and Wales. Every one of them should have a Liberal Democrat candidate they can vote for.

Third, and most importantly, I believe that what most voters fundamentally want is what the Liberal Democrats offer — even if many voters are not aware of this. The parties of left and right talk about stark choices, they paint pictures of how Britain will collapse into compassionless capitalism or chaotic socialism if the other party gets in, and they position themselves as the radical champions of their cause. What voters actually want — and what the country genuinely needs — is the reasonable party of the centre ground. Swinging from left to right or right to left is almost certainly nowhere near as dangerous as those parties make out, but Britain is nonetheless in a far better position sticking with the middle ground.

Liberal Democrats will cut less than the Tories, and borrow less than Labour. We have proven ourselves in government. We have learned how to make tough choices, and also, in a time of tough choices, how to continue to protect the most vulnerable, give help where it is needed, reduce taxes for the many not the few, and invest in a fairer society, a stronger economy, and opportunities for everyone.

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