Hi all, long time no speak! Life has taken a series of very weird turns over the last few years, and sadly the situation I'm left in is one where it is very unlikely I will ever be able to practice martial arts again, at least not at the level I spent decades working towards. This isn't a cry for sympathy by any means. I am getting used to this new paradigm, and am trying to make the most of it. I have returned to work as a financial planner, I have rediscovered my love of photography and public speaking, and I have - bizarrely - wandered into the world of politics. Some of you will already have a good feel for how I tend to view the world. Those that don't might be curious as to what I stand for, and I guess the summary is "socialism for essentials, capitalism for luxuries, with personal liberty protected as long as everyone's background is respected". I have watched with horror as UK politics have lurched more to the right-wing authoritarian stance, and I am frankly disgusted at the behaviour of some of our elected representatives in the last few years. I genuinely believe that accountability is essential, and that the current system is set up in such a way that this is almost impossible (just look at the number of disgraced MPs that are mooted to be shifted to a "safe" seat for the next General Election, whenever that might be). One major turning point for me was Brexit. I am a committed Europhile, and even hold dual-nationality in Ireland, so I could just sit back and say "I'm alright, Jack". But that's not me. I'm a fighter, even if I can't physically fight any more. And I still want to stand up against injustices where I see them, but have shifted my focus enormously as a consequence of not being able to teach self defence any more. I watched a lot of damage being done to our international standing, our economy and our citizens as a result of the lies spread by the various Leave proponents. Eventually I concluded that the only way to fix the damage done would be to get a pro-EU party into power. Unfortunately, the currently government is rabidly anti-EU, and the largest opposition party has decided to try to make Brexit work, ruling out rejoining the Customs Union and Single Market despite the damage that has been caused to our country by not being in those markets. As such, I went through a "someone should do something" phase for a while, but quickly realised that - unless I was willing to put my money where my mouth is - I couldn't realistically expect others to do it for me. That's why I'm now standing for Parliament. i chose to align myself with the Liberal Democrats for three main reasons: They/we are pro-EU. They/we support a reform to the electoral system to make power proportional to votes. They/we acknowledge that the current tax system is broken to the point where it become,s almost optional for the wealthiest in society. There are obviously other similarities between what the Liberal Democrat manifesto says and what I personally believe. Importantly, what I have seen so far leads me to believe that these differences will result in genuine discussion, analysis and thought from a party that genuinely changes its mind on issues when evidence changes. If you'd like to follow or support my efforts, I have a blog, a Twitter account, a Mastodon account and a few other places you can find me. My local party also has a website, which includes options for people to follow me, volunteer or make a donation to my campaign. Thanks to Mitch for letting me make this thread despite my inactivity over the last few years. I'm still a MAPper at heart, even if I can't do much of the MA part any more!