Tele column – 4th August 2017

We are told we can’t all achieve greatness, not all of us get to walk in space or sing at the Albert Hall. The question is what stops us? Nature or nurture? Opportunity and circumstance? I wasn’t blessed with a great singing voice (or any singing voice for that matter) so achieving success through vocal dexterity was always unlikely. I was reminded of this when I recently went to see Bob Dylan. I am sure when the young Robert first croaked out a song nobody, not even he, thought he would go on to sell over 100 million records. If he had allowed himself to be put off by all the negativity he would never have sung another song. Instead he became a global musical icon and gave pleasure and hope to all of us that never made the school choir. History is littered with such examples, from the Wright brothers to Thomas Edison.

When we set out to build something we can’t be afraid of failure. It’s a down side of our culture that failure often attracts ridicule, which, in turn, discourages others from trying and the first tentative step to achievement is never taken. The twist is that the power then stays with the detractors. As we try to create we shall make mistakes. Winston Churchill once said “perfection is the enemy of progress”.

The naysayers, the boo boys, the purveyors of relentless negativity always revert to the same logic, they claim they are just being realistic. But they have other traits. They only see the obstacles, they manage but they don’t define and they never have a dream of their own.

So, to those people that are trying to invigorate and regenerate Inverclyde. To those who believe we must do better I salute you and promise to do everything I can to help. To the others, as Bob Dylan said “don’t criticise what you can’t understand”. Maybe if this politics thing doesn’t work out I will brush up my application to NASA.