Affable

It’s a lovely word, affable.

I first came across it in sixth form, when my form tutor wrote words to the effect that: “Gary will not achieve much in life as he is too affable.” If nothing else, I learned a new word.

affable (afuh-buh l)

– adjective

  1. pleasantly easy to approach and to talk to; friendly; cordial; warmly polite.
  2. showing warmth and friendliness; benign; pleasant.

Hey – I’ve been called worse. Even Hong Kong Phooey was a mild-mannered janitor.

‘Achievement’ is a relative term. I don’t run my own business, in part because I’m still not sure what business I want to be in. I’ve managed small teams and led committees but never been a paid-employment manager, in part because the opportunity hasn’t arisen.

But I have a well-paid job (for ten more days, anyway). I’m a member of two professional bodies. I’m standing for election in one of them (that one might not count, depending on how you look at it). I go out once in a while. I certainly don’t feel that I haven’t achieved anything.

I read the comparison of the Ed Balls and Alan Johnson autobiographies in The Guardian and posed the question on Twitter: which one am I? You can guess what my answer would be but I thought it was worth posing the question anyway – not that anyone bit.

It’s been noted by a few people that my campaign for President-Elect isn’t as ‘out there’ as the others, and it’s a fair comment (an affable response). Not all leaders are the centre of attention; not everyone at the centre of attention makes a good leader. We don’t believe our own publicity, we just get on with it in our infuriatingly measured manner, not taking sides or making enemies, and rise to the occasion when required. It’s who I am.

I’m not standing in this election nor elections past because I think I’m due my turn, or because my time has come, or because it might make me more popular with women (nothing’s ever going to achieve that). I’m standing because I believe that we’re not focusing enough on the things I’d like to see more of. We do do some good things – let’s do them a bit better, in more places, with more people. It’s not the status quo but it’s not a revolution either.

Remember Dad’s Army? I always empathised with Sgt Wilson. And he got married in the end, so we affable sorts do win sometimes.

Which characters my opponents in this election might be I shall leave as an exercise for the reader…

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