Wednesday, 19th September 2018
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Michael Garland bizBoost PR

Geography really matters in all areas

As my Number One son returns to school for the last year of his secondary education, I started thinking about my own school days at Bell Baxter High, in Cupar, Scotland. From memory, a mixed school of around 1500 pupils and with a catchment area, covering the North East, of the County of Fife. Despite some age related memory lapses, I can still recall some wonderful cherished moments, in particular, meeting new teachers, during my six year progression through this large, co-educational establishment.

It's scarcely credible, the calibre of those teachers I remembered so warmly, often individuals who belted me, to their apparently frequent timetable, or those who'd sprung a surprise introduction, on my first day of class.

One such teacher was Mr Brown, aka "Ecky Broon" (Scottish diminutive of Alex), as the kids liked called him. He was my geography teacher, in years 4 and 5. Now Ecky, had a terribly squeaky and pronounced, even Scottish dialect - a whole new vocabulary, to be learnt by his pupils. Officially I am David Michael George Garland. Dad was also a David and therefore Michael was picked to avoid any confusion. To this day, I can still entertain people as to why Mum insisted on this specific four-barrel combination. Mum and Dad were also teachers, of some note, at schools throughout Fife. My Dad spent several years at Bell Baxter, as a visiting teacher of PE, with strict but fair disciplinary standards. Little did I know that Dad's corrective persuasion methods, of MY future educators, would contribute to frequent handshakes with a "Lochgelly Heavy", the lash....if you get my drift?

First day of Geography, for year 4, with Ecky Broon had arrived. Thirty plus pupils, eager to hear just what lay in store, for the next two years. Roll call started in strict alphabetical order, by surname. We got to the Gs and "Garland" was called out. "Here" was my reply. There was a pause. Mr Broon peered over his rimmed spectacles and squeaked, "I knew a PE teacher called Dave Garland, he taught me here, any relation?" I explained the story that my first initial stood for David and the actual PE teacher he referred to, was in fact my Father. There was a brief pause. Mr Broon smiled and simply said "Ah good, now I know. YOUR Father regularly belted me at PE!" There was a collective sharp intake of breath and momentarily, complete silence in the classroom. He didn't have to say any more. I was a marked man for the next two years. Despite this, Ecky Broon became a teacher we would all remember fondly. I grew to love Geography and secured excellent qualifications, for both Ordinary and Higher levels.

So it would appear that geography matters? This is certainly the case where politics are concerned. Just look at Theresa May last week. Jet setting around the world, trying with all her might and a great deal of spin, pretending that she is forging trade deals for the post Brexit apocalypse.

Africa was the very latest pit stop. The UK has built approximately 55 billion worth of trade annually, with the huge continent. To put this into perspective, it's about the very same volume that the UK currently has with Spain!

With ALL the will in the world, the mighty land mass that is Africa, will not fill the Brexit void, even if trade levels double. May and her political pack would have people believe that; "we can fill the hole in a Polo mint!"

Closer to home, we see geography playing its part in our day to day lives. Dublin is booming and this may well overheat our economy ONCE AGAIN! Cork, Galway and Limerick are forging ahead. Yet, ALL the other regions are struggling, including the South East.

Our political glitterati are ignoring these troubled areas. They're adept at burying their heads in the sand, spinning us that old yarn, that if the capital does well, the whole country will benefit. It would seem that we are Ireland's Africa?

A very small, inconsequential piece of an economic jigsaw. Our politicians sally up the M9, you have to wonder what they're bringing back?

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