I read a great quote recently that instantly made me think of my Pa : “Try being informed instead of just being opinionated.” As he reaches the magnificent age of 80 today, I felt the need to mark the occasion with a personal blog as I have known him all my life!

I like to think I’ve inherited a lot of his positive traits, as well as the not so useful ones. He’s the most engaging human being you’re ever likely to meet. He can and will talk to anyone and share anecdotes, opinions and stories. He was an extremely successful marketer and salesman during his long career. I remember visiting one customer when I travelled with him for a bit after University. The chap said: “It’s a matter of timing dealing with your father. You know you’re going to say yes and buy, it’s just whether you’ve time to chat with him beforehand.” Well, it’s always worth spending the time.

A perennial competitor, he’s played tennis for University, Army and County amongst other team sports. He’s been playing golf for at least 40-years and I think he’d admit that he hasn’t quite mastered the psychology of it. Since retiring from business he’s been a mentor for the Prince’s Trust and learnt both Spanish and Italian languages. His golf handicap has not yet reduced – there’s still time!

His most recent foray into competitive activity is the acquisition of an iPad. It’s taken him a while to get properly stuck into the possibilities, nudged by my Ma gaining her own iPad for her August birthday and storming away with it. He is now fully embracing Twitter joining in vociferously in the Scottish Independence debate, and getting into the hashtag rhythm. Of course the challenge is how to get his point across in just 140 characters with so much to say? Thus, the quest for a bigger canvas on which to develop his arguments. So Happy Birthday Pa, here’s your WordPress site.

My parents are absolute news junkies reading at least two daily newspapers, breakfast to the Today Programme and can’t go to bed before having a final fix with News at Ten. My Pa is often frustrated with the direction of political travel, lack of leadership and passion. And now even his companions have disengaged with the political debate as they see no opportunity to make a difference. Well, the Scottish Independence campaign has really reinvigorated his desire to make his opinions known and to a wider audience.

So look out for @NAlexanderWrite on Twitter and engage with him. You’re sure to have a lively debate.

I’m off now to finalise arrangements for the birthday bash at our favourite Persian restaurant Heddy’s. His friends have international tastes, not meat & two veg these days, but that’s a whole other blog.

Sara

Sara McKee, Founder & Director of Market Innovation

Follow Sara @SaraMcKeeFRSA