Let's have some good news for a change shall we.
A few moments ago I read something on the BBC News Web Site that for me highlights EXACTLY what it is about this country and more to the point the people who live in it, which makes it worth fighting for.
If I told you that a British Scientist and Inventor could achieve, at a cost of £500 a go, something that the Americans cannot do for less than 300 MILLION pounds, you'd call me barking mad.
Read On. Go here and bask in the glory that is our eccentric, eclectic, barking mad and yet utterly brilliant scientific engineering inventors.
For with little more than a digital camera similar to those available from ASDA for fifty quid, a box made out of the material that is right now insulating the walls of the dormer loft extension in which I sit, a radio transmitter and receiver that acts as a tracking device, a weather balloon with a amall parachute release mechanism, a tank of helium, a roll of Duct Tape, a bucketful of good luck and a reservior of Sheer Ingenuity the size of the Ladybower Dam, Robert Harrison, Scientist and Inventer Extraordinare, launches balloon missions into space to capture photographs that rival the ones NASA Astronuts take from the windows of their space shuttle.
The difference is that NASA rack up a bill of £300 MILLION and Mr Harrison does it on average for slightly less than a Westminster Parliamentary Deposit.
PLEASE Go view the short video on the BBC website that demonstrates how this man does what he does. It is well worth the three of four minutes of your life it will take.
And whilst I would never, ever seek to belittle the achievements of this man for his sheer ingenuity, the fact is, he is far from alone in being able to stop, think "outside the box" to use one of those horrid americanisms and then proceed to achieve by sheer audacity what others would think unbelieveable.
GA and a few of his friends already know, for they have seen it first hand, that I have those same skills and abilities and when the need arises I use them to the same devastating effect. Give me a chance to hand pick two or three fellow thinkers and we could take "Scrapheap Challenge" by storm. In my case it somes from three years as an undregratuate in a REAL Science, followed by another three in which the talents of ingenuity and invention were put to their limits to achieve the impossible on a daily basis with a shoestring budget and then publish it to the acclaim of my peers.
But this is no gloating boast of superior brain power. Far from it. The fact is that every one of us could have come up with Mr Harrison's novel idea and many of us perform similar achievements daily.
Thirty years ago a whole class of thirty odd fourteen year olds in my cousin's secondary school came up with thirty odd variations on two or three basic ideas of how to get a camera "airborne" to take an aerial photograph. My cousin rigged a box kite with a small platform and an additional control line to fire a spring loaded trigger over a kodak instamatic camera shutter button. His was just one of thirty very functional, very feasible, very practical examples of using technology to get a job done in a field of endeavour.
How come we do this so well ? well I'll let you into a little secret. THIS IS THE SORT OF THING WE BRITISH DO BEST. Actually an awful lot of the more successful in the area have Scottish surnames and quite a few attribute that to the high content of oily fish in their diet at the time.
So there you go. Let's hear it for the Great British Inventor. Mr Harrison is the latest in a long and noble line of worthy thinkers and doers. But on a more sombre note at the end of the journalist's voice over on that clip you will hear how Mr Harrison wishes to get more young people involved and inspired to do similar ingenious and eclectic, if not downright eccentric, deeds.
I hope he succeeds. But the environment and culture that nurtured his talents, which was dying in the late 70's under the crush of government regulation and red tape, is now all but extinct, the victim of succesive governments committed to the destruction of its every aspect.
I fear Mr Harrison will fail in his quest to find others to follow in his shoes. And that is a pity because I said when I started writing this that I wanted to focus on some good news. But on the other hand in six weeks or so we have a chance to put the boot in and start to roll back the tide that threatens to drown out those qualities.
Have a good morning and an even better weekend. For as I sign off this post, the sands of time are running out in Gordon's hourglass.