“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

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“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”MandelaWembley

 It was the tail end of the 1980’s, I was a student and still dating a young woman that had begun to challenge many of my assumptions and attitudes, I was still struggling to figure out who I was (and in truth, I’m still working on this). I was into the music of bands like U2 and Simple Minds, who seemed to be rather more than entertainers, writing about injustice and political geo-hot spots. U2 in particular had  introduced me to Martin Luther King in a way that I cannot put into words – but captured by the song “Pride in the name of love”. We had already had Live Aid and made aware of the problems of famine. I was a young man with dreams of changing the world and fighting injustice. I was familiar with the work of groups like Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Christian Aid and racism was very much something that I opposed. We had a cause. So the opportunity to attend my first Wembley gig to remind the world that Nelson Mandela was still in prison and now 70 years old seemed like an opportunity not to miss. So on a summer’s day in June 1988 my girlfriend, her brother and I queued early to get a good spot towards the front of the Wembley stage. The crowd was enormous. Everyone seemed to want the world to change for the better.

 “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Within 2 years, Mandela was free. Still at University this gave hope to a generation (perhaps several) that change was possible and perhaps, things could change more quickly with the right pressure and frankly justice as the guide. There was a sense that South Africa was changing and if a country could change, surely anything could change. I was young and naïve of course. In reality the hardest part was the process of change. Whilst we all may have hoped for a peaceful transition, it was Mandela and De Klerk that enabled this to happen, but the grace and wisdom that Mandela displayed with the truth and reconciliation commission was probably the biggest miracle.

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”

The media is and will be full of tributes to Nelson Mandela who, as you know, died yesterday. There will be lots of jumping on the band-wagon I’m sure and of course Mandela was an ordinary man in many ways with his faults. However it is certainly the case that he has served his country and indeed all of us, by showing that change is possible, without war, but with passion and reason. That justice can prevail and forgiveness is possible. I very much doubt that I would have been as gracious and forgiving to my persecutors, heck, I struggle to keep my cool watching the news or driving in slow traffic… which reminds me of a U2 song God Part 2 about … well, I’ll leave that for you to decide..“I don’t believe in death row, skid row or the gangs, don’t believe in the Uzi, it just went off in my hand, I… I believe in love”.

 “I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope”U2_OrdinaryLove_Vinyl

I know that Mandela was also extra-ordinary and someone to hold in very high esteem indeed. He was an inspirational figure and the world needs more like him. However, acknowledging our faults does not prevent us from being extra-ordinary. Indeed it is conquering our failings and facing our fears that provide the opportunity for us to be truly extra-ordinary.

 “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I hope that its ok with U2, who I have supported for many years to put a You-Tube video here. U2 have written a new song “Ordinary Love” for the new Mandela film – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

 Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”2017-01-06T14:39:42+00:00

Desire for Trusted Adviser

2007: U23D – Owens & Pellington
Finding someone to trust with your money is never an easy task. There are often sorry stories in the media about well-known people that have been duped or taken advantage of. This is not a problem unique to celebrity, but clearly to some, the rich and famous are “fair game”. Sadly the impact of being taken advantage of invariably leaves the victim in the position of being less able to trust anyone – particularly in regard to money. Adam Clayton, the bassist from my favourite band U2 has recently experienced this problem.
Adam, like many busy people, employed a personal assistant, but this one embezzled over £2m from his various accounts to fund a lavish lifestyle. Carol Hawkins was convicted of over 180 thefts over a 4 year period. Sadly, this was someone that had worked for him for 17 years. Her employment had originally begun simply by looking after his home. Her husband became his driver and as she became more trusted, she also looked after his books and was made a signatory on two of his bank accounts. There is no doubt about her guilt (according to the court). This is not the sort of 3D experience that U2 would have wanted but living someone else’s lifestyle may be even better than the real thing for Mrs Hawkins.
Standing back, it is perhaps easy to suggest that allowing her access to bank accounts was not a shrewd move. Whilst she may have earned his absolute trust, she was not qualified for the role. However, once you trust someone, it is difficult to appreciate how this may be misplaced. History teaches us that the wrong pressures at the wrong times can make anyone vulnerable to behaving in a manner that would not be “normal”. This is one reason why I have never wanted discretionary powers over a portfolio, which is similar, but usually far bigger than a personal bank account. To my mind, it is better to remove any possibility of “temptation”. If that is too candid a statement, reflect for a moment on the Banking crisis, where there has been a plethora of lies, fraud and market manipulation by some of the most revered Banking names in the world, many of whom you would probably find to be great dining company – provided that unlike the gingerbread man, you don’t become the meal.
 
We are a boutique firm of financial planners. We create financial plans designed to achieve a desired lifestyle. We will craft and implement your plan that will provide you with the greatest chance of accomplishing your unique goals based upon the values that you hold. Financial products are little more than the tools to achieve your required results
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Desire for Trusted Adviser2017-01-06T14:40:00+00:00
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