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When you hear someone say ‘there are several reasons’ or ‘there is a number of factors’, do you respond pragmatically or with suspicion? I tend to assume the speaker actually has one reason and several rationalisations or that no factor is strong enough on its own so he’s hoping if he throws a kitchen sink of dodgy arguments together, they will make the case. To be honest, I’m talking about myself. As a master of rationalisation I am always suspicious of my ability to stack up the arguments to justify doing whatever I want. I am very fond of the exchange between Jeff Goldblum and William Hurt in the Big Chill:

Hurt: ‘isn’t that a bit of a ratioanlisation’

Goldblum: ‘Don’t knock rationalisations – they’re more important than sex’

Hurt (disbelieving): ‘More important that sex?’

Goldblum: ‘Sure, have you ever gone a week without a rationalisation?’

All this is by way of excusing the fact that I have just gone a longer period without a post than at any time since I began blogging over three years ago. There are several reasons and a number of factors:

• I am on holiday

• I have had other things to write: a piece in the FT today (in my own name not my RSA role), and a lecture on the sixties for the BBC

• My computer internet link is very erratic

• I can’t think of anything interesting to write about

• I feel increasingly uneasy about writing a blog when I read so few of the excellent posts produced daily by other bloggers (sadly Bloggers’ Circle – my idea for a peer reviewed amateur bloggers digest - has joined the list of internet site tumbleweed).

The problem with taking a break is I miss all the people who comment on my site (including those who clearly disapprove of me).  I am worried you will forget about me while I'm away and that when I return to regular posting I will be shouting into an abyss of indifference.

So, there was only one thing to do. Choose a subject which I know people enjoy and then let my readers do the work. My most successful subject over the years has been jokes. So this week’s competition – for which the winner will receive an excellent bottle of wine (a gift after doing a talk to some public affairs types) – is for holiday puns. But, perhaps ill-advisedly, I’m setting the bar high with my own corker:

‘ I find that when I have visited one 13th century tower in Majorca I just have to visit another one. They are just so Moorish’.

Beat that!

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