Duffy: Mum’s positive influence on me and PROGRESS PORTSMOUTH – Seacoastonline.com

Posted: October 17, 2021 at 5:32 pm

Gerald Duffy| Your View

In a recent op-ed, I predicted that the presence of PROGRESS PORTSMOUTH would attract the attention of some of our local less than charitable characters. Well, theyve arrived. Last week, one twice-unsuccessful former candidate for council compared me to a Nazi propagandist. Then we have Portsmouths ancient poster child, stapling fibs (illegally) on utility poles.

Continuing the vitriol, Claire Kittredges recent op-ed is straight out of her long standing playbook, written to create suspicion and fuel conspiracy theories, full of misrepresentation and innuendo, always assuming the worst, devoid of anything positive, and dependably personal. Shes been doing this for years. I dont even want to waste my time responding directly to her piece.

Instead, I want to talk about my mother. Alice Duffy died on May 6 this year, just five months short of her 100th birthday. She died peacefully during a late-morning nap in her own little flat in Hull, Yorkshire. Thanks to a dedicated, loving group of neighbors who took care of her every need for several decades, she lived independently until her last breath. That is how a community should work. We should all be so lucky.

During her long life, my mother voted in more than 50 national and local elections in the United Kingdom, never missing one. She took me to the polls with her before I could vote myself. Ours was, I always thought, a strongly labor household, but in her 98th year she sheepishly admitted to me that shed voted for conservatives all her life. I laughed then and it still makes me laugh when I think about it. Meanwhile my dad must still be spinning in his grave like a blender.

Alice also believed that you didnt buy anything unless you could pay cash for it. She embodiedthe thriftiness of her Lowland Scots origins. Other than a small home mortgage, she refused to use credit. As a result, her small pensions added up over decades to a tidy sum not much by modern standards, but certainly quite something for a young girl who was born into the servant class in post-Great War Britain.

She always thought the best of people until they gave her enough good reasons to think otherwise. She also left me enough money to buy an electrical bicycle and to help provide cash for getting PROGRESS PORTSMOUTH off the ground until donations came in. Her integrity and tenacity continue to inspire me every day. When I have moments of self-doubt and feel like giving up, I think of her. I think shed be happy to know her son is working to promote civic engagement in his adopted hometown, help encourage young people to vote in a way that Portsmouth hasnt seen before, reach out to new residents in a way that hasnt been done before, and try to get people energized about a potential civic landscape based on respect,civility, and good governance.

If donations dont cover our expenses, the late Alice Duffy will be kicking in to cover the shortfall. Alice rocked when she was alive. She lives on. Thanks, mum.

Gerald Duffy leads PROGRESS PORTSMOUTH, a network of citizens supporting an ethical, competent local government that creates forward-looking policy. To learn more, visit http://www.progressportsmouth.com. The views expressed are those of the writer.

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Duffy: Mum's positive influence on me and PROGRESS PORTSMOUTH - Seacoastonline.com

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