This week was the last sitting week for State Parliament before next year's election on 17 March, when Steven will retire from political life.
He delivered a heart felt Valedictory speech on Wednesday 29 November, which was an opportunity for him to reflect on his last 12 years as the Member for Goyder, and thank the many people who have supported him in this important role.
His speech follows, in full from Hansard:-
Mr GRIFFITHS (Goyder) (16:33):
Can I start by saying that I never sought a life in politics. There are many in this place for whom it had become part of their teenage years and all through their 20s, when they sought a chance to be here. For me, it was a matter of being asked if I was interested. I am still grateful to that person who asked me. He and I do speak, though not as often as I would like. I reflect upon that telephone call he made to me, and I thank him for it because it has provided me with an opportunity I never thought I would seek or, indeed, have an opportunity to pursue.
I was preselected in April of 2005. It is an exciting period as a candidate. The ego goes wild and you think, 'God, people think that I am actually good enough to be in the parliament, the place where the great orators are, the most knowledgeable people who live in the state, those who possess every possible level of information and can make the best possible decisions for the future.' I have since learnt that I was rather naive in that belief I held coming into this place, but it is what I think should be captured as part of it. When I reflect upon the time I have spent here, it has not quite achieved the outcomes I thought it would, that is for sure.
When it comes to my political life, I will be forever grateful to those who believed that I had a future in it. I pay tribute to two people who have now passed, Robert and Sharon Schulze, who were from Maitland, where Donna and I live. I will be forever grateful to them. From a very early stage in my time working with Robert, he believed in me and became a very close friend and confidant. Sharon volunteered to remove herself from several roles in the Liberal Party to give me a chance not just to get to know the members in the area but also to get a greater knowledge of the community. I will always be thankful for their friendship and the support and encouragement they provided to me.
I was like all people as a first-time candidate: I thought my job was to go out and doorknock, and I did that for quite a few months while still trying to work full time. I left my work with the Yorke Peninsula Council only two months before the election, but I doorknocked about 7,000 homes and spoke to roughly 2,500 people. I was abused by many who reflected upon some actions and statements made by me in my previous role, but I was really welcomed by the absolute majority of people, and there is no doubt about that.
Until the day I die I will remember being in Dublin on an exceptionally hot day. The perspiration had dried on my face and my face was caked with salt. A lady invited me in, gave me two glasses of cold water and encouraged me to keep going. I have forever been a friend of hers, and if there is anything I want to know in the local community I go to her because I trust her implicitly. In the district we serve, I think we all need to have people we trust to tell us the truth
—whether we want to hear it or not. She was a reflection of people across the electorate.
Goyder is a community of 70 different towns and locations. It would be wonderful to think that you had a photographic memory of every possible place and that you could remember every person you had ever met or who lived in the district but, unlike the Speaker, I do not possess that ability, even though across the electorate I guess I know probably about 10,000 people by face. I pride myself on knowing three generations at Glossop. I love knowing family history and community history because not only does it give you a connection with those places but it helps you to make better decisions and to represent the community in an improved way.
I was very lucky to be elected in 2006 election, which was a challenging election for the Liberal Party
—there were only 15 of us on this side. I was one of four members who were elected on the primary vote at 50.1 per cent. It has improved since then, so I have been lucky in that regard because I represent an area that has traditionally voted Liberal and is very much a blue community, but they have high expectations. They want to make sure that the person they select has an opportunity to hold senior roles in the government, and the community deserves that. If the support is there, they want to see a return on that investment.
In that regard, I was very grateful when not long after the election Iain Evans, who was about to be elected as the leader of the Liberal Party, rang me and said that he would like me to take up a position as a shadow minister in areas that I had no experience in, and gambling was one of those
—I am not a gambler by nature; I am a very frugal person—and I loved it.
Mr Pengilly: Tight.
'Tight' is a word that some people use. Going to some of the Gamblers Anonymous meetings opened my eyes to those who live with the terrible scourge of what gambling does to their lives every day. Some people said to me that it was 15 years since they had gambled but that every day they had the urge to go in there and put money in those bloody machines. In every portfolio I have had the blessed honour to be involved in, I have learnt something and benefited from it as a person.
In my maiden speech, I reflected upon the words of John Meier, who was the member for Goyder before me. He was elected in 1982 for the first time. My great frustration is that I had many concerns similar to those he had about the needs that exist in the community. That goes back to 1982, and I know that when the next member for Narungga, as Goyder becomes at the election next year, makes their maiden speech
—and my greatest wish is that it is Fraser Ellis, who is the candidate selected by the Liberal Party to replace me, and I think he will do a great job—they will reflect upon many of those same frustrations.
I know that I have said many times that governments are here to represent all. It is not just for me and it is not whether political need exists for expenditure to be undertaken, but it is where the priority exists for a community. I have taken that very strongly on some of the debates that I have had within the roles, and prior to the 2010 election about elections commitments to make. I think it is important that all of us can hold our heads high and say that we are trying to get the best possible outcome, instead of the political opportunity it represents. I know we lost the 2010 election because of it, too, so you have to try to find that balance. Politics is about needing to somehow find that balance.
I might just recount a story I have told a few people. For me, even though I had never sought an opportunity to be in politics, or thought that I would, I had a dream about it in 1995. So 11 years before I became a member I had such a vivid dream that I was the member for Goyder. I was not even living in the district anymore. The next morning, I told my wife, Donna, who is here in the gallery, because it was so vivid in my mind. When eventually the telephone call came from John Meier in December 2003 about an opportunity that might exist, I spoke to Donna and said, 'The dream is going to come true, darling.' I believed that no matter who else stood as a candidate I would be successful.
I am probably ad-libbing a bit on this, but I think Donna cried for three days. It was not because she did not believe that I could do it, but she was worried about the impact it would have upon us as a nucleus and on our family. It is still true today. I know for all of us in this chamber that it is a challenge to retain our relationships with our families, let alone with our friends. There is barely enough time in our lives to be close to those we love, let alone to those who have been important to us as we have grown up and, hopefully, will still be important to us as we leave. Donna has been such a wonderful support to me, and I will talk about my family later.
I have been grateful for every dollar that has ever been spent in Goyder, I have to tell you. When grant applications were made, my usual practice for a long time was to write to the minister and thank them. The member for Wright said to me, 'That's unusual, Steven. We don't get letters of thankyou from people.' But I believe it is important for those who sit on this side to have relationships with those who sit on that side. They can be collaborative. They do not need to be argumentative all the time; they need to be outcome based. So, when the money has come through, I have said thanks.
Indeed, I have thanked the Minister for Transport for the nearly $40 million that is coming through to the district as we speak because I believe investment has been determined because the priority exists. We have waited for it for a long time, but it just a fraction of what we need. No matter who represents the electorate that I currently serve, and no matter who sits on that side, the ongoing pressures will be immense to make the right decisions all the time. I know I have always spoken about roads and health services and water needs that exist in the community. It occurred in the 1982 speech of John Meier, it happened for me in 2006, and it will happen next year for the new member also.
One of the challenges is that we have to remove ourselves from any shyness that we have. You have to be an outspoken person to be a politician. You have to have the confidence to stand up and speak at the drop of a hat, to know the right questions to ask and to be able to give the answers to the questions that are posed to us. I have really enjoyed being challenged intellectually in that regard. I am a person who by nature loves to know the detail. I am not sure how I can remember all of it sometimes, but I do manage to bring some of it out, but I think afterwards I have missed a political opportunity that the knowledge of that detail gives me the chance to do.
I have loved public meetings. I have done some big ones in our community, where we have had 700, 600, 500 and 400 attend, and they have been about health and that sort of thing. I have been blessed that when people stood up in the crowd and wanted to ask a question I knew who they were. It is just such a fantastic thing to do. It gives you a connection to the fact that, yes, the question is being asked, but you know the reason why the question is being asked, and you know the reason why the investment needs to occur to give those people hope. They are asking because they are desperate for an outcome and because they believe in government.
I do not believe that they actually distinguish between the three levels of government anymore. I think a blanket has been thrown over federal, state and local, and people just say they want 'government' to provide it without understanding how it is determined. That is part of the communication challenge that we possess in this place: to make people aware of it. I want to reflect a little bit upon the tumultuous times that I experienced within our party room in the first four years.
Iain Evans came in as leader with the member for Bragg as the deputy. The member for Waite became the leader, I think around 16 months later or thereabouts, and there were tumultuous times then also. Then the member for Heysen became the leader. In part of the process, I put my hand up as deputy leader on the previous ballot, not necessarily thinking that I was going to win, when the member for Heysen became the leader. It surprised a lot of people. I know I am not a political beast, but I wanted to try to ensure that I was part of a team that made a difference.
Subsequently, when another ballot was held a week later, when there was a change again and I became the deputy leader, I committed myself totally to the Liberal Party and, indeed, the member for Heysen. My life changed, I have to tell you. I barely saw many things that had been common parts of my life for the previous 40 years. In the five weeks prior to the 2010 election, I told Donna that I had spent 13 hours in the electorate and for six of those I was asleep. There is nothing like it.
Members who live with the constant pressure adjust to it, I imagine. But from an opposition perspective your life is different. Yes, you are expected to critique and criticise and challenge all the time, but there is not the pressure that comes with the level of data that comes through in order to make the decisions to ensure that the structures you are in control of operate efficiently. In that nine-month period I had to step up to a level that I did enjoy. I loved getting to know everything. It felt as though we lived in this clustered, protected world, where we were told things that were occurring without necessarily experiencing them ourselves. We had to believe what others told us, and it was not always correct because they had a perspective on it, too.
Funny about that.
Yes. I found it exhilarating to be told that, for two of the many press conferences I held, the future of the campaign depended upon how well I went. It did not quite turn out that way. It went alright, those went okay. I thought that election day in 2010 would be either the best of days or the worst of days for me. Politically, it was not: two days beforehand was. Some in this chamber know that I was then shadow treasurer, and I had to present the forward estimates and the predictions from the Liberal Party. I was proud that we put 27 pages of notes together, which we provided to the media, setting out what we wanted to do. A billion-dollar surplus was projected as part of that. I was indeed very proud of so many aspects of it.
In the 35 minutes or thereabouts of the press conference, I did not have to refer to those notes once. I am told by others that even experienced members, who are used to media pressure, start quivering at the lips and that sort of stuff once it gets to about 15 minutes. We get anxious about what the next question is going to be and what our answer will be. I know that I walked away proud of that, but the challenge for me occurred several hours later when, after words to one print media outlet, I said things that I do not necessarily walk away from. Upon reflection, I would say it differently, that is true, but the message I tried to espouse then would have been the same. I just would have said it in a slightly different way.
Others on that side seized upon that, and it was the lead story the next morning. My life started to fall apart, I have to tell you. It made it exceptionally difficult for the member for Heysen as the leader. I know that she was under extreme pressure. Isobel and I met very early the next morning, and I tried to explain what had occurred and what I had said. I think Isobel was suffering overload too.
Ms Redmond: Absolutely.
Absolutely. It was the busiest period of our lives. It did not happen the way I wanted it to. At the hotel that night—where we all were hoping to celebrate but instead we were commiserating—there was a bank of TV crews and we were doing all these successive interviews. We were talking about our belief that we could still win, even though it was close in a few seats, but the background question always was what had occurred two days earlier.
As a person who was used to a level of success and never failure, be it with the love of my life, the family I am blessed to have, the sport I had attempted to play or the professional career I had attempted to have in local government, to have the psychological mind change occur within a short amount of time was a real kick for me. It made it exceptionally difficult for me. I am not proud to admit that in the period after that I became a person I did not like. The person I portrayed it to most was Donna, and I will be forever sorry for the way I treated her and the way I reacted to her. The fact I am still with her is because of her strength and her character. For you, I say a sincere thank you. Blessedly, though, eventually I again became the person I had always been.
To some degree, we went through the cycles that occurred after that. Donna and I were on a cruise and we got a message that distressed me immensely. That was about shadow portfolio responsibilities also. Then changes occurred later on. However, I was returned to the shadow ministry before the 2014 election, and I am very grateful for that. It has shown me that there is more to life than what occurs in this place and how it impacts on us.
Our life is committed to it and it takes away our life. I reflected earlier upon the challenge to retain friendships, let alone the relationship with your family. I know we all have similar stories. At times you manage to get a few short hours to spend time with friends and all of a sudden you have to leave early because you have to go somewhere else and read a briefing paper and get ready for something that is occurring the next morning. Your partner is equally impacted by it, and you regret that and feel sorry about that and you can never make up for that, but when we get out of this place we have to try to improve ourselves. I have always been lucky.
I have enjoyed the parliamentary debates that have occurred in here. If I reflect upon a reasonably significant number of pieces of legislation for which I have had responsibility in this place, it was the planning, development and infrastructure legislation that nearly did my head in. That was such a complex bill, with 230 pages and eventually 400 amendments and a lengthy debate. I know I was fairly repetitive in my 3½-hour contribution to the second reading, but the committee stage debate went on for 10½ hours. It was exceptionally lengthy. To minister Rau, the Minister for Planning, I say thank you for sitting there that whole time while we went backwards and forwards asking questions about the scenarios attached to individual clauses.
I say a sincere thank you to the member for Heysen for her contribution in the committee stage, with no prior knowledge. The member for Heysen has the capacity to read legislation and consider an issue about that. She was here for those first two hours at the very start, which gave me a bit of a break, but it was just about exclusively me asking questions, other than a couple of minor questions from some members. Being in the chamber until midnight with the sole responsibility to ask questions takes it out of you. The fact that the member for Heysen and others have done it for hours and hours makes me think that there are really smart people who come to this place. Not all people are, but some are very smart. There is no doubt about that.
Mr Pisoni: Name them.
Now is the time, I suppose. It is because of my nature of being a detailed person that I wanted the questions to be asked. I truly believe that we have not, in my time in this place, used the committee-level investigation anywhere near enough. It has been very disappointing. That is partially our fault; significantly it is our fault. We are the ones who are charged with doing that from an opposition perspective.
Because the planning legislation is such a contentious area and because it has the risk for litigation to be undertaken, involving significant dollars, it is important to put scenarios on the record and to get a response from the minister because I believe that becomes a guide not just for the regulations that come from the legislation but for future decisions that are made against it. I think we should do that a lot more. The planning legislation was debated for five weeks in the Legislative Council. It is just mind-boggling to me that it occurred that way.
This morning, the five retiring members from the Liberal Party had a photo taken. Unfortunately, the member for MacKillop was not here on time. We thank the leader for being available for it. We know that we five from the Liberal Party have served 77 years. I did a quick addition on the Labor Party members who are retiring, and I pay recognition to that, and I think they were 108 years or thereabouts.
There is no doubt that a significant level of corporate knowledge is being lost. I am empowered when I see the quality of the younger people who come into our side. I know they will become good ministers, but please never be afraid to pick up the telephone and ask sometimes. While we might not have had the chance to sit over on that side, we have been involved in lots of discussions and we know lots of historical stuff and lots of scenarios and we can give those younger members some good advice. Not only will a lot of historical knowledge be lost but also a lot of experience and skillsets will be lost.
In my parliamentary time I had the opportunity to be on a few parliamentary committees. I was on a work-life balance select committee and Donna said to me, 'Why are you on that committee when it requires you be away from home more often? Why are you on a work-life balance select committee?'
Yes, I know, and they do not know anything about it. We formed some good guidelines because there has to be more chance for the family nucleus to exist. In the modern times in which we live, where what has traditionally occurred in families is being disjointed now to some degree, it is really important for that connection to occur more often. I say to employers: that is part of the challenge; give your employees that chance.
I really did enjoy the sustainable agriculture select committee, too, and there are a few other members in the chamber today who were part of that. It is such an important part of not just the community in which I live but the economy of the state. One of the main questions I asked of those who were policymakers was about the imbalance in the interaction between mining and agriculture and I asked that because of the mining proposal on Yorke Peninsula.
I asked —these are my words, not theirs—what level of land should be sacrificed for that diversification to occur? There is no correct answer to that, and I understand that. It is a decision that has to be made based on needs. The problem is that, when you are a member of parliament and you interact with the community seemingly every day and you talk about mining for nearly nine years, it wears you down. So as much as the planning legislation did my head in, the mining debate that occurs on the Yorke Peninsula area in particular is one that I cannot even begin to explain how I feel about.
I am torn between the need for the state government to provide a forum and an opportunity for diversification to occur
—that is a prime responsibility at a policy level—and the needs of a community that does not want a change to occur. How do you get the balance right? Many outside the immediate area reflect upon the fact that they want the changes and opportunities to occur and they see the investment that will happen that will make a leap forward in growth opportunities and many services. They want to see it occur, so it is part of our challenge. I know the mining bill is not going to get through the other place. It does include a lot of changes that are good, but I still voted against it because of exempt land versus restricted land.
I want to put on the record that I officially love all Liberal Party members who live in Goyder. I am sending out Christmas cards now, which is much earlier than I normally do, I can tell you. To those people, I owe a sincere vote of thanks. I cannot begin to explain the personal levels of support that I have received from so many of those people over the last 12 years. They saw this 42 year old come in and thought he could represent them. They gave him a chance and I hope that the return has been there for them. I have been very lucky.
Like many members here, I have a busy diary. For me, a lot of it has been based around community needs. I have always had the philosophy that I accept the first invitation, not necessarily the one that might be the bigger event that gives me the opportunity to promote myself and the party more. I like to pay respect to those who invite me first. It means that sometimes you will be with little groups, but so be it. They are all important and I learnt that very early on.
Politics has also given me the chance to meet so many great people and indeed to see the sad side of our society too. The thing I have always appreciated, though, is that it gives you an opportunity to connect with them and hope that the experiences you bring to the role give them a chance to get the level of representation they need and to know who you need to contact to get people to help them.
For those on the good side of the ledger, it is in abundance. There are challenges for those people, but the number of people out there I have spoken to every day who are willing to take up that challenge of growth because they want their family to be successful and, by association, want their communities and the state to be successful is inspirational, and it is reflected in the 140,000 small businesses that exist in South Australia. All power to them. Government policy needs to support them, reduce the workload that exists upon them and give them the greatest possible chance of economic return and viability because they are the ones who take the risks. They are great people.
Others will reflect upon school tours. Not all of us have the chance to do them and there have been some busy times when some groups of kids have come in, but I have loved it. I probably got better questions from the little ones compared to the older ones.
How do you change the light globes?
Yes, or, 'What is this button for?' and that sort of stuff. But in every tour I have done, there is a different question asked that I have never heard before. I have appreciated the member for Unley with his wooden swords and the talk about the blood line, and that sort of stuff. I have used the example many times.
The parliament has sat since 1857 and I believe probably close to 750 or 800 members have had a chance to be elected. Their portraits or their photos, where they exist, are on display in the members' lounge, so it is a very humbling thought to have had the chance to do this. It is a very select group. It is not just the ego and the chance to use the dining room or the car park that has been provided: it is the challenge that it represents with the community to be given that responsibility.
The Hon. P. Caica:
And few of them would be as good a bloke as you are, Steven; that's true.
I am very grateful for that. I understand that leaving voluntarily from this place after 12 years is a relatively short period of time compared to most. Like many who come in, who see themselves as 16 or 20-year people, I always hoped I would be here for 16 years. I understand the decisions that were made earlier this year about changes, but they made me lose my desire. I always hoped that the level of what I thought others saw in me—detail, trying to get the right outcomes and being thorough in what I do—would give me a chance one day to sit on that side of the Speaker and one day to sit in the front. That was never going to be a chance for me after the decisions made earlier this year, so I made the choice to be selfish. That is what it came down to.
I did so on the basis that I believed I could run next year. I believed I would be successful, even though a challenging political climate exists, but I knew I would let my community down in that four-year cycle. You have to try to forward-project yourself and consider what sort of person you become, and I just knew that I would be a grumpy, frustrated old man who would complain about everybody. The community deserves better than that and I think the parliament deserves better than that, so that is why I saw it was time for a change. Donna does not necessarily like that answer from me all the time, but I knew I would become that if I stayed here for one more term. I think that is a bit of an abject lesson for all of us, to consider when is the end our of time and what it can be.
To colleagues on all sides of the house, I say a sincere thank you. Some have been really close, friendly relationships, I have to tell you, and for that I will always be grateful. I tell people back in the community that there are some Labor members I would happily go to the pub with and have a beer, and I would not say that about all of my colleagues either
—that is just it. I am not sure what has been said about me behind my back, and I have been grateful for that. This morning was an interesting example of legislation going through very quickly because there was a need to create time for people such as me to have a chance to speak before we rise tomorrow night, but it is interesting.
Parking across the road, I have walked to North Terrace and looked at this building in a different way. For so many years, we would drive the car park, come in the back way and, going up the lift, 'Shit, I'm on the second floor again,' sorry about the swear word, 'but I want to move somewhere else'. At least when we park in Hindley Street we walk across the road and get to see the building, and I have reflected upon it in a different way
—not just on my own end of term period that exists for me but indeed on the importance of the place. It is as though I have had a connection back to what I always thought it was: the people's place. It is the reason we exist and why we are challenged to do what we do, and I hope others do it also because it is a great honour.
To Parliament House staff I want to say a sincere thank you for the polite way in which they have dealt with me at all times and the quick responses that have always been given to me, and that is the full spectrum of staff, here and in PNSG. I would like to thank ministers' staff for briefing opportunities and the chance to ask questions. They have always been very responsive and really quick in responding. Health has been a bit of a challenge to get responses in reasonably short time lately, I must admit, but the Minister of Transport, for example, is always good, so well done.
To the staff I have been blessed to have, all I can say is that I have been very lucky, and that is just it. I will name them by their first names: Skye, Vanessa, Maddie, Emily, Diantha, Haley, Rachel, Rosemary, Holly and Kim. The one constant person in those times is Kim. To her, I say a really sincere thank you. Kim has made me appear to others to be far more intelligent than I actually am, I have to tell you. It is as though Kim and I started to think in the same way. The briefing papers Kim would help me prepare, or take the responsibility to prepare, were always as I liked them. It is not because I became lazy but because it reflected the way I thought. Kim is a wonderful person, a great asset to the people and the Goyder electorate office, and the parliament has been lucky that you have been working with us for so long, Kim, so well done.
In terms of the staff who have been with me
—and Kim reflected upon this—people have not necessarily left me. She said, 'That is because of the quality of boss you are, Steven.' That is very nice of her to say so, but it is because I always say thank you to people, and that is part of my problem: I am too bloody polite. As politicians, you cannot be too polite all the time. To the staff who do things for me I have always said thank you, and I have been blessed in that 12-year cycle. Skye, for example, who was my first employee, was my PA at Yorke Peninsula Council. She left that role a month before she was eligible to get her pro rata long service leave to come and work for me and lost the opportunity of seven years' long service leave accruement. To her I say a sincere thank you, too. In the spectrum between Skye to who we are now, I have been very lucky indeed.
Friends have been a real challenge, I have to tell you. I reflect on how just prior to the 2010 election
—two weeks beforehand—Donna and I went to Mount Gambier, to the wedding of a daughter of some of our best friends. I had to do radio in the morning, which interrupted the time we were spending with them. We had the wedding and the reception, and then we had to leave at 10.30 to drive back to Adelaide that night because the Liberal Party launch for the campaign was the next morning, or late the next morning or early afternoon.
We left at 10.30, and my friend was crying, not because his daughter was getting married but because he was grateful for the effort I had made to be there. I was humbled by that because I was there because I love him and his wife and his family
—that is just it—but it is really nice to think that sometimes people think that we put ourselves out to do that. We all have to do that to retain those friendships; you cannot just say no all the time to invitations and opportunities. We have to try to find some really precious time within our diaries to actually be with people.
In terms of my own family, I have been very lucky. My son Tyler was only 16 when I was elected, and Tyler is now a wonderful young man of 28 and married to Katie, who is from Yorke Peninsula also. They live in Adelaide, and they have an 18-month-old child, Nate, so our family unit has improved tremendously. When Tyler and Katie got married I said, 'You improved the gene pool.' That is just it: tall, thin, smart. I could not ask for anything more than that, I have to tell you. And my grandson will be
Ms Redmond: Tall, thin, smart.
He's smarter, yes. He will be very smart. My daughter Kelsey's husband, Peter, is a farmer from Yorke Peninsula, just a bit south-east of Maitland. He works hard. He really works hard. They farm about 6,000 acres, and they are leasing some more country, so they will be doing 7,500 next year. To me, he and his dad are examples of good people who deserve to be supported.
Pete and I have had a challenge, in that he has been very much against mining and I have had to be in the middle trying to get the process to be right and get the outcome right. I said at Peter and Kelsey's wedding that, while he and I do not agree on everything
—there are some things, indeed, we do not talk about—I will always respect that as a young person of only 24 he stood up and became a voice for what he believed in. He got involved in high-level groups, took on chairing roles and deputy chair roles. He is chair of an egg bureau now and that sort of stuff. It is really fantastic to have young people stand up; my son-in-law is an example of that and I am tremendously proud of him.
I wondered how I was going to finish, beyond saying a real thank you to everybody, but I am a bit of a TV watcher from way back, and
M*A*S*H was one of my favourite shows. Those who know the M*A*S*H series may know the last episode was called Goodbye, Farewell and Amen. For me, it is Amen.