Friday, March 28, 2008


I`ve now come to the end of Claire Tomalin`s excellent biography of Thomas Hardy. It was indeed a triumph of research, interpretation and literary narrative. When I posted my `first impressions` - see `Eyes Wide Open` below - I suspected that my view of Hardy`s work might well be changed by finding out more about the man himself. And so it proved to be, for I was left disappointed at what I had discovered which had the effect of somewhat detracting from the value of his novels in particular. So, I will now try to avoid biographies of my heroes, as I don`t really want my illusions to be shattered any more than the are already. I have now been handed Claire Tomalin`s biography of Samuel Pepys to read, but since I come to it knowing absolutely nothing about the man, thankfully I have no preconceptions to degrade.
It`s reported today that the BBC are to send no less than 437 of their staff to Beijing to cover the upcoming Olympic Games. This marks an improvement over the contingent which was sent to Athens for the last Games, when only 400 BBC staff attended. Could it be that the BBC are aiming to have one BBC staff member for each GB athlete taking part? There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel for licence-payers to the extent that, this time, BBC staff will be flying economy class to Beijing. So that`s alright, then.
I was wrong. Sorry about that - I`ll go and sit on the naughty step. You see, my rant below (THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE?) contained an inaccuracy, for which I apologise. I stated that there were 10 executives at Kent County Council in receipt of salaries over £100,000 a year. According to today`s report in the `Kent Messenger` there are, in fact, no less than 16. The Deputy Leader of the Council is making a hamfisted attempt to justify the decision not to disclose the identities of the executives in question. He might take a leaf out of Southampton City Council`s book, where they have six `council bosses` earning a six figure salary. Not only are they named, but their photographs also appear in today`s edition of their local paper, the Daily Echo - see
An object lesson in freedom of information - and not an assault in sight. Well, not yet anyway.

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