Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NANNY STATE STRIKES AGAIN...
So, today is going to be the hottest day of the year. Hotter than yesterday but not as hot as tomorrow. And there is lots of advice for pensioners like us as to what we should do in weather like this. We`re told to stay indoors between 11.00am and 3.00pm. We`re told to drink lots of water. We`re told not to perfom strenuous tasks and most definitely not play golf. It all smacks of the Nanny State and the Ministry of the Bleedin` Obvious.
I`m not actually complaining about the advice because I imagine there might conceivably be some elderly people around who don`t have an ounce of common sense. There might also be those who would object to their human rights being infringed if they were not able to perform strenuous tasks or play golf, but it`s the second lot of `advice` we`ve had in recent weeks, following the outbreak of swine flu.
I`m led to believe that HM Gov. arranged for millions of leaflets to be printed and delivered to tell people what to do if they thought they had contracted swine flu or, better still, how to avoid getting it in the first place. Sadly, or perhaps deliberately, said leaflet has never been delivered to chez Snopper. However, common sense suggests that I should refrain from going to Mexico and under no circumstances should I consort with anything that squeaks or grunts a bit.

Monday, June 29, 2009


IT NEVER RAINS.....
.....but it pours. I see the BBC are once again being criticised for the 415 staff they sent to Glastonbury to cover the 2009 Festival. This comes on top of the 437 they sent to Beijing for the Olympics, the host they sent over to cover Obama`s election, the scandal about the expenses and salaries paid to top executives and the general dumbing down of the programme output.
But for once, I have a little sympathy with those `top executives` caught up in the Glastonbury furore. Among those present this year were the chairman of the BBC Trust, the Deputy Director General (one Mark Byford who donates a sum equivilent to the `cost` of his free ticket to charity,) and the BBC Creative Director, Alan Yentob, of whom it has often been said. Now, being of a certain age and disposition, I`m pretty sure they would all have been happier to be anywhere else than caught up in the mayhem which Glastonbury seems to be.
I`ve never been, so I`m in no position to comment, really, but I do detect that being at Glastonbury has become something of an almost compulsory rite of passage - a badge of honour even - and I can`t escape the feeling that so-called `celebrities` go there to be seen to be there, to attempt to obtain some weird kind of credibility in the eyes of the easily impressed. All a bit sad really, but then I too am of a certain age and disposition that means that, even with a free ticket, I too would rather be anywhere else than having to put up with an endless cacophany of noise blasted out across the mudfields of Somerset.
And in the meantime, the BBC`s penchant for squandering licence-payers` cash goes on. I`ve lost count of the number of BBC staff, presenters and commentators who are inhabiting Wimbledon right now but I have noticed just how many seem to be American. At the same time, despite an already fully-staffed American bureau, we now have Emily Maitlis and loads of others flown out to cover the Michael Jackson extravaganza. I just wonder whether we would not have been better off leaving the winsome Emily at Wimbledon and leaving John McEnroe and his buddies at home to cover the Jackson thing. Makes sense to me.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


A SUMMER SUNDAY...
First, a confession. The idyllic picture on the right may be typical of the villages here in Kent, but it`s not the one I live in. This one is Smarden, further down the county, but it`s a nice picture and I thought you might like to see it anyway. My village is nice enough and we`re lucky to have some real countryside almost on our doorstep.
Barney woke me up at about 6.00 this morning and as it`s going to be another hot day, I thought the sensible thing would be for us to have an hour`s wander through the nearby orchards before we both had breakfast.

So we did. And what a glorious summer morning we have today. No-one about, just us, as we found our way through the fruit orchards on a circular route that took us back to where I had left the car. The apple orchards are looking good - looks like a good crop this year, so no worries about a shortage of Mr. Kipling`s exceedingly good apple pies next winter. And as I mention winter, I`m reminded that we have just passed the summer solstice, so the evenings will begin to draw in. I`m reminded too about my aversion to winters and the dark, the cold, the wet and the misery of it all.
Today, the temperature is set to rise to 29C with the promise that it will get even hotter as the week goes by. Some people are already complaining about the heat; the newspapers are beginning to print stories along the lines of "Whew, what a scorcher!" and the weather forecasts on tv are including the phone number of NHS Direct, so you can ring up and find out how to cope with the hot weather.
But you won`t catch me complaining. Given the choice between the dismal winter and the simple experience of meandering through the orchards with just a dog, the birds and the scampering rabbits for company on a blissful Sunday morning in high summer, there is no contest. Some days - like today - it`s simply good to be alive, to be well and to be able to enjoy the sheer pleasure of just being. I hope your Summer Sunday is as good as mine.

Friday, June 26, 2009

There are days when the bad news overtakes the good news - maybe more often than we imagine - and today seems to be one of those days.
Late last night, the news broke about the loss of Michael Jackson and whilst I may not necessarily mourn the loss of the man, I do mourn the loss of a towering talent. It happens a lot, doesn`t it - people possessed of talents that `ordinary` folk can only dream of and admire are taken from us often too young, but whose character, lifestyle, weaknesses, excesses even, make the `ordinary` glad of their ordinariness.
Farah Fawcett also left us yesterday. I don`t know much about her, but I have my memories of Charlie`s Angels, that flowing hair, constant smile and a seemingly endless supply of teeth making for an iconic image. Maybe that`s all she was - an image to be admired, but it seems that once again there was an `underworld` to her life - another of excess that may have contributed to her early departure. I don`t know.
So where`s the good news in all of this? Well, it came yesterday with the televised interview with Seve Ballesteros, who faced the cameras for the first time in months following his operations to remove a brain tumour. I`ve mentioned before that as a golfer at the very other extreme of golfing ability to that of `Seve,` I have long admired his own towering talent, his engaging personality and his infectious enthusiasm for life.

And I hope for his sake that he can regain even more of the joi de vivre that has eluded him over his troubled times. As for me, I will continue my own private battle with the royal and ancient game in certain knowledge that I will always be dreadful at it. But however badly I might play, at least I haven`t had Seve`s problems and certainly not those of Michael Jackson. Maybe there`s a lot to be said for `ordinary` after all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

FAITH RESTORED...
Sarah and I had a long day yesterday for our round trip of 440 miles or so to go to Exeter University`s Open Day. We left a bit early and got there in good time to have a look around, check out the halls of residence, pick up loads of information and Sarah went off to her pre-booked talk about the history courses run by the university. I would have liked to listen in on that but grandfathers were not allowed in, as priority was quite rightly given to prospective students.
We came away having been thoroughly impressed - inspired, even - by all that we saw and heard and I think Sarah`s hopes have risen along with her determination to get the necessary grades to give her a chance of going there. An open mind must still be kept, though, as she still has visits to make to Southampton, Norwich, Nottingham and Exeter`s very tempting Campus at Penryn near Falmouth in Cornwall. I think we both got a lot out of yesterday.
As for me, as I dropped Sarah off back at her home, I had a couple of my own reflections on the day. The first was that I am only now beginning to realise what I missed by not going to university myself. Half a century ago, the chances of going on to places like that were limited in the extreme and I had to settle for the university of National Service - a two year course leading to a degree in advanced self-preservation and applied cynicism. My other emotion was just what a joy it was to be able to enjoy my grandaughter`s company for a whole day. Just the kind of thing to keep me young at heart.
Gourmet Corner
Following the KFC debacle on our way back from Reading last week, my reputation as a connoisseur of good food and my faith in the excellence of gourmet English dishes were restored when we visited the Little Chef at Chicklade in Wiltshire on the way home. After studying the exhaustive menu, we both plumped for their "pieces of chicken breast in a light crispy coating with bacon served on a bed of mixed leaves and ripe tomatoes, served with vinaigrette and a light crusty white roll." Washed down with a chilled coke straight from the cooler. Cordon this time tending towards the blue end of the gourmet spectrum. Who could ask for anything more to round off a memorable day?

Saturday, June 20, 2009


FIRST AND LAST...
Our visit to Reading University yesterday was `interesting.` Nice campus, good facilities, appealing history programme but dodgy `halls.`
As for Reading itself, it`s a long walk from the beach and is one of those characterless towns that just seems to be there. It has a history of biscuit making - one of the buildings at the Uni is named the Palmer Building - I suspect after the Palmer half of the Huntley and Palmer`s Biscuit Empire which used to be the town`s main employer. No sign of a Huntley Building though.
Anyway, we`ll see what Exeter has to offer on Tuesday.
On the way home, my grandaughters (yes, 15-years old Emma also came along for the ride - I think the visit may have opened her eyes to University life and encouraged her to have a go herself) got a bit peckish, so we stopped at a service station, where they expressed a desire for some KFC.
Now, in all my nearly 70 years, I have so far managed to avoid KFC but, in a desperate attempt to appear at least mildly `cool,` I said I would have some too. Big mistake, for not even the 17 herbs and spices could disguise the fact that this was cordon noir at its very blackest. Grease in abundance and not even a proper knife and fork to eat it with. And the tea was awful too, as it had cream in it instead of milk.
And so my first KFC `experience` was truly dreadful and whilst I may have been quite pleased with my coolness for at least giving it a go, it was most certainly also my last. In future, I will be more than happy to forego any semblence of coolness for the sake of maintaining a healthy digestive transit. Finger lickin` good? I don`t think so. But then perhaps I should have known, for being American, it comes under the heading of `foreign food,` which is something I just don`t do.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


There are some things that come along in life to remind me just how time is ticking by. Here I am exactly one month away from my 70th birthday and I have been asked to help with a mission. The mission is to take eldest grandaughter Sarah (17) around various Universities so she can check them out before making up her mind where she might like to spend a few years of `study.`
As Sarah`s Dad - our eldest son - can`t get away from work to fit in with all her visits, I`ve been asked to do one or two and tomorrow we are off to Reading to see what we make of their university. Next Tuesday, it`s Exeter, which involves a full day with an early start, a late finish and a 420 miles round trip, despite all of which I am really looking forward to the days out with Sarah and to seeing what are the competing attractions of Reading and Exeter.
David gets to go to some other places with Sarah - Southampton, Norwich and some others I have forgotten, but the whole experience will be interesting on all sorts of levels, not least the reminder that although I kid myself that I have the body of a 39-year old and the mind and attitude to life of someone aged about twelve, time actually is slipping by. Too quickly.
More on that story in our next bulletin.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


ALL THE WORLD`S A SOAP...
....or so it seems. Back in the dark evenings of last winter, I watched EastEnders for a while. It was mildly entertaining, although there didn`t seem to be too much entertainment going on in Albert Square with its collection of misfits living in a world of confusion, identity crisis, deceit and downright malevolence. I watched their antics for a while but got fed up with the unreal world that it displayed and I haven`t watched it since.
This lunchtime, I watched Prime Minister`s Questions. Now, I try hard not to introduce any political stuff into the tranquil world of this blog - honest, I do - but there are some things that simply cry out for comment, even if only to myself. And PMQs was one of them. It began with Gordon Brown and a few that spoke after him praising the Speaker for his years of splendid service to the Commons, which struck me as a bit hypocritical, as Michael Martin is the first Speaker to be hounded out of office since the 1700s. Off to a bad start then.
Then there were the planted questions - the half volleys outside the off stump - to provide the PM with the chance to have a good rant and to put leading questions to the Leader of the Opposition. Then Brown`s refusal or just plain inability to answer questions put to him. It should really be called Prime Minister`s Evasions. Or even Questions to the Leader of the Opposition. All in all, it was the usual shambles and if for one moment, any of the participants thought that the `performance` would impress an already disenchanted electorate, then they are entirely wrong. PMQs, or whatever it might actually be, does nothing more than turn voters and taxpayers like me who are paying for this circus even further away from politics.
Like Albert Square, the House of Commons seems more and more to comprise a collection of misfits living in a world of confusion, identity crisis, deceit and downright malevolence. PMQs, like EastEnders, used to be mildly entertaining, but there`s not much entertainment going on in that unreal world at 12.00 noon each Wednesday, so I won`t be watching any more until we have a General Election. I may have a long wait.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

SHRIEKER OF THE HOUSE?
If it wasn`t so laughable, it might just be funny. Now that Michael Martin is leaving the job of Speaker of the Commons, there`s a pretty unseemily scramble on to take his place. Already, there is a considerable list of likely candidates, amongst whom is the Member for Maidstone and The Weald, Ann Widdecombe, pictured left in typical pose.
Now, Ms Widdecombe may have many virtues but her qualifications to be Speaker seem just a little thin. For instance, she was one of those who voted against the McLean Bill which sought to exclude MPs from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, which if it had been passed would have meant that none of the revelations about MPs expenses would have seen the light of day. But maybe she has in mind restoring Parliament`s reputation to what it was pre-expenses scandal?
Then there are Ms. Widdecombe`s own expenses which, on the face of it, appear very modest at a little over £800 for the year. Until you consider that in all that time she didn`t actually have a second home to claim against, preferring instead to remain in London, although I believe she has now relocated to Devon, which must leave the good folk of Maidstone and The Weald wondering just how local their local MP really is. In addition to her MPs salary of £61,500, she also spent £87,000 on `staff,` £21,000 `incidental` expenses, £3,000 on travel and stationery, £1,000 on computers and another £2,500 on `other expenses.` And then there are her very considerable `outside earnings,` currently listed for the past year as including :-
Series of lectures at theatres around the country, booked through Clive Conway Associates. (£15,001-£20,000)
Columnist for Daily Express (£50,001-£55,000)
Payment for Daily Telegraph Podcast (from 9 January 2008). (£5,001-£10,000)
Payment from Channel 4 for appearance in a documentary on Christianity. (£10,001-£15,000) (Registered 30 June 2008)
Three speaking engagements, via Women Speakers
(£5,001-£10,000) (Registered 30 June 2008)
Speaking engagement via Gordon Poole; 28 June 2008 for Hadley Holding Company. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 30 June 2008)
Payment
for BBC `The One Show`appearance (Up to £5,000) (Registered 30 June 2008)
Payment
for RTE appearance on a chat show in April 2008. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 14 July 2008)
Payment for ITV appearance on
Daily Cooks Challenge. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 23 October 2008)
Payment for appearance at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 23 October 2008)
Payment for an article in Daily Express. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 23 October 2008)
Speaking engagement via Gordon Poole Agency Ltd on behalf of NPIA
on 1 December 2008. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 8 December 2008)
Speaking engagement for Three Counties Ladies Luncheon Club on 22 January 2009. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 23 January 2009)
Speaking engagement via Gordon Poole Agency for Built Environment Forum
on 27 March 2009. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 30 March 2009)
3 April 2009, speaking engagement for Chartered Institute of Housing. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 7 April 2009)
22 April 2009, speaking engagement for the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 24 April 2009)
29 April 2009, speaking engagement for the Chemical Business Association. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 29 May 2009)
6 May 2009, speaking engagement for the Institute of Directors Norfolk Branch. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 29 May 2009)
4 June 2009, speaking engagement
for the Centre for Sheltered/Supporting Housing Studies. (Up to £5,000) (Registered 8 June 2009)

So her contention that she wants to `restore the reputation of Parliament` might be a laudable sentiment but I feel sure we can do better, if only for the interim period that Ms. Widdecombe is graciously offering. I would go for David Dimbleby who may not be an elected representative but since when did that minor inconvenience stop Gordon Brown from appointing an odd assortment of `outsiders` to the Government? Dimbleby would also bring a certain ` tone` and a sense of quiet authority to the role which would be so much more `agreeable` than the shrieking harridan who thinks she`s doing us all a favour by seeking the job. Do us all a real favour, Ann, go back to Widdecombe fair in Devon and leave us in peace.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


THE BAD NEWS AND THE GOOD NEWS...

Last night, the might of English football overcame the minnows of Andorra in a World Cup qualifying match at the new Wemberley Stadium. There were concerns before the game about the effect the tube strike might have had on the attendance, In the end, 58,000 fans turned up - and apparently not one single Andorran away fan among them.
It`s entirely probable that they anticipated the drubbing and stayed away, preferring instead to remain in the sylvan peace and quiet of their Pyrennean hideaway. Last night`s result should surprise no-one and no amount of celebratory English euphoria should disguise the fact that Andorra has a population of about 88,000 and an area of 181 square miles. About the same number of people who live in the city of Lincoln and an area roughly the same as the `borough` of Ashford here in Kent. So not a huge pool of players to choose from and not a vast catchment area either.
The conclusion must therefore be that England should have won - and indeed did - win the game comfortably 6-0 and consign the `plucky` Andorrans to yet another in a long line of hefty defeats. Which is bad news if you`re an unhappy Andorran footy fan. The good news? Well, it seems that Andorra has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world - an average of 85 years. I`m not sure I wouldn`t swap that statistic for all their football ones.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

`OWZAT?`
The news on the political front is just too depressing and frustrating for words, so I don`t propose to waste any here on the shambolic farce that our so called `government` has reduced itself to.
So, for a little light relief I turn - not for the first time - to the world of cricket, where the season is now in full swing. Not the frantic beer matches currently being played out in the 20-20 World Cup, but the more sedate, traditional County Championship, where `proper` cricket still has its place.
Now, given my background and upbringing, you would expect me to follow the fortunes of Hampshire County Cricket Club....and I do. Not always the most glamourous or successful, but invariably entertaining in both victory and defeat. And yesterday was no exception, when Hampshire suffered a comprehensive stuffing by an innings and 110 runs at the hands of County Champions, Durham. The last Hampshire batsman to be dismissed was Imran Tahir, who comes from the east of the county and who had the distinction of being given out, caught Mustard, bowled Onions. Seemed somehow to be a fitting finale to an inglorious defeat.
It reminded me of past occasions with the imperious Brian Johnston commentating on the fact that, during the 1981 Test against Australia, Dennis Lillee was dismissed - "Lillee, caught Willey, bowled Dilley." And perhaps even more so, the occasion when he informed the listening public that, "the batsman`s Holding, the bowler`s Willey." Cue collapse in the commentating box.
Such a shame that cricket`s laws don`t apply to politics, otherwise we might have seen a different result than Gordon Brown being given `not out` despite the fact that the voters have sent his stumps skittling in all directions.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


PYGMIES AND HEROES...
After yesterday`s D-Day ceremonies in Normandy, Gordon Brown returns to face the prospect of a hammering in the European Parliament elections and a fractious meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. On a human level it is just about possible to have some sympathy with anyone who seems as beleagured as our Prime Minister. But there are things about him which offend.
First, of course, he was not even elected by his party, let alone by the country at large and when he had the chance to have a general election to provide some legitimacy to his premiership....he bottled out. I suppose he assumed he would lose and he was doubtless correct in that assumption, but ever since he has lacked any real legitimacy to lead the country at home or abroad.
Then there was the refusal to honour the Labour manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution, which Brown declined to honour, again because he assumed there would be a `No` vote and he would be in trouble with his playmates on the continent. Both of these acts of chickening out of things are, indeed, reminiscent of the kind of playground antics we got up to at school - ball taken away if you won`t let me win and all that.
But I still think the most unforgiveable thing was Brown`s support for Blair in the wholly indefensible decision to go to war in Iraq and follow the lead of George Dubya (a smile, a chad and a second term.) We lost too many of our armed forces fighting that illegal conflict and even today we are engaged too heavily in Afghanistan, where we have lost close on 200 of our forces and, in the absence of any real support from our EU neighbours, we seem likely to lose even more in support of the Americans in this vacuous, illusive, depressing adventure.
In the last few days, we have seen the reality of Labour`s priorities, which have been wholly concerned with the kind of internal squabbles that resemble ferrets in a sack. Even yesterday when the attention of a grateful nation was focussed on the D-Day commemorations, the skin-saving, self-serving, desperate reshuffle was still going on and the internal recriminations, backstabbing and backbiting were in full flow.
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I just wonder whether, amid all the frantic self-preservation that was going on, any of them really spared a thought for our fighting troops in the heat of battle in that far off land, for they are the real heroes, sent by political pygmies who have run out of any justification to be `in office,` never mind `in power` any longer. It really is time for a change.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


A DAY TO REMEMBER..
The picture above shows the memorial - at Lepe on the Hampshire coast - to the men of the armed forces who left the beach at Lepe in June, 1944, to take part in Operation Overlord - the D-Day landings which have their 65th commemoration today. And 65 years ago I was a month short of my fifth birthday and with my father having been taken as a prisoner of war at Dunkirk, I lived with my mother, her sister and her husband in the village of Blackfield, which is strung out along the road from Southampton down to Lepe, a mile or two away.
It`s strange, today of all days, to plumb the depths of my memory and recall what life was like for me all those years ago growing up in wartime. In truth, I don`t remember too much - maybe just as well - but some things are still very sharp and clear. Having been born just before the outbreak of the war, I assumed that wartime was in some way `normal.` I had never known anything different and thought that this was how life was - sleeping under the stairs at 40, Hampton Lane, as the bombs rained down each night on the docks and city of Southampton and as some of the `strays` hit the ground quite close to where we lived.
Another abiding memory was when the build up of troops took place in advance of D-Day itself. For what seemed like days on end, a constant stream of military vehicles of all descriptions thundered down Hampton Lane on their way down to Lepe, where so much activity was taking place. And when the American contingents swept through Blackfield, we went out onto the side of the road and took up the plaintive cry, "Got any gum, chum?" and I will never forget that in all the sound and fury of preparing for battle, we children were thrown packets of sweets and chewing gum from the passing trucks in an act of kindness that has not been forgotten.
These days, Lepe has a splendid country park and probably the most spectacular view across to the Isle of Wight that it`s possible to get. But as well as the monument, there are still signs of the vast constructions which were necessary for Operation Overlord to succeed. Thankfully and quite properly the events at Lepe are recalled and recorded at sites such as http://www3.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-countryside/lepe/lepe-history/d-day-lepe.htm.

But for a boy of nearly five years old, what seemed then to be an adventure was, of course, an event that has shaped our lives ever since. And so today, as on all the other 6ths of June, I look back through my childhood memory, give thanks and acknowledge the realisation that my `normal` life was anything but.

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Friday, June 05, 2009


FORM IS TEMPORARY....
Our Golf Correspondent reports
After a few weeks absence from the fairways, due to unforseen circumstances, the galleries at Hever Castle were this afternoon treated to Snopper`s return to the royal and ancient game. Actually, a couple of things need clarifying. The galleries were strangely absent, save for the occasional bystander; and to say they were `treated` is perhaps to flirt dangerously with the Trade Descriptions Act.
However, it was good to see Snopper quickly regaining the form he has consistently shown throughout his career. A seven on the first was followed by a five on the second, a commendable four on the third....and then trouble started and it wasn`t until the final three holes of his round that Snopper began to play as we all know he can. At the end of it all, some creative accounting and hardnosed negotiations concerning handicap levels saw him declare a net score which exactly matched that of his playing partner, last seen heading for the clubhouse shaking his head in mild disbelief at what had befallen him.
But at least the afternoon proved once more that the old adage is still true. Form may indeed be temporary, but most definitely in Snopper`s case, the absence of class continues to be permanent.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


COINING A PHRASE....
We`re hearing a lot of new phrases these days, but I wonder how the phrase `to coin a phrase` came about. After days of painstaking research, I think the most convincing definition I discovered was "something that you say before you use a phrase which sounds slightly silly," an example being `He was, to coin a phrase, as sick as a parrot.`
In recent days, we have been exposed to phrases such as.....
"It was all within the rules."
"It was all cleared by the Fees Office."
"I`m stepping down to spend more time with my family."
"The country expect me to stay on and do the job."
"We need to sort out the problems before having an election."
"I will be standing down at the next election."
And on and on and on........
But they hope we will forget that it was they who made the rules. They hope we will overlook the probability that the Fees Office were only following orders. They think we believe it when they `coin the phrase` that indicates they are jumping before they are pushed. They expect us to believe that we would rather not have a General Election. They think we will also overlook the fact that in standing down at the next election they will reap the reward of a hefty `termination payment.` And on and on and on.........
The world of football is, of course, well known for its own phrases, some of which appear relevant to our current political situation. But I can`t see the good folk of this country being willing to draw a line in the sand and move on at the end of the day. The political game has been drawn into such disrepute that the tactics and formation need to change if we are to get back into the game with any chance of a result. And we need a new manager to take the club forward. To be fair.


Monday, June 01, 2009


DEAF EARS....

This week is election week here in the Garden of England. On Thursday, we have the elections for Kent County Council and the European Parliament and they come at an interesting time in the world of politics.
One evening last week, I had a visit from our present County Councillor, whom I had not seen or heard from during any of the past four years she has been `in office.` She smiled sweetly and assumed that she could rely on my support this time, couldn`t she? I`m afraid I had to disappoint her - nicely, of course - which seemed to come as a surprise to her. She immediately thought that my disenchantment was directly linked to the ongoing scandal of MPs expenses in Westminster, thus giving my intelligence a hurtful insult, which didn`t help her cause at all. No, my complaint is nothing to do with stuff about Westminster but all to do with the fact that KCC have squandered £zillions on self-promoting tv stations, brochures, leaflets and their own form of expenses which run into millions of taxpayers` money each year.
And all the while the holes in the road don`t get mended and other basic services don`t get seen to. The thing about KCC is that they may be wonderful at administration, but sadly woeful at management, otherwise they would have their priorities sorted out and they wouldn`t have a Chief Executive who is not only allowed to but activeley does take advantage of the fact that he can sell his untaken leave back to the Council for the princely sum of £20,000, on top of his £220,000 salary and his £30,000 `bonus.` I can`t imagine what the bonus might be for - setting a good and responsible example perchance?. So on Thursday, unless there is a Hole Mending candidate, I will scrutinise the ballot paper and choose anyone except the incumbent in the vain hope that something might just change.
I suppose the ultimate in political indolence will be reached when the politicians don`t listen to the voters any more and the voters can`t be bothered to listen to them either. It could come this Thursday.