I confess. I have always had a pathological fear of snakes, ever since an encounter on Egdon Heath when I was about three. I read somewhere that my problem is not unusual and one of the reasons for the widespread fear of snakes in that they represent a life form that is so completely different to our own that, in reality, it is as much a fear of the unknown as anything else.
Be that as it may, I see this morning that an unfortunate gentleman was out walking in Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire, when he was bitten by an Adder, which apparently happens to about 100 people each year in this country. The gentleman in question was taken to hospital, where he remains in a serious but stable condition after treatment. It`s no fun being bitten by Adders - the pain is excruciating, sickness, diarrhoea and other effects don`t bear thinking about - and yet these nasty, slithering, loathsome creatures are a protected species.
Indeed, a representative of the Forestry Commission at Dalby Forest is almost orgasmic in his assertion that "we have a thriving population of Adders here!" Now I really don`t care about political correctness or do-goody conservation fanatics but I just can`t see the point of snakes, so why conserve them? Time to take them off the protected list and get the Forestry Commission to hand out sharp spades to their visitors at Dalby Forest.
On a not-unrelated subject, I was puzzled by the enthusiasm greeting Boris Johnson`s announcement that he wants to stand as a Member of Parliament in next year`s General Election. Interesting, that. And it all just confirms the sense of entitlement that politicians have for themselves. All Boris has to do is find some compliant, safe constituency to adopt him as their candidate and off he`ll go to Westminster where, despite what he might say, he will pursue the leadership of what might remain of the Parliamentary Conservative Party.
It`s all about blind ambition, self-aggrandisement and an arrogant assumption of entitlement. No matter what the good folk of Uxbridge - or anywhere else - think of it, the permanent embarrassment that is Boris looks like slithering back into the Westminster undergrowth waiting to strike, poised to unleash his own brand of incoherent virulence on a country that deserves better.