Notepad on Life

January 2, 2017

The Honours List – always a dark side

Filed under: politics — - @ 11:55 am
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Pic courtesy of Brad Slavin

It’s the part the media didn’t shout about at the back end of December, so busy were they rightfully hailing the achievements of Murray, Farah and Ennis-Hill.

It’s the flipside that seems to accompany every Honours List: the category of recipients that, for the sake of politeness, I’ll call the ‘You’ve Done What, Exactly…?’ category. Rarely is there any fanfare for this section of the List. On this occasion, there is merely the solitary anguished voice of a heartbroken parent.

I don’t know the full ins and outs of the tragic tale of Elliott Johnson, a promising young Conservative who, if his family are to be believed, was driven to suicide by in-house party bullying. If this is so, then they are understandably aggrieved at having fresh scars rubbed raw by the award of an MBE to someone whom they regard as one of the culprits.

I do know, however, that there probably isn’t a political party around that doesn’t have some kind of form when it comes to general use and abuse of human beings. The bereaved father’s anger at cover-ups and “no sense of shame” sounds wearyingly familiar.

Is Alexandra Broadrick MBE a blameless and worthy recipient of the honour? For all I know, yes, but given the murky business of politics, I am damned if I was going to let the publication of this particular Honours List pass without doing what I could to further circulate this important footnote to a dreadful story.

When you’ve finished being dazzled by Sir Mo and Dame Jessica, you might like to ponder the less glittering corners of British society. And make your own mind up.


October 28, 2014

Michael Fallon commits modern politics’ greatest crime – listening to the public

Filed under: politics — - @ 1:46 pm
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You always know when a politician has come dangerously close to telling it like it is. He’s backtracking like crazy within 24 hours.

In touch with the mood of his people? Then he should damn well keep it to himself…

I wouldn’t mind if there wasn’t something so predictable about those who objected to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s weekend comments that the UK is in danger of being swamped by immigration. The Liberal Democrats would object to anything these days, such is their desperation to show that they still have a pulse, while Labour understandably won’t brook any swipe at the people who form the lion’s share of their vote.

Throw in the usual nicey-nicey knee-jerk brigade, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose promising start to his tenure is fast becoming a distant memory, and Fallon’s best reaction would have been to ignore the lot of them.

But no, in any clash between the mood of the so-called elite and that of the Great Unwashed, the former must prevail and so yet again we see one of our leaders on the back foot for the dreadful faux pas of giving public opinion a voice.

Because here’s how it is: this country IS being swamped by immigration, as even those of us who believe in immigration – as long as it is planned and implemented by people with a backbone and half a brain – can see with our own eyes.

I was at church on Sunday. Part of the service was the christening of a Lithuanian baby and part of the order of service was read in both English and Lithuanian. Fifteen years ago, I would have thought it a delightful touch, just as I would the occasional sound of foreign voices in my town or a shop that specialised in eastern European food and drink. Nowadays, though, all I could think on Sunday morning was “thin end of the wedge”.

This change in outlook occurs not because some inner Nazi has simply been waiting for any old excuse to show itself, but because I see what is going on around me, as do millions of people in Britain. An immigration free-for-all that is neither thought-out nor managed and that generates its own ugliness. You put a people in fear of losing their country’s identity and social tension is inevitable.

How many times must this be spelt out? It’s not about race, it’s about numbers.

December 14, 2010

Tories in a right pickle on cuts

Filed under: politics — - @ 8:53 pm
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Eric Pickles
Image via Wikipedia

In a political age where image is everything, it’s hard to imagine yesterday’s announcement of draconian cuts and financial austerity being placed in more inappropriate hands than those of Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

How long do you suppose it is since the term ‘belt tightening’ appeared anywhere in Mr Pickles’ personal vocabulary?


Pickles cuts grants to councils by 10% – and by 18% over 2 years (

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