Hello and Farewell!

Two names, two ladies, two very different ways-of-life, one political belief; and one very different outcome.

Sue Nye, who began her career as a typist for James Callaghan, the late former prime minister. Sue Nye has been Gordon Brown’s diary secretary, his firm friend and a long-serving target for much of his reputed but well-disguised ill-temper! For several years she has been Mr Brown’s gatekeeper while Chancellor, and continued to be the same at No 10. It is the right-hand woman role once performed by Anji Hunter for Tony Blair, in charge of everything from the diary to judging whether his hair needs a comb or a wash. It is perhaps significant that the road to Rochdale began at a hairdresser’s salon, followed by what seemed to most to be a perfectly ordinary conversation between a life-long Labour supporter, and ended in what could turn out to be the most significant sixty seconds in the history of this Nation!

Gillian Duffy is ordinary, but what a dynamite version of that once prosaic term. A native daughter of Rochdale, a widow, an ex-employee of the local Council, who used to look after disabled kids. She was going to the shops to buy a loaf of bread, saw all the police and asked, “Is Gordon Brown there?” When told that the Prime Minister was indeed viewing an offenders’ rehabilitation scheme, she decided to go and see if she could have words with this rarely seen ‘Great Man’. Standing on the outskirts of the crowd, she began to state what her opinions were, and a couple of t.v. reporters began filming her, because apparently a lot of what she said made sense.

Sue Nye spotted the doughty Gillian, and brought her forwards to speak with Gordon, because that was the new ‘theme’ of Labour, to get contact with ordinary voters! What followed was, and this is perhaps the most perplexing thing about the passage of words between the Labour Prime Minister and this truly remarkable ‘ordinary’ woman, a sane and remarkably staid conversation. They touched upon the fact that she is taxed upon her husband’s pension as it is bundled together with her own; she worked with children, and Brown muttered a platitude about his policies; they talked about crime, and how people are being let off, and Brown muttered some more platitudes. Then came the ‘magic moment, when Mrs. Gillian Duffy probably changed history. She asked, “How are you going to get us out of debt, Gordon?” He replied in political-speak ( which is a language only spoken by those in Westminster and the BBC) “We have a deficit reduction plan to cut debt by half over the four years.” Gillian then stated “You can’t say anything about immigrants. All these Eastern Europeans what are coming in, where are they flocking from?” The conversation went on for perhaps another two minutes before Gordon left after patronising his companion before getting into his Jaguar limousine.

His ‘open-microphone’ comments about a lady who had been, after all, a life-long Labour supporter, are reproduced in detail here, but the significance of those few angry words, trying to make out that Gillian was some spawn of Satan, a ‘bigot’, are best pictured and reported without any words, but by a simple photo of a widow finally realising that her Prime Minister not only doesn’t like her, he thinks she is a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour, says volumes with those eyes pictured showing the hurt!

This small extract from an online poll gives some idea of the impact of calling someone a ‘bigot’, especially when that someone does not deserve it.

Insert wedge, then tap base gently!

You should have received a nice, quiet little data bombshell through your letter-box from the NHS.

Its not a spectacular letter, but it is yet another insidious attempt to place more and more of our personal information into a massive searchable database. It’s title is ‘NHS summary Care Record’.

If you don’t want your personal, private medical data to be available for scrutiny by every NHS-employed cleaner or porter, you should visit this website, and download the opt-out letter, and then visit this one, which should prevent your personal, private medical information from being uploaded on to the NHS spine.

Some may state that they have no problems with their data being available to all and sundry, but have you ever asked ‘Why’ these bureaucrats are so keen to discover everything about you? This man had a look at Gordon’s data, and anyone with access can look at yours!

Just take note of this link, which shows how it took the House of Lords to make the Government drop yet another attempt to authorise ‘Information-sharing orders, which would allow any Department to fish around for info from another Department.

…Nor the Years Condemn.

As many in our Nation have done over the past days, I went to an election meeting last week, and as some may remember, I posted on it at length.

It was, as I stated earlier, run along the lines of many things in Britain, orderly, calm and considered. But an interjection from the floor at the very end of the meeting highlighted the missing element, because as the speaker stood, he mentioned the very thing which had been ignored; he said we were at war, and no-one had even mentioned it! He spoke of one of the few places where the war has had an impact on a public basis; that of the town of Wootton Bassett, where the military corteges pass by the lowered flags of the British Legion. The flag-bearers, men of my age saluting the fallen of today, coming slowly back from a war where no-one knows even what they are fighting ‘for’, never mind ‘against’.

I heard the measured tones of Major Richard Streatfield as he called out the nicknames of his A Company, 4 Rifles Regiment’s soldiers in a salute to both the living and the dead on the Today Programme, and I have yet to hear a more telling indictment of the stupidity of those politicians who state, with platitudes oozing from their lips, of ‘helping to keep the streets of Britain safe by bringing safety to the dusty deserts and mountains of Afghanistan’.

As I sat this morning, listening to that soldier as he spoke, I remembered the man who spoke against the flow, and realised it should have been me that spoke, but I was too busy getting my thoughts ready to ask why we did not have the BNP candidate at the platform table!

He said the words, which should have spurred a fresh debate, but, no, sorry; the meeting has been declared closed, and you didn’t get your question down on the roster of the questions submitted, and besides, we are British, and we have to obey the rules, Y’Know!

Our Game…..Our rules!

I went to a meeting yesterday evening. Now that announcement in itself should not evince any surprise, people attend meetings all the time. But this meeting was super-special, because it was an Election Hustings meeting, where we were supposed to hear and judge the people who were asking for our votes! Once every five years, the political elite of this country of ours are forced to ask for our votes. They truly do hate it, but it is the law! Many laws have been altered, many have been dismissed, and even more have been created, but the one immutable fact is that THEY have to ask US!

As many may know, I live in Durham City, which, despite it’s title is a small-to-compact market town in the North East of England. Because of small but significant chance happenings earlier in our history, of the emergence of industrial geniuses such as Armstrong and Stephenson, the North-East has been a powerhouse in our industrial heritage. Because of that reliance on heavy industry, the political beliefs of a majority of the people living in this area have leant, rightly or wrongly, towards a socialist ethos. As my fellow writer Andrew McCann has written in an earlier post “It’s t’ Party of the working man”, and it is indeed a difficult task to try and alter the mindset of someone who clings to a particular belief, that they have been wrong all their lives, and another party has a better slant upon events.

So as I stated, I went to the ‘Hustings’, comfortable that while many view our electoral process as a seal of the way things are done, of a silent river of opinion flowing towards a just conclusion, I at least know that should a maverick show up, this would be the place to spot such an event.

There were four chairs set out for four candidates, one each for the three main parties represented, and the fourth occupied by a candidate from UKIP. The meeting progressed in a typically British way, with all four candidates placing their positions and allowing the audience of Durham city voters to either make their minds up, or else be confirmed in their beliefs or prejudices. The Lib-Dem candidate came across as possibly a well-meaning person, but no firm ideas of leadership or plan. The Conservative man gave it a good go, and I thought he was quite impressive, but his cause foundered upon the rocks of recent history, when the events after the miners strike were discussed, as he was accused of decimating the coal industry single-handedly. As he hadn’t even been born when Scargill led the National Union of Mineworkers into oblivion, I thought that perhaps unfair, but the shadow of Margaret Thatcher casts a long thrall over the closed minds of a Labour-minded population, and he doesn’t have a great chance of overturning the incumbent. She, the Labour party candidate, unfortunately comes over as competent. I say unfortunately because it would take a fair movement within the mass consciousness of the voters to move away from Labour, and from supporting her candidacy! The last chair was occupied by the UKIP candidate, and whilst I have nothing personally against the man, never having clapped eyes upon him before yesterday evening, the only impression I received was one where he was wondering what on earth he was doing in that place! Utterly clueless!

However, there should have been six chairs set out at that meeting in Durham, one chair for the Independent candidateI wrote of earlier, and another seat for the unmentionable candidacy; the BNP. No sign of any accommodation for those people who would have liked to see the man who dared to place his name in contention while supporting a ‘Right-Wing’ viewpoint. There was no chair, no microphone, no sign that there was another viewpoint in contention, and he was not represented in thought or intention!

I approached the chairman of the meeting after it was closed, and asked him if all the candidates for the City of Durham had been invited to attend. The Dean of Durham Cathedral, for that was his title, smiled thinly and stated that only the four main party candidates had been invited to attend the Durham Church Together ‘Hustings’ meeting. When I asked why the BNP candidate had not received an invitation, and had therefore been excluded from the proceedings, I was rewarded with an even thinner smile, and the answer, “It wasn’t considered appropriate.”.

Now I always thought that Democracy meant that everyone should have a chance to examine the policies and plans of all who were thinking of standing for election, and that no-one should block any candidacy because of any particular viewpoint or proposal, unpleasant though that proposal may be. But there we were, restricted from at least hearing what the man from the BNP had to say, and to question his beliefs and Party policies by the deliberate actions of a senior cleric and his small team of ‘believers’. Don’t know about you, but I feel slightly short-changed by this arrogant Anglican upstart!

X-posted from A Tangled Web

Diver rescued!

An article in the Education sector of the Sunday Times caught my eye, dealing as it did with the subject of ‘bullying’. The young man under discussion was a swimmer and diving champion named Tom Daley, and after his return from the Beijing Olympics, he was subjected to an ever-increasing regime of physical threats and mental harassment.  His parents’ solution, after several interviews with Katrina Borowski, the Eggbucklands principal brought no relief, was to remove their talented son from this hell-hole, and sign him up to a private school, Plymouth college. Result, his studies have blossomed to the extent he has achieved 6 GCE’s all starred, as well as becoming world 10-metre platform diving champion.

The Eggbucklands principal was also quoted as stating ‘Tom’s extremely high profile led to a minority of pupils behaving in an immature way towards him!’ This last statement is of course in line with the pathetic ‘anti-bullying’ stance of the crap-ridden clowns who inhabit our Department for Children Schools and Families. If anyone reads even the headings of the web-page, they have even broken it down into neatly-labelled sectors, such as Cyberbullying: Supporting pupils,Homophobic bullying, Racist bullying, Bullying of children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, Sexist, sexual and transphobic bullying, and of course ending with the all-encompassing Anti-bullying Charter.

As I have not ventured any further than the headings, as I don’t wish to tread waist-deep in diversity clap-trap, I can only predict what help or guidance is on offer, but I would lay good money on a complete absence of the only known cure for bullies, which is physical punishment! A short sharp beating makes for instant recognition that any further behaviour will ensure a repeat performance, and as it is a well-known fact that all bullies are also cowards, their behaviour will instantly modify!

When my eldest son was in his first year of Secondary Education in South Africa, he was subjected to considerable bullying by a small clique of clowns, but fortunately he told me of his problems. I visited the school the very next day, and informed the Deputy Head that if this problem was not immediately addressed to my satisfaction, I would sue the school, governors and staff, as well as the parents of the young clowns who were targeting my son. His actions were swift and certain, as three of the main culprits were hauled up at the next morning assembly, and each given six of the best with a cane! All bullying of my son ceased immediately, and he blossomed as a pupil at that school for the rest of his time!