Not you and me, obviously.
Well, I confess I had not expected the call to a General Election, which probably puts me among the majority in this country. However, whether you call it “lying”, “ a U-turn” or “admirable flexibility in the light of changed circumstances”, I suppose we should not be too surprised – after all, this is what politicians do. Which means that they are not much different from 90 odd percent of their constituents.
Not you and me, obviously.
Have you come across The Darwin Awards? They are a somewhat jokey series, with an underlying seriousness, about people who “remove themselves from the gene pool” by doing something stupid. Generally, the thing they do results in their death, which means they cannot thereafter reproduce and so their “stupid” genes are removed, thus improving the species. The awards have produced their own website and have generated several books, all telling often hilarious tales of foolish, and deadly, actions. Somehow, however, I doubt that the friends and family of the deceased would have found much to laugh at.
I expect most of you will be aware of the Supreme Court ruling against Jon Platt, and, by extension, many parents, to the effect that it is for head teachers, not parents, to decide whether it is acceptable for children to be allowed time away from school. It will affect anyone with children who works in or has a breadwinner working in the tourist industry or in a business that is, in some way, dependant on the tourist industry.
Let’s start on a happy note. I saw the Atlantic Coast Theatre’s production of “Rock of Ages” at the Devon Hall (Bideford College) on Saturday afternoon.
Last week, I mentioned conflict of interest involving the health service and specifically mentioned MPs and a couple of individuals. They, however, are not alone: many senior staff work for the NHS and yet have interests, or are closely related to people having interests, in health service providers. Of course, this can bring valued expertise into the NHS from outside. On the other hand, it can lead to a question of conflict of interest. What do you think? Should someone be employed by the NHS in a position where they can direct business to a private firm where they, or a close relative, has a financial interest?
For many years, there has been a certain amount of movement of people from private industry to government and vice versa. When well controlled, it is beneficial to both. However, it can too easily cross a hazy border and become incestuous, or go even further and encourage corruption. The New Model NHS has encouraged such movement. Here are a few examples. I leave it to you to decide where on the spectrum running from valuable synergy to unwise through potential conflict of interest and on to unacceptable corruption you would place them.
I was at the Square in Barnstaple on Saturday when the bikers had their protest against the lenient sentence handed down to Aiden Platt’s killer.
There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday 11th March that I would like to remind you of.
T. S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month. With respect, I would disagree: February deserves that accolade far more than does April. As with January, we are still suffering the depressing weather, lack of sunlight and aftermath of the joys of Christmas and the New Year. The weather will have been, at best cold and damp, but we are just beginning to see hints of Spring in the garden.
This week, I am going to start with some books.
I always like to be able to tell you about a local author I enjoy, and this one is particularly enjoyable for me, as he writes science fiction, a genre I have been eagerly reading for around 65 years.