Sincere commiserations to Mike Edmunds. He may or may not take comfort from Enoch Powell’s comment that all political careers end in failure.
To my mind, however, the real triumph of the election belongs to Netti Pearson, who came from nowhere last time to a very respectable second place (822 votes) this time, ahead of Mike, despite the very considerable and genuine affection that exists around town for Mike.
Enough of politics, now more chocolate.
And finally, in the High Street of a small town, somewhere in North Devon, you will find the Ilfracombe Chocolate Emporium (01271 867193).
If you have been following this blog, you will know that I am passionate about maintaining the district hospital as a fully functioning hospital, rather than the large community hospital that the NHS bosses seem inclined to turn it into.
Several members of the group were somewhat surprised to receive a letter from one Dr Tim Burke,
The letter goes on to demand that Dr Womersley’s private address should be removed from the leaflets and from online media and that the members should provide confirmation that this has been done. It ends with the slightly sinister threat:
“if this does not happen, we will seek further advice from and the involvement of appropriate agencies”.
Now, there are several things wrong with this letter. First, so far as I am aware, there is nothing illegal about distributing someone’s private address for legitimate purposes, otherwise a whole industry based on selling addresses for commercial purposes would become illegal, as would those holding the electoral register. This is particularly the case when the person addressed is a public servant, paid (generously) from the public purse, involved in a scheme which intimately affects the public, where the organisation to which he belongs is obliged by law to seek the views of the public and where the public is explicitly consulted.
Now, I personally would not use a person’s private address for business purposes unless there were no alternative and I feel sure that the members of SOHS feel the same. However, the idiotically named “Success Regime”, the STP and the CCG do not make it easy to find addresses with which to communicate with individuals associated with those organisations. So what would you do nowadays if you wanted to find Dr Womersley’s address? Google him. If you did so, you would find that his personal address is on Companies House under North Devon Hospice as his address for correspondence. It seems, therefore, that Dr Womersley encourages people to use his private address to communicate with him regarding business matters.
Feel like a berk now, Dr Burke?
This is not, however, the end. If Dr Burke were talking about some activity of dubious legality, then the “sinister threat” I mentioned above would probably mean he would turn the matter over to the police or his lawyers. However, since there is nothing illegal or even faintly unethical about the matter complained of, I doubt the police or my learned friends would touch it with a barge pole. This, therefore, leaves us with the task of working out what Dr Burke’s threat actually means. Is he threatening violence, harassment, blackmail? Who are the appropriate agencies who he will inform? The mafia?
I do hope I am wrong, but I fear Dr Burke may be treading waters of dubious legality.
You may think I am making a lot of a matter which may simply be a well-meaning attempt to protect a friend from an avalanche of mail, and it is possible that this is Dr Burke’s motivation. However, this sort of behaviour is typical of self-important organisations and individuals who, losing an argument, seek to threaten or intimidate the opponents.
Those of you familiar with cockney slang will know the meaning of “berk”. For the rest, may I suggest that you Google it.
And finally, if you think to Google Dr Burke, after listing a number of Americans who share his name, you will find one hit headed “Dr Tim Burke makes his pledge for NHS Change Day”. To save you the time, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n1dYr3-lpA
Like you, I was eager to hear his pledge. Would it be to support the NHS? To maintain a full service hospital in Barnstaple? To obey the Hippocratic Oath? No, it’s none of those. It is to turn up to meetings 10 minutes early! You can't be serious!!