First task this morning was to sweep the leaves from the allotment path and to add them to the compost heap where they will rot down over winter and doubtless provide hedgehogs with their equivalent of a Trust House Forte. At such times the mind inevitably slips into the ‘where has the time gone’ mode for it seems but yesterday that we were rejoicing in the joys of Spring and a new season. It may be the case that the older you become the faster time flies for I can’t remember such sentiments when I was knee-high to a donkey’s ear. However, our mood was lightened by the fact that for once we were singing the praises of an MP, an experience now as rare as Nick Clegg sticking to his pledges.
On Monday at 11.30pm Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley, was walking through Covent Garden after attending a reception for soldiers from the Grenadier Guards. Suddenly he heard motor-bikes revving loudly and saw four men loitering outside the prestige North Face clothing shop. To his astonishment they got off the bikes and began to batter the door by jumping at it feet first. Together with his companion, Gibralta’s UK ambassador Albert Poggio, Lindsay raced to confront them. Within seconds he had rugby-tackled one and was rolling on the floor with him. A pile of coats fell to the ground and the gang fled taking with them just one coat. Meantime Mr Poggio had noted the registration numbers.
Ironically Lindsay was waiting for a group of ten Grenadiers to whom he was to bid God’s speed as they left for Afghanistan. He reflects that the louts might have had an even rougher reception had they carried out their raid just a few minutes later. But the fact that the MP and his companion were alone makes Lindsay’s attack all the more remarkable. Too many of us, including me, would have walked by on the other side!
The story of a hero MP foiling a ram raid has hit the headlines but it doesn’t surprise those who know Lindsay Hoyle. For many years he has represented the town of his birth, Chorley. For all of that time he has fought strident battles on behalf of his constituents. A classic example was his opposition to a plan by Patricia Hewitt to trial a privatisation of the Chorley Hospital outpatients department. She wished to create a ‘one shop stop’ involving diagnosis and treatment, but wished it to be carried out by the South African company Netcare. The loss of such revenue would have damaged the viabililty of the hospital where Lindsay was born and he was having none of it.
He rallied over 12,000 to the cause and fought his own government to a standstill. Chorley Hospital now has the country’s first Assessment and Treatment Centre. And there have been many more such battles and it says legions for the MP that all had to be fought against his own party. Chorley first, politics second, has been his standard. And it goes without saying that Lindsay was one of the few MPs to come through the expenses saga without blemish. Indeed on a number of occasions my pal of many years was absolutely livid at what was being revealed. I remember his expressing disgust at one misdemeanour and remarking that he had constituents who had to live for a year on less than had been dishonestly squandered.
At the start of this parliamentary session Lindsay was elected Deputy Speaker, an honour long overdue. It was the first time the appointment was by election and proved that whilst the establishment may regard Chorley’s MP as a maverick his peers do not. I am sure there are other MPs to whom one could trust ones life but I haven’t met any. Every time we embark on another bout of MP bashing an inner voice always reminds me that there is at least one who leads by example.
Of course the incident raises issues. Since the coalition is set on reducing the number of bobbies and prison places alike it is inevitable that there will be an increase in ram raiders, burglars and the rest. If citizens do what Lindsay did will they get the backing of the law? I wonder. Recently one of my allotment pals arrived home to spot two men in the front room of his neighbour’s house, one he had promised to look after whilst the owner as on holiday.
He picked up a length of 2×2 and entered the house from the back. The thieves fled through the front and drove off but as they did so my pal attempted to smash the rear screen. When the police arrived they commented that it was fortunate that he missed for otherwise he would have been the one in court. Madness! If I found an intruder in my house I would do everything in my power to maim him, law or no law. In reality his ‘human rights’ probably entitle him to tea and biscuits.
Everything is now slanted in favour of the villain, the victim seemingly has no human rights of any description. It is therefore entirely appropriate that the fearless MP from Lancashire should show once again that one does what is right , not what idiotic mamby-pamby laws demand. And to hell with the consquences for he has never worried unduly about those!
AUSTERITY – NOT FOR THE BIGWIGS!
You will probaly not be too shocked to learn that the age of cuts and austerity does not apply to those at the top. Over the past year the bosses of Britain’s biggest companies have enjoyed a bonanza of pay rise and bonuses. In fact the chief executives of the FTSE 100 businesses hav enjoyed pay increases averaging 55 per cent while across the top 350 listed companies board pay rose by an average of 45 per cent.
And that is far from all on the gravy train special. The FTSE 100 chief executives, for example, received bonuses averaging £701,512, a 34 per cent rise on the previous year. All this information and more can be gleaned from a report released yesterday by research group Incomes Data Services whose editor, Steve Tatton, commented that payments are bouncing back to the levels they were at during the “boom years”.
Is anyone short of God really worth the obscene money being dished out to the tycoons? Bart Becht of Reckitt pocketed £92,596,160 and, although way down the list, Sir Terry Leahy of Tesco took home £17,934,000. As they say, every little helps.
These are the sort of people that recently endorsed the government’s draconian cuts. Do they have any self understanding, if so does it really justify their being exempt from such austerity? The line about our all being in it together becomes less believable every day!
CRICKETERS ARE ON THE PLANE!
Good luck to Strauss and the England team who, even as I type, are en-route for Australia. There is nothing in sport to match the Ashes contest!
One has to go back to Mike Gatting’s tour to find the last England victory down under but this time the odds are in our favour as the old enemy rebuilds its team following the retirement of such legends as Warne, McGrath, Haydon, Langley, Gilchrist etc. But it wouldn’t be wise to take victory for granted.
No one fights harder than a wounded Digger!
DO PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Birmingham 2. In London
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which Dutch team beat Celtic in the 1970 European Cup final? 2. In which Washington scandal were J D Ehrlichman and H R Haldeman involved?