Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bloody marvellous ! Gurkha victory

Like many bloggers, I'm always moaning when I say anything at all, but today I am rejoicing. Congratulations to Nick Clegg and the parliamentary team for defeating the government. On a less glorious but still highly enjoyable note, how wonderful to see Joanna Lumley and Nick Clegg sharing the limelight, with David Cameron playing second fiddle. I shall go out and buy the SatNav with Joanna Lumley's voice saying, "Turn left here, darling".

Friday, April 03, 2009

Gruntled, highly gruntled

Before I came to Chard, the small town in Somerset with one of the worst crime rates in Britain - ram-raids, murders, all out attacks on houses and quite a lot of litter, I lived in Lewes. This week Mark Steel visited Lewes and captured the character of the town, which he called stroppiness and I call a love of freedom and a determination not to be bossed about. OK, Mark Steel said it better.

They call me Mr Tibbs

I don't read the Daily Mail. Honest. Never. However, the Today programme has drawn my attention to an article by Guy Walters about how you address people and the growth of informality. I share Mr Walters' resentment when strangers, sales people in particular, call me David. I have tried responding, "Do I know you ?". In writing I often resort to the old Quaker habit of using both names, which is about showing respect to everyone equally. Sidney Poitier's character Virgil Tibbs insisted on Mr when the southern cops called him boy. Richard Crossman noted in his diary how his colleagues treated each other with greater respect and calmness in cabinet than when they met in the Labour Party's national executive. He attributed the different behaviour to different modes of address. In cabinet, titles - Prime Minister, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary ; in the NEC, first names - Harold, Jim, George. Of course, Mr Blair removed this distinction when first names made their appearance in cabinet, a clue to his evident disregard of cabinet government.