It was round about 3pm yesterday and all I had eaten for lunch was some kind of measly chicken sandwich, and as I sat at my desk I could feel my resolve weakening like spaghetti on the boil. It was there, waiting for me in Rudi's chill cabinet, not 100 yards down the road. It was an extra large Kit Kat. It was a huge chomping chunk, chocker with choccie. Compared to the misery of a chicken sandwich, it was a taste explosion of sugars and fats and scrummy cocoa solids and buttermilk. It would be so gooood, I thought to myself; but no, no, I reflected. It was bad. It was naughty. No sooner had I decided finally and irretrievably not to go down to the shop than wham, by some teleporting process beyond my comprehension I found myself in Rudi's, handing over the change, ripping off the wrapper and scoffing that Kit Kat like a psychopathic Bunter. And across the country, every moment of the day, shopkeepers are witnessing similar disgusting scenes of weakness of will. We know we shouldn't do it, but we just can't seem to stop. As our collars swell, and our chairs groan, and our very cars turn into giant inflatable condom-style people carriers, the Labour government has decided that we must be restrained. Read the full article as published in the Telegraph
No doubt there will be many readers who will say that this is milquetoast stuff, and will happily supply reminiscences of "Thrasher" so-and-so, who used to lay about him with a golf-club, jokari bat, crow-bar etc; and no doubt there will be some who say that six of the best never did anyone any harm, made them what they are, etc etc. My point is not to take issue with them, but simply to show what a yawning gulf has opened between the world then and the world now. There was one truly marmalade-dropping story in yesterday's paper, and it concerned the poor special needs teacher in Cardiff. We see her depicted in the defeated pose that newspapers reserve for anyone who is supposed to have been caught out doing something truly inexcusable. She is head down, clutching her handbag and her shopping, keys out, and clearly ambushed by the photographers camped on her doorstep. Her crime? She briefly applied masking tape to the mouth of an 11-year-old special needs child, Ben Deacy, who was talking so much that he was disrupting the class. The mother has complained, the school headmaster has denounced her, and the incident is being "investigated" by the education authorities. Does anybody agree with me that the reaction to this affair is utterly hysterical? As the cowardly headmaster himself testified: "The tape wasn't put the long way over his mouth. It was a small piece, going from the top to the bottom lip, and it wasn't blocking his breathing." It sounds to me like a joke; indeed, the matter only came to the mother's attention because Annie Sturrock mentioned it in her report on the kid. "Excellent work - once I taped his mouth up!" she said. Shouldn't the headmaster, and the education authority, have defended their teacher, and made clear to the mother the spirit in which the action was intended? Read the full article as published in the Telegraph UPDATE - Teacher who taped boy's mouth avoids prosecution: Following an eight-week police investigation, the CPS has decided that there was insufficient evidence and that it would not be in the public interest to proceed against Annie Sturrock.
I have before me a letter from an indignant 68-year-old. Her son still lives with her, and this seems to be an arrangement satisfactory to both parties; except that she has now discovered that her son's presence is a bar to her financial happiness. Her savings have been eaten away by a series of operations, and the NHS queues were so huge that she was obliged to go private. "The truly savage increases in council tax has added to my difficulties," she reports. So she noticed that she was so straitened that she seemed to be eligible for Gordon Brown's new pension credit. She wrote off, disclosing every detail of her financial circumstances, as the benefit people require. Am I poor enough, she asked them nicely. Has the Labour Government taken away enough of my money for me to qualify? Wee-eell, said the little tin gods who run the benefits department, that depends on your son. What is he worth, then? They said that he would also have to hand over the minutest records of his income and expenditure, no matter how personal, down to the last fiver. As his furious mother wrote: "I think it is an impertinence for a group of civil servants to expect him to hand over all his bank and financial details for a three-month period. There isn't a businessman anywhere who would agree. My finances are nothing to do with him, anyway." Alas, of course, she has no choice... Read the full article as published in the Telegraph