Showing posts from December, 2014

Frost's "The Road Not Taken" and a story about World War One

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."   (Robert Frost)   I have been thinking of Frost's poem since coming across this  account of an incident towards the end of World War One, which I found by chance a few days ago. There are two opinions about

Quote of the day 31st December 2014

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”    ( Ralph Waldo Emerson )

Bravest of the Brave

The news that British health worker Pauline Cafferkey has been diagnosed with Ebola after returning to Scotland from Sierra Leone is a reminder of how very proud we should be of those British people who have risked their lives by going to Africa to fight this horrible disease. Ms Cafferkey an associate public health nurse at Blantyre Health Centre, was part of a group of up to 50 NHS healthcare workers who returned to the UK at the weekend after volunteering in Sierra Leone. She had been working with Save the Children. The outbreak of Ebola in Africa has already claimed  about 7,800 lives since it broke out a year ago. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people infected by the disease in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea has now passed 20,000. It is very important this outbreak is brought under control, and those who have gone to fight the disease and help those suffering from it are true heroes. They are the bravest of the brave.

Quote of the day 30th December 2014

“No one is born to courage ... Courage is a habit you develop after cowardice has gotten you nothing.”    ( Sabrina Jeffries  )

Quote of the day 29th December 2014

“I'm very depressed how in this country you can be told "That's offensive" as though those two words constitute an argument.”    ( Christopher Hitchens )

A less futuristic Christmas parody

My final reposted item of Christmas Youtube humour. This time we go from the Starship Enterprise D to Frank Kelly's skit, in the form of twelve letters, about how a Irish family might feel about it should someone were resourceful but unworldly enough to actually send the gifts described in "The 12 days of Christmas" for real ...

Quote of the day 28th December 2014

“If it doesn't make sense, it's usually not true.”    ( Judy Sheindlin  )

A Futuristic Christmas - Part IV

The fourth and (possibly!) final part of my tongue-in-cheek set of reposted Youtube videos linking Christmas and Star Trek. My daughter, who is an arch-Trekkie, was most disappointed that the present on the ninth day was not Deep Space Nine, but apart from that we found this hysterical, See what you think ...

Quote for the day 27th December 2014

"Christmas is the day that holds all time together" (Alexander Smith)

A futuristic Christmas - Part III

Third of a series of four humorous "Star Trek" takes on Christmas, this is the "Voyager" version of "The Twelve Pains of Christmas" by Bob Rivers (obviously, itself a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas).

Quote of the Day for Boxing Day 2014

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." (Charles Dickens)

A Futuristic Christmas Part II

The second in a four-part series of posts linking Christmas and Star Trek This is the "Star Trek Voyager" take on "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, which several of my family regard as one of their favourite pieces of Christmas music.

Quote of the day for Christmas Day 2014

"Gloria in excelsis Deo, Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis" (Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men) (From the Gospel according to St Luke, chapter 2, verse 14)

A futuristic Christmas - Part One

What might Christmas Future be like in the 22nd to the 24th century? As a tongue in cheek way of marking Christmas, I am reposting over the next four days a set of four Youtube videos which adapt popular Christmas carols with a Star Trek theme. I shudder to think how many hours of work the creators of the following 71 second clip spent mashing together dozens of very short video clips to make a "Next Generation" parody of "Let It Snow" but this is what they produced ...


The NHS is encouraging people in Cumbria to plan their healthcare during the festive season. With advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them, visiting the pharmacist can save you time in the waiting room and help you feel better fast.      Dr David Rogers, Medical Director for NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Your local pharmacy can be an excellent place in offering expert, confidential advice and treatment for many minor health problems.” “Many pharmacies will remain open over the Christmas holidays, when other services are often unavailable. We would also encourage patients, as most GP surgeries will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day’ to order any medication they need in plenty of time so they have a good supply during the festive period.”. Cumbria pharmacy opening hours can be found on the keep calm this winter website | . If you are in West Cumbria and having difficulty opening the files on t

A very merry Christmas 2014 to everyone reading this blog

To everyone reading this who is a Christian, may the spirit of the Christ child, the love of Mary, the faithfulness of Joseph, the joy of the Angels, the wonder of the Shepherds, the wisdom of the Magi, and the Peace of God be with you this Christmastide. To anyone reading this who has a faith other than Christianity, may your God be with you at this time. To anyone reading this who does not have a religious faith, I wish you peace, health and happiness and hope you are refreshed by a wonderful holiday with the people you love. I will be posting some light-hearted items about Christmas in the 22nd to the 24th centuries over the next four days, starting later today.

Quote of the day Christmas Eve 2014

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" (Last line of "A visit from St Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore , more often known as  "  '​Twas the Night Before Christmas " from its' first line. The poem was first published anonymously in 1823, and later attributed to Moore, who acknowledged authorship some fifteen or twenty years after it was first published.)

Last chance to comment on proposed move of Whitehaven Lowther Street Post Office

The consultation closes at midnight tonight (23rd December 2014), on a proposal to move the Post Office at Lowther Street, Whitehaven to the W.H. Smith branch at King Street. Details of the proposed change can be found at (If you go to this page via the Post Office main site, the branch consultation code for this particular proposed change is 005410.) The main advantage for customers is extended opening hours at the weekend: it is proposed that the new Post Office branch at Smiths will be open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in addition to the current Saturday morning opening. The new branch is proposed to have four service positions, two screened and two open plan: that is supposed to be based on the current demand levels but strikes me as a bit light (the current post office has six screened positions, and although they are not usually all open I have seen more than four open at peak

Quote of the day 23rd December 2014

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”    ( Joseph Joubert )

Comments policy on this Blog

Since I switched off comment moderation on this blog more than a year ago, I have been given very little reason to regret that decision. Unfortunately in the last week I have had to remove three offensive posts. In the interest of free debate I often allow people to post here criticism of people I like and of decisions I agree with, but there are certain limits to what I will tolerate and one of them is that people's kids are off limits. Full stop. I know some people involved in politics make a big thing of their family but I have always tried to protect my children's privacy, which is why you will never find their photographs on my election literature. Nor have I ever gone after a political opponent on the basis of anything concerning their children. I know it happens, but I do not regard that particular tactic as part of legitimate political debate, whoever it comes from, and I will not have it on this blog, whoever does it, and regardless of whose children are being me

You can't watch this film ...

I suspect that the outcome of the attempt to by hackers to prevent publication of the satirical film "The Interview" may ultimately cause it to be seen by far more people who will seek out the film on principle to see what other people want to stop them watching. But the initial success of the people who wanted to censor the film is most depressing. It reminded me of some of the arguments in one of the most interesting and frightening books I've read recently, and the rest of this post is largely a repeat of the review of that book which I put on this blog shortly after reading it last year. " You Can't Read This Book " by Nick Cohen made a frightening case that censorship in the internet age is far more prevalent than most of us would like to think - and the one good thing about the row over "The Interview" is that the attempt to suppress it was so open that it may, I hope, have acted as a wake-up call about how those who want to censor and

Political logic

I came across an excellent piece yesterday on logical fallacies which are often found in political debate, which was on E. Magill's "Unapologetic Geek" blog here . It is called The Top 10 logical fallacies in politics and although it is obviously written about US politics all of these are also found in political debate in the UK.

Quote of the day 22nd December 2014

“A truth that's told with bad intent Beats all the lies you can invent.”    ( William Blake  )

Afterword to the Indyref ...

It is often impossible to be certain afterward who was right in a debate because you don't know what would have happened on "The Road Not Taken" but if I were a Scot who had voted "Yes" in the belief that this would be a recipe for a prosperous Scotland, I would be starting to be secretly glad to have been outvoted. It's been noted in a number of threads on this blog that the very low level of inflation is partly due to a fall in the price of oil, and hence fuel costs - and also that this, like a tax cut imposed on governments rather than enacted by them, has the effect of reducing tax revenues while improving the financial position of ordinary consumers. This changes some of the sums, and I have just been watching a discussion on the news about one particular set of sums which have started to pretty seriously unravel - the SNP case on the financial stability of an Independent Scotland would have been damaged by oil prices at their present level and shot

Quote of the day 21st December 2014

“There is no point in using the word 'impossible' to describe something that has clearly happened.”    ( Douglas Adams  )

Helping older people find work

There is rightly a lot of concern about youth unemployment, but people at the other end of the working age spectrum need jobs too. That's why the government is launching a trial scheme next year to help older people find work. Unemployed over-50s will be offered "career reviews" and help using computers as part of plans to get more people in that age group into work. The trial will also include seven "older worker champions" across the UK. An estimated 1.2 million over-50s are unemployed and "willing to work" - and if they all found jobs it would add £50bn to the economy. Employment Minister Esther McVey pointed out that it is wrong that so many skilled people are "locked out" of work. Long-term unemployment in the wider population fell 16% in the past year - but joblessness among the over 50s fell by only 3.5%. The trial, to be launched in April, will include training in CV and interview skills, the internet and social med

PC Neil Doyle RIP

Police Constable Neil Doyle was murdered while off duty this week. It is not yet certain why he was attacked, but he was one of three off-duty police officers who were attacked while they were on a Christmas night out together in plain clothes. One of the lines of inquiry for those investigating the murder is that they were attacked because they had been recognised as policemen. PC Doyle's murder is therefore a reminder to us all of the risks taken and sacrifices made on our behalf  by the police officers who protect us. Neil Doyle had been married in July and had been due to go on  honeymoon with his new wife next month. He had joined Merseyside Police in May 2004, and was an operational officer who was described as "well liked and respected by his colleagues." Most of his time working as a police officer had been spent in Liverpool, and he had been commended for his actions when arresting three men in a "violent offensive robbery" Merseyside Police

Quote of the day 20th December 2014

"He would, wouldn't he?" (Mandy Rice-Davies, who died yesterday. This was of course the riposte she gave from the witness box in 1963, when still a teenager, for which she is best remembered, when told that a prominent politician had denied sleeping with her. The response is still referred to today, sometimes using the abbreviation MRDA for "Mandy Rice-Davies applies")

Mad Friday - don't overdo it

I've just seen Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes, on TV on the streets of Whitehaven with the local police as part of a message reminding people not to overdo their celebrations today. Of course people can and should enjoy themselves on finishing work at the start of the last weekend before Christmas. But let's remember that our A&E services are already working flat out at the moment because of the time of year and under more pressure than at any time since weekly records started. So don't unnecessarily become one of their customers!

Inflation falls to 12-year low

Figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics show that on the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure, the UK's rate of inflation has fallen to a 12-year low. The Consumer Prices Index,which assesses the cost of basic household goods - fell to a rate of 1% in November from 1.3% in October. Inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index, while slightly higher than on the CPI measure, also fell to the lowest value of that index for several years, in this case from 2.3% to a five-year low of 2% . The Office for National Statistics said falling fuel prices, caused by the decline in global oil prices, have brought the costs of both road and air travel down, with petrol prices down 5.9% in November. Additionally, food prices fell by 1.7%, helped by supermarket price wars, while recreation and culture prices fell by 0.3%. Both food and fuel account for a large part of the ONS' inflation calculations. The Bank of England, which has been set a ta

Quotes of the day 19th December 2014

"A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them." (John C Maxwell) "I am humble enough to recognise that I have made mistakes, but politically astute enough to have forgotten what they are." (Michael Heseltine 04/04/1992 and see also the comment thread on Tuesday 16th December's Quote of the Day)  

William Hague predicts the 2015 election will be close (and I agree!)

William Hague writes ...   "We know next year's election is going to be close. The other parties have already started eyeing up cosy deals: Nigel Farage has said he'd prop up Ed Miliband as Prime Minister The Scottish National Party have drawn up a shopping list of demands in return for a deal with Labour And the Greens have promised to "push Labour to be truer to its original principle" if they join with Ed Miliband One thing's clear: we need to make sure Britain avoids the chaos and uncertainty of a Labour-led coalition government - and we need your help to do so. A group of supporters have promised to match any donation you make today - so please donate to our campaign and your contribution will be doubled. Britain needs strong and stable leadership and a clear economic plan to secure a better future. Only the Conservatives can deliver that. Make a donation to our campaign today - and your donation will be matched, pound for pound,

Quote of the day 18th December 2014

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination" (Nelson Mandela)

Quotes of the day 17th December 2014

"Beware of false knowledge, it is more dangerous than ignorance" (George Bernard Shaw) "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so ." (The same statement in rather earthier language which  I have seen variously attributed to three 19th-century American humourists: Mark Twain,  Will Rogers and Josh Billings, among others.)

DC writes about the importance of small businesses

This is a statement the Prime Minister issued for Small Business Saturday last week    Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy - and they make our communities stronger. The hard work of those who run them and work for them - the early starts and the late finishes - helps create jobs for others, while providing the goods and services every neighbourhood needs. The Conservatives are backing small businesses every way we can: lower taxes, better infrastructure, less red tape. Small Business Saturday is our chance to say thank you to the pubs, plumbers, butchers, garages, cafes and other businesses that are the backbone of our communities. So please - share this graphic on Facebook and Twitter and say thank you to the small businesses in your area.       Yours, David Cameron

Quote of the day 16th December 2014

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." (Walt Whitman)   (Quoted as an answer to any attentive reader who may have noticed that the quotes I have put down on success and failure over the last fortnight represent different views and do not always perfectly align.)    

The choice at the next election: competence or chaos

David Cameron writes:   "There is a simple choice at the next election: between competence and chaos. With our long-term economic plan, you get competence. Sound public finances and reducing the deficit are at the heart of our plan. Today we have published a new Charter for Budget Responsibility, which makes clear our commitment to making £30 billion of savings in the first two years of the next Parliament. We have already cut the deficit in half - and now we have set out clear steps to finish the job. And a Conservative Government will run a budget surplus by 2018/19. It is vital we see our plan through - so please add your name today to back the action we're taking to build a stronger, healthier economy. Continuing to borrow more indefinitely, to pile on the debt, would leave Britain completely unprepared should any crisis hit in the future. But that is exactly what Labour would do. Their plans involve running a budget deficit - permanently adding to

Coming clean about torture

Senator John McCain probably knows more than the rest of the US Senate put together about severe methods of interrogation, having been on the receiving end himself when he was a prisoner of war. He described the interrogation methods used by the CIA and described in the recent Senate report as a stain on the honour of America. Let's be clear about this - torture has no place in any stage of bringing the guilty to justice. And although there must be a temptation to use extreme methods in interrogating a prisoner who you believe might have information which could save many innocent lives, the evidence that torture actually works even in this case is extremely limited. No civilised country should use this sort of tactics or condone them - and I do wonder how much the Blair government knew about what was happening. There is a case for an inquiry into whether any British agencies were involved. But I do think that the US system deserves some credit for the transparency with which th

Quote of the day 15th Decembver 2014

"A state without the means of some change is without the means of its' conservation" (Edmund Burke)

Cumbrian School highlighted in OFSTED report

Keswick School in Cumbria was included as a case study of outstanding practice in Ofsted’s annual report for 2013-14 which was published last week. This annual report receives national media attention and indicates the state of primary and secondary education across the UK. Keswick School is the second case study in the report (p18) and features as an example of how curriculum design and enrichment opportunities can result in outstanding outcomes for young people. The report states: "Case study: a balanced curriculum Keswick School in the North West offers a fantastic wealth of courses, visits and enrichment opportunities. The curriculum ensures that pupils’ skills and talents are equally encouraged in activities that range from fell running to Russian and creative writing to catering. Any student who has an idea for a course, a club or a school visit is given every encouragement to make their idea become a reality. The sixth form curriculum is excellent. Sixth formers

Quote of the day 14th December 2014

“There are no secrets to success: don’t waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence.”    ( Colin Powell  )

Are you a British Citizen living abroad ?

A significant minority of the traffic on this blog come from outside the United Kingdom: I suspect that some of these viewers  may be British people living or working outside the UK who were searching for news of home. If you are a British citizen currently living abroad, have you registered to vote in Britain? The next election is the most important in a generation - and it's vital that everyone who can vote gets behind the Conservative plans to secure a better future for Britain. And if you are planning to return home, it's your future too. Of the 5 million British people living abroad, virtually none are registered to vote - despite the fact it's now really simple to do online. In fact, it only takes 5 minutes to sign up for a postal vote. So if you might be eligible to vote, you can check and register to do so by following  this link: The one thing academic experts and people on every party of the political spectrum agree on is

Campaigning in Carlisle

Spent this morning in Dalston ward, Carlisle constituency with John Stevenson MP and his campaign team, and my colleagues from Cumbria Conservatives' Area Management Executive. We then had a very interesting seminar on membership presented by Rob Semple, who as President of the National Conservative Convention was the chairman of this year's party conference.

Quote of the day 13th December 2014

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”   ( George Bernard Shaw  )

Travel Troubles

Have been travelling round the country for the past three days. I was working in Birmingham for my employer on Wednesday, and then travelled down to the Bristol area last night for a meeting of Bristol University Court (of which I am a member) this morning. In both cases the journey out went without a hitch and the journey home was stressful. My trip to Birmingham on Wednesday morning took the expected four hours and I arrived in good time but because wind brought a tree down on the railway power cables near Lancaster, effectively closing the Northbound West West Coast Main line for several hours at that point, my journey home took eight hours instead of four and I was one of thousands of people who had a badly disrupted journey. Similarly the trip down to Bristol went smoothly despite some very wet weather but the M5 and M6 were dire this afternoon and evening and I arrived home rather later than I had hoped and planned. Those who oppose HS2 and HS3 are entitled to their views and

Quote of the day 12th December 2014

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”    ( Winston S. Churchill  )

Quote of the day 11th December 2014

“The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it.”    ( Criss Jami  )

Quote of the day 10th December 2014

“I can't tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”    ( Ed Sheeran )

Consultation on proposed move of Whitehaven Lowther Street Post Office

The post office is carrying out a consultation, which runs until 23rd December 2014, on a proposal to move the Crown post office at Lowther Street, Whitehaven to the W.H. Smith branch at King Street. Details of the proposed change can be found at (If you go to this page via the Post Office main site, the branch consultation code for this particular proposed change is 005410.) The main advantage for customers is extended opening hours at the weekend: it is proposed that the new Post Office branch at Smiths will be open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in addition to the current Saturday morning opening. The new branch is proposed to have four service positions, two screened and two open plan: that is supposed to be based on the current demand levels but strikes me as a bit light (the current post office has six screened positions, and although they are not usually all open I have seen mor

Quote of the day 9th December 2014

“Never was anything great achieved without danger.”    ( Niccolò Machiavelli )

Hail Caesar (and snow and rain)

Well, the boys and girls at the Met Office who issued that snow and ice warning for Cumbria were not kidding. It hasn't been quite so bad in Whitehaven after a severe hailstorm shortly before 8am this morning, but if you are out and about in Cumbria today do wrap up warmly and take care.

Doing a Thornberry

It occurred to me after one of yesterday's posts that I have now used the expression of "Doing a Thornberry" on someone in two separate posts without making clear what I meant. The extraordinary thing about the tweet which terminated Emily Thornberry's membership of the shadow cabinet was that it appeared at first view entirely harmless, and it was the way it was subsequently presented that was so disastrous for her. I had to spend ten minutes explaining to one of my family, who is not lacking in political awareness, why a picture of a house with the three word caption "Image from #Rochester" could possibly be a resigning matter. And of course, if Labour still had the sort of efficient spin operation which Campbell and Mandelson ran for Blair, it wouldn't have been. The tweet was so damaging to Labour because their opponents in the press and on the net were able to convince many people that the tweet was a coded sneer against the sort of working cl

Quote of the day 8th December 2014

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”    ( Winston S. Churchill  )

Hitler/Alex Salmond finds out the result of the Scottish Indyref

Having posted the brilliant "I won't survive" parody by Adrian Davis-Johnston about the need to keep West Cumberland Hospital, and the "We Want Out Hall" parody about the Civic, I thought I might also post the "Downfall" parody in which Hitler invades Whitehaven and is horrified to find out that Copeland Council have shut down the Civic Hall, the public toilets, etc ... I didn't feel able to post it on this blog because it would make it too easy for someone to do a Thornberry on me. If you took some of the things in the "Hitler invades Whitehaven" downfall parody on Youtube out of context, and suggested that by posting it I had endorsed them, it would then be possible to make it look like I'd crossed the line between criticising the Labour group on Copeland Council and insulting Whitehaven. But I also found this Downfall parody which it seemed rather appropriate on the weekend that Alex Salmond is planning to stand again as an MP.

Winter is icumin in ...

Warp up warm if you're going out anywhere in West Cumbria tonight or tomorrow morning: it has been very cold and windy this weekend and there is a Met Office snow and ice warning for Cumbria this evening and tomorrow morning as follows From: 2030 on Sun 7 December To: 1200 on Mon 8 December Updated 1 hour ago Active Warning Showers will affect the area during Sunday night and into Monday morning, falling increasingly as snow above 200-300 m with a mixture of rain, hail, sleet and snow to lower levels. Accumulating snow may lead to travel disruption on routes over high ground, whilst icy stretches are also likely to form more generally on untreated surfaces. The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel during Sunday n

Quote of the day 7th December 2014

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”    ( Robert F. Kennedy  )

How Ed Miliband has broken his own rules of leadership

A Youtube clip about the Labour "leader" and  how he did not manage to live up to his own words ...

Quote of the day 6th November 2014

“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.”    ( Salvador Dalí  )

Alphabetical discrimination

Obviously with a surname beginning with "W" I have to declare an interest here, but I am becoming increasingly convinced that names should be ordered on ballot papers in random order rather than alphabetically and that the continued use of alphabetical order is a form of discrimination. The BBC web site currently has a report up on the book "Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box" which you can read in full at and which includes the following: "Voters don't read to the bottom of the ballot paper Research into local election results shows candidates with surnames beginning with A to F gain an advantage by appearing at the top of the ballot paper. Some voters cannot be bothered to read to the end it seems. Candidates with British surnames also do better." It is ridiculous that some people who take the trouble to vote at all cannot be bothered to do it properly, but having spent two-thirds of my li

If you get an email like this, it's from a fraudster, not BT

There are times when I think our ancestors had some good ideas about the public humiliation of malefactors: putting convicted internet fraudsters in the stocks and allowing people to throw soft but unpleasant things at them strikes me as a much better idea than a short prison term or a fine. If you get an email like the one below, it is not from BT, it is from someone who wants to rob you. And don't put  into your address book, these people are using a "spoof" address. Subject: We were unable to process your last payment of bill To make sure emails from BT go into your inbox and not the junk folder, add to your address book.     We were unable   to process your last payment of bill!     Dear Sir/Madam,     This e-mail has been sent to you by BT to inform you that we were unable to process your last payment of bill.     This might be due to

Quote of the day 5th December 2014

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”    ( Albert Einstein  )

Jeremy Thorpe RIP

Jeremy Thorpe, former leader of the Liberal Party, has died at the age of 85. Regardless of what you thought of his opinions, he was a politician of enormous talents, charisma and stature. He was brought down by a series of allegations of which, when they were put to a court, he was acquitted on all charges. Yet these unproven allegations were sufficient to destroy his parliamentary career. A quarter of a century after Thorpe ceased to be MP for North Devon I had occasion to speak to some of the officers of the Conservative Association in the constituency. I was told that at that time  Jeremy Thorpe was still one of the most respected and influential figures in that community. We like to believe that we operate in Britain on  the principle that a man (or woman) is innocent until proven guilty. I wonder if what happened to Jeremy Thorpe demonstrates that we do not understand that principle as well as we think we do. The usual rules for Obit posts apply to comments on this arti