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Westminster View - February 2018

February. Six months packed into twenty-eight days. Gender wars at the BBC, little black `protest` dresses at the BAFTA`s, motorsport drops `pit girls` and professional darts drops the darts girls. The Crown Prosecution Service and the Judiciary are in disarray over “sex trials” and  the “aid-for-sex” scandal continues to rock Britain`s charities to their foundations the  but from  the Winter Olympics in South Korea  Lizzie Yarnold brings home the gold. The Commons explores voting by proxy for parents on `baby leave` and votes to vacate  the Palace of Westminster to accommodate seven years and squillions of pounds worth of asbestos removal, re-wiring and plumbing and other essential repairs. The new and first female Black Rod, Sarah Clarke, will presumably at some point have to preside over her office from the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre across Parliament Square. Prince Charles says that plastic is a nightmare and Brexit emerges as more of a nightmare by the minute. The Cabinet meets at Chequers to agree a united front while die-hard Remainers and head-banging Leavers do their best, aided and abetted by Red Jerry Corbyn, to undermine any possible negotiating position that the UK might take.  Mr. Gerry Adams stands aside after thirty-four years as the Leader of Sinn Fein, the Irish Border has replaced the Midlothian Question as the perennial political conundrum but The Tramp has no problem with the State of his Union.  Extending an open mid-term election hand to America`s Democrats the temporary occupant of The White House reminds the world of the flawless brilliance of his first year in office. So flawless that he appoints a manager to run his second Presidential election campaign. He also tweets his blundering way into a row over our National Health Service with as much tact as a man telling a young Mother that her baby is ugly.  `Auntie May` visits China , Mutti Merkel is still trying  to cobble together a Far-Right resistant  coalition,  The Spice Girls threaten a reunion  and remind us that one hundred years ago `What I wanted, what I really really wanted`, and got,  was votes for at least some  women . Mr. Plod tramples over some happy immigrant flower-pickers in Cornwall, Wills and Harry end up on the cutting room floor, “Small Earthquake, Not Many People Killed” is the South Wales headline, the ANC`s Jacob Zuma jumps before he is pushed and UKIP`s Fuhrer Henry Bolton is pushed because he will not jump. In Florida yet another high school massacre puts the National Rifle Association on the rack and a Draft-avoiding  American Commander-in-Chief says that he would have gone into the afore-mentioned high school unarmed and, presumably, strangled the crazed gunman with his bare tiny hands.  The House of Commons grants a second reading to an organ donors` measure and to “Shindler`s  Bill” which is the vehicle by which we hope to give ex-pat UK citizens votes in the Motherland for life. That bill, however, has a very bumpy road ahead before we can open the Prosciutto Cava.  As the curtain falls on February former Prime Minister John Major takes a pin out of a grenade and lobs it into the Brexit debate, demanding a ”free” (unwhipped) Commons vote and possible second referendum on any deal is agreed with Europe.  Major John will defend the Good Friday Agreement, which afforded others much credit for but which he paved the way, to the last. The ghost of Roger Casement will not come knocking at his door within or out with any European Union.

There was also some snow and the United Kingdom, as is our custom, shut for the duration


The centenary of the granting of the right of at least some women to vote has been celebrated in a myriad of ways this month.  The Suffragettes and their more docile supporters may, on the back of a respect hard-earned during the First World War, have won the franchise but the struggle for equality and pay, particularly within the Salford Broadcasting Corporation, shows no sign of abating. The BBC Ladies are en marche as Lord (Tony) Hall, the Beeb`s Director General, discovered when hauled before a Commons Select Committee.


The Home Secretary, `Forever` Amber Rudd, has found herself faced with another difficult decision: to grant or not to grant a posthumous pardon to convicted Suffragettes or Suffragists. On the one hand there is a natural and widely-supported (by Scotland`s formidable Ruth Davidson, for example)  desire to recognise the achievements of some very brave and determined women but on the other hand can the lady responsible for the oversight  of law and order be seen to condone acts of violence, arson and the like? The answer, in the end, was “no”.


The question of harassment is never far from the House of Commons.  My friend and colleague Charlie Elphicke, the Member of Parliament for Dover , has had the Conservative Party `whip` (membership of the parliamentary Party)  taken away from him and is currently forced to sit as an independent because he has been the subject of an accusation which may or may not have any sexual implications. He has been reported to the Metropolitan Police (that organisation that took two years to not bring any charges in respect of the late and former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan and former head of the Armed Forces Field Marshall Lord Bramall) who have instructed that Charlie cannot be told who has laid a complaint against him or what he is accused of. “Rung out and hung up to dry” is the phrase that springs to mind. Meanwhile a Labour MP is promoting the cause of “equality training” for Members while others, including the Leader of the House ( “This is a Big Day for Parliament”)  are seeking to introduce new measures to prevent harassment, facilitate ”whistle-blowers”, provide anonymity to complainants and the like.  I hold no brief for those who treat employees, male or female, badly or abuse positions of what in the case of a despicable few passes for `power` but frankly anyone who needs `equality training` or any of the other proposed `solutions` ought not to be in the job in the first place.  In the meantime, in the febrile post-Weinstein climate that currently prevails, Charlie Elphicke or, there but for the grace of God any one of us male or female, is potentially subject to unfounded accusation without recourse to justice. The Mandy Rice Davies defence, “Well he would say that wouldn`t he”  lays an MP  who has, perhaps, had occasion to dismiss an employee for malpractice such as a breach of the confidence upon which we all have to rely, wide open to malicious claims of impropriety.  We need common sense and decent behaviour, not a witch-finder`s charter, if anyone other than the dull, rich and terminally  stupid will in the future want to stand for parliament.


We are also told, in this centenary year of women’s` rights,  that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Cressida Dick, is having to take officers off the beat to review the evidence in rape cases. This is in the wake of a number of failed hearings of allegations during which the prosecution was found to have failed to disclose evidence that would have cleared the accused before a case ever reached the courts. It raises, again, the question of what constitutes `consent` and must leave some young men and, in this day and age, young women, how they are ever likely to be able to get around to dating and mating. Rape is one of the most terrible of crimes. Flirting has never, until now, fallen into the same category and in the words that one old roué  used to sing, “I`m Glad I`m Not Young Any More`”.


On a brighter note the Pyongyang Winter Olympics may go down in history as the time when sport brought the World back from the brink of nuclear conflict and, notwithstanding the most  crass efforts of The Tramp, began a thaw between North and South Korea.  That the Young  Un sent his sister, Kim Yo-jong, as his emissary to the games in support of his national team was read as good news. Whether that gesture will have any lasting effect only time and the `diplomacy` of the United States will tell but it was  at the very least a welcome detour in the route to hell in a handcart.  From a British perspective the games belonged to Lizzie Yarnold.  The Brits hit their best target of five medals and but from some cruel twists of fate might have done better still. “If only” is an easy game to play but  to watch as the speed skater Elise Christie from Scotland first crashed and severely injured herself and then fought back and with a damaged ankle, participated in the 1000 metre short-track finals only to be disqualified was cruel. Sports life is hard but her raw courage deserved better and the next winter games are a long four years away. We can only hope that she will be back for a luckier third time.

And so it was left to the  twenty-nine year old lady from Kent, Lizzie,  to defend her Olympic Championship in the women`s skeleton #2 competition, and, sliding downhill on a tea-tray, become the first Briton to retain a winter Olympic title and gold medal while her team-mate, Laura Deas, took the bronze. As she said after the event it was “the stuff of dreams” and, she might have added, of guts and determination.


Somewhere, over the Rainbow, there will come a day when the `B` word does not dominate the news and parliament.  For the moment, though, and at a time when what is happening in Syria and the plight of the Rohingyas and the global damage caused to marine life by plastics and a myriad of other matters that are universally really important ought to be receiving our attention Brexit and the European Union and all of its machinations constitute the elephant that is taking up a disproportionate amount of space in the room.


My notes remind me that at the start of the month our position was that freedom of movement, which defined as `immigration` was the key reason for votes to leave, `Will end on Brexit Day in March 2019”.Post-Brexit immigration plans have been `watered down` to a reduction of forty thousand and at the same time we are told that net migration will soon fall to ` below one hundred thousand from the EU` which does not, of course, reflect the influx of other foreign nationals that have always been within Britain`s ability to regulate. .In fact EU migration has fallen dramatically and there is a very real concern that agriculture, retail and hospitality trades and essential services will soon be seriously understaffed.  The Home Affairs Select Committee says that “UK Borders are not ready for Brexit” although why this should be so, given that we are already outside Schengen and impose pretty stringent (by European standards) frontier checks is not made clear. That Brexiteers` darling Mr Mogg, who it is said is the shop steward for some sixty-two back-bench Conservative MPs has sent a letter of instruction to the Prime Minister issuing a `warning` over the future of the Customs Union, which is the battleground of the month, and the Single Market.  Mr. Mogg and friends have yet to grasp that if The Darling Bud is unseated and if the Government falls then there will be no Conservative administration and, very possibly, no Brexit at all.  Which is not quite what they and a majority of the British people thought that they were voting for. Mr Mogg, it is said, has ambitions to lead the Conservative Party as Prime Minister.   Were that to happen then Mr Damian Green and Ms Anna Soubry have indicated that they would leave the Conservative Party and it is possible that they might find themselves at the back of an orderly queue.


The EU has nearly forty new laws that it seeks to impose upon Britain before we leave the Union which has made for some no doubt interesting conversations between the Old Knuckleduster, David Davis, and M. Barnier as they meet in Downing Street and Brussels. That, and other issues have led Davis to accuse Barnier of `bad faith` over arrangements for a transition period following Brexit. That transition is, of course, necessary if we are to avoid the `cliff edge` departure that business, particularly, fears.  Far from being `side-lined` as the press keep telling us Chancellor Hammond has conducted a charm offensive on the European mainland while the Prime Minister, Trade Secretary Fox, Brexit Secretary Davis and the Foreign Secretary, Mayor Boris, have all made major speeches designed to nail colours to the various masts of the Great British Schooner.  Boris, a loose cannon rolling around the deck, has said that there will `no EU laws adopted by GB post-Brexit` and insists that March 2019 is a `red line` beyond which the writ of Brussels will not run.  This is Mayor Boris in, we are asked to believe, in `conciliatory mode`. An attempt to build metaphorical if not literal bridges between the British Isles and Mainland Europe and  not ”A V-sign from the White Cliffs of Dover”.  Tone and language are important, of course, and we are assured that M. Barnier did not really mean that he intended to `punish` Britain for the effrontery in seeking to divorce from the EU.  Indeed, he was obliged to apologise for that miss-understanding.  Which is why, no doubt, the EU`s Brexit Co-Ordinator,

Mynheer Guy Verhofstadt, has said that there `will be no trade deal before Brexit` by way of clarification.


That would be the same Mr. Verhofstadt who also avers that Northern Ireland must, post-Brexit, sign up to EU rules and jurisdiction. The Irish border issue is, of course, one of the sticking points. A `red line` if ever there was one. The Commission are seeking to place a very different construction upon the matter from the line taken in the `First Round` agreement reached before Christmas and are, some would say shamefully, seeking to dangerously  exploit The Good Friday Agreement to frustrate Brexit. It is clear that, notwithstanding a leaked letter from Mayor Boris hinting at a hard border with the Republic, the Prime Minister and most if not all of the majority of Conservative Members of Parliament who support her, will not countenance border controls that could compromise peace in Northern Ireland or the Union of the Kingdom. The way forward is not yet clear because the Commission does not want to create a precedent but a solution must be found and agreed if a workable final settlement is to be agreed. Europe is never backward in reminding Britain that the final deal has to be agreed by the twenty seven States of the European Union. The unelected bureaucrats in Brussels would do well to remember that it also has to be agreed by Great Britain and Northern Ireland .


So far as Her Majesty`s Government is concerned continued membership of the Single Market or of Customs Union in its present form is not on the cards. Whatever secret deals Comrade ` I was not a collaborator with Russia` Corbyn may have sought to strike with M.Barnier behind the backs of those seeking to negotiate for Britain there is much Cabinet unity over that issue.  Commentators who have suggested that the Cabinet is `a million miles from a Brexit deal` are themselves a million miles from reporting anything resembling the truth.  There remain, of course, differences of opinion but it is clear  that from  the `Brexit War Cabinet` meeting convened at Chequers in preparation for her early March speech defining the UK`s position the Prime Minister emerged in command and some would say victorious. It would be wrong to believe that Red Jerry has the totality of his own Party behind him in seeking  to retain `not” the” but “a” customs union` that would restrict British trade deals with non EU- countries or that the EU itself does not face internal divisions over the future shape, post-Brexit, of the `European Project`. There are many within the fractured coalition of the twenty-seven remaining States that recognise the meddlesome, bureaucratic, spendthrift and arguably corrupt organisation of which they are a part and would like to see fundamental change in the structure and direction of the EU.  The Prime Minister now has to persuade the heads of those twenty seven other Member States who, whisper it softly, are collectively rather more important than Messrs Barnier, Druncker, Verhofstadt and Tusk, that the true future of European interest lies in mutual co-operation rather than confrontation.  In signalling the introduction of a European Security Bill in the near future  she has sent out a clear signal about the importance of our mutual interests and underscored an issue that was given less-than-adequate attention during the Referendum debate. The world is a very dangerous place and we hang together with the wider Europe or we hang separately.


The Tramp`s contribution to security depends, I suppose on your political orientation and point of view. His self-congratulatory State of the Union address went down well with acolytes but his opponents, to whom he sought to extend the tiny hand of consensus, were less impressed. Not that one should judge his reception by the expressed sentiments of Congressman Joe Kennedy of that Ilk. It was unwise, perhaps, for the President of the United States to tweet, from a position of what might unkindly be dubbed `pig ignorance`, criticism of a British National Health Service that, for all its shortcomings, is still regarded with envy by much of the developed world. To be sure, The Tramp is still sore about his difficulties in unscrambling Obamacare but beams and motes do spring to mind.  And talking of rank hypocrisy it might just not have been a good idea to remind his nation of his Vietnam War draft-avoidance by suggesting, having criticised a law-enforcement officer who failed to intervene during the Florida High School massacre, that he, The Commander-In-Chief, would have gone unarmed to the rescue.  Later suggestions that school teachers should be encouraged to carry concealed weapons to help to protect themselves and their young charges were treated with the derision that they deserved.  Some good may yet come from this appalling crime. It looks as though for the first time there is a real awareness of the fact that the National Rifle Association, with whose assistance The Tramp was of course elected, might just not have a God-given right to bear arms on their side. Whether that awareness leads to a change in the law is a very moot point but perhaps those on The Hill may take the view that too many young Americans have died in school shootings for the present supply of weapons to the deranged to be allowed to continue. In the meantime the C-in-C may wish to re-visit his aspiration to hold a French or Neo-Soviet-style display of military might on  November 11th, Veteran`s Day. No doubt Joe Pasquale, freshly appointed as The Tramp`s Campaign Director for the 2020 Presidential election may have some views on the matter.


In other news the repercussions of the “Aid for Sex” scandal that has rocked Oxfam continue to impact upon that and other charities engaged in disaster and famine relief overseas. .Mark Goldring, Oxfam`s current CEO , facing Select Committee , Charity Commission and Ministerial questions, has written by way of apology for his organisation`s shortcomings to, I believe, every Member of Parliament. There is not only £32 million of Overseas Aid funding at stake but, more importantly, the reputation of what has hitherto been seen as a major and reputable, if politicised, player in the relief of poverty and hardship. The former Secretary of State for Overseas Aid, Priti Patel, has hinted at a `cover up` of abuse which does slightly beg the question about what remedial action was or was not taken on her watch  but heads have to roll and Penny Lawrence, Oxfam`s Deputy CEO resigns following allegations that warnings were ignored. The suggestion that to ban the use of prostitutes by aid workers would `interfere with their civil liberties` does not cut much ice even though Oxfam`s manual, which I concede have not read personally, apparently says that  the engagement of the services of local sex-workers is `strongly discouraged.  Crass though all of this may seem there is another real concern.  As one who has chaired the Board of Trustees of a charity working  (with the welfare of working animals) I am satisfied that the overwhelming majority of those operating , literally, in the field are dedicated, determined and not infrequently courageous in placing their own lives and wellbeing on the line to help some of the most disadvantaged people , and their livestock, in the world.  It would be a tragedy if a few very rotten apples in the barrel were used as an excuse to reduce our overseas aid budget or to damage the interests of and assistance offered to those in desperate need of food, clothing, fresh water, education and medical care. We need to remember that there is a starving baby that must not be thrown out with the dirty bathwater.






I do not wish to intrude upon private grief but it looks very much as though we shall soon be mourning, or otherwise, the passing of the United Kingdom Independence Party. Following his liaison with a young  lady , Jo Marney, and the resignation of the Party Chairman Paul Oakden, UKIP`s sixth leader in eighteen months, Mr. Henry Bolton, suffered the loss of a vote of confidence by 867 votes to 500. This leaves the soon to be, post-Brexit, ex-MEP Gerard Batten as the acting Chairman while former Leader and failed Parliamentary candidate Mr. Farridge suggests that his Party is collapsing.  It is hard to see under these circumstances and unless the Brexit process fails or is hijacked by a resurgent Momentum-driven  Labour Party, how what was ever little more than a pressure group can serve any future political purpose.


The Kentucky Fried Chicken Chain this month found itself embarrassingly sans chicken following the award of its contract for supply to the DHL courier service.  Apparently some forty-two per cent of the population of the United Kingdom enjoy the services of the company and the temporary closure of KF`s chickenless outlets led to distraught 999 emergency calls to the constabulary. Mr Plod was forced to tell hysterical and starving fowl-deprived would-be diners that “Fried Chicken is not a police matter”.


The Royal Welsh  Fusiliers have been given the run-around by Shenkin IV, the battalion`s replacement regimental goat. The wild mascot, adopted since the 1770s Battle of Bunker Hill, initially resisted  capture but is now safe in the custody of Goat Major Mark Jackson.


Also on the loose was a tiger, spotted (or more properly striped) by twenty-four year old Bruce Gubb in a shed full of pregnant cows. A forty-five minute stand-off with armed police marksmen ended with the embarrassing realisation that the dangerous feline was in fact a life-size stuffed toy.


The Animal Rights pressure group PETA has requested that young audiences viewing a live performance of Peppa Pig at Kent`s Canterbury Marlowe Theatre should be offered vegan or pant-based snack in lieu of ham sandwiches and sausage rolls.


The Eurovision song winner Sandie “Puppet On A String” Shaw (trademark bare feet and produced by  Terry Nellums, aka Adam Faith) has been awarded the MBE. The hit single was released in 1967 and Sandie is now seventy. Patience has its reward.


The Christian Bishop of Wolverhampton, Dr Clive Gregory, has objected to the installation of a blue “Lived Here ”plaque to recognise the home of the town`s one-time MP Enoch Powell, sadly mainly remembered not for his powerful intellect but for the miss-titled “Rivers of Blood” speech  delivered during Ted Heath`s government. ”The City`s harmony” says the Reverend Doctor “owes nothing to Powell”. A little greater research might have revealed that his Country in fact owed Enoch a great deal.


Schools in Minnesota have banned the Pulitzer prize-winning publications “To Kill A Mockingbird” (Harper Lee) and “Huckleberry Finn” (Mark Twain) as `anti-racist` measures on the grounds that the books are “hurtful”.  Good to know that the re-writing of history and censorship are thriving in The Land of the Free.


Kim Campbell, Canada`s first female Premier (1993) has opined that female TV newsreaders should not wear short sleeves. The newsreaders have responded claiming, in true North American style, “The right to bare arms”.


Villagers in Odiham, Hampshire, have been prevented from renovating the village war memorial ahead the World War One centenary. The Royal British Legion`s VC slab has been listed by Historic England and now requires Listed Building Consent .This means that `the owner must be told` and the name of the `owner` is not known. Those that gave their lives in the Great War did not do so, surely, in defence of red tape.


Many of the female `actors` attending the BAFTA ceremony (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) wore suitably revealing little black numbers in recognition of the “Time`s Up” anti-harassment movement.  The Duchess of Cambridge, avoiding endorsement and political controversy, suitably wore stunning but demure dark green.


Meanwhile the Duke of Cambridge and his Brother, Prince Harry, ended up on the cutting room floor of the latest “Star Wars” Movie, “The Last of The Jedi”.  The Princes were filmed as Stormtroopers but at 6`2 inches and 6`1 inch respectively the pair were too tall. The approved height for a Stormtrooper is a paltry 5`11 inches.


Fairmile Grange, a residential home for the elderly in Christchurch (which used to be in Hampshire but is now described as Dorset) was looking for “something different” to entertain their residents. Local Councillors inevitably condemned the hiring of Pole Dancers performing to 60`s music as “inappropriate” but the enlightened regulator, the Care Quality Commission, adjudicated that “the clients were given a choice” and that the young ladies were “appropriately dressed” in gymnastic clothing – possibly to the chagrin of some of the more red-blooded clients.


Her Maj had hoped to install an eco-friendly hydro-electric plant to serve the residence at Balmoral and a bit more besides. The project is now on the back-burner because, it is feared, the noise of the generators might disturb the resident badgers, otters and red squirrels.


The church of St James the Great in Barrow, Cumberland, , mindful of noise pollution, has commissioned an eight-bell simulator, complete with silent clappers and headphones, to enable environmentally friendly campanologists to learn their skills without the usual amateur cacophony that annoys the neighbours as the bells are `rung down`.


A campaign has been launched to reinstate the pint wine bottle, banned by Brussels in favour of the meagre 75 centilitre version in 1973. Next move to bring back the ` Quart of London` for serious imbibers. The Quart measure of alcohol is recorded in the Magna Carta so the Norman Barons clearly did not like short measures.


And talking of Normandy the French commune  of Le Molay  Littry tried to dump the Devon village of Bovey Tracey as its partner in jumelage in favour of the racier and more francophone Theydon Bois in Essex.  The good burghers of Molay Littry have, we are told now relented and agreed to a three-way twinning. Or ménage a trois.




Johann Johannsson, the author  of “The Theory of Everything”  has become part of history at just forty-eight years of age.


Vic Damone, who scored a UK Number one hit with “On the Street Where You Live” in 1958 has crooned his last at eighty nine. The singer eschewed `Rock `n Roll`  and after fifties successes with Gigi and Ebbtide spent forty years of his career on the nightclub circuit.


The Leader of the  Movement for Democratic  Change , Zimbabwe`s 1999  largely Shona  Opposition, has succumbed to cancer. He was nearly thirty years younger than his country`s 93-year old elected dictator, Robert Mugabe.


Kenneth Haigh (86) created the part of Jimmy Porter  .in John Osborne`s “Look Back in Anger” , directed by Tony Richardson ,  London`s Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square in 1956. In 1960 he appeared as Caligula on Broadway  before joining the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company at The Aldwych to play Mark Antony in Julius Caesar in 1962


Ruud Lubbers (78) was the Dutch Prime Minister who, as the President of the EU Council of Ministers, was behind the Maastricht Treaty.. Former British Prime Minister John Major, who had the difficult task of piloting the Treaty legislation through the House of Commons, described Lubbers as “A gentleman and well-informed”.


The mass evangelist Billy Graham has been recalled to meet his Maker in his ninety-ninth year. The preacher had offered services to every American President from Harry Truman through to Barack Obama and was first introduced to Her Maj in 1955 during his first mission to the United Kingdom.  During this and further crusades to Britain in 1966 and (Wembley Stadium) in 1989 he was responsible for the introduction and conversion of thousands to Christianity.  I was privileged to meet him in the Speaker`s House during the 1989 visit and it does not remotely surprise me that it is claimed that he was responsible for introducing two hundred and ten people worldwide to Christ during his long and devoted life. “God`s Ambassador” as he was affectionately known, was not lacking in charisma.


Edward Pearce (78) was the Parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Telegraph until his retirement in 1987. It was Pearce who christened Neil Kinnock `The Ginger Fury from Bedwelty`.


Emma Chambers, known as the dippy verger in The Vicar of Dibley and for her starring role in the 1999 film Notting Hill has taken an early curtain call at fifty three.


And Lewis Gilbert, Director of countless quintessentially British war films including Reach for the Sky (Kenneth More), The Sea Shall not Have them, Carve Her Name with Pride (Virginia McKenna) and Sink The Bismarck as well as three James Bond movies . Alfie,  Educating Rita and, his final film in 2002, Before You Go  has gone at ninety-seven.


And finally……….


The former oyster-dredger Vanguard, of Burnham-on-Crouch, is to be preserved for posterity one the restoration costs of £500 thousand has been raised. The `Little Ship`, at present a derelict hulk, once proudly rescued six hundred of the three hundred and forty thousand soldiers rescued during the evacuation of Dunkirk.


And Bluebird K&, the hydroplane in which Donald Campbell died while attempting to break the world water speed record on Lake Coniston in 1967 is nearing the completion of her restoration.  Bill Smith has spent ten years overseeing the project following the recovery of the wreckage and crew training is due to start off the Isle of Bute  Campbell`s daughter, Gina, hopes to see Bluebird back on Lake Coniston in the future.


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