Westminster View - September 2018

September. The House is dragged back, at monumental cost and disruption to essential maintenance works, for no useful purpose.  Another `Legacy` of Mr. Blair`s response to tabloid accusations of “three month summer holidays” which, on this futile occasion,  allows an angelic Gabriel to make an appearance in the Commons chamber. The summer has done little to settle the rancour, on both sides, that prevailed before the recess. The veteran Labour MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field, has resigned from his party`s whip and the storm over Corbyn`s anti-Semitism shows no sign of abating.  Moderate and Militant Labour MPs are as divided as the Tory party is over Brexit with those of great self-importance exercising undue and unwarranted influence over both policy and the media. The war with France, mainly about how to pronounce the word “scallop”, rumbles on but although the French Navy has been put on “scallop alert” a shortage of gunboats on both sides of La Manche  has prevented actual armed conflict to date. The Kremlin tries, and in a widely-derided pantomime fails dismally, to present the would-be Salisbury assassins of Mr. Skripal and his daughter as `innocent tourists` who `got lost and who don`t like the snow`  of which, if memory serves me correctly, there is quite a lot in Moscow in mid-winter.  Meanwhile the Tramp, on the other side of the globe, continues to astonish his adoring public by demonstrating how many times a man can apparently shoot himself in the feet without falling over. The turbulent priest currently occupying the see of Canterbury plays to the gallery at the Trades Union Congress before it emerges that, er, the Church of England employs staff on zero-hours contracts. `Beams in eyes` spring to mind. Her Majesty`s Revenue and Customs have determined that there shall be no Honour in tax avoidance. The march of the extreme right continues in mainland Europe with the success of the Sweden Democrats adding to the growing list of hard-line right-wing parties in or very close to power. The on-off Tory leadership plot is either on or off or on hold. Take your pick. Mayor Boris`s marriage is definitely off but the failed former Foreign Secretary is still trying to decide whether his reputation (political rather than domestic) can sustain another abortive bid for the top job. In his swansong to the European Parliament Herr Druncker opines that what Europe needs is less sovereign power and more Brussels which merely confirms what we have all known for a very long time: the Commission simply does not live in the real world and has in its arrogance learned nothing from the rise of extremist nationalist parties across the countries of the European Union. In Salzburg the Prime Minister is treated with less than common courtesy by apparatchiks who have probably managed to persuade the British people as never before that we are right to want as little as possible to do with government by an organisation that has metamorphosed from a business club into a cult. Mr. Tusk`s “cake but no cherries” attempt at humour went down even more like a lead balloon  than Mr. Johnson`s “suicide belt” jibe earlier in the month.   And then there was the advent the Party Conference season when the `faithful` of the major political parties gather together in the name of the God of Politics to engage in sisterly or fraternal backstabbing. Pure joy!

 

I suppose that there must have been a time when the Corn Laws and the Great Reform Bill dominated Westminster to the exclusion of almost everything else. These moments pass, however, and there will  presumably come a day when Brexit will be a matter of the distant past and people will wonder what all the fuss was about. For the moment, though, the elephant has taken over the sitting room, the bull is busy wrecking the china shop, the hornets` nest has been stirred up and the lunatics are making a fair bid to gain control of the asylum. Given that the divorce (no, not the Johnson one, the one from the European Union) is going to have the most profound political, economic and security effect upon generations across the continent to come it is hardly surprising that feelings are running high. Nobody can deny that The Darling Bud went looking for trouble when she sought to take over the Leadership of the Conservative Party and the Premiership of a less than United Kingdom from the resigning David Cameron or that the chalice was not well and truly poisoned before she got her hands upon it. Neither could even the staunchest of her supporters reasonably suggest that she did not help to make a bad situation worse by deciding to go to the Country and then allowing those `advising`  her to so badly bungle an election as to make a badly-dealt hand still worse. As she said following the 2017 election “I got us into this mess and I am going to get us out of it. “

 

I trust her. I believe (“Well he would say that, wouldn`t he?”) that she is determined to see her Party and her Country through the decision taken to leave the European Federal Project and I think that anyone, within the Conservative Party or more importantly in Brussels, who does not understand that is vastly under-estimating the courage and tenacity of a woman who is a fighter not a quitter. She  is on a mission to right a wrong that is in part of her own making but also in large part of an ill-judged national decision based not upon the demands of security and the future of our economy but upon frustration with a political `class` and a desire to prevent the United Kingdom from being taken over by what many regard as `bloody foreigners`. That it is those same `bloody foreigners` that on average contribute £2,500 more individually annually to our economy than do native Brits is no more here nor there than the fact that they also do the jobs, in hospitals, in care homes, on transport, in the hospitality industry, in agriculture and many other walks of life that the British do not wish to undertake. The public has spoken. There are `too many of them` and the choice has been made.  As I have said before, most of us on the green benches have accepted that decision and we now have to try to make it work. In engaging in that task I know of no person better-equipped than the present Prime Minister and if she was not continually undermined in the Commons by the head-bangers to left and right and in Brussels by the likes of Red Jerry and Mr Mogg scuttling off for private meetings with negotiators then she might have a better chance of success. Neither is it helpful for die-hard Remainers  and the Labour Party to champion, as some have done, the prospect of a second referendum or a “People`s Vote” as a way of reversing the “People`s decision”. To do so merely leaves the hope stirring in Barnier`s heart that we are not really going to leave the EU.   We are.

 

We cannot be reminded too often that the Cabinet, which at that time included Mr. Johnson and Mr. Davis, unanimously signed up to the Chequers Agreement. It is not perfect – no negotiating document ever is – but  aside from the “No Deal Brexit” that some wish to drive us towards it represents the best set of proposals on offer to Europe as well as to the UK and it deserves rather more sensible and courteous consideration than it has yet received in either Westminster or in Brussels. “Canada Plus Plus” , now espoused by the “European Reform Group, by Mr Davis and by Mr Johnson is a non-starter. Not only does it not definitively solve “The Irish Border Issue” but any “Plus Plus” deal for the UK would also be demanded by Canada and that is not something that whatever the “plusses” turn out to be, would not be acceptable to the EU. “Norway” would not be acceptable to the Brexiteers and would leave us paying hand over fist for the implementation of regulations over which we would no longer have any say – arguably the worst of all worlds. The ERG, having trumpeted the launch of its alternative Brexit plan found it necessary to put what was clearly a deeply flawed document on hold. So no comfort there, either. As the Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said `Brexit will not guarantee a rosy future` and, in a thinly disguised criticism of Johnson`s `glorious vision` has cautioned against `irrational positivity`. Johnson`s description of `Britain in a suicide vest with M. Barnier holding the trigger` earned only a polite ` inappropriate language` comment from the Prime Minister but  warranted a justified backlash even from Brexiteers. Johnson, , remember, is a man who still has delusional  aspirations of becoming  become a  Prime Minister of the United Kingdom under whom people like me  who represent the majority of the parliamentary Conservative Party would not be prepared  to serve.

 

Mr. Tusk may have cause to choke on his no cherry-picking cake but sooner now rather than later either a deal is going to have to be struck that will be acceptable to most of the parties to this debate for most but not all purposes or not only the UK but the EU will be heading for meltdown. The “EU Project” to which M. Barnier frequently likes to refer, will be dead in the water as the extremists to the right seize control and replace it with a different brand of `high level arrogance`. President Putin wants a No Deal Brexit to destabilise Europe and if he gets it the Russians, as the main beneficiaries of this debacle, will be laughing all the way to the next neo-Soviet Union.

 

In other Brexit and EU news we are told that 80% of Europeans want to scrap daylight saving time which will create an additional divide between the UK and mainland Europe. Michael Gove, the Agriculture Secretary, is seeking a trial scheme to allow 2500 non-EU farm workers to be employed in the United Kingdom for six months, starting in 2019. Given the tens of thousands needed to harvest crops not seasonally any longer  but around the year Britain`s farmers are understandably concerned to know how all “will be safely gathered in `ere the winter`s storms begin” The National Farmers Union`s President, Minette Batters,  is also warning of a post-Brexit resumption in the trade in horsemeat..  President Macron is said to be considering tax breaks to lure wealthy Londoners to Paris and Deutsche Bank is under EU pressure to move billions of Euros from London to Frankfurt. Jaguar Land Rover has criticised the UK`s handling of the negotiations  warning that a No Deal Brexit would cost thousands of UK jobs. JLR is also introducing a three-day week until Christmas “because of Brexit uncertainty”. The EU`s Irish Commissioner, Phil Hogan, has described Messrs Johnson, Mogg and Farage as  ”The Three Stooges”. The success of the Sweden Democrats` hard-right Jimmie  Akesson has placed the future of Sweden`s Centre-left Prime Minister Stefan Lotven who has now lost a confidence vote, in jeopardy. Another critical vote has been lost by Frau Merkel in Germany which may mark the beginning of the end of her Chancellorship. And in her Bloomberg speech in the United States Prime Minister May has promised the lowest taxes in the G20 and smart regulation in Britain as a post-Brexit economic powerhouse.

 

It would be wrong to assume that many on my side of the House take much if any comfort from the internecine tribulations within the parliamentary Labour Party.  Of course any damage done to Red Jerry`s regime of what Lord (David) Blunkett has described as `bullying and thuggery` enhances the chances of the re-election of a Conservative Government with, under the right and sane Leader, a sound majority.  Most of us, though, have good, decent and honourable friends on the other side of the Chamber and there is small pleasure in seeing them tormented, watching the principles that they have lived their political lives by torn apart by militant zealots while they themselves face, at the instigation of Comrade  Corbyn`s Momentum henchmen, votes of no confidence and de-selection as parliamentary candidates. The price for independence of mind and spirit appears, in the Corbyn Labour Party, to be Soviet-style political if not literal extermination and that is neither a pretty nor a healthy circumstance. Jon Lansman, Momentum founder, has said that `up to thirty MPs could be de-selected`. That someone as able as Frank Field should have found it necessary to resign the Labour whip is, as Lord Blunkett added, `a catastrophe` that should send out a stark warning to others. The response of the Labour Chief Whip, Nick Brown, was to call for Mr Field`s expulsion from the party and there was, fleetingly, talk of a by-election in Birkenhead. The “f*** off and die” tweets to which Mr Field has been subjected will, knowing the man, have hardened his determination to stay and fight for what he believes in rather than take `The Stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds` which, by accepting `an office of profit under the Crown` is the quaint but only way in which a Member of Parliament can retire between elections.

 

“Yes Minister`s Sir Humphrey Appleby once famously said “Never believe anything until it`s been officially denied” but rumours of Emily Benn`s likely resignation from the Party of which her Father has been a lifelong stalwart and of the Militant Derek Hatton, expelled from Labour thirty-three years ago under Neil Kinnock`s Leadership, seeking to re-join suggest more than a whiff of a change in the direction of travel that many supporters find unpalatable. It is, though, the Labour Leadership`s inability to shake off the accusations of anti-Semitism that has caused the most pain and damage. The Clunking Fist, Gordon Brown has said that Labour must ”unanimously and unequivocally” accept the IRHA definition, Ed Balls has described the Jewish community, with classic understatement, as “upset and worried” and backbenchers are calling this “a fight for the soul of the party”. The former Minister Dame Margaret Hodge has accused the leadership directly of “a hatred of Jews” and the former Chief Rabbi, Lord (Jonathan) Sachs talks of Jews leaving the United Kingdom in fear. With his party in crisis Comrade Corbyn issues a ”shameful”  statement that, far from alleviating his difficulties manages to exacerbate them. The man who would be Prime Minister calls upon his faithful to “turn the fire outwards” towards the Government but signally fails to protect his own Members of Parliament.  `The Legacy` Blair may be engaging in wishful thinking when saying that `the game is over` for Labour but in Liverpool his Party`s `Red in in Tooth and Claw” conference calls for a programme of re-nationalisation of services and punitive job-destroying  taxation  that would, if  Shadow Chancellor “The rich are on borrowed time” Mc Donnell  ever to have his way, take Britain back to the dark days of the 1970`s and beyond. The Brothers and Sisters also want a second Brexit referendum which, while they have conceded that they will press for if pushed, the leadership opposes. Understandably, from his point of view, Mr. Corbyn wants a vote of no confidence in the Commons followed by a General Election. Incredibly there are those on the Tory benches who might just allow that to happen.

 

The pantomime season – no, I am not harking back to the party conferences – has arrived early.

 

Part One. “The Tale of two Tourists”

 

In response to the identification of those who sought to poison Sergey Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury as GRU (former KGB) operatives  The Kremlin has produced the said clowns for a `live` interview on Russian television.  Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, to give them their fake passport names, had been identified and their movements following their arrival in the United Kingdom, had been recorded on CCTV cameras and detailed timelines of their activities established. They arrived, you may recall from the Prime Minister`s statement to the Commons, at Gatwick Airport on Friday March 2nd.They booked into the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road in East London and, having visited Salisbury and laced the Skripals` door handle with Novichok contained in a fake Nino Ricci scent bottle, they departed from London`s Heathrow Airport on Sunday March 4th.  A European Arrest Warrant has been issued

In their names.

 

As a distraction from his war games involving Chinese and Mongolian troops and the participation of some three hundred thousand military  personnel Comrade  “we have no plans for aggression”  Putin has paraded `Mr Petrov` and `Mr Boshirov` as `civilians ` who had visited Britain for a short if eccentric weekend break.   In “The Tale of Two Tourists” we are asked to accept that this odd couple, who may or may not have been `just good friends`, chose as their holiday accommodation an unlikely but suitably obscure travelling salesman`s hotel in London`s  East End before heading off to Salisbury to see `the world famous cathedral` and Old Sarum. This, we are asked to believe, was in preference to a visit to The Tower of London on their East End doorstep, Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey.  Once in the Wiltshire countryside these Soviet- hardened  Muscovites decided that they “did not like the slush” generated by a mild snowfall and so fled for the warmth of the Russian winter. Not surprisingly Prime Minister May described these revelations as `lies and fabrication` and ` an insult to our intelligence` and the global reaction was one of utter disbelief and derision.  Our own highly efficient security services appear to have discounted as a `misunderstanding`  a claim by a Russian lingerie model that she was deliberately poisoned while dining with her husband in Salisbury but it has now been revealed that  one of the Novichok trained assassins is in fact a  Russian military intelligence Colonel, Anatoly Vladimirovich Chepiga, decorated as a `hero of the Russian Federation` while embarrassingly a Russian woman has identified the second `tourist` from a photograph as another military intelligence officer who is personally known to her. It is clearly the case that Salisbury is a location favoured by Russian Military Intelligence tourists – although they might reasonably be expected to take more interest in the nearby Porton Down military research establishment  than in the `world famous cathedral` with its beautiful spire and very old clock!

 

Part Two. “The American Supreme Court Show.”

 

I do not pretend to be an expert on constitutional matters relating to the United States.  My understanding, though, is that The Supreme Court is the highest law-determining body in that land, it is supposedly beyond reproach and its decisions are binding and final.  It is therefore a pretty important institution and those who grace its benches are supposed to be the greatest of the good of America`s legal eagles. Because only the Grim Reaper can remove a Supreme Court Judge appointments, made on the nomination of the President of the United States, are hugely significant. Young Cardinals may prefer Old Popes but in recent years American Presidents have realised that in young and thrusting, an unfortunate choice of words in this case, Judges they can secure placemen for at life or at least for the duration of a maximum two-term Presidency. This august body has therefore become hugely and shamefully party-politicised and although a Senate Committee and ultimately the whole Senate  has oversight of the scrutiny, examination  and confirmation of the President`s nominee a Senate with a majority of the same Party as the President is likely to do the Commander in Chief`s bidding and deliver the required approval.

 

At present, but possibly only until forthcoming mid-term elections, the President`s Grand Old Party commands a wafer-thin majority in America`s Upper House. Time is of the essence, therefore, if The Tramp`s preferred nomination, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is to be confirmed for life before a possible shift in power to the Democrats. In a #MeToo moment this process has been hijacked by the allegation, made by Dr Christine Blasey Ford , that years ago during their college years a drunken Mr.(now Judge ) Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. The Tramp has nailed his colours to the Kavanugh mast and at the time of writing is standing by his man.  The almost Cromwellian inquisition of Judge Kavanaugh and Dr Blasey Ford by the Senate committee has been harrowing and less than edifying. God knows what the two sides` families must be going through but with other and separate allegations now levelled against Judge Kavanaugh and with a slender 11-10 republican vote in his favour following the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing the President has now agreed that the allegations shall be investigated by the FBI before the full Senate votes upon the appointment.  The FBI has been given just one week within which to conduct its inquiries which, most say, is well-nigh impossible to achieve. Never mind. The Tramp has Unfortunate, therefore, that the Bishops of Gloucester and Norwich already “achieved more than almost any other administration in US history”. We know that must be true because he told the United Nations so himself.

 

Back at the conferences the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has told the Trades Union Congress that tax rises `are the key to making people feel happier` and that “the Church and the Unions can hold business to account.” “Zero hours contracts” said Archbishop Justin “are the reincarnation of an ancient evil”. Unfortunate, therefore, that the Bishops of Gloucester and Norwich should have advertised zero-hours vacancies as the “flexible part-time jobs” that they indubitably are. And that the Labour Party`s Conference Stewards were on zero-hours contracts. The Archbishop can, though, take comfort from the BBC survey that has shown that 43% of the population believes in miracles and that HMRC has revealed that it uses its power to deter the awards of honours to those that avoid paying taxes.

 

Ballswatch

 

Proposals to publish calorie counts on restaurant, cafes and fast food outlets. menus have caused a row within Cabinet The Health Department wants to control obesity while the Treasury resists `Nanny State` measures that will add `burdensome ` costs to businesses that they wish eradicate.

 

Those on two man-powered wheels will not relish proposals to introduce number plates for bicycles.  Those who have been intimidated by the peloton of militant cyclists that hurtle through red traffic lights in London may think otherwise.

 

Councils in Britain have, between them, forty different sets of rules for re-cycling plastics. Should we be surprised?

 

A police officer has been hauled over the coals for using the `racist` phrase “Whiter than white” to describe the behaviour that he demands of the men under his command.  Have the idiots that run the thought police never watched a television advertisement for soap powder? Is no idiom safe? Should we fear for the future of the English language?  Yes, we should.

 

“A Horsepower, A horsepower, My Kingdom for A Horsepower”. Bosworth Field, the site of the 1485 battle that brought the reign of Richard 111 to an end and ushered in the dynasty of Henry Tudor has been granted planning permission for use as a test track for Hariba Mira driverless cars. Richard Crookback, having spent far too long under a Leicestershire Car Park must be spinning in his new grave. Is there no other site available to test experimental vehicles in Britain?

 

The charmers representing new socialism in the United Kingdom have been mailing out “Good Luck in the New Career” cards to de-selected Labour MPs including Joan Ryan and Gavin Shuker who have dared to challenge the leadership over anti-Semitism.

 

`Zombie` pedestrians may benefit from road signs on the ground and lighted kerbstones in a Transport Research Laboratory initiative following trials in Holland aimed at saving those using mobile phones while crossing roads.

 

A meddlesome academic has decreed that MPs ought to be `breathalysed before voting`. Professor David Nutt refers to `drinking habits that have escalated ` and cites the use of the Commons Sports and Social Club as his evidence. Very few, if any, Members of Parliament drink at all in the club which is the recognised watering hole where staff members can let their hair down after work.

 

The Commission on Religious Education seeks to change the name of RE lessons to “Religion and World Views” to “reflect Britain`s wonderfully diverse society” and that embraces `humanism and secularism`. Or in other words they want to water down the God message.

 

We have apparently entered a new geological era. I am indebted to Professor Dan Parsons for enlightening me. Following the detonation of the atom bomb in 1945 we are in the age of “human effect” which future generations excavating a layer of plastic on the earth`s crust will recognise as being from the Anthropocene Age.

 

EU judges have determined that to reveal the manner in which Members of the European Parliament spend their tax free £3937 per month General Expenses allowance would be a breach of their privacy.  The same privacy, presumably, that has prevented the EU`s accounts from being properly audited and signed off for getting on for a quarter of a century.

 

The Heinz food company has dropped plans to re-name Salad Cream as “sandwich cream”. Ponder how much was invested in researching and reaching that earth-shattering decision.

 

Jodie Whittaker, described as `likeable, funny and brave`, has been chosen as the 13th “Dr Who” and the first female Time Lord to drive the Tardis. The 6.45 slot will be sandwiched between Countryfile and the Strictly Come dancing results.

 

In a first,  Jo Swinson, the Liberal MP and new mother, has introduced her ten week old baby to the  sitting House of Commons. Gabriel was an angel in the Chamber!

 

Valete

 

 

The Fourth Lord Melchett (71), Director of Greenpeace from 1989, was an organic farmer, a former junior Environment Minister under Harold Wilson and a Northern Ireland Minister under James Callaghan. A Glastonbury Festival regular Lord Melchett voted for the abolition of the hereditary peerage.

 

Rachel Bland (40) the BBC Radio Five and North West Tonight presenter was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. Her blog “You, Me and The Big C” was an inspiration to many as were her discussions, on air, with fellow patients

 

Mada Clare (105) was a Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force in Normandy from where she escaped via Cherbourg. ,She served with Queen Alexandra`s Imperial Nursing Service  in the Middle East from 1941-1944, landed in France on D-Day plus 11 and nursed at the liberated Bergen Belsen concentration Camp. She retired from the NHS in 1955, received the Legion d`Honneur and her second Birthday Card from The Queen on her 105th birthday.

 

Burt Reynolds (82) enjoyed a 60-year Hollywood career appearing in 80 films including “Boogie Nights” for which he received an Oscar nomination and the TV series “Gunsmoke”.

 

Liz Frazer (88) appeared in the 1960`s “Carry On” movies  following her portrayal of Fred Kite`s (Peter Sellers) daughter Cynthia in the1959 “I`m All Right Jack” film. She made 50 films in all and also appeared in Dixon of Dock Green, Watch it Sailor, and the radio `Hancock`s Half Hour` series. Her last TV performance was for Midsomer Murders which was in production when she died.

 

Roger Morgan (91) was the House of Lords Librarian from 1977 – 1991. He is credited with transforming the facility from a backwater to a high-tech modern source of information for legislators. After 25 years in the Lords and Commons he retired in 1991, when he was made a CBE and he was a Trustee of the Garrick Club for 20 years.

 

John Cunliffe (85) was the creator for the BBC, in 1981, of Postman Pat. Originally based upon his life in Kendal the first series ran for just 13 episodes but ultimately became a source of books adapted from his scripts. Postmen were not allowed animals in their vehicles but poetic licence allowed Pat to be accompanied by his black and white cat, Jess, because `he needed somebody to talk to`.

 

Fenella Fielding (90)was the femme fatale of British films during the 1960` drawling her way, notably, through “Carry on Doctor”. Her versatility allowed her to play Shakespeare and Sheridan and stand-up comedy at Peter Cook`s Establishment Club in Soho. She also played at the Mermaid Theatre and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in revue ,Pieces of Eight, at London`s Apollo Theatre.

 

Dennis Nordern (96) was the other half of the `Muir and Nordern` duo in which he starred with Frank Muir. In the 1950`s he appeared on BBC Radio`s Take it from Here and in “It`ll be alright on the night` between 1977 and 2006.When Frank Muir joined BBC management in 1964 Dennis Nordern pursued solo career as a writer and performer. He won the Variety Club Radio Comedy award in 1978 and the Writers` Guild lifetime achievement award in 1999 and the Royal Television Society award in 200. He was made a CBE in 1980.

 

Chas Hodges (74) of the Cockney Chas `n Dave duo recorded `Rockney` hit records throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the early 1960s his then band, The Outlaws, topped the bill in Liverpool where they were supported by a band called the Beatles. Hit records included “Rabbit”, “Snoopy Loopy”, “Ain`t no pleasin you”  , “The Sideboard Song” and the anthem of the finest seaside town in Britain, that I am privileged to represent in parliament, “Margate”.

 

Diane Leather(85) was the largely unsung sports heroine of the1950s. She became the first woman to run a mile in under five minutes just 23 days after Roger Bannister ran his record-braking sub-four minute mile.

 

And Rosa Buglione (107) was the matriarch of a French Circus Family. In the days when performing  Beasts were de rigeur she was married in a cage while the animals observed the ceremony. She worked as a Snake Dancer and with Big Cats and starred alongside Buffalo Bill Cody. She outwitted the Nazis to survive the war, with her foul-mouthed parrot Coco, as a Romany.

 

And finally………..

 

Alastair Cook has retired from International cricket. England`s former Captain has scored thirty-two centuries in the course of chalking up 12254 runs. During one hundred and sixty test matches.

 

And eighty-six year old ex-paratrooper Jeffrey Long from Bingley in Yorkshire has celebrated the Centenary of the Royal Air Force by completing a 100-mile walk from RAF Odiham in Hampshire in aid of The RAF Benevolent Fund and “Support the Paras”.

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