Gale's View from Westminster

June 2022

 

June  The Colour is trooped, the Birthday honours are published, Her Majesty misses Royal Ascot but  appears on the balcony at BuckHouse and her platinum jubilee is celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the United kingdom in great style. Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner receive questionnaires from Durham constabulary following the `beer and curry` event during lockdown and Mayor Boris survives a vote of no confidence with one hundred and forty of his own backbenchers voting against him. 

By-election results in Devon and Yorkshire are devastating for the Conservative party. Fuel prices on filling station forecourts top £2 per litre and there are rail and other strikes threatened . Priti Flamingo`s plans to ship cross-channel migrants off to Rwanda are put on hold by the European Court of Human Rights and the Government blunders ahead with legislation to try to universally re-write the Northern Ireland protocol in breach of international law. The US supreme court reverses the Roe Vs Wade decision that allowed American women the right to opt for abortion; an inquiry indicates that The Tramp was complicit in the storming of the seat of the American legislature  and in French elections Mickey Macron loses his overall majority in the Assemblee Nationale.   Putin`s criminal war in Ukraine passes the one-hundred day mark with no sign of any ceasefire and the first steps are taken towards Ukraine`s membership of the European Union.  Finland and Sweden move closer to joining NATO with the lifting of Turkish objections to their membership. The Government`s ethics adviser, Lord Geidt, resigns and that resignation is followed by the exit of Oliver Dowden from his post as Chairman of the Conservative Party.  Both men have clearly found working for Mayor Boris less than comfortable. 

 The Glastonbury Festival is revived post-Covid with the geriatrics – sorry, “Rock Legends” – of the music industry headlining. The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) is held in the presence of Prince Charles representing The Queen in Rwanda; the  G7 meets in Bavaria and NATO meets in Madrid, affording the British public eight days of respite from the presence of their Prime Minister. Traces of the polio virus are identified in a London sewer; a report into the practice of “trophy hunting”: the killing of endangered species for `sport`) is launched in the House of Commons and on the last day of the month the Government`s Deputy Chief Whip finds himself compelled to resign under less than salubrious circumstances.  Are we back to the industrial relations of the 1970s or the `Tory sleaze` of the 1990s? 

 The month started happily and gloriously with the celebrations of Her Majesty`s Platinum Jubilee. In the Birthday honours list our colleague Maria Miller was made a Dame, Tracey Crouch, the MP for Chatham and Aylesford was also rewarded for her services to sport and for her brave, courageous and to date successful and well-publicised battle against breast cancer.  Bonnie  Tyler, the Welsh singer who many of a certain age will remember as “lost in France” also had her services to music recognised. As always, though, it was the many ordinary and otherwise unsung heroes, including many from the Health Service who worked through the Covid pandemic, who rightly took the lion’s share of the lists.

Around the Country the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend was launched with the lighting of very many beacons and the holding of street and house parties galore. The gnashing of a few republican teeth was completely obliterated by the singing, daily,  of the National Anthem in this Land of Hope and Glory  The Trooping of the Colour in the presence, this year, of Prince Charles, Prince William and the Princess Royal, was as always magnificent and other members of the Royal Family including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their children discreetly  watched the proceedings from upstairs windows in buildings overlooking Horseguards Parade before the procession moved on to Buckingham Palace . The Queen was visible in her enjoyment of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which she was able to attend in person.  There was a suitably dignified and moving Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by the statutory bunfight for The Great and The Good at London’s Guildhall and then, of course there was the Pageant in The Mall, The Queen appearing on the balcony at Buck House for the historic  fly past  and to round it off the pop concert starring Rod Stewart, Diana Ross and Brian May with Queen. The thunder was completely stolen, of course , by Her  Majesty herself in a guest appearance with a bear from Peru called Paddington who launched the concert with a cameo tea-party appearance that completely stole the show.  The ‘James Bond parachute stunt’ that opened the 2012 London Olympics was a hard act to follow,  but Her Maj pulled it off with another closely guarded pre-filmed sequence that generated a similar “Oh My God - it’s Her!” response.  Nobody who saw it will ever forget the Queen mischievously removing a marmalade sandwich from her handbag and saying conspiratorially to Paddington Bear “for later”!  Pure genius and magical. And the rest of show was also quite enjoyable.

Great Britain has demonstrated yet again that, when we unite in or determination to celebrate,  “nobody does it better” We were left with our ninety-six year old Monarch`s  words echoing down the highways and byways of this green and pleasant land : “We look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm”.

June ought to have ended there and upon that note but unfortunately it did not.  Monday 6th and back to earth with a crash-landing. While the nation was celebrating letters calling for a vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister were landing on the doormat of the Chairman of the 1922 Committee.  Sir Graham Brady required fifty four such letters to trigger the ballot and I strongly suspect that that figure had been reached well  before the Jubilee weekend. He therefore had the duty to inform the Prime Minister on Sunday night and the vote was held immediately when the House sat again on the Monday afternoon.  Contrary to popular belief this was not `an orchestrated campaign to bring down Boris Johnson`.  Had it been so it would have been organised, delayed until after the results of two by-elections were known ant it would very probably have succeeded.  I had personally thought that perhaps 100 members of the Conservative Parliamentary Party would  vote for a change of leader.  In the event and notwithstanding the organic nature of the exercise  for a vote 148, representing 41% of the total eligible, indicated that they have no confidence ion the current occupant of Number Ten Downing Street. If you remove from those figures the “payroll vote” (those holding Ministerial positions) then that figure rises to an alarming more than 70% . Which ought to send a clear message that the time has come for this Prime Minister to courteously and in a dignified manner resign as Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, both of whom also enjoyed majorities, had done before him.

That, of course, will not happen. This Prime Minister will not leave office until he is compelled to do so. Under the existing rules as they stand a further vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister cannot be held for twelve months. There are those who suggest that the rules should be changed so that either another vote can be instigated in six months or that another vote can be held if Ia higher threshold of those calling for one – say 100 members of the parliasmrentary party – is reached.  Personally and unlike the Prime Minister I am not in favour of changing the rules in the middle of the game.

 However…..

 The Privileges Committee, now chaired by Harriet Harman leading a team of four Conservative and three Labour members, is considering whether or not the Prime Minister deliberately mis-led the House of Commons in his responses to queries regarding “ Partygate”.  My own view is that he definitely mis-led the House but the key word is  “deliberately”.  If, and it is not a foregone conclusion, the Privileges Committee finds against him and, for example, suspends him from the House then that is a `hanging offence` and he has to go.  If he does not do so voluntarily then the rules will indeed have to be changed to enable a further no-confidence vote to take place.

 Against this sorry backdrop and in the face of unhelpful and  very public criticism of the Prime Minister from people like myself – and I accept my personal responsibility in this matter – two by-elections, in the West Country seat of Honiton and Tiverton and in the Yorkshire `Red Wall` seat of Wakefield  have been held. The West Country contest took place following the disclosure of the fact that the former chairman of the Agriculture Select Committee had been watching pornography on his mobile phone while in the Chamber. The Yorkshire seat was vacated following the conviction of the sitting Tory member for a criminal offence.  Not happy ground for a by-election candidate to tread! 

Mid-term by-elections are notoriously difficult for a govering party to fight. The electorate is either apathetic or, knowing that the result will not change the government, is seen as an opportunity to `send a message` to those in power that voters do not like any one of a number of different national opr local policies and, therefore to give the government of the day (of whatever persuasion) a bloody nose. I fought Birminham Northfield following the death of the sitting Tory member, Jocelyn Cadbury, in 1982 . Jocelyn`s majority was under to hundred and I lost it by about two hundred and seventy-two in the smallest (0.02%) swing recorded after two recounts. I was not a happy bunny and I have some idea of just how bad our electoral sacrifices  in Honiton and Wakefield must have felt when the grim results were announced.

 We were thrashed. The only redeeming feature of the night was that while Wakefield was reclaimed by Labour with a 12.69 per cent swing the Party’s majority was, on a low turnout; not a ringing endorsement of Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership. There may well be those on the left of his own benches who will be hoping that the Durham constabulary who will do their work for them, fine Starmer for Beer and Curry partying  and precipitate a Labour leadership contest. Nevertheless a message has been sent to `Red Wall` Tory MP`s that their seats are on loan and tenure of office may be brief.  Honiton and Tiverton went with an almost thirty per cent  swing to the Liberal Democrats in a constituency that has been securely blue for as long as anyone can remember. The Chairman of the Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden, took responsibility for the losses and fell upon his sword but the real buck stops, of course, with Mayor Boris. Once again, under any normal circumstances he would be gone.

 For good measure Lord Geidt, who served as  Private Secretary to The Queen from 2007-2017, was a Lord in Waiting  and until this month adviser to Number Ten on Ministerial Ethics, also tendered his resignation announcing the fact that he had been placed in an “impossible and odious position”. There can be small joy in being an ethics adviser when there are so few ethics left upon which to advise.

 The Prime Minister wisely left the Country for eight days calling first at the CHOGM meeting in Rwanda, then at the G7 in Bavaria and finally spent two days with NATO heads in Madrid. It is fair to say that while our Premier’s mind ought to have been on higher things he was dogged around the track by journalists asking him how long he expected to survive back home. An unwise boast that he expected to run for the job for a third term and to be in office until past 2030 fell flat and yet another `clarification’ had to be forthcoming. Those at home clearly did not see the amusing side of this deranged observation and BoJo found himself flying back into yet another hornet’s nest of his own making. The Deputy Chief Whip that he had appointed as a thank-you for helping him through challenges to his own authority was forced to offer his resignation to the Chief.  You can, it appears, survive Partygate in Number Ten, at least for the time being, but you cannot, if you are Mr. Pincher, get plastered in that  august Tory watering hole the Carlton Club and then start propositioning young men. While the Prime Minister was still unpacking from his travels Ministers were yet again sent out to defend the indefensible and try to pretend that the Prime Minister’s judgement was sound and that he was unaware that the friend that everyone else in Westminster had `issues’ with,  was a suitable holder of Ministerial rank.

 If the Tory Party is to survive as a meaningful and reputable force in British politics then this circus with its increasingly absurd ringmaster is going to have to move out of Town.  As the Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt said recently “confidence without competence is a dangerous combination”.

 In other news, the Supreme Court has ruled that Ms Patel`s removal flights carrying illegal cross-channel migrants to Rwanda could go ahead. They did though, caution that if further hearings went against the Home Secretary then any asylum-seekers so deported would have to be returned to the UK.  The European Court of Human Rights, which is the judicial arm of the forty-six Member States of the Council of Europe but not, as is widely reported `The European Court’ of the EU, went a stage further and said that the flights should not take off while cases were still to be heard.  Cue howls of synthetic outrage from the Bourgeoise Women’s Tabloid (The pro-Johnson cheerleading Daily Mail) and from the Attorney General, Suella Braverman.  Ms Braverman now wants to withdraw from the ECHR and the Justice Secretary would like a British Bill of Rights instead. Which, in a roundabout way, is exactly what one Vladimir Putin did when he decided that he did not like the judgements of the ECHR against Russia. Be mindful of the company that you may be keeping Ms. Braverman.

 The dispute between the train unions and management over pay and the modernisation of working practices that belong in the age of steam has already generated a week of on-off strikes and many Labour MPs have ignored Starmer’s exhortation to stay away and have joined Comrade Lynch`s picket lines. Unresolved, this industrial dispute  may lead to still more disruption of our transport services.  Criminal justice lawyers, NHS staff, teachers, British Airways staff  and many others are also threatening strike action. A `Summer of Discontent` looms large unless an accommodation is reached between those seeking rising inflation level wage increases and a Treasury that is mindful of already excessive borrowing.

You would have thought, would you not, that with the UK aviation on its knees, still reeling from the effects of lockdown and seeking to restore its profitability, there would be a concerted effort between staff and management to keep Britain flying  - notwithstanding staff shortages.  The repercussions of British Airways’ insensitive `fire and re-hire’ policy during the pandemic are coming home to roost but all airlines are having to cut back on services as former staff have found alternative employment and and are not rushing to take to the air again. This and pent-up passenger demand for sunshine holidays has led to flights cancelled at the last minute, disappointed families sleeping on floors at airports, overworked staff bearing the frontline burden of complaints, chaos in departure and arrival lounges and excessive amounts  of mis-directed baggage piling up as the systems are overwhelmed. All of that bodes ill for summer holidays that are rapidly approaching.

The Government has introduced its legislation to over-ride the provisions of the Northern Ireland protocol contained within the EU Withdrawal agreement. There is no doubt that the protocol has its flaws but this remember, is the agreement reached in place of, and as an `improvement’ to, Theresa May’s much derided `backstop` designed to prevent a hard border between the Province and the Republic. The agreement negotiated by David (now Lord) Frost and signed by the current Prime Minister was an international Treaty freely negotiated and signed by all parties and brought home and campaigned upon in triumph by Johnson during the 2019 General election before as his `oven-ready deal’, being passed into  the law  of the United Kingdom as the Withdrawal Act.  We now know that the `oven ready deal’ was half-baked,  but to seek to unilaterally tear up a Treaty of this kind is a breach of international law and a breach of the Vienna Convention signed by the UK government in 1971.  If such treaties are to be changed and they may be, then that has to be done by consent following negotiation between the signatories.  Once again this Government (whilst lecturing other countries about the need to comply with the `rules-based order of society’), is trampling all over Britain`s longstanding reputation for honesty and straight dealing. Not surprisingly many Tory members, including Mrs May, chose, while keeping our powder dry for future battles, to abstain rather than support this miserable and dishonourable measure.  It has its Second Reading but will be taken apart in Committee and on Third Reading in the Commons before being sent off to be savaged by a House of Lords that takes a rather less cavalier attitude towards international legality, than does the present majority in the House of Commons.

 And while Putin’s illegal  war in Ukraine continues to claim innocent lives and to destroy whole towns and villages in the East of the country, the heads of NATO meet in Madrid to discuss the future of that Organisation.  With Turkish objections lifted the path is clear for Finland and Sweden to join. Re-armament is the order of the day and a new military ‘Iron Curtain’ will be imposed along the borders of the Russian Federation  - which is precisely the reverse of the objective that the neo-Soviet dictator sought when he invaded Ukraine expecting to be welcomed with open arms.  Make no mistake: for Europe and for the Western Alliance this is indeed what has been described as `A 1937 moment’. 

Ballswatch

 In a touching display of patriotism, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has announced, during a visit to Exeter prison, that to celebrate the Jubilee inmates should be issued with Union flags and cupcakes. Prisoners have already been working on festive flower boxes within the walls.

Jubilee street parties in Liverpool have been threatened by council red tape: the events are deemed not to be adequately covered by public liability insurance.

Undersea travellers between Britain and France will be relieved to know that Eurotunnel has at last re-opened the lavatories on shuttle trains. The loos were closed for the duration of the pandemic.

Whatever his image problems at home, in Ukraine Mayor Boris is seen as a hero. The most recent and flattering portrait pictures the Prime Minister as a Cossack .

 There has been a brisk market in Jubilee memorabilia. The medals issued to the Armed Forces and Emergency services have been selling for £50 apiece, the St Paul’s cathedral Order of Services was fetching £68, the menu from the lunch at the Guildhall and the programme for the Trooping of the Colour were both realising in the region of £40.

Young botanist Isabella Mann (11) was delighted to find rare bee orchids growing on the Adderbury Road roundabout in Oxford. Sadly the Council has mown the roundabout – and the orchids.

The  Airlander airship is to be built in South Yorkshire for commissioning by the Spanish operator Airnostrum.. The helium-filled craft which has one tenth of the carbon footprint of a jet aircraft will carry one hundred passengers at a time between Barcelona  and Majorca on a journey that, at 90 miles an hour, will take four hours.

Wines from Sussex have been awarded an `official designation` by the Department for the Environment, food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This has left the excellent Woodchurch vineyard west of Ashford on the Kent /Sussex border out of the designated listings. Woodchurch is still preferred by connoisseurs – no sour grapes.

The Scouting movement, founded in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell,  has seen its fastest growth  since the Second World War with ninety thousand young men and women waiting to join. Girl Guiding has also seen a 20% increase in applications with fifty six thousand girls on the waiting list . Chief Scout Bear Grylls puts the renewed interest down to a demand for outdoor pursuits following the Covid lockdown.

“Europe is by your side” was the message carried by the leaders of France, Germany and Italy on a visit to Kyiv. What Ukraine really and desperately needs, though, is military hardware and President Zelensky appeared to be underwhelmed when given a hug by M. Macron!

Four hundred thousand bees stolen from Tresillion House in St Newlyn near Bude in Cornwall have been busy flying home again. Which suggests that the honey-trap heist was perpetrated by a local villain.

A sixty-six year old male blood donor has been turned away from the transfusion centre for refusing to answer the question “Are you pregnant”?  Leslie Standen from Stirling in Central Scotland has donated 125 pints of blood over fifty years but the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service says that the question is asked “to promote inclusiveness” and and adds that “sex registered at birth is not always clear to staff”.

Norton Motorbikes, the stuff of dreams at the Manx TT races and with a hundred and twenty four years of production behind them have succumbed to ecological progress and will shortly producing an electric motorcycle.

It has been revealed that the (British) director of the American Super Bowl extravaganza  banned Jennifer Lopez from using the recognised symbol for a woman from the backdrop to her performance. J-Lo was told that the sex symbol was, in The Land of the Woke, ‘contentious’.

The University of East Anglia has placed a `trigger warning` on the legend of St George and the Dragon in case students’ sensitivities are offended by the fact that the dragon dies.

Kraft Heinz, the makers of spaghetti hoops, baked beans and the like have found themselves at loggerheads with the Tesco supermarket chain for trying to impose what Tesco regards as `unjustifiable` price hikes upon customers. Apparently, BeanzMeanz empty shelves.

The Commons procedure Committee has determined that it is not permissible for nursing mothers to take their infants into the Commons chamber with them. This follows attempts by the feisty Labour MP Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) to change the rules and to  have her three month old son strapped to her chest while participating in a debate.

Amanda Holden, the fifty-one year old judge of `Britain`s Got Talent` has told the Woman’s Weekly magazine that she enjoys being wolf-whistled at by builders.  “The way to bring about change is not to give a damn” she says.

The over-promoted Halifax Building Society has probably undone thousands of pounds worth of TV advertising in  defending its `woke` gender-pronoun carrying staff name badges by saying to clients who have complained  that “we stand for inclusivity – you are welcome to close your account”.

And the Secretary of State for Education is said to be less than pleased that the works of Philip Larkin and Wilfred Owen have been dropped from the GCSE syllabus by the exam board OCR. This is to make way for `poets of colour` and `LGBTQ voices`. Zahawi  has observed that the omission of Thomas Hardy and John Keats is an act of `cultural vandalism’. 

Valete

Sydney Grimes (100) was a wireless operator on a Lancaster bomber on the last two of the three attacks made by 617 ` Dambusters` Squadron which sank Hitler’s battleship The Tirpitz off the coast of Norway on 12th November 1944.. He flew a total of forty-three operations and ended the war as a Flight Lieutenant.

Bob Sullivan (99) was a sapper who was parachuted into Normandy on D-Day on June 6th 1944 with orders to destroy a strategically important bridge over the river Dives. He returned to England with 6th Airborne Division and on Christmas Eve was ordered to Belgium to take part in The Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes. In March 1945 he was dropped  to support the amphibious assault across the Rhine, was wounded and evacuated back to England. He re-joined 6th Airborne in Palestine in December 1945 and was demobilised as a sergeant in 1946. He joined Taylor Woodrow  to spend his professional life building projects rather than blowing them up! In 1983  Bob Sullivan received an MBE for services to the construction industry. In 2018 he entered the Royal Hospital Chelsea as a pensioner.

Alan Rees (84) played rugby union as a fly-half for Wales, rugby league for Leeds and first-class  cricket for Glamorgan for which side he scored 7681 runs having made his first appearance 1n 1955.

Sir David Nicholas  (92) produced ITV`s first ever “News at Ten” during a three-month trial run in in 1967, was the programmes editor from 1977-1989,  and then ITN`s Editor in Chief, Chief Executive and Chairman. He hired Trafalgar Square to host an Apollo 11 moon-landing party in 1969 and  under Nicholas,  News at Ten was the first news organisation in the world to use the mobile satellite dish that allowed reporters in the field to beam their stories straight back to London.  He was awarded a CBE in 1982 and was knighted in 1989. He was given the Royal Television Society’s Judges Award in 2001 and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award at the News World Forum in Barcelona in the same year.

Sir Brian Hayes (93) was the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry at the time of the Westland Helicopter debacle in 1986 that culminated in the resignation of Leon Brittan who was out-manouuvred by one  Michael Heseltine, campaigning for a British Aerospace/ Italian/French helicopter rather than Brittan`s preferred option on a takeover of Westland by the US-based Sikorsky company. Heseltine also resigned over the affair. Sir Brian’s turbulent time at the DTI ended in 1989 . He was appointed a CB in 1976, a KCB in 1980 and a GCB in 1988.

Bruce Kent (92) was the Roman Catholic priest who became the Secretary General of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and fought the deployment of US Cruise Missiles under Margaret Thatcher’s Government in the 1980s. Monsignor Kent surrendered the priesthood in 1987, married and devoted his life to the CND. Although he was regarded as a tool of the Soviet Union he condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Russian attempt to crush Poland’s Solidarity Trade Union Movement.  Following the fall of the Berlin Wall he fought the parliamentary seat of Abingdon West for the Labour Party  but even his oratory skills could only deliver a third place.

Lady (Judy) Percival (100) was the ballet dancer who worked with the forces entertainment group Ensa in the Burmese jungle in 1945 while searching for her husband Ian, an officer with the Royal  East Kent Regiment (The Buffs).  Before the war she had joined the Tiller Girls in pantomime at London’s Coliseum Theatre and then performed in a revue at the Garrick Theatre. Sir Ian Percival became a barrister and served as the MP for Southport from 1959-1987, latterly as the Solicitor-General in Margaret Thatcher`s first (1979-1983) government. Judy Percival worked as a volunteer in Bart`s Hospital , ran the Barts Guild Flower Shop, and became its vice president in 2000.

Shireen Abu Akleh (51), a US citizen, was the first female Arab war reporter who became known as “The Voice of Palestine” while working in the Middle East for Al Jazeera. She was shot in the head and died while covering an Israeli raid on Jenin in the West Bank. Her death is a stark reminder that the blue flak jacket marked `Press` offers little protection to journalists of any colour, class, gender or creed operating on the front line in conflict zones.

Hilary Devey (65) was briefly one of the `dragons` in the BBC 2 series “Dragons` Den” (2011-2012) which she left to present `The Intern` for Channel 4 TV.  The 1966 founder of Pall-Ex, an international freight distribution company, she was said to be worth £100 million. Bolton-born Miss Devey was Vice-President of the ‘Carers Trust Charity’ and a patron of the Stroke Association. She was made a CBE in 2013 for her services to the transport industry and to charity.

Frank Williams (90) was the theatre and television actor who was best known as the Reverend Timothy Farthing  opposite Arthur Lowe`s Captain Mainwaring in “Dad`s Army” from the third of nine series , in 1969, until the end of the run in 1977. He was a member of the Synod of the Church of England and a staunchly conservative supporter of Marius Goring in the battle against the Workers Revolutionary Party for the soul of he Actors` trade Union, British Equity..

Baroness (Sally) Greengross (86) was the Director General of Age Concern from 1987 until 2000.  She was married to the late Sir Alan Greengross, the last Conservative Leader of the Greater London Council before its abolition in 1986. She was made UK Woman of  Europe in 1990, appointed an OBE in 1993 and was made a life peer when she retired from Age Concern in 2000. She sat as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.

Dame Deborah James ( 40)  finally succumbed to the bowel cancer that she had fought for five years.  The Deputy Head Teacher, author and podcast presenter known as “Bowel Babe”  who presented the BBC`s podcast “You, me and the Big C” raised millions of pounds for charity in the course of her myth-busting campaign against the disease. She ran the London Marathon to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Hospital and in 2019 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of East Anglia. Her courage was recognised with the award of the DBE in May of this year when, in advance of the Birthday Honours list and in the terminal stages of cancer she was presented with the award at her parents` home by Prince William  on behalf of Her Majesty.

And Finally……………..

What goes around comes around. It was in 1985 that Kate Bush had a Number Three hit record with “Running Up That Hill”. Now, thanks to exposure in the Netflix “Stranger Things” production the song has reached Number One in the UK Music charts.

And at sixty-six years of age, Sue Barker, former British tennis ace, has embarked upon her last Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship after thirty year as the leading female commentator.