Public Sector Strikes
On Wednesday, as you are no doubt already aware, Midsomer Norton, Bath and indeed the rest of the country shall grind to a halt while 'Public Sector Workers' engage in yet another bout of unnecessary 'strike action'. The inconvenience caused by this outbreak of self indulgence shall affect many lives, leaving thousands of parents whose children are 'state' educated, no option but to 'keep the kids at home'. In turn there shall inevitably be a knock on effect as countless others, who have opted to privately educate, find that nannies, cleaners and other domestics are unable to turn up for work. Quite apart from forcing respectable women up and down the country to cancel luncheon and hair dressing appointments, it seems unfair that 'private sector workers' shall be missing out on pay. For my own part, one of the gardeners has already called to say that he will 'not be in' on Wednesday. It seems that for this week at least I shall be pruning my own aspidistra and while it shall save me some thirty pounds, Derek and his family will no doubt be having to cut back on the weekly shop at 'Morrisons'. I suspect the largely 'middle class' strikers involved had not 'factored in' the losses that shall now be suffered by Derek and his working class ilk.
But should we be surprised? As with many modern inconveniences this whole brouhaha is about little more than 'selfishness'. In spite of the global recession caused by New Labour it appears that people simply want 'more, more, more' even while the rest of us are struggling with diminishing portfolios and ill thought out boundary changes.
The Boundary Commission is currently taking submissions on proposed changes to the size of constituencies and unfortunately North East Somerset, in it's current incarnation at least, is almost certain to be for the chop. One of the more worrying proposals on offer is to take Keynsham, Saltford and Chew Valley and add them to Kingswood (Glos.), thus breaking a historic precedent of county representation that stretches back as far as the reign of King Egbert in 834 AD. Many of my constituents have written to me expressing concern about the effect this could have on house prices and all I can say is that I shall be presenting the Commission with a lengthy appeal, more probably than not including a large dollop of middle English, should such an eventuality occur.
Children's Corner: The 'Tolpuddle Martyrs'
The Tolpuddle Martyrs were a bunch of 'work-shy' farm labourers who, in 1834, brazenly threatened their hard put upon employers with 'strike action' unless their pay and working conditions were guaranteed in writing. Happily the lazy rabble rousers were swiftly tried and found guilty of 'administering unlawful oaths' whereupon they were transported to Australia, wherein to have a good hard think about the upset they had caused, while breaking rocks in the outback. Sadly liberal 'campaigners and pamphleteers' (the early 19th Century equivalent of the 'Polly' Toynbees of this world) managed to overturn the sentence and the whole shower were 'pardoned' and returned to England. The only happy epilogue to the whole unfortunate shindig was that within a year all but one of the 'workers' had 'emigrated to Canada'; a consequence, one imagines, that their descendants are living with to this very day.
Being the offspring or sibling of a famous person can be a burden or a privilege or a bore. To this day I am oft accosted at social functions by women of a certain age, desiring to talk to one about Pa and his doings. It is, frankly, only a very special kind of person who can rise out of the shadow of a close family member's greatness and with the exception of William Pitt the Younger, Peter Hitchens and Sir Mark Thatcher, one can think of very few who have managed to pull off the trick. To that delightful list one can now add the sublime Miss 'Pippa' Middleton. That she has managed to escape her sister's bushel and pen a definitive guide to 'party-planning' is to be applauded. That the publisher deems this to be worthy of a six figure sum is a considerable testament to her undoubted talent and one looks forward in earnest to reading the tome when it 'comes out'.
That is all for now. I wish you a hearty week and trust that you are not too inconvenienced on Wednesday.
Ego vobis valedico.