It is interesting that within the space of a week two West Sussex politicians have been forced to apologies for voicing their concerns and those of many members of the public. I believe it was not what they said but how they said it which got both Lord Young of Graffam and Howard Flight into trouble.
I am saddened that Lord Young will now not complete the latest task he was given by David Cameron. Having recently concluded a thorough and greatly overdue review of health and safety rules, he was already embarking on a review of the crippling red tape which small firms have to grapple with every day.
Lord Young’s crime, was to explain during a recent interview, that although there would be hard times ahead as the coalition government attempts to reboot the economy and make savings; that compared to the last recession when there was greater unemployment, ‘today’s Britons “have never had it so good” amid a period of unprecedented low interest rates – compared with the double-digit rates of twenty years ago’.
Lord Young then went on to explain that the majority of people with a mortgage who were paying a lot each month are now paying very little. His comments were confined to the people who fell into this category but were reported as being general.
It is difficult to understand why when he stated the blindingly obvious that he was forced to offer an apology and resign his position. When Harold Macmillan used the phrase ‘”you’ve never had it so good” in 1957 it was in a completely different context.
It is disappointing that due to the over sensitivity of certain members of the public and the nervousness of senior politicians, that Lord Young should be forced to stand down. We need the common sense and political experience of people like Lord Young at a time when this coalition government is packed full of inexperienced people; few having served as ministers or even shadow ministers before. Surely those in charge should develop thicker skins and not allow the media, Labour MPs and the PC brigade to dictate the agenda.
Howard Flight the former MP for Arundel also has a knack of stating the blindingly obvious. He did so in the past when he was sacked by Michael Howard in 2005 for being honest about planned conservative cut backs. Having just been nominated for the House of Lords by David Cameron who obviously recognises his ability, he has now been forced to retract a statement and apologies for telling the truth about the effects of the welfare cuts. In essence what he said was right but the vocabulary he used touched a few raw nerves.
I think it is a pity that nowadays the general public have to be protected from words. I thought we lived in a country where people could express their thoughts through free speech. We fall over ourselves to allow religious fanatics and fundamentalist to rant and rave in aggressive anti establishment terms which is apparently acceptable, but when highly regarded British politicians offer their opinions in equally blunt terms the media and PC brigade howl for blood. It’s a funny old world!
*The South-Eastern Prime Stock Winter Fayre took place last week at the South of England Showground. There was a good turnout of cattle and sheep and as always the standard was exceptionally high.
The fat stock show is always popular and it was good to see so many people attend this annual event. At a time when the world about us is looking decidedly dodgy I find it very comforting to see people totally engrossed as they watch beautifully turned out cattle and sheep parading and vying for a coveted championship and rosette.
It was encouraging to see so many young stockmen taking part; the number of boys and girls showing their livestock appears to increase year on year. There was a good turnout from Plumpton College, Otehall Community College, Young Farmers and individuals.
I had the honour but unenviable task of judging the Sheep Young Handlers classes once again. Last year was a baptism of fire when I was confronted by a ring full of very keen youngsters aged four to eleven with their lambs in tow, all desperately wanting to win their class.
This year was no different but there appeared to be more of them. I suspect they were all bitterly disappointed to find their fate depended upon me once again!
I am full of admiration for these youngsters who in spite of their tender years all conducted themselves with dignity and professionalism. They have been well taught and disciplined, some of the older ones have been showing for years which made choosing a winner incredibly hard.
The standard of the entries, particularly the fourteen to eighteen year olds was terrific and the pride of parents, grandparents and tutors as they watched from the ring side was well placed. I am full of admiration for all the children as not one showed a trace of disappointment when not placed; they really were all little heroes to me.
Carola Godman Law