Pam Powell – an Admirable Woman

Enoch and Pam

Pam Powell, widow of Enoch, died on Saturday, Armistice Day, at the age of 91. Although I knew her for most, maybe all, of my life, I regret to say that I didn’t appreciate her properly until 1988. In earlier years the brilliance of her husband created a sort of glare which prevented me from seeing what a remarkable woman she was in her own right. Continue reading


Talking Politics on Holiday is not as Mad as you all Think

So, Priti Patel has gone. I suppose it was inevitable. It was silly of her, though I don’t think it was venal, to fail to drop a note to the Foreign Office, or get her own civil servants to do it, alerting our diplomats to the fact that she was hoping to have the odd chat with senior Israeli politicians while she was on holiday in their country. It was sillier still, once the FO found out and got its knickers in a twist about it, to omit to mention to the Prime Minister, when she was getting a dressing down for having failed to follow the “code”, that she had had two further meetings with Israeli officials in London.

The Foreign Office is very sensitive about Israel. It prefers Arabs to Jews. It was bound to have palpitations when it discovered that a British cabinet minister was talking to the Israeli Prime Minister without an Arabist from the FO being present. And the modern Labour Party, of course, shares the FO’s dislike of Israel. When you add in the Brexit factor (Ms Patel is said to be a Brexiteer rather than a Remainer) you learn that lots of Westminster Conservatives were likely to be out for her blood. She didn’t really have a chance. We can be sorry for her, but we also have to acknowledge that she did behave pretty idiotically, even though she caused no harm. Continue reading

We Live in a Mad, Mad World

You may have noticed that all newspapers and a great many politicians are becoming very worked up about the suggestion that Westminster is packed with MPs who indulge in sexual harassment (always mispronounced by radio and television journalists) of others. This, we are assured by the BBC, ITV, the Times, The Telegraph, the Guardian, the Mirror, the Mail and the Sun, is a major scandal. Heads must roll. Maybe the government should fall and the Labour Party be destroyed for ever. Continue reading

How Stupid are the Police?

My last piece demonstrated extreme stupidity on the part of the Chief Constables of South Wales and of Avon and Somerset. But is it really true that all police officers are stupid?

I am going to be brave and say that I don’t think it is.

Yes, as we all know, the police are all opposed to there being an officer class of well educated men and women being recruited to the force. “Toffs” and “boffins” have no place, most police officers believe, in what we now have to call the police “service”. There is a deep prejudice amongst policemen against educated recruits to the force. But I really do think it wrong to suggest that all policemen are bone stupid. Continue reading

Is the Police Force now a Lost Cause?

Just over ten years ago a thirteen-year-old girl (“R”) and two of her friends, stole a sarong from a shop called Primark. They were arrested. They admitted the offence of theft and were given police reprimands. They were told that the record of the reprimands would be retained for at least five years.

That was R’s only brush with the criminal law. She has done nothing wrong since. She finished school and went on to take a degree in criminology. Then she applied to the South Wales Police force for a support job. Her long term ambition was to become a constable but, sensibly, she thought it would be a good idea to have a support job first.

When she applied for the job she disclosed the fact that, ten years previously, when she was a child, she had been reprimanded for stealing a sarong from Primark.

The South Wales Police informed R that, because she had been reprimanded for theft as a child, her application for a support job would be rejected. The letter rejecting her application went on, gratuitously, to say that, should she ever apply for any other police job in the future, it was highly unlikely that she would succeed. Continue reading

Amber Rudd is not a Pleasant Woman


Commander Simon Rawlins RN was posted, a little over two years ago, to the USA. He fell for an attractive American girl (Marianne). As is the way these days, the happy couple lived together for two years without the blessing of the church. But then, in April this year, they put things right. They got married. A month later, out of the blue, the Ministry of Defence called Commander Rawlins back to the UK.

That should be all right, you say. They could get comfortable married quarters in Britain and live happily ever after. Continue reading

Are Politicians Good at Negotiating?

I wonder how many of you remember that period of nearly two months between the Argentine’s invasion of the Falkland Islands and the arrival in the South Atlantic of the Royal Navy task force. It was an interesting period for those of us interested in politics (and in the future of the Falkland Islands).

I think it fair to say that the conventional view of politicians and journalists, throughout most of that period, was that there would have to be a negotiated settlement. No one, other than Mrs Thatcher and the Royal Navy, thought there was the slightest chance of Britain recovering the Falklands by military means.

But some of us non-politicians were on Mrs Thatcher’s side. We thought, though with no advantage of knowledge, that Britain could win. I was one of those optimists. Continue reading

It is not the Young who are Snowflakes

Many of you will remember Glasgow University’s recent warning to theology students that some lectures might include pictures of the crucifixion of Christ. That could be distressing and students were therefore advised they could leave those lectures.

Cambridge University has now stepped in with advice to undergraduates reading English Literature. A lecture on Titus Andronicus and the Comedy of Errors will include discussion of sexual violence and sexual assault. Undergraduates should feel free, in those circumstances, to give the lecture a miss.

Slightly differently, but it’s the same thing really, the Bar Standards Board has said it thinks the requirement for those reading for the Bar to eat dinners in the halls of their Inns of Court should be abolished because students who come from deprived backgrounds, and women, may be frightened by having to dine with and talk to others who are used to having intelligent conversation at the dining table. Continue reading

Butter is the Answer

British children are notoriously averse to vegetables. Why should that be? Properly cooked vegetables are a delight to the palate. Whatever was it that gave children the idea that vegetables were disgusting?

I think children are maligned. It is not only they who dislike vegetables in the way they tend to be served in homes up and down the land. They hardly ever admit it, but many adults also find vegetables unpalatable. Continue reading