I have been very quiet recently for a number of reasons.
The first has been that we have had builders in. Well in truth they have been mainly ‘out’ as the main work has been re-roofing my garage/workshop after the existing flat roof rotted away beyond repair. But as this meant emptying the entire building, stripping the wiring, storing all tools and materials and two classic cars elsewhere or under tarpaulins while every available outdoor space was given over to wood, sand, bricks, trestles and ‘stuff’ it’s been hard work. Especially hard as I only contracted them to do the heavy work, skilled joinery and bricklaying while I did everything I was capable of doing. In retrospect choosing the day before the heaviest rain for 30 years to remove the old roof was not a smart move.
The other reason is I don’t quite know what to make of the recent news. The Jimmy Savile situation is distinctly unpleasant, and frightening that he should have got away with it so long while people, including a number of high power people in positions of authority, apparently colluded with his activities. Personally – and I’ll probably annoy some people saying this - I don’t feel there is anything especially significant about midnight on someone’s 16th birthday. Teenagers don’t suddenly change from children needing protection into fully capable adults at the chime of a clock, and they never did, it’s a very individual process, so arresting every person who has harboured sexual thought about someone under 16 would probably end in the arrest of a significant proportion of the 16-20 year old population. From my distant memories adolescence girls often matured socially and sexually earlier than boys and many under 16 girls did, and still do, desire and actively encourage boyfriends who are a bit older than themselves. That doesn’t make it right of course, but to my mind there is a very clear distinction between someone just under 16 deliberately making themselves ‘available’ compared with the bullying and organised abuse of position and influence over unwilling and powerless victims that’s emerging in this case. I hope the recriminations will concentrate on the abuse of power.
The rest of the news looks much the same now as it did 3 weeks ago, indeed much the same as it did 3 months ago. I note with delight that Theresa May has at last made a correct decision in banning the extradition of Gary McKinnon – although typically for government she has made it for completely and utterly the wrong reason. She has allowed herself to be used by the ‘victim card’ process. What she should have done, years ago, is simply stated that the bloke had never been to the USA, had committed no crime from within their borders, and therefore if a crime existed at all it must be prosecuted in the UK and nowhere else. This being the usual situation of UK law, that a crime is tried in the place it was committed.
The party conference pantomime circus came and went with all the usual pundits jumping up and down to try and read the runes and predict what all the speeches actually meant. I’m afraid that such speeches strike me as having the relevance of third hand cigarette smoke. Maybe Call me Dave is finally being pushed into making Eurosceptic noises, time will tell whether he means it, but I won’t be holding my breath.
And as usual in October we reach that time of year for the energy companies to hike their margins, as they regularly do just before the season when we all need their energy. No doubt next spring, on the week the weather warms up and we no longer need it, they will reduce them again with a token proportion of the overcharging and tell us how nice they are.
And finally, the Strictly come Dancing season restarts. I can’t help think that if the same dancers were to dress in the same revealing clothes and make similar movements, but doing so in a late night bar around a pole, most of the Strictly audience would be shouting for the closure of the disgusting late night sex show venue. Wonderful what a change in attitude a glitzy BBC studio and celebrity studded cast makes, which sort of returns to the Savile story.