Shropshire Star

Political column – May 13

Three cheers for King Charles III and the Metropolitan Police.


In praise of our newly crowned monarch, and in praise of the Met for stopping the hairy monster brigade from ruining the show.

Not that all dissident opinion was suppressed. Harry was allowed into the abbey after all.

Overall a solemn yet joyous state occasion went to script in all its pomp and glory without interruption or disruption, thanks to the Met arresting protesters and holding them for just so long as necessary to keep them out of sight.

Whether this was strictly legal is another matter, and there have been protests at the treatment of the protesters.

Their freedom to express an opposing view has come into an ugly head-on collision with the right of monarchists and American anglophiles watching on telly to enjoy the Coronation without having hordes of republicans gluing themselves to the gold stagecoach to the detriment of the spectacle.

They have got their publicity, so everybody wins, right?

As for the depiction of the UK as an increasingly right wing authoritarian police state, perhaps a better example is the anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protests which saw Jeremy Corbyn's brother arrested and slapped with a £10,000 fine.

Not much fuss was made about that, probably because the balance of public opinion was that at a time of an evident public health crisis such people were dangerous, wacky, or both.

A little while ago such people held up banners near a local school and amid concern at the polluting of young minds our council pondered whether to ban protests near schools. The trouble is that it would also mean banning protests outside schools from, say, parents upset at the speed of passing traffic.

You could, of course, have a law in which only those protests officialdom agrees with are allowed. It would give folk the freedom to be orthodox.

Turning to those local council election results, the thing that all those making grand forecasts based on extrapolating them to a general election fail to mention is the low, and in some cases pathetic, turnout.

In one local area I looked at only 16 per cent of those entitled to vote actually did so. So far as I can make out overall turnout seems to have been in the mid 30s.

There is also a dubious underlying assumption that people will vote in a general election in the same way, politically speaking, as in a local election.

It ain't necessarily so.


Years ago I got chatting to somebody and for some reason the conversation must have turned to watches.

I can never wear a watch, he said, because they always stop. Wind-up, digital, as soon as I put them on, they stop, he said.

What a great story I thought. But he wouldn't have it, so the story went untold.

Not long after that I heard that he had died, suddenly and unexpectedly, at a very young age as well. Police described his death as "unexplained."

I'm not sure if there was ever an inquest, but probably not, as it seemed that he had died of natural causes. My impression at the time was that for unknown reasons his heart had simply stopped.

I recalled our conversation and it was not lost on me that it was his own ticker that had suddenly stopped working.

I wondered if he had ever mentioned to anyone else his problem in wearing watches, and assumed that he must have done.

It would be arrogant of us to think that science and reason can explain everything in the natural world. We've all had those strange coincidences which make us wonder. Like, you might be chatting about some obscure subject, such as the size of the building blocks on the Pyramids, and then suddenly somebody pops up on television talking about exactly the same thing.

I still wonder about the mystery of our locked bedroom. One day we went to go in the bedroom and found we were locked out.

Not only did we never lock any of the internal doors, but we had no idea where the keys were. It took some hunting to find out so that we could reopen the door.

So how on earth did it happen? Doors do not simply lock themselves. Or do they?

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