COMMENT: Westwell of Ely by Rosemary Westwell

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

When I met Tony Blackburn When I met Tony Blackburn I can categorically say that he was a humble, genuine person.

He had none of the arrogance or suspicious over-the-top charm that many celebrities have and I would find it very hard to believe that he would tell lies, or knowingly misconstrue the truth. How can I be sure of this?

I can be sure because of the circumstances. I was on holiday at the time and had worn my grunge clothes ready to clean the flat.

I’d realised I needed a new bucket and more cleaning materials so I went into town and got them. On the way back, I saw a restaurant that someone had recommended to me, and complete with rattling bucket I staggered into the place, certain that if it was a decent restaurant they would accept eccentrics like me.

I was immediately met with someone pointing a video camera my way. I grimaced and tried to slink away and then I saw ‘a celebrity’.

Realising that I would probably offend him if I didn’t ask for an autograph, I did so and discovered it was indeed Tony Blackburn. I had expected that he would probably give me the brush off in view of the apparition before him, but far from it: - I ended up sitting down with Tony and the people he was meeting and chatted for some time.

While we will probably never really know all the facts behind the real reasons for the BBC sacking Tony, it seems strange that Tony should be punished for telling the truth, for it seems clear to me that he believes he is/was.

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I have known people of all walks of life tell fibs, I have known people in authority to say bare-faced lies that I have failed to challenge because I hadn’t wanted to upset them and I have known memos written that have misconstrued what was said/done at meetings.

Scientists have proved that our memories are not perfect and that we often change past memories without realising it. Taking all this into account, why SACK the man!? Too often these days a great deal of fuss is made about something minimal for political reasons. It’s needless, thoughtless and frankly inhumane.

It’s no way to treat our young people

In the nanny state we have, our government keeps harping on about how we should live. It invades our homes and tells us not to eat/drink/smoke too much, to look after our neighbours, to pay our taxes, to keep our children in school for their education – the list is endless.

Whenever we cross the line, like not paying our tax on time, or taking the children on a holiday where they will probably learn much more that they would have done in the classroom, we have to pay a fine to the government. Does it pay us in return if it makes a mistake?

Of course not! In the meantime, it makes our young people who want to go to university pay for the privilege by taking out a loan. What sort of example is that?

Why start our young people’s professional lives by making them start with a debt hanging over them? Now it seems the government is making matters worse by threatening students with prosecution of they aren’t paying back the loan as they should do. Gee, whatever next?

Now I discover that at the other end of the scale, the state is planning to withdraw special grants for small infant schools and to stop paying for free school meals. Any teacher knows, it’s no use trying to educate a child who is starving.

The nanny state should make up its mind. If it wants young people educated, it should pay for it and I mean all of it.

Another use for your mobile phone?

Someone was visiting the other day and the phone reception was particularly bad so he stood in the roadway and held the phone up until the reception improved.

While he was waiting for the provider to sort itself out, he was amazed and surprised to notice that all the traffic suddenly started to slow down.

The drivers obviously thought he was a plain clothes policeman trying to catch them for speeding. It seems there’s no need to arrange special traffic calming devices anymore for if the cars outside are dashing past too fast - just hold your phone up in their direction for a while and see what happens.