You will not be surprised to learn that I wasn’t exactly thrilled last Friday afternoon to be tasked with interviewing some of those worthy individuals who were awarded “gongs” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
It is a tedious business, not because the recipients of the honours do not deserve some sort of recognition (the vast majority of them do), but because the honours system is an outdated and sad reflection of our decaying society. Of what “British Empire” to these people become members?
It’s best not to dwell on it.
Indeed, I soon forgot all about it (save for two individuals who I’ll come to later) as I took a windswept but enjoyable cruise on the Bristol Channel aboard the Waverley paddle steamer on Saturday.
But I was dismayed anew when I turned on the television news on my return.
“BREAKING NEWS,” screamed the strapline on the screen. “The Queen has visited The Duke of Edinburgh in hospital.”
It was accompanied by a picture of Her Majesty getting into a limousine after her visit to Phil the Greek.
The BBC, whose sycophancy when it comes to reporting matters Royal turns the stomach, reported that Her Majesty’s visit to her ailing spouse was especially remarkable because earlier that day she had fulfilled the strenuous duty of being centre stage at the Trooping the Colour parade. A busy day.
Well, BREAKING NEWS. On Saturday there were probably hundreds of elderly women who visited their sick husbands in hospital. They probably went there having had to clean the house, do the shopping and attend to other menial tasks first. Quite a few of them would have had to rely on the increasingly unreliable bus service to take them to the hospital and back. No gentle trip in a fancy carriage and a lift in a limo for them.
Don’t take my word for it. Ask Margaret Everson, senior officer with Bus Users UK (Wales) who was awarded the MBE in the Honours List and to whom I talked last Friday afternoon.
Quite rightly, Mrs Emerson is concerned that constant cutbacks in bus services will leave many communities isolated. It is likely to be the elderly who will suffer most.
As I say it’s best not to dwell on these injustices.
Instead let me mention Keshav Singhal whose passion for promoting good relations between Wales and India has earned him an MBE, although he doesn’t need a gong to be admired for what he has done.
When Cardiff’s SWALEC stadium becomes a little part of India on Thursday, the good relations that exist between India and Wales will be further fostered.
Happily, your Man on the Street has managed to secure tickets for the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy at the ground, which will be graced by thousands of Indian supporters, mainly from the Midlands. It should be a great day.
I wish Keshav Singhal MBE continued success in his efforts to foster good relations between India and Wales. After all, in the coming decades it is likely that India, not Britain, will be a true empire of power.
The end of an era for Barry Town United AFC?
First they took our historic cinema. Then they took our vital magistrates’ court. Now they have taken our football club.
Who are “they” you may ask.
Well, it not so much “they” as “it,” and “it” is an insidious cancer that rots the hearts and souls of communities.
The Theatre Royal cinema was for many of us a palace of dreams, rightly listed as a County Treasure.
It was demolished to make way for what looks like becoming a rather soulless care home of sorts.
Then our magistrates’ court was closed in the name of financial cutbacks.
It was a vital venue of local justice where people from the Vale could feel as confident as possible of receiving a fair trial at the hands of local magistrates who knew the area.
The building is to be demolished to make way for what is likely to be another bland block of shops and “affordable” flats.
Now the local football team, set up by dedicated supporters, is likely to bite the dust at the hands of the Football Association of Wales which has decided not to permit Barry Town United AFC to remain in the Welsh Football League.
The decision will rob Barry and the Vale of a vital opportunity to develop community football and a deeper sense of community in the area.
Let me ask you this, my fellow men and women on the street: How much longer are we going to tolerate having the heart ripped out of our communities? Surely the time has come to stand up and stop “it”.