An occasional comment on things he’s too lazy to write about…..
This week, more bad news from Syria: Civil war in all but official name. The situation there has been dominating the news bulletins. What struck me is the comparison to be made when a civilian population was under attack in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. (Estimates of around 6,000 killed are disputed by coalition forces) Don’t recall it receiving as much attention on the news as Syria does now.
An article arrived on my very untidy desk from Cyprus Today – the weekly news organ from North Cyprus (TRNC). The headline ‘Cherie Blair’s gift was a big surprise’ caught my attention. CT’s Keren Hasan had an exclusive on Cherie Blair giving an Austin A35 to Turkish Cypriot lawyer Guneş Menteş after being part of her team winning one round in the case of the Orams family. David and Linda Orams, you may recall, are from Hove in East Sussex who are locked in a Kafkaesque land dispute with a Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides. Apparently only 50 of of the 4 door Austin A35s were manufactured and legal eagle Mrs Blair, wife of former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, was with Mr Menteş when he spotted the car in Covent Garden. He remembered the registration number – PSY 120. Mr Menteş is reported as saying “She turned to me and said: ’This car is appropriate for you Mr Menteş’. Apparently, others in the legal team managed to find the owner and they asked if he would sell the car. I later found out the car was bought and shipped over to me to the Gazi Mağusa port in a container about two months after the case. I was taken by surprise. I could not believe it.” He added, “The cars is now a memory of our sucess in the Orams case.” Which is odd, becasue they lost the case after appeal in Januray 2010.
Today’s Guardian Money section highlighted the case of Nick Godley who was having a bit of BT bother over the installation of a telephone line. He made a journey from Braintree to BT HQ in London to voice his anger over waiting six weeks to have a line connected. He could have saved himself the train fare. When I had a problem with BT I wrote directly to the Chairman and the difficulty was resolved in a matter of days. People complain about being frustrated with call centres in far flung places but forget you can write a letter. This method has worked for me in many cases over the years. So, whinging public, ditch the phone calls and write a letter. It works.
And so to the Jubilee. It’s shame the British weather has failed to provide one of its glorious summer days to envelope the celebrating public with physical warmth to match the spiritual warmth they show towards The Queen. A republican by nature I can understand why having a Queen works for us. The alternative, an elected President, seems attractive on the face of it until one considers who the electorate might choose. Still, the idea of a Head of State being appointed by the whim of birth does rather stick in the throat. We’ve been very lucky to have Her Majesty for the last 60 years. We may not be so lucky in the future.
And finally, here’s a nice little video about Birmingham that City TV alerted me to….