Burt on the Benches August 2016
It is tempting, with politics having been as extraordinary as it has been, to keep up to date with events and write further about them. However I resist the temptation. The country has a new Prime Minister, the most important political change, and the one which needed sorted quickest. Perhaps more of this next month. The Labour Party leadership race goes on forever, so we can leave that for now too. Let’s give it a rest.
Bulletin article - July 2016 A transfer of power
The last four weeks have been as startling in modern politics as anything since the end of the Second World War. In the space of a month we have seen the end of a forty year relationship with the European Union, our major foreign policy position, the resignation of a Prime Minister still not fifty years of age, the completion of an internal party process to find another, and the appearance of chaos in the major Opposition party as it seeks to resolve a stalemate between its members and MPs.
Villager article July 2016 - 1966 and all that
Where were you fifty years ago, on the 30th July 1966? According to Bobby Charlton, about a million people were at Wembley to see England win the World Cup final, or so they have claimed to him over the years! In fact the attendance was 98,000 so those of us not there must have our own memories of the day and where we were.
(For younger readers I should add that I am referring to England winning the World Cup in football- not cricket’s 20/20, nor rugby, nor cheese rolling or conkers. We really did win the World Cup, once)
I was on holiday with my parents in Portugal. We sat in the small bar/tv room in the hotel, surrounded almost exclusively by German tourists. The commentary was Portuguese, and of course it was all in black and white, so maximum attention had to be paid.
I can still recall the event quite vividly. Our Portuguese hosts were mostly supporting us- their magnificent team, led by Eusebio, had been defeated by two Bobby Charlton goals in the semi-final and the memory of Manchester United’s 5-1 demolition of Benfica in Lisbon just a couple of months previously had led to deep respect for the English game. I remember our German guests mostly leaving quietly, though in all fairness I didn’t know the German for ‘that ball never crossed the line’, and my Dad advising me not to be too exuberant so as not to cause embarrassment to them.
I remember, I remember.
Sad to say, there will be some who were there, or watched on television who cannot now remember. Life, Alzheimer’s or dementia has cruelly stolen some of their precious memories, and the news recently that three of that wonderful winning team, Ray Wilson, Nobby Stiles and Martin Peters were living with dementia is particularly affecting.
The power of sport, with its vivid impact of special moments, has inspired one of the best social enterprises I have come across – Sporting Memories. Please visit their website on www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com and find out a bit more. They help and encourage groups, homes, day centres or anyone to harness materials for sporting memory sessions which can help unlock minds. I have seen this in action, visiting a care home some months ago where a few football programmes and a couple of old newspapers helped a gentleman recall the Arsenal of his youth, and some of the games which had brought him pleasure. Those memories helped unlock a little more that afternoon.
Whilst I had long known the power of sport and its connection to memorable events, from the Olympics to Mohammed Ali, seeing this demonstration in such a context was both humbling and satisfying.
Enjoy your own memories of the day ‘We won the Cup!’.
Comet article July 2016 - A weeks a long time etc etc
There will be books written on the last four weeks we have all lived through. Whatever part you played in the Referendum, your decision to vote or not vote either way will have a significant impact on the rest of your life. I simply cannot yet tell you, and nor can anyone else, what that will be.
It has had a dramatic impact on the lives of David Cameron and Theresa May. His resignation was guaranteed by the Referendum result, which was known to those of his colleagues who urged a ‘Leave’ vote, but had no expectation of winning, and no plan what to do if they did.
Bulletin Magazine June 2016 - Health in Bedfordshire
If there is one thing we have all been living with longer than the Referendum, it is the ‘review’ into the shape of our local and regional hospital services. The news at the beginning of June that the current proposals might remove maternity services brought a sharp reaction, quite understandably.
Why mess about with services at all? Over many years medical practices have changed, largely because of medical science. We spend less time in hospital for many procedures than we did, and doctors all over the world have reduced the number of hospitals to encourage more activity at the ones remaining, on the grounds that the more procedures done in the same place, the safer they are and the better trained the staff can be.