Old Grumpies: Putting the great back into Britain

The Union flag flies at half mast at Chesterfield Town Hall following the attacks in Paris.
The Union flag flies at half mast at Chesterfield Town Hall following the attacks in Paris.

At our recent meeting we decided to be more positive and instead of grumbling, we would discuss what we thought would make Britain great again.

I’m sure, dear reader, that you would not expect any unanimity in all the opinions expressed and you would be right.

There was a danger that the European issue would dominate proceedings with its ‘in or out’ question but the wisecracks and old jokes prevented too much serious discussion taking place. When a member said that we should tell our judges to impose British laws and not be told that prisoners should have the vote or allow convicted criminals to avoid deportation because they have just bought a cat and it’s part of their “family life”, there was some head nodding and not just from the member who is usually asleep.

But there was also a realisation that we have to accept the rule of law in its present form.

During our discussions there was frequent use of the words “Well my wife says we ought to do this, that and the other,” and we often had to say that capital punishment is unlikely to be re-introduced and certainly not for people who do not have their money ready at supermarket check-outs or old men who think they can dance.

Perhaps the best policy for this article is simply to list the suggestions that were put forward and you can make up your own mind as to their relevance.

(a) Go back to the position of 50 years ago when local councils had the power to make decisions for their area with support from a Regional Authority. More power to the people.

(b) Run the Country as a business and not a charity for those who can’t be bothered to work.

(c) No bonuses for Executives, especially in the NHS, who fail, and stop them being moved sideways into another highly paid job.

(d) Bring back conscription. Both sexes and they can choose whether to do military training or community work for six months.

(e) £10 per visit to A and E units and £20 for drunks,

(f) If you can’t speak English then find your own interpreter and transport. Presumably you won’t be able to read road signs either so you won’t be allowed to drive.

(g) If you say you have been insulted, explain in detail exactly how you have been affected and sign a form to say you have never insulted any one else in your life. We wouldn’t want pots calling kettles any names would we?

(h) All immigrants should have to learn British ways by being made to watch all the episodes of Dad’s Army and listen to The Archers for a year. They should be made to go to night school and taught the meaning of such expressions as “Well I’ll go to the bottom of our stairs” and “They must think we’ve fallen off a flitting”.

(i) If you father numerous children you should not be allowed to walk away, create one-parent families and avoid any responsibility.

(j) Any one who claims “that research has proved that…” should be stopped immediately and made to give full details of the how, when and by whom.

(k) Legal firms who pursue spurious claims that some of our soldiers have upset some poor Afghan native, who they have just caught planting a roadside bomb, by shouting at him should be fined heavily for being a disgrace to the legal profession.

(l) We feel we ought to have to say that people who never have their money ready at supermarket checkouts and old men who think they can dance should be sent on a three week rehabilitation course.

We know that no longer are we a country that can send a gunboat to put other countries into line. In fact if the political tide changes we might find we only need white flags. But a country is only great if everyone shows respect for the rule of democratic law.

The meeting could be summed up by the phrase ‘watch your Rs’. Rights and responsibilities, rules and regulations, rights and wrongs, relevance and reliability, reasons and remedies. But above all reverence and respect for Old Grumpies.

On a sad note we lost one of our valued members when Malcolm Heywood died recently. One thing we can say for certain is that if everyone in the country was as kind and considerate, good-humoured and thoughtful, and as intelligent as Malcolm, then Britain would indeed be Great again.