Column: John Bone

More than a century ago, WS Gilbert declared that a policeman’s lot is not a happy one.

Things have not improved since he wrote those words. The great lyricist probably had in mind the misery of walking the beat in cold, wet weather but I suspect the unhappiness these days might come from the way our bobbies are bossed about. My wish for the force in the year ahead as they settle into their new system of governance, is that we the public and everyone else will stop telling them how to do their job and let them get on with it. It would also help if we realised how thinly their strength is stretched and so stop complaining if they are not everywhere all the time. I have in mind as an example those complaints about a supposed lack of police at Remembrance Sunday ceremonies. We must ask ourselves what they would not be doing if they turned up to do a job we could very well do for ourselves. They are indeed our servants but they are not our skivvies.

I wish every success to Jamie Hamblett as he and his Union J bandmates break into big-time recording but even if they succeed, how much of the money they deserve will they ever see? My experience of young music lovers of their generation is that piracy is rife and fans will pay for songs only if there is no other way of getting them. This is simple barefaced robbery but few see it that way. They happily rob those they venerate.

The great Cheveley Parish Council face-off seems to be over and what had seemed so mysterious to most of us is now at least understandable. But let other such councils take heed. This form of grassroots democracy is a precious part of English rural life. For it to survive and thrive it must avoid looking foolish or quarrelsome to the public whose confidence is its lifeblood. So, ladies and gentlemen of all councils, do please try hard not to look as daft as most MPs.

It came out almost as a throwaway line in evidence at a local court that a member of the public who happened to be around was instrumental in confiscating the car keys of a driver who was three times over the limit. Thank God for interfering busybodies. They save lives. Thank God for do-gooders, too. They are preferable to the do-nothings.

It sometimes seems that needy children and animals get the lion’s share of sympathy when it involves offering money or a helping hand. So it was an inspiration of the technology contest won by Soham Village College students to set them the task of inventing a device to help older people. Their app for Alzheimer’s sufferers was quite inspiring, too.

In some panto seasons we are swamped in Cinderellas but this year I have spotted only one in our area. But it may turn out to be Dick Whittington’s turn. How do these things happen? Is it something to do with London’s post-Olympics stature? Oh no it isn’t. Oh yes it is.