Tuesday, 24 January 2012


One of the worst books I have ever read was when we were doing are GCSE exam, it was a book called 'Earthly Powers'. The opening line in this book is the only thing I can remember about it, as it was question on a pub quiz we did a few weeks ago, the opening line in the book is something like "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me." 

That is probably the closest you are going to get on this blog site with wired lines in it like that, but I was honestly considering starting this blog with the opening line: It was on the day Luton beat Hinkley 3-0, that my farther and I  were driving back from visiting gravestones in Barrow on Humber, with two students one from Holland the other dressed in a pink bunny rabbit that we were discussing the upcoming London Mayoralty, but little did I know that the police would be round the following day to discuss terrorism with us.

But I have decided to start this post differently - I am going to start with an apology. One of the things that I was very aware of when I was the Senior Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Community Well being last year was just how too easy it is to spend all your life fire fighting, doing casework, counselling, ward work and running the largest non financially controlled directorate and family and friends become a second priority. Looking back now there is no doubt I certainly fell into this trap and to any friend or family member that in any way felt left out or rejected by me; can I say I didn't mean it and I am sorry. 

When losing my seat I made a promise to myself, that I was going to make a real effort to change that work life balance thing. I was thinking about this promise that I had made to myself on Saturday as I started the huge task of clearing my council office stuff up (16 pink sacks of paper!!! and about half a sack of confidential stuff that has now been burnt.) My Dad walked into my room and asked if I would accompany him up to Barrow-on-Humber on Monday. Since his retirement Dad is spending a considerable amount of time studying are family tree. I agreed and yesterday we went up. It was bloody cold, but it was nice to walk round the village where my Gran lived, and farther grew up. I have some really fond memories as a child of when we used to go and visit her. Dad showed me where he went to school (and was head boy... a terrible embarrassment for a Comprehensive, radical Liberal like me who thinks that kind of thing is terrible and elitist and refused to be a prefect when asked to at my own school) where he grew up in the largest house in the village of about 1,000 houses, but the majority of time we spent looking at grave stones, so Dad could answer some questions about my Great, Great, Great Uncle. 

The thing that I did ponder as Dad was taking notes was no-one really moved in those days, if you were born in a village you pretty much stayed there and the village consisted of maybe 2 or 3 "big families" maximum and literally 100s of servants. Climbing the social ladder just didn't happen. If your farther was a blacksmith you were a black smith, if your farther was the coal man you would become a coal man and If your farther was bankers then you to would end up screwing the economy too. 

For me that would have meant me becoming an Internationally recognised Scientist studying if there is life on Mars and Environmental change in fact if I had followed in my farther's foot steps I would be Dean of Science at the largest Student University in the country - which for anyone that went to school with me would know, would have been a total disaster, as someone who got a double E for Science, which shows why the hereditary principal in the House of Lords is such a stupid idea - but we will leave that for another post. But there can be no doubt that in Barrow and most places in England that was certainly the case,  I was pretty well stunned at how many "Potts" were there. 

So that was yesterday we came back, picking up 2 Uni hitch hikers (one dressed in a pink bunny rabbit uniform the other a foreign student both studying medicine at St. Andrews University) doing a charity sponsored thing trying to hitch hike there way to Germany. We got back home just in time for me to listen to Luton beat Hinckley in the FA Trophy. After that I sat up all night doing company stuff that should have been done that day and then got about 2 hours sleep before been woken up by the doorbell....grrrrr. Looking out I saw a Thames Valley Police Car!

The local police had, had a call that two suspicious Asians "not from around here" had been seen stopping off at a graveyard and acting very suspiciously. The car they were driving matched a car registered to us so we got the call.

I am not sure if it was when the Policeman in question (who I have done mountains of work with in the past in terms of Anti Social behaviour, distraction burglaries, Rural Crime ect ect...) found out that one of the suspects was me; the former councillor and Chairman of Governors of one of the most successful schools in the country, or if it was when my farther offered to show him the photographs of are  ancestry and the wonderful family tree he has done with historical sensors material attached!! the local policeman in question sort of lost interest and decided that we were not worth arresting under the Labour ineffective, racist, illiberal anti terrorism laws. I will say at this point that when it comes to breaking the law or indeed doing anything exciting in my life I rank quite low down on the list, in fact the rumour is that my MI5 file is used by officers to read to there kids as a bed time story - it fits the bill by being short and nothing of interest in there atoll.

Now that we have had a good laugh about how silly this all is, I think we need to point and laugh at the idiots that called the police. And how these people should be marked as unreliable witness. Firstly my farther is White Caucasian nothing (and at this point I remind you my Dad's a research fellow - he is quite thorough in this) from his family research suggest ANY Asian anssestoty atoll. He most certainly is "from round here" he lived in the Manor house where he was born to when he went away to university, his mother and farther lived there all there lives and indeed we fairly convinced that the family has lived "round here" since 1600s he is about as white as you could be, he doesn't even look Asian.

And then there is me - I am not Asian, I don't sound Asian, I don't look Asian and if we were some kind of terrorist's why would we go to Barrow on Humber? Surely a big city is where an attack is most likely. Whilst I find this whole episode of the Police calling round rather amusing, if Police are having to follow up these so called leads like this; doesn't it mean that they are not doing the real job of keeping us safe. The leads are coming from people who are not reliable and at the same time we have engaged in two wars since 11/9 "To hunt down and dismantle Bin Laden and his terrorist organisation" and we have been fighting in the wrong country - as Homer Simpson would say DOH... Bin Laden was in Pakistan living the high life, when we were in the desert in Iraq and searching for him in the mountains of Tora Bora  - in Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan ....oh well. One things is for sure we need to reassess where we are in terms of this war on terror and start fighting and investigating it, in the right place and at the right time.