Search the Site
Create a Site
Read the News
Whats On

October Too 2006.

‘FLANDERING’ in No Mans Land.
'But pleasures are like poppies spread, (Tam o shanter Robert Burns 1791)

Poppy day is an acknowledgement of a debt owed not solely to the dead; but too to the bereaved they left behind, for it is they and the wounded who have to pick up the pieces of their own lives. A Widow, Widower, or Partner was possibly deprived of the opportunity of marriage, of having children of their own; or have Children who have few close family relationships. For a parent lost may also deprive them of brother or sister, whilst an uncle or aunt gone, deprives them of cousins, and so on. Tragedy spreads through the missing generations.

War Memorials mostly commemorate those amateur soldiers who lost their lives in both World Wars, but fail to mention all the others lost since then, be they National Service men or Professionals. Maybe they too should be commemorated on Memorials. There are too many names to acknowledge individually, but collective recognition would remind others that Poppy day isn't the preserve of ageing men and women, but remains as relevant today as it ever was. Tisbury has a plaque on its Memorial to the Glorious Dead, acknowledging the ubiquitous presence of American Allies in 1944. It would seem a good idea to have something similar in acknowledgement of those other soldiers sent to fight other Wars in our name. In 1914/18 and 1939/45 every one of us then alive was at war be it at home or abroad.

It may surely be more difficult to serve abroad now, when both the Military and Civilian population doubt the efficacy of the current conflict in Iraq, in which theatre so many lives are already lost. It is refreshing to hear the General Commanding the British Forces speak out so bluntly concerning matters both foreign and domestic.

Has one not also heard forthright comment on various matters of Public Concern from The Home Secretary. Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police, Chief Constables, Jack Straw and less surprisingly Ken Livingstone, and even the Leaders of Christianity.

It would be an excellent thing for the rest of us to voice our real opinions, or merely air our prejudices. Whichever, it will discourage our current tendency to stumble around pitfalls en route to the Social Abyss.

There may be a price to pay. This fact is well illustrated in the following piece from the ‘Times Newspaper’, Oct 7 2006. My acknowledgement to the publisher for presuming to reissue it.

By Simon de Bruxelles
A CONSERVATIVE councillor has paid the price for joking that a modern Noah would be forced to find room for gay animals on his Ark. David Clutterbuck, who made the comment in an e-mail, was suspended from two key committees, then resigned from the Tory party, saying that he would stand in future as an independent.

Mr Clutterbuck, 72, was told that his comment was unacceptable and had offended Bournemouth's large gay community. The joke was made in response to a tongue-in-cheek e-mail about all the bureaucratic problems that Noah would encounter if he were building the Ark in 2006.The e-mail said that he would have to ‘obtain planning permission, abide by building regulations, carry out an environmental impact study, install a fire sprinkler system and seek advice from the RSPCA’ .
In his reply Mr Clutterbuck said: "I imagine now it would be illegal to only have animals of the opposite sex!"
His comment was then sent to all the members of the Liberal Democrat-run Bournemouth Borough Council, which had been on the e-mail's original mailing list. They demanded that Mr Clutterbuck apologise and that he undertake compulsory equality training. However, it was Mr Clutterbuck's own Conservative group that took action against him yesterday.
Stephen MacLoughlin, the leader of the council's Tory group, said: "In the light of derogatory comments made by Councillor Clutterbuck regarding gay people, we have taken immediate action. His statements have caused offence, particularly in Bournemouth's gay community. They are contrary to the council's equality and diversity policies.
"His comments are unacceptable, especially from someone who deals with personnel and community issues. I hope he thinks seriously about the offence he has caused, and that he will act appropriately."
Mr MacLoughlin said that Mr Clutterbuck had been suspended from two committees on which he sits. But Mr Clutterbuck said yesterday that he decided to resign after being told he was being suspended.
Mr Clutterbuck, who has been a councillor for 19 years, said: "I stand by my comments and I haven't done anything wrong. I am not homophobic and sent the e-mail as a joke." He claimed to have received more than 100 messages of support, many from gay people.

If the detail of this report is correct. The reaction of the Conservative Group on the Bournemouth Council well illustrates why so many Conservative Voters have left the Party. So far as I read it David Clutterbuck’s alleged remarks were both witty and amusing. I for one applaud such a humorous contribution to the Public Debate.

The Gay Community are entitled to hold the views they do, so too the Liberal Party. This incident makes one wonder what the Conservative Party stands for, and whether its leadership is fit for purpose. If this nonsense is anything to go by, seemingly the Bournemouth Branch favours a ‘threesome’ consisting of The Gay Community The Liberal Party, and Themselves. I wonder about the current Diversity of the United Kingdom. What are all these ‘Communities’ we have had thrust upon the common consensus. We have Gays, Muslims, Black Community, The Asian Community, etc. One looses count. Possibly I am unwittingly a member of a White Community, if so I, like the majority just try to muddle through life in the best way one can, without pleading special cause. Who was it who said that when one’s time came, one only regretted the things one didn’t do in life, seldom the things one did do. It is a truism. As a Septuagenarian I must share a collective responsibility that our Country finds itself in its current mess. It was of course nothing that I did, more the things that I and others failed to do. More a ‘sin’ of Omission rather than Commission. The most practical thing we can all do is use our vote, even if one spoils it.

I congratulated David Clutterbuck on his stance, seemingly I was not the hundred and first so to do, but way down the then list of both e.mails and telephone calls. He said that ‘it was time to stand up and be counted’ .

Bournemouth Conservative Voters were lucky to have a man of Mr. Clutterbuck character representing their interests. Such is the trouble with the Conservative Party. They do not want Councillors at any level who exhibit qualities of originality or leadership. Why will the Party not realise that the recurring crises at the top of the Party, stem from the inadequacies in the management of local branches. Councillor Clutterbuck would have my vote had I been of his Ward. I have voted Independent in District Council Elections for the last quarter of a century. Such Persons fight their own corner, and are never the Placemen so often fielded by the Political Parties.

May I indulge myself to another quotation. This from the 1954 Harold Macmillan Diary

‘ The Whips want safe men, as they always have done in every Party. But they don’t make the future leaders of a Party. I reminded Winston again that it took Hitler to make him PM, and me an under-secretary. The Tory Party would do neither………..

contact : John B. Pope
Tel : 01747 870 326
Email :

Graphic version of this page