In forty five years I have never had to go into hospital or have an operation – until this week, when I had to have a very minor operation. It was entirely successful and has the added bonus that I now have to spent two weeks resting. The one thing that sticks with me is the feeling I experienced just before I was knocked out by the general anaesthetic. I remember saying to the nurse that I could feel a tingling throughout my body. “You should be so lucky,” she replied. And before I could say another word I was gone. Probably just as well.
This week the Independent Police Complaints Commission issued its report into the Metropolitan Police's handling of the aftermath of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. It seems that Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman, who was Norfolk’s Chief Constable between 2002 and 2005, is going to carry the can for the catastrophic way in which the Met handled the media after the incident.
It is clear that Hayman made mistakes, but surely the can should be carried by the man on whose desk the buck stops - Sir Ian Blair. It is said that Sir Ian was failed by his staff and his advisers. I would submit that it is he who failed them.
There will be many who will say that it is difficult to see how Andy Hayman can remain in his post after this report. On a personal level I feel very sorry for him. He was appointed Assistant Commissioner at the Met in February 2005, only five months before the de Menezes shooting. I had several meeting with Hayman during my time as a Consdervative candidate in Norfolk and found him to be hugely impressive and as straight as a dye. He stands accused of giving two different briefings to the press within hours of each other.
I hate to agree with Ken Livingstone, but when he described Andy Hayman as a first class police officer this week, he was right. I wish I could say the same for Sir Ian Blair, whose ego knows no bounds. That ego is what maybe prevented his staff from telling him the full horror of what was unfolding. It is he who should be resigning, not Hayman.
It’s not often I have a domestic, but yesterday evening my partner and I had a loud disagreement about Chris Langham. I took the view that having been found guilty of downloading child porn it was right that Langham faces a hefty jail sentence. “But his life is ruined,” pleaded my partner. “You’ve got to feel sorry for him and his family.” While I certainly have sympathy with his family I have absolutely no sympathy with Langham. He lied to the court about the reason for downloading the pictures and seems to fail to understand that by doing that he has perpetuated the effective torture of children. As long as perverts are willing to pay money to these websites, they will continue to pay for the abuse of children. The real message here is that governments all over the world must do far more to ensure these websites are shut down.
If you spot a politician on a Norfolk beach with a knotted hankie on his head this summer, don’t be surprised. I know of at least three senior Tory politicians packing their buckets and spades to spend a couple of weeks in North Norfolk, rather than travel to foreign climes. Having experienced the awfulness of Heathrow Airport twice this year so far I don’t blame them. BAA should be ashamed of the way they are running our major airports. When I travelled back from Rwanda recently I was ashamed at the first impression people must get of this country. It’s time BAA got their act together. With this week’s record fine for British Airways and the revelation that ten per cent of bags are lost on BA flights, there’s something deeply rotten about the British aviation sector.
Sadly, because of hospitalisation on Tuesday I was unable to attend the friendly at Carrow Road between Norwich and West Ham. Regular readers will know that I am a devout West Ham fan, and in recent months have become used to supporting the most unpopular team in Britain. I did catch most of the match on Setanta, though. I have to say I was a little shocked to hear City fans booing Dean Ashton. He did brilliantly during his short stay at Carrow Road and Norwich made a £4.5 million profit on him. I’d have thought that was a reason to cheer, rather than boo. Anyway, he silenced the boo-boys with a well taken goal. The first of many, this season, I hope.