I have had a most hectic week
That Mrs Delloitte was on the train again on Wednesday morning. Why she couldn't take the entire Jubilee week off like most retired people I don't know. At least she was not sat in my seat, but, as usual, she appeared to be reading the Financial Times. I suspect she uses it to conceal a copy of Sporting Life inside because she always has a pen stuck in her mouth as if selecting horses. It's not her fault that she's French so let us not dwell on her bad habits here but I will be looking at the evil effects of compulsive gambling in a future newsletter.
Suffice it to say, she looks far too old to spend her time gambling on horses. I will be discussing the level of state pensions when I see the Minister for Pensions shortly as I am becoming concerned that, in these days of austerity for all, the Government may not have struck quite the right balance. The state pension is there to provide an old person's basic needs - bread, milk, paying utility bills, bus fares to visit the doctor or to vote - that sort of thing. It certainly isn't there to enable old people, especially foreigners, to gamble on horses especially using British pounds. If they just want to use up useless Euro notes fine. It's not sour grapes of course but it can't be right, or fair either, that some people keep on winning bets. If they can earn a living by betting then they should forgo their pension.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not obsessed with that woman. From sitting three rows behind, I can see she always wears a sort of French beret on her head and the colour (a sort of russet) clashes with her coat. Her fashion sense is not good. But fortunately she's realised that she can't keep trying to take my seat on the 8.15.
As for her ability to afford the extortionate price of train tickets as well as feeding her gambling habit, then perhaps it can be explained by her having other sources of income as well. I'm not particularly interested but perhaps she has the benefit of some sort of French inheritance. [Tax dodge I expect.] I suspect it's from family connections in the French cosmetics industry as a rather high powered smell of dahlias and poinsettias wafts up when I tell her she is sat in my seat.
By the way, I will be discussing my opinions on French cosmetics, cosmetic surgery and implants, shortly.
But if she's really well off, then why does she need to get the train up to London every week when there is already a betting shop in Krupton. I'm not really interested, of course, but if anyone knows her, please tell me. If she's getting some sort of inside information from horse racing circles then I need to know. It's not right that ordinary, less well connected people like myself, are put at such an unfair disadvantage when it comes to the occasional flutter.
Gambling aside, the train was late again. We really must improve the performance of our train operators. This time it got stuck for an hour outside Swindon with something on the track.
How do they expect MPs to get to work every time someone flings themselves onto the line in a final act of desperation over some private matter? I believe they should sort their domestic problems out before they leave home and so I will be asking the Department for Health & Social Services to intervene. We can't have these people leaving home with troubled minds. It's taking the idea of letting the train take the strain to an unacceptable level.
Which all brings me onto my theme of the day - litter.
Whilst sat there waiting for the line to be cleared I couldn't help but glance out of the window at the rubbish lining the track.
There we were, miles from anywhere, and someone had decided to drag an old, heavily-stained mattress to a point not three yards from the track. Not content with that disgusting spectacle, they had also decided that this was an ideal spot to dump an old chest of drawers, a bicycle wheel and a black plastic bag that had been torn open to expose a wide variety of contents that completely spoiled my cup of Great Western coffee. That the black bag had Krupton District Council written on it didn't help my stress level either. Someone must have transported it all the way from my Krupton constituency to near Swindon so, if they could do that, it begs the question why not just drag it as far as your front gate.
It's definitely not the fault of us older people - after all, we were the ones who invented wheelie bins. No, I blame youth.
It is the uncouth and untidy habits of youth which led to my recent proposal to re-introduce town centre and village stocks. Humiliation is what will sort it.
As you know I had hoped to launch a pilot scheme for stocks in Krupton town centre but I have now withdrawn this as planning permission seemed difficult to obtain for permanent or even temporary constructions of this sort. In addition, it was pointed out that the throwing of rotten fruit and vegetables by the public might lead to even more litter.
Apparently it would also have required a public entertainment licence, police for crowd control, County Highways permission to block the road, St John's Ambulance on duty, advance notice in the local paper, full compliance with Section 145 of the Local Government Act, a detailed risk assessment, assurance that there would be no noise nuisance, no begging (as defined under the Vagrancy Act) and no obstruction to the passage of wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
The final nail in the coffin was a need for me to guarantee that I wouldn't use the opportunity to make a collection towards my re-election campaign.
But I still blame the young ones with their huge, unearned incomes for the street mess. They have so much money to spend they make that Mrs Deloitte look like Scrooge.
That's why my theme today is the effects of kid's pocket money on consumption of junk food and cheap alcohol and so on increased street litter and the cost of street cleaning. If the only way to stop domestic rates from soaring is to restrict kids' weekly pocket money to an absolute minimum then that is what we should do.
What do they need pocket money for, anyway? To buy junk food?
Don't they get fed at home anymore? My son, Hector is given nutritious Coco Pops every morning and so makes it to the school bus without collapsing of hunger. But I've seen kids with fizzy drinks and munching packets of crisps at the bus stop. Do their mothers really think this constitutes a nourishing breakfast?
Even when they were on school half term this week, I saw a traffic jam at MacDonalds as mothers in Range Rovers dropped off six already overweight children. If their kids are so precious wouldn't it be healthier to send them out to climb trees and swim in the quarry? And when they got genuinely hungry why not give them a fresh sardine salad before sending them out for more exercise by playing football and improving their reflexes by dodging cars? Is that any worse than watching them die of diabetes at thirty six?
But no, l suspect it's: "Here's your fifteen quid daily allowance, Kevin. Make it last. And don't come to me later today wanting more. If you need some cider to go to the park after school then you'll need to speak to your Dad. He has a discount card at Liquor Centre."
It is underage drinking that will be another theme of mine in the next few days.
But I suppose that that fifteen quid is also to cover the KFC Special Family Bucket or Domino's pizza 'two for the price of one' that they are expected to buy for their tea. And where do they stuff the empty KFC polystyrene bucket or Domino's pizza box? Yes, the crack in the brick wall, by the health-centre. Do you now see the connection of litter and pocket money?
Hector, my nine-year old, has only been caught drinking alcohol once. But that wasn't his fault. I'd forgotten I'd left the bottle of Bells in my briefcase when I asked him to fetch it from my study. And it wasn't that he had become a nuisance to others or been caught with his trousers down in the High Street. That we found him two days later fast asleep under his bed is indicative of the care we take to ensure he does not wander the streets after midnight. It was just a pity he hadn't made it to the bathroom quickly enough.
So as these young people don't put their empty drinks bottles and crisp bags into their school bags to dispose of correctly and as I've hit a legislative brick-wall over introducing stocks, I intend to ask the Chancellor to double VAT on fizzy drinks and snacks and also introduce a law requiring the manufacturers to supply their drinks so that they can be dispensed from taps into proper cups and saucers or as handfuls of crisps onto bone china plates. That'll not only reduce the litter but also teach them some etiquette by stopping them wandering about with their food. The cups, saucers and plates will be chained to the dispensers.
But let me return to that mattress beside the main line near Swindon. A quick wipe and it would have been fine for a bit longer. Even Oxfam would have taken it. And as for the chest of drawers - Mrs Deloitte might have bought it to stand on at the races to give her a better view. It's definitely not sour grapes you understand, but if she fell off in her excitement at winning yet again, she might then learn that betting on horses can be a risky as well as expensive. That donkey I put fifty quid on over the weekend came in last.