Many thanks to Ruth Marsters
First, I have to advise all our many readers, advertisers and subscribers that Ruth Marsters, our Treasurer, has found it necessary to resign both as a Committee Member and the Village Pump Treasurer. All members of the Village Pump Committee have asked that I record their thanks to Ruth for her stirling efforts on behalf of the Pump, not just over the past two years but also, during her previous period as Treasurer. Ruth will be sorely missed and her intimate knowledge of the Pump's history and evolution will be a loss to us all. The Village Pump Committee wishes Ruth every success in her future ventures.
So how do I follow that piece of earth-shattering news? My first reaction was to comment on what now seems an inevitable race towards a holy (or should that be oily) war with Iraq. However, as a long serving member of the RAF, who spent considerable time in intelligence related activities, I feel it is more important that I focus on the continuing obsession of our present government with spin. Because of my background, I took the trouble to download the government's so-called "Intelligence dossier on the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction." My first reaction was one of amazement and my second cannot be re-printed here in a family magazine. I did, however, take my downloaded copy to one of my government clients who also specialises in intelligence matters. His reaction left mine in the shade. We now know that this so-called dossier was a plagiarism of two sources; a thesis by an Iraqi PhD student compiled in 1991 and Jane's Book "The Weapons of Foreign Powers", which is readily available at Foyle's or any other reputable bookseller. What is perhaps even more damning, the so-called dossier included all the original typographical errors, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors! And who was responsible for this attempted deceit of the great British public? Why, to my surprise, one Alistair Campbell! Who would have ever believed it?
My second topic concerns a momentous decision on the day I have to prepare this item. Midnight, Thursday 13th February was the date on which the total ban on public tobacco advertising came into force throughout the UK and Europe. Although I must admit to a tiny regret at the loss of some great film and TV adverts, I must say I totally support the decision to discourage new generations from acquiring the habit of the weed! But my day was made brighter that morning when listening to Andy Goram, the Radio Norfolk sports correspondent on Good Morning with Graham Barnard. He told Graham he was a bit down; the Socceros (Australia) had beaten England at football last night but worse still, he had spent months negotiating tobacco sponsorship for the ill-fated Haymaker racing tips, only to find that they could now only run the heavily sponsored advert for a single day. He then played a spoof advert of a man with a throaty smokers voice saying "Haymaker's tips, sponsored by Fred's fags of Fakenham." I almost fell out of bed laughing.
Keep the material coming. I hope that by next month I will be able to tell you the name of our new Treasurer who, it is hoped, will be confirmed at the next Village Pump Committee Meeting.