Editorial _ July
Ray discusses why June really was such a mixed month for him.
The more mature among you will remember that hilarious TV Satire "That Was The Week That Was!" with such stars at David Frost and Millicent Martin. Well, June has been a bit like that show for me...
First, we had the sporting bag of mixed results. The World Champion English rugby team played their first game as world champions in New Zealand and were not just beaten but thrashed by the new look All Black team. Then, to redress the balance, the under achieving England cricket team white washed the same New Zealand nation three nil; the first white wash over New Zealand for 26 years! By now my head was reeling. Then came the much trumpeted soccer match between England and the favourites France in which opened our quest for glory in the European 2004 Championships in Portugal. After a somewhat subdued game, where each team appeared wary of the other, England looked set for a one nil victory as the match reached the 90 minute stage. Then our much vaunted heroes committed two stupid mistakes which allowed the brilliant Zinadene Zidane to score twice in two minutes thus committing the whole of the England nation to a further period of nail biting and tension before we take on Switzerland in our second game. You need to have a strong constitution to support our England national sports teams!
Then came the, by now, infamous local elections where Joe public gave the government a well aimed kick in the backside. Labour lost over 400 local council seats and were pushed into third place overall behind the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats who achieved their most votes ever in local elections. Just think how bad the situation would have been if the election had covered more local government regions. Then we had the European elections where all three major parties were given a sharp reminder of the view of the ordinary man in the street about the European parliament! It has already made the leaders of both the Labour and Conservative Parties seek non-European grounds on which to fight the next General Election. To cap it all, Ken Livingstone only achieved re-election as London Mayor by opposing most of his own party's policies. Perhaps the main disappointments in all these elections were the low percentage of voters who took the trouble to vote and the sheer stupidity of trying to pilot postal voting in four major regions at once. It is not easy being a voter, but I firmly believe if we want to improve our lot and make sure our children and grandchildren have a decent future we must exercise our franchise.
And then of course, there was the weather. A friend of mine used to say that it was called "Flaming" June because the weather was always so flaming bad! But that cannot be said of this June. The weather has been superb for most of the month, with some bad days to provide an essential comparison, and with temperatures reaching the low eighties. My garden is desperate for rain and some villagers in South Norfolk are demanding a hose pipe ban to preserve water for essentials such as cooking, bathing and toilets!
So, as I said, you can see why I say "That was the month that was!" But at least the weather gives us something to talk about other than the Beckhams!