The Last Word

Issue 85

Resisting the depressing effect of political news and pessimism at economic prospects is a challenge. Despite uncertainty at home and abroad market confidence will slowly be restored with changes assuring that the books will be balanced - even if it will be a long haul. But who will be PM by Christmas?

In the meantime there is a diversion for next year. The date of the coronation of King Charles lll is now set for 6 May 2023. This must be an occasion to unite the nation; a further opportunity to display to the world the benefits of our democratic system and Royal Family and our unsurpassable pageantry.

It has been announced that the event will be scaled down with the ceremony ‘reflecting the modern-day role of the monarchy’. This may be a sop to the republicans, self-appointed egalitarians and saviours of the planet. There are concerns that the date might affect the climax of the Premier League season?

We should not be embarrassed about staging a coronation of pomp and splendour. The funeral of Queen Elizabeth ll was watched by more than four billion people – that is half the world’s population.

We have not had a coronation since 1953 and therefore a wholehearted national celebration is justified. Certainly the numbers in the Abbey can be reduced and some of the liturgy and annointing with oil may be modernised and abbreviated. This should not require the Lords and Ladies to be in lounge suits and cocktail dresses. Ermine and gold coronets are needed, even if the Koh-I-Noor crown is not regarded as inclusive. Careful planning will be needed to avoid the procession being delayed by un-gluing activists from the Mall.

Locally there is some bright news – the shelving of the ill-conceived plan to pedestrianise Blackett Street. Also the removal of the unnecessary Covid-19 bollards on Gosforth High Street, to restore reasonable traffic movement rather than a constant jam spewing out fumes from idling traffic. Well done to the indomitable Doc Anand.

The restricting impact of woke-ism and Newspeak brings the threat that soon we will have no words even to express what George Orwell called ‘thought crime’. Ten years ago a style-guide in The Guardian recommended banning the word ‘grandmother’ as offending women of a certain age being described by reference to their offspring having produced offspring. Other words outlawed included ‘gypsy’, ‘illegal asylum seeker’, and ‘turn a deaf ear’.

Woke language proliferates:- batters, postpersons, nightwatchpersons, pronouns of choice, chest feeding.

Now the Local Government Association has instructed thousands of councillors and staff what they cannot say to the people who pay for them. No more “mum and dad”, or even “mother and father”. It must be “birthing parents”. No ‘ladies and gentlemen’. And you must not use the words ‘white’, ‘Caucasian’ or ‘foreign’. The proscribed list is almost endless including “homeless” – ‘expat’, ‘lifestyle choice’, ‘deprived neighbourhoods’, ‘economic migrant.’

The so called aim is to prevent LGBTQ+ and ethnic minorities from being “minoritised” – which is not even a word!

The authors of such initiatives clearly have a political agenda – to attack the nuclear family, push the notion of victimhood and obscure the contradictions of their distorted world view.

We need to protect our plain speaking language before it is too late and dictionaries are redacted or banned, and Countdown is cancelled as politically incorrect.

It has been announced that Sunderland Air Show has been axed for good. This decision by the City Council supports its aim to make Sunderland carbon neutral by 2040.

Arranging multiple air flights for entertainment, rather than for transporting its citizens to Benidorm, is seen as causing unconscionable damage to the environment. The show first took place in 1988 but was not held after 2019 due to the pandemic, although in 2021 there were no Covid restrictions preventing it. In fact the reason for cancelling last year was related to cost.

The Council stresses that the show will be replaced by different events including a World Triathlon Series and an Armed Forces Day. It remains to be seen whether these will attract the same attendances, enjoyment and international coverage as spitfires and the Red Arrows.

And finally, schools have been forced to install digital clocks in examination halls for pupils taking their GCSE exams. It seems they are not able to tell the time on a traditional clock face.

Traditionally children learn to tell the time by the age of seven but many teenagers have forgotten the skill and are baffled by the hour and minute hands – needing to check their mobile phones. In the exam rooms they struggle to know how much time is left. Apple watches and smart phones may see the phasing out of the clock face. How long before Big Ben goes digital?

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