One of the most unpleasant insults I have endured on the Council was from a Councillor Michael White (Lymington), who expressed the view across the Council Chamber that I should “grow up”.

I am 60 years of age and am one of the longest serving members on the Council.

I am not famous for saying or doing things in an immature way.

The reason he decided to abuse me was simply that I disagreed with him and all his conservative colleagues about an issue being discussed.

In his mind, being grown up meant conforming to the same set of beliefs that are held by all the people you happen to share the room with.

This attitude does not strike me as particularly useful unless you think that politics is really about following instructions from a higher authority, rather than thinking for yourself.

Earlier this week, Tories at Westminster voted against an amendment proposed by the Labour party that the cap of 1% on public sector pay awards be dropped.

Privately, many of the Tory MP’s understand that the justification for keeping this cap in place for yet another year is getting harder and harder.

They did not support the amendment, simply because it was a Labour amendment and indeed many of them cheered when the votes were counted and shown that the government had won.

The Tories could have broken the mould and said, “Actually, it is about the right time to be paying our nurses, firefighters and police a fairer wage, so we will accept the amendment”.

It would have been grown up politics.

What will actually happen is that the conservatives will adopt the policy in a few weeks (or months) time anyway.

The difference being is that it will be portrayed as “their” decision.


  1. Paul Parfitt

    I have known you since your Norwich Union days and whilst I have not agreed with all your views I have always believed you to be tall enough, metaphorically and in physical stature.

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