It had to happen didn’t it?

After decades of dominating the political landscape both major parties were annihilated in the European elections.

All those years of arrogant indifference to the concerns of local communities finally ignited.

When people no longer believe in democracy revolution is no more than a ballot box away.

British anger smoulders slowly but the flames are devastating.

How many communities were told they needed to accept housing development to help families desperately in need of ‘affordable homes’?

Only to find those were the homes least likely to be built.

Apart from the wealthy and those on lavish expense accounts who will benefit from the monster that is HS2?

Probably the same number that benefitted from Concorde and the other 95 per cent will fund it.

There is no doubt a mass revolt against the political elite is taking place. Voters are tired of being ignored and are demonstrating at the ballot box.

Residents are incensed at the contracts routinely dished out to senior council executives who rarely last the full course.

Meanwhile street lights are turned off and local bus services curtailed due to ‘lack of funding.’  Both major parties are well aware how the public feel about this hypocrisy but have shown no inclination to listen.

Well the old order is rapidly fading: He who went first will later be last. For the times they are a changing.


Late on a Friday evening I found myself sitting in my GP’s surgery with just one other patient.

We passed the time of day as you do, discussed the weather and finally worked up the courage to ask each other the reason for our visit to the surgery.

I explained I had stomach problems that needed investigation.

“You have come to the best place,” said my fellow patient.

“Is that right?”

“Oh yes this is a brilliant practice.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“All my clients recommended it to me. That’s the reason I joined.”

A few minutes later he was called in to see his doctor and I to mine.

I was feeling rather reassured by his glowing testimony and walked down the corridor with a spring in my step that had been missing on my arrival.

As I left the surgery I picked up my prescription and asked the receptionist if she knew the man I’d been talking to.

“Oh yes, “ she replied. “That’s Mr Johnson.”

“And what does Mr Johnson do?” I asked.

“He’s a funeral director.”

Suddenly the veil of well being fell from me as I realised that all his ‘clients’ were either dead or as close to it as makes no difference and this was their surgery of choice.

I drove home contemplating my chances of survival.

There was an ad on the radio offering really cheap funerals where they dispense with expensive coffins and use what…bubble wrap?

Not exactly a great start to my weekend.


In my early years of journalism I was approached by a lady outside the magistrates court who said she knew my editor.

She asked me to tell him she had just been convicted for drink driving and as a friend would he (my editor) please keep it out of our newspaper.

I passed on her request only to be told that she would certainly be in next week’s edition.

“What would you do if it had been me that had been convicted?” I asked.

“I’d have put that on the front page,” was his terse reply.

Some time later a reader took issue with my editor and wrote to our Letters Page to say what a ‘useless drunken imbecile’ he was and that the grammar in his editorials would never pass an 11-Plus examination.

The letter appeared in our next edition and the staff asked why he would print such a critical personal attack in his own newspaper to which my editor replied.

“We’re a newspaper. We air opinions… and that’s his.”

I learned from my old boss how to accept criticism.

Even though I might disagree.

It was everyone’s right to voice an opinion.

I’ve had some real scorching criticism from councillors over the years and often we ended up as friends or at least we accepted our differences.

How times have changed.

Seems like the only opinion that some people can tolerate these days is their own.

Letter pages and online comments are often incandescent with condemnation of a legitimate view expressed by an individual that happens to be different than theirs.

It’s not discussion they want it’s censure.

When did we all become so sensitive?

Intolerance is not an attractive quality in anyone.

I’m surprised there is any rational discussion about anything today when there are so many snowflakes going in to melt down at the mere mention of the ‘wrong’ word.

Don’t believe me?

Try this…Boris.

By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow

You can email Vic at