Diary: Call for decorum in handing out parking fines

 

Jacob Rees-Mogg, that priceless guardian of liberty, has come up with a cracking idea to improve the manners of council officials empowered to issue on-the-spot fines – make them wear bowler hats.

The Conservative MP for North East Somerset, who is never seen in Parliament other than in a pin-stripe double-breasted suit, is shocked that respectable motorists should be handed parking fines by people who are improperly turned out. "What we currently have are some desperately scruffy tatterdemalions who wander around as accredited persons," he told a Commons debate on local government.

"They look as though they have been dragged through a hedge backwards. Their uniforms are a norky thing, not the sort of thing as an officer of the Crown would ever be seen wearing – the sort of thing that could be worn by anybody. I wonder whether they might wear bowler hats, for instance, so that it would be clear that they were from the council – proper, thoroughgoing bureaucrats." He believes we should not be compelled give our names just because someone officious asks who we are. He cited two cases of people refusing to identify themselves – Oedipus, who told Polyphemus, the cyclops, that his name was "Nobody" and Bertie Wooster, who used a false name when he was up before the beak for pinching a policemen's helmet.

Neither of these heroes was real. No surprise there. What is truly bewildering is that Mr Rees-Mogg exists.

Mostly men left in Miliband's office

All change in Ed Miliband's private office. His special adviser, Polly Billington, has been selected as Labour candidate for Thurrock, where the incumbent Tory MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, has a majority of just 92. His chief of staff, Lucy Powell, missed becoming an MP in 2010 by a narrow margin and is expected to try again. His press spokeswoman Ayesha Hazarika is returning to work for her old boss, Harriet Harman. At least the men who work for him are sticking around.

Padiham misses out on dubious honour

Padiham, a little town west of Burnley, has been spared the dubious distinction of becoming the first community in Britain with a BNP mayor. Until a few days ago, the town's Deputy Mayor, who was due to become mayor next year, was BNP member Bob Cave. The mayoress would have been his wife, Sharon Wilkinson, the only BNP councillor left on Burnley Borough council since the May elections.

Councillors in Padiham do not sit in organised political groups and are expected to leave their party affiliations behind, but Mr Cave's involvement with the BNP is well-known enough for two of his daughters by a different marriage to say in April that they were changing their names because they were so ashamed of being associated with him.

Despite that, Mr Cave took great exception to the three Labour Party members on the Town Council and sought to have them removed. He failed, and this week he resigned, sparing Padiham what would have been some unwelcome publicity.

Far-right leader's empty promise

The appointment of the French-speaking Elio di Rupo as Prime Minister of Belgium, after 18 months without a government, looks to be a disappointment to all those had hopes that they would see the last of Filip Dewinter. He is a leader of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, linked to the UK Independence Party, which is seeking independence for Belgium's Flemish speakers.

Ahead of the vote, Mr Dewinter tweeted: "Di Rupo premier! No Way! I would then move to Namibia...." A Facebook group devoted to getting him to keep his promise has gained 50,000 followers – none of whom, so far as we know is Namibian But Mr Dewinter says he is going to stay.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas