Richard Ingrams’s Week: Crazy new restrictions that must be resisted

Share
Related Topics

Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Stevenson, now retired, who headed the police investigation into the Soham murders, wrote a newspaper article this week attacking the new regulations affecting all those who work part-time with children. The nation has been gripped by paranoia, he said, instancing what happened to him recently when he took some pictures of his grandson in a village football match.

As he snapped away, Stevenson was approached by one of the game's managers and told he would have to get permission from the parents of all the other children in the photographs if he wanted to keep them. Could anything be more barmy? But the worrying thing about this story, although he didn't see it this way, is that Stevenson meekly complied with the order. "I deleted the photographs," he writes, "never to reach my computer screen."

And Stevenson is not just your ordinary member of the public. He is a very senior retired policeman well used to bossing people about and seeing that his orders are obeyed without question. He ought to have told that busybody in so many words – preferably with four letters – to go away and mind his own business.

When the Government and the civil service are busy introducing all kinds of crazy new restrictions, when even the churches are forbidding worshippers to shake hands in case they catch swine flu, it is up to all of us, but particularly the Stevensons of this world, not only to ignore the regulations but also to be rude to those jobsworths who tried to enforce them.

As Edmund Burke is credited with saying, though he didn't say it, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Be a royal biographer at your peril

The posed photograph of a smiling William Shawcross handing over his lengthy biography of the Queen Mother to his smiling sovereign tells us all we need to know about his book. There won't be any gossip or scandal.

All the same, Shawcross has been at pains to tell us that, although the Queen commissioned him to write this book, he has had complete freedom to say whatever he liked about her mother. Only as a matter of courtesy, he adds, was he invited to submit his manuscript to the Palace prior to publication. We are asked to assume that this was merely a formality and that the Queen would not have dreamed of demanding any changes.

I wonder. Some years ago my cousin Michaela Reid published a fascinating book called Ask Sir James about my grandfather Sir James Reid, who was Queen Victoria's doctor. In it she quoted Sir James's account of the Queen's burial arrangements and the detailed instructions she had left for him about all the things she wanted to be put in her coffin. They included a photograph of John Brown – long rumoured to have been her lover – and a lock of his hair, both of which Sir James put as instructed, into her left hand.

The present Queen made strenuous attempts to have this information cut out of the book but luckily the publishers stuck to their guns. Even Princess Margaret put her oar in, berating the author's husband for daring to be involved in such a disloyal enterprise. For her pains she got one of my mother's famously rude letters and an even ruder one when she was fobbed off with the standard thank-you letter from one of the princesses's courtiers.

I've got a few bones to pick

What's gone wrong with Protestantism? Where is the Reverend Ian Paisley when we need him most? I refer to the arrival in Britain of the relics of Sainte Thérèse of Lisieux, the Carmelite nun who died at the age of only 24 and was later canonised by the Pope in 1925.

All that I have seen by way of protest is an indignant rant by the former Tory MP and atheist Mathew Parris condemning, in the tones of a latter-day Martin Luther, the veneration of this "ludicrous casket of bones" and asking "how can bishops sanction this paganistic nonsense?".

And not only Catholics. He might have mentioned while he was about it the Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, as, according to reports, the relics are going to be on show in York Minister. Will Matthew Parris be able to organise, possibly with Ian Paisley's help, some kind of suitable demo in the close? And while on the subject, ought he not also to launch one of his eloquent diatribes against those churchmen – not only Catholic but Orthodox as well – who have prevented the famous gay pop singer Sir Elton John from adopting a 14-month-old Ukrainian boy? In this country the only objection seemed to be to the singer's age – anyone of 62 being considered pretty well senile. But thanks to the influence of the church, Ukrainian law forbids adoption by gay couples regardless of age.

If ever there was a case of paganistic backwardness, worse even than the veneration of bones, this surely is it. For such a flagrant denial of human rights, Ukraine should be denied admission to the EU, possibly even subjected to sanctions.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Assessor

£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

HR Advisor (Employee Relations) - Kentish Town, NW London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor (Employee Rela...

Derivatives Risk Commodities Business Analyst /Market Risk

£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: eurogloom, Ed in Red and Cameron's Wilsonian U-turn on control orders

John Rentoul
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering