The Third Leader: Bore necessities

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Forgive me, but I was wondering if you would care for some respite from golden rules, differentials, thresholds, gateways, what it will mean for you and the dangers of fiscal loosening. I have to confess that even as I was trying to concentrate on the need to build a stronger, shared national consensus around future priorities, and despite the twopence off, my mind turned to the Severn Bore.

I was surprised to learn that yesterday's effort was only a four-star Bore, and that there are no five-star Bores around this year, although this did not deter many observers. There were interesting tidings, too, in nearby Winchcombe, which this year celebrates the 1,000th anniversary of its lost county, Winchcombeshire.

Winchcombeshire lasted but 10 years, which shows that local government reform has a long and proud tradition. It seems entirely fitting, too, that it was founded by Ethelred the Unready. I can't help thinking that the name couldn't have helped, being rather long; clearly they failed to commission the medieval brand consultants who came up with the punchy likes of Glos, Worcs and Oxon.

Elsewhere, there was exciting news from London, where it seems that in response to the growing problem, syndicates are organising parakeet shoots around Esher, Surbiton and Sydenham Hill. (Dick Cheney is so far unconfirmed.)

Finally, two more interesting facts about Winchcombe: Elizabeth Hurley got partly married there; and, topically, given the budget increase, in the 17th century it was the centre of the English tobacco-growing industry. Cheers until midnight on Sunday (unless you favour the Scotch).

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