ANNIE RIDDLE, OBE. It has a certain ring to it, doesn’t it? You’re right, it’s the ring of improbability.

I don’t want a gong, and that’s just as well since I’ll never get one.

Why? Because a) I’ve done nothing to deserve it, and b) I’ve put too many noses out of joint.

Mind you, the same could be said of many recipients of honours - New Year, Queen’s Birthday, etc.

At least I haven’t mounted a hostile takeover of a neighbouring community that was harmlessly minding its own business, asset-stripped it, put hundreds of employees out of work and left the place in a hugely worse state than I found it.

I haven’t shut down a police station, either, or left a tourism and shopping centre without a custody unit.

I haven’t overseen a rise in crimes of violence, burglaries and sex offences.

I haven’t been responsible for a 101 service where one in five callers hangs up in despair before getting through to a call handler.

I wonder whether the people who really deserve their OBEs and their knighthoods for selfless good deeds feel that their own achievement is devalued by this cosy carry-on?

AMONG the harassed hordes queuing umpteen-deep at the Waitrose checkouts with our mountains of Christmas goodies I checked my phone and found the message: ‘You will not receive notifications while driving.’ Driving? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

“I’m not in the car,” I fumed silently at the screen. “I’m not on a road. I’m not even driving this perishing trolley. It is stationary. It’s going nowhere. It’s been going nowhere for a Very Long Time!”


And much the same word could be applied to our city councillors’ touching belief in an eastern bypass saving us from gridlock.

Which part of There Is No Money don’t they get?

We won’t even have European funding to draw on any more to improve our creaking infrastructure.

There was some good stuff, though, in the vision for Salisbury’s future that the Guildhall Gang submitted to Trowbridge.

I liked their ideas of encouraging self-builders and promoting the construction of prefabricated and eco-homes on what little spare ground we have left.

I liked their detailed proposals for a strategic cycle network, and their plea for a bus, rail and coach interchange, though I don’t believe we’ll get one when landowners stand to make huge profits putting up homes, shops and commercial buildings instead.

I share their impatience with the way our old Post Office is going to rack and ruin.

I agree, too, that we should rebuild the Culver Street car park, rather than turning it into yet another hotel.

But a technology park at Churchfields? Dream on.