Not a bad month for the ladies. For a start, eleven ladies in the Shadow Cabinet. Can't be bad; or can it! And Elaine Mormon has become the first female to be allowed the title of 'freeminer' in the Forest of Dean. This after a two year legal wrangle, the first lady since the title was first awarded in 1296. It is fair to say the men are not happy! Plus a speech by Katharine Birbalsingh, a school deputy head was the sensation of the Conservative Conference in Birmingham. Yet her suggestion that too liberal thinking in education is not wise was met with derision and ultimately suspension. However I don't think we have heard the end of Katherine. Mind you, Faye Pounder of Stokes Croft was a less than happy lady. Her helpful flatmate loaded all Fayes possessions into her car prior to a move. Unfortunately it was the wrong car and has not been seen since!
So how have the men fared in October? A benefits cheat in Warrington, claiming to be 'virtually an invalid was working as a gym instructor. The former Mayor of Belfast, Jim Rodgers tried to vault over Lorraine Rogers who was 'dressed' as a tomato at the time. (Don't ask why!) He failed, she received £24,000 for injuries sustained. A House of Commons official was jailed for submitting fake invoices in the name of MP's. (Why was he jailed and MP's themselves get off seemingly scott free?) And a financial director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra was jailed for fiddling £648,000. Not exactly pennies, and I notice his wife, an ex-Tory councillor has now left him. (Does that count as a plus or a minus for the ladies?) Plus Robert Johnson, a senior BBC executive deliberately tried to distort the numbers of staff earning over £100,000 a year. Who pays the licence fees, you horrible man! And poor old President Sarkozy, as if he hasn't got enough problems. Now he's got to pay 800 million Euros to the Dassault company for a jet fighter that failed to attract a single order. Makes the UK sound almost efficient. (Mind you, the figures coming out on government waste make interesting reading. Some examples of government spending, l equals lowest figure paid, h is highest. Box of paper, l £8, h £73. Printer cartridge, l £86, h £398. Laptop l £353, h £2,000. Daily car hire (Ford Mondeo) l £27, h £119.)
Never mind, chaps. Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club is to reopen in London! Hugh's now eighty four, so bunny girls never did him any harm. Anyway, I always did have a soft spot for Beatrix Potter!
Some more completely unrelated tit bits from October. Tickets for Glastonbury 2011 sold out in hours. Plus there will be no Glastonbury 2012. Do you know why, all available portaloos are needed for the 2012 Olympics; I kid you not. Surely they could have made it a requirement that everyone bring a spade! People in Syktvkar, north of Moscow are being plagued by bears. So much so that the authorities have issued the following advice. 'Speak to them in a firm voice and never turn your back.' That's OK then! Hastings pier is no more. Opened in 1872, it was completely destroyed by fire, another bit of British history gone.
I do of course realise I have been somewhat beastly to men in this post. So to redress the balance. An Indian gentleman living in Assam, Bholarum Das has enrolled for a PhD course. He is one hundred years old! A man walked into a Cancer Research UK Charity shop in Glasgow, handed in an envelope, smiled and walked out. The envelope contained £20,000. Two British cave divers were hailed for their courage in trying to rescue a man in caves beneath the gorges of the Ardeche. Well done, Rich Stanton and Jon Volanthen. And finally, credit due to two men. David Mach for his ten feet tall gorilla, made from three thousand coat hangers. And Ian Brennen, official sculptor to the Royal household. His model of HMS Victory is finally finished after seventeen years. Made from one piece of wood, taken from Nelson's flagship, it is a triumph of perseverance and skill. Well done, sirs, you have done us men proud!