Sunday, 13 May 2012

An Unexceptional Place

  •     I decided when I started blogging I would usually avoid the news. Others do it better and on average its instantly forgettable. But once in a while something happens that stays in the memory.
  •     I live in Derby, an unexceptional town of approximately 230,000 people. When I travel the country many people have little idea of the place; often they don't even know where in Britain it is. I have written about it two previous occasions that I can remember. In    A man was convicted of plotting to kill the prime minister. Coincidentally the same thing had happened in Derby  (this time by a woman) many years previously, the Prime Minister being Lloyd George. (see post dated 27th August 2008, Deja Vu, Coincidence, Take Your Pick.)
  •     On the 4th October 2008 I posted concerning the horrific case of Shaun Dyke (A City Shamed) .    Mentally disturbed, Shaun climbed onto the roof of a building in the centre of Derby. Inevitably a curious crowd gathered. And some pathetic individuals, for reasons I cannot comprehend, urged Shaun to jump.Confused and frightened he did so, ending his young troubled life, to the eternal shame of some of those present.
  •     We do not appear in the news too often. When we do, it is all too often for the wrong reasons.
  • Mick Philpott is a well known, nay notorious Derby figure. Fifty four years of age he is the father of seventeen children, six by his wife with whom he lives and six by a mistress who was originally a bridesmaid at his wedding. He seemingly alternates nightly between wife and mistress. Mick has a criminal record and is unemployed, though he has refused job offers in the past. He is also on record saying that he thinks Britain is 'going to the dogs' because Derby Council refuses to provide him with a bigger house for his family. There are many other aspects of the Philpott saga, including Micks appearance on the Jeremy Kyle Show and frequent appearances in the national press.
  •     The whole thing is depressing in the extreme. But moved from merely depressing to horrific this week. The Philpott house was badly damaged by fire. Five children died, a sixth is fighting for his life in hospital. No children deserve this, indeed, neither do any parents, whatever their weaknesses. There is the suspicion of murder, you will no doubt hear much more in the following weeks.
  •     Derby will be to the forefront of national news for some considerable time. (It is not long since it made national news when child grooming by men was found to be taking place on a large scale.) Which all begs the question. Is Derby any better, any worse, any different to any other medium sized place in 21st century Britain. I get very annoyed with people, particularly the elderly who harp on about the past, 'the good old days'. But the seeds of doubt are beginning to be sown.  
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2 comments:

Bernard said...

I have to admit, that I have never visited Derby, not even as a train-spotter in the 1950's. I have however been to Nottingham hundreds of times.
You see, I was told that Nottingham was full of girls, what with all that lace making - and Derby was full of blokes! Any chap from Nottingham looking for work, ended up at the railway works in Derby.
I don't know if it's true or not, but I did find Nottingham well endowed with the fairer sex. I used to work for Plessey you see and had to go up to Beeston quite a bit. I was once offered a transfer to Beeston for a permanent job, but turned it down. So here I stayed and here I am.
(and still single).
Cheers....B

ADDY said...

I know where Derby is and even visited it once when my husband had a job interview at Radio Derby there early in his career. The news about the fire and those poor children is dreadful. I hear the life support of the sixth one has been switched off. As an accident it would be devastating but to have been premiditated is beyond belief.