Saturday, 30 November 2013

Time is Relative

Another Doctor Who related one, inspired by the Mark Gatiss drama about William Hartnell and the genesis of Doctor Who. Here is a look back at the man who began it all, and the times he lived in...

Time is Relative
Misty streets, the junkyard gates loom
Teachers enter, looking for the child
And find a Police Box amidst the gloom
And an old man, irascible, not at all mild
He was the pioneer, the first to make
A strange adventure in time and space
And many were to follow in his wake
Forever renewed, forever changed face
Black and white magic, fuzzy screens
But going forward in all their beliefs
With all the flaws, misspoken scenes
And Tardis and Daleks, twin motifs
Childhood memories of so long ago
And I still enjoy and watch the show

Friday, 29 November 2013

Attila the Hen

There's a cartoon called "Attila the Hen", which is of course a play on "Attila the Hun". But there is a connection between Hen and Hun. In his seminal article "Politics and the English Language", George Orwell speaks about politicians whose "prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse"

And a hackneyed phrase that is certainly, old, tired, and well past its sell by date is "to the right of Attila the Hun". But have you ever wondered where it came from? It is, in fact, a mid-20th century phrase from America, and of course, was used by individuals who knew virtually nothing about the real Attila the Hun. They were simply scraping around for a useful insult to fling at political opponents, the kind of "sound-bite" insult which sounds good, but doesn't really mean much. But who was it?

Barry Popik is a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary, Dictionary of American Regional English, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Yale Book of Quotations and Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. And he has a fascinating website all about words and phrases like this.

The original phrase seems to have been attributed to Senator Barry Goldwater, who in fact was a Republican Senator from Arizona from the 1950s to the 1980s, and during the 1960s was known as "Mr Conservative".

Goldwater rejected the "New Deal", and  crusaded against the Soviet Union, labour unions, and the welfare state. Precisely what the phrase was is unclear, but it seems to have been a variant of these:

"To the right of Ivan the Terrible/ Attila the Hun/ Genghis Khan"

Barry Popik finds sources for all three: The "Ivan the Terrible" version is cited  in print from 1961, the "Genghis Khan" version from 1965, and the "Attila the Hun" version from 1969, but it is hard to pin down when Goldwater used it, if ever.

The phrase also surfaced in 1973 with Governor Nelson Rockefeller who wanted a stronger drugs law. Legislators jokingly called it the "Attila the Hun Law," apparently referencing the law's invocation of a ruthless, barbaric masculinity, and indeed Rockefeller's rhetoric was full of macho posturing. And that's probably what you'll find wherever the cliché resurfaces.

Chris Colcord writing on "Individuality without Originality" mentions "Attila the Hun" as one of the clichés that is often brought about as elections draw near.

"In election years you'll hear other, done-to-death, super-obvious clichés brought out of mothballs and put back into the national conversation."

And he comments:

"I had exacting composition professors in college who would absolutely crucify students who tries to pass off clichés like these or other tired metaphors in their essays. They demanded originality from their students, believing that the only way writers can learn to write well is by forcing them to be distinctive. We were encouraged to learn from other writers, but the emphasis was always squarely placed on making our styles singular and unique. The professors had to suffer through a lot of immature, inchoate, rambling essays from young writers, but the process helped eventually establish a writer's true identity."

Unfortunately politicians rarely have to learn to be original, and there is a tendency, as Orwell noted for their speech to be full of "staleness of imagery" rather than "a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech"; it is, he says, an "invasion of one's mind by ready-made phrases".

Mike Godwin, who introduced Godwin's Law, which predicted the inevitability of a Hitler or Nazi comparison arising during any online debate, also had something to comment on the use of "Attila the Hun". Like the entry of Hitler into debate, he notes that:

"It doesn't even really make sense to talk about Attila the Hun in terms of left/right politics, but when they talk about Attila the Hun - and they still do, from time to time - [they do so] without any clear sense of any historical context at all."

Who was the real Attila the Hun? He was the leader of a people called the Huns who conquered much of the Roman Empire during the 5th century. He and his followers were famous for their savagery and for destroying the civilised society built up by the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire, if anything, was the bastion of Conservatism, but the Huns were anything but.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Income Support and Mental Health Patients: Room for Improvement

Orchard House is an Acute Admission Unit. It acts as an inpatient service for adults with an acute mental health problem requiring hospitalisation. It is based in St Saviours. It provides 24hr care to people whose mental health care cannot be provided safely in the community, and offers an intensive assessment period covering mental health, physical health and psychosocial needs.
The unit has 14 beds. It has capacity for a dedicated psychiatric intensive care unit which can provide flexible accommodation for people who need high levels of care. Over the last 5 years 1172 patients have been admitted to Orchard House. 362 were admitted under Orders under Mental Health (jersey) Law 1969, and 810 were admitted voluntarily.
On a Facebook Group which I belong to, one of the individuals who accesses the services at Orchard House had some comments about income support, and the problems that people with mental health problems have making ends meet. It's quite an eye-opener, as most of us have little or no experience of people with mental health issues.
My own experience is limited to some friends in the 1980s, who were then in and out of St Saviours, and one of whom had schizophrenia. So that's very limited, and some time ago. This is an up to date account of someone who suffers from mental health problems.
I thought this kind of personal testimony should be more widely heard by a larger audience than one Facebook group; it's a voice that we don't hear very often, but should hear. So I asked the individual poster, who I am not going to name, and got permission to put his personal account of some of the trials and tribulations here.
I hope it will have a wider readership here, and I also hope that some politicians take up the matters presented here, and look into ways in which matters can be improved. As the reader will see, this is not an account which is critical of the professional help given at Orchard House. It is, however, very critical of the financial problems which beset people accessing mental health facilities under Income Support.
Personal Testimony of Mr X.
Today I found out that recently the Jersey government have seen fit to dock income support by 11 pounds a day from individuals that are in Orchard house respite centre for longer than four weeks. The poor have no political representation at this moment, as the church has taken a back seat and has been marginalised from politics since the war and nothing has replaced their involvement.
The majority of individuals hit by the above decision are vulnerable people who are not good at balancing their meagre income at the best of times and are generally heavy smokers as nicotine intake offsets their lack of ability to concentrate that is induced by the medication that they take (a sort of dark ages cure, in my opinion). I suspect that in the fullness of time major domestic catastrophes will occur with at least some people in the mental health community reduced to homelessness due to this decision.
One of the significant problems in situations like this is that the mental health community make up a tiny percentage of the electorate and theirs is not a situation in which supporting them will amply reward the politician involved, unless they are seen to be championing the needs of the poor of the community and few members of the electorate, in my opinion, currently are capable of empathising with that sub-section of the poor, mental health service users as they cannot imagine themselves ending up in that situation. It is often said that one in four people will experience mental health problems but that statistic hides a gross exaggeration in the sense that only one in a hundred people may go on to experience enduring mental health problems.
As public toilets are removed, water is metered, health insurance exemption is removed, it cannot be stated truthfully that these are caring times in which we live. Increasingly the poor with no real political representation are being shafted as scapegoats. Inaccurate and rhetorically exaggerated statements about benefit fraud are bandied around by politically guileful people riding the back of the zeitgeist of lack of transactionable money in the currency. What to do?
This is after health insurance exemption was removed. Before it was removed, as mental health service users we were able to go to the doctor for free. When its removal was discussed we were told that there would be a replacement scheme.
When it was taken away, ostensibly to help pay for free prescriptions, a scam health insurance scheme was foisted upon us. We, if we opt in, are to pay a component of our income support into a fund for ourselves as long as we go to the doctor no more than 4 times, which we pay for in full over the course of a year. Any more than 4 times and we have to find the money ourselves. A complete CON!!!! and we weren't able to complain at the time anywhere in public as Facebook wasn't as evolved as it was, and we are not generally politically aware as we are with Facebook etc. (currently I am developing a mental health forum for mental health service users locally, so we may have a better ability to organise to complain in the future). But it serves to illustrate how people with no real political representation are so easily fobbed off as the government look to cut costs.
This is all above a backdrop where our rent has been increased and our income support and Long Term Income Allowance has not increased to match it, with rising prices of basic staples and all forms of relaxation taxed to the hilt.
We receive somewhere in the region of £250 per week, which I am very grateful for. Most of us are single due to the isolation that goes hand in hand with mental health issues and live in states accommodation, generally studio flats. The rent is about £115 per week. Most of us smoke due to the attentional burst in the region of at least 40 a day, spending about £200 per month on cigarettes/tobacco. A certain percentage self medicate with alcohol and drugs mostly either as an addiction or as a coping strategy. Largely all of us experience depression to one degree or another, which has the tendency of preventing us from motivating ourselves to the extent that we are not as capable of organising our personal finances as members of the general public.
I have recently spent some time in respite and by the time I was released, I had gotten out of the delicate balance of budgeting. Currently I have 60 pounds for the next three weeks.
I am not unusual in this respect. It means staying in permanently, spending money only on milk and bread and finding something to do to pass the time.
I am fortunate in that my dad pays for my internet connection. If I did not have that I would have virtually nothing to do. I cannot afford a television license and so do not have a television. All of us are in the situation where having nothing to do means that the level of stress that we live with is greatly increased. Contributing to us not recovering properly.
One of the further problems that we often face is that we have to establish routines due to our situation and a stay in Orchard house takes us out of our routine and when we return home we have to train ourselves back into the routine we had before. After an 11 week stay recently, I have lost all of the budgeting skills that I had learnt and where I was just about getting by by the skin of my teeth, I am now struggling. I am lucky in that my mental health situation is not comparatively that bad, but it will be another month of managing my time and expenditure very carefully before I am back on track. Plus I have given up smoking. Those that smoke are really up the creek with the increases on tobacco.
The Health Insurance Exemption was lost. As the states removed free doctors, they gave the voting electorate free prescriptions. The doctors have, of course, seen fit to raise their consultation charge by the amount the electorate were paying for their prescriptions anyway so all of us lose out, the government seems like its done a good thing and many mental health patients who gained a great deal of help from free doctors lost out completely.
And all with no real ability to complain. There is a patient advocate provided by the helpful local branch of the charity mind, but she doesn't seem to get involved in political issues per se, instead her role is taking the legal side of the patient, a massively important step forward for us.
We try not to go to the doctor. Each visit costs a little under half of our weekly income. I want to point this out, though. I understand that there are a lot of people paying off mortgages and loans and don't earn so much that their situation is entirely different to ours. We are luckier than patients in many other countries to have an income at all, but every inch we give is a mile to take back.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Out of Time

"Limitation is not a matter of justice. It is a rule of public policy which has its origin in history and its justification in convenience." (Lord Denning)

"Two Jersey politicians have lost their attempt to appeal against their failed defamation case. Today's Court of Appeal hearing was to determine whether there were "exceptional circumstances" to allow an appeal 18 months after the original trial, rather than the usual one month limit. Representing themselves, Deputy T Pitman told the court: "My father's death, the death of my wife's closest friend, my wife's grandmother and our stepsister has added to our stress. My mother has also been diagnosed with cancer and I provide around 30 hours a week of care for her. That, along with renewed allegations about the Jurats who heard the original case, together with what Mr Pitman called the "non-Human Rights compliant" nature of Jersey's courts were all exceptional reasons. The court disagreed." (Channel Television News)

To understand the convoluted way in which the courts work in this case, this is best set out as a chronology:

a)      Pitmans take libel case against JEP and Broadlands and fail
b)      Time for appeal passes
c)      Pitmans make application for appeal "out of time". Application fails
d)      Pitmans make appeal against application for appeal out of time. Appeal fails.

So this last appeal was not the end of the story, it was an attempt to get an appeal back on track although it was out of time. If it had succeeded, it would have pushed the situation back to where they would be if they had made an appeal within time. In other words, they would have been able to bring an appeal.

Channel Television of necessity puts the legal part of the case very briefly, but as it has been heard and thrown out in (c) before now, it was unlikely to succeed. The strongest part of their case was the link between the Jurats and the JEP, which was summarised in that application:

"The grounds of the proposed appeal set out in the Notice dated 9th July 2013 do not assert any misdirection by the Commissioner or perversity in the finding of the Jurats; rather - and more fundamentally - they assert that the Applicants were denied a fair trial by reason of an undisclosed personal, social and working relationship between Jurat Le Breton and a former Jurat Mrs Sally Le Brocq, said to be the longest serving director of the owners of the First Defendant the Guiton Group,"

Part of their claim was that this was information which only came to light after the time for an appeal had passed, and hence was new evidence material to their case. It was an attempt at a retrial, and was ruled out partly on the grounds that the mutual hospitality was slight - "the evidence of mutual hospitality of Jurats Le Breton and Le Brocq amounts to one occasion in 2008, none in 2009, two in 2011 and none in 2012.  Jurat Le Breton and his wife played host only on one of the occasions in 2011.  There is no evidence that these visits were on a one to one basis."

Nevertheless, it is surprising that no mention was made the case in Guernsey in 2006, where Jurat Bisson withdrew after smiling and nodding at a prosecution witness; it transpired that Jurat Bisson had been head of the Grammar School and PC Savident  -whom he smiled at - was an ex-pupil. He decided to remove himself from the case, even though he had no legal necessity to do so, after being challenged, and it is notable that the position of acquaintance in a small jurisdiction and the potential for connections was mentioned.

But part of the reason the original appeal out of time failed was that the Pitmans pursued a political rather than legal route to overturn the case, only turning back to a legal route late in the day. The grounds for rejecting the appeal out of time noted that despite family circumstances, they still manage to follow this path:

"a political rather than a legal route was chosen (as distinct from why the Applicants might have been disabled from taking any action at all.) "

And it notes that they were given advice not to do this, but to seek redress by the legal path of appeal within time, as litigants in person if unable to bear the cost:

" The Applicants, as their correspondence with Lord McNally dating from 27 July 2012 illustrates, were not content to focus on their own libel suit but to treat it rather as an example of what they perceived to be failings in the Bailiwick's systems of checks and balances.  Moreover it was a constant and correct refrain of the addressees listed in the last paragraph (see letters from the Deputy Bailiff dated 13th June 2012, the Bailiff 25th July and 24th August 2012, the Assistant Chief Minister 14th November 2012) that they should, if aggrieved by the order, pursue the constitutionally proper route.  The Lieutenant Governor in his letter of 28th May 2013 wrote-that "it would seem that the only avenue open to you in pursuit of redress is the Court of Appeal."

That's a serious question - if there were family circumstances preventing an appeal, why did they not also prevent the political route taken instead.

I think the only compelling grounds in those circumstances would be to argue that they were not thinking straight because of the personal circumstances, and therefore had not taken the path of an appeal within time, which they would have in hindsight, without the extra family stress.

It is clear that the personal stress which they were under was very considerable. Four deaths within the family within a short space of time, and a sick mother with cancer would tax anyone, and certainly living with bereavement, it can be very difficult to think rationally; what may seem rational may be clouded with all kinds of emotions and stress. In those circumstances, a political course of action may have seemed the reasonable way to go.

We haven't seen the explanation for the dismissal yet, and of course, it may well be that they did not present the case of their exceptional circumstances in this way. It is not for a judge to act as a counsellor, or on behalf of the defence, but perhaps just a touch of empathy of the kind that Lord Denning often showed would not have gone amiss.

With the benefit of hindsight, it might have been wiser had the Pitmans not pursued the original libel action; it is exceeding difficult to succeed in proving libel by innuendo, and costs of libel actions can be punitive.

Because of Trevor Pitman's somewhat pugnatious stance, there will probably be those who have little regret over the outcome, or the potential outcome of his leaving the States. This would be a shame. Before his life began to revolved around the libel action - which can be seen by the numerous mentions on his blog - he made two extremely significant changes to the States, which are on a par with the Troy rule as major planks of reform.

The first was to ensure that the Chief Minister was elected by open ballot; the second, to extend that to the election of Ministers. In doing so, he ended decades of backroom deals and horse-trading over elections (for Presidents of Committees , then Ministers), and ensured the States became much more transparent and accountable; he ensured the public had oversight of who voted for Chief Minister and Ministers. And he carried the House with him on both occasions. That is a significant achievement, and it shows the potential which he had, and I believe still could have.

And even with the Court case hanging over him, he still took up the case of the businessmen who had seen Sir Philip Bailhache reading papers relating to the case of HG on an airplane, and managed to get (what seems to me like) a grudging apology from the Senator after he maligned them, calling their testimony "fictitious and malicous".

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Growing up with the Doctor – Part 3

Growing up with the Doctor – Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)

It is probably a truism that one of your most favourite Doctors is the actor who was playing the part of Dr Who during teenage years; certainly this is true for me. I suppose it is the time when you are starting to come to maturity, and your comprehension of drama is changing from child to adult in the process.

A child sees the plain story, but the adult sees how the story is being told; there's a degree of reflection. I can probably illustrate it best with an extreme example, and a digression onto American TV. The TV series Batman ran from 1966 to 1968, and when I saw it through the eyes of a child, I saw menacing super villains, and our superheroes defeating them, exciting cliff-hangers; I saw an adventure series. When I watched it years later, I noticed it very much as pop art camp comedy.

But by the time I was thirteen, I was far more aware of how the story was told. The Pertwee Doctor was down to earth as well, injecting a note of realism into the series not present in many Troughton stories. Krotons on the Planet Gond were a distant threat. Plastic shop window dummies coming to life and breaking out of shops were a threat so close that I never went past a shop window display without feeling the shadow of those images. I also visited Madame Toussaud's in England, another spooky location from "Spearhead from Space".

These were exciting years for science. Harold Wilson had been talking mostly technobabble about "the white heat of the technological revolution", but his finger was definitely on the pulse of the nation. Science was cool. The moon landings, which began in 1969, continued throughout the Pertwee era on Dr Who until 1972, and cheerfully stole from "2001: A Space Odyssey"; the BBC played the same thunderous opening notes from Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra" used in that film for shots of the Apollo rockets heading into space.

"The Sky at Night" with Patrick Moore rocketed  in popularity, if you'll forgive the pun, and "Tomorrow's World" was also compulsory viewing, as was The Burke Special (1972–1976). The end of Pertwee's era would also see ITV's show "Don't Ask Me" with Magnus Pyke. Science shows were popular and prime time viewing.

Hard forms of science fiction were also in drama with Doomwatch and Moonbase 3, and for children, Timeslip explored the ethics of technology, with subjects such as cloning, longevity, global warming and human experimentation.

And books also reflected this trend, popular book on "Extraterrestrial Civilisations" and "The Black Hole", as well as publishers putting out UK paperback versions of Isaac Asimov's many popular essays on science and scientific history.

At school, I discovered that aside from an ability with mathematics, I was also quite good with science subjects like physics and chemistry. The Doctor-Scientist was very much my Doctor, and the show reflected concerns about environment, social justice, pollution, waste, war and peace.

 Just look at a list - The Silurians (race harmony), the Mind of Evil (prison reform), Day of the Daleks (enemy occupation), Curse of Peladon (the Common Market), The Green Death (pollution), Monster of Peladon (fair deals for workers) - all mirroring in one form or another, contemporary concerns. Pertwee was above all a very moral Doctor, bringing resolution to conflicts, and teaching others about the right thing to do. Here is a speech from "Planet of the Daleks" which typifies this Doctor:

The Doctor: Throughout history, you Thals have always been known as one of the most peace-loving races in the galaxy.
Taron: I hope we always will be.
The Doctor: Yes, that's what I mean. When you get back to Skaro, you'll all be national heroes. Everybody'll want to hear about your adventures.
Taron: Of course.
The Doctor: So be careful how you tell that story, will you? Don't glamourise it. Don't make war sound like an exciting and thrilling game.
Taron: [smiles] I understand.
The Doctor: Tell them about the members of your mission that will not be returning. Like Maro, Vaber and Marat. Tell them about the fear. Otherwise your people might relish the idea of war. We don't want that.

I did take time out from science to have my first real girlfriend, Julie Pallot, and a world away from Dr Who, where David Cassidy appeared on Top of the Pops, and Donny Osmond sung "Puppy Love". I still found time to watch the last episode of "The Three Doctors" at her mother's flat, though. It's very hard to keep away from Dr Who.

But all too soon, much as my love affair faded away, the Pertwee era was also coming to a close. Jo Grant left, and soon it was time for Sarah Jane Smith and the Brigadier to watch while Pertwee's Doctor   collapsed dying and changed into the Tom Baker one.

The moon landings had ceased. And the glory days of popular science would wane. The technological heat had been extinguished with the three day week, nuclear power was seen not as cheap energy, but as a radioactive menace, and the great hope of C.P. Snow that science and government would go forward side by side was ending.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Jersey Under Parliament

Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders. This chapter focuses on what it was like living under Parliamentary rule.
We also learn that the Act of Oblivion promulgated by Charles II was not just a legal fiction, as it led to the destruction of the records of the States during much of this period. It is the first time
" Whereas in the Public Register Bookes of the said Island it is found that many things have been recorded against the person and Government of His Majesties  and His Royall Father of ever blessed memory and other particulars inserted in praise and honour of the late usurpers. His Majesty's pleasure is that all such  Public Acts or entreyes wherein any such things are mentioned be raised out and cancelled that no memory may be left of them-provided that care be taken that no particular person's interest be prejudiced thereby."
And that meant thoroughly expunging the records of that period, so that what we know about it is filtered though the Royalist eyes of the Restoration period.
Jersey Under Parliament
By A.C. Saunders
We have seen that Mont Orgueil Castle was soon taken by Colonel Heane and his troops, and it will be as well to give some idea of the terms which were granted to the Lieutenant-Governor and Philip de Carteret.
It was agreed that Sir George and his troops should deliver over to Colonel Heane, Elizabeth Castle with all the guns, arms, ammunition and warlike stores, and that he should be allowed to march out at the head of his followers, fully armed, with drums beating and flags flying, and that every horse soldier should be allowed to retain his horse, armour and sword, and every foot soldier, his sword.
That all should be indemnified against their former activities against the Parliament up to the 12th December 1651, and that each one should be allowed to retain his possessions in land, houses and other goods. That they could either remain in the Island or go elsewhere and provision would be made for their transfer to England or France, or in the case of those who so desired, the Colonies of America. That all the sick and wounded should be properly attended to.
Considering that Sir George's name had always been included among those exempted from pardon, and that he had done so much damage to the Parliamentarian cause, the terms granted prove that, even in those bitter days, there was a spirit of chivalry abroad, which allowed the Parliamentarians to get complete possession of the Island with as little friction as possible.
It must be understood that Sir George was making his last stand and many of his men were sick or wounded. Many had been killed and it only required a little more effort on the part of the Parliamentarians to break down completely the defences of the Castle with the big guns which had been placed on the Town Hill. Besides, many of his men were anxious to give up the struggle, so all credit is due to the leaders of the Parliament, in their endeavour to settle the matter as easily as possible and thereby avoid further bloodshed. A gallant stand had been made by a few men under a brave leader, against a comparatively large army, and the fall of Elizabeth Castle, the last fortress holding out for the King, is one of the great episodes during the Civil Wars.
Jersey was now in the full possession of the Parliamentarians and the people found that their rule was, if anything, worse than they had been accustomed to under Sir George. There were now a large number of troops to be billeted and the houses were not sufficient for the purpose. But the victors required accommodation and they looked upon the Islanders as a conquered people. So as long as they could get suitable houseroom for themselves, they cared little for the discomfort and hardships which the former inhabitants had to put up with.
Michael Lempriere had returned to Jersey and he was appointed Bailiff of the Island, and Colonel Robert Gibbons was appointed Governor on the r5th December 16Sr with Captain Yardley as his Lieutenant.
At the surrender of Mont Orgueil Castle on the 27th October 1651, Colonel Philip Carteret, Captain Elias Dumaresq and Captain John Le Hardy and those under them, obtained an Act of Oblivion for anything done against the Parliament during the late war, and it was agreed that Carteret, Dumaresq and Le Hardy should enjoy their estates, real and personal, which were properly theirs in the year 1641, as well as anything since acquired by legal descent or lawful purchase ; and all soldiers with their wives and children, then in the Castle, should enjoy their wearing apparel free from plunder of soldiers.
Michael Lempriere appears to have been in great favour with Oliver Cromwell, who appointed him Bailiff, and as Chief of the Militia and later on as a Commissioner for compounding with the delinquents in the Island. In the latter capacity, he has left the reputation of being fair and lenient to his enemies, and as a Bailiff, his judgements were always tempered with justice. In "The Lyars Whip" which he published in conjunction with Henry Dumaresq and Abraham Herault, he has tried to depict his old enemy Sir Philip de Carteret as a monster of iniquity, but the book is so full of exaggerations that one begins to doubt the accuracy of the accusations made therein, although Sir Philip, by his greed for power, laid himself open to the attacks of his enemies.
We know little from the public records of Jersey of the Acts of the States during the rule of Parliament, for on the 22nd March 1660 an order was issued from Whitehall :-
" Whereas in the Public Register Bookes of the said Island it is found that many things have been recorded against the person and Government of His Majesties  and His Royall Father of ever blessed memory and other particulars inserted in praise and honour of the late usurpers. His Majesty's pleasure is that all such  Public Acts or entreyes wherein any such things are mentioned be raised out and cancelled that no memory may be left of them-provided that care be taken that no particular person's interest be prejudiced thereby."
The work was done properly and a very interesting period of Jersey history is more or less lost by the destruction of these records. Therefore in all history written about this period, we find glowing tributes to the Royalists and sinister attention to the abomination in which the partisans of the other side were held by the people. But little was written on the subject, probably partly in response to the King's order, and also to the intense loyalty of those who were capable of writing about the events which took place during that period when Jersey was under Parliament Rule.
On the 9th December 1651 the Privy Council issued an order, directing that no Jurats should be elected to take the place of those under Sir George, until Parliament had taken order thereon. In the same order they evidently did not want to curb the mercantile activities of the Islanders, for they allowed 200 tods of wool and 10 dickers of leather to be imported into the Island free of duty. On November 12th, 1652 they allowed corn of all kinds, malt, biscuits, bread, beer and other victuals, except butter, to be exported to Jersey, free from Customs duty on good security being given at the Customs House by the exporter, and a certificate of Receipt obtained from the Governor of the Island. In the same order it was decided that 1500 tods of wool, 400 dickers of leather and 60 firkins of butter may be sent yearly to Jersey free of duty, and such other goods as the Commissioners of Customs may find reasonable and give licence for.
At the same time it was decided that all the real and personal estate in the Island belonging to those known to be active enemies of Parliament be secured in order to sequestrate when the members of the House of Commons arrived at the necessary decision.
The foreign trade of the Island had almost ceased, including the trade to Newfoundland, and there were a number of sailors unemployed. Fear was expressed that these valuable men might seek employment in foreign service, so orders were sent down to Jersey to the Governor, to send these men to Portsmouth, so that they could be enrolled in the service of Parliament. But neither Jersey nor Guernsey men liked service under such conditions and we hear of Captain Robert Sansun of H. M. Ship Portsmouth writing to the Admiralty on the 11th February 1655, describing the non success of his recruiting journey to the Channel Islands.
When he arrived in Guernsey, he met nothing but opposition, for the Bailiff called a Court and refused to allow his men to impress any sailors from the Island, and some of the Islanders took up arms to rescue their friends who had already been impressed.
The Governor of Guernsey warned Captain Sansun that he had better cease his activities in order to avoid serious trouble, so he took his ship over to Jersey, where he was warmly received by the Governor who promised him his assistance. His men started on their recruiting journey, but the people armed themselves and made the sailors take shelter in a house, and they were only saved from violence by the Governor appearing on the scene with a party of troopers, who charged the mob, killing one and wounding several others.
When Captain Sansun made his report on his return to Spithead he regretted that he had only managed to impress fifty of the inhabitants from the Channel Islands. It is surprising that the Governor of Jersey should have given assistance in the pressing of Jerseymen, for on the 1st February 1655, he had written to the Council from Elizabeth Castle that although he had sent out an order to the Constable of each parish " they pretending privilege that they are free from pressing and they refused to attend and that owing to the constables' dullness and the Islanders averseness obstruction everywhere evident."
On the 22nd October   1652, it was suggested to the Council by Colonel 'Martin that five Commissioners, natives of the Island, should he entrusted with the administration of Government, and that they should he elected each year, and no longer to he elected for life " as for many years bath been practiced to the great oppression of the people." The following notorious delinquents against the Commonwealth he disabled to bear any office of trust in the Island, viz : Captain George Carteret, and Philip his brother ; Philip Carteret of St. Ouen Parish ; Amice de Carteret of Trinity Parish ; and Joshua his brother ; Francis de Carteret of Peter's Parish ; Philip de Carteret of Vinchelez de Haut ; Philip Le Geyt ; Lawrence Hamptone John Pipon, late Jurat ; Elias de Carteret, late King's Attorney ; John Le Hardy, late King's Advocate ; Edward Hamptonne, late Viscount ; and Elias Hue, Secretary.
All was changed and new officers were appointed to the various posts in the Island. It was thought advisable to avoid the election of Jurats by the ordinary way. Jersey had now to deal with a masterful man who cared little for ancient rights and customs. His actions towards Parliament had shown the people that when he wanted anything, he took the shortest way to get it and therefore it is not surprising that on the 28th February 1654 he issued an order to the Governor and Bailiff of the Island:
Oliver. P.
Trustie and well beloved, we greete you well. Having understood that (at present) there is a great faile of Justice in our Isle of Jersey, for want of the usual number of able and faithful Jurats... and for preventing any inconveniences which may arise in case disaffected persons should get into that trust.. We therefore recommend you.. the following gentlemen that they may be sworn in as Jurats of our said Isle."
As his recommendation was an order to be obeyed the vacant posts were filled by the election of Mr. Abraham Herault, Dr. Aaron Gurdon, Mr. Philip Carteret of La Hague, Dr. Nicholas Lempriere, Dr. Denis Gordon, Mr. Philip Messervy of Bagot, Mr. Philip Le Febvre, Mr. James Lempriere of the Towne, Mr. Thomas Le Marinel, Mr. Simon Lebirel, Mr_ John de Rue, and Mr. Simon Esnouf.
The Court had now a full complement of Jurats and the question then arose as to what steps to take against the delinquents. The people were willing to accept the new conditions, and even before the fall of Elizabeth Castle, it was simply the strong and stern hand of Sir George which had prevented many people from expressing themselves.
We hear of a certain Parish, during the last year of his rule, when rumours were reaching the Island of the preparations made by the Parliamentarians, refusing to obey his orders and therefore there were many people in the Island who were ready to settle down peacefully under any rule. It was said that the new Bailiff, Michael Lempriere, was on the side of leniency, and we know that Oliver Cromwell had a very good opinion of his judgment, and so he appointed Colonel Gibbons, Michael Lempriere, Edward Horsman, John Brun, and Guillaume Harding to be his Commissioners to examine and judge what was to be done to the property of the delinquents. During the Lieutenant Governorship of Sir George very little mercy had been shown to those who had treated his uncle, Sir Philip, with such bitterness, and the property of the refugees had been sold to provide funds to carry on the war against Parliament. Parliament however was now in full power and were able without much difficulty to quell any Royalist risings which took place from time to time, and the tendency was to bring peace to the country.
After considerable discussion, the Council of State decided on 14th September 1655 that the whole Island should be treated as traitors and rebels. It was directed that those who had assisted the enemy by sending forth frigates, helped with money, bought prizes, persecuted the well affected, served in a military capacity, or done any act against Parliament should be compelled to compound for the estates, and only then after making due submission.
The Commissioners were authorised to hold courts, and take evidence, and especially against any who still kept up correspondence with the partisans of Charles Stuart. The Commissioners decided that all malignants should pay two years value of their estates, and one-tenth of their personality, except those whose estates were not worth more than seven pounds a year, or their personality under one hundred pounds, and these were to go free.
Anyone speaking adversely against the actions of Parliament, was liable to he considered a malignant, and all moneys were to be paid by the 1st February 1656, otherwise the estate would be seized and sold. We find that the amount raised by this court amounted to £11,730, a very considerable sum when we consider the value of money at that period, the smallness of the Island, and the poverty of the people.
The Act of Parliament, as carried out by the Commissioners, caused considerable resentment among those who had been compelled to adopt the Royalist cause during the rule of Sir George Carteret. Possibly some were willing to adopt any side provided it was in authority, either for peace sake, or to protect their private interests, and therefore it is not surprising that on the 30th April 1655 the following petition was sent to the Protector :-
" In the beginning of the War though we had a malignant Governor most of us adhered to Parliament, till deserted by its forces, then we lived under the yoke of the adverse party longer than any other place : We were forced to pay contributions, keep watches, and like engagements, yet many of us gave intelligence whereby Guernsey was preserved and when forces landed to reduce the Island, most of us joined them, the enemy having only Irish, Swiss and a few Islanders who returned to the Castle and went beyond the seas."
Possibly when Sir George was in power, the signatures of this petition might have been unjustly suspected of being ardent Royalists.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Parable of the Respectable People

The Parable of the Respectable People
And the teacher told them this parable..
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them---what do you do?
Do you leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it? No, because you still have ninety-nine sheep, and you must think of them. What does it matter if just one gets lost along the way?
And when your sheep are inspected by the overseer, he will be so happy that you have your ninety-nine sheep, that he won't be too concerned about the missing sheep. Instead, he will make arrangements for other shepherds to look out for the lost sheep and care for it if they can find it.
Then you call your friends and neighbours together and say to them, 'I am so happy I have a report from the overseer, and everything is as it should be. Let us celebrate!'
In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy on earth over the ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent than the one homeless sinner who repents.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Who am I

Something a bit special today, about Dr Who. I remember the foggy junk yard, and watching it recently in a repeat, I was struck that now I am older than William Hartnell was when he took on the role. He has stayed the same, an immortal in moving images, while I have aged.

I originally wrote this when David Tennant was the Doctor, and has been updated to include the John Hurt character who denied the name of the Doctor, and the Matt Smith current incarnation. Here it is for the 50th celebration day of the doctor!

Who am I?
(The Nature of the Self)

Old man, crotchety and cross,
Wandering traveller, albatross
That never rests, over all time;
This is the mystery sublime.

Tramp, dancing a merry jig;
Always trouble, a whirligig
Lifestyle, yet one can sense
Beneath it sharp intelligence.

Flamboyant, master scientist;
Improvising, good pragmatist;
Sometimes off in merry flight,
But always on the side of right.

Bohemian, smiling, full of wit,
Everywhere he seemed to flit;
Taking broken threads, then,
Binding them together again.

Fresh, open face, yet wise youth,
Always polite, never uncouth,
Always tried to play the game,
Often victorious, overcame.

Manic barometer, up and down,
Often dressed too like a clown;
Angry words, and sharp repartee,
But goodness under still to see.

Secretive, dreaming, and clever:
A chess player who could never,
Be defeated; a strategic thinker
Liking to meddle, always tinker.

The romantic poet of these ways,
Enjoying all the nights and days;
Kisses and logic, now together,
Racing throughout stormy weather

The stormy war comes to pass
Dreadful deed, all flesh is grass
Nameless now, he goes to war
And sees the closing of a door

So lonely, lost, as one of a kind,
Others all gone, now left behind;
Not like them as quite scholastic
But travelling on, and so fantastic.
More feeling, but also harder too:
Touched by pain. There is virtue,
But justice has less mercy today,
And for tomorrow, who can say.

The bow tie magician lives again
Companions lost, he feels the pain
But he had a wife, or so it seems
Now at his end, the Tardis gleams

Books stacked upon a bookshelf,
Like this is the nature of the self;
No simple answers, now behold,
So many stories, so many untold.

Friday, 22 November 2013

An Adventure in Space and Time: A Review

The last programme to be filmed at Television centre was Mark Gatiss' drama about the beginnings of Doctor Who. That's got a certain poignancy all of its own, and the show actually used offices rather than sets, authentically redressed in 1960s style.

The story of William Hartnell and Doctor Who was a wonderful piece of drama. Like all drama, it had to make compromises between the history and the demands of drama; there was no place found for David Whittaker, Doctor Who's first Story Editor.

In a way that was a shame, because it was Whittaker who saw the potential of the Dalek story submitted by Terry Nation over the "Masters of Luxor" by Anthony Coburn. I've read the scripts for "The Masters of Luxor", and while it is a worthy enough story, exploring the idea of intelligent machines, it hasn't got the bite of the Dalek story. If that had gone ahead instead, there would have been no Daleks, and probably Dr Who would have wrapped up after its first thirteen episodes, a worthy series, but one which did not really belong as more than a footmark in history.

That history is so contingent on happenstance. Terry Nation was writing for Tony Hancock, but they rowed, and by chance he found himself out of work, on a train to London, and remembered the request for a submission that he had been given; if that row had not taken place, again there would have been no Daleks. Whittaker saw the potential of those scripts as a "cracking adventure story" of the kind he had been looking for, and dropped the Coburn script. Anthony Coburn had written the first episode, and also the caveman episode. After "The Masters of Luxor" was dropped, he fell out with the production team, and never wrote for Doctor Who again.

Coburn's son, however, has recently demanded that the BBC stop using the TARDIS in the show, or compensate his family for its every appearance since his father's death. Quite how one claims ownership of what was, at the time, a commonplace object on London Streets is another matter. But Coburn was staff writer for the BBC, and staff writers did not usually have any rights over their inventions, even more than Raymond Cusick, the designer responsible for the Daleks could claim any ownership. It looks, in my opinion, like a cheap attempt to capitalise on the Doctor Who Anniversary celebrations.

There were some lovely incidental pieces in the drama. An aside that Mervyn Pinfield invented the teleprompter for news broadcasts, a brilliant device still used on TV to this day. A mention of Sydney Newman's other series idea - "The Avengers", even with his own words ""I don't know what it means, but it's a great title!"

And there were lovely cameo reconstructions of great scenes - Daleks gliding across Westminister Bridge, Marco Polo, The Reign of Terror, The Web Planet, and the Tenth Planet, as well as photoshoots with the different companions on the way.

But the story was about character, and change. The period prejudice of the time was summed up when Verity Lambert, played by Jessica Raine, tells director Waris Hussein, that they were both outsiders -"the posh wog and the pushy Jewish bird". That very much encapsulated the kind of prejudice they faced.

Sydney Newman was played with gusto by Brian Cox, Jessica Raine was brilliant in conveying Verity Lambert, but the star performance has to be David Bradley as William Hartnell. It was wonderful to see how he portrayed how Hartnell mellowed in the part, and rather than gruffly barking at his grandchild, delighted in her adoration of him in the role.

But he also lost the ability to remember lines, and that, with the loss of the original team about him, came across very well, as Bradley portrayed a man who was in many ways insecure, needing reassurance from others, and feeling more isolated and tired as the first team left one by one.

Bradley conveyed the frustration of the actor, as his powers diminished, and he felt his age catching up on him, and his sorrow at having the part which had made him the adorable "Uncle Who" of millions of children taken away from him.

As someone who usually has to place unsympathetic types like Caretaker Finch, this was a triumph of his versatility as an actor. When Hartnell took on the role, as this drama showed, he was frustrated with forever being typecast in barking army sergeant roles; Doctor Who gave him a chance to show that he could play a very different kind of character.

In its way, this drama provided the same opportunity for David Bradley, as he showed just what a wonderful three dimensional character William Hartnell could be, irascible, and then apologetic, loving the fact that he had landed in a role which brought so much joy to so many children.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Political Clichés: Man Up

This is one of those rather terrible phrases which comes originally from America. Ben Zimmer, writing in the New York Times tells us how it came from American football in the 1980s:

"Man up owes its early popularization to another American sport: football, where it originally had a more technical meaning relating to man-to-man pass defence. In 1985, for example, the New York Jets head coach Joe Walton praised the work of his defensive coordinator to The Times: "They're playing the kind of defence that I wanted and that Bud Carson teaches - aggressive, man up, getting after it, hustling all over the field." A year before that, a high-school coach in Texas previewed a coming game for the local paper, The Baytown Sun, by saying, "We're expecting them to use an eight-man front with their secondary manning up on us."" (1)

But the pure form of the phrase took a few years to develop, and he notes that the earliest example of its use in this pristine form is from 1987:

"when the San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Mike Charles told The Union Tribune: "Right now, by the grace of God, we're hanging by the skin of our teeth. Now we've got to man up and take care of ourselves." (1)

Zimmer's history of the roots of the phrase are explained very well in The Economist, under its "Samuel Johnson" column, a pseudonymous column taking its name from the famed compiler of the English dictionary:

"He traces its history from innocuous origins as an elongated version of the non-phrasal transitive to man (i.e., "to supply with manpower"), through a stint as a technical American-football term relating to man-to-man defence, to today's imperative man up! with its gamut of meanings ranging from "don't be a sissy" to "do the right thing" (2)

But the Economist also draws attention to the implicit misogyny embedded in the phrase:

"The term's male-chauvinist tenor implies that women are neither capable of being tough, nor of doing the right thing. Telling a woman to "man up" (or "be a man", a variant that Mr Zimmer ignores, but seems a near-perfect synonym), would sound a tad odd, other than in jest." (2)

In fact, the offensive nature of the phase is taken up by the English Language and Usage website, which notes that:

" 'Man up', along with a phrase such as 'You play like a girl', imply that it is better to be a man/male and worse to be a woman/female. Would you tell a woman to "man up?" Using a masculine descriptor as a positive or the feminine as a negative is rather insulting to females/women. (3)

Following a racist incident, when Luis Suarez's  abused an opponent, Liverpool Football Club put "man up" and "play like a girl" on lists of words which they considered "offensive" and "unacceptable."

And a Guardian article, entitled, "Why it's not OK to 'man up'" asks "why must the language of power be so masculine?" The article gives some examples in contemporary political discourse:

"Kwasi Kwarteng MP, member of the influential Tory Free Enterprise Group telling the chancellor to "man up" and show he is serious about cutting the deficit? Or the former minister for women and equalities saying on a recent Andrew Marr show: "I think it's now time for [Cameron] to, you know, man up, step forward and actually say 'yes, we are going to do it'"?" (4)

And the article also notes how the phrase may be new, but revives old chauvinist stereotypes of man and women:

"As Deborah Cameron, a feminist linguist at Oxford University, says: "It's a new expression, but not a new thought. The idea relates to ancient stereotypes about what it means to be a man." But, she points out, "There might be a reason for being hard, tough and unemotional when going to face death. But there's not such a good reason in politics. Feminist theorists such as Niobe Way think such language is bad for men and women, denying young boys in particular a way of dealing with emotions post adolescence." (4)

This is very much in line with what Harvey Jackins was saying with the co-counselling movement, that phrases like that were part of a repressive culture, which also included the uncritical acceptance of cultural conditioning into social norms such as "grown men don't cry". To repress the emotions means they will probably emerge in displacement activity, such as attacking other people for not being as tough and emotionally repressed as they are. Phrases like "man up" help to package machismo as a commodity.

" In her book The Myth of Mars and Venus, Cameron writes: "One (male) contributor to this catalogue of stereotypes goes so far as to call his book If Men Could Talk. A book called If Women Could Think would be instantly denounced."" (4)

Zimmer notes that "man up" started as just as a meaning relating to manpower:

 "Not too long ago, man up was simply an alternative to the verb man, in the sense of "to supply with adequate manpower." (Staff or staff up would be the more politically correct choices nowadays.) The Oxford English Dictionary cites a 1947 letter to the editor of The Times of London from Henry Strauss, a Conservative member of Parliament, complaining about man up as an insidious Americanism. "Must industries be fully 'manned up' rather than 'manned'?" Strauss asked." (5)

And he notes other examples of what he calls "cartoonish masculinity"

"In recent years, man up and cowboy up have been joined by other "X up" macho-isms. Some evoke what might be politely termed testicular fortitude, like sack up and nut up, dated by the slang lexicographer Grant Barrett to 1994 and 1999, respectively." (5)

Bob Franken, noting the popularity of "man up" as form of American political posturing, comments on:

"the inspiration for the "Man Up" mantra we're suddenly hearing from so many candidates, who are giving new meaning to the word "hardline". (6)

And he notes that it is in use from both left and right wing politicians, although more the right:

"this verbal disease is bouncing from one distaff side to the other from R to D. It's spewing out of the mouths of Senate candidates like Nevada's Sharron Angle, and Missouri's Robin Carnahan. It does seem to be more of a phenomenon of the Right though."(6)

Franken concludes that:

"It is not in the same league as some of the malice and demagoguery that distorts discourse. It's merely simple minded.. empty rhetoric, full of nothing but conjured emotion. "Man up" is relatively harmless. Except for one concern: it is flat out irritating." (6)

It makes its way into modern movies as well, where  Jonathan Kiefer notes that it is almost a regression to the sexist attitudes of men in the past, "wallowing in nostalgia and hidebound macho posturing" (7)

When Lake Superior State University (LSSU) released a list of "Banished Words for 2011," this included the phrase- "man up." Considering this, Russell Cross, who is by profession a Speech Pathologist, with a background in Psychology and Linguistics, and who writes the Eyman blog, comments on the phase, which he describes as "a personal irritant". He notes that "Like many topical clichés, the perception of their frequency is more important than any actual measurements. They just feel overused."

Although it should be noted that the cliché counting site records monthly usage of "man up" as over 3 million!

It looks very much as if this phrase, with its embedded male chauvinism and macho posturing will be around for some time. Bob Franken has this to say:

"Unfortunately what many of us have now is a dreary case of "Man Up" Depression that no little blue pill is going to cure. Maybe we can replace that inanity with another maxim. How about "GROW UP!!" (6)


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Growing Up with the Doctor – Part 2 (1966-1969)

While the Hartnell era is somewhat fuzzy in my memory, my memory of the Troughton era is much stronger indeed. This is often called "The Monster" time, and with good reason. The historical stories were phased out, and I can remember little of the "Highlanders".
In its place, we had monsters, usually revealed in a cliff hanger moment. These were the scary moments clearly designed to make small children suddenly shudder in fright. The Moonbase, when the Doctor goes round the medical lab, and asks if the crew have checked the beds. Just as he comes to one bed, the Cyberman whips off the sheet and stands up. It's sudden, and it was (to a young boy) quite unexpected.
It is astonishing how often the monster was kept under wraps for one whole episode, suddenly appearing just right at the end, but that writing, keeping the monster in the shadows, also made the reveal more effective. It couldn't happen easily nowadays, but back then, the main source of information for the Doctor and television in general was "The Radio Times". A few cryptic remarks, "The Doctor faces an old foe" was as much of a spoiler as you got!
It was the "jump out" at you aspect of Doctor Who which made it so compelling. Again, in Tomb of the Cybermen, at one cliff-hanger, a Cyberman suddenly swings out, and a weapon is fired. Probably adults could see that was going to happen, and when I look at these scenes now, they seem much slower than I remember them, but I am looking with the benefit of hindsight. At the time, it was not "behind the sofa", but it was perhaps, hide behind hands, peering out to see what was about to happen. That moment which made you shudder briefly.
And there were other scary moments. I have vivid memories of the often maligned "Underwater Menace", with the fish people – they swim convincingly on wires when seen in grainy 425 line television. Polly is strapped down. They are going to operate. She is going to be surgically altered to become a fish person. And a needle appears in the hand of the medical scientist. Cut to a shot of a fish person, then back as Polly screams, struggling. You don't get cliff-hangers better designed to scare children than that!  And it remains a vivid memory, and I do wonder if my dislike of needles and injections dates from that early visceral image!
I used to have lots of nightmares, with various monsters invading my sleeping hours, though probably my avid reading of a cache of my father's old Horror Comic Books did not help either. I was never that worried about the nightmares, because the Doctor was always there. It was very much as G.K. Chesterton said – the dragons were already in children's nightmares, but the fairy tales introduced St George to slay the dragon. Although my nightmares were peopled with Daleks, Cybermen, Vampires, and Zombies! And I didn't have St George, but the Doctor in his trusty Tardis.
Another maligned story was the Krotons. I rather liked the Krotons, although a lot of criticism has been given to this story in later years. For a child, however, it was a great story, Troughton delivering a wonderful performance, and the crystalline Krotons very different, and speaking in a South African accent. Of course, as a child, I did not notice that; I thought they had Jersey accents, which are quite similar in some respects! A monster that spoke in a local accent – how cool was that?
Monsters abounded, and they were not for the most part, generic monsters, but had their own distinctive traits. The Daleks, of course, returned with their electronic voices - "Exterminate!" Then the Cybermen returned, their strange buzzing voices, "You will be like us". And the Ice Warriors, semi-reptilian, given a wonderful start with Bernard Bresslaw from the Carry On Films, giving a hissing performance that suggested an alien trying to breath our atmosphere, and full of menace. I've always considered him a hugely underrated actor. The Yeti came, on the hillside in the Tibetan mountainside – really Wales, and the sibilant voice of the very ancient and possessed Buddhist Abbot, moving Yeti like chess pieces on a board. Around that time, there was an mild influenza epidemic, and our classes at school were decimated, so for about four to five weeks, we 'd have lessons where we did not work, but just played chess. And here were chess Yeti pieces on a board; the mundane become sinister.
And the beginning of the Mind Robber, with its white void, and strangeness, still sticks in the memory; I had no idea it was an addition at the start of a story, occasioned by the script editor, after another story had run short.
But the monsters were at their best down to earth – the Yeti in the Underground, with the glowing pulsating web, and when we went to visit relatives in London, and travelled by London Underground, it seemed that the monsters could be very close indeed, just luring in the shadows. Likewise, the iconic image of Cybermen walking down the steps outside St Paul's Cathedral grounded the story, and made it more terrifying. I didn't visit other planets, but I did go on tube trains in London, and visit St Paul's Cathedral. The monsters could be just round the next corner, or under the manhole cover.
And through it all, there were the companions and Doctor. I remember especially the last companion; Zoë was a clever as the Doctor, and definitely short, petite, and attractive to an eleven year old boy. And Jamie, of course, seemed to have been there forever; the perfect foil to ask the Doctor questions, and do any fighting.
One remembers some stories, and not others. The Moonbase, the Tomb of the Cybermen, the Wheel in Space, the Invasion – all stick in the mind, as do the Ice Warriors and the Seeds of Doom. The Yeti are memorable, and I have fond memories of the Quarks, and the ending of Enemy of the World. The novelisation annoyed me, because it told the ending in a different way to how I visualised it, Salamander falling through the vortex. I'm pleased to see from clips of the newly discovered episodes that my memory was right, and it still looks surprisingly good as an effect.
The War Games went on for ages and ages, but never seemed boring. At first, it looked like a historical, but suddenly General Smythe with his hypnotic glasses, and console hidden behind a panel made it mysterious and compelling; and I loved the idea of the different time zones. In my memory, a Roman army was heading towards the crew, and here memory misleads me, as it is one man with a chariot and a rather paltry few soldiers tagging alongside in the real version.
While I enjoyed watching Doctor Who, the Troughton Doctor never had the effect that the Pertwee one would have on my intellectual development. The series drifted between fantasy and science fiction, and the Doctor was a hero, but he was not yet the scientist-hero.
At school, we also had very limited experience of science. Most lessons were English, French, History and Mathematics, and when our fifth year teacher, Anton Dupoy, introduced a few very basic scientific experiments, it had the feeling of something new, but unfortunately something rather on the fringe of the school curriculum.
But as the Troughton era drew to a close, the first men were landing on the moon. I remember coming down in the morning, awakened by my father, to watch the grainy, shadowy image of Neil Armstrong stepping forth onto an alien world. I amassed a scrap book, cutting out with scissors and pasting in all the press cuttings I could find. The graphic work by artists in those days is something that has sadly been a lost and dying art, but it was very engaging; I still have a vivid picture of the jagged line connecting earth with the moon, with the caption, "President Nixon's historic telephone call from the White House to the Lunar Surface".
The age of science was just around the corner, beckoning, but I still felt a sense of sadness as Patrick Troughton's Doctor whirled around and faded away from our television screens.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Radioactive Hazards

I imagine the interview with Shona Pitman and Matthew Price will be the subject of discussion for some time to come.

The crux of the matter, as stated by Matthew Price on BBC Radio Jersey was that no one, however passionately they feel about something, can go on public radio and make unsubstantiated claims against other individuals without them being able to defend themselves.

One commentator on Facebook said that

"Deputy Pitman's interview today was an agreed right of reply to the uninterrupted 10 minute slot given to Sean Power last week where he accused the Pitman's of trying to suppress press freedoms"

And asked the question:

"Why didn't Mathew Price cut Deputy Power's microphone when he made unsubstantiated allegations against the Pitman's? Why didn't Mathew Price stop Deputy Power from making these allegations when the Pitman's were not there to answer them?"

In fact, Deputy Power's interview is available online:

In this, he states that the letter was "handwritten and anonymous", and he was careful how handled it. He says "the police told me that I wasn't the only one", but "they didn't say who the other recipients were" and he and the others "had to be fingerprinted to have our fingerprints eliminated"

He does say of the recent attempt by Deputy Trevor and Shona Pitman to get an injunction against publishing a story the arson threat letter that "I was mildly surprised in that they trumped against injunctions and super-injunctions and transparency"

That's more of a comment on their actions than an accusation that they were trying to suppress press freedom. Accusations do not usually begin "I was mildly surprised." It is clear that the reason for this was the apparent inconsistency with the recent super-injunction, in which Trevor Pitman was arguing for greater transparency and not "secret court sessions".

Deputy Power also says "I've been threatened before on blogs and things, which you tend to dismiss" but nowhere does he mention Deputy Pitman here. In fact, he welcomes Deputy Pitman's comment quoted for him to hear that "Certainly no one we know would do that, and if they did we would condemn it."

At the end of the interview, there are no "unsubstantiated allegations" made - I've listened to it twice now. All he says at the end is "I've received an arson threat, and I really don't know everything else." Nowhere is there any accusation that the Pitmans or their supporters might be behind it.

I just can't hear where he made accusations against the Pitmans which is what some people are saying he did in that interview. We are fortunate that we have the verbatim words and not hearsay.

But let's look at a few other matters which came up.

Shona starts by speaking about a "smear campaign by the JEP". Matthew Price's rejoinder is that this is a reputable newspaper, staffed by professional journalists, and that she can't say those sort of things.

Nevertheless, she does give one case - the case of Geoff Southern and herself helping voters compete applications for postal votes which contravened a recent change in Jersey election law - which she says was described by the Jersey Evening Post as "electoral fraud". I've not got access to the original article from the JEP so I can't tell if the wording did use those terms.

But Matthew Price assumes that is the case, and agrees that it was not electoral fraud, but insists that it was breaking the law. What he avoids addressing is that if the JEP had used the term "electoral fraud" instead, as Shona alleged they did, they would have been misleading the public over what happened; that rather undercuts his comment about "professionalism" which he just stated.

In fact this issue came up in the States, where Senator Le Main was reprimanded and called to withdraw an allegation of "electoral fraud"

Senator T.J. Le Main: Is it not right that the Deputy has pleaded guilty to electoral fraud?

The Deputy Bailiff:  No, Senator, he has not. We are not going to discuss the case today. One moment, please. This is a matter which is before the courts, but it is a matter of public record that it is not electoral fraud. So, I did reprimand Senator Le Main for it but, Senator, I must ask you formally to withdraw the allegation of electoral fraud.

Senator T.J. Le Main: I withdraw it, Sir.

Whether that could be termed "a smear" campaign is, of course, a matter of opinion, but it is certainly a case in point which could be adduced to support that opinion, if the JEP did use that term, and Matthew Price seems unwilling to permit her to make that argument. Unfortunately, she gets sidetracked from the substantive point to be made.

The caveats I place above are simply because I do not have the original JEP press cuttings relating to the case; if anyone does, I would be pleased for receive a copy so I could verify whether or not "electoral fraud" was used.

But given that the JEP did use that phrase as Shona alleges, that would clearly be a case of misreporting, and grounds for an opinion that their reporting was "a smear campaign".

Shona's second point relates to Deputy Power whom she says is "known to be dishonest". In evidence for this, she cites his standing down as Minister for Housing after a breach of the Data Protection Law for scanning to email to himself and another, a private email between Deputy Carolyn Labey and Deputy Judy Martin.

What is extraordinary here is that Matthew Price feigns ignorance of this story - "I don't know what you're saying is true or not". That is an extraordinary admission of ignorance, as the BBC reported on this very story in 2011:

"Deputy Sean Power has resigned as Jersey's housing minister after breaching data protection laws. He said he passed on an email he found lying on a printer in the States building in August last year. .. Deputy Power forwarded it to the Data Protection Commissioner - and also a third party - and in doing that he breached the Data Protection Code." ( ). Quite how her argument would have developed from this point is uncertain, because she was not able to make it.

Of course, Deputy Shona Pitman would have probably been wiser to have a copy of that printed out from the BBC's website to show Matthew Price when he said "I cannot substantiate it at the moment".

And she does go beyond what the BBC says in their report. I can't find a news report in which Deputy Power tried to blame Deputy Southern, but perhaps one exists, but if you make that claim, you need evidence and not just an assertion. Likewise, the assertion that Deputy Power was the source of the leak to the blog site which printed a substantial amount of the email is certainly surmise as no forensic evidence has come to light to prove that.

It is an extraordinary interview, but I don't think Deputy Pitman does herself any favours by trying to talk on when Matthew Price has cut the microphone off.

But what it certainly shows is that when being interviewed by Matthew Price, ensure you have the appropriate press cuttings from the JEP, or print of a BBC web page, so that if he feigns ignorance, he can be gently reminded that he should not be quite as much of an amnesiac as all that.

I can't recall the exact wording of the JEP about the case of breaking the election law, and whether or not it actually used the term "electoral fraud", so I wouldn't have expected Matthew Price to. Primate source documents such as press cuttings are the only way to prove that was the term used, if indeed it was.

It is very strange however that he can't remember the Housing Ministers resignation, or the reason behind it, which certainly I can, and which was reported in detail by the BBC. That seems to be to be a tactic to force the interview onto other lines.

He wants to talk about the Pitman's personal situation and how they feel about it; she wants to raise matters about how they see themselves badly treated by others. In the end, I'm not sure either comes out of it terribly well.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Crisis of Unemployment in 1976

Looking back at the Rosewindow articles by the Bishop of Winchester, John V Taylor, I was struck by how often we forget the past. He is speaking to the world of October 1976, but with high unemployment, it could just as easily have been our own time.
I always found John Taylor to be a voice of insight, well worth listening to. Here is an extract from the Rosewindow article on unemployment, in which I particularly like his focus on the need to see behind the statistics. It is that kind of empathy that is always in danger of being lost, but something which is crucial to the political agenda - it is not just statistics, but human beings that we need to see. He also has pertinent observations regarding the Church's role.
The Crisis of Unemployment
By John V Taylor
AS AUTUMN COMES round again, thousands of students who were still at school last July are now starting at universities and polytechnics; tens of thousands more are already feeling their way in their first jobs as wage-earners. For the fall of the year is the time of new beginnings for the younger generation all over the world. At least, that is their expectation; but for great numbers of them the pattern is not working out. Nobody wants their energy or skill. Nobody can take up their eagerness to learn. The new beginning is a dead end to all the effort they made at school and all their parents' hopes.'
The whole European Economic Community is facing a crisis of general unemployment, but of all those out of work one third are under 25. As I write this in the middle of August there are in Britain close on a quarter of a million jobless school leavers. In Hampshire 4,900 young people are known to be seeking employment. That is about four times as many as there were at the same time in 1974, yet the number of unfilled vacancies known to Careers Officers is approximately five times fewer.
Statistics by themselves quickly deaden the imagination. We need to see behind these figures the anxiety you yourself would feel - are feeling, perhaps -- over a child of 17 or 18 who has lost any clear idea of what he or she wants to do, whose applications for a dozen different jobs have drawn a blank, whose day is spent between abortive visits to Labour Exchange or Careers Advisory Service and bored, rebellious forays in search of amusement with others in the same plight.
We need to see the look of shame and worthlessness deepening in a young face, and understand why this child heads the questions that parents are bound to ask each time he comes home.
This is what the Department of Employment Gazette last April described is "a profoundly corrosive experience, undermining personality and atrophying work capacities."
To apportion blame would be both untrue and useless. We are reaping the fruits of a trend that has been taking place since 1954; some would-say the crisis of capitalism has overtaken us at last. In recent years industry has been investing in sophisticated labour-saving technology, replacing many heavy labourers with a few technicians. Our standard of income at all levels has been raised above what our productivity would justify, so that manpower is beginning to price itself out of the market. Inflation and recession make firms reluctant to replace employment vacancies and unable to create new jobs. The ability of Government to absorb much of the unemployment by means of increased public expenditure is strictly limited by the loss of foreign confidence in the pound.
Without fully realising it, we have grown accustomed to having more and more people out of work while the rest of us work overtime, and it looks as though this will continue over the coming years unless we see our way to radical changes in our organization of employment. In the meantime it is the weakest that suffer most. The most vulnerable regions are the first to see more works closing down. And among individual workers the most disadvantaged are the young, the unskilled, the coloured.
There is an immediate and massive need for short-term 'first aid'. The Government, with good backing by industry, is doing a lot, mainly; under three heads.
a. Sponsored Training Schemes.
The Hampshire Education Committee has set up at several Technical Colleges short courses for school leavers who have not acquired a job. They last roughly the length of a school term, and give some technical skill as well as sustaining young people over a difficult time.
Some of these courses, sponsored by the Training Services Agency, have offered 16-year-olds a training in engineering or office work for five days a week, with a subsistence grant and travel allowance. A few colleges have also been offering courses of 24 days a week for youngsters on supplementary and unemployment benefits. So far the numbers touched by such facilities are but a small part of the total - not more than 150 at any time.
b. Community Industry Units.
This idea was conceived by the National Association of Youth Clubs in 1971.
A unit consists of an Area Manager and a specialist staff, paid by central Government with accommodation and expenses provided by Local Authorities. Units have been set up in regions of greater unemployment, the first in Hampshire being established this year at Paulsgrove, Portsmouth. The Unit makes contact with District Councils and voluntary organizations and tries to persuade them to place contracts through Community Industry with teams of young people in order to carry out projects of use to the community which would not otherwise be done. A painting team, for example, would take orders to re-decorate the homes of elderly or sick people; a joinery team would make toys and equipment for Pre-school Playgroups.
The aim is not only to tide over a crucial period - usually a year - and give technical skills, but also to accustom school leavers to coping with a work situation.
c. Job Creation Projects.
Through the Manpower Services Commission grant aid may be given to short-term projects sponsored and supervised by any voluntary body that can put up a viable, socially valuable idea and is prepared to take on the responsibilities of being the employer of a group of workers.
The grant covers wages and also materials and administrative costs up to 10% of the wages total. Each project must provide a minimum of 30 man-months employment - it might be 12 weeks work for 10 people. The grant is for a limited duration, but if the project can become self-supporting it may go on thereafter under its own steam.
For example, at Kirkby in Liverpool a waste-paper re-cycling factory set up in this way now employs 7-8 youths regularly. Locally, the Southampton Adventure Playground Association has been sponsoring 5 school leavers to landscape three of the playgrounds in the city.
Why should the Church as such become involved in this area of great need when other agencies are clearly doing a good job? Because there is room for far more help. Because the Church is everywhere and always called to act on behalf of the most disadvantaged members of society whoever else may be doing so. Because whatever message of God we may have for the poor and the weak will sound hollow unless we have shown that we care about their plight. Because whatever contribution we may have to make in the debate about the long-term reshaping of our society will carry no weight if we have not shared the burden of short-term alleviation.
What, then, can the Church do at the local level? As a Council of Churches? As a congregation or PCC?
1. Learn the facts and make them known. Use the normal contacts of a functioning parish to find out who the unemployed youngsters are and where they get together. Use the quarterly report of your local Careers' Service and the gazette of the Department of Employment, and above all ask for information and guidance from the South Hampshire Industrial Mission, which is our own clearing-house for all such concerns.
2. Identify some piece of work of value to the community which would not normally be done by someone else -renovating a small building, interior or exterior decorating of homes or community buildings, fencing, turfing or landscaping a plot, making a noticeboard, needlework, survey work, etc. -
Make sure you can supply all necessary materials, and then ring your local branch of Community Industry: [names given]. If your church can offer premises as a base and workshop for a workteam ring up the last named.
3. As individuals, consider the jobs one is reserving for a day off or a bit of spare time and, instead of doing it oneself, think whether one might not afford paying an unemployed young person to do it, or at -least to help.
4. Groups of churches in an integrated zone might, with imagination and a generous expenditure of individuals' time sponsor a scheme to employ school -leavers under the Jobs Creation Programme, Because the sponsoring body has to prepare a job description, estimate the number of employees and the time required, cost the wage bill, interview and select applicants, draw up contracts, find materials and be responsible for discipline, insurance and safety, Churches will not be able to tackle such a workload unless they have a retired manager in one of their congregations. But if there is a group of Churches that feels adventurous enough to explore this possibility, they should ask the South Hampshire Industrial
Mission (see above) to process their project for submission to the Manpower Services Commission, S.W. Area Office, 9 Catherine Street, Exeter.
5, PCC's that know of managing directors in their congregation or neighbourhood might consider means to persuade them to re-think their firm's policy with regard to training: So far from decreasing the amount expended on training recruits to industry during a time of recession, firms should deliberately step up their programmes, especially for youngsters with limited skills, in order to have a ready supply of skilled and work-worthy employees before recovery sets in.
I have emphasized that these proposals are short-term emergency measures to alleviate to some degree the waste of young lives. But even while we tackle the problem at that level we must begin the more fundamental asking of questions to which the Archbishops called us a year ago.
How should our education system and its curriculum be changed so that the transition from school to the world of work/leisure is less of a jolt? As the total number of real industrial jobs shrinks, how can they be shared among more workers without an unacceptable reduction of pay-packets? Must we not, like the United States, accept a redistribution of the work force so that a skilled minority are in the sophisticated 'productive' industries and the majority of workers are in 'service' occupations? And doesn't this call in question the moral superiority of 'productive' work? Must we not, in fact, prepare ourselves for a society in which other ways besides paid employment are open to men and women whereby they can be guaranteed adequate financial support and personal fulfilment, as students, housewives and pensioners already are? These disturbing questions strike at the roots of our present economic structures; but that is no reason for the Church to shy away from them, for she, of all historical institutions, knows that economic structures are not eternal. We can best serve our generation in the name of the Lord by starting to think and pray about these things while we still have time.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

The Parable of the Persistent Widow
And the Teacher said.
In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming and badgering me!
And then he had second thoughts, and had her arrested for harassing him, and thrown into prison; from there, her case would be dealt with by the Procurer, Pontius Pilate
When her case came up before, Pilate was moved by her plight, and decided to exercise leniency, in the Roman way. He could have had her thrown back into the imperial dungeons, but as an act of mercy, had her taken to a strange town, far from Judea, where she was left destitute.
And the Teacher said.
Will there be justice to those who cry out to God day and night?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

November Time

The poem today is a simple seasonal one, it is about November. I don't know if people still gather leaves and make a bonfire of them, but they used to, I remember that. I can still recall that so very distinctive smell of the bonfires, and of course, the fireworks still go off every year around Guy Fawkes' Day.

November Time

Brown leaves fallen, cold air blows
November days, chimneys smoke
Leafless trees, no autumn rose
Acorns falling fast from the oak

Walk along the lanes, earth so damp
As mist and rain drench the land
Early evenings see early lamp
Fence shakes in wind, a final stand

Bonfires of leaves, smoke and fire
And fireworks to blaze at night
The gales howling over the shire
And lost at sea, the sailor's plight

The golden days, November brings
At evensong, the choir sings

Friday, 15 November 2013

Growing up with the Doctor: Part 1

When I was six, I was entranced by a new series for children on the BBC. I'd watch the endless interminable football scores, read out line by line, and then a camera would swing round, the jaunty music would start, and it was the end of Grandstand. And in a few minutes, I would be watching Doctor Who.

My memories of the earliest Dr Who episodes are rather hazy, as I suspect would be the case for many 6 year olds. Of the first story, I remember very little, but I had an Armada paperback which covered the story. I learned to read by the time I was seven, and read avidly. Struck down with mumps for what seemed like most of a school term, there was little else to do, and I enjoyed reading Malcolm Saville, and my latest book on Dr Who.

I remember the opening scenes, the crash on foggy Barnes Common, the mysterious Doctor with his everlasting matches, his granddaughter Susan, and Ian and Barbara, and their first exciting adventure on the planet Skaro, with the Daleks. It was called "Dr Who: An Exciting Adventure in Time and Space", written by David Whitaker, and I still have the battered old paperback, price, if I remember right, two shillings and six pence. I liked the story, but I never quite liked the first person narration. I wanted to be the Doctor, not Ian Chesterton.

Of course, none of that happened! The story starts in Coal Hill school, and the teachers go to where Susan lives, which turns out to be a junk yard, and they are whisked away by the Doctor, with Susan, to the Stone Age, where a tribe has lost the secret of fire. The Daleks don't pop up until the next story.

The mind plays tricks, and in the absence of modern DVDs, perception is shaped by how one reads the stories and recaptures the moment. It was, as John Nathan-Turner said, a case of "the memory cheats". But the memory did more than that; it substituted a false memory from the paperback in place of the original narrative. But the paperback was my way of recalling the story, of how I could remember it, and I read it many times.

The same happened, to a lesser extent with a hardback book by Bill Strutton that I borrowed with enthusiasm from the library - "Dr Who and the Zarbi", with the thrilling end, in a crescendo of pulsating rotating light from the creature known as the animus. It never happened with such good special effects in the TV version!

The third book I had was the Dr Who and the Crusaders, also written by Whitaker, but of the original story I remembered nothing; it was a cracking good story, and I enjoyed it very much, but the historical stories I remembered very little about. Even now, re-reading it, it is a superb piece of writing.

I've changed my mind on the historical stories. The adult can enjoy levels of story and drama that the child cannot, and watching "The Aztecs" on DVD brought it home how excellent the historicals could be. For a six or seven year old, I was very much the "whining school-boy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school" as Shakespeare put it, except that I did enjoy school. I had a satchel though, for my books. I wonder when they went out of fashion and were replaced with today's back-packs?

Most of my memories were Daleks, of course. An enduing image is Dalek doors, sliding up and down, and Daleks coming through. And I remember the playground at school. For a while, cowboys and Indians were put away, and we were Daleks and humans. To be a Dalek was easy. It was exactly as described in the later book "The Making of Doctor Who" by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke. You held one arm with the elbow against your left side, the other extended fully - the weapon arm and the sucker arm. And you moved in a jerky fashion, and spoke in the clipped staccato tones of the Dalek - "Exterminate". To be the Doctor was just as easy. You grasped the lapels of your school blazer, and said "Hmm. Hmm."! You wanted to be the Dalek or the Doctor. Not Ian Chesterton, teacher, I'm afraid. In fact, while the teachers Ian and Barbara were supposed to be typical teachers, they were nothing like the ones we had, men who often smoked pipes in those days, and were bald and old ex-army types. The female teachers at my first school seemed ancient, and were more like Peggy Mount in "George and the Dragon". Later teachers were sweet old dears, on the verge of retirement, so must have been late 50s. There was no one like Barbara.

I do remember some of the more memorable other monsters. I have no memory of the Sensorites, but the Mechanoids I remembered, even though they scarcely appeared in more than one episode. And the Web planet seemed to go on for a long time, the Zarbi trilling, the Menoptra, and the Venom Bugs of Vortis; that was full of strangeness and wonder. I had, of course, little idea of what the story was about at the time.

And then there were the Daleks at the Cinema, on the big screen, "in colour". People forget now how TV was a grainy 425 line black and white box, which took time to come on when turned on, as the valves warmed up. Turn it off, and it would diminish to a small white dot, which would take ages to vanish. Against this background there was Dr Who and the Daleks at the cinema - in colour. It is worth remembering that not all cinema films were colour. I saw "Carry on Cabby" and it was black and white.

I liked Roy Castle as Ian, but I was rather disappointed at the Doctor, or Dr Who, as he was here, as he did not look at all like the Doctor as I knew him from the TV show. And the story as well seemed to be a familiar one, the same one as my well loved and much thumbed paperback told, of the Daleks on Skaro; I had expected something different, a new story to be told. But it was a fun story, and the Susan in the story was much closer to my own age of 8- Roberta Tovey, who played her, was 10. I adored her. I was in love.

When I was 11, I went with my parents and sister on a cruise ship on the Mediterranean, and we made friends with a girl with blond hair of the same age as us, and her name was also Susan. She was, in an Adrian Mole kind of way, my first girlfriend, and part of the attraction was undeniably that her name was Susan, a name I had on my list of favourite names from Dr Who!

I never saw the second Dalek film until years later on TV, and I actually enjoyed it more than the first. It has a faster pace, and like the Yeti in Tooting Bec, a Dalek in what looks like almost contemporary London has a lot more impact. And of course Bernard Cribbins is wonderful, and virtually steals the show from Peter Cushing - except of course, when Philip Madoc, show stealer extraordinaire, pops up for a few scenes as a villain! It was wonderful to see, because when first shown on TV, there were no Videos or DVDs, no way to see the past TV episodes; this was as close as it got.

I had Dalek toys, of course. A plastic Dalek in black, which I still have, but minus (as happens) all the sucker arm, gun and eye stick. And the small Dalek roll-a-kins, with a ball bearing to move, are long gone. Once they disintegrated, the ball bearings went into my marble collection. They were more valuable in the strange world of marble games at school, as well.

And then there were the Cybermen, strange almost human beings, with their inhuman sing-song voices, and vast size. Monsters in Doctor who, with the notable exception of the Daleks and one or two others, are usually men in monster outfits. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. The Cybermen invading the polar base worked for me. Part of that was probably the cracking good story, full of suspense, and also they are invading in the near future - 1983. Well, it was the near future back in 1966 when the serial first aired.

And of course, Dr Who also adorned the pages of TV Comic, where he had his two grand children , John and Gillian. I hated those grandchildren - they seemed so much like comic strip versions of the children you often found in films and TV of that time, who often couldn't act except in a very stilted British way, and who didn't seem like other children - my friends - at all. But the adventures were fun.

Meanwhile another comic, TV Century 21, as well as lots of Gerry Anderson comic strips - Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5, and Stingray etc - also had "The Daleks" on its back page. Here the Daleks were the heroes, and I remember being fascinated by the dome shaped Emperor Dalek. The TV versions, with an honourable exception in Remembrance of the Daleks, never came quite as close. And I liked "Zeg", the Red Dalek. On the TV show, Daleks never had names.

I only ever had one Hartnell Dr Who Annual, the first one. I could probably tell you the plots of the stories as I read and re-read it so many times. These were the days before the Target novelisations, so you read what you could on Dr Who, which was very little. The uncredited writer was of course David Whitaker, and unlike some later Annuals, his prose was excellent, and he could tell a story well. The rest of the time - back to Enid Blyton's Famous Five, or the science fiction of Captain W.E. Johns, who wrote space adventures as well as Biggles. Not a lot of people know that!

And suddenly the Doctor fell down, and changed. Once moment, he was William Hartnell, and the next, this strange much younger character. People say that sometimes they took time to get used to the change, but as a 9 year old, I just took it in my stride. After all, the Daleks were back again, and within a few episodes, I was used to the Patrick Troughton incarnation of the Doctor, and William Hartnell had been forgotten. Such is the fickle loyalty of youth.

But the image of Hartnell, and the power of his presence remained with me as a firm memory. And he would pop up in all kinds of unexpected films. A showing (I didn't see it at the cinema) on TV of "Carry in Sergeant", and there was William Hartnell, giving a brilliant performance, again as a Sergeant in "Private's Progress", and a somewhat younger Hartnell in the excellent "Murder in Reverse". And of course, Hartnell in chain mail, as Sergeant for the Army of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick, leading the attack on America with Peter Sellers in "The Mouse that Roared"

Now there is a new drama next Thursday, by Mark Gatiss, called "An Adventure in Time and Space" about the people involved in the origins of Dr Who, Verity Lambert, Sidney Newman, Waris Hussein, Jacqueline Hill, William Russell, Carole Ann Ford and of course William Hartnell. It looks like being a very well written drama, and also a compelling walk back down memory lane.