Talking to Gerald Howarth MP this week about his trip to The Falkland Islands, I recalled the Paras marching out of Aldershot 20 years ago to help win back the islands from the Argentinians.
Having hung on the words of every evening news bulletin during the war's brief but fierce duration, Pat and I were sailing into Southampton Docks when the troopship Canberra returned, escorted by a host of buzzing small craft, festooned with banners and saluted by cheering crowds on the dockside. I took a film of the event because here was history in the making and it was a proud time to be British.
One of our colleagues, Cathy Stafford, later went out to The Falklands where she worked on the wonderfully-named Penguin News, the local paper, whose web-site front page this week featured Gerald and the ex-soldiers who travelled with him.
I must be one of the few regular readers that ‘Penguin News' has in Britain as I have kept a keen in terest in the now booming Islands, about the size of Wales but with a population of only 2,500, plus the garrison of 2,000.
A local entrepreneur, one of their ten new fishing millionaires, has just built himself an attractive new wooden house, with four bedrooms, for less than £100,000. I'm surprised some of the ex-soldiers who made their sentimental return were not tempted to stay. The unemployment rate is two people and the crime clear-up record is 97 per cent.
I am not intending to dive into the fire fighters' strike controversy other than to offer a few "that makes you think" observations.
l In Denmark, where private fire-fighting firms cover half the population, the cost is just one-third of the public service fire-fighters.
l Most American communities do not have municipal fire fighters - 91 per cent of the country's 2.2 million firemen are volunteers. In the state of New York, there are 1,800 volunteer fire depts and only 62 paid departments. It is considered a great honour to serve voluntarily, much as the lifeboatmen serve in Britain.
Anything that is corporatised and run by bureaucratic bodies always wastes public money. This is not the firemen's fault, just how the system works.
There is virtually nothing in this country that would not be better done privately after being wrested from the dead hand of government, which seems to exist to waste our tax pounds. I almost said "burn up…."
The new Lord Mayor of London, Gavyn Arthur, said this week what opposition politicians should be shouting from the housetops - that hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost because Britain's transport network is so bad that many companies are considering relocating overseas.
It sometimes takes our son two and a half hours to inch along the motorways and other crowded routes from Fleet to Isleworth each day, followed by a 12 hour shift and, often, a two-hour drive back.
This is putting unacceptable strain on him and millions of other drivers, all of whom have votes.
It is long past time to fight back and show that it's not just lichen and bogwort that have rights in Britain.
The Association of British Drivers fights hard for this persecuted majority and joining is a good start- their website is at abd.org.uk or call free on 0800 358 9955 to join. I have no connection with them, by the way. What would be really effective would be for independent, pro-roads, anti-high tax candidates to offer themselves for election to both local and county councils. Then some of the deadbeat anti-car activists could be booted out.
Councils like Hampshire - one of Britain's weariest, surely - are always bleating about how mean the government is to them. In fact they waste far too much money: I wonder what the county-wide cost of their absurd road blocking efforts is?