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These two moans come from Mike Howarth, who's feeling a bit isolated and comes to Grumpy Old Sod to find someone who understands him ... sort of like a security blanket ...
Now I am sixty I regard it as my absolute right to be listened to when I sound off about my favourite subjects. However, my children and grandchildren take the view that I'm to be either ignored, patronised or laughed at so I thought I'd write to you knowing that you and your readers will take me completely seriously and listen with interest to my views!
Firstly, why am I, a perfectly fit individual living on his own and in full time employment, getting two hundred quid to help me with my Winter Heating bills? I am, of course, going to take it, but it does seem a bit daft. I presume the only way to sift the deserving from the others is by means-testing, a dirty phrase to some, a sensible solution to others. I'm not a politician and am easily swayed by a well-reasoned argument, so perhaps you could tell me why it's a good, or a bad, thing?
The GOS says: Mike, you've paid your taxes all your life, haven't you? And your National Insurance? So this is your money then, isn't it? Look, stop worrying about it - take the money and spend it on beer and fags. That's what I do. Now that's what I call a well-reasoned argument!
Secondly, why do local politicians, local newspapers and even sometimes the local BBC radio insist on calling Milton Keynes a city?
It's not.
Never has been and I hope, never will.
City status is conferred on a town by Her Majesty on advice from the Lord Chancellor. She's obviously visited the town, seen the concrete cows, got lost on the American-style road system and scampered back to the palace as fast as the Rolls will take her. It's on a par with some individual giving themselves a knighthood or a peerage, or politicians calling their constituency meetings "surgeries", or hairdressers calling their customers "clients".
Is it all a rather pathetic attempt to increase the status of the town or person? I think it probably is and, of course, in my eyes has completely the opposite effect.
The GOS says: You're absolutely right. It's fairly obvious why people who actually live and work in Milton Keynes might want to aggrandise their home by calling it a city. What's less obvious is that MK is an artificial place - the powers that be simply decreed that there would be a town there, and, lo and behold, there it was! My guess is that they like to hear it called a city - it sort of confirms that their decision to invent it was right, because it's grown into a thriving metropolis. With concrete cows.
Of course, I've no idea whether it was right or not. Never been there. Never going there. So there.
Speaking of politicians' "surgeries" and hairdressers' "clients", my favourite hate is being called a "customer" by the taxman. Listen, Mr.Taxman, I'm not a customer, because I never bought anything off you. I'm a taxpayer, if you have to call me anything. To be honest, I'd rather you didn't. Couldn't you just forget about me? I can easily forget about you.


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