SENTINEL: Mucky herberts, chewing gum, Europe, hospital, pay



Sentinel casts his eye over the latest events in and around Boston...

If nothing else this week has proved that there are some, for want of a better family friendly term, mucky herberts about. First there’s the folks surfing for porn in Boston Library of all places. Then there’s the need for ‘eyes posters’ up in Hatters Lane to stop people doing their ‘business’ in the street. Presumably the lack of urinals and toilet seats is not enough evidence too suggest ‘this is not a loo’. And today we hear, from the British Transport Police, that a chap on the train well, to put it politely, did something rather indecent to himself in front of a teenage girl on the train from Boston to Nottingham. Whatever next? Actually, don’t answer that one...

*Speaking of porn in the library. Maybe Martin Hill and his crew should offer it as a paid-for service if it’s that popular? That way maybe he can save a few of the libraries that are being axed...

*Sentinel is sick and tired of hearing the following phrase: “It’s about time we had a debate on Europe”. The next person who says that, of whichever party, ought to be forced to listen to Now That’s What I Call The Worst Of Eurovision on loop for 48 hours in a darkened room. Why? Well, the thing is there’s an awful lot of hot air and ‘debate’ about Europe it’s just that rather than getting down to the issues the main parties tend to get bogged down in who wants to hold a referendum and when. Yawn. In this week’s Standard the four main parties offer their brief opening shots in the European election campaigns. In summary the Conservatives want to change the EU, Labour want to get more out of it, Lib Dems want to appeal to migrant voters and UKIP want out. There we go, there’s a decent starting point to your debate. Next stop a serious delve into the costs/benefits and what exactly ‘reforms’ might look like. You may think this vote in May is pointless or dull but this really is the chance for this fabled ‘debate’ they’ve all been promising. All four main parties have been to Boston so they are all at least taking the town seriously. Let’s hope for a meaty discussion and not the usual banality and pitiful turnouts of recent elections. Well, you’ve got to be an optimist haven’t you?

*The London Evening Standard (no relation) noted in its diary recently that Boston’s MP Mark Simmonds was caught chewing gum in the Commons on March 4. Tut tut Mark. Sentinel remembers being in court once when a particularly fierce magistrate bellowed at a member of the public gallery (not Sentinel by the way) for chewing gum. It’s a good job she didn’t catch him in the act...

*Sentinel gets the feeling we should all be a little concerned about matters at the Pilgrim Hospital. The strategy drawn up by bosses suggests that unless drastic action is taken the trust in charge of the county’s hospitals will be saddled with a £105 million deficit by 2018. While you can’t help but feel someone is going by the age-old ‘pick a big number and scare everyone into agreeing’ tactic, it does appear that some serious cuts are on the horizon. It feels ‘unthinkable’ for the county to have to get by with one major A&E, say, but with those figures and warnings do we have to now think - and fear - the unthinkable?

*This week, on a probably-not-unrelated note, Jeremy Hunt did win extra powers to close or downgrade hospitals in cases of ‘extreme’ poor performance. Sentinel says he ‘won’ but, strangely, he wasn’t even in attendance in the Commons as the two sides argued it out. No-one is suggesting this will be wielded here of course – and those in favour argue that it is not about closing or downgrading at all – but Sentinel feels there could well be a fight on the horizon. Get ready Boston, your hospital may soon need your care.

*Boston’s women get paid £92 less a week on average than men. It’s a gap that is roughly similar in pounds to elsewhere in the country but, as a percentage of an already below average wage, it will feel worse. It really is time we moved on from the ‘jobs for the boys’ dark ages, but why does change seem to be happening so slowly? Legislation to even out the percentages of women in top jobs seems demeaning to the women who probably already deserve to be in these roles on their own merit rather than being forcibly fast-tracked but, with such poor progress, is there not another more appetising way forward?

*Speaking of statistics, there’s been a noble fightback from the town against the suggestion that we’re the 7th least musical part of the country. I’m not sure the Goldsmiths, Universty of London boffins will take up Mayor Paul Kenny’s offer to come along to tomorrow’s charity concert but his pride and passion for the town and its talented performers is admirable. Of course the old adage of ‘no such thing as bad publicity’ may well come true here. While it is not nice to see Boston near the bottom of the rankings the study may well have caused people to rally around and appreciate the musical talent that is on offer whether that be at the newly-resurgent Glider, Blackfriars, our schools, churches, Arts Coritani in Swineshead or beyond. Maybe we are good at singing, just not good at singing our own praises?




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