SENTINEL: ‘Bias’, memorial, park football, politics


Sentinel’s weekly take on events in and around Boston...

Apparently there’s an ongoing issue with people playing football on the bowling green at Central Park. Sentinel’s all for a spot of footy but it really is unacceptable to ruin the joy of one person’s pastime in order to take part in your own. There’s two lame and lazy arguments that sometimes get trotted out after stories like this - that young people are being criminalised and that there isn’t anywhere for them to go and play. On the first point it is quite clearly anti-social behaviour to spoil a bowling green by playing football on it. Age doesn’t matter, it’s an offence and only a fool would be unaware of that. On the second point - how about playing at pitches in Rosebery Avenue, Garfits Lane, Tattershall Road etc? Or, for less formal fun, stick your jumpers down for goal posts on any of our parks or green space and get a game going? Maybe even on the grass next to the green itself.

*Us here in the press often get accused of a bias one way or the other. It’s interesting to note that there’s quite a bit of that sort of comment being thrown about. It seems the press is eithger a-obssessed with UKIP and gives them too much exposure or b- anti-UKIP and accusing them all of being racists and nutters. This week The Standard did get a little bit of stick for a story about a UKIP board being nailed into a tree - some people seeming to suggest we’d colluded with the ‘establishment’ to sling mud at Farage’s crew. Sentinel’s sorry to dash your dreams but there is no conspiracy here. Far from being a ‘stitch up’ we went to UKIP and were able to report their view - namely that the boards are being put up by ‘mischief makers’. This columnist would love to see someone approach certain members of the cabinet and ask if they think this paper is biased to them... It’s the same with the BBC - there’s as many people who think they’re ‘lefties’ as ‘right wing establishment’. The type of people who scream bias loudest are normally those with a one-sided view that can’t bear you to carry the counter argument. While ever the Beeb is upsetting both sides they are probably just about getting it right...

*Speaking of the Lib Dems, hats off to Malcolm Bruce, desperately trying to spin last night’s election as a positive in the media this morning. What Sentinel did not enjoy was his line on BBC 5Live that the Lib Dems are doing well in the seats and areas that ‘matter to us’. So can we take it then that Boston doesn’t matter to the Lib Dems since they don’t hold the seat here? The party’s effort at last year’s county council election was tepid, brace yourself for similarly lukewarm fodder next May.

*Tonight’s the night for the Quadrant campaigners then. It seems that the Wyberton Quadrant Action Group (sadly lacking the catchy acronym that many such groups have) will call for a referendum this evening. Of course the referendum may not make the blindest bit of difference to the outcome but, if that’s what they want, then no-one has the right to patronise or belittle residents’ views. If the Quadrant is a good enough application it will be able to withstand any legitimate, democratic challenge, so why not? In fact, Sentinel hopes there is a referendum since people keep saying that residents within Wyberton are split - with many for as well as those against. As long as the turnout is decent, the poll would at least show the true picture.

*The town’s memorial for the First World War seems to have proven a talking point, with some suggestion that it’s wrong to be even attempting to mark the start of the conflict. There may well a point to be had - is it, after all, appropriate to celebrate a conflict in which so many people died? But the point is that this, as with the many other events planned for the anniversary of the start this summer, will commemorate rather than celebrate. Is it not important to remember and reflect on the sacrifices that the men made, many of whom rushed to sign up to play their part? The 100th anniversary is the perfect chance to look back on the war, warts and all, especially - and sadly - given that none of the war generation is with us any more. Those that don’t want to mark the start often say ‘focus on the end of the war’ instead. But would a cheery ‘hooray we won’ sentiment be right? This country may have ‘won’ the war but anyone who has studied the conflict will know that almost everything about it is open to debate and not ‘black and white’. Equally debates about why it started, what it changed and whether the victory was ‘worth it given what came after’ are separate from the efforts to commemorate the countless individual stories of the people who took part. Let’s not let the efforts to honour those people be mired by arguments and sniping.

*Sentinel has some sympathy for people caught out in underage drink tests. Yes, no-one should sell booze to anyone under age but, having previously slogged away on a supermarket checkout, Sentinel knows just how easy it might be to make a mistake. There were often people that you’d ask for ID and turn out to be in their late 30s and really rather angry as well as those that you’d, being honest, serve and then later doubt in your mind. A supermarket checkout - Sentinel has never worked in an off licence so can’t comment - can get pretty stressful. Sentinel never, luckily, failed a spot test but on a long shift, confronted by a long queue of angry customers, can see how it’d be easily done. It always seemed to be a little harsh that the lowest paid member of the team had to be at the forefront and effectively police a serious issue such as underage drinking - being liable themselves to the fine if they stepped out of line. Maybe the tough action is what is needed to combat the problem? This week it emerged a staff member from Euro Booze and Foods fell foul of the police. The suggestion is officers only test places ‘based on intelligence’. Whatever the circumstances it’s an expensive lesson but one that must be learned - and a warning for all shops in town.