Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 12 February 2009


Stop the world, I want to get off! Still reeling from the BBC’s decision to sack Carol Thatcher for uttering the world golliwog in a private conversation, I have been sent into hyper-spasm by the tale of the nurse who was suspended for daring to offer to pray for an elderly patient after having changed her bandages. The patient mentioned this in passing to a different nurse the next day and all hell broke loose. She was suspended while the thought police went into overdrive and only now, months later, has been allowed back to work. We live in a country where you can swear like a trooper, or do your job badly and get away with it; but don’t you dare try and say a little prayer for a vulnerable person. Even if there was a problem, surely, just a gentle word in the ear of the nurse, starting “Oh by the way…”

Management has been rendered ineffectual by a host of politically correct, risk-averse rules that paralyse those in authority. At the slightest hint of a problem, managers now reach for the rule book, suspend for a pastime and consult lawyers.

The politically correct brigade has had a good year. I have seen recent reports of a care home in which the residents have to be asked every three months to confirm their sexual orientation to enable the home to maintain local authority support. Who on earth dreamed up that little beauty?  Last weekend’s newspapers carry reports of a child removed from foster carers because she has become a Christian. How awful for that young person to have found a living faith, the backbone on which this country was founded; no wonder the state had to intervene and remove her from her loving environment.

Never mind economic recovery or banking stability, this country needs an outbreak of common sense again. Why should the BBC decide what people can say? Why shouldn’t a nurse who is good at her job offer to say a prayer for an elderly patient? Where is the harm in it? Why can’t management have a quiet word in the ear anymore rather than launching investigations into petty matters?

I cannot decide whether the cultural bully-boys are gaining ground or these examples are just the death throes of a reducing minority who are being squeezed out by the silent majority, but who will not go quietly. What do you think?

posted by Gary @ 10:42