What follows is an extract from a press release sent out by the RNLI. In it they demonstrtae the innate madness of government. How on earth anyone could allow OfCom to scupper the work of the RNLI is beyond me, but read on…

Lifeboat crews fear being scuppered by crippling new charges for using their radios from Ofcom, the communications regulator. The RNLI could see the price of using its VHF emergency frequencies rise to £250,000 under plans to charge the full commercial rate.

The charity, which saves hundreds of lives every year currently pays an annual £48,000 at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. It relies on donations and fears the move will have a disastrous impact on fundraising. Peter Bradley, RNLI operations staff officer, said: “It’s a lot of money when you think in terms of lifeboat days and little old ladies collecting pound coins.”

“We could buy several inshore lifeboats for the same amount.”

“The Government rely on us to provide this search-and-rescue service, at a cost of £124 million a year, but they want to charge us for doing it!”

Ofcom has set out plans to bring “market forces” into maritime and civil aviation communications in a policy it calls Administered Incentive Pricing.

£250,000 represents an awful lot of charity collections, even more so in the current economic climate so, if like me you feel strongly enough about this, please sign the petition.

Ging Gang Gooleys

So, the Scouting movement is being allowed to teach sexual health “stuff”.

It seems strange that this much maligned movement should;

a) have to do this

b) want to

c) be open to ridicule for it.

I was in the Scouts. For many years.

I enjoyed my time there. I was proud of it and, what’s more, went on, in my pre-married days, to lead Scout groups. At no point did I encounter…you know what.

As a Scout leader I was not unaware of the cheap jibes and sexual connotation that went with the territory.

Thankfully for my young charges I was in it for the right reasons; to give back some of the amazing experiences that being a ‘scout’ gave me. (I should add that none of them were particularly ‘titifilarious’ (as Ken Dodd would put it).

But two post-Scouting moment stand out.

Standing in the queue at Edinburgh’s finest Deli my oft-fellow camper, Victor Contini, was giving me a bit of verbal so I cheekily quipped that I had often slept with Victor in my youth. This was not the thing to do in a busy Saturday morning deli where he was ‘King of the Hill’.

I left with my tail between my legs

The other was when my mate Mark and I went to London for a week (as 17 year olds) desperate to see what was going on in the big city.

Trouble is, the accomodation was too expensive, until we hit on a plan. We could stay in the London Scout Camp in Chingford (OK miles from the centre, but London nonetheless.)

We got there with rucksacks full of stuff but no camping type stuff.

We had miscalculated. We were unaware that Baden Powell’s thought police would nail us.

After two days drinking,  smoking dope and watching crazy movies in crazy cinemas (The Roxy rings a bell, where we saw Bad Timing and Performance in a double bill, both of us under age) and going to strip shows. I particularly remember being in a strip joint in The Elephant and Castle (in 1979 or so) and not thinking twice about it.

Sorry, I digressed.

So, we went back to ‘camp’ each night. And largely we got away with it until the fatal mistake.

We went to the camp shop and bought two Pot Noodles.

“YOU VILL NOT EAT POT NOODLE CRAP” said the scout-uniformed SS officer on the till.

“Well” slyly, said Mark . “Why then D’ya sell it?”

We won.

All that said, it seems sad to me that the Scouts have to take on board the sort of claptrap that goes with political correctness, that we can’t trust our kids with anyone unless they’ve signed a disclosure form.

I must be getting old.

(I must write a really outrageous blog to make up for this.)