October 2

It’s National Poetry Day. This is my favourite poem. What’s yours? #nationalpoetryday

Today is National Poetry Day. This is my favourite poem. What’s yours?

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours.
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
Leo Marks

This poem was written by Leo Marks and used a code poem during World War Two. He wrote it on Christmas Eve 1943 in memory of his girlfriend Ruth who had just been killed in a plane crash in Canada. In March 1944 it was issued by Marks, who worked for Britain’s Special Operations Executive to French SOE agent Violette Szabo, who was eventually captured, tortured and killed by the Nazis.


September 19

Ten thoughts about the Scottish independence referendum result

Ten thoughts about the Scottish independence referendum result:

1) I’m glad we’re still a United Kingdom.

2) The real victor is democracy – up to 90% of people voting – WOW! Usual election turnout rates in the UK are a disgrace.

3) It is outrageous that Scottish MPs can vote on laws which only affect England – and this must change.

4) The disgraceful situation where Scottish students and those from France, Germany and the rest of the UK get free university tuition fees but English, Welsh and Northern Irish student have to PAY THOUSANDS is a disgusting state of affairs and must be changed. Ditto free prescriptions in Scotland but not in England.

5) Alistair Darling – proof that quiet and good mannered people can triumph over noisy clichéd rhetoric.

6) Most Scots voted with their heads rather than their hearts.

7) As I’ve said for a long time, history will be kinder on Gordon Brown – a essentially decent man – than it will on Blair. And wow, what a speech.

8) I never want to hear the phrase “devo max” ever again. (I’d also be quite pleased to not see Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon on TV for a good while…)

9) I haven’t been to Scotland for a while – it’s about time I went there again.

10) Above all, we are better together.

June 5

Fed up with low jail sentences for criminals? Here’s how YOU can get them increased

I often read about pathetic jail sentences handed down for serious offences – and they make me very angry. I try to imagine how I would feel if a member of my family had been hurt or killed by someone who then received a pitifully low sentence. For victims of crime and their families I’m sure weak sentences for perpetrators make their suffering even worse. Our judges seem worryingly out of touch with public opinion and often seem to choose the lower end of sentencing guidelines. Rarely, it seems, do victims get proper justice.

Well now you don’t have to get angry – you can do something about it. 

Under Section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988  the Attorney General can review low sentences given by any Crown Court in England and Wales if he’s asked to – and it only takes ONE person to make a complaint about a sentence. This can be done anonymously and you don’t have to be connected to the case in any way.

A single phone call to a friendly civil servant at the Attorney General’s Office (I’ve done it – and they were very helpful!) on 020 7271 2492 or an email to: uls.referrals@attorneygeneral.gov.uk is all it takes. This has to be done within 28 days of sentencing. The Attorney General then has 28 days to review a sentence and make a decision. Once the case has been reviewed, it may be sent to the Court of Appeal. Essentially, we the public are simply drawing the Attorney-General’s attention to the case.

Full details can be found by clicking here.

Remember, it only takes one of us to have a big impact…