Editor’s comment: March 2020
PUBLISHED: 16:53 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:26 25 February 2020
firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com (Photographer) - [None]
‘I regret to announce that my wife is a member of a terrorist group’
I REGRET to announce that my wife is a member of a terrorist group. Unusual for a middle-aged lady of the Cotswolds, yes, but apparently she's been deemed a threat to society. This information has been circulated by counter-terrorism police as part of an anti-radicalisation project called Prevent designed to identify those liable to commit politically-motivated violence.
Listed amongst the usual suspects - the National Front, Combat 18, etc - are the rather more surprising Extinction Rebellion, Stop the War, Greenpeace and a rag-bag of vegan activists and anti badger-cull protesters.
Mrs Lowe's perceived threat comes from her membership of CND, albeit of more decades ago than I dare to mention, and consisted of her dancing around with flowers in her hair singing protest songs by candlelight outside nuclear missile bases like Greenham Common and Molesworth.
I have no idea just how seriously MI5 are going to take this. We'll just have to wait and see. But if she ever sets off in the direction of the air base at Fairford with a Tupperware container of sandwiches and the Greatest Hits of Joan Baez on her phone, I wouldn't be surprised if the balaclava-clad bobbies swooped on her before she got to the end of the lane.
REGULAR readers will know of my utter disdain for unmoderated review sites like TripAdvisor. Our local restaurants have fallen foul of that particular site in the past and now some of our other Cotswold attractions have attracted the attentions of these self-important, egotistical, know-all nincompoops.
A bit harsh? Well, let's have a look. Broadway Tower "has too many steps"; Bourton-on-the Water was "too busy… but we were there on Easter Saturday"; John Lewis in Cheltenham allows dogs in the store, "I have complained three times, once in writing"; Prinknash Abbey gets criticised because there was "not a good vibe from the monks"; Cotswold Farm Park was "too smelly" and Cleeve Hill - wait for it - was "slightly hilly".
Obviously we are not dealing with rational people here, especially those who expect the Cotswolds to deliver odour-free manure, flat hills and dancing monks.
This TripAdvisor culture has now spread as well. A recent YouGov poll (what is it with these people and their missing spaces?) asked the dreaded Man in the Street if he'd like to go to the Moon if there was no risk involved. Astonishingly, over half (48%) said that they wouldn't, arguing that it would take too long to get there (7%) and that there isn't enough to see (11%).
Perhaps we should lend them some of our famous Cotswold dancing monks.
YOU do sometimes get the feeling that local councils find residents - the council tax-payers - a mere irritation. We're just Little People who get in the way of those making Big Decisions. They therefore bypass us as often as possible or even - God forbid - deliberately mislead us.
They are now employing a new tactic which, quite frankly, verges on blackmail. On any new project, particularly one which might prove controversial, contracts are awarded and money invested before the general public has a proper chance to make its feelings known. We are then told that it will cost £100 million to cancel the scheme as agreements are already in place. The hideous incinerator that blights the landscape at Javelin Park is a case in point, and I'm not exaggerating here.
Expect the enforced reopening of Boots Corner to be another masterpiece in misdirection. I fully expect to be told that we'll have to demolish an orphanage as punishment for our public defiance.
Mike Lowe - firstname.lastname@example.org, @cotslifeeditor