from Jim Henderson’s A SUFFOLK DIARY

Friday, November 17th

I have changed the title of my new role on the Parish Council to Community Liaison and Publicity Officer (CLAPO). It was originally Publicity & Community Liaison Officer but there was not a decent acronym for that, so I persuaded Joihn Garnham to let me change it around. He said he did not give a ****. Honestly, the language around here is deteriorating by the day. Although CLAPO is not great it is at least sayable.

Anyhoo, in my new role I am wondering if the Council should have a presence (I believe that is the correct term) on what is commonly called Social Media. I have to admit I am not at all well up on that kind of thing. My wife used to have a Facebook account, but since she was using it solely to communicate with her (male) friend Jan in Stowmarket in ways I do not wish to go into (I gather photographs were involved) – a liaison, by the way, which is no more – I am wary of raising the topic with her in case it opens what is still very much a fresh wound and an open sore. I wonder if things like Twitter (which is called X now, an even more stupid name) and Instagram and TikTok are more for the younger generation than people like me or, more to the point, for anyone who might be interested in Parish Council affairs. The young people who loiter around the War Memorial of an evening and, it seems, for the entirety of every weekend, are probably not the Council’s audience, and are unlikely to be unless we organize a rave, and I cannot see John Garnham, the Parish Clerk, or anyone on the Council having any interest in that.

I hear on the grapevine, incidentally, that there have been one or two grumbles from patrons at The Wheatsheaf about people drafted on to the Parish Council without being democratically elected. There is always someone moaning about someone, and it is usually someone who sits on their bum in the pub without actually doing anything themselves apart from moan. But anyhoo, John Garnham says that he has invoked a rarely used clause in the Council’s constitution and that everything is fine and above board, and if anyone wants to complain to him face-to-face they know where to find him. They probably won’t. He is quite a big chap.

We are, of course, keeping an eye on the question of what the government intends to do with what they describe as “illegal” foreigners coming into the country, because we do not want them bedding down here, especially as a modernised and refurbished village hall will be an even more attractive proposition than it was before the fire. According to Jez Taylor, who was in The Wheatsheaf last night, and who says he knows a chap in London who knows a chap who he says is sleeping with a woman who is married to someone who claims to work in the Home Office, the government is currently considering an alternative to their plan to send some of those foreign people to somewhere in Africa. While they sort out a few problems with their Plan A, a plan which would probably have been awful for the people involved, this chap says they are drawing up a Plan B, which is to send them to Norfolk until they can ship them all the way out and abroad. Speaking for myself, Norfolk is something else I would not wish upon anyone. (It is this kind of thing makes me so happy I’m not a foreigner, legal or illegal.) But as was pointed out (I think by Lulu behind the bar, a lively and popular young lady – popular with the male patrons at least – who is a lot sharper than her name would suggest) if that does happen then the village would be a very convenient halfway house on the journey from the south coast. I think we have to be on the alert, and I wonder if we should be reconvening GASSE (“Go Away! Stay Somewhere Else!”) on, say, a weekly meeting and surveillance basis just to be on the safe side. We do not want to be caught with our metaphorical trousers down.

Anyhoo, back to my CLAPO duties. I am going to ponder the Social Media question, and sound a few people out as to what they think. It would be good if I knew some young people. I may have to approach the War Memorial crowd, although I do not really fancy it, because they are a bit intimidating with their phones and music, vapes and appalling haircuts. Perhaps I will just stick to photocopying the occasional announcement and sticking it up on the noticeboard in the village shop. People do look at that noticeboard. I sold my old lawnmower inside 24 hours by putting up a postcard. I now have a state-of-the-art cordless hover-mower with a remote control, Wi-Fi, and face recognition. It is brilliant. Which reminds me I need to give the lawn a final cut tomorrow before Winter sets in. I should have done it a week or two back, but what with one thing and another I did not get around to it, and now the weather is not at all promising. I may have left it too late.



James Henderson





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