Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

I am thinking of standing in the Hartlepool by- election. Do I have any connection to Hartlepool, you may ask? The answer is ( "None", which probably makes me level pegging with Mandelson.

I cannot but think that I would have made just as good a European Commissioner (or whatever) as he will, but I do not have this mysterious "bonding" with Blair, the nature of which has been much speculated about in the media.

I have my own fanciful ideas about that, but I am not prepared to share them with you.

I do remember Blair's cheesy smirk when he thought that he had wriggled out of the Iraq affair (with one bound, Tone was free).

It takes a special sort of man who can smirk over the pile of corpses whose demise he has helped to engineer. I would like to think that they might return to haunt his dreams, but I wonder.

I do predict that Mandelson will be a nightmare that will return to make him wake up screaming.

Now I come to think of it, I do have a family connection with Hartlepool ( my great-uncle was the Rector of Hartlepool. Will that do?

Talking about nightmares ( the Right to Roam looms in the offing and promises to be a bad dream for farmers that will continue to haunt them through the livelong day.

The areas classed as "Open Country" may appear on the internet, but how many walkers will bother to look it up?

To the best of my knowledge and belief, the areas concerned are not marked on the sort of map that ramblers carry, always supposing that many of them do bother to carry a map and are capable of reading it.

I once found a guddle of walkers at the bottom of the farm, clustered in a bewildered manner round a map.

They told me that they were looking for a certain footpath. They were about a mile off course and were not helped by the fact that they were trying to read the map upside down ( see what I mean?

I suspect that the majority will not bother with maps anyway, they will assume that any old field is an open space and will frolic across it regardless, screaming "Right to Roam" at any one who suggests otherwise. …

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