Condescension is not my favourite dish

By Keith Newbery

Friday, March 28, 2014


Condescension is not my favourite dish

Cllr Phil Jordan has struck a deal with a fast-food outlet for healthy products.


I’m the type of chap who takes it stoically on the chin when our elected representatives decide to add another two per cent to the council tax bill.

I smile bravely when the more senior among them shamelessly snaffle up the pay rises offered on a plate by an independent remuneration panel, which should know better in the current financial climate.

I even look on in mute amazement as the blinkered strategists in County Hall do their best to send the tumbleweed rolling down high streets by jacking up parking charges all over the Island.

But I’m damned if I’m going to stand by while some skinny councillor tells me what I should or shouldn’t have in my bread roll.

I have this natural aversion to people who pat me on the head and tell me they know best. I reckon it’s cost me most of my hair over the years. So I’m massively underwhelmed by Cllr Phil Jordan’s gullibility in falling for an unsubtle promotional initiative from Subway, a fast-food outlet which deludes itself (and him, apparently) into believing its products are healthier than others on the high street.

Cllr Jordan describes himself as an 'independent’, which means (if it means anything at all) that he would like to be admired for having a mind of his own.

He seeks, however, to deny us the same privilege.

As the grand poobah of the council’s health brief, he has struck a deal with Subway, which will entitle those who possess a gold or silver One Card (which are used in local authority leisure centres) to a discount at the aforementioned sandwich emporium.

But if you think you can saunter in and order a foot-long chicken and bacon special, lathered with full-fat (viz tasty) mayo and sprinkled with lettuce leaves to make it look healthy, you can think again.

Fat-free Phil, and the firm for whose blandishments he has fallen, insist we must choose 'low-fat soups, subs, salads and drinks’, a fair few of which, I am prepared to wager, are usually left over at the end of the day.

It’s a slick marketing manoeuvre all right — and Subway certainly saw Phil coming.

It shifts some of its least-popular grub and Phil gets to burble on sanctimoniously about 'any incentive to get people active and making healthier choices’ being a welcome one.

Both parties obviously regard this as a win-thin situation but the scheme is nutritionally questionable and politically naive.

It is time the more well-upholstered members of the Oxymorons — such as Cllrs Fuller, Richards and Blezzard — had a quiet word with their scrawny colleague to let him know that condescension is a most unattractive quality and patronising people is not the best way to retain their support at the next election.

Suggy in the frame

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it embarrasses him every time — but the best footballer I’ve ever seen on the Island is John Sothcott.

He wasn’t the most athletic specimen you’ve ever seen, neither could he terrify defenders with express pace, but he had other ways and means of getting past defenders.

They involved a combination of strength, timing and a little thing called skill, which had many a mono-browed, snarling defender hacking away at him most Saturday afternoons.

Unfortunately, Suggy was in his prime in the Sixties and Seventies, when cameras of any kind were not as prevalent as they are today — so this is where you come in.

The old boy is about to celebrate a special birthday and his family is anxious to obtain copies of as many images of him as possible, whether they be action shots or team photographs.

Anyone able to help out is asked to contact John’s daughter, Claire, on 07971271094 or e-mail her at

Months down the line

Apparently, it’s not only the rolling stock which sometimes runs late on Southwest Trains.

Tim Marshall, accomplished musician and computer geek of this parish, sent the following e-mail to the company’s customer relations’ department last December.

He wrote: "I have a one-month ticket for travel between Ryde St John’s and Portsmouth Harbour.

"I had to buy it a day before I needed to use it, which would have been December 5. Subsequently, it expires a day earlier than I would have liked (January 3 rather than January 4).

"Under the circumstances (there were no ferries on Christmas Day, no planned trains on Christmas Day or Boxing Day and subsequently all trains have been suspended) could you extend the validity of my ticket for a further day so I can travel on Saturday, January 4?"

He eventually received a reply two and a half months later, when the matter was somewhat academic …

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