The joy keeps coming

By Keith Newbery

Tuesday, May 6, 2014



GETTING the IW’s "independents" to agree on anything was al-ways going to be like herding ferrets but no-one could have anticipated the sheer joy they are providing at the moment.

Before we go any further, it’s important to set the scene for latecomers to this delicious farce, so here goes.

When several "independents" were elected at last May’s election, they stood tall and proud in the counting house at Medina as they revelled in their honourable achievement and flexed their non-partisan credentials.

"Look at my wonderful success!" they seemed to say. "Note the haughty tilt of my noble chin! Am I not the epitome of free thought and the very essence of individual fulfilment? Will I not become the favoured child of St Martin of Bell?"

This lasted about 48 hours, before the chill blast of reality gusted around their nether regions and they hastily began to coalesce into the ultimate symbol of political hypocrisy — a group of like-minded "independents".

Knocker Stephens was quickly anointed independent-in-chief and thus the Oxymorons Mk I was born.

As if this were not enough independence for everyone to be going on with, another mob of so-called "independents" eventually made itself known — the Association of Island Independents (aka Oxymorons Mk. II)

This lot are not to be confused with the Independent Group of IW Councillors (aka Oxymorons Mk I), for their aims are much higher than mere domestic trifles: they wish to return an "independent" MP for the Island.

They went about their business, as you might expect, in a manner so independent it quickly became a communal farce.

The woman they chose as their candidate, Wendy Cook, had been disqualified from driving for 46 months after being convicted of two drink-driving offences.

One assumes she made the decision to put other people’s lives at risk — not once but twice — quite independently.

Within hours of this startling news being made public, thanks to the County Press, the Oxymorons Mk I distanced itself from the decision to which (as a degree of independence was involved) it had not been party.

One might have thought the Oxymorons Mk II would acknowledge the foolishness of its actions and independently inform Ms Cook her services were no longer required.

But it was left to the lady herself to take the decision (independently, of course) after the usual suspects peered out from beneath the wet log of the social networking system and began spilling their anonymous bile.

As Ms Cook put it in her rather clumsy resignation announcement: "The effect of this has made it clear that despite everything I wanted to do to bring about zero tolerance of my crime, having been being brought to my senses, that I had to stand down.

"The prospect of being elected and then at every function or meeting this being the focus, meant I could only ever do the Island harm and therefore had to withdraw my candidacy."

Let’s hear it for the "independent" movement on the Island — the gift that just keeps on giving.

A backward look at some favourited buttocks

It’s the ultimate accolade — I have been mentioned on Twitter. And not by just any old twit — it’s Cllr Chris (have conscience, will babble) Whitehouse, no less.

The e-mails arrived thick and fast last Friday morning from friends aware of my aversion to social networking sites but gleefully anxious to ensure I did not miss the good councillor’s reply to my criticism of him in this column last week. This is the link, should you be one of the few who does not hang on to the councillor’s every pronouncement http://

It reads: "He having favourited (sic) my buttocks this morning I remind you of Keith Newbery’s calibre."

He then posted a link to the YouTube version of my appearance on The Chase three years ago, in which I managed to answer every question incorrectly.

If this was meant as an unwelcome reminder of a past embarrassment, I can only point out The Chase experience forms the first five minutes of my routine whenever I give a talk and seems to go down rather well.

Perhaps I should remind everyone at this stage that Cllr Whitehouse is a "public relations consultant", and therefore someone who might be expected to have a basic grasp of the mother tongue.

It’s intriguing, therefore, that he chooses to make a previously unsuspected verb — "favourited" — out of a perfectly respectable adjective.

His press releases must be a joy to behold.

And as for me having "favourited" his buttocks — oooh councillor and you a Papal Knight as well.

But then, so is Rupert Murdoch …

Should have gone to the boundary

Everyone who has ever played cricket knows it to be the truth, now the England and Wales Cricket Board has finally succumbed to the inevitable.

I had to smile when one of the Island’s longest-serving umpires, John Hutchinson, dropped me an e-mail to confirm what everyone had long thought should be the case.

This season, accredited umpires throughout the land are to be sponsored by Specsavers …

• Read Keith Newbery's latest column in today's Isle of Wight County Press, Friday, May 9.

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