THIS ISLAND LIFE IT'S not difficult to guess which of life’s little irritations are most likely to stick in your craw, get up your nose or insert themselves in other orifices guaranteed to cause maximum personal discomfort.
I suspect benefit fraudsters, drink-drivers, morons who use mobile phones while at the wheel and those who endanger the lives of others by ignoring speed limits, would be high on the list.
Island police are to be commended, therefore, for initiating Operation Evening Light, which specifically targeted these idiots and shysters.
And very successful it was as well.
Twenty-five suspected benefit scroungers were rounded up and one in three of the 240 motorists stopped is alleged to have committed offences.
I would call that a good day’s work — but the whingeing tendency begs to differ.
Though the majority of people stopped were delayed for no more than five minutes, some still felt the need to complain.
"It smacked of Big Brother," said one van driver, who was stopped on his way to work.
Another came up with what can only be described as a sort of legal nimbyism.
"We all understand the need to catch people who are claiming benefits to which they are not entitled," he said, "but this involved questioning a lot of innocent people about their personal lives."
What he means is: "I’m happy for you lot to get on with catching criminals and welfare parasites, as long as I’m not personally inconvenienced in any way."
If the police know the identities of their targets, they can organise a quick swoop to round-up the suspects.
However, in the event of this information not being readily to hand, they have to do the next best thing and indulge in a bit of pro-active policing.
This often involves a little discombobulation for the innocent, while the potentially guilty are identified.
It seems to me the ladies and gentlemen of the local constabulary are damned if they do, damned if they don’t — and damned even more if they use their initiative.
If I thought someone who was working, while simultaneously pilfering some of my taxes to which he was not entitled, was going to be stopped in his nefarious tracks, I would willingly sacrifice five minutes of my time and a few personal details.
The attitude of the Rent-a-Whingers reminds me of the old Les Dawson sketch about his uncle, who was involved in D-Day.
"Really?" replied Roy Barraclough. "What regiment was he in?"
"Oh no," explained Dawson. "He weren’t in the fighting. He had a nice little villa nearby and went down to the beach to complain about the noise.
"I mean, freedom for Europe is all very well but he’d just paid a fortune for a new greenhouse."
Festive tradition returns to town
THE sound of a fairground organ wheezing out festive tunes was a familiar part of the Christmas build-up in Newport some years ago.
Fred Winter (who owned the wonderful old contraption) and some of his friends used to spend the day collecting for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice.
Well, thanks to a gentleman named Robbie Kingswell and a team of skilled mates who have meticulously renovated this fine old instrument, the good times will return to the town this Christmas Eve.
Robbie’s daughter, Karen, is recovering from cancer and he and his wife, Rebecca, are determined to raise as much money as possible for the hospice as a personal thank-you.
Fred’s son, Roy, will also be taking the Havenstreet Queen traction engine as the two machines appear in public together for the first time in 15 years.
This three-cornered discussion would be an event
I AM fortunate enough to have mates whose political views cover all colours of the political spectrum.
In the red corner is John Hilsum, who, finding himself with no alternative but to attend a charity event at Shanklin Conservative Club recently, managed to ease his conscience by turning up in the biggest, brightest, reddest jumper I’ve ever seen.
In the blue corner stands Roger Mazillius, whose political inclinations most closely resemble my own.
However, this did not prevent him from sending me a 400-word e-mail last week, in which he vehemently disputed every point I had made when criticising the advent of police commissioners and the anti-democratic way in which local authorities are now run.
And occupying the centre ground is Bob 'The Bruiser’ Blezzard, who last week resigned from the Liberal Democrats in protest at the flaccid, vacillating leadership of Nick Clegg.
But in true Blezzard style, he stabbed him in the front, not in the back.
No sniping from the undergrowth for Robert. He gave the hapless Clegg both barrels by writing to him directly and pointing out the error of his ways.
I’ve never yet managed to get these three gentlemen round the same table —but if I ever do it will certainly be 'seconds out’!