Resolve to do as I say

Swindon Advertiser: Trevor Smith and wife Louise try out a Stottie Cake at the Liden Arms Buy this photo » Trevor Smith and wife Louise try out a Stottie Cake at the Liden Arms

ROUND about now, many of us are looking ahead to a period of eating less, drinking less, smoking less and generally indulging ourselves less.

Meanwhile, the few of us not forced into such deprivation by the financiers and politicians will be giving stuff up in their New Year’s Resolutions.

That’s why, as each year closes, I find myself thinking not about making resolutions of my own but rather coming up with some suggestions for other people’s.

Newsreaders, for example.

If you’re a newsreader on the telly, you may be called on to read out a story about a big storm causing floods and damage and generally knackering people’s lives.

That being the case, do you think you could find it in your hearts not to deliver the tidings with quite so much relish? Some of you practically drool as you relate the horrors with as much lip-smacking delight as a gourmet reading aloud from a £1,000-a-head menu.

Oh and if you happen to be an on-the-scene reporter visiting a community centre where flooded-out residents are temporarily housed, it’d be nice if you didn’t blatantly attempt to make them cry.

In the world of retail, if you happen to be a senior executive for a big chain of shops, stop pretending you’re not ripping us off when we know you’ve been at it for years.

Stop selling stuff for 10 times the normal price for five minutes in the early hours of a randomly-chosen morning, then returning it to the normal price and pretending it’s a massive bargain.

While you’re at it, stop trying to guilt us into buying overpriced tat by emblazoning it with the logo of a charity and pledging to donate ‘a proportion’ of the purchase price.

We all know the ‘proportion’ is in the neighbourhood of 0.00001 per cent, and that we could do 20 times more for the charity by dropping some loose change in a collecting tin.

If you’re a local council, don’t boast about keeping council tax down as if that’ll take our minds off the holes in the road, the mass redundancies and the prospect of having to stack fox-fodder binbags in our gardens for a fortnight at a time.

If you’re a national politician, kindly refrain from suggesting that more people are using food banks because there are more food banks, when you know full well that more people are using food banks because more people are hungry.

Suggesting otherwise makes you look stupid and evil, and we know you’re not stupid and evil. You’re just evil.

Also, whether you’re in the party of government or a party of opposition, stop pretending you’re any different from the other side. We all know who you’re in this for, and it sure as hell ain’t us.

Incidentally, we hope you enjoy that tasty pay rise, and sympathise with your claim that because it was imposed by an independent body you have no control over it.

Of course, the independent body in question was set up by you and your kind, and you and your kind have the power of life and death over it, but we’re sure that had no bearing on its decision.

To call you a bunch of hypocrites who live high on the hog while millions merely exist would therefore be unfair.

If the rest of us make a resolution, it should be wring every ounce of happiness, decency, fellowship and mutual kindness from 2014.

If that doesn’t hack off the folks in charge, nothing will.

Northern soul down in Liden

DELICIOUS Newcastle delicacy Stottie Cakes are on the menu at The Liden Arms.

The foray of the North East’s trademark baked treat into Swindon comes courtesy of landlord Trevor Smith, who grew up in the region.

Having spent many a happy night out in that neck of the woods, I think Mr Smith should make the Stotties part of occasional Newcastle theme nights. He could set up a giant industrial air conditioner in one corner, turn the dial to ‘Freezing’ and insist the regulars wear short-sleeved tops, shorts and mini-skirts.

Anybody caught with the shivers, chattering teeth, frostbite or symptoms of hypothermia could then be accused of being a big Southern softie.

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