The most satisfying public service a local councillor of my acquaintance ever performed turned out to be a load of rubbish.
All an elderly lady with a terminally ill husband needed was a second recycling bin to cope with the packaging from his medication.
The local authority refused to give it to her, and threatened not to empty the one she had if she overfilled it.
At an agonisingly difficult time she was at her wits end.
The councillor got onto her chief executive who popped down to the municipal rubbish tip personally to find an old bin which he cleaned up and had delivered to the woman.
A little thing made a massive difference.
The first duty of politicians is to make life better for the people they serve.
Okay, so local government is about planning, parking and potholes, not defence or foreign affairs, but then those are what really matter in our everyday lives.
We don’t spend much time fretting about Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.
That’s what the Foreign Office is there for, so you don’t need to worry your head unless an Iranian atom bomb lands on it.
Brexit aside, this election should be about which party is most likely to help most people – whether Johnson’s freewheelin’ capitalism or Jeremy Corbyn’s very modern, very British socialist revolution.
That’s what the Labour leader is promising in what he says will be “the most radical and far-reaching plan for real change in our lifetimes that puts power and wealth into your hands.”
That means nationalisation of public utilities and services – and the next person to moan to me about British Rail is going to get a ticket for Northern, Thameslink or Southern up their nose.
Add zero carbon homes, free TV licences for over 75s, a revamped NHS and a 50p tax rate on six figure earners to pay for scrapping universal credit and the two child benefit cap, and introduce the new National Care Service and the picture of modern British socialism takes shape.
That nob Johnson, whose hyperbolic language knows no bounds, says this makes Corbyn a genocidal Joseph Stalin.
Jezza might sting the gentry for a little more tax but he will hardly exterminate them like Uncle Joe did with the land-owning, comparatively well-off kulaks.
Corbyn and his moneyman John McDonnell may take their inspiration from Karl Max’s 1848 Communist Manifesto but the socialism they have in mind is one to suit 21st Century Britain.
At 70 and 68 respectively this is their last throw of the revolutionary dice so they’re going for broke.
And for millions of voters that may not be rubbish.
Ab of C wants more Canterbury Tales
The Archbishop of Canterbury is striking a blow for free speech, a timely thunderbolt to hurl as we enter a General Election.
Justin Welby’s beef is with universities who no-platform or intimidate speakers and wants ministers to put on more pressure to get them to stop it.
This is difficult because unis are “autonomous institutions” and as such outside government control.
The best vehicle for this is new uni regulator, the Office for Students, but it’s only been fully up and running since August.
Banning terrorists from speaking is fine, but not George Galloway even though he does go on a bit.
Or radical feminists such as Julie Bindel and Germaine Greer who are perfectly acceptable to mainstream television.
It does seem extraordinary that educational establishments which exist to open the minds of young people can close themselves off to opinions they disagree with.
Free speech is so precious unis should nurture and celebrate it, not attempt to stifle it.
Why BoJo isn’t Putin it about
Boris Johnson is not a Russian spy despite his Johnny English demeanor and Mr Bean mannerisms.
We know this because sources say the PM is not mentioned in the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee report he’s suppressing.
Nor is sinister sidekick Dominic Cummings name checked in the analysis of Russian interference in UK elections.
So what on earth could be the reason for this unnecessary procrastination when even MI5 and MI6 have no objection to publication?
The former independent national security reviewer Lord Anderson says: “The unjustified delay invites suspicion of the Government and their motives.”
Too right, David. And it smells of something related to Brexit.
Vladimir Putin is a Leaver. Britain’s departure undermines the EU whose sanctions helped wreck the ruble and cause Russia’s financial crisis.
And should the ISC report say Russian hackers swung the 2016 referendum in favour of Brexit, Johnson will be ballot box toast.
Many happy returning officers
Tories promise to “ensure people enjoy at least five extra healthy years of life by 2035.”
The bad news is at this rate it’ll mean voting in eight more elections.
John Manns up in Lords
I bumped into ex-Labour MP John Mann last week shortly after his elevation to the Lords.
“How’s it going up there?“ I asked.
The new Baron Mann of Holbeck Moor, a sprightly 59, said: “Put it this way.
“The doorkeeper said I’ll be the only one who won’t need to bring nursey along.”
Thoroughly modern Moggie
Raised eyebrows from Tory MPs’ staffers invited to join the Community Union.
As it was formed by merging the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation and the Knitwear, Footwear and Apparel Union Tories didn’t feel it was for them.
I dunno. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s apparel needs modernising and he could do with nifty footwear to sidestep Grenfell gaffes.
Oh, and some steel in his backbone so he can’t collapse on Commons benches.