Today I earned a badge of honour that all true old men should wear, and realised a childhood dream. I had a grumpy letter published in a real newspaper.
I went home last week and picked up the local rag, the inimitable Hunts Post. After perusing the property ads and the sport, I turned to the letter section. I don’t know why I did this – I never usually read the letters section because it’s seriously boring.
But this time I did, and found it full of people droning on about a proposed new A14 toll road in the area. The background on this is far, far too boring to relate. Suffice to say that congestion in Cambridgeshire is the pits, a new road has been on the cards for years, and there is a chance (a chance!) that they may charge people to use a new one.
Anyway, suffice to say that ‘business leaders’, ‘chambers of commerce’ and others sure to defend all the needs of Huntingdon’s citizenry rather than just their own were not happy. A toll road would increase costs. Risk jobs. Close businesses. And worse, it was a very European sounding idea. Jesus, if even the Krauts have them, we’re not bally well having them on our doorstep, thank you very much. Look at their economy, for pete’s sake. Oh.
The usual shite basically. Assertions, scaremongering and a reedy peep on the UKIP dog-whistle. And it really pissed me off. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the frustrations of feeling ill tumbling out. Maybe it was because I’d just watched The One Show and I was having a smug overload. But maybe it was because the people that shout loudest always win the day in local politics, which is why it’s either stunningly effective or a complete mess.
So I decided to write a letter, remembering the four main rules for writing official letters:
- Avoid green ink or any other non-standard writing tools, such as a severed arm
- Be short and to the point
- Use the correct form of address
- Try to avoid using the word ‘prick’
And I wrote this. And they put it in a special blue box, bless them.