Brakespeare takes a gentle perspective on the week’s events

Bruv story

OF the many cases in which new Chief Constable Simon Parr has been involved, none perhaps will have brought him the celebrity attention of his 2007 inquiry into Big Brother.

That was the probe into the Celebrity Big Brother house and Mr Parr, then Deputy Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, led the investigation into allegations of racial abuse.

His force interviewed four housemates during what they called a “balanced” investigation after complaints to police and a record number to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom after Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty appeared to be subjected to racist abuse.

Assistant Chief Constable Parr said: “In the absence of a complaint from any of the housemates regarding behaviour – including behaviour that was not broadcast – the CPS has concluded that whilst what occurred was clearly offensive, it was not criminal.”


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Hertfordshire Police said that it asked production company Endemol and broadcaster Channel 4 to supply them with unedited footage from the show, which was never broadcast. They refused.

Thousands of viewers inundated Ofcom complaining at the treatment Shetty received from fellow housemates Jade Goody, Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd during the January series.

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Name and shame

MR Parr’s influence on more �domestic matters in Cambridgeshire may encourage the arrival of a ‘most wanted’ feature on our websites.

Colleagues in his former county are encouraged by his support for a weekly photo gallery of some of the ‘most wanted’ people who have jumped bail, failed to turn up in court, or are wanted in connection with an ongoing inquiry.

Cambs force has so far resisted such an attractive embellishment to local websites but this may be an innovation to come.

Wind of change

DEAR Brakespeare, writes my �cherished correspondent Hew Dunnit.

“I have been tasked by the Rev Chas ‘Skipper’ Smith of the Fisherman’s �Mission to find a replacement for his helper Billy,” he says.

“Rev Skipper and Billy would tour the countryside together lecturing on alcohol abuse. Whilst the Rev lectured, Billy would sit on stage dribbling, picking his nose, occasionally breaking wind and Skipper would point to Billy as a perfect example to illustrate his points about the misuse of the demon drink.

“Sadly, Billy passed away recently and we were wondering if you would like to take his place.”

I would be delighted to assist and the credentials you require are firmly embedded within my CV.

Limo seen

WE’VE been playing ‘did you see her’ all week in the office following a call from Councillor Kit Owen to inquire whether the Queen did actually pass through March on Monday afternoon.

So far, our researches have drawn a blank but Kit assures me he can think of no-one else who would merit the posse of police outriders that �accompanied the rather grand �limousine as it swept along Broad Street.

Bully for him

ALAN Melton tells me many things in the course of a year, not all of them printable, but I did enjoy the feistiness of his response to fellow councillors who feel intimidated during planning committees.

Cllr Melton, leader of Fenland �District Council, popped into the recent meeting of the council’s �planning committee during the debate on the Chatteris supermarket.

“I was particularly galled when I heard an objector from a rival scheme threaten members, ‘I warn you’, talking about a possible judicial review,” says Alan.

“It is not the job of objectors, agents and/or their representatives to threaten members, that sort of behaviour is appalling and casts a very bad light on their professional integrity.

“My advice is quite simple, if members feel threatened or intimidated by this sort of attitude – ignore it!”

Straight, as you may observe, from the horse’s mouth.

Wham, BAM ...

NOT sure that BAM Nuttall, the �contractors at loggerheads with �Cambridgeshire County Council over the delayed �116million guided bus from St Ives to Cambridge, will be too put off by recent criticism.

In the past week they’ve won a �700million joint contract to revamp Victoria Station in London after �securing a �500million contract last year to upgrade Tottenham Court Road station.

And last week they also bagged a �10million contract in Scotland, to upgrade a Glasgow viaduct.

Up in Blackpool, too, BAM �Nuttall is the toast of the town after their successful �100million upgrade of the resort’s famous tramway system.

I found the work involved in this upgrade to be absolutely fascinating and the skill of the men will be evident for years to come, gushed one recent visitor.

It does ponder the question of what’s gone wrong in Cambridgeshire and where should the blame be laid.

Office politics

PLEASANT chat this week with MP Steve Barclay, busy settling into new offices at the House of Commons.

One gets the feeling that having come straight from big business where pecking orders in terms of offices and desks and secretaries are well ordered, he’s finding it all a bit of a novelty dealing with the archaic ways of Parliament.

However, he has some found �somewhere to live during the week, has acquired an office, hired his PA and is pondering his maiden speech.

Best advice, he says, from senior colleagues is not to rush this latter task so may be it will be a few more weeks before he steps firmly into the �hallowed footsteps of his eminent predecessor.

Website rant

HELEN Burchell’s piece for the BBC about the Happy Fun Day organised in place of Cambridge’s cancelled �Strawberry Fair reflects that it passed off largely without incident.

She goes in what your diarist felt was alarming detail about the �anarchists and members of Class War �Cambridgeshire who threatened to attend to defend citizens’ rights to gather in a public place but, in the end, only a handful bothered.

Helen quoted one anarchist who promised that if the Old Bill kick off and become a violent threat �“people have got a right to physical self-defence”.

In the end, of course, it was a quiet event but what fascinated me was the website for Cambridge Anarchists which allowed comments from all and sundry, including this from Simon.

He described them as a “bunch of jobless, lazy people drinking away a Saturday afternoon funded by people who work for a living”.

He added: “Get a job, a haircut, pay some taxes and sort your life out.”

I’ve edited out the rest of the �comments but you get the drift.

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