Mon. May 16th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

HOLMSEY: Keeping up with the news

3 min read

My holiday to America was over all too soon; just moments after departing Heathrow, I was back, to join the immigration and baggage queues. Fresh-faced and slightly rested, I must thank old Quiggers for keeping my seat warm. I don’t know where he gets these ideas about my competitive streak though; I’ve never liked custard creams!

Like Quiggers, I’m mildly obsessed with current events, so holidays are never quite as relaxing as they might be. I suffer from FOMO – fear of missing out, so even in far-flung corners of the earth, I like to know what’s happening at home. Don’t hate me, but I tend to use Mail online to keep my finger on the pulse; I like their blend of serious news and utterly pointless fluff. If Putin had launched a nuclear strike in my absence, I’m confident the Mail would have squeezed that in alongside David and Victoria’s son’s extravagant wedding ceremony. They did cover Angela Rayner’s legs – flashing that is, and Kier Starmer’s ‘definitely not a party’ denials.

Not much else caught my eye, other than that Tory MP watching porn on his mobile phone in the Commons chamber. What is it with politicians and sex? Why are people with rampant or peculiar sex drives attracted to the job, and is there anyone like that in County Hall? I loved the MP’s claim that he’d been searching for Dominator tractors, although specifically, the name relates only to combine harvesters, not tractors. The weak excuse was anything but Claas (the Dominator manufacturer, Ed).

Strictly in the interest of research and to protect your computer search history, I googled ‘Claas Dominator’ on your behalf. Disappointingly, I saw not a single leather clad woman brandishing her bullwhip, no studs, no chains, no nothing! If you are in the market, there are plenty of Dominators available, with prices from a very reasonable £20,000. When the harvest ripens I hope someone checks that the former MP for Tiverton and Honiton did actually acquire a Dominator!

Despite the jetlag, I was invited to last Friday’s IW Chamber of Commerce business awards. When Friday evening arrived, the last thing I wanted to do was go out. Thankfully I did and enjoyed the evening enormously. Most people think the Chamber does a fairly good job supporting Island businesses. That said, like most institutions, I’m a little suspicious of it, particularly its awards night. I’ve been going for years, and it can seem they are dished out on a sort of Buggins’ turn basis. Both Red Funnel and Wightlink have directors permanently on the chamber board, but that doesn’t prevent them from nominating themselves, often. Bizarrely, this year, despite burning lorry loads of diesel every week, Wightlink put itself up for the ‘Environment and Sustainability’ gong. Predictably social media wags quickly suggested their greatest contribution to the environment was cancelling so many ferry services. No ferries – no pollution – pure genius!

Another less than popular organisation is Island Roads which won the ‘Business in the Community’ award, fighting off much-loved Cowes charity, Storeroom 2010, and Vectis Radio, who do great work with young people. Honestly, my hearing ain’t what it used to be, but I struggled to hear any applause as they rose to collect it. Was it my imagination, or did they walk on and off the stage to the sound of their own footsteps?

Thankfully there were some new faces amongst the top award winners this year, so congratulations to ‘Island Business of the Year’ – Top Mops. Hearing what they got up to during the pandemic was quite moving – even for a seasoned old cynic like me!