Most people in the UK will be aware of the passing of the US Republican Senator John McCain, but may not be aware of what a remarkably brave man he was.
In 1967, he was in the cockpit of his jet fighter on the flight deck of the carrier USS Forrestal, preparing for take-off.
A missile was accidentally fired from another aircraft across the deck.
It hit the fuel tank of McCain’s plane and knocked two bombs loose.
A conflagration was started, which killed 134 sailors.
McCain jumped out of his aircraft and ran across the blazing deck to try to free another pilot trapped in his cockpit.
Later the same year McCain was shot down over Vietnam.
He was captured and taken to the notorious ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison where he was regularly tortured.
When his captors discovered that his father was Commander in Chief of US forces in the Pacific, they offered to let McCain go. He refused unless his fellow PoWs were freed too.
This was the man whom President Trump (who was deferred from service five times) sneered at for having been captured, saying “He was a war hero because he was captured. I only like people who weren’t captured.”
Only a despicable, envious person could have uttered a comment like that.
Sometimes the good don’t die young – they get the chance to continue to make a great contribution and few exemplify this more than John McCain. His military service and extensive time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam showed the depth of his character when he refused early release as it would aid his captors. This time left him injured for life.
His willingness to continue his life of service as a senator and presidential candidate, rather than retire to a life of family and friends, further adds to his reputation. His selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate was, however, one of his few failings.
He was better than most and yet a down-to-earth, humble person. We need more like him to help run our countries. Goodbye to a good person.
Firms getting their own way
Sometimes I think that the costs of having industry regulators are just not worth it, large companies in the industry seem to run rings round the regulators.
There was a big triumph for a regulator in the spring when BT was required to reduce line rentals for people, who had no broadband, by £7 per month. Great! I fell into that category so there was a saving of £84 per annum.
For many years, I have used a scheme known as Line Rental Saver, which means that I pay my line rental to BT annually in advance in one lump sum, saving me somewhere between £20 to £40 per annum. “Yes, you will receive the £7 reduction in addition to your Line Rental Saver credit” said BT’s announcement (March 2018).
Now, as August nears its end, I am due to renew my LRS for another year.
“You can’t do so”, says BT, “you can’t have that saving as well as the reduced line rental.”
So the March reassurance didn’t last very long did it?
BT are clawing back £20 to £40 of the £84 reduction they were told to make.
I think this is just cocking a snook at the regulator, don’t you?
Aid must be flexible
Theresa May’s pledge to use UK foreign aid money to drive economic growth in Africa is missing the point.
I appreciate it makes sense for the cash to be used to drive economic growth there and theoretically that would benefit us in the long run, but the reality is, can we really afford to hand over £2.6bn annually to the continent?
Just think what a fantastic boost that sum could do for our own economy right now.
We’ve all read stories about our hard-earned taxpayers’ money being wasted on daft projects abroad and the majority are rightly very unhappy at the government’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on foreign aid.
We’ve always been a generous country and funds invariably flood in at times of natural disaster, wherever in the world, but charity starts at home and we simply must abandon the rigid financial formula that is draining our funds. We desperately need more medical staff and emergency services personnel and some of that cash should be directed at those needs. Of course, we must always have a foreign aid budget but it must be flexible and proportionate to our own economic situation.
Paul Nuttall, North West MEP
UK Independence Party
Step forward Boris et al
With all the negative media about a No Deal Brexit, and Government Doomsday studies forecasting shortages of food and vital NHS supplies, now is the time for Boris, Nigel et al to step forward and outline the, no doubt, considerable benefits we are going to get from leaving the EU.
Unless I am missing something?
Kettle calling the pot black
So Gary Lineker, pictured, thinks the PM is boring.
He should try watching his own TV programme.
As my dear old grandmother used to say, there is nothing like the kettle calling the pot