ALAN FRANKLIN writes: When I was a newspaper editor I relied on information coming in to me. Now Pat and I run this website, broadcast and write books we are still dependent on information. One of those who has fed me news stories for years is Christina Speight, a doughty lady of 84 who has finally decided to "retire," although I'll believe it if it happens. Since 1996 Christina has been compiling news about the evil EU superstate, the state of our nation and much else. Here is her farewell message.
As I have been threatening or promising [take your pick] for weeks this marks the end of my daily trawling of the media.
It has been a long haul since I started way back in 1996, and an increasingly intensive one as the instantaneous nature of news and comment got more and more intense with the development of the internet. When I started, a mere twinkling of an intergalactic eye ago, modems and e-mailing were mere infants! Communication was paper, photocopying and post!
I came into politics driven by the intense belief that the wartime spirit of national identity was being destroyed by socialist class war and I responded to the call to “Set the People Free”. That gut feeling 62 years later still permeates my thinking. It lay dormant for years with the competing claims of home and family and career and when, for various reasons, these pressures became absent it was the enormity of the EU that reawakened my activities.
My stance now is the eternal challenge in politics - priorities. I still rank the enormity of the construct that is the EU at the top of my ongoing concerns but it has temporarily had to take second place to the dreadful immediate peril that our financial plight presents. Everything has to be subordinated to that. If we fail there our fate will no longer be in our own hands
As far as the EU is concerned I do not subscribe to the facile belief that all we have to do to reach a state of bliss is to ‘withdraw’. The route to a mutually satisfactory arrangement with Europe is likely to be tortuous and highly complex. “Withdrawal” might be necessary but only as a stage en route for something better, the shape of which is not yet fully clear. That is possible and I treat with little respect those defeatists who say it can’t be done.
My activities come to an end, not from any lessening of political commitment, but the sheer exhaustion that a 24 hour 7 day week news media causes! ‘Exhaustion’ is always round the corner at 84!
I have made many friends and even more friendly e-mail contacts whilst doing this and their - YOUR - input and criticisms have been what kept me going. Since I announced the end of the road I have been touched to the core by the kindness of the torrent of messages of appreciation you have sent. I cannot possibly reply individually but I’ve kept them all separately to read in my dotage - whenever that might come! Thank you so much.
Do feel free to ask if you feel that I might have in my archives anything of use or can help practically in any way. I have certain expertise in the statistics underlying polling and I have a useful and totally random file of useful quotations. Do dip in! But I don’t want to get involved in any campaigns now.
With that I say goodbye and wish you all a Very Happy Christmas in the knowledge that the Christmas message is one of hope and renewal. As for the New Year - - - it will be tough but I hope that you may all survive relatively unscathed and - yes - Happy and Well!