Voice of reason could help to rebuild England

Dignified: Tariq Jahan holds a picture of his son
Dignified: Tariq Jahan holds a picture of his son

OF all the flame-scorched images, amid all the fast-tracking of looters, against waves of destruction, the calm voice of one man stays in my head.

Not least his nine-word sentence that appeared to pour precious oil on troubled waters: “Step forward if you want to lose your sons.”

The dignity of Birmingham father Tariq Jahan said more about England than a posse of pontificating politicians or a bundle of hand-wringing lawyers claiming their clients were fools, not burglars.

Hours after his beloved son was killed, along with two other young men in a hit-and-run as they protected shops from looters, Mr Jahan faced the world and pleaded for peace.

Politicians are currently arguing about the best way to fix “broken Britain” (or “erupting England”, as it would perhaps be better named).

Sons without fathers, says Mr Cameron, have no guidance when the parental unit breaks down.

But perhaps he should also now consider fathers without sons. Fathers like Mr Jahan, who was thrust into the country’s consciousness in a most tragic and distressing way.

He may now retreat into the shadows to privately grieve, but how I wish Mr Jahan would get a call from Downing Street to give input into ways to solve the country’s social ills. Who better to add a touch of reality to the ivory towers of Westminster than a man who has experienced first-hand the gut-wrenching sorrow of a promising life cut short?

If his efforts helped get us back on track, he might one day feel his son’s sacrifice was worthwhile.

* For years the letter failed to arrive. Month after month, no missive came from my tight-fisted Uncle Ernie.

He doesn’t even know I exist, I thought, so I cashed in my Premium Bonds that had been bought for me when I was a tot.

My husband, who bought his Premium Bonds exactly 12 months after I reinvested, had already received three small prizes. And I had almost given up any chance of winning when Uncle Ernie finally came good last week and sent me a cheque for £25.

All well and good, and I thank him for his generosity. But the conspiracy theorist in me can’t help wondering whether there is something more than meets the eye.

My cousin, just two weeks younger than me and living more than 100 miles away, won £25 for the first time in his life two months ago.

Surely this is more than just a coincidence...?

* How I laughed when I read the words of gunman Kevin Jaundrell in Friday’s Courier: “Grouse are really challenging. They are very canny birds and are the hardest game bird to shoot.”

Well, I would have laughed had I not found the whole subject of The Glorious Twelfth sickening.

Does he think these living creatures are merely going to stand there, waving a little white flag and shouting: “I’m over here... shoot me! It won’t hurt – honestly, I won’t feel a thing!”

August the 12th should not be glorious, nor glorified. It’s a few people with nothing better to do than to take the life of a creature that can in no way fight back. Usually, people who attack defenceless beings are called cowards.

Of course, the shooting lobby will be up in arms (pardon the pun) over comments like this.

I would prefer to see them drop their weapons and tangle with a hungry croc or a voracious lion – then they might have a grouse of their own.