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Iain Maciver: When Sue works for you, her report isn’t going to change much

Civil servant Sue Gray is heading up an official inquiry, looking into alleged Covid breaches inside Boris Johnson's Downing Street (Photo: Jeff Gilbert/The Daily Telegraph/PA Wire)
Civil servant Sue Gray is heading up an official inquiry, looking into alleged Covid breaches inside Boris Johnson's Downing Street (Photo: Jeff Gilbert/The Daily Telegraph/PA Wire)

Some killer whales are so well known to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, they have a name.

The orcas come down from Iceland to be photographed by fishermen and ferry passengers in the Minch. Recently, two whales known to the trust members as John Coe and Aquarius were spotted splashing about off Skye.

John Coe, with a distinctive chunk missing from his tail (probably due to a shark attack), was even spotted off Cornwall. What fantastic and intelligent creatures. Our magnificent marine friends. Let us salute them.

Some people saluted the telly when transmission ended at night. Our family were only watchers of the royals, I’ll leave it at that. We never stood for that anti-Scottish dirge with those annoying words – rebellious Scots to crush, indeed.

Why Scotland has not demanded it be changed is matter of great shame. Although certain neighbours of ours claimed to be like gormless footballers before a big game mouthing these inanities, there was never anyone at that time of night to check.

It was in 1972 that Grampian TV, as it then was, stopped showing their flickering, fluttering flag while the anthem played on a well-worn loop. The BBC took a few more years to come to their senses, but they still play it when Radio 4 closes down.

Now the GB News channel, that tiresome newcomer, is trying to persuade us to turn over by playing the anthem every morning. Previous good excuses not to switch to GB News were nasty Nigel Farage, Dan Wootton, Neil Oliver, and now we have another.

Just imagine if this government makes the BBC merge with GB News, as one report speculates. If I had to watch that drivel, I would sue.

Is Sue just a plaything?

Everybody needs a Sue to keep them right. If you want to find out what you did nearly two years ago, call her. She will launch an investigation and make enquiries.

Before long she will present you with a report to let you know what you did. Then what happens? Well, if she thinks you did something wrong, you could simply decide to modify your behaviour – or not.

Sue Gray. Photo by PA

If you ask Sue for recommendations, she may tell you that you can ignore her report. Or she may decide that you’ve learned your lesson. Or she may decide you are a hopeless menace and that you must just pack it all in.

The only problem for Sue is that Sue works for you. Let’s just say that she finds you were a very naughty chap and that you should resign, and you don’t. What then happens to Sue? She will have been used as a plaything, a mere toy.

Nothing will happen because of Sue’s report. Despite the breathless wait, it’s all about your supporters. If they want you to stay and keep the group intact, that’s what will happen. So, Sue will be ignored, and she’ll have to head for the exit herself. Oh, Sue, poor you.

What a sparple

It’s a great name, Sue. Who are well-known Sues? Susan Boyle. Susan Calman and leather jumpsuited Suzi Quatro, who is in her 70s now and looking fabulous.

Then there’s Susie Dent. She’s the geeky lady in Dictionary Corner on Countdown and on Jimmy Carr’s naughty version, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Being a word person, a lexicographer, she researches less popular words and what they mean, or used to mean.

Susie has a word of the day on Twitter and she has a knack of making them well-timed. Word of the day on Monday was sparple.

It is, of course, a 14th century word for deflecting unwanted attention from one thing by making a big deal of another. Susie tweeted that just as Number 10 was trying to take the heat off some politician by announcing it was freezing the TV licence, thereby starting the process of killing the BBC.

The Beeb is packed with trendy lefties, many Tories claim. Many wanted to do that for ages.

Just like I wanted to write a column without naming a single politician. No, Nigel Farage certainly is not.

Almost as much as I have wanted to see killer whales. Did you know killer whales play weird whale music to each other? I suppose when a lot of them get together in the Minch it is an orcastra.

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