Malton, April 12. The latest ‘buzz’ seems to be about the proposed alternative voting system, or AV as it is being referred to.

There’s more to this than meets the eye, as I see it, anyway. This does not appear to be anything for the benefit of the public, more is it something for the benefit of MPs and would-be MPs, in other words, a ‘them and us’ affair.

The current system of voting has served us well for countless generations with its results being established after a straightforward count.

As for AV, well this takes some four pages of instructions, operating on a system of three rounds, and seemingly wide open to administrative errors and the need to peruse each ballot paper on more than one occasion.

A nightmare by the looks of things, and for what reason? I suspect that a certain party has come to the conclusion that it would fare better on a different type of system, and for its benefit, not the publics, note, it seeks a change.

Already the costs have started with the preparation and publication of the 12-page booklet each household has been sent. Countrywide, this will amount to thousands of pounds and to effect a change, has been forecast to cost around £250 million.

* Easy, it seems to arrange for a referendum on a ploy to effect changes which can be done without, but to get a referendum to get out of the EU just somehow doesn’t come to fruition. Them and us once again.

* Interesting note on this subject is that our parliament is usually dated from 1265, when members of the King’s household, judges and clergy etc were its nucleus.

By the end of Edward III’s reign, the House of Commons was beginning to appear with the election of its first speaker in 1377. Legislation as a result of voting, and a simple majority, has served us well. I see no reason to change it.

Incidentally, the world’s oldest parliament is that of Iceland, dating from 930.

* And talking of MPs brings me to collars and ties. Yes indeed. A large number of these highly-paid representatives, some say over-paid, can be seen wearing smart lounge suits in the house, but no tie. Collars are left flapping about untidily, leaving them looking half-dressed, and like casual labourers.

This current state of affairs, spread the country over, is a state of idleness, so why bother to wear a smart suit?

Children at school always wore a tie, and the day for open neck shirts only came when the sun started shining. Pride in dress went back to the days of mass unemployment, but a tie marked the gentlemen among them.

Army issue shirts were the collarless- type and had to be pulled over the head. I refer to early wartime years. Most uniforms, in whatever country you looked at, and the neck was a high one. Most uncomfortable.

We have the Americans, who came over to help us, to thank for the introduction of the tunic shirt with attached collar. Why hadn’t anyone in this country thought of that before?

Somewhere in Germany I came across a mobile bath-house, operated by the US. Here, in a clearing by a forest, you could get a hot shower, a change of underclothes and a swap with any dirty laundry you may have. High up the road, the battle raged on. Just a question of priorities.

I took advantage of this, and in exchange for two British army shirts, was handed no less then three American tunic shirts. The first in the regiment. My ‘boss’, the second in command, Major JCSG de Longueiul, MC immediately said: “You’ll be wanting a tie now, I expect.” Whereupon, sitting next to me in the Jeep, took his own tie off and presented me with it, saying that he had a new one in his kit. I have that tie, a woven paralled sidedtype, still. Just another memento.

* I stopped off at the Hoggard’s farm centre at Howe Bridge last week to ‘test’ the soup on offer.

As a lover of soups, I’ve tried them in almost everyplace they are on offer in this area. Potato and leek was my maiden voyage and delightful it was, too. A huge bowl, filled to the brim, and hot, too, along with half a loaf of crusty bread. What a treat and at the right price.

I called again later in the week and it was cheese and broccoli, if I remember rightly, and at a wide window, just the right setting, and for any cyclist looking for a short flat ride, just out of town, it can’t be bettered, although I might add, I wasn’t on the bike this time.

* Mr Hoggard farmed several fields along Old Malton Road, and still does and just past the second Orchard Field is a row of large trees, which once marked a boundary, but now just stand majestic in a large field.

The one nearest the road had to be felled in recent years, but the others still hold their heads high.

Coming home after the war, I noticed something odd about one of the trees and on stopping to look closer, saw that there was an observation platform at the junction of the branches.

I was told it was a look-out post, but who manned it I have never found out. Anyone know? Mr Hoggard told me it was a machine gun post.

Any more information on this would be welcome as it is a bit of local history not to be forgotten.

* A plea from Clive Inman, of Norton, asking if I recall the Victorian post box which was close to Chandlers’ Wharfe opening. I have a vague recollection of a post box, but didn’t know its ancestry.

Now missing. Perhaps the GPO might make us wise.

* St George’s Day is on Saturday, April 23. How many flags bearing the cross of St George can you count? This is England’s day.

* Shakespeare’s Richard II. “This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” (1595)