My book of the month is ‘ The Forgiven’ by Lawrence Osborn. This is a dark story that is utterly compelling and with a twist at the end. I haven’t yet found a single character in this author’s books that I actually sympathise with, but perhaps that’s deliberate. It’s fascinating to dislike the main characters but still feel gripped by their story. I’m looking forward to his next book.
One of Denbighshire County Council’s great strengths is that it has some brilliant staff. This month two things have happened that illustrate this so clearly and deserve special mention. First, when the Welsh football team made the semi-final of Euro 2016 staff in our Leisure Services managed to organise a FanZone, which 7800 people enjoyed, within 48 hours, working their socks off to make it happen. Second, when the council was informed – the day before – that GHA Coaches would stop their buses, our transport staff worked overnight to ensure that all children had transport to get to school the next morning. One member of staff noticed a group of elderly ladies waiting at a bus stop. He approached them, explained who he was, showed them his ID and offered to take them to their destination in his own car, in his own time. That’s outstanding care.
There was an attempted military coup in Turkey. Until recently military coups used to happen in Turkey roughly every decade and they were always successful – I.e., they managed to overthrow the elected government. But this one failed and social media played a key role. Turkey’s President’s call, on FaceTime, for people to get out into the streets and stop the coup worked and we all witnessed it. We know that social media can be used for good and bad, but this was a lesson on the power of social media to change World events. The official Turkish view is very critical of western countries, seeing them as either complicit, indifferent or more concerned about the reaction to the coup than expressing concern and support for the democratically elected government. During the EU referendum campaign the then British Prime Minister said that Turkey’s application to joint the EU wouldn’t be considered, probably, until the year 3000. That might have been a slight exaggeration then, but right now it seems implausible that the Turkish government would wish it to be considered before than anyway.