Please don’t blow that whistle!

Originally posted by Hugh Salmon, Jun 10 2010, 11:48 PM

At what point does impact become intrusion?

Whistleblowing is a special interest of mine. I have personal experience of it. And it was included in my Manifesto at the last General Election:

“I support and applaud the work of the charity ‘Public Concern at Work’ ( which helps whistleblowers act in the public interest.”

Much to their credit, PCAW pioneered the Public Interest Disclosure Act and drove it through Parliament.

So I was delighted to learn that, yet again, the Tories have taken one of my recommendations on board and that yesterday (9 June 2010), in his Oral Statement to the House of Commons, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“I can announce today that we are going to give teeth to the current safeguards for whistleblowers in the Public Interest Disclosure Act by reinforcing the NHS Constitution to make clear the rights and responsibilities of NHS staff and their employers in respect of whistleblowing”.

However, my joyful enthusiasm and support for this announcement was tempered by something which suddenly made me very bad-tempered indeed.

Also yesterday (yes, the same day!) at the check-out counter of a reputable High Street store whose initials are M&S, I noticed that among the ‘official England product’ merchandise on offer is a red-ribboned chrome whistle.

I think, by now, most of us have worked out that the World Cup is upon us.
And I am delighted that it may provide one of the rare occasions where the English people can unite as one in support of our team. Convergence at last!
And I have no objection to public displays of support that will play their part in this convergence.
Key rings? Fine, though not essential.
T-shirts? OK too, though not too heavy on the belly please.
Flagging down cars? If you must.
But what possible contribution will be made by the blowing of these loathsome whistles whose sole planetary existence is to attract attention by making a noise?

What will these ‘official’ whistles – most likely blown by drunken football fans late at night on their way back from the pub – add to our enjoyment of this wonderfully convergent event?

Let me tell you, if I hear so much as a whisper from just ONE of these whistles, I for one am going to blow my top.

About Hugh Salmon

Business leader. Adman. Writer.
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