I would like to apologise to the world famous, brilliant, awesome fantasy writer Neil Gaiman. When the chips were down - and those would be Cllr Lee Hunt's chips, that Cllr Mike Hancock MP pissed on - instead of naming a beautiful road after you, Mr Gaiman, which the Cabinet could have done, honouring you and your family - perhaps a sweeping route where Portsmouth seems to reach across the water to Portchester Castle as the sun sets behind the haunting, towering Roman and Mediaeval stones - well, instead you got to unveil a street sign placed in front of a hedge in a teeny-tiny bus-only road in Southsea. You were a great sport about it, and maybe you really didn't mind about the bus lane thing, but I honestly wish we could have done better for you.
This story, for me, began at an Informal Cabinet Meeting (i.e. behind closed doors) one morning and it would have been around the early part of 2013, looking at subsequent news reports. Lee - the then Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure - was excited. That was Lee's style - forceful, excitable, loud and brash. He had news to tell us and he wanted us all on board with his idea, which was to name a road in Portsmouth after Neil Gaiman. It was to be a 'big win' of positive publicity.
And this proposal turned, as agenda items so often did at these meetings, into a ridiculous squabble.Read More