Tim Minns – columnist of the year

The award-winning columnist who knows things better than anyone


So, Oldham City Council have finally got round to taking measures to curb the dangerous levels of binge-drinking in town centres, such as enforcing a queuing system and restricting the amount of alcohol anyone can buy in one visit. You may remember just over six months ago how I wrote the very same thing in this column. I called for local councils to take action over the increasing problem of binge drinking in town centres and I suggested the idea of a queuing system together with a limit on any one purchase. You may also remember I put forward the idea of councils paying for extra security staff in bigger venues and for police officers to be stationed on site in case of trouble.

I know better than anyone about the devastating effects of excessive drinking since at the time I was working in an advisory capacity in conjunction with my local constabulary. I was already well aware of this spiralling problem as I often went out on the beat with uniformed officers whose job involved clearing up the mess caused by binge drinking in local towns. I saw what excessive alcohol consumption did to young people, often seeing them poisoned and unconscious in the gutter, or covered in blood after fighting. I knew then that something had to be done about this menace so I wrote in this very column calling for tougher action. I applaud Oldham Council for finally taking heed and making a brave decision in following my advice. I only hope other councils around the country follow suit.


You may have read this week about how experts have discovered that the swine flu drug Tamiflu is dangerous for children, and how the negative effects of this drug potentially outweigh any of its’ benefits. I know better than anyone about these negative effects as I was amongst the first group of people to get hold of Tamiflu. My daughter was one of the first people in this country to contract swine flu three months ago. We were understandably scared in our household at the time, but were reassured by so-called experts that Tamiflu was the best option available. After her first dose she had a temperature of 37c and was feeling very poorly, so we stopped administering it immediately. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that she made a full recovery within the next couple of days.

I knew long before these experts that Tamiflu had detrimental side effects. In fact, a week after this traumatic event I wrote a warning in this column that Tamiflu should be approached with caution, because no-one is fully aware of the extent of its’ side effects, particularly on children. Only now have the ‘experts’ begun to cotton on…


Pete Doherty is up before the courts again on charges of drug possession. I feel genuinely sorry for him, as he is a talented musician whose life is clearly on a downward slope. I know better than anyone what a warm-hearted and witty person he was, as I worked at RAK Studios in St. John’s Wood where The Libertines recorded their first album Up The Bracket. He was a gifted songwriter and was always keen for input and ideas from everyone around. I actually ended up jamming with him and Carl Barat one evening on a spare acoustic guitar and it was this session which formed the main basis for their hit “Time For Heroes”. I was the one who suggested the line about an ‘Englishman in a baseball cap’, and, though he initially thought it might not work, he was determined to get it into the song as he thought it summed up the very essence of that track.

I will always know Pete for his generous nature and he would always ask after my family every time we met. I sincerely hope he can remove himself from the seedy world of class A drugs that he has become embroiled in and get himself back to the way he was – a nice lad with an ear for a great tune.


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