Please note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.
Two news stories in the Evening Standard tonight struck me, on the sweltering Jubilee Line, as having something quite remarkable in common.
The first is that of little-known paparazzi photographer Jesal Parshotam, who this morning saw the Duchess of Cambridge sneak into St Mary’s Hospital at around 5.55am. As the Standard reports, he said that he and his colleague “decided in advance we were not going to take a photo of her. I made that decision – she’s a woman in labour…. To take a picture of her would have been over stepping the mark.”
The second is London bookseller David Headley, who bought 250 signed first editions of The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith BEFORE it was revealed in a leak that its author was in fact JK Rowling writing under a pseudonym. When the news was revealed he had 130 left in stock. At a time they were being hawked for more than £1,000 each on eBay, Mr Headley decided to keep just four copies to give to each of this staff and refused to profit from the rest, selling them to (no doubt very grateful) JK Rowling fans at the cover price of £16.99.
Under normal circumstances I’m cursed with a cynical eye. A cynic might suggest that Mr Parshotam did not, in fact, make an ethical decision not to exploit the Duchess of Cambridge at a vulnerable moment, but rather missed his shot of a lifetime and decided to bluff his way out. A cynic might also wonder whether Mr Headley, as well as being a talented bookseller, is also a man with a hidden talent for PR and an eye for a good news story that will no doubt profit his business.
However, the sun is shining and I’m going to choose to take these two stories for what they may very well be – rare and welcome examples of human behaviour that can surprise you.
Coming just a few days after it appears Tesco chose to jack up prices of its bottled water by 40 percent amidst the UK’s worst heatwave in seven years, these two stories of small actions by small businessmen provide a stark contrast that’s worth thinking about on a sunny Monday.