SPECTATOR suspects that most people in the area will be fully behind Hambleton District Council’s decision to put up cash to find a way of trying to save Thirsk’s Lambert Hospital in one way or another.

But what is, of course, nonsensical is the fact that one public service, the council, is looking at potentially using public money to give to another public service, NHS Property Services.

That is effectively using taxpayers’ money to buy a building which in reality is already owned by the community - as the Lambert family, who built the small cottage hospital, endowed it to the town.

Having said that, this isn’t necessarily how one might expect a Conservative council to be acting. Isn’t the ideology more to do with personal responsibility and limited government?

But then, faced with the frankly scary approach of slimmed-to-the-bone health services and failing community health care for elderly people, maybe it’s the future.

The Lambert does seem the ideal spot to provide community care from though, and so it does seem barmy not to take advantage of that.

RUTH Annison caused a bit of a stir last week when she criticised plans for a new statue of a shepherd, smoking a pipe, to be placed in Hawes.

“To be seen advertising smoking in this day and age is really bad PR for the town,” she told the local parish council.

Is that the same Ruth Annison who co-wrote and published a fascinating book a few years ago - The Hawes Ropemakers: Past & Present – which featured a cover illustration of a chap busy making a rope and, er, smoking a pipe?