Monthly Archives: September, 2017
On Friday morning it was my pleasure to visit two of the many Macmillan Coffee Mornings being held in Town. First I was at the event held by VIP Hairdressing, in Walsoken. After that I was a guest at the coffee morning organised by the staff and students of Meadowgate School. Both were well attended by many local people and were very enjoyable. Hopefully plenty of money was raised for this important cause.
Future Of The LEP*
This is an important post, from Mayor James Palmer of the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
In fact, I’d say it is vital.
It is patently clear to anybody who looks that the LEP in Cambridgeshire has utterly lost its way. It has lost the confidence of MPs, Councillors and local people and it would appear that it has also lost the confidence of Government.
As a personal viewpoint, I think it was an ill-fated scheme from the start. Putting a broadly unelected and mostly unaccountable body in charge of such huge chunks of public funding was never going to end well. Business folk are very good at looking at the bottom line, but Government is not just about bottom lines. It’s also about places, communities and people. It’s about ambition and dreams and the glue that holds us together.
Having an eye on the money is all well and good, but there’s nothing visionary about judging everything by a simplistic cost benefit ratio. Primarily because you can fudge the figures to say what you want them to say, sometimes accidentally as a form of confirmation bias. “We’d love to do this, but the business case doesn’t stack up” can be translated into: “Our friendly economist looked at this through the lens we selected, and saw the image we expected them to see.”
I hope the LEP is bundled into the Combined Authority. I think that’s the perfect place for them, where they can offer business input into political decisions, but where those decisions are ultimately made by elected people. That’s how a democratic system works best.
* LEP = Local Enterprise Partnership
St Augustine’s Afternoon Tea
This afternoon I visited the Afternoon Tea event held by the St. Augustines Day Centre at Wisbech Grammar School.
What an incredible event, attended by visitors from care homes across the area. Entertainment and refreshments and a really enjoyable and fun-filled atmosphere.
I arrived late, as I had other duties, but I was covered by my Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Peter Human and his consort Janet Tanfield, who did a lovely job of representing the Town Council.
It was such a pleasure to talk to the many visitors and see how much they were enjoying themselves.
A fine event, honouring Her Majesty the Queen’s sixty-five years on the throne.
General Election Wash-Up
Everybody and their Sister seems to have written a “what went wrong” piece about the last General Election. I’ve avoided it so far because (a) nobody probably cares what I think and (b) I wanted to mull it over.
Having spent a few months doing so, my personal view is that it’s much simpler than many people think.
In the first instance I’d like to say that I think the Prime Minister was correct to call the election. The polls made it a safe gamble and she needed a strong majority to push Brexit through and get significant Parliamentary work done. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off. But that doesn’t make it a bad idea. Just badly implemented.
So, in my view, the reason the General Election didn’t go as expected boils down to three things.
(1) It was an ideologically poor campaign. There wasn’t much “conservatism” in there. It was managerial and failed to inspire enthusiasm. In fact, there were some hostages to fortune, ill-conceived ideas that had no business appearing in any manifesto, let alone a Conservative one. But that alone wouldn’t have turned the tide.
(2) Theresa May made the entire election about her and how strong she was. This was a perfectly good thing to do, but she then needed to go ahead and BE strong in public appearances. Personally, I think she probably is strong, but the campaign did not showcase that. In fact, it did the opposite. And the danger of campaigning on strength is that if you can’t look like it’s true, the campaign crumbles. But that alone wouldn’t have turned the tide.
(3) The main reason is the choice to run a negative campaign. Don’t get me wrong, negative campaigns are just as effective as positive ones, in the right setting. But Theresa May called the early election, which suggested she thought she was going to win. A negative campaign revolves around demonstrating the dangers of the “other guy” getting elected. How can you reasonably suggest that disaster will happen if the other guy gets elected, when you called the early election in the first place? It doesn’t ring true. Though, in actual fact, it was closer to the truth than anybody knew!
Some readers may wonder why I don’t credit any of this to Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. Honestly, I really don’t. I think they were bit players who benefited from mistakes made on the Conservative side during the campaign. If they can be credited at all, it is for running a “safe” campaign that avoided their glaring weaknesses – and not being called on it. For the record, despite Corbyn’s current fairly good polling and Theresa May’s falling stats, I still don’t actually believe the country would ever vote for a Prime Minister Corbyn. I could be wrong, stranger things have happened. But I find it very hard to believe that the UK would commit itself to a financial and social basket case when it came to the crunch.
All just my opinion, of course, and many will disagree.
I was invited to our geographic neighbours Sutton Bridge today where their Parish Council were opening a new Garden Of Rest. It was a glorious Autumn day, warm and windy, and the garden itself was so peaceful and beautifully done.
Bakers wanted for Fenland’s own bake offs
Cake-makers are being urged to rise to the occasion when two Fenland leisure centres hold their very own bake off contests for charity.
Budding bakers can put their skills to the test when the Great British Bake Off-style events are held at the New Vision Fitness centres next month in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Great Hudson Bake Off and Tea Dance takes place at the Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech on October 6, and a second bake off and coffee morning is being held at the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March on October 13.
People are invited to bring along their homemade showstoppers to be judged – with top prizes on offer for star bakers!
All the cakes baked will be on sale at the events along with refreshments, and everyone is welcome. All money raised will go to Macmillan as the chosen charity of Cllr Mrs Kay Mayor, Chairman of Fenland District Council, which runs the leisure centres.
The Hudson bake off is being held from 11.30am to 12.30pm, with the tea dance between 2pm and 4pm. Tickets for the tea dance cost £2 each and are still available to buy from the Hudson reception. There will also be craft stalls selling items such as photo frames, homemade cards and jewellery.
The George Campbell event will see a coffee morning between 7am and 12noon, with the bake off from 10.30am to 11.30am.
There will also be a coffee morning at the Manor Leisure Centre in Whittlesey on October 4 from 11am to 1pm, and once again everyone is welcome.
Cllr Mrs Mayor said: “This is a cause so close to many of our hearts so I hope as many people as possible will join us for what promise to be some fantastic events. It’s a great chance for people to show off their baking skills and be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes including vouchers for afternoon tea-for-two.”
Residents are also invited to join Cllr Mrs Mayor at her Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event at Fenland Hall in County Road, March, on Thursday, September 28, between 10am and 11.30am. There will be coffee, tea, cakes, sausages rolls and a raffle.
Donations to Macmillan can be made at all the events. Anyone who cannot attend but would like to make a donation can post it to the Chairman’s Secretary, Fenland District Council, Fenland Hall, County Road, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8NQ (please make cheques payable to Macmillan Cancer Support).
Fenland Enterprise Business Awards 2017
My Wife and I have had a lovely evening at the Fenland Enterprise Business Awards.
It was brilliant to see such innovative, creative and successful companies highlighted and given the spotlight to celebrate the great work they do in the area.
The event was well-organised, very well-attended and glamorous. I really cannot fault it at all. It was a pleasure to be there and see hard work, entrepreneurialism and good old-fashioned business cheered to the rafters.
Well done to all who were nominated, and particularly to all our fantastic winners.
A special mention to my neighbours The Luxe Cinema, who were finalists, but didn’t get a top prize this year but who I know will go from strength to strength with their new/old team and passionate new manager.
Thank you! Marie and I enjoyed it immensely and spent altogether too much money – but all in a good cause.