Category Archives: Diary
Orchards Christmas Disco
Last night I was at Orchards school doing their Christmas Disco. Well two discos really, one for the younger year group and one for the older year group.
Every time I go to Orchards I am impressed by how fantastic the staff are there, and how much they are clearly adored by the children and parents.
The event was a lot of fun and the kids were all wonderfully well-behaved, despite burning off a lot of energy dancing and rushing about.
It was nice to see the families and the community having a nice time and the school should be proud of themselves and their students. Merry Christmas to you all!
Christmas Disco Fun
I am doing four kids/family discos over the Christmas period, for different good causes and organisations. These are:
Orchards School Kids Disco – 9th December
Newton Village Hall Family Disco – 10th December
St Peters School Kids Disco – 14th December
Queen Mary Centre Charity Family New Years Eve Disco
Although I never charge for charity and local group discos, some of them are making a donation to the Mayor’s Charity fund, which is nice.
Hope to see some of my local friends and their families at some of them. It’s going to be a great Christmas!
I Need A Weekend To Recover From The Weekend
Thursday through to Sunday last week was about as manic as its possible to be. Thursday night I had a work project I could not delay any longer and I ended up doing an all-nighter to clear it and didn’t finish until Midday on Friday. After a couple of hours sleep I was back out working again (different job) until the small hours. Saturday morning I was out campaigning and then off to Peterborough to do a Wedding disco. Got home about 2AM, walked the dogs did some paperwork and stuff I’d been putting off. Then up a few hours later to spend all day helping at the Christmas Light Switch On Event.
When we finally got finished cleaning up, had some dinner and stumbled home to bed. At that point I must have looked like a refugee from a Romero movie. I am getting too old for these sort of schedules. :)
Monday now, a new week ahead, and it’s wall-to-wall work and campaigning again. I’ve already been out today to help three different residents with local issues and then collected a needle that was a concern for some people on the Wisbech Discussion Forum.
Off out shortly with a team of colleagues to campaign in Waterlees. Blooming by-elections. I blame UKIP. Which I do for most things, but this time it’s actually true!
Never mind. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Out And About
I’m sorry, dear reader, for my paucity of blog posts in the last ten days. We’ve had the Wisbech Conservatives Summer Ball, my company’s big annual event the Madhouse Minicon and Rock Festival is this weekend. On top of that I’ve had Speedwatch, Citizens Patrol, getting my latest Councillor Newsletter printed and delivered and all the normal workload things.
So I just haven’t had much time.
I’m at The Spinney tomorrow as their volunteer DJ for the Fun Day there. This weekend I’m helping the Rock Festival from 6.30AM through till late in the evening. On Friday I have Council meetings and then in the evening the Wisbech Medworth fundraising “Sausage and Cider” night. There’s a stack still to get done and it’s all got to be complete before the end of next week when I’ll be flying off to Morocco for our holiday. (We have 24-hour housesitters and dogs, and there’s nothing worth nicking anyway, so burglars beware.) :)
It’s been a very busy year and I am looking forward to the opportunity to unwind for a while with my family.
Hectic times right now as it’s election season all over. We’re also beginning to see – both locally and nationally – the campaigns begin to take shape from different areas. Labour and the Greens desperately trying to pretend the NHS is about to be sold off as they always do. UKIP still pretending they are Left-Wing to left-wingers and Right-Wing to right-wingers. Nobody really listening to the Lib Dems anymore.
Locally the Wisbech Conservatives have organised well. We have a good team out every Saturday in the market place, literature going out in most parts of Wisbech, candidates selected for every seat in every ward who are all champing at the bit to get out there. In my opinion we have some of the best teams we have ever had and I’m looking forward to following their efforts as the election season commences. They are certainly going to put the fear of God into lazy opposition Councillors who think they can just swan into re-election without doing anything.
I’ve had a really busy week with Overview & Scrutiny on Monday, Wisbech Conservatives Branch meeting on Wednesday, FDC Full Council today followed by a North-East Cambs Conservatives A.G.M. this evening. Tomorrow I’m meeting residents in the morning to try and help resolve a thorny issue and then in the afternoon I’m working with Waterlees Conservatives to get the message out that doom and gloom is no sort of solution and photo opportunities don’t represent success.
On Saturday I’m out with the wider Conservative team in the morning and then on to my Councillor Surgery in the afternoon. For any Medworth residents who would like to come visit me, report problems, make suggestions or just have a natter I will be at The Angel Pub on Alexandra Road from Midday until 2PM in the lower bar area (suitable for families.) There will be coffee and cake.
I was pleased to be able to vote for a Council Tax Freeze again today. Which means that both the Councils I am involved with – Wisbech Town Council and Fenland District Council have delivered a freeze for the second year on the trot. I was the only person on the Scrutiny Committee to vote against a rise and at that time I was mocked by a number of individuals for that. It appears that my position, lonely though it was at the time, has won out, since FDC voted unanimously for a freeze today. I promised when I stood for election that I would fight for a freeze and I have kept my promise. I argued for it, I voted for it, and it was been delivered. It is thanks, once again, to good financial management and hard work by Officers and staff on this Conservative-run Council that it has been possible to protect and improve services for people, while keeping the cost of doing so down.
One interesting thing at Full Council today. Virginia Bucknor has become “Leader of the Biggest Opposition Group.” Previously, the leader of the Biggest Opposition Group (three of them) was Cllr Gavin Booth, a Liberal Democrat who led the Liberal Democrat Alliance; himself, Cllr David Patrick (was Lib Dem then Independent) and Mark Archer (Independent.) But Dave “Taxi” Patrick went off to join UKIP and Mark Archer went off to find himself on the other side of the world, leaving poor Gavin Booth all alone. Which means that the new Biggest Opposition Group (two of them, married) is now the Bucknors’ Really Really Really Truly Independents. I wonder what it’s like being the leader of the Biggest Group which comprises of you and your husband? Group meetings must be a blast. I notice that the local press never really mentioned the way the people of Manea were left in the lurch with no representation for a year, nor the interesting idea of claiming a Special Responsibility Allowance for being the “leader” of a tiny little two-person group. Nice work if you can get it. :)
Having resigned from the Executive Officers Committee of North-East Cambridgeshire Conservative Association a couple of weeks ago on a point of principle, at the A.G.M. tonight I was nominated to stand for election in a more senior role. I was previously an “additional officer” but tonight I was nominated to stand as Deputy Chair Political. I accepted the nomination. I am proud that I was elected by N.E.C.C.A. members to take on that role. With many of the old Officers standing down there was a lot of competition for the empty posts – the most competition for those positions that I have ever seen. With only a limited number of positions available there was going to be some disappointment and that meant some really good people didn’t manage to get elected this time. But it was great to see such interest and competition and I am looking forward to working with the brand new team going forwards. We have a lot of work to do helping the Association to grow and prosper in order that we can continue to carry the Conservative message far and wide in Fenland, to work hard for our communities across the area, and to help sound hard-working Conservatives get elected in as many places as possible.
As an aside, I nearly fell off my chair when I saw UKIP making claims that they “support the Wisbech Rail Link” in their newspaper advert last week. As far as I am aware, none of the local UKIP County Councillors have ever done so. I don’t know what Lagoda thought, since he left UKIP under the cloud of being a benefits cheat before we could find out. But the others have long been vocal critics. Even at the most recent full Council meeting one of our Wisbech ‘Kippers reportedly referred to the rail link as: “a train set for boys who have never grown up.” I wonder, is there anything that UKIP wont suddenly do a U-Turn on and make dodgy claims about as they grubbily clutch for votes? Anything at all?
It is the local Conservatives who have worked hard to repair our dilapidated buildings. Local Conservatives who have overseen a period of expansion and growth in the Town. Local Conservatives who have worked hard with the Wisbech Society and others to secure grant funding to improve our Town Centre. Local Conservatives who have led on Festivals and events for our town. Local Conservatives who have helped deliver thousands of pounds of arts funding for the area. I know that not all readers of my blog are Conservatives. However, I hope you will appreciate that the Tories of Fenland want only the best for the people who live here. Difficult choices must be made and nothing is easy anymore, for sure. But you can count on your local Conservatives to fight for all the things the area needs, while making sure that you don’t get stung with gigantic council tax rises. it is not by accident that the only Council to increase it’s Council Taxes this year is the one which is not controlled by the Conservatives, but by a hotch-potch kind of unofficial Rainbow Alliance under the sclerotic, paralysed Committee System. I hate to say I Told You So. But I did.
Diary – 24th January 2015
This week has just flown by.
Monday I was at Overview and Scrutiny, where I was the only committee member to vote for a Council Tax freeze at Fenland District Council. I noticed both Mrs. Bucknor voted quickly enough with her Independent allies to whack the sum up by 1.9%. Yikes. How come it is me left making the case for easing the burdens on hard-working tax-payers, while the Members for Waterlees happily vote for a hike that will surely be felt as hard in Waterlees as anywhere? Disappointing but no need for panic – this stuff doesn’t get decided until Full Council and I’m confident that there’s a strong case for delivering a freeze so fingers crossed other Councillors agree.
Tuesday I was off to Hertfordshire to work in one of the businesses that Taxi Dave keeps telling me have “failed.” Luckily enough, the staff remain quite busy and customers well-looked after. But it’s hardly the first time the Cabinet Member for Taxis has gotten his facts completely wrong and I doubt it will be the last. Clearly, my scrutiny of his activities is unwelcome so he’s turned to the personal attacks. No doubt he’ll be telling the local paper how he is a “victim” shortly, while dishing out his bile. I’m sure he thinks all this Machiavellian spin is some kind of Master Plan but I really don’t think anybody is fooled by it. Like some kind of twisted Wizard Of Oz he continues to work his levers and trigger his smoke and mirrors without realising that the screen is down and his actions are plain to see. Even the unconditional assistance of the Wisbech Standard is no longer sufficient cover, really. Like I always say, the truth is out there.
On Wednesday I spent the day working in my other business that Dave Patrick keeps declaring “failed.” It’s lucky he’s wrong, because gawd knows how I’d pay my bills otherwise. :) Wednesday evening I was at the Area Conservatives A.G.M. where I have just completed my year as Deputy Chairman Membership. I decided to step down, since I’m presently consolidating my work in my own District Ward. I took many of these roles on before I won the Medworth election, so it’s useful now to free my time up again in order to be able to give more time and energy here at home.
On Thursday I spent the early part of the day catching up on paperwork and accounts and some Councillor casework. Once that was clear I paid a visit to the gym and then went on to the Conservative Group Meeting at Fenland Hall in March. I don’t think it’s any great secret that there have been a few disagreements over the last few months, but it was great to see the Conservative team back on track, working together and with a solid and positive plan for the future. Every group is challenged from time to time – but the mark of a strong team is how they put differences aside under strong leadership and with respect for one another.
I had meetings with constituents in the morning on Friday, followed by a light lunch with colleagues. This afternoon I was working on some campaign leaflets and other literature and then this evening I was the volunteer Quizmaster for a Fenrats Fundraising Quiz in Gorefield. The quiz was well attended and I thoroughly enjoyed the company.
Christmas Diary Part 1
The first week of December marks the beginning of what, for many of us, is the most frantic month of the year. Loads of Christmas things to do, but the normal day-to-day work doesn’t conveniently take a pause and so we often find ourselves overloaded. I’m no different to most, so as the new Month rolled in I knew it was going to be hectic.
On Monday I was at work here in Wisbech, and in the evening I had a NECCA Officer’s Meeting to attend (something of an eye-opener, that one.) Tuesday I was in Hertfordshire at my factory there, and in the evening I was at the Newton & Tydd Conservatives Christmas Meeting (and very pleasant it was too, as we have snacks and drinks alongside the regular business.)
On Wednesday I had several conflicting duties to attend and it was a challenge to decide which were more urgent than which. The evening featured several visits to see constituents who had issues they needed help with in both Medworth and Peckover.
Thursday I had to travel to Kings Lynn for two meetings there as part of a project I’m working on (more about that in the New Year) but I did get the evening off to spend some time with the family and the only early night of the week.
Friday I spent the day working on the accounts of two of my businesses and chasing up debts, but had to rush off in the late afternoon to attend a meeting in March of the 20Twenty Productions group (with whom I am a trustee.) I drove immediately from that to the Alexandra Road Conservative Club where I was the quizmaster for a Fundraising Christmas Quiz with supper and drinks. That was a great evening and a big “Thank you!” to all the people who came along, participated, and made it such fun. Commiserations to the Farmer Team – who almost always win quizzes but who were pipped at the post (literally on a tie breaker point) by the Brunton Collective.
On Saturday I had business as a DJ; first at a Child’s birthday party, then straight on to run the disco for the Newton Village Free Family Disco. No rest for the wicked Tory because I was then straight on again to the King’s Head for my final gig there of the year – good turnouts at all the events and I enjoyed them though I was shattered by the time I finally got home.
I was up early this morning to get some household chores done and try and finish my December Councillor’s newsletter – which I hope to put out next week. This afternoon I was invited to attend a Carol Service at St. Augustine’s Church on Lynn Road. It was a lovely event, well attended and supported. It has a beautiful atmosphere in that particular church, even more so on a dark December afternoon with dozens of Christmas Trees all around (they have a Christmas Tree Festival ongoing) and glitting Christmas Lights. I enjoyed it very much and would like to thank Julie Mills who invited me.
This evening I have a meeting with a Town Councillor who shall not be named. Yet. The meeting is to finalise some paperwork. There may be a surprise coming. :)
It’s That Time Again
I’ve not blogged for a few days because it’s been one of those crazy busy weeks. I’m busy on almost all fronts. Work is hectic, my new enterprises are also quite demanding at the moment, I’ve got lots of Councillor casework to get my teeth into and this is the time of year when there are lots of events to attend also.
This week I’ve been all over the place what with a trip to London and another to Hertfordshire, helping Steve Barclay deliver surveys to my District Ward and trying to resolve some tricky problems in both Medworth and Peckover.
On Friday night I was in my old stomping grounds, Roman Bank, Gorefield to be specific – as the quizmaster for a fundraising quiz in support of the Fenrats. It was nice to see all my old friends again and we had a giggle. On Saturday evening I was at another fundraiser – also in Roman Bank – this time Newton. A different bunch of old pals but just as enjoyable a time.
Of course tomorrow is the “big day” since it’s the Christmas Light Switch On in Wisbech. I’ll be out from dawn ’til dusk, lugging stuff around, being a steward, putting stuff away, and helping make sure the event runs smoothly and hopefully successfully. I’m excited about the new lights, which I haven’t seen “on” yet but which look promising in their “off” state. Given that this is only Phase 1, it still looks like we’re going to get a significantly improved show. It feels a little like a “legacy” – mostly because the opposition and their friends in the local press tried so hard to stop it happening but the people of Wisbech absolutely did not agree with them. In the end, the vote was clear, the policy rushed forwards and goodness I hope it all works out well! No doubt there will still be some folk who aren’t happy – there always is. But we listened, to asked and we actioned. What more can you do?
Christmas is just about here. Have a very very merry one! It’s that time again. :)
Diary – 8th November
It’s been another varied week full of strange happenings. I continue to receive a surprisingly large number of calls from residents. I think I am getting more now even than I did when I was a County Councillor. Some are quite easy to deal with – like the disturbance in Tillery Fields the other night with a large group letting off fireworks at 11PM. (I just walked down, explained why their behaviour was unreasonable, and asked them to leave. And they left.) Or the issue with the young man whose Council Tax bill had come in much higher than he’d expected (he was entitled to a discount.) Others are more challenging – like the popular idea to reopen the closed road on the South Brink side of the top of Weasenham Lane. I explain that one is a County Council issue, and worst of all, it’s Cllr Lagoda, who – even by UKIP standards – is the Scarlet Pimpernel of elected representatives. We can but try.
Thursday, I attended my first Full Council meeting at FDC as an elected Member. It was an eye opener for a variety of reasons even though this was far from a “normal” meeting due to the Estover debate, the presence of a large number of the public, activist Editor John Elworthy videoing the procedures (luckily, Alan Lay wasn’t there to shriek his disapproval of being put on video, and Gordon Gillick wasn’t there to demand his rights as a member of a Performer’s Union). Even outside of that I was surprised by a number of things – it is entirely more informal that County Council ever was for a start. The “Motion” that was put in regarding Estover was bizarre and I cannot imagine it ever would have made it to a Full Council meeting at County Council, but it had no problem at District Council because, apparently, there is no process by which proposed motions are vetted by Officers for appropriate procedure. Seems very odd to me, but I guess different Councils have different styles. The meeting lasted four or so hours, which seemed to be considered very long to most Members. I didn’t find it too bad, but then when you’ve sat through an interminable, life-sucking Full Council on the annual budget at County, four hours seems tame. :I was advised by another Member to “stay quiet for a few months” before the meeting began. I know that the advice was given in good spirit and I’m sure they meant well, but clearly they don’t know me at all. :) Sit quiet? I don’t think so. That said, there’s no danger of me being seen as the “one who speaks too much” with Cllr Gavin Booth in the same room. I like Gavin very much, but goodness he can talk. :)
On Friday Morning I had a series of appointments with senior officers at FDC as part of my “Induction Training.” I found them all to be knowledgeable, passionate and very friendly. The Officers at County were also, but that organisation was so huge and employed so many people that it could never quite shake an atmosphere of bureaucracy that all huge organisations have. FDC, on the other hand, feels more like a small (but very professional) business – a tight team who work well together, an apparently complete absence of “silos”, a dedicated bunch all reading from the same page. I think I’m going to enjoy working with them very much. It feels like a place where it’s possible to “get things done” and where people genuinely want challenge, scrutiny and input. I don’t know what I expected, but I feel very positive about this indeed.
On Friday evening I was helping run a fundraising event for our local Conservative Association, but just before I left the phone rang. I cannot, at this point, relate exactly what the contents of that conversation were. But I was made an offer of a role that was simultaneously challenging, exciting and terrifying. I hadn’t expected it at all and was a little shell-shocked. I have me some thinking to do (but don’t worry, it doesn’t jeopardise my current roles at all.)
Friday Evening’s “That’s Entertainment” Dinner, the Annual “big fundraising event” for North-East Cambridgeshire Conservative Association went down a storm. Formal dress, table magicians, a comedian/impressionist, a speech by our local MP, and then a disco until late run by yours truly was well-received by a sold-out crowd of local people. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part. The event was organised and run by our Organising Secretary Debbie Clark, who is (in my opinion) the very heart and soul of the local Association and who always excels at everything she sets her mind to. I wanted to mention it here because I don’t think she is told anywhere near often enough how truly awesome she is.
The date for the end of our question at Wisbech Town Council about the new Christmas Lights has now been reached. I have no idea what the results are as I haven’t had time to pop in and see, but the update I got earlier in the week sounded quite positive. So fingers crossed.
District Councillor Activity
A few things I’ve been asked by residents to look into and what I am doing about them.
(1) A suggestion to try and put a bench on the South Brink, halfway between Malt Drive and the Town Center, in order that older people who like to walk into town have somewhere to sit. Finding out costs and suitability. If it seems viable I’ll look into fundraising.
(2) Cromwell Road – footpaths overgrown and trees that need tending making the area treacherous for pedestrians. I’ve emailed FDC and will be following up in a day or two to see when the area is next due some attention.
(3) Tillery Park antisocial behaviour. A number of reports of this. In the first instance I’ve changed my dog-walking route in order to go through the park each evening and have a look at the issue first hand. I’ve also asked the Police to include Tillery Park more regularly in their patrols – which they seem to be doing as I saw them swing by last night! I’m also checking to make sure the CCTV is turned on all the time.
(4) Possible disease in some trees in the park. Have taken photos and will get advice tomorrow if possible.
A number of other issues which are personal to those involved and which I can’t talk about without their permission.
Please do not hesitate to let me know if there’s something I can help with.