TUESDAY 31st MARCH
Meet up with my running mate Bill Borrett and sort out some details for the next few weeks.
Had a chat about UKIP on the telephone with some voters…they are certainly a ‘marmite’ party, and I expect them to be standing against me in Upper Wensum Ward, so what do I think. Well this is the gist of my views as expressed yesterday
Well they seem to have two legitimate policies as I see it. You may or may not agree with them but they are legitimate
1/ Get out of Europe
2/ Protect our borders
(Neither of these of course can be altered by the District Council, and indeed their policies for local government do leave a lot to be desired I feel)
Both of these do have wider implications, and to a large extent I have sympathy with the ideas.
We do, as a nation, have a lenient reaction to un-authorised immigration and as a small country we should be limiting just who can enter our country. At the same time our farmers, health service and leisure industries, to name just three in Breckland need the services of immigrant labour. We can control our immigration without losing this much needed input from outside.
Whether we should ‘get out of Europe’ is a harder question to answer, and to this end I will be holding David Cameron to his promise to have a referendum on it. Personally I think he should have done it before now, and 2017 is a long wait, but Conservatives are the only party offering US the PEOPLE a choice. Personally I will vote to leave, I think my brother will vote to stay. I do feel that when I voted in the 1970′s to join with EFTA I was right, and when we joined the EEC it was an economic Europe and not a political union and for that I equally blame both Heath and Wilson. Who jointly led us astray into this union.
Of course we should still trade, and will do. Europe needs us at least as much as we need them, from outside we can negotiate our own deals with the rest of the world and Britain is still one of the best trading nations in the world. We will prosper, and we will prosper more outside EU that inside.
The British peoples are very different from our southern continental neighbours, and quite different from most of our northern neighbours, in our attitudes, our culture and our spirituality. We are also a warlike and argumentative nation. Hard working in our attitudes. Enthusiastic in our trading. All of this and more will serve us well in times to come whatever we the nation decides.
No doubt I will return to this and other matters as the campaign continues…………….
Today Parliament is disolved, and the official election begins.
Of course we are not confirmed as candidates for another week but it does all start today. My leaflets will be picked up from the printers this afternoon and I will be speaking to voters each day.
So far the issues are the Economy and whats going to happen locally. I hope that local issues are to the fore for me.
Will spend part of today in Swaffham.
Two big days of meetings this week
Wednesday FOUR separate meetings starting at 9.00am in Breckland and finishing about ,30pm in North Elmham – I will be attending the Parish Council meeting
Thursday a really big all day meeting from 9.30 – expected to end about 4.00ish
Its that time again
Election Campaign gets underway on Monday. Picking up leaflets in afternoon then six weeks of door knocking most days. Now will have 15 villages in the new Upper Wensum Ward following boundary commission changes in Breckland – that means lots of new turf to cover. Hope to knock on every door in the 2,500 or so – if you are not at home then do get back to me from the details on the leaflets if you have an enquiry.
Vote for me at Breckland on May 7th
I have already done a bit of visiting in the villages of Hockering, North Tuddenham, North Elmham, Elsing, Billingford, Bawdeswell, Lyng and Brisley. Will be hitting all the others soon……..Bylaugh, Sparham, Guist, Twyford, Gateley, Bintree, Foxley……
As this is a double member seat I will be standing as a Conservative with Bill Borrett who is also a member of Breckland for the old Upper Wensum Ward and also a County Councillor. This means we will both carry equal responsibility for all the villages. If elected you can deal with one of us or both, and we will use all of our joint skills and contacts to get the best deal for our area. Hockering and North Tuddenham are used to a two member ward, for others, you will get two choices on the Ballot Paper so mark a cross for
After some 12 years as member for Eynsford Ward and during that time increased my majority from just SIX votes to a majority of around 350 out of a electorate of around 1800. Then comes the Boundary Commission and suddenly the ward is expanded to around 5000 voters and 15 villages so its all start again. just hoping that my reputation as an active councillor gets out there and that I can get elected again.
During my time at Breckland we have gone from strength to strength as an entrepreneurial council. When I was first elected we had just become the council with the lowest council tax – we are still the lowest in England and we earn as much from our rentals as we charge the electorate in council tax. Despite this we are rated as high or higher than our neighbouring councils and we still have funds to distribute to good causes and worthy projects in our villages, see the recent Pride Awards and Participatory awards in the last few weeks. Some of this was attracted to my Ward, so well done to all.
FRIDAY – Attended the Pride of Breckland awards in Watton. Breckland Council recognised people in the district who have acted above and beyond the normal call of living and really contributed to their communities. Top three in each category attended and the final winners were ann0unced as
Carer of the year Cyril Ruffles of Attleborough
Outstanding Contribution to Sport Melanie Floyd of Thetford
Greener Schools Eco-bugs of Wayland Acadamy
Good friend/neighbour Eleanor Doyle of East Harling
Outstanding Bravery PC’s Gilluley/Woodgate/Healey/Blamire/Curtis
Volunteer of the year Gill Creed of Swaffham
Business of the Year Adcock’s of Watton
Community Group of the year Iceni Partnership of Swaffham
Lifetime Achievement Jan Godfrey of Carbrooke
Congratulations to all of these and also to the 18 runners up who attended and the 100 plus nominees who all had a story to tell and sponsors who supported them.
SATURDAY – Attended the Participatory Budgeting final vote and Awards in Dereham Memorial Hall.
Twelve local organisations presented and were awarded funds of up to £1000. This was voted on by the public either by texting in or by attending on the day. The world is a better place because of all these voluntary organisations and a full list will be posted later
Drop in to hear about a range of great community projects, have a cup of tea and vote for the project you think should get funded.
Saturday, 21st March
Dereham Memorial Hall
Or text your vote to 07519 378796, project details: https://interactivefunding.wordpress.com
Residents living in Breckland are being encouraged to help make the district a little brighter this spring by participating in an exciting initiative.
The Big Spring Clean, run by Breckland Council, is a new scheme which aims to get volunteers from across Breckland creating their own tidy-up projects to help improve their communities.
To support the scheme, Breckland has made a £4,000 grant pot available and is now inviting groups to submit bids of up to £200, which can be used to buy any necessary equipment for their projects.
The Big Spring Clean has five key themes and proposed projects should cover at least one of these: Planting; Painting; Wildlife; Litter; and Graffiti.
“We hope this new initiative will help bring residents together and enable them to deliver a project which makes a difference to them and their communities,” said Cllr Lynda Turner.
“We’ve outlined five key Big Spring Clean themes and I’m sure people will have lots of ideas for projects. The broad themes could incorporate a range of projects, from planting flowerbeds in communal areas, giving a community building a fresh lick of paint, installing bird boxes, or tackling a local litter or graffiti problem.”
The funding is available to help people to deliver their projects, such as purchasing equipment and supplies, however applicants are encouraged, wherever possible, to make their schemes sustainable and demonstrate how it can be run in the future too. Their schemes must also be delivered by volunteers and should not duplicate existing services.
For more information about the initiative and how to apply for funding, go to www.breckland.gov.uk/content/breckland-big-spring-clean. Alternatively, email email@example.com or call 01362 656219. Funding bids must be received by Sunday 29th March and schemes should be delivered between 30th March and 10th May.
Kicked off last night by attending and giving a short presentation to prospective Town, Parish and District councillors. A good number had gathered at Elizabeth House in Dereham, and I got to speak to a lot of them prior to the meeting. Most seemed veery keen and able. several had been attending parish councils in their villages for years and I have to say I am hopeful for the future of local democracy from these people.
Apart from my little stash of anecdotes here is the advice I gave to all who want to stand. This was pointed mainly at District candidates as others spoke for Parish and Town but the principles are the same
- Know why you want to stand – and I hope that includes representing the people
- Be aware of the time needed – as a typical rural ward member you will represent about 2,500 voters, have 4-5 parish meetings to attend each month and be on 1-2 committees or panels in Breckland which meet about every 6-8 weeks plus the full council approximately every 6 weeks. Allow 2-4 hours reading for each Breckland meeting and a bit less for the parish meetings. That is minimum
- thats about 4-6 hours per week for which you get the basic allowance
- You then can belong to an ‘outside body’ for me thats a Drainage Board, very interesting but optional and you are appointed, but if you have an interest its very good
- You may be appointed chairman of a committee or other post, but these are all optional, it depends on your interests, abilities and commitment. They all take more time and effort but most do attract a special responsibility allowance
- if you intend to make this an early step in a political career its a very good step, work hard and you will learn a lot
- remember Job #1 represent your ward at Breckland – Job #2 represent Breckland in your ward
After this attended two parish meetings, well tried to at least. Did Sparham but by the time I got to Bawdeswell they had shut up shop, so emailed the Vice Chairman who was taking last nights meeting and will deal with any matters arising later. Hope they understand
Had a good time visiting today – Weekend visitings mean I get to speak to people on their gardens or working on the car so did not deliver so many leaflets but was able to give some advice and take up a case for one person. Avery worthwhile few hours.
I also met Paul the fundraiser for NARS.org.uk. Thats Norfolk Accident and Emergency Services. If you travel our roads a bit you will have seen the equipped cars heading to accidents and disasters across the county. Manned by qualified volunteers and entirely funded by donations. You can get involved by becoming a supporter.
Interestingly when I got home today I heard on the news that they had been involved in helping at a serious accident in West Norfolk