Tuesday, 26 January 2010


When I fell - or rather - slid downstairs yesterday morning, I nearly got the break that people keep telling me I need.
luckily, the hospital across the road still has a minor injuries unit, so I staggered in and got x-rayed and examined.
What a great service to have in our town.
Will fight tooth and nail to keep it open.
Cannot believe nothing is broken though.
I can barely move a toe without triggering skewers of pain.
Like some sadistic, spasmodic anatomical pinball machine ricocheting from nerve to stinging nerve.
Only someone else is working the flippers.
basically OUCH...
I will never run downstairs wearing slippery socks ever again.
A healthy body is such a gift.
Being temporarily immobilised is a good lessonl
A timely reminder that while I've been obsessing about eating properly, weight, exercise etc, I've forgotten that rest is actually specified in the Manufacturer's Manual.
Need some stronger painkillers if I'm ever going to sleep again....

Thursday, 21 January 2010


reading Chris Neal's post on the Blue Blog...

This explains exactly how and why our Get Britain Working Job Clubs touch individual lives.

I've said this before and apologise for repetition, but the reason that GBW Job Clubs work is because they are based on what individual communities actually need.

Moreover, they're run by dedicated individuals who believe in the principle of self-help and encouragement. Not the one-size-fits-all directives & initiatives handed down by Whitehall.

Employment statistics will fluctuate; but Job Clubs will continue to do what is necessary to help jobseekers back into work - quickly.

Monday, 11 January 2010


Clearing show and ice on our pavements - or not - is a hot topic, and rightly so.

Many people have experienced the cold snap in an unpleasantly literal way - Dorchester Hospital has treated 86 broken wrists since the snow began to fall.
Two people stoppped me in the street yesterday to tell me that they had slipped and fallen on Shaftesbury lethally slippery pavements yesterday.
One man fell twice - and there were probably many more incidents through the day.

When it snowed last year, elderly residents in one of our sheltered housing complexes were all but trapped for three days - unable to safely get out of their front door.
As I'm Chairman of the local 50+ group, one of our members decided to ring me for help.
The Warden had been told by the Council & its contracted Housing Association that neither the road nor the path to the main entrance was a "priority".

So I rang the Housing Association at my members' request and had a bit of a skirmish.
The snow was cleared within two hours of the first 'phone call so that residents, their carers and visitors could come and go in safety.
This year, they kept it clear without being asked.

Local government & its contracted satellites have tied themselves into nonsensical knots.
This story shows that we need to persevere as individuals (and Councillors) in these cases and start to rebuild a culture of common sense and practical action.


This "warmth v wealth..." argument is difficult.
Having dealt last year with a very young couple who felt that buying a Nintendo Wii for their 4 yr old was more important than paying the rent, I understand where Cameron is coming from.
However, I remember when, as a single parent, I was way too preoccupied by financial worries to give my young daughter the loving attention and - yes - probably the warmth that she desperately needed from me. My private worry-capsule was dominated by mortgage interest rates, the cost of heating my house and stretching the budget to go roller-skating.
So of course, I agree that a secure and happy family unit depends on more than material possessions; emotional warmth IS wealth in itself.
But, we must commit firmly to policies which address the social issues that lead to poverty if we are to make a real difference to our country.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


The Daily Telegraph prints an article today assuring me that I can still be attractive - despite being over 50.
Well, that's alright then.
Of course, the examples of this phenomenon are all (admittedly absolutely stunning) women who are in the public eye, and in several cases have "help" in keeping their youthful appearance.
And that's just it, isn't it?
This article implies that continued atractiveness depends on continued youth.
I accept that my appearance has changed since I was 35.
Not a question of better or worse - and certainly doesn't mean I have to ditch my jeans and chuck out my makeup. (or my premium range of skincare stuff.)
To me, getting older means having the experience and perspective to continue to fulfil my potential.
Can't find the item online - perhaps I'm too old to work the website.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


this makes very interesting reading.
Bears out what we've said in recent months.
Nothing is certain - it will be close - we have a mountain to climb.
Work, work and more work - we can win this election.


Sorry, my beautiful, purple much-loved LG Viewty. I'm going to have to replace you, as you won't receive or send emails, however much I wrestle with your settings.
Camera excellent, screen wonderful, text clear.
Bluetooth works brilliantly with everything except the Polaroid PoGo Printer. (the only incompatible Bluetooth-enabled mobile! should have read small print)
hotmail via the internet is just too slow and I need the "pushed" email anyway.
I love my touchscreen - the Blackberry Storm seems to have serious problems and the i-Phone and my fingers don't seem to be compatible. It's also a bit big for my hand.
So - it looks like the Curve then...
It's a bit pathetic; but I've always had to enjoy using my mobile or I end up resenting it - and I've really loved this LG Viewty.
It even survived a swim in the kitchen sink!
24hrs in the airing cupboard - no problem.
Maybe I'll have just one more try at making this email function work...

Thursday, 7 January 2010


as a convinced free marketeer - I'm against minimum pricing on anything.
(I'm enjoying a glass of Tesco Value Mineral Water as I write this - 10 pence for 2 litres!)
But I have other reasons for opposing this well-meaning proposal.

For the last forty years, the price of cigarettes has crept upwards - it now costs nearly £6 to enjoy a packet of 20 deathsticks.
Is that why so many people successfully quit every year?
Higher cost on its own is never going to stop a smoker lighting up. They may "cut down" for a while; but not give up because it's too expensive.

Smokers generally beat their addiction, because knowledge of associated health risks tip the balance for them.
For the last twenty-plus years, schools in the maintained sector have routinely educated children about the links between lung cancer, heart disease and smoking.
Whether or not people choose to use it for their benefit, they have the knowledge to make the right choice.

This is what we need to do with alcohol.
We need to educate right from the beginning about the real cost of alcohol.
The devastating social costs as well as horrendous health issues.
That is how we'll tackle this problem.


and this is where the New Year really starts - first Shaftesbury Job Club session of the year, if anyone manages to get through the snow.
Expect our free coffee and cake to be much in demand this morning.
We're helping jobseekers to get in a better position to find work.
This means helping with CVs, making suggestions, contacting possible employers or often just listening to their problems.
Looking in-depth at Worktrain today for one of our members and planning a Job Fair for February.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


... and this is it!

Never so happy as when on skiis, although these really do need serious update - 18 years old!

If there wasn't an election pending, I'd be getting fit to go off to the Alps asap.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Shaftesbury Town Council met last night for the first Full Council of the New Year.
We had a very positive meeting with excellent contributions from members of the public who attended - despite freezing conditions.
As Councillor Beer said last night, people living in the town want to see that the Council gets things done.
That applies to all Councils, in my opinion.
As this weather hits - again - and people are stranded in freezing conditions with scare stories of low grit supplies abounding, I hear more and more people saying -
"...but why don't local authorities - our councils - prepare for this?"
We need Councillors across the nation focussed on keeping our roads safe and streetlamps functioning.
That's why we elected them.
To be brave enough to do the job they're actually elected for, rather than enjoying taxpayer-subsidised tea and biscuits at yet another Diversity Enablement Workshop.

Monday, 4 January 2010


Building and rebuilding strong family units is key to our Conservative social policies. David Cameron's reiterated commitment to recognizing the family underlines just how impotant this is.
As Tim Montgomerie said on the Today Programme this morning, Britain is one of only THREE countries in the developed world, which does NOT recognize marriage through its tax system. Our travelling-companions in this case being Turkey and Mexico.

In 2007, there were 144,220 UK divorces according to the National Statistics office.

A new pre-marriage campaign group says:

“Fractured families are bad for British society yet EVERY year about 300,000 UK adults and countless children get caught up in the pain and devastation of divorce..."

Tax Breaks for married couples would not reverse the divorce rate overnight; but would be an important step in the right direction.


I'm often asked why I'm "in politics".

Being me, the answers are simple & pragmatic.

But firstly, it is certainly not about left or right.
Our world has grown far too complex and dangerous to take extreme political positions.
And anyway, this outdated "left/right" thing is not something that normal, non-political - people understand or relate to.
And it's normal people whom we seek to represent.

So - why am I in politics?

I want to be involved in growing solutions from the ground up.
Real people - real problems - real answers.
NOT studies, intiatives and endless self-justification.
As David Cameron says, giving control back to the individual.

I want to convince people that as individuals, we can make a practical difference to our communities and to our society as a whole.
And with this power comes responsibility - so it's not the Council, the Government or anyone else who should "do something". It's WE who should do something.

So, for me, it's not about left and right;
but about DOING right.
DOING right for ourselves, our communities, our country and our world.

Of course - there is a lot more to it and to what I believe - and I'll talk about where I stand on the issues another time.

But this is ""Why I'm in politics".

Saturday, 2 January 2010


Tate Modern - lunch with sister Annie - respite from Theo the outsize dog.

Drove up; I must learn to like the train. Really don't.

Not much traffic and not sure why I enjoy driving in the capital so much; I don't know anyone else who does.

Better check whether I need to pay congestion today - think not.

The exhibition "Pop Life - Art in a material world" was brilliant. Apart from the X-rated bits that is. I understand the artistic principle; but I find it mostly self-indulgent, unimaginative and narcissistic; which of course is part of the point.


it was worth going for Jeff Koons stainless steel bunny alone. (plus accompanying video of Macy's on Thanksgiving. I love NY)

Damien Hirst's new stuff was wondrous. That calf!

Still oscillating between loving and hating Tracey Emin. Do wish she could spell.
Barely any Sarah Lucas though. The most intelligent, subtle and least vulgar of the YBAs.

Coped with the dead horse OK, though wanted to sit on floor and cuddle it. By its teeth ( if they belonged to the horse) it wasn't that old. about 10 at most. Not bad feet - slightly boxy.
Didn't feel emotional or repulsed at all.
Probably because it was so beautifully presented.
Can't stop thinking about it now though - and the mystery of death in general.
Modern Art always has this effect on me.

No Chapmans nor G + G, phew.

The Andy Warhol artefacts were fascinating; more so than the bigger works, though it's good to see and be re-challenged by the familiar. Odd to think that Warhol and Dali were friends and almost-contemporaries.

Annie and I agreed that it was a better way to spend the afternoon than shopping. Though we did a bit of that too.

Food in the members' restaurant has really improved. Obviously someone has actually read my "helpful" letters.

Well - you just can't do a 10 room exhibition sustained by a mere shot glass of borscht and minimalist carapace of finely sliced vegetables adorned with the odd prawn.

as John Mortimer said "...Grey Tart calls for stamina." (Summers Lease).

Monster dog greeted me with beaming lickiness and much leaping and crashing.

Steeling self to walk it again tomorrow...