Tuesday, August 16, 2022

45 years ago

45 years ago I had just returned home after spending 50 days in hospital following a road accident. So I was still on crutches when I heard the news that Elvis was dead. Looking back nearly half a century later, can anyone think of a performer and musician who still dominates the music industry two generations after they have passed away? Elvis was of course The King but he gave us some fantastic songs. Long may his record continue.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Celebrating in Kent

 

At the end of July I went with David to Kent to celebrate various family birthdays and a wedding anniversary. We had planned to go by train but the rail strike saw our having to drive there instead. Sally's house (where the celebration was taking place and where we were staying in a tent!) is a converted oast house with a large garden. The large pond there is exactly what I want to put on our farm to boost wildlife and encourage amphibians that will eat bugs on my crops. So, as you can imagine, the pond for me was as much a draw as was the celebration event!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Labour demand Lib Dem policy

Proposals for a windfall tax were first put forward by Ed Davey and the Lib Dems last autumn. Two months later, Labour announced a proposal for a windfall tax. Some weeks ago, Ed Davey and the Lib Dems proposed a freeze rather than a lifting of the price cap on domestic energy bills this autumn. It will be interesting to see which Lib Dem policies Keir Starmer will adopt next. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

eFocus edition 171

The latest edition of eFocus for the Whickham area was published tonight. Issues covered include:

  • Anti-social behaviour in Chase Park;
  • Hospital bus service saved;
  • Petition - cut Gateshead Council down to size;
  • Whickham Voluntary Library is five years old;
  • Chase Park dog show postponed;
  • Sunniside phone mast;
  • Wood carving at the Whinnies;
  • Can you donate a school uniform?

On the shortlist

I am no great fan of the Eurovision Song Contest though I did watch the final in May. That said, I am a great fan of the tourism industry so anything that encourages people to visit Gateshead, Newcastle and the North East generally is welcome. It's all about jobs, wealth creation and the local economy. For a successful tourism industry we need reasons for people to visit us and spend their cash in local businesses. So, hosting the Eurovision Song Contest would be a huge boost to the economy here. Newcastle, it was announced today, is on the shortlist of possible host cities for next year's contest. Fingers crossed!

Dog show falls victim to heatwave

 

I'm used to activities being cancelled due to rain, snow and cold but we now have to get used to events being cancelled because of extreme heat. The Fun Dog Show in Chase Park, Whickham, due to be held tomorrow, has been cancelled because of the extreme weather conditions. I had planned to spend much of the day there but, though disappointed the show is postponed, the welfare of the people and pets attending has to take priority. Hopefully we will have a new date for the show shortly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Sunniside phone mast

 

Residents have raised with me some questions about the new phone mast at the Stanley Road junction in Sunniside. I had to do some digging. The questions and answers are:

  • When was it granted planning permission - June last year.
  • Who gave it planning permission - officers under delegated powers.
  • Who was consulted - the 14 nearest properties.
Typically, phone companies install phone masts quickly after they have been granted planning permission. This time they took 14 months to get the work done. This I suspect has generated the confusion about when it was granted.

Day trip to York

 

I filmed this on a day off from politics and farming. A day trip to York - the city is packed with history and is only an hour on the train from home. It is a regular host of Lib Dem spring conference. I'm not sure if York is hosting conference in the next couple of years but if it is, I will use the opportunity to visit more of the historical attractions.

The video was filmed at Clifford Tower, York Castle Museum and The Shambles.

Friday, August 05, 2022

What happened to collective responsibility?

There is something both interesting and nauseating about Conservative MPs and especially cabinet members taking part in a ding-dong battle between themselves about tax, the economy and inflation. Anyone who had just arrived from outer space and tuned into the Tory leadership debates would be forgiven for thinking the contenders and their supporters had come from opposing parties who had not been in office for the past few years. Recently agreed tax rises and monetary measures, it would appear, were all vehemently oppose, leaving everyone else wondering how the cabinet actually managed to back them. Quite what happened to collective responsibility is a question without an answer. While ministers initially knuckled down at the last budget and went on TV to back the proposals, now all we hear from the same people is how much they oppose them and want them scrapped.

What a strange world in which we live.