Friday, 23 September 2016

Macmillan Coffee Morning

A year ago tomorrow my wife was diagnosed with incurable cancer and she wanted to mark the anniversary by doing something positive so she's holding a Macmillan coffee morning.

But she doesn't do things by halves.

The coffee morning is being held at Brookside Central tomorrow (Saturday 24th September) from 11am to 2pm. As well as tea, coffee, pop and cake there will be stalls and a raffle. Thanks to the generosity of our friends and neighbours in Brookside and further afield there are loads of raffle prizes including a meal for two at Telford Golf & Country Club, a month's membership of the leisure club at the Holiday Inn, wine, flowers, jewellery, cut and blow dry, shilac nails and other things that escape my mind at the moment.

Take 5 CafĂ© have very generously donated cake and £100 towards the event (as well as the use of their dwindling supply of cups).

Cancer is devastating not only for the sufferer but for their family and friends as well. Macmillan provides support to everyone affected by cancer and events like these help to make sure that they can keep on providing these services. Please come along and give her your support and raise money for an excellent charity.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Brookside Big Bang needs stewards

Brookside Bit Local are looking for stewards for this year's Brookside Big Bang fireworks event.

The annual fireworks display will be held on 18th November at 7-7:30pm at Windmill School.

Open Weekend at St James' Church

Monday, 15 August 2016

Former Villa star Dalian Atkinson dies after taser incident in Trench

Very sorry to hear of the death of former Aston Villa star, Dalian Atkinson, who died this morning after being tasered by police.

Officers were called to an address in Trench in the early hours of the morning after reports of a disturbance. Dalian Atkinson was shot with a taser and subsequently suffered a heart attack in an ambulance en-route to the hospital.

Atkinson's father is understandably distraught at what has happened but hopefully he'll find some comfort in the comments from friends, neighbours and other sporting stars who describe a good man who was great with the local kids and of course a football legend who scored Villa's first ever Premiership goal. Some of the biggest names in football have paid tribute to Atkinson but it is his impact on ordinary people that he will be remembered for.

Dalian Atkinson was born in Shrewsbury and grew up in Telford. He played for Aston Villa, Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Fenerbahce, Manchester City, Real Sociedad, Metz, Al-Ittihad, Daejeon Citizen and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors during his 16 year career and even scored for the England B team in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland.
No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.
- Terry Pratchett

Sunday, 14 August 2016

We don't need decriminalised parking enforcement, the police need to do their job

Telford's Conservative councillors are trying to convince their Labour colleagues to adopt a decriminalised parking scheme which would see the council take over responsibility for parking enforcement in the borough.

There aren't many local authorities left that don't run their own parking enforcement schemes and luckily for us, Telford & Wrekin Council is one of them. Parking enforcement on highways is the responsibility of West Mercia Police who take their job about as seriously as one of David Cameron's Cast Iron Guarantees™.

When you read those "funny" stories (they're funny when they happen to someone else) about hearses, broken down cars and fire engines getting parking tickets it's not a traffic warden issuing the ticket, it's someone working for the council. They do stupid things like this because they're entirely profit driven. Staff have targets to meet to raise as much revenue as possible, whether it's a private company working for the council or the council itself.

Rather than trying to inflict the same sort of scheme on us in Telford & Wrekin, the council should be summoning the new Police & Crime Commissioner to find out why the police aren't doing their job. It is West Mercia Police's responsibility to enforce parking restrictions in Telford & Wrekin and the council shouldn't have to take on decriminalised parking enforcement just because the police don't want to do their job properly.

Friday, 24 June 2016

We voted Leave and this is my personal experience

Last night (and into the early hours of this morning) I had the privilege of witnessing history being made. I nervously paced the counting hall at Telford, knowing that my branch would be something of a bell weather as one of the top 20 Eurosceptic local authority areas in the country.

We went into the count expecting to win in Telford but lose the referendum. Feedback from Vote Leave suggested large turnouts in Scotland and London which is a disaster for anyone other than what Nigel Farage often describes as the metropolitan liberal elite. That and other tidbits of information pointed to an impressive Leave vote but a convincing lead for Remain.

Just by watching the verification count it was obvious that we had won in Telford by a wide margin and the final result showed a 63% Leave vote on a 72% turnout. But what was interesting was the results from elsewhere in the country. The turnout in London and Scotland wasn't as high as expected and the Leave vote was not just holding up but very gradually nudging ahead. The metropolitan councils hadn't declared but we were finding it harder to convince ourselves that we didn't have a chance.

After we had finished in Telford I headed to Shrewsbury for the Shropshire Council results, expected to be one of the last to declare. As I was driving to Shrewsbury I heard Professor Curtis say that Leave was, in his opinion, the favourite to win. Sky had already called it for Leave but it was far from certain.

While we waited for the recounts to finish at Shrewsbury more results from round the country were coming in and Leave was steaming ahead. ITV and the BBC called it for Leave and Nigel Farage claimed victory.

I can't begin to describe the feeling of relief and excitement when we realised that we had won and would be leaving the EU. Even now, some 17 hours after accepting that we'd won I still have this overpowering sense of disbelief that we have  secured the result myself and thousands of others have worked so hard to achieve.

There have been some stock market and currency jitters as expected but nothing on the scale the Remainiacs predicted and both the pound and the FTSE are back to where they were a fortnight ago. The bond markets - a much better indicator of investor confidence - are performing admirably with record low yields, indicating a high degree of confidence in the UK's ability to pay its debts.

I'd like to personal thank everyone who went out and voted Leave yesterday. I'd also like to genuinely offer my condolences to those who voted Remain. That feeling they have now of despair and disappointment is certainly familiar to any UKIP activist. I really do know how you feel. However, you do need to take a leaf out of UKIP's book and learn to take defeat with some dignity.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Let's make June 23rd our independence day

Over the past few months I've walked miles, delivered thousands of leaflets to thousands of homes, stood out in the rain and the sunshine talking to passers by, handed out leaflets and discovered parts of Telford I didn't even know existed. All to try and give people the facts they need to make the right decision in tomorrow's EU referendum.

Twenty years ago I was on the other side - a Labour voter who supported the EU, supported mass immigration and thought the UK should join the €uro. A healthy dose of real life helped me to see sense and I've been firmly in the leave camp for a long time.

We are the world's 5th largest economy, the EU's largest export market, the world's 5th strongest military power, one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the centre of world finance. We may be small in size but we are a global economy, military and trading power.

We will not just survive but thrive outside of the EU. Our future is not shackled to a rapidly declining, bankrupt economic and political bloc but looking to the rest of the world, tapping into emerging markets and regaining our place as a global trading nation.

Don't be fooled by snake oil salesmen telling you that we can reform the EU from within, it is unreformable. Don't listen to the wormtongues telling you that we're not good enough to make it on our own. This is our one and only chance to get out of the EU and regain our freedom. I urge you to take this once in a lifetime opportunity and vote Leave and make 23rd June our independence day.