Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Monday, 26 February 2007
This is the beautiful Capstone Valley near Chatham and unsurprisingly it is under threat from housebuilders.
Just over two years ago, local residents were successful in defeating Medway Magna’s plans to build 9,000 homes in the beautiful Capstone Country Park. I was obviously very disappointed therefore to learn that plans are being considered again so quickly, despite residents clearly expressing their opposition to this development.
Whilst I appreciate that there is great pressure to provide more housing in the South East, it is important that we preserve our Greenfield sites and concentrate on redevelopment of brownfield sites and other areas that desperately need regeneration.
The proposed development is with planning officials at the moment. I urge anyone wishing to express their opposition to the plans to write to me at Chatham & Aylesford Conservatives, 200 Canterbury Street, Gillingham, Kent ME7 5XG or email [email protected]
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Office chair set on fire – news that made the world sit up . . .
“An office chair was destroyed after it was set on fire on the grassy area off Maude Street, Kendal, this afternoon. Fire crews from Kendal attended along with police. A spokesman for the fire and rescue service said: ‘A delinquent set fire to an office chair in the middle of a grassy area and it was extinguished using one hose jet’.”
That’s it. Nothing else. No one hurt, no questions asked in Parliament, and no ministers’ heads on the block. George W. didn’t threaten to invade the Lake District. But one of the most insignificant events ever to be reported in the Gazette suddenly took wing.
First came the pity. “This really is scraping the barrel. You’ve got to feel sorry for the journalist who wrote it though. I suppose everybody’s got to start somewhere,” said the first response on the website. Disdain was rife. “I think it’s high time the Westmorland Gazette had something newsworthy to print: perhaps a drowned shopping trolley, or a discarded mint cake,” wrote another.
After the comments began to mount into the dozens and tongues became embedded in cheeks Andrew Daniels, the young reporter who happened upon the drama during the daily newsroom drudgery of calls to the local police, posted his own spirited reply. “It takes years of experience to generate so much interest in what at first seemed an innocuous story.”
Freed from the gravitational pull of pity, the story took off on a spaceflight to distant galaxies of imagination.
“The chair knew the risks. Gang warfare in Kendal is rife, and when you choose a side you gotta be down with risks. This was a declaration by the Standard Lamp Posse of Kendal. No one messes with lamps,” said a Lancaster respondent.
“If your Government continues to hold our agents of freedom illegally in detention camps, other chairs will meet the same fate as this one.” That from an Islamic-sounding respondent in Ireland. Several messages questioned the chair’s legal right to be in the country at all and suggested it needed a work permit. One respondent thought that the Gazettehad missed the real angle of the story: setting fire to an office chair was a contribution to global warming.
Staff at the Gazette are delighted that the dross of local news has provoked a global running joke. “This is not the most crime-ridden or busiest of areas, and it’s difficult to get much material from calls to the police and fire brigade,” Mike Glover, the editor and publisher, said. “We took the the attitude that local news sells local newspapers. People will have wondered what the fire brigade were doing.”
Every story needs a follow-up, and the burning issue prevails: what has happened to the chair’s charred remains?
“This story has upset me so much i don’t think i’m going to be able to sleep tonight — i work with office chairs very closely on a daily basis and they’ve always treated me well and to hear stories like this makes me sick to my stomach”, Ben Thomas, Dubai
“Another tale of moral decline from our already debauched society. Ergonomic disasters of this magnitude were last seen during the fall of Rome”, Adam Candle, Lancaster
“These chairs come here from foreign places and think they can take our bottoms”, Laurent Blanc
“The relatives of the chair are claiming it was “friendly fire” and are asking the US Air Force to release their cockpit video evidence”, Brian Newbold, Doncaster
“This type of atrocity has only been able to happen since the “Chair In The Community” legislation was passed in the late 1980s. Before that time chairs would have been cared for indoors, not forced to walk the streets”, Legislation Required, Westminster
Saturday, 24 February 2007
The first came half way through the morning when I knocked on a door and a man in his late 30s answered in just a t-shirt and boxer shorts, hiding his bottom half very badly behind his glass front door! I spluttered out “sorry to bother you…at such an inconvenient moment”…before composing myself, focusing very hard on his face and then carried on with the rest of the script. I was delighted when he said he was a Conservative but hope I didn’t offend him when I scuttled of pretty darn quick!
The second occurred when I knocked on a door only to discover the man I was about to talk to was the Lib Dem parish councillor – didn’t mention it on the cards but was pleased to meet him anyway. The parish councils tend to be much less political and very close to the community so had no worries telling him I am looking forward to coming to a meeting in the near future.
It was a good morning all in all. A nurse told me that in 19 years of her living in her house I was the first person to knock on her door – she is very impressed with David Cameron. Had a nice chat with a West Ham fan who was preparing for the grudge match between Pardew and Curbishly (bet he is not happy tonight). And I even nearly managed to get cakes from one person who opened the door covered in icing sugar!
Thursday, 22 February 2007
So here it is – welcome to my blog. A diary of my election campaign into Parliament, political musings and most probably regular disappointed rants at my football team’s performance.
Comments will always be welcome.