David Laws Resignation

I was sorry to hear that David Laws has resigned, as whilst he is not a Conservative, nevertheless in this brave new world of coalition politics I have been impressed with the way in which he had started his new job as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, supporting George Osborne as he has.

From what I have read he was paying his partner to rent a room in London and he is unfortunate in that the rules states an MP was not allowed to pay rent to his partner, but could to a third party.

It seems to me rather a shame that in this day and age anyone feels the need to keep the fact that they are gay a secret, but he wanted to keep his private life and sexuality, private and he says that is why he did not declare his co-habitation or perhaps his partner wanted to keep their relationship quiet, but that is their choice.

Had he openly rented a flat and lived with his partner he would have cost the ‘tax payer’ a great deal more, how bizarre.

David Laws clearly did not gain financially from the arrangement and so it seems odd to me for him to now be forced to resign now.

Strangely had he declared his relationship and sort advice when the Telegraph instigated witch hunt was taking place about his expenses claims it would now be something in the past, just as it is for the majority of those MPs in the new Cabinet.

Indeed its even odder when you think that he has been in his job for two weeks and part of the team making some of the most fundamental urgent decisions facing this county today and that team had lost a key member, effectively over saving the ‘tax payer’ money; or maybe being a gay backbench Lib Dem MP is one thing, holding one of the most high profile cabinet positions is something entirely different? – I certainly do hope not.

This county needs a quality of political thought at its highest levels to get us out of the muddle we are in, the people of the county have spoken and we are to do that in coalition, resignations such as David Laws will undoubtedly test the new coalition’s unity & resolve.

Suffolk’s Social Care Conference

Yesterday I was invited along to give the opening welcoming address to the Annual Suffolk Independent Care Provider Conference in my role as the Chairman of the Joint Suffolk Care Providers Board. As I took to my feet in the lovely setting of the great conference hall of the West Wing of Ickworth House, I was minded of the recent criticism that Suffolk County Council took from the local press over the cost of using the ‘Stately Home’ of Ickworth for a conference a few weeks earlier to discuss Children’s and Young Persons issues.

Slightly different this time, as the conference is self-funded by delegate fees, but interesting points made by the press and questions asked – should your council tax be paying for such things and why oh why use an expensive venue like Ickworth House?

So firstly should the Council be using Council tax payer’s money to pay for conferences at all or perhaps they are simply a waste of time and hot air? Well I say we should have conferences, yes the expense needs to justified, but in my opinion conferences are powerful forums to get things done, in plenary sessions you can get messages across to large groups of people who can gain knowledge quickly that would otherwise take months of meetings; in workshops you can pull together people experiences and capture their collective thoughts and knowledge; and in the breaks you can meet others, catch up from a previous conversation and meet new people. In my experience conferences are powerful places for the ability to network, and talk with others, such conversations often result in hugh saving, better working together and better outcomes for the people of Suffolk, much of this simply would not happen if people did not come together it does not matter how complex or important the subject people do business with people.

So why use an expensive venue like Ickworth House?, says the local media. Well across Suffolk there are only about 4 or 5 venues, Ipswich Town Football Club, the Trinity park Conference Centre, Newmarket Race Course and Ickworth House that can handle such large numbers of people; and to be fair on the face of it, a stately Home owned by the National Trust would seem to be over the top and must surely be the most expensive, well actually it not, whilst all venue rates vary depending on repeat business, numbers of delegates, type of food provided at Lunchtime etc., etc., the some of the other venues cost more per delegate than Ickworth House. Equally it’s important that when the Council arranges a conference they are held across the county rather than just in Ipswich.   

Well that’s quite a lot to think about as I crossed the floor to the podium, back to my speech which I titled ‘Achieving more together’:

I have great pleasure in welcoming you to today’s conference, which is the third event that the Suffolk Association of Care Providers and Suffolk County Council have organised together.

This event is a highlight in the calendar for us to discuss and celebrate our ongoing joint commitment to delivering the best standards of care for Suffolk people and to look ahead to the challenges we face.

My name is Colin Noble, and I am Portfolio Holder for Adult & Community Services at Suffolk County Council and lots of our team are dotted about the room here today.

Many of you will remember Graham Gatehouse who was for a number of years Suffolk’s Director of Adult and Community Services, well earlier this year at the age of 76 Graham decided to retire, well not retire, after all he is only 76, but maybe do a little less.

We were then joined by Jenny Goodall who unfortunately was unable to continue in her role and has also retired; but I am delighted to welcome Anna McCreadie as our acting Director of Adult and Community Services, Anna please stand up and give us a wave.

This conference is important for many reasons, but especially because it demonstrates the vital role that you the independent sector plays and emphasises the close partnership with this sector and the county council.

As Chair of the Joint Suffolk Care Partnership, I am in the privileged position of having first hand experience of this close partnership in action. I would like to stress how critical this relationship will be in the difficult times that lie ahead, which will most definitely be a test of our collective commitment.

There is no doubt that we are here for one purpose, the same purpose – to provide the best possible care and safeguarding to the people we serve.

We already know thanks to detailed monitoring against the standards set by the Care Quality Commission that the care we provide is of the highest standard. Nearly 90% of the placements we make for older people in residential or nursing care are in either 2 or 3 star residential homes. In addition, over 96% of the home care we buy is from 2 or 3 star providers. This compares with the very best in the country and is something for which we can all be justifiably proud.

But we cannot for one moment afford to sit back on our laurels. I have alluded to the tough times that lie ahead; we all know about the period of greater austerity that we are entering.

On Monday the new chancellor George Osborne outlined the scale of the problems we face and some of the measures that will be needed to deal with the national debt.

From this the sobering fact that we will have to manage more demand and potential inflationary pressures with less money. This will not be easy, and we must work together through the tensions and challenges that this environment will create.

There are many unknowns in terms of the impact of public spending cuts we can expect.

The £6.2billion of public sending cuts announced on Monday are just the beginning, with an emergency budget expected on 22 June.

The coalition theme is certainly topical, and we must embrace the ambition and focus of what we can achieve together. 

Suffolk has a history of creativity and innovation. In this content, I am extremely pleased that the county council will formally launch the Suffolk Flexicare initiative on

18 June to demonstrate how agencies across the county can work together to find solutions to future housing and care needs for older people and our aging population.

Today 715,000 people live in Suffolk, 140,000 19% are aged over 65, 40,000 6% of them are aged over 80. Today 10,000 people live with dementia; by 2015 the number of people aged over 65 will have increased to 169,000 rising to 211,000 by 2025 – an increase of 50%; by 2015 the number of people aged over 80 will have increased to 46,500 rising to 67,000 by 2025 – an increase of 63%; by 2015 the number of people with dementia will have increased to 11,700 rising to 16,000 by 2025 – an increase of 60%.

In our business, a growing demand and concern! In your business it’s a growing demand and an opportunity!

We also face the control shift of personalised budgets and we will work with you so that as these changes are implemented we work together.

There is much that we can and need to achieve together, and the county council will continue to support providers as we help with advice and direct support around such areas as health and safety, medication, infection control and training.

I am looking forward to meeting you during the course of the day, and I am confident that this third event will be just as fruitful and dynamic as previous years.

We have challenges to consider, but we can overcome them if we continue to work with the same passion and enthusiasm that I feel we will see here today.

Thank you!”

That done, I could sit back down and enjoy the rest of the day, immediately after my slot was Awards to this year’s Winners of the Suffolk Dignity in Care Awards, who had be nominated for offering above and beyond care to those they work with.

Then came the highlight of the day for me, the truly inspirational Amanda Warring who I have heard speak before, at an NHS Dignity in Care conference at Stansted when I saw her ‘What do you see’ short film starring Virginia McKenna which made quite an impression on my thinking and partly the reason she was invited to speak at this conference.

During her talk she presented her latest short film called ‘The Big Adventure’ about dying which was extremely moving, what I personally find so useful and interesting about her work is the way in which she tackles very difficult subjects by sharing her life story openly and honestly and asks us all to step away from the day job of delivery of this and that and think about our loved ones and what we want for them from the services we seek to provide.

If you are in any way connected with the care business then you could do a lot worse that have a look at her web site www.amandawaring.com and think about using her training programmes of short films and workbooks, she has certainly informed my thinking on care and its provision.

The rest of the day was packed with sessions on the technical aspects of the deliver of care and talking with people over a cup of tea at the end, I think everyone thought it an extremely useful day, conferences do play an important role in helping us deliver services in the face of budget cuts, inflation in prices and a ever growing demand from the good people of Suffolk.

The ‘how to guide’ to Coalition Government

So we now have it, the long form guide to coalition government published this week by Nick Clegg and David Cameron with its three distinct themes of freedom, fairness and responsibility.

It’s quite a read and it you’re geekie enough, like me, you can find a number of web sites that compare it against the two parties manifesto’s and who’s got what in, the shortest version of this I have found being the excellent BBC one.

Looking at its various sections, obviously the bit of most interest to me is on Social Care and Local government arrangements.

On Social Care the document states:

The Government believes that people needing care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We understand the urgency of reforming the system of social care to provide much more control to individuals and their Carers, and to ease the cost burden that they and their families face.

  • We will establish a commission on long term care, to report within a year. The commission will consider a range of ideas, including both a voluntary insurance scheme to protect the assets of those who go into residential care and a partnership scheme as proposed by Derek Wanless.
  • We will break down barriers between health and social care funding to incentivise preventative action.
  • We will extend the greater roll-out of personal budgets to give people and their Carers more control and purchasing power.
  • We will use direct payments to Carers and better community based provision to improve access to respite care.
  • We will reform Access to Work, so disabled people can apply for jobs with funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they will need.

Well there is nothing there that you can take offence at, all good stuff and generally I agree with all. Albeit that I am not sure that personalized budgets are right for everyone and they are certainly not the silver bullet that some seem to think they are. Safeguarding arrangements are vital, yes people should have choice but the plain fact of the matter is that a lot of those we are going to give choice them to, will still need our help as we make sure they are not taken advantage of.

If you, or a member of your family, are facing the need for care and support are for the first time then it’s the opening bullet point that will be of most interest.

The key thing for me is that as the Commission is deliberating about how to deliver a care system it must not make the same mistakes as Labour did with its ill thought-out Care green paper and its eventual farcical white paper with Brown’s ‘it seemed a good idea when we were writing the speech’ free personal care at home bit tacked on; throughout that debacle, all we and by we I mean Councillors, Directors of Social Services, Carers Organisations and the Society of County Council Finance Directors, kept asking and were constantly promised were coming was the costings; Surprise, surprise they never appeared, obviously they had done them but could not be published as they simply did not add up; what we will need are the options, and a clear understanding of the cost of those options.

However it’s the second bullet point that I know the professionals, both in health and social services, will be most interested in, as it is here that a golden opportunity to deliver a truly better set of services for less than is spent now is the Holy Grail.

And it is here that as a nation we need to be radical, bold and innovative, the silos need to be collapsed and savings realized to provide what people actually think exists! – An integrated person centric service, now there’s a dream.

The other comments that will really help the older residents in our communities are about pensions and the “Triple guarantee” that basic state pension to rise by whichever higher of average earnings increase, price inflation or 2.5%, from next year; along side confirmation of the protection of winter fuel allowance, free TV licenses, free bus travel, free eye tests and free prescriptions for elderly. Things Labour so shamelessly said the Conservatives would drop in an attempted to frighten people into voting for them as they desperately tried to hang on to power.

On Local Government, a subject dear to my heart, there is lots of things we have pushed for over the past few years for the party to adopt when in power, pushed for over the past few years; and I for one, really look forward to being implemented, not least amongst these are the promise to freeze Council tax for at least a year, and seek to freeze it for a further year.

There is also a promise to abolish the Government Office for London and consider the case for abolishing the remaining government offices, yes please! – what exactly does ‘Go East’ do apart from employing cleaners to keep its lovely offices looking so nice.

I also totally agree with Councils in England and Wales publishing all items of spending above £500, under new plans, albeit that one of those items will be the cost of publishing all spending above £500, as that won’t be a cheap exercise.

On a slightly more serious note, one of the things you quickly learn when you become a Councillor is just how much control is exercised over local government by central government, both statutorily and in the inspection and rating regimes. Naively you think I was elected by the people for the people, thus we must shape the council to what the good people of Suffolk want; what you actually find is that is the aim but officers are straight-jacketed but regulators reports and rules from Whitehall.

I am so glad to see the a ‘’general power of competence’ is to be introduced which whilst it sounds a bit vague, what it will mean is that councils such as ours in Suffolk will be able to cut free much more and act in the interests of our communities, rather than having to constantly seek Whitehall’s permission, and we will be able to get the Councils to focus on you its residents rather than the dictates of Whitehall.

As for inspection, I simple cannot say how much I am pleased to see that the absolutely stupid Comprehensive Area Assessment is to be dropped, good riddance!

But for me the very best news and direction to come out over the past few days is best summed up by Chairman Pickles, sorry, Eric Pickles MP, Minister for Communities and Local Government, when Matthew Hudson of Anglia TV News interviewed him on College Green opposite the Houses of Parliament and asked ‘What now for local government reorganisation in Norfolk and Suffolk?” and Mr. Pickles said “It’s off!”

Matthew Hudson asked him to elaborate and Mr. Pickles, in his own inimitable style said “It’s definitely off!”

Well you can’t say fairer than that and what a wonderful death nail for such a complete and utter waste of time, effort and our money.

Pull the bow to open!

Yesterday I had the pleasure to be invited to officially open the new Coffee Caravan by pulling on the bow of the celebratory green ribbon across its door and help launch the Coffee Caravan’s CHAI programme.

Me and the Coffee Caravan Team being photograghed for the EADT

Quite a simply idea really, take a caravan and set up on a village green and serve a cup of Tea or Coffee to the community and by doing so help to tackle rural isolation and reduce loneliness by helping people access services, providing links and signposting them to help and information.

The funding for the charity’s second caravan, well more of a motor home really, is of itself a good news story as its money granted to Suffolk by Government for the good results of a number of initiatives and is provided as a Performance Grant.

Last year the Care, Health and Independence Partnership Board I chair, hence the invitation, asked for bids for the monies with the remit of increasing Rural access to care services and the team at Coffee Caravan Charity was successful and we agreed to provide them with funding of £113,700 to expand their services over the next 18 months, to be spent on buying a new motor home, so that they can run the programme in the winter as well as the summer which was all they could do with their older towing caravan, and for the project to be run with one paid part time project worker, who I had the pleasure of meeting yesterday and one administrator.

The Caravan will be travelling all over the county and will be active in Mid Suffolk, Waveney, Suffolk Coastal, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury and makes an average of 15 visits a month, where people can access information and amongst other things have taster sessions for community meals (meals on wheels), a try before you buy kind of think.

At the more strategic level, the visits help in the rural communities in which so many of us live here in Suffolk by bringing people together and helping create support mechanisms and thus stronger communities. The visits also aim to encourage local involvement and volunteering which then brings knock on benefits for the community and the volunteers. They also encouraged villages to set up their own events, e.g. coffee mornings; have been successful in introducing neighbours to each other;
bringing issues that matter to local communities to them – e.g. housing, police links, falls prevention work; as well as improved links with local authorities.

Promoting the Project on Anglia TV News

The launch venue was fittingly chosen at the new Bruisyard Village hall, firstly as it provided the perfect venue for other organisations to join the caravan to show local residents other services that they could access, and secondly because it was on a previous visit that the founders of the village hall got the information and support they needed to get the ball rolling that has resulted in such a great community facility and venue for the village being built.

I am especially pleased to support this highly successful service with the grant as, in the face of the cuts from central government that are surely coming, without us working in new ways such as this where the county provides core funding and then people go and help others, we will struggle to cope to meet the needs of Suffolk Residents without resorting to raising Council Tax beyond the small rises that we are proud to have delivered since the Conservatives took control of Suffolk and are determined for that to continue.

Anyone for another cup of Tea?!

Full Name, capital L and capital D

Well there we go, a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, what an amazing couple of days of high political drama, but at least Gordon Brown is out and they can now get on with opening up the books and seeing the extent of the damage.

I bet it’s not long before we start to hear the real depth of the problems and the painful measures that are going to be needed to sort it out, I suspect the words will be carefully chosen not to spook the markets as to the ‘depth of the hole’ we’re in but tell them enough that they have confidence that there is a strategy to get us out of it.

Like most people I don’t give a fig for the markets but their confidence is vital if the banks are going to be able to lend and our businesses get the capital then need to expand, recruit and thus pull this county out of the nose dive.

Maybe, just maybe, all those people who have been conned by new labour that the recession is the result of global problems and ‘nothing to do with me gov’, will wise up. I am simply staggered that so may people could still vote labour after this mess.

On Monday my opinion was kindly gauged by a couple of people and I said form the government and strike whatever deal is needed to do it, so I sort of thought then that everything was still to play for.

Yesterday I was in Endeavour House and between meetings, on the only TV they have in the place, in the media team’s section, watched as the afternoons events unfolded, and had the pleasure to see Brown resignation speech but missed Cameron’s historic entrance to No.10 as I was at two Parish Council meetings last night, but caught up with it all on the News at 10 and then Newsnight.

I send an email this morning to a conservative colleague and typed  in full ‘Liberal Democrats’ for the first time, usually I just put ‘libs’ and added (you will note for the first time I have used their full name and have put a capital L and capital D, this does not come easily!).

Having seen the document now it really is a substantial body of work, which answers and deals with the real tough stuff and differences between the two parties, I am not sure about the 55% rule and if they can get this through but hey in Scotland its two thirds, so I sort of get the point and it does give the idea of a fixed term a bit more of a chance of holding.

I was told today by a Liberal Democrat, there I go again, friend of mine that not all of their MP’s voted in favour of the deal last night and one of them is quite a big name.

I thought the best headline in the papers today goes to The Mirror, not my read of choice but a great headline, in blue ‘CON’, space, then in yellow ‘DEM’ and on the next line ‘NATION’, excellent, very funny!

Election Day 2010

Start of the election day with the sign outside the front of my cottage

7:00am A picture of me about to start my day looking fresh, well as fresh as is possible with the knowledge that I have 24hrs of non-stop work ahead of me.

Election Day, first things first, popped into the local newsagents to pick up those all important election morning papers (by my count 11 papers for the Conservatives, 3 for labour, none for the liberals and the 2 East Anglian based dailies neutral), before traveling about to see the tellers are in place at the polling stations across the constituency, not an easy task for the volunteers to cover with 95 stations across the constituency; start by visiting a few polling stations in my patch to say thank you to all those hardy soles who agreed to do the early telling stints, then off to pick up the battlewagon as it is affectionately known (well, a big green Land Rover).

On the way done, just have time to pull over and call Mark Bee, my fellow County Councillor, Leader of Waverney District Council and Agent to Peter Aldous Conservative PPC to wish him and Peter good luck in both his own personal district election, the general election and his fellow district Councillors’ elections; and I think I have a busy day with just one candidate!

Then a call to Paul West, Chairman of Ipswich Conservatives to wish him, their candidate Ben Gummer and his team the very best of British, hopeful in the wee small hours all the hard work by both candidates and their excellent teams will pay off and we can see the removal of the ‘never seen’ Chris Mole and the ‘I claim responsibility’ for all the very good thing that the District and County Council do in Lowestoft, Mr. Bob Blizzard, but of course the fiascos of the labour government’s highways agency ridiculous delay in fixing the Bascule Bridge was ‘nothing to do with me gov’.

Picking up the Battlewagon

Picked up the battle bus and arrived at Matthew Hancock’s house in Thurlow to find him blowing up balloons which was a good idea as the battlewagon has no air bags so they might help if we crash it, or err…. maybe not.

9:30am Matthew and I headed off to spend the day visiting the committee rooms, and generally getting out the voters to head off the yellow peril who not only does not live in the Constituency but set up their campaign headquarters outside the constituency, I pondered if for the first time we might bump into them during the day but as we had not seen anything of them during the past few weeks I doubted it today as well.

Dorothy, our brilliant Agent, using the latest hi-tec election equipment!

First stop was to Elaine’s house in Haverhill from which we were running our telling and getting out the vote teams across the town.

At this stage the turnout is looking high which is not suprising given that it’s such a lovely day.

Then straight off to Newmarket to see how things are going there, stopping in the high street to pick up Matthew’s lovely wife Martha, who had been making a few last minute arrangements for the day, we arrived at Maureen’s to see a large team working away, time for a cup of tea and a large slice of one of Maureen’s wonderful cake, Matthew eager to push on; I’m eager to finish my cake!

Matthew and Martha outside Exning Post Office

Palace House, Scaltback, and Exning polling stations visited, and just time for Matthew and Martha to pop in the Exning Post office for a chat, as it’s under threat of closure which is absolutely pathetic, as I briefly stood outside I saw lots of people walk there and use it, also in the time I was there the local ‘Dial a Ride’ Bus turned up and the driver helped a lady with a walking frame down from the lift at the rear and into the shop to pay her bills, yes, this government says she could pay them online with one of those computer things but it matters to her to be able to go to the post Office and pay her bills which is an important part of her keeping active, and carrying on with her live as best she can, despite her frailty; the cost of providing the Post Office and the ‘Dial a ride’ for her and her friends is far, far less o0f a cost to the state than keeping them in a home and it’s about time we started to look at the cost of things like Post Offices in the round, not in isolation, maybe they cost money to keep open but in terms of community cohesion and health and well being they are a bloody site cheaper than supporting the communities with all the older person intervention strategies that this outgoing Labour Government think its a good idea to keep rolling out.

The lack of joined up thinking is quite frightening really!

Save our Post Offices!

ANYWAY RANT OVER, we carried on!

To Brandon and a quick visit to Jean’s, who kindly provided her front room for the campaign committee room, and then on to the Brandon community centre to chat with County Council Bill Bishop and his lovely wife Shirley and District Councillor Stephen Edwards as well.

Then to Lakenheath for a brief chat with the team at Margaret’s and the tellers at the two polling station before traveling on to the committee room in Mildenhall for a break and delicious but quick bit to eat, then we crisis crossed the east of the constituency towards Buryand with no time to rest it was back to Newmarket for the afternoon’s knock-up.

Everyone was starting to get tired by now including me, but onwards and upwards as I picked up Iain and headed back to Haverhill to finish off the day’s knock-up.

As the light fades we decide to call it a day as the polling stations are about to close and head back to Newmarket for Lasagna and a small glass of wine, in quite the poshest high street dinning establishment imaginable, before heading to the Count to see the first of the poll station boxes arrive and be opened.

10:15 Box after box arrive and are opened and very quickly it becomes clear that the good people of West Suffolk have yet again made a strong positive decision to back the Conservatives, as each box is opened I look to the Liberal Candidate and her agents faces to see them getting longer and longer, always a pleasure to watch dejected liberals.

David Burnip CE of Forest Heath announcing Matthew's Victory

And finally after a very long day the Chief Executive of Forest Heath District Council David Burnip announces that Matthew has won with over 50% of the popular vote and has increased Richard Spring pervious majority which really proves the strength of feeling to get Gordon Brown out; and after the initial flirtatious dally with something new after Clegg’s good performance in the first leaders debate, in the cold light of the election campaign people have realise that actual behind him are a set of policies that are simply unworkable. (p.s. oops! I ment to say our beloved deputy Prime Minister and aspects of policy that we can now work together to impliment, I think the follwing weeks events clearly show that a day is indeed a long time in politics and its quite something how things move on, it certainly in going to be a interesting Parliament, talk about uncharted waters).

The result was:

Name Party Votes % +/-
Matthew Hancock Conservative 24,312 50.6 +1.7
Belinda Brooks-Gordon Liberal Democrat 11,262 23.4 +6.2
Ohid Ahmed Labour 7,089 14.7 -14.2
Ian Smith UK Independence Party 3,085 6.4 +1.5
Ramon Johns British National Party 1,428 3.0 +3.0
Andrew Appleby Independent 540 1.1 +1.1
Colin Young Christian Peoples Alliance 373 0.8 +0.8
Majority 13,050 27  
Turnout 48,089 64.6 +3.8

Interestingly and unlike a certain labour candidate from Bristol, I can now say that there were over 8,000 postal votes cast, so over 20% of the total turn out chose this method to register their vote; a significant number indeed.

Worryingly very worrying for the liberals locally is that there were over 8,000 postal votes and given that they were sent out at the height of the Clegg effect, and we all know that most people fill in and post their postal vote relatively immediately, if you look at their overall vote share and take away their good showing amongst the postal voters, they did very badly indeed; as it turns out after all the hype of the past few weeks the liberals are nowhere, and boy could you see it in the look on the faces of their candidate and her team on the night.

As I left I said to the liberal agent, ‘Tim please don’t try to sell this as a liberal victory, you lost and lost convincingly’ he response was ‘that’s a 2.3 percent swing from Conservatives to us!’ – Good to see even now spin is alive and well, I said ‘2, 3, 4, 5, 6, percentage you lost and we won, good night Tim!

4:00am I traveling home, a contented little chairman, well, contented until I got home and turned on the BBC Coverage but perhaps that’s another story to be played out over the next few days.

Election Day -1 in Ipswich

Today I travelled down to Ipswich with my fellow activist Iain Frost to spend the day in Ipswich campaigning for Ben Gummer.

We reported to Ben’s very impression campaign centre, can’t imagine what Sophie will do with all the space after the election, when the team have cleared out of her kitchen, not to mention the peace and quiet.

John Gummer was there as well as Ben and after a brief chat about the political correctness of Bingo calling, don’t ask, Iain and I picked up a sector or two to deliver and headed out.

A terrible picture of me out delivering Ben’s Election literature in Dover Street, but what struck me as we walked about and spoke to people was how many who knew who Ben was, what he wants to achieve for Ipswich and how many of them wished us all the very best.

Back to the Greyhound Pub where we met up with the rest of the team for lunch and there really was quite a buzz in the room firstly about Ben’s campaign and the Conservative Borough elections as well, after a great curry lunch we headed back out.

As we finished up delivering in the late afternoon on the Foxhall Road, there is a bookies so I popped in and asked what the betting was; Ben Gummer 7-4 on with Chris Mole 11-4 on, I had a small flutter on Ben to win.

I also just out of interest asked what the odds were on Matthew Hancock in West Suffolk and back came  the reply a staggering 500-1 on! Clearly we are expected to win in West Suffolk!

I really do hope Ben wins in Ipswich and Peter in Waverney as both communities will be very well represented by these two excellent chaps who I know will work tirelessly for them.

Good Luck for Tomorrow.

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