The passage of Time

Outside Europe House, Smith Square, London

Outside Europe House, Smith Square, London

Last Thursday I was in London for the LGA monthly round of meetings and to be briefed on a new role I am taking up representing the LGA on an external Board but more of that later.

After those meetings I travelled some 30 metres across Smith Square to Europe House for an evening talk on ‘Ageing in the European Union’. I was aware it was the opening ceremony and match of the World Cup on the same evening, when I booked and so had set the recorder for later to watch it when I got home, clearly from the large numbers of no shows not everyone has googled the date before booking!

Whilst some people will remember LGA House as the former bastion of national union power and the TUC headquarters with its Bevan Hall still in place. The location of Europe House at 32 Smith Square is far more ironic and iconic, some will remember the heady days of the 1980’s and images of Margaret Thatcher waving from the open first floor window after another election victory, at the centre of the Conservative world ‘Conservative Central Office’, for the two building are one and the same, Maggie’s former HQ is now the EU outpost in the UK, ahh the passage of time.

As I waited for the Conference to start I was remembered of my previous visit to Brussels and brief stroll around the European Parliament’s Visitors Centre, as I picked up a booklet explaining the roles of those considered the founding fathers of the EU and in amongst them is Winston Churchill who in 1946 gave his ‘United States of Europe’ speech not his ‘United Nations of Europe but without Britain speech! – The transcript is on line and makes for interesting reading. All too often we forget that the notion of the EU was forged in the physical and financial ruins of World War Two.

But back to the present day, the conference was called ‘Ageing in the EU’ and over a couple of hours we looked at the issues on a pan-European basis and some of the solutions and thinking. As I sat there I pondered would this sort of debate be taking place if we were not in the EU, I doubted it. I also recalled a couple of years back I gave a key note speech to a Conference at Trinity Park in Ipswich to a room filled with people from across Europe, about a year-long pan-European work programme being lead by Suffolk County Council entirely funded by the EU to the tune of 275,000 Euros, on Active Ageing which was very much all the better for being about what is going on across Europe rather than just what we do in the UK. DEMSOC (www.demsoc.org ) who facilitated the meeting are producing a report and I’ll blog the link when it’s completed.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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