Friday, 29 July 2016

It's Friday - My little Joke with a serious Intent

Thought I'd come up with a little joke for Friday, based on something I heard at the LGA conference about how we are really divided. It's been such a miserable month - but it does have an overall serious message which I hope you will find it apt summary of the month. 

So, some aliens land on earth, all of them 6 foot 10 of male appearance.

Suddenly the Remainers and the Leavers stop arguing
Football fans forget their differences
Grandparents and teenagers alike join hands
North and south divides disappear
Rich and poor come together
All religions look to each other for help.

One day, the leader of the aliens skypes the UK and says that they lost their way playing Planet Pokemon Go but like it here now, especially our beautiful women, and want to stay,
but the people didn't believe him and were wary, because they'd seen some tweets that told them the aliens were violent.

But a  LibDem women came forward and said - Let's hear what he has to say first - I think they should stay and I have some rooms'

The SNP leader who was looking for some new friends said 'where are you, I'll come and see you, you might be able to help me stay in the EU and in return you can come to Glasgow.'

A confident Tory (known as Conservatives) said 'No they must go back immediately but if you want to start a business in the UK, then speak to Boris.'

A confident Labourite (known once as New Labour) said he agreed with the Tories but wanted to check with the unions first and then perhaps the EU and also before they go would they first 'smash May back from her heels - thankyou'

The very unconfident labourites (known as Corbynistas) pointed aggressively and said 
'NO, you, you, with the fat wallet, 2 tongues and the 20inch willy - leave our women alone and go back to your own planet!'

(if you didn't laugh, then can you ask Boris to help me tweak it, please?)

Well, we are being invaded by aliens - ISIS - these are not human beings amongst us, killing children, women of any religion, but radicalised empty vessels.
Let us unite in a way we never have - coming together for synergy, strength and support,

Have a peaceful weekend - enjoy, don't major on the minor and understand your neighbours. Let's enjoy our freedoms for some have none - and appreciate everything you have.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Theresa May and the Butterfly story

I was extremely impressed with our new Prime Minister today, She kept to our overall strategy of self responsibility, keeping within our means and answered questions on struggles of today.

I congratulate her on not only completing her first PMQs with grace and dignity but also wiping the floor with Corbyn, who is certainly no match for May. I don't feel the need to describe what I saw with any graciousness. His inexperience was evident and he has brought it upon himself.

It's also satisying to see my great party united as I always said it would be, and seeing that all are signed up to making Brexit a success. It reminded me of one of my favourite stories about struggle and how it is not always a tragic notion. It confirms my belief that there is no light wthout dark, no lesson without failure and no confidence without endeavour.

Ahead are the real struggles we now face with terrorism growing and unbelievable upheavel across the globe, but that is why we must be grateful for the now and enjoy life with all it's ups and downs.

The Story of the Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn't go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!

In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.

Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Ben Gummer: Congratulations and the Wine Rack

Congratulations to our wonderful MP Ben Gummer who has been promoted to Minister for Cabinet Office, which is an extremely important role ensuring collaboration and communication across departments, public services, government transparency and so much more.

He thoroughly deserves it and is a first class member of parliament for Ipswich.

Well done Ben! We are all so proud of your achievements so far.

Below is his latest article on the 'wine rack' on the Ipswich waterfront.

Winerack: A New Beginning
The Winerack.  Named by this newspaper and for years now a symbol of our town’s arrested development.
I could go through the sordid history but it will depress you and I want now to cheer you all up.  The long and the short of it is that the financing was dodgy, the developers vanished, and the building has been left as a testament visible from throughout the town to the vanity of a credit-driven bubble and speculators’ greed.
Since work finished in 2009 the building has sprouted almost as many urban myths as the buddleias growing at its base.  Happily, contrary to well-known taxi fact, the concrete structure does not have cancer.  And so – at some considerable risk – it has been purchased by local property developer John Howard, who plans to complete the scheme, starting in January next year.
The Winerack is an important building for me.  It demonstrates two things: first, that getting things takes time and you need to be patient.  Back in 2011 I intervened to get the administrators sacked and pushed the Irish toxic bank that owned the site to move quicker to a sale.  Even so, it took another couple of years before John could purchase the shell and it has taken another three for him to complete all the surveys he needed, redesign the building, sort out the various planning permissions and find a contractor able and willing to take it on.  It has been a monster task.  When building work eventually starts, it will be the result of six years of hard work by a number of people – any one of whom could have given up, leaving the shell to rot for a few years more.  So – patience and grit: it’s a symbol of that.
Secondly, the Winerack has become a metaphor in my mind – and those of many in the town – of our recovery from the devastating recession we suffered seven years ago.  Standing there unfinished but full of promise, it is an emblem of the work-in-progress that is our town’s regeneration.  All our progress over the past year – funding for the Cornhill, Wet Dock Crossing, Enterprise Zones – has been founded on hard graft in the five years before, almost all of which has been invisible to most Ipswich eyes.  We now have the promise but the execution is still to come.  So with the Winerack.
Timing is all.  I did not want work on the Winerack to re-start until it could be properly funded: the last thing we needed was another fly-by-night developer coming to get hopes up again only for all of us to be let down.  But I also knew that we needed to get work going before the next downturn, which would inevitably come our way.  As with funding for the Wet Dock Crossing, the Cornhill and – I very much hope – our railway, it may be that we have just got in under the wire.  Why?  The fundamentals of our economy in Ipswich are now far stronger than they were back in 2008/9: more businesses, employing more people, in an economy that is in better shape than for some time.  The challenge we face in the next few months will test our mettle, certainly – but in a good way.  For if we can make it through the period of uncertainty that we are now in, we have shown that the town has a sustainable future founded on the hard ground of solid investment, not one built on dodgy developers’ sand.
Welcome to Ben's regular newsletter.
If you have any comments or concerns, please get in touch with my team. 

Email: Ben can be contacted directly at

Ben's office address is:
9 Fore Street
01473 232 883

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Give and Take Days in Ipswich

Come to one of Ipswich Borough Council's Give & Take events and reuse/recycle your unwanted items or simply come along and take something away for free.
You can bring small electrical items (such as kettles, vacuum cleaners, TVs, irons and tools), furniture (with attached fire label if upholstered), bicycles, textiles (but not pillows, cushions, duvets or carpets), books and toys/board games. All items need to be in good condition. Electrical items will be PAT safety tested before being placed out for reuse.
The events, which are for householders, not businesses, are taking place on the following dates:
  • 18 July - Gainsborough Sports Centre
  • 4 August - Castle Hill Community Centre
  • 23 August - Stoke Park Drive Church Hall
9am to 11am - drop off only, 11am to 3pm - drop off and collect items.
Items that are not reused locally will be given to local charitable projects.
Visit, email or call 01473 433090 if you have any questions.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Theresa May and a new dawn

Well, my previous blog post has now become moot since the stepping down of Andrea as a candidate.

I'm very sad about us not having a vote as members but, as I said in my last post, Theresa is great and a worthy MP to go forward as our leader. No-one ever votes for the Prime Minister, only the party so I have no problem with the process and as there are no other candidates we have a worthy winner.
I also think Andrea would've been great. I'm not going to blame the press or MPs for her decision as she could have taken it to the end so it was her choice and hers alone.

Theresa will need some working on, around the rough edges but she will be tough, competent and will unite the party. I absolutely trust her to commence the Brexit process with some good people behind her.

I want to see David Davies, Gove and Andrea in the main driving seats of a committee that will be responsible for delivering what the country asked for and still wants. Those rubbing their hands in glee thinking this is the end of Brexit are once again living in cloud cuckoo land because she has made it loud and clear. I even have strong doubts that she was a Remainer in the first place.

So what will Labour do now? - What a spectacle to behold with Corbyn threatening legal action if his party doesn't behave itself and do exactly what he tells them - what an absolute horror story. This is the real man - a real commie who has eyes but cannot see and has ears but cannot hear. This is not determination but total obstinacy - but long may it continue. I never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Libdems are flogging a dead horse promising a second referendum - Do they ever learn?

UKIP will re-invent itself now, in the hope that Labour will split and the fact they have achieved their main objective.

This is a new dawn - one of new opportunities and a world being ruled by women.

Well we said that the world would be a better place if we did - let's go prove it now!

Ipswich Buses - Changes to fares and timetable

For many years we have charged a standard fare of £1 at all times for children travelling on our town buses, and we recently extended this to anyone aged under 20 and carrying appropriate ID. We also offer a day ticket for £2, a one week ticket for £10 and a 4 week ticket for £32.

From 1st September 2016 we will be increasing the child fare for journeys starting before 0830 on Mondays to Fridays to £1.20 and the price of the 10 trip ticket to £9.50. This change is necessary because of underlying increases in costs since the last review of fares was undertaken and because of cuts in other fares revenue from Suffolk County Council. The most regular users who travel twice in a day, or commit to buying weekly or 4 weekly tickets will not see any change in fares, but less regular users will face an increase reflecting the fact that we need to provide capacity for them even if they are not using the bus. There is no time limit on using up 10 trip tickets bought at the old price. The child fare will still be £1 from 0830 on Mondays to Fridays and all day at weekends and on Bank Holidays.

For a carer taking children to school a new “One PLUS Three” ticket will be available at any time, giving unlimited travel on our town buses all that day for one adult and up to three children for £6.50. This will offer a significant discount compared to other on the day tickets when the first journey is before 1000 on schooldays. We are writing to you now so that everyone is able to consider what impact these changes might have upon their travel choices as they prepare for the new school year in September.

Timetable changes
Following cuts in concessionary fares payments by Suffolk County Council we have had to make reductions to the number of journeys on routes 14 and 19 from 4thSeptember 2016. Route 14 currently operates hourly, but there will consequently be longer gaps in the timetable. We believe the revised timetable will still provide the necessary lifeline to those who cannot walk up the steep hills on this route. Route 19 currently runs every 30 minutes but will now run broadly hourly before 0900 and after 1500.

Following the withdrawal of First’s route 53 we will be increasing the frequency of route 13 to operate every 10 minutes all day. This should ensure that the large numbers of commuters and students depending on this busy route will be accommodated despite it being abandoned by First.

We will also be adjusting a number of other journeys to improve time-keeping.

Jeremy Cooper
Managing Director
Ipswich Buses Ltd

Friday, 8 July 2016

Why I will be voting for Andrea

What a dilemma facing my colleagues - fellow members of the Conservative party.

Two great women to choose from - Labour have a lot to learn from us, whichever we pick.

I think Theresa May is great, I really do. I've met her here in Ipswich several years ago and she is lovely, competent and professional.

I also trust her to deliver Brexit because I believe that she is a eurosceptic but chose loyalty to David Cameron over her true beliefs and this is one of the reasons she was so low key in the campaign.

However, in Andrea there is something that Theresa is lacking - and that is the ability to reach out to beyond the Tory voters and membership - with her warmth and natural confidence.

Many have admired Andrea well before the referendum, and I can see why. I have spent a few days thinking about the dilemma that faces the membership - Theresa May and 'experience' or Andrea - clever, warm and bold. Together they are quite formidable.

But what do people want when they say 'experience'? Experience in what? politics, life, business, being in cabinet?

Let's think about this - what do we want from a leader, someone like David Cameron who exuded confidence and charm, influence and good communication skills? Yes we do - he is a fantastic PM and a great statesman. But now we will have a woman and must make the most of the skills that a female has which can give us even more. So I did a checklist for both women using the skills and 'experience I think a great leader who will be running the country must have. The rest can come from advisers, support, knowledge and being in the job.

                                                                                    Andrea                           Theresa

Natural communicator                                                 9/10                                 7/10
Confidence                                                                   9/10                                 8/10
Boldness                                                                      10/10                                8/10
Warmth                                                                         9/10                                 5/10
Rapport and influence                                                 10/10                                7/10
Honesty                                                                         9/10                                9/10
Positive Attitude                                                           9/10                                 9/10
Inspirational                                                                 10/10                                8/10
Optimism                                                                       9/10                                9/10
Accountability                                                                ?                                     9/10

I believe that Andrea is also an intuitive person that understands the people and how they think, whereas Theresa is aloof and institutionalised which may appear as experience but I believe stifles new thinking. Theresa cannot think on her feet and often repeats herself rather than being creative in her stance and bolder in her statements.

I want a brave new world with a bold PM who will deliver Brexit with optimism and warmth. Both ladies are capable of bringing the party and the country together but the added bonus for my choice is that Boris will work closely with Andrea, and he too appeals to the wider electorate as well as being the person who can advise her, support her and help her deliver a great future.

Let's have a fresh start, a fresh new leader in a fresh new Britain with a woman at the helm who is bold, sticks her neck out when it comes to doing what's right and who will appeal to old and young, rich and poor, north and south, male and female.