Showing posts from June, 2005

Whitehaven Maritime Festival

The organisers of the Whitehaven "Marratime" festival should be congratulated on a really good event. I took the family along and we had a really good day out. There were a wide range of stalls and rides, a couple of navy patrol boats and three tall ships in the harbour, and a ferris wheel which I'm told is hte tallest in Europe. Friends who went up the ferris wheel (we decided our three-year olds would never put up with the wait) tell me that it was a superb view from the top. Policing by Cumbria Constabulary was well handled - visible without being over the top - but it was a well behaved crowd and they had little to do. Park and Ride arrangements worked really well. Can't wait til the next time in two years.

Local hospitals and the Price of Freedom ...

What do local hospital services in Copeland have to do with the price of freedom ? The price of both good public services in a democracy and the freedom which that democracy represents is the same - and it is the price which Ben Franklin identified more than 200 years ago. During the American revolution he said that "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance." He meant that no free society will survive unless the citizens are on guard to protect their liberties. His statement is true in another sense - once the members of society are given through the ballot box some measure of control over how that society is run, we can no longer leave the whole burden of responsiblity for what happens in our country to others, be it some King or Baron or our neighbours. Our votes, words, and actions, including any decision not to act, will affect what happens to all the members of our society and those in the rest of the world with whom that society comes into contact. The vote does not m

Mayoral Service in St Bees

To St Bees Priory this afternoon for the Mayoral Service marking the start of the year of Norman and Yvonne Clarkson as Mayor and Mayoress of Copeland. Unlike many parts of the country Copeland does not have a tradition of a majority party letting anyone else having a turn as Mayor. This year however, it has happened and Norman is the first Tory Mayor of Copeland for many years. There was a procession through St Bees, and then the church was reasonably full for the service. It was an excellent service. I think the idea of de-politicising the mayoralty to some extent and letting each party have a turn if they have candidates of good quality is a sound principle so I hope this year is a great success. I have no doubt that Norman and Yvonne will be an excellent Mayor and Mayoress, and I think the presence of many members of the public to support them today bodes well for the year, as did the fact that some people had come from the more distant part of the borough - for example, there was

The Irish Peace process is in trouble ...

So what else is new, may well be your response to that header. Nevertheless, the problems in Ireland - not just Northern Ireland - are a lot worse than anyone who relies for information solely on the UK mainland media is likely to realise. My in-laws were born in Ireland and subscribe to Irish newspapers. When we visit them, as someone who can rarely see any reading material without browsing it, I usually take a look. I am astonished that recent events on the other side of the Irish Sea have not received more attention on this side. During a recent attempted armed robbery in the Irish republic two of the attackers were shot dead by Irish Police. The Gardai gave warning before opening fire. One of the dead men was armed, his gun was loaded but it was not fired. Each of the dead men was killed by a single bullet through the heart. I have no reason to believe that the police officers involved in this tragic incident acted other than correctly, and I have far more sympathy with the offic

The Nons and Nees have it ....

I have been following with interest the results of the rejection by French and Dutch voters of the proposed European Union constitution. One question which surfaced in this country even before the French and Dutch votes is whether it is worth having a vote in this country given the rejection of the constitutional treaty by one or more other EU members. It is interesting that the more intelligent pro-Europeans, at least in this country, were the first people to answer "No" to that question, while the more hardline Eurosceptics have been the ones calling for a referendum in Britain to go ahead. Surprisingly, some of the most prominent pro-Europeans on the continent do not appear to realise that ploughing on as if nothing had happened is almost guaranteed to produce more "no" votes by increasingly large majorities. The "Non" voters in France and "Nee" voters in the Netherlands may have different views from Brit and Danish Eurosceptics on many issu