Showing posts from April, 2012

Swimathon 2012 result

I completed the Swimathon this afternoon - 200 lengths of Hensingham pool, which is 5,000 metres - in about an hour and 48 minutes. I was one of seven local swimmers who took part in Copeland today, and of thousands who took part around the country. Thanks again to those who have already sponsored me to take part in Swimathon 2012 to raise money for Cancer care, and who have helped me to meet and exceed my fundraising target. You can see my fundraising page on  the swimathon website here .

A big thank you

.. to all those who have sponsored me in the Swimathon this coming Sunday and supported Marie Curie cancer care. My sponsors have included work colleagues, family, friends, and people I know from politics including Conservatives, Labour supporters, and people of no particular political view. In all cases it is much appreciated. I had invited people to try to top the gentleman who wrote on my sponsorship page that he would multiply his donation by ten if I did the swim in Whitehaven harbour. My boss duly suggested that the T-shirt I wore in the picture on the sponsorship page should have "Keeping the tories afloat" on it. Since people whose politics differs from mine have been kind enough to sponsor me I have not taken up the suggestion, though it did make me chuckle!

Swimathon 2012 final reminder

Thanks again to those who have already sponsored me to take part in Swimathon 2012 to raise money for Cancer care. If anyone wants to try to top the gentleman who posted that if I swim the 5,000 metres in Whitehaven harbour he will multiply the amount of sponsorhip by ten, do go ahead! This will be the nineteenth consecutive year I have taken part. I plan to swim 5,000 metres at Copeland pool this Sunday (29th April). My son and daughter are also planning to do the "Simply Swim" challenge this year. The National Swimathon is 26 years old this year and is taking place this  weekend (27th to 29th April 2012). Since the Swimathon was launched in 1986, well over £35 million has been raised for a host of good causes, and over half a million swimmers have taken part. Anyone who would like to sponsor me and support Marie Curie cancer care can do so at the swimathon website here .

Stadium Fiasco - the latest Copeland Council disaster

I was on record while I was a Copeland Councillor as expressing my concern at whether the stadium proposals were workable, sustainable, or realistic. And I had the greatest doubts over the ability of Copeland Borough Council under its present leadership to deliver them. I take no pleasure in being proved right in a way which is humiliating for Copeland and West Cumbria. This week the backers of the proposal for a stadium at Pow Beck - Copeland Borough Council, Whitehaven Rugby League Club and Whitehaven Amateur Football Club - belatedly admitted that their present plans for a stadium at Pow Beck are not cost effective. Both I and Councillor David Moore, leader of the Conservative opposition on Copeland BC,  told them that fifteen months ago. They have also accepted that it is not possible to deliver the new stadium in time to host planned Rugby World Cup games in 2013. To say that the loss of these games is a disappointment for the area is something of an understatement. David

How many pass-codes do you have to memorise?

Some twenty-eight years ago, while four digit "Personal Identification Numbers" were new, I remember there being some concern about whether people would be able to remember them. Certainly I used to carry a note of the number of my first chip and PIN card, carefully disguised so that a person who found it would not realise what it was. The other day I tried to come up with a count of how many passcodes, identification numbers, and passwords I have had to memorise for regular daily use - first the ones I use sufficiently frequently that I have actually memorised them, and then the ones which I still have to write down. The first frightening thing is how many there are, and the second frightening thing is that this number of codes is probably not at all unusual for a person in a white collar or management job. Between work, bank details, and other important systems, I have successfully memorised the following eleven identifiers * Three PIN codes with four digits * Two P

Happy St George's Day

If you were setting up a Patron Saint for England today, it is most unlikely that you would select St George. The strongest contender would probably be St Alban, the first known Christian martyr in these islands, who has going for him that 1) he definately existed 2) he actually lived in England 3) although we know little about him, it is almost certain that he gave his life to protect another individual from unjust persecution and for his new Christian faith 4) the site of his death has been commemorated and has been a continuous place of worship for not far short of two thousand years By comparison St George may not have existed at all, probably never set foot within a thousand miles of England and certainly never lived here, and the most famous story about him, the story of the dragon, has at best been transformed into legend by a series of distortions and is at worst complete fantasy. What St George has going for him, however, is that English people have honoured his mem

Mayor cleared

I was very pleased to learn that the Mayor of Copeland, Councillor John Jackson, has been cleared of the charges made against him by an anonymous complainant. I could not believe that John would ever have made the remark he was supposed to have made, and none of the people who were at the event concerned who I have spoken to had heard him say anything of the sort. Indeed, several Labour supporters and councillors have made a point of openly and publicly rejecting the charges against John. One Labour councillor - John Kane - who was at the White Mare on the night in question, wrote on the Whitehaven News website that he had not heard anything of the sort, and that the person responsible for the allegation should "hang their head in shame." The allegations have been investigated and no case to answer has been found. I have often been involved, in various capacities, in trying to persuade people to put their names forward for public office. We need people with in

Swimathon 2012 reminder

Thanks to those who have already sponsored me to take part in Swimathon 2012 to raise money for Cancer care. Even including the gentleman who posted that if I swim the 5,000 metres in Whitehaven harbour he will multiply the amount of sponsorhip by ten! This will be the nineteenth consecutive year I have taken part. I plan to swim 5,000 metres at Copeland pool a fortnight today on Sunday 29th April. My son and daughter are also thinking about taking part this year. The National Swimathon is 26 years old this year and will be taking place over the weekend of 27th to 29th April 2012. Since the Swimathon was launched in 1986, well over £35 million has been raised for a host of good causes, and over half a million swimmers have taken part. In West Cumbria you can take part at Copeland pool in Hensingham on Sunday 29th, with sessions starting at 9 am and 12 noon. Other locations in Cumbria where you can take part include: * Appleby Swimming Pool * The Park Leisure Centre, Barrow-in-furnes

To split or not to split

I do hope that the debate on the future of the Union becomes a bit more constructive and even tempered - on both sides - than it has sometimes been recently in the run up to the Scottish referendum on Independence. Both my parents had ancestors on both sides of the border between England and Scotland, and I think of myself as British rather than English. I am proud of both my English and Scots ancestors and would greatly regret the breakup of the UK. But if a significant part of any of the nations within the United Kingdom wishes to break away, the decision must be made through the ballot box. Whether the eventual vote is a "Yes" or "No" it is vital that the debate and the final vote are seen on both sides, particularly by whoever loses, as fair. If Scotland does break away, we need to ensure that the divorce is amicable because an acrimonious split and a poor starting relationship between the two (or more) countries which replaced the UK would have the potential to

How Gordon Brown made us borrow from our children

Opinion polls and the Bradford West by-election suggest that none of the mainstream parties are very popular with the public at the moment and I can fully understand that. Whoever had won the 2010 election would have been left a terrible mess to sort out and been forced to decided, now whether to kick everybody, including vulnerable people, in the teeth, but how and when to kick everybody in the teeth. There is a particularly good article in the Telegraph today by Ruth Porter, entitled " Gordon Brown’s poisonous legacy lives on " which describes some of the worst aspects of the situation inherited by the present coalition government, particularly the fact that the benefits changes under Gordon Brown "systematically pulled families with children into the benefits system" with the consequence that by 2010 "the state was the main provider for a third of all UK households." The first problem with this is that it was one of the major reasons why government spe

Happy Easter to everyone reading this

I realise that some of the people who read this blog have a religious faith and others do not. To those who do, I pray that the spirit of the risen lord, or whatever is the equivalent in your own creed, will be with you this Easter and evermore. To those who do not have a religious conviction, can I express the hope that you are enjoying the Easter holiday. To both groups, I wish you a very happy Easter.

Damned if you do ...

A few weeks ago evidence was brought to the attention of the government which suggested that the correct procedures were not being followed by some abortion clinics. The Secretary of State for health, Andrew Lansley, asked the relevant inspectorate to carry out spot checks, on abortion clinics, which they agreed to do. Various people, particularly members of the opposition, have been jumping up and down complaining about the Secretary of State's decision to ask for these inspections, after the details have been published of the alternative inspection work which was cancelled or deferred as a result, and of the opportunity cost of the inspections. However, the people who are criticising Andrew Lansley about this are not always quite so quick to point out that the exercise found that more than fifty abortion clinics - slightly more than one in seven of those inspected - were not in fact complying with the law. Shadow Health secretary Andy Burnhan was careful to preface his remarks on

Lest we forget

Exactly thirty years ago a murderous fascist regime invaded the Falkland Islands. Two hundred and fifty eight British men and women were killed in defeating that invasion. Whatever your view of the merits of Argentina's claim to the islands, the Gatieri Junta were the ones who first resorted to force to prop up their regime, one which had been responsible for the deaths of many innocent Argentine civilians before they started the war in which they sent another 649 Argentinians to their deaths in addition to the British casualties. The men and women of the British Task force which defeated the Argentinian invasion were not just defending Britain and the Falklands. They did the people of Argentina a favour by defeating, and thereby causing the overthow of, a tyrannical regime who were quite literally no better than criminal gangsters in uniform. Britain can and should look back with pride on the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who died to liberate the Falklands from that r