Showing posts from September, 2016

Quote of the day 30th September 2016



The NHS consultation on the future of healthcare in Cumbria is now up and running and details can be found on the success regime's consultation website at You can read the consultation document online at and comment on it online at The following public meetings have so far been announced. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT THERE IS A GOOD TURNOUT AT THESE. . Silloth , Wednesday 12 th  October – 6.30pm to 8.30pm – Solway Technology Community College, Liddell Street, CA7 4DD Millom , Thursday 13 th  October – 1pm to 3pm – Guide Hall, St Georges Road, LA18 4DD Appleby , Thursday 13 th  October – 7pm to 9pm – Public Hall, Appleby Town Council, Boroughate near Moot Hall, CA16 6XB Carlisle , Tuesday 18 th  October – 1pm to 3pm – Ballroom, Crown & Mitre Hotel, 4 English Street, CA3 8HZ Whitehaven , Wednesday 19 th  October – 1pm

Britain's Brexit negotiating position

It's worth taking time to get Britain's negotiating strategy right before invoking article 50. Our negotiating position after the Brexit vote is nothing like as strong as the more optimistic "Leave" supporters would have you believe, but it is not entirely hopeless either. Because the population and combined economies of the remainder of the EU are considerably bigger than Britain's the "Remain" side were undoubtedly correct that exports from other EU nations exports to the UK are a smaller percentage share of both the GDP of EU nations and of their exports than British exports to the rest of the EU are of ours, so we must be careful not to overplay our hand. However, in absolute terms the "Leave" side was also right to point out that exports of goods from other EU countries to the UK are greater than those from the UK to the rest of the EU and  Civitas suggested this week that in consequence 5.8 million EU jobs are linked to trade wit

Quote of the day 29th September 2016

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”     ( Arthur Conan Doyle ; he gave this line to  Sherlock Holmes  in "A Scandal in Bohemia") Would all those, whether they are Brexiteers or Remainers, who keep filled my social media feeds with arguments attempting to show that their side of the argument has already been proved right when the UK has not even left the EU yet, please take note. 

Shimon Peres RIP

It is not given to any great political figure to do anything significant and not be controversial, and former Israeli PM Shimon Peres, who has died, was certainly controversial. But there is no doubt in my mind that he worked for Peace while tryijng to protect the interests of his people, and the Nobel Peace Prize that he shared with Yassir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin was deserved. There are not many people whose death would be mourned by both the President of the Palestinian Authority and the present PM of Israel, in the terms they used, but this is what they had to say about him: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a letter of condolence to Mr Peres' family "expressing his sorrow and sadness". "Peres was a partner in creating the peace of the brave with the late President Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Rabin, and has made intensive efforts to reach a long-lasting peace since the Oslo agreement and until the last breath," he said in a sta

Never take any election for granted

Despite the best efforts of the Labour party to commit electoral suicide, something they have continued with a vengeance this week, I blogged a few days ago that  nobody in any party should assume the next election is in the bag . My old friend from St Albans council, John Whale (a good guy who I regarded as a friend and an honourable man when we weren't in the same party) wrote in response to the Facebook version of the post that "If we think that the next General Election is won already we will lose it, and we will deserve to lose it" He's absolutely right. There is an excellent article in Reactions called " Don't fall for the idea that the Labour party is dead ." Although in most circumstances the current behaviour of the Labour party would almost guarantee an electoral disaster for them at the next election - and I do think that is the most likely outcome - the article rightly points out that these are not normal times and nothing can be ta

What hasn't happened at Labour conference this week

There have been no Tory protestors outside Labour conference in Liverpool this week shouting "Labour scum" at delegates, cleaners, caterers and journalists . There have been no Tory protestors outside Labour conference in Liverpool this week spitting on delegates and journalists . There have been no Tory protestors outside Labour conference in Liverpool this week throwing eggs . There have been no Tory protestors outside Labour conference in Liverpool this week making rape threats against female conference attendees . But there were socialists doing all of those things or the equivalent outside Conservative conference last year. Let's see what happens next week - we may find the brothers have used up all their energy this week insulting each other!

Quote of the day 28th September 2016


How not to move on from the Brexit vote

Labour shadow cabinet member Diane Abbott, a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, has an interesting idea about how to win the votes of the seventeen million electors who voted Leave: according to the Daily Mail she has called them "stupid" and "racist" And, I quote, " The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington went on to claim that voters' concerns over immigration were 'not rational' ." To me as someone who voted Remain that sounds arrogant and anti-Democratic. It is unlikely to go down better with those 17.4 million voters.

You may say I'm a dreamer ...

Both the Times and the Telegraph today have cartoons which depict the Shadow Chancellor singing the same song, "Imagine;" Adams in the Telegraph Martin Morland in the Times

Quote of the day 27th September 2016


If you care about healthcare in Cumbria, take part in this consultation

Reading the "Success Regime" proposals for Cumbria's hospitals, and NHS "The Future of Healthcare in West North and East Cumbria." Enormously important that people take an interest in this consultation. Details at

"Success Regime" proposals for healthcare in Cumbria

I cannot yet find the consultation document on the Success Regime website, but according to the News and Star they are proposing options as follows: The preferred option would see A&E retained in Carlisle and Whitehaven, but the West Cumberland's intensive care unit would be smaller, with more patients transferred to the city's Cumberland Infirmary. Another option is to completely remove A&E from the West Cumberland. The plans will also see stroke patients from west Cumbria being taken by ambulance to a new specialist unit in Carlisle. The Success Regime unveiled its detailed proposals at a launch event in Carlisle this morning, kick-starting a 12-week formal consultation which will run until just before Christmas. Plans will then be finalised, with an announcement expected early in the new year. The 56-page public consultation document includes at least two options for each service it wants to overhaul - maternity (including special care baby units), child


A twelve week consultation period starts today on healthcare in Cumbria, beginning with a launch event in Carlisle this morning and publication of a consultation document expected at 12 noon today. This will affect both District General Hospitals and community hospitals and is likely to include significant changes to maternity care which will be of great interest and concern to many residents of the county. Key stakeholders, such as local MPs, councils, community groups and health trust governors, will also be briefed just before the plans go public. The proposals are likely to include more than one option within each proposal, with the "Success Regime" making clear which it sees as the preferred scenario. This will form the basis for the consultation, which will include more public meetings in communities across the area. It is a year since the Success Regime moved in to set out its intentions - to tackle deep-rooted problems in the local NHS, including huge debts a

Quote of the day 26th September 2016


As Labour conference begins, the problem for Corbyn

Last year it was Conservative conference where you felt you needed protection from people shouting "Tory scum" and worse, spitting and throwing eggs at everyone on their way in - including journalists, cleaners, catering staff and porters as well as Conservatives. This year it seems the people responsible for causing mayhem outside our conference may be causing some at their own: apparently at least one Labour MP is taking a bodyguard to the conference. Two people, one Scottish Nationalist and one Corbynista, have expressed the view to me that because they have more support among younger people their respective causes are bound to eventually win. The first problem with this view is that people's perspective changes as they get older - I will resist the temptation to endorse the patronising way of putting that, "as they grow up." The second problem is that this view overstates Corbyn's support even among young voters. Thanks to Mike Smithson for this da

Sunday music spot: Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21, Andante ("Elvira Madigan")

I wrote a piece about Mozart's wonderful Piano Concerto number 21 and why it is nicknamed "Elvira Madigan" after an almost forgotten film this afternoon, and the post for some reason did not appear. (PS - I subsequently discovered that I had sent it to my hospitals blog by mistake!) Never mind, here it is again.


Remember, consultation on Healthcare in Cumbria starts on Monday The next and critically important consultation on healthcare in Cumbria begins tomorrow, on Monday 26th September. This will affect both District General Hospitals and community hospitals and is likely to include significant changes to maternity care which will be of great interest and concern to many residents of the county. The details will appear on the website of the NHS "Success Regime" in Cumbria, which will be an essential destination for those who want to keep consultant-led maternity services at West Cumberland hospital, and can be found at The consultation document is expected to appear on that website on Monday. The feedback page on the site is already open and people who have concerns they want to share with the Success regime can do so at

Quote of the day 25th September 2016


Saturday music spot: Handel's "Dixit Dominus" conducted by John Eliot Gardiner


How Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership

Most of Jeremy Corbyn's majority came from people who have not been in the Labour party for all that long: Thanks to Mike Smithson for sharing this YouGov result ( And yes, I know that after GE2015 and the EU referendum we have all learned to treat poll results with caution, but this one did get the overall result right, which suggests that it may bear some resemblance to reality, and properly conducted polls are still more accurate than relying on a sample of a few of your mates down at the pub.)

Corbyn re-elected Labour leader: Labour prepares for an interesting conference ...

Thanks to "The Gunslinger" for posting and Alistair Norwood for sharing this tweet which previews Labour party conference ... Preview of #Lab16 — The Gunslinger (@TheOncoming) September 24, 2016

Quotes of the day 24th September 2016

"Corbynism is just a sloganising personality cult: an attitude, rather than a programme to reform the country. That attitude is banal in content, conspiracist in essence, utopian in aspiration and vicious in practice" (Brilliant dismissal of the Corbyn project in two sentences by Nick Cohen , from a Spectator article called " This could be the end of the Labour party .") I wrote last night that the Conservatives cannot rely on Corbyn's incompetence to keep us in power. That is because NO party can take support for granted or assume because one set of opponents are utterly useless that they can get away with whatever they like. For the same reason, Labour cannot assume that they are guaranteed to retain their current position as one of the two main players in British politics. There is a limit to the extent which an ultimately pragmatic people (as the British electorate usually is) will continue to elect even enough MPs to form Her Majesty's loyal o

A message to anyone in any party who thinks the next election is in the bag ...

It isn't. And the voters in local by-elections proved the point yesterday. However much Jeremy Corbyn appears to be doing his best to make it as hard as possible for Labour to win an election the electorate should never be taken for granted and nobody should ever assume that their opponent's incompetence will allow them to waltz into a parliamentary or council seat without doing the work of trying to communicate with voters both to listen to their concerns and to make sure that you are offering something they want and tell them about it. It is often said that "All politics is local" and it is a mistake to extrapolate too many national inferences from a handful of local by-elections. It's also a mistake to ignore them. In general the Conservatives have done reasonably in local by-elections since GE2015, the Lib/Dems very well, and UKIP and Labour mostly badly. Yesterday, however, was a particularly excellent night for the Lib/Dems, a rare good one for L

Report highlights need for A595 and A590 improvements

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership has published a detailed strategic study highlighting improvements needed to Cumbria's roads and documenting ways to eliminate certain black spots. I was very pleased to see that the report singles out the A595/A590 route from Whitehaven to Barrow as particularly needing attention. The West of M6 Strategic Connectivity Study highlights a list of prioritised projects across the A590 and A595 to improve transport links and help Cumbria make the most of a new age of economic prosperity. Graham Haywood, director of Cumbria LEP, believes now is the time to address these issues as the county prepares for £40bn of investment. He told the North West Evening Mail that: "Clearly there's going to be an increase in road traffic movement and we need to be making a case for improvements to be able to accommodate for that. "The developments at BAE, GSK and Siemens are all going to create additional traffic and we need to be ready for

Remember, consultation on Healthcare in Cumbria starts on Monday

Three days to go until the next and critically important consultation on healthcare in Cumbria begins, on Monday 26th September. This will affect both District General Hospitals and community hospitals and is likely to include significant changes to maternity care which will be of great interest and concern to many residents of the county. The details will appear on the website of the NHS "Success Regime" in Cumbria, which will be an essential destination for those who want to keep consultant-led maternity services at West Cumberland hospital, and can be found at The consultation document is expected to appear on that website on Monday. The feedback page on the site is already open and people who have concerns they want to share with the Success regime can do so at

Quote of the day 23rd September 2016


Oxford tops world University rankings

The University of Oxford has knocked the California Institute of Technology, which had been ranked as the highest performing University in the world for the previous five years, into second place. This is the first time a British University has led the Times Higher Education Supplement list of world university rankings. The Times Higher tables rank universities worldwide on measures including teaching, research and international outlook - for example, numbers of overseas students and staff. No fewer than three British universities - Oxford (1st), Cambridge (4th), and Imperial College London (8th) - are in the top ten. One other place in the top ten was taken by a Swiss University, and the remaining institutions in the table were from the USA. You can read a report on the rankings here .

Quote of the day 22nd September 2016


Website for the Cumbria NHS "Success Regime"

The website for the NHS "Success Regime" in Cumbria, which will be an important part of the communications for the consultation which starts on Monday and hence an essential destination for those who want to keep consultant-led maternity services at West Cumberland hospital, can be found at The consultation document is expected to appear on that website on Monday (26th September) This will not just be important for maternity but for a number of other services, as there will be proposals on such matters as the number of beds at community hospitals. There will be some proposals people may want to support (more beds and activity at Cockermouth hospital for instance) as well as those which cause concerns. The feedback page on the site is already open and people who have concerns they want to share with the Success regime can do so at

Best Humorous posts

There have been some entertaining spoof posts this week, On the basis of the rumours that the new PM is not exactly a fan of former Justice Secretary Michael Gove, the Daily Mash reports that " Any policy Michael Gove had anything to do with is cancelled ," adding that "THERESA May has confirmed that Michael Gove’s prison reform, education policies and canteen pass have all been cancelled with extreme prejudice." The Daily Mash also attribute to Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith the startling admission that " Both candidates are useless but Corbyn is deranged as well ." Now you come to mention it ... News Thump has several reports following the announcement that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are to divorce, such as the last rites for the institution of marriage and the suggestion that " Jenifer Aniston has been hospitalised after a dangerously prolonged laughing fit ." They also report that plucky underdog Vladimir Putin un


The NHS Success Regime will be releasing a formal consultation document into healthcare in Cumbria next week. I am worried by the signals being sent about maternity. Chairman Sir Neil McKay told a public meeting at Cockermouth Community Hospital on Tuesday:   “The future of maternity services at the West Cumberland Hospital has been discussed endlessly. We have real concerns about whether it's possible to maintain a consultant-led maternity service there. “If our concerns are correct then we have to come up with other options. I would fail if I offered a service that was not sustainable. “This is a complex set of issues, our thoughts are in the consultation document. The present position is a real worry and I understand how passionate people feel.” That sounds like they are getting ready to abandon the fight for consultant-led maternity at WCH and although we must listen very seriously to what they say, I believe that this would be a huge mistake. Don't forget that

Theresa May: The UK is not turning inwards

The UK did not " vote to turn inwards " when it backed Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has told the United Nations.   At the UN General Assembly in New York, she said the UK would not " walk away from our partners in the world ". And she urged leaders to work together to tackle " the big security and human rights challenges of our time". Mrs May warned that people felt left behind by the "increasing pace of globalisation". In her first address to the general assembly, Mrs May said: "We must never forget that we stand here, at this United Nations, as servants of the men and women that we represent back at home. "And as we do so we must recognise that for too many of those men and women the increasing pace of globalisation has left them feeling left behind. "The challenge for those of us in this room is to ensure that our governments and our global institutions, such as this United Nations, remain responsive to th

Quote of the day 21st September 2016


Ruth Davidson on how Scottish families - not Nicola Sturgeon - would pay the cost of Independence

Great article by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson in today's Scottish Daily Mail.

Political suicide?

It's been my view since Theresa May became Prime Minister that an early general election is not likely for several reasons, the most important one being that I took her at her word when she said that it is not in the national interest to have one now and Britain needs some stability. A second reason, to which most of the press have not paid enough attention, is that the PM no longer has the power to call a general election whenever she likes: the Fixed Term Parliament Act makes calling an early election much harder. Under the FTPA to call an early election normally needs a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons. In the present House of Commons this means that both the Conservatives and Labour have to want one, which until this week seemed impossible. An election can be triggered if the government loses a vote of confidence and no new government can be formed: in theory therefore a government with a small majority and strict party discipline could propose and pass a vote

Quote of the day 20th September 2016

Margaret Thatcher quoting Denis Healey:  

Congratulations to Britain's Paralympic team on a superb performance

Congratulations to everyone in Britain's Paralympic team on a superb performance. Great Britain closed the Rio Paralympics with 64 gold medals, the most by a British team since 1988. ParalympicsGB surpassed their London 2012 medal tally of 120 on day nine of the Games in Rio and finished with 147, second in the medal table behind China. They also matched the highest number of gold medal sports at a Paralympics with 11, matching China at Beijing 2008. That represents the most incredible effort and everyone involved should be very proud.

Groundbreaking new partnership for Millom GP practice

There is much that concerns me going on in the NHS at the moment but it is nice to be able to observe that there are positive things as well. Millom is leading the way as a hospital consultant and health trust mangers become formal partners in a Millom GP practice as part of a pioneering scheme which is the first of it's kind in England. The groundbreaking move will involve representatives from the area's hospital trust and county NHS group taking over the running of Waterloo House GP Practice in Millom. It is hoped the link-up will allow doctors to spend more time with patients and reduce the number of people who need to be admitted to hospital. Millom's Dr Richard Walker, a GP at Waterloo House surgery, explained there would be a raft of benefits for the town, including having the expertise of leaders from different organisations at their disposal. "We are very pleased to have the two health trusts join the practice as partners," he said. "It i

Music spot: Two organ pieces by Jonathan Battishill


A Grim Fairytale from Momentum Kids

In a statement last night, the Corbyn-supporting group Momentum explained that: "Momentum is to launch a nationwide initiative to increase the involvement of children, parents and carers in Momentum and the Labour Party. Momentum Kids, originally set up by two mothers in Stroud, will expand across Momentum's network of 150 local groups, ensuring that single parents and sole carers have access to cooperatively run breakfast clubs, after school sessions and child care they need to facilitate their political engagement." Source here . Adam Bienkov was probably right to suggest in his piece (linked to immediately above) that comparing Momentum Kids to the Hitler Youth, as one or two people have, is over the top and in bad taste. However, a certain amount of mickey-taking is both legitimate and healthy .. not to mention quite funny ... And I particularly appreciate the spoof fairy story from which the "Midwich Cuckoos" graphic aboe is taken, by fo

The £350 Million and Leave campaigners' pyrrhic victory

In the Sunday Times yesterday Ameet Gill and Paul Stephenson made a point on how the Leave campaign deployed their £350 million claim during the EU referendum campaign which is quite similar to  my previous post here  arguing that Vote Leave had produced and successfully used a new version of the  dead cat strategy . The "Dead Cat" strategy, much associated with the Australian campaigner Sir Lynton Crosby, is a means of changing the debate agenda during a campaign. If the media are focussing on an issue which is deemed to be helpful to the other side you distract them by getting someone on your side to say something extremely controversial, if not downright outrageous. As Boris Johnson  wrote in 2013 , "Let us suppose you are losing an argument." "The facts are overwhelmingly against you, and the more people focus on the reality the worse it is for you and your case. "Your best bet in these circumstances is to perform a manoeuvre that a great cam

Quote of the day 19th September 2016

Thomas Paine on Freedom:  

"Michael Heseltine's machine" goes to the great network in the sky

A family computer which we nicknamed "Michael Heseltine's machine" has just been taken on it's last journey to the great network in the sky, less any parts of it they can recycle, via Frizington household refuse collection centre, after more than two decades of good service. When the computer concerned was new, having been custom ordered with a particular set of drives and video cards designed to allow it to run both certain contemporary items of software and the then current video CDs (this was shortly before the popular release of Digital Versatile Disc technology) there were some teething problems getting the various components to work together. I dropped the computer off with the seller on my way to Conservative conference in Blackpool to have some of these issues addressed, asking if I could collect it on the way back. On collecting the computer, now working perfectly, I was told with a grin how the company which sold me the computer had ensured that their

UKIP challenges Labour for the "Fighting like ferrets in a sack" award ...


Vladimir Putin is a 'political hero' of the new UKIP leader

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! When the new UKIP leader was asked by Andrew Neil who apart from Vladimir Putin were her political heroes she did not take the opportunity to reject the implication that Putin was one: in fact she confirmed it. I doubt that either Margaret Thatcher or Winston Churchill would have appreciated being in such company.

Ruth Davidson: Scottish independence would have been a disaster, let's not go back there

"After all the effort, commitment, hard work and sleepless nights of the campaign, I thought I’d be punching the air when we won. Actually, I wasn’t. I was quiet. Relief was a much more powerful emotion than joy. My country was safe. We hadn’t lost the UK. Now, we could come back together." "Two years on, the relief is just as great. The economics of independence were always fantasy. We now know exactly what would have happened. A newly-independent Scotland would have been cast adrift into an extended oil price slump . The SNP’s dodgy sums would have been exposed in the most brutal, catastrophic fashion." Two years on from the Indyref, Scots Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has written a very powerful plea to the SNP to honour the promises they made at the time accept the result and not "drag Scotland back to that place" from which the above quote is taken. You can read her article here and it is well worth a read.

Sunday music spot: Thomas Tallis "If ye love me"

There is nothing quite like the tradition of English church music which culminated in the music of Byrd, Gibbons and Tallis ...

Quote of the day 18th September 2016

Alistair Campbell: support for Corbyn was “a disaster for the Labour party”. Interrupting him, John McDonnell called the comments “nauseating”, adding: “It’s nauseating because you are the one, above all else, who actually created the environment where no one believed a word a politician said." (From an exchange between the Shadow Chancellor and former PM's Press Secretary on BBC Question Time last week.)

Saturday music spot O sing joyfully (Batten)


A breakfast conundrum

My wife recommended that I try some of a breakfast cereal which is described by the makers as "really nutty." It was quite good and we are likely to purchase it again - but we really should not miss the opportunity to craft a nickname for it. Trouble is there are too many options which the words "really nutty" inspires Corbyn Crunch Farage Flakes Cheerio Katie Hopkins Sturgeon K After all, apparently cereals which really exist include n Addams family cereal, Sir Grapefellow, Tony's Turboz, and worst of all " Slimer! And The Real Ghosterbusters Cereal " (how could that name make anyone feel like eating?) I'm sure we'll decide on one of them soon!

A good analysis of Labour's woes

An excellent analysis of the debate in the Labour party in the FT. It can be read at

Quote of the day 17th September 2016


If there were an olympic gold medal "Pot calling the kettle black contest" ...

If there were a recognised Olympic sport for making "Pot calling the kettle black" comments then Labour MP Angela Eagle would have won the Gold Medal it on "Any Questions" this evening. For - wait for it - accusing the Conservatives of not agreeing with each other. Yes, that's right, one of the 80% of Labour MPs who have no confidence in their leader took time off from the Labour party's current fratricidal conflict to accuse the Conservatives of being divided. This is during a leadership election campaign in which, as she pointed out at a different point in the same programme, MPs like herself, particularly female ones, have been on the end of vile abuse and threats, mostly from supporters of the other side in Labour's leadership row - so much so that she had to disconnect the phones in her office for a few weeks. This from an MP who is one of the great majority of the former Shadow Cabinet who recently resigned from it because they could not su

Negotiating Brexit

I think Britain needs to play a long and very patient game when it comes to negotiating Brexit. We need to stay friends and trading partners with the other countries of Europe, including those who are EU members and those who are not. That will require us to take a negotiating stance which is firm but not hostile and constructive without being weak. We will not get everything we want but we must negotiate hard for as much as possible. France and Germany are under great pressure at the moment because of imminent elections in both countries next year and the impact of terrorism and migration issues. It may be that the best way to get a constructive negotiation is to trigger article 50 straight after the German elections. If we do that, it is important to explain in advance to the French and Germans that the reason for that timetable is to help them as well as to help Britain. According to the Telegraph today some elements in the EU want to take a tough line in the Brexit negoti

Thoughts on the US Presidential Election

I've just done an internet quiz on the US presidential election - the sort which matches voters and candidates. (Link - ) Because the Republican party often flirts with hardliners but usually picks someone who in US terms is reasonably mainstream, I usually find that such quiz exercises tell me to vote Republican, but not this time. Neither Donald J Trump not Hillary R Clinton was in my top two: my best match was with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and an independent I have never heard of is my "second choice" in policy terms. Of course the main question for many US voters for this time could well be "Of which of these candidates are you less terrified by the thought of their finger on the nuclear button?" It's going to be an interesting election - in the Confucian sense.

An interesting interview with Paddy Ashdown

Just read an interesting interview with Paddy Ashdown in the Guardian - notionally about his latest book but it cuts around all sorts of issues. Some things in it which I strongly agree with, some that I very much disagree: one of the more interesting (the first half of which I do agree with) on the coalition government: “I think history will judge it [2010 to 2015] one of the best periods of government we’ve had in my lifetime, and I don’t think we’ll see another as good for some considerable time.” You can read the full interview here .

A66 road closure at Keswick tomorrow night and the following Saturday night

A SECTION of the A66 in Cumbria is set to be closed tomorrow night and again a week tomorrow. The eastbound A66 between Crosthwaite roundabout and Briery interchange north of Keswick will be closed tomorrow evening (Saturday 17 September) between 8pm and 6am as part of the £500,000 resurfacing work in the area. This will be followed next Saturday (24 September) by the closure of the westbound carriageway – again between 8pm and 6am – from the interchange to the roundabout. Drivers heading eastbound during the closure period after 8pm tomorrow night will need to leave the A66 at Crosthwaite roundabout and head into Keswick and then onto the eastbound Penrith Road to rejoin the A66 at Briery interchange. The same diversion route will operate in reverse during next weekend’s overnight closure of the westbound carriageway which will also include the interchange slip road. Drivers are advised by the authorities to check traffic conditions before setting out on journeys while queue

Quote of the day 16th September 2016


Battle of Britain service in Carlisle Cathedral this Sunday

A special service, which takes place every year to commemorate the Battle of Britain will be held this Sunday (18th September) at 3pm at Carlisle Cathedral. In 1940, from 10 July until 31 October, the Royal Air Force Fighter Command thwarted the German Luftwaffe's attempts to gain air supremacy over possible invasion sites in Britain, averting possible invasion and downing 1,733 German aircraft. But the efforts were not without significant sacrifice: 915 British craft were lost and an estimated 544 of the 2,927 aircrew of the RAF were killed. The service, which is open to all, will be sung by the Cathedral Choir. The preacher will be The Reverend Canon Jan Keaton, Canon Warden, Carlisle Cathedral.

The Corbynista hit list

The civil war in the Labour party continues as Jeremy Corbyn's office issued a "hit list" of thirteen Labour MPS accused of abusing the Labour leader, and then apologised and said the list had been accidentally issued by a junior employee. One of the MPs attacked was the Deputy Leader, two of the others were from West Cumbria - which will surprise nobody who has been paying the least attention to the war of words between the Labour leadership on the one hand and the MPs for Copeland and Barrow on the other. Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn's campaign team issued a list of 13 Labour MPs, denouncing them for their "abuse" of the leader and his supporters. The briefing cited Jess Phillips telling Diane Abbott to go forth and multiply, Tristram Hunt using a scatological metaphor to suggest Labour is in trouble, Tom Watson referring to Momentum as "a rabble" and John Woodcock calling a Corbyn PMQs performance a "disaster" with the f-word prefixed

Hinkley Point approved

The first new UK nuclear power plant for year will go ahead. In a statement, the government said: "After Hinkley, the British Government will take a special share in all future nuclear new build projects. This will ensure that significant stakes cannot be sold without the Government's knowledge or consent." It added: "There will be reforms to the government's approach to the ownership and control of critical infrastructure to ensure that the full implications of foreign ownership are scrutinised for the purposes of national security." Energy Secretary Greg Clark, said: "Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the government's agreement. "Consequently, we have decided to proceed with the first new nuclear power station for a generation." More details here and here .