Sunday, 29 March 2009

Humshaugh and Wall Annual Lunch - Understanding a Quadrillion

To Humshaugh for the famous lunch that people literally drive 50 + miles to come to; it is an instituion based on wonderful people, a slick organisation and the best puddings in the County. No wonder fans from Newcastle, Tynemouth, Durham and beyond make the trek north of Hexham! Peter Atkinson MP spoke really well about the Government's troubles and what David Cameron is doing - both to high light the weakness of the government's position and the real alternative that we propose. His best line was the comment that in the old days a million was lot of money, then a billion; now a trillion is not so much apparently and the government are talking in quadrillions, whatever that may be! One cannot help wondering if the government are turning the pound into lire as the currency continues to cumble? On any interpretation government borrowing is not what it used to be.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Prudhoe Canvassing

Prudhoe is not natural Conservative territory but I was astonished at the response we got on the doorstep tonight. Clearly we are doing well in the polls and the government is unpopular but this was a marked endorsement of what we are doing - roughly 4 out of 5 houses were supportive. We knocked on doors for 2 hours and found very few willing to express an endorsement for the government and only a few minority party supporters. The town is clearly changing - as everyone makes clear - and there are big efforts being made to improve the town, on a number of levels, by a large number of people from all walks of life.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Canvassing in West Prudhoe and Mickley

You know the government is struggling when a pensioner and Labour member of the local Labour party answers the door and announces that "I have been a member of the Prudhoe Labour party all my adult life but I will be voting Conservative next time - I am not voting for that man Brown on election day!" She announced indignantly. Lots of pensioners are really upset at the tax on pensions and savings, the impact of low interest rates on savings and the increase of stealth taxes on their money. This lady was not an isolated case on an interesting evening in West Prudhoe and Mickley

Monday, 9 March 2009

Prudhoe Days

Spent the day in Prudhoe - while Peter Atkinsn the MP is doing all matters Westminster I am getting stuck in to the areas where we have not been as strong in the past. In the pipeline there is lots of planned regeneration but the delivery will be the key. Spent time getting a real understanding of the two key new developments - both the new housing and supermarket projects have their fans and opponents .. spent a lot of time listening and learning as much as I could from locals

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Ponteland and the brave new world

To Darras Hall for a great evening as all ages and walks of life gathered together for a constutency get together: it was particularly good to see so many of the Ponteland High School and RGS students there and to chat to them. I am very hopeful we can introduce them to the cutting edge of politics by taking them canvassing - the plan is to go to Prudhoe and Hexham during their Easter holiday... there is no doubt that Obama and Cameron have grabbed their enthusiasm...long mayit last

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Tynedale Point to Point

Guy Opperman riding Lowlander
What a day! For a long time I had agreed to ride in the local point to point, which is run at Downhills; this is walking distance from where I live in Aydon. A big crowd turned out. Fortunately we were in the first. Lowlander is a big rangy bay with a sweet nature and a love of life; however, he has been below form for 2 years, with ulcers and all manner of horsey ailments. Tim Read has done a great job getting him fit and well and he won best turned out in the paddock. For myself I made the weight and felt nervous as kitten beforehand: I have ridden many times but not before such a crowd as this.
We jumped off handy and missed the first, but after that we got into a great rhythm. We took the lead on the second circuit and were never headed.

Guy Opperman and Lowlander in the winners enclosure
After the race Richard Dodd had great fun as the announcer for the prize giving and there were smiles all round. Sushi [Lowlanders stable name] was fine although he had lost 2 shoes!