Energy Prices

The weather has been decidedly chilly in London over recent weeks, as it has for much of the UK. So much so that it was not long until I heard the now almost annual declaration that it is colder here than in some desolate part of the Siberian tundra!


In the week of the report of the ghastly events that occurred a few years ago at Mid Staffs hospital, there has rightly been a lot of attention focussed on all standards of nursing care in the NHS.

Yarn Barton relaunch

I assume that every reader of the Bridport News will agree with me about the merits of Beaminster. The advantages of Bridport itself and of many of the villages around it (as well, of course, of Lyme Regis) are legion – and this creates pretty tough competition for any town.  But Beaminster is certainly capable of meeting that challenge head on.  Nowhere in England is there a lovelier or more lively little town than this.


I don’t know how many readers of this column are familiar with a prayer in which, roughly, one prays for the strength to change what needs to be changed, the resilience to put up with what can’t be altered, and the wisdom to know which things fall into which of these two categories.

Care costs

I wish I had a pound for every time that someone has come to one of my advice surgeries over the past 16 years with a complaint about the fact that they or someone in their family were worried about having to sell their house in order to pay for the cost of care in old age.

Horse Meat

Over uncomfortably many years of political life, I have come to understand that there is such a thing as “the story”. Just as there’s a fashion for mini skirts one year and long dresses another, so there are fashions in the national media – only these tend to last for days or weeks rather than months or years.


Any regular reader of this column will be more than aware of my enthusiasm for the Big Society. The spirit of voluntary and community effort – the spirit of social self-help – has always seemed to me one of the best features of Britain, and I continue to believe that mountains can often be moved by people working together for themselves and their neighbours, rather than waiting for “them” to “do something about it”.

Post Offices

For years and years, we have been seeing a gradual reduction in the number of them around the country – often with considerable, if unseen, effects on social networks in the villages and suburbs that the sub post offices so often served.


Although science has moved on a bit since the time of Aristotle, the Ancient Greeks were certainly on to something when they identified the four “elements” – earth, fire, air and water – as fundamental building blocks of our world. We would be pretty stuck without any one of these. And water is at least as important as each of the other three.


Amidst all the talk that one hears about the British economy, with its reference to big numbers and big concepts like “gross domestic product” and “fiscal balances”, it is easy to forget that it is, in the end, the skill and ingenuity of our people that enables us to compete and hence creates our wealth.