I write this sitting in a warm room in High East Street, drinking a cup of coffee and looking out at a Dorchester entirely covered in snow. It’s strange how these things strike you so differently, depending on your perspective.

Be Chancellor

The constituency mail bag of any MP is a remarkable phenomenon. You get letters of every imaginable (and some pretty unimaginable) kinds and you learn not to be surprised by anything – from the most heart-rending cases of individual injustices through to the most amazingly philosophical observations about the nature of things.


How many apprentices are there in West Dorset? 10? 100? Actually, I discover that the answer for the 2011/12 academic year, is actually nearer to 1000 — 860, to be precise. This is a rather encouraging situation. And we aren’t alone. It seems that Britain as a whole is at last beginning to catch up with Germany.

Mid Term Review

Christmas is Christmas – and this year, as in every other previous year I can remember, I took Christmas Day off entirely. But while other people were eating up the remains of turkey and Christmas pudding, I was very firmly back at work – preparing the Coalition Government’s Mid Term Review.

Literary & Scientific Institute update

Regular readers of this column, if there are any such, will recall me writing on several previous occasions over the years about the sad state of the Literary & Scientific Institute and about the splendid efforts that are being made by local volunteers to put together a comprehensive rescue plan for this marvellous old building.

A303 Dualling Campaign

About once every two weeks, I set off from London to West Dorset and travel along the A303. This happens whenever my first meeting happens to be in the north of my constituency. On other weeks, I set off from London and travel along the A31/A35. This happens when my first meeting is in the south of my constituency.

Hopes for 2013

For all sorts of reasons which everyone knows, 2012 has been a tough year for Britain (and indeed for most other parts of the world). There is no point in pretending that 2013 is suddenly going to produce unlimited quantities of milk and honey either. Many of the same issues that have faced us this year will still be posing challenges over the next 12 months, as we take action to reduce our national deficit, rebalance our economy, reform our public services and preserve our environment.