Big Society Celebrated – Andrew Stunell MP Lays First Brick On Affordable Housing Project

Andrew Stunell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Communities and Local Government with responsibilities for Housing and the Big Society laid the first brick in the Lyvennet Community Trust's affordable housing project.

Andrew Stunell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Communities and Local Government with responsibilities for Housing and the Big Society laid the first brick in the Lyvennet Community Trust's affordable housing project.

Tuesday 19th July – Crosby Ravensworth enjoyed a ministerial visit from Andrew Stunell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Communities and Local Government with responsibilities for Housing and the Big Society. The rain held off as this personable gentleman laid the first brick in the Lyvennet Community Trust‘s affordable housing project. He spoke at length with members of the community about the project and was clearly impressed by the dedication, determination and drive demonstrated by Mr. David Graham, Chair of the LCT and the others members of the trust involved in having achieved so much.

David discussed the plans with the MP and Mr. Gordon Nicholson before the commemorative brick was laid.

David discussed the plans with the MP and Mr. Gordon Nicholson before the commemorative brick was laid.

There was a nice crowd and friendly atmosphere at the ceremonial brick-laying

After celebratory applause and photography Andrew walked with the crowd up to The Butcher’s Arms community pub. Here he was met in the doorway by a lad with a spade who’d paused to take a breather – the volunteers had been hard at it. Andrew inspected progress and was full of praise for the hardworking volunteers’ efforts, he then delivered a very encouraging speech in the soon-to-be completed bar area. In the course of his speech he remarked upon the exemplary nature of the project, the importance of maintaining the pub as the heart of the community and as service hub and the delightful scenery which he felt sure would be powerfully attractive to visiting patrons, of which, he declared, he expected to be one!

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Election 2010: Change is in the air

Paxton’s Perspective: My hope is that in 2010 New Labour will be old news

Electioneering is in full swing at the moment and we are again being presented with some important political choices. If the last general election in the UK was viewed in terms of an intelligence test, I’d see it overall as a collective failure of epic proportions. I’m happy to say that Penrith and the borders did well with David MacLean, even though the country at large has been saddled with four more years of Labour government that it could ill afford and is now facing an £167 billion national debt* as a consequence of a government that appeared to be working hard spending money on overseas problems at the expense of our local issues. I think that this policy of distraction has run its course and we should expect a better quality of engagement with matters of local and regional significance.

Rory Stewart Rally in Appleby

Rory Stewart, sensible pledges delivered succinctly and persuasively

So when I saw Rory Stewart climb on top of his vehicle in Appleby’s Boroughgate yesterday and speak about rebuilding strong communities, I was pleased to hear his election pledges. Though he touched upon the painful decline of rural services under labour misrule, he didn’t dwell upon that unpleasantness as long as he could have done, but instead focused upon the potential for turn-around and positive changes to come under better governance. He promised to promote better rural services, health care and emergency services. He promised to strengthen the rural economy and support farmers, sustainable tourism and all other local businesses. He promised to listen to the electorate and be accessible to us through regular surgeries. Music to my ears. He didn’t waste a lot of time in empty yakking, but his succinct speech struck home. Our prospective MP for the Conservative party came across as positive thinking, vigorous, dynamic and sensible. My impression was entirely positive; he seems a sincere and wholesome character, a man of integrity that I’d trust to represent me in Westminster.

We need people of Rory Stewart’s calibre and integrity in government. It will take men and women of accomplishment and intelligence to restore confidence and rebuild a sturdier social infrastructure.

Please can we have a government that works for us? A government that supports local industry, local agriculture, local services and local businesses? Can we have a foreign office that is unashamedly energetic and assertive in promoting British interests internationally, please? A discriminating government that won’t sacrifice local environmental concerns through eco-pornography, but will be supportive of effective and lasting local and international wildlife habitat conservation measures. A government that values landscape protection because it recognizes the intrinsic value of scenic beauty.
I want a Chairman of The Bank of England that recognizes the value of collateral in his lending policy! It has, after all, been the corner-stone of bank lending policy since the Renaissance. The mishandling of Northern Rock proves to my mind that The Bank of England can’t be trusted to serve independently.

I want a government that doesn’t gag the BBC and doesn’t choke us to death with bureaucracy – that’s what I want. I want our government to be open to good ideas from abroad. No repeats of the Foot and Mouth Fiasco, The Dutch have model methods to handle Foot and Mouth outbreaks. I think our Labour government handled the issue very poorly.

I don’t want a bunch of self-important, champagne swilling, neomarxist postmodernists dominating our corridors of power for the next four years.

My hope is that in 2010 New Labour will be old news – only in the land of the blind can the one-eyed man be king and I’m hoping that the British electorate will be going into this election with all eyes wide open. Our votes count and I’m voting for change. I’ve had a bellyful of oily spin doctors.

*BBC News 22/04/10