This year will be a busy year politically, with a general election (where Sir David Amess MP will be seeking his eight consecutive election victory – congratulations on the knighthood David, thoroughly deserved for one of the most dedicated constituency MPs in the country) and a local election where I will, for the first time, be seeking re-election.
I never like to judge elections – the public make their minds up on any number of things, just like they should, but it does concern me that European matters might spill over into local elections – whether I’m ‘for’ or ‘against’ Europe, immigration or scrapping the Department for Culture Media and Sport, seems of little relevance given I am standing for local government. I hope to be judged on the contributions and support I have given the residents of Blenheim, the decisions I have made and the wider impact I had across the town, particularly towards education in the two years I was in the Cabinet responsible for Children and Learning (more on that as the election approaches no doubt).
It is wonderful to see the only other declared candidate for Blenheim Park (that I am aware of) is young, keen and may even try to beat me on the geek (but not Gleek) stakes too. Therefore there will be, no doubt, a nice cross section of ages across the ward for residents to speak to. Let’s hope there is at least one woman and the full spectrum of parties as well.
I will no doubt significantly increase my knocking on doors over the next few months – something that I am always uneasy about as I don’t like to disturb people from going about their day to day routine. This does not mean I don’t speak to residents though! Unlike a number of my colleagues, from all sides of the chamber, I run a monthly surgery (indeed it was one of my election pledges) in the ward at the West Area Housing Office on Mendip Crescent on the first Saturday of every month.
My surgery on 3rd January 2015 (10:30 – 12noon) will be the 42nd surgery I have run (out of a possible 43 as I was ill once), I look forward to seeing residents there and on dates too (7th Feb, 7th March, 4th April and hopefully(!) 9th May).
Many people consider surgeries as quite an old fashioned way to be in touch with residents – I agree, but it is sometimes nice to speak face to face about issues – therefore residents can also contact me by phone: 01702 212870 or email: email@example.com which must be where I get 90% of my contact with residents from these days.
Happy New Year to all the residents of Blenheim Park, I look forward to speaking to you in the forthcoming year.