coffee-splashNothing starts a Saturday morning better than a cup of coffee (decaf for me) a slice of home made carrot cake and  a chat with good friends!

So this Morning was superb as far s I was concerned.

My long suffering wife Shona is the current Chairman of the Harlow Conservative Ladies Committee, and they organise lots of social and fundraising events.

This morning they organised a Coffee and Chat morning followed by some door knocking and leaflet delivery.

It always amazes me the diversity of Harlow Conservatives and this shows in the conversation from the obvious about our MP Robert Halfon and his fight against the illegal encampments plaguing Harlow at the moment to the Formula One Championship to Strictly come Dancing. Believe it or not people interested in Politics really can be normal!

KnockoutLast night we held a fundraising dinner for our superb MP Robert Halfon.

Joining us were Eric Pickles and his lovely wife and Frank Bruno.

Frank spoke very openly and honestly about his struggles with mental health issues  and how he now keeps his body and mind fit.

Eric covered a wide range of topics including how he is changing planning law to deal with travellers – something the whole audience was very interested in!

Rob gave a barnstorming speech, covering the campaigns he has successfully led around petrol duty and hospital parking fees and showed just what a great MP he has become with some insightful thoughts about the state of the country.

My wife won (in my view)the best prize of the night in the raffle:gloves

 

Here is my Party Leaders piece in the Harlow Star this week:

After four years of Conservative control Harlow Council is delivering more for less, plugging the financial black holes that Labour left us and trying to make the town a better place to live and work. Under Conservative control, we have frozen Council Tax for the last three years – it doubled under ten years of Labour.

We have preserved the future of our community services, doubled recycling levels to over 50%, renegotiated the Kier contract to provide better service and more than £4m savings, and we are investing £20,000 pounds to improve landscaping and tackle litter hotspots in each ward – we are committed to investing in our local community.

That’s why after decades of neglect we secured £3 million investment in the cemetery and crematorium. To promote jobs, supported by Robert Halfon MP, we were chosen as one of 19 places in the country for an enterprise zone – creating up to 5,000 jobs. We also successfully secured £3.5m to upgrade the roads to support this.

Through working hard for residents and protecting our community services the Council has been shortlisted as one of the best performing in the country and nominated for a community investor award – we run an achieving Council that local people can be proud of. Nobody appreciates people who stand for office and sit on the fence.

Labour is fighting this election with no manifesto, no alternative budget and no ideas for how they would run our town. This is a very dangerous position – with no budget or plan to save the community services Labour would therefore have to close them.

Residents deserve an Administration that are passionate about getting things done to improve our community. My Conservative colleagues and I have a clear record of delivery on all the key issues faced by our town.

You might have seen David Cameron responding to our MP Robert Halfon at Prime Ministers Questions the other day, about Harlow being the best place in the country for business growth.

Jokingly the Prime Minister said “The only way is Essex!”

But he is not wrong, as Amy Childs points out in the Sun, talking about his comment, Essex is a business powerhouse and things are moving in the right direction here, actually helped by Amy and her Towie friends.

Do people still take the mick a bit? Yes.

Are we ashamed of Essex? No!

And frankly if others want to laugh and perpetuate rubbish about Essex just because of petty mindedness, whilst we storm ahead economically, then let them…………..cos obviously they are just well jell!

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow has been calling for the FA board to resign following the disgraceful England performance at the world cup.

It has been picked up locally here by the Harlow Star, by the BBC here and even by the Daily Mail here

Rob, who is a season ticket holder at Chelsea, makes some interesting points, particularly about making the FA more democratic, and the ability for Fans to remove the board.

I can actually see his idea working.

Official England supporters could in effect become the shareholders of the FA. Imagine how many more fans would pay to be members of the supporters club if they had a vote on who was sat on the board of the FA. Imagine if it was elected who would be there….

I can see Trevor Brooking surviving as he seems universally respected by fans as the only member of the FA who actually “gets it” but in an open election how many of the others would survive? I would bet not many.

So who would end up running the FA in those situations? Well I can see heads of some clubs supporters clubs getting large block votes, and maybe some ex professional footballers as well, but would other sports stars and ex managers be able to bring their expertise to the FA? I think they would.

I think elections to the Board of the FA would reconnect the FA to the fans, to the grassroots, it would also give the board much more “clout” and probably guts to make some tough decisions.

I really do think Rob Halfon is on to something here.