Today is Harlow’s birthday!

65 years ago today Harlow was formally designated a new town, as part of the government’s scheme to relieve overcrowding in post war London.

Celebrations kicked off in the Gibberd Gallery (which for those who don’t know, is the largest free entry gallery space in Essex) on friday evening, with the creation of a large “65” sculpture and dramtic performances from Livewire.

Today in the town park, along with the Sport Relief run, there were donkey rides and birthday cake (cut by the Council Chairman Mike Garnett) and generally fun for all. We also gave out maps of some of the more interesting features in Halrlow, like the bench where a soviet agent was caught handing over classified material during the cold war, or the details of the first ever residential tower block. Lots happened in historic Harlow.

And lots is happening in modern Harlow too! We may be feeling the age a bit, but underneath, the town in raring to go for the next 65 years!


I went up to Cambridge last night to participate in the BBC One show Our Economy.

The show gathered a panel of 20 experts, business men and women, entrepreneurs, academics and politicians from the region to talk about the economic outlook, and what we were each doing to help the economy.

I was proud to be there representing Harlow, particularly as it has been revealed that Harlow is the most economically prosperous town in the UK, fighting back with the strongest business growth in the UK.

Its great that Harlow is managing to produce so many new businesses, which is partly down to our great location; nestled between London and Cambridge next to two motorways and with the airport just up the road. But it is also due to the Council’s business friendly attitude, and our desire to work with the business community.

It’s really pleasing to see a Council Policy that I insisted on bearing fruit.

I spotted on ConHome that James Cleverly has been elected leader of the Conservative Group on the London Assembly.

Well done to James who regularly blogs here.

I met James last year in the General Election, when he pitched up on a saturday morning to help get Rob Halfon elected in Harlow. Despite arriving as both phones were ringing, the printing machine and folding machine clattering away he was not phased and was happy to be loaded down with leaflets and a map and hit the streets quickly – for that alone he had my thanks and respect, but having read his blog and followed him on twitter since he seems a

Watching the News on Saturday Evening I was of course interested in the TUC march through London and some of the views expressed by the people interviewed.

There were plenty of people who were carrying placards clearly calling for “No Cuts” and it seems even Ed Milliband was booed by the crowd when he talked about the Cuts Labour would have made.

What enraged me and, as it turns out, most of my friends who I have spoken to about it is the number of people at the march who really believe that there is no need to make cuts, and when asked what alternative, they offered “Higher Taxes” as a response.

I can asssure you now that if the Government took the attitude that the only way out to balance the budget was to increase taxes dramatically we would not be debating if it was 250,000 or 400,000 people at the march – it would be millions and millions!

Hard pressed tax payers in this country don’t often protest or scream and shout, most of the workforce just gets on with it and pays their tax, but if any Government was to follow the advice of the TUC and their buddies then the Silent Majority in this land would, I am sure, clamour to the streets to make their voice heard.

And that’s why I don’t put much store in the protests of the Left on Saturday. The Unions are only just realising that they lost the last election and now its time for some common sense in the economy. Thankfully we don’t live in a country where the person who shouts the loudest gets their way – we live in a democracy.

My attention has been drawn to this article published yesterday.

Now Bill and I have fought elections on opposing sides for some 12 years, and I bear him no ill will; So well done on getting a job in a sector that you have always been passionate about Bill, education.

However from Harlow to Plymouth is by my estimation a 5 hour car journey each way or about the same by train, having to negotiate London on the tube too.  So I don’t think it would be a realistic daily commute…

Perhaps Bill intends on a weekly commute? Joining the raft of people who work away from home during the week and see their family at the weekend.

Or perhaps we are to lose “Harlow Boy” Bill from Harlow all together….

That would be a sad day for the Harlow Labour Party, since Bill has been their backbone for many years.

I wish Bill good luck in his new Job, but should I be wishing him good luck for a new life and maybe in a few years time a new parliamentary seat???