There's still positive work going on in Parliament
I and many others were appalled by the viciousness of some Tory MPs toward their own PM in media reports last weekend.
Phrases such as “sticking the knife in and twisting” and “she should bring her own noose” was an excessively brutal use of language toward anyone let alone your own party leader.
So there was a certain irony in that the pushback to such grotesque language is Theresa May appears to have acquired a bit of a breathing space the last few days. You reap what you sow.
Meetings with ministers: Alongside the fierce Brexit sound and fury which characterises so much of Westminster discourse these days, other business still goes on.
I had three particularly constructive meetings this week and two were with government ministers. The first was to try and ameliorate the impact of the DWP’s changes to mortgage interest benefit. Though I’ve always been clear I thought the change were unnecessary, its important to do what I can to try and ease the impact.
And to be fair the minister listened to my proposals as well as updating me on more recent steps his department was taking to ensure vulnerable claimants were identified and helped. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it shows that even in the current febrile political climate, some positive work carries on.
Another was with a treasury minister who I have been liaising with for months now over my ongoing initiative to change provision for the over 75s who are not being allowed to continue with interest-only mortgages. I am hosting an event in Westminster shortly for the major banks and building societies, with the objective of making an announcement on new interest-only mortgages for older borrowers.
All this came about because of the difficulty some local residents had experienced. In resolving their specific problem - always my priority - but I then discovered it was a nationwide problem.
Consequently I’ve been working with the trade body, UK Finance, to try and resolve it. I’ve also kept the responsible treasury minister informed and he’s been supportive of what I am trying to achieve.
The truth of it is that governing needs people who will listen and, if necessary, compromise for a greater good. Some people do this and some people don’t. A famous US Speaker of the House of Representatives once said “all politics is personal” and he was right.
It can be a negative or a positive and depends on the personalities concerned. I know some government ministers who will cross a road to pick a fight and, unsurprisingly, that’s what they’re always having.
Others are more collegiate. My own observation, having been involved in politics now for 16 years, is that when people are prepared to talk to each other, to actually listen to each other’s position, and then agree to work together for a mutually agreed outcome, more gets done.
When they aren’t, nothing does! The challenge of politics when it becomes a zero sum game of winner takes all is - well - we can all see where that leads. I believe the majority of people want more than that from their politicians.
Great local cobblers: Many of you will know, I am sure, the excellent cobblers shop which has been based in Eastbourne Railway Station for decades.
John’s the owner and he’s been doing my shoes brilliantly for 16 years and, trust me, I go through an awful lot of shoe leather in my job!
A few months ago because of the refurbishment at the station, his shop was moved to the opposite end of the concourse, where the vehicle drop-offs now are and the ladies loo used to be.
I’m flagging this because when I swung by the other day to pick up two pairs of shoes he’d re-soled, John told me business was still down by about 35 per cent since the move because many of his old customers thought he’d closed.
This is just wrong so I am determined to do all I can to drive trade back his way. He is a skilled local craftsman who has been in the business for 40 years, as his father was before him. It’s a high quality service and the key cutting is at least 20 per cent cheaper than the High Street equivalent.
So dear readers of the Herald, if you used to get John to fix your shoes (or keys) before but don’t now his old shop is closed - it isn’t - it’s just moved 50 yards. And if you’ve never used his services before, I recommend him personally. Top man.
Caring for Eastbourne: My street litter-pick last week went well I’m pleased to say.
Thirty three people turned out to help, for which I am very grateful.
The campaign is called Caring for Eastbourne and I plan to roll it out across a whole range of areas and issues over the next twelve months.
It’s our town, it’s where we live and we love it. So let’s keep celebrating all that is good about Eastbourne.
That’s it folks. Have a great weekend and I hope to see you around town.