Now it’s local…..

Driving around our Island, you can’t help but notice the number of pubs that are boarded up or at best short of customers.

Earlier in 2008 we were told that those who didn’t like smokey old bars would flock to them when smoking was banned, that appears not to have been the case and the increasing economic pressures have made it impossible for the likes of The Wishing Well, The Colwell Bay and the Plough and Barleycorn to survive – and while driving around in the evenings there are many more which seem to close after about 9.30pm. This might not seem like much at first glance but it takes on a degree of importance in very rural areas with few or no other gathering places.

Take Newchurch Parish as an example; odd and very old covenants on the land mean that only one pub is allowed in the area (corrections welcome!), and I now hear that even this is under threat from an over-zealous brewery who want a rent increase of some 50%!


Pic from Matt and Cat

The pub in the spotlight here is The Pointer Inn in Newchurch itself; yes, the one which has just won an award for the Island Dining Pub of the Year for the second year running. The Pointer is the very best of breed providing a real public bar for those looking for a drink and a seperate, busy restaurant for those in need of a quality meal. Balancing the two needs is not easy (yes, I do have pub experience, both sides of the bar) and Nathan and staff do an excellent job which deserves our full support. It’s a real shame that Messrs Gale and Co seem intent on making life impossible for them by demanding such an increase.

I’m really not sure what difference my small voice can make but I’ll try. Publicity can only help and I again draw your attention to what may be the last event at the pub – Public Star Gazing, 25th Jan 2009.

Please support your local if you can as, in the words of Joni Mitchell, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone..

In this case “support” doesn’t mean spending loads of cash, it does though mean making a fuss! we have a community in Newchurch and surrounding areas, and it makes no sense for us to lose something valuable. Please join me in protesting about this unfairness, sign petitions, write to the brewery, complain to your councillors…. whatever! I love my local and I’d like to see you in there too!

What’s Under Your Feet?

I suppose this is a case of severe cold war paranoia – the BBC website has a very interesting section about the underground complex beneath Corsham in Wiltshire – take a look at it here.

The very fact that all this has been revealed must now mean I can freely talk about going there many years ago. In fact I went with two employers; first the Southern Electricity Board to visit the underground substations and second, with Emerson Electric servicing/repairing the UPS system in one of the comms/radar rooms. Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact location or zone.

The second visit was the strangest as I arrived by lift, about 3 or 4 storeys down I guess, and was greeted by the surreal sight of about 6 RAF bods, all in full uniform, sitting some 50-100ft underground staring at what looked like radar screens!

You could almost their thoughts “..and to think, I joined the RAF to see the world..”

It’s an interesting read and well worth half an hour..

Freedom of Information?

Just spotted this quote on the BBC site:

“Public money is limited and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure it is not unduly diverted from supporting the delivery of frontline services”
Baroness Ashton
Information Rights Minister.

This is to do with suggested changes to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act which is our only way to real find out what these people are doing in our name. Ministers want to limit the amount of resources spent on FOI requests to £600 – including officials’ time.
So, now:

  • When we want to know something the limit is £600,
  • When they want to tell us something, the limit is 10,000.

Whatever next?

In the wrong business…

Today the BBC is reporting that MPs will be eligible for £10,000 each which they can spend to develop websites to boost “public understanding” of parliament – Full report.

Well listen up guys; we already do understand it and we’re not that impressed!

Search UK Google for “How parliament works” and you get about 16,200 hits. First on the list is UK Parliament – How Parliament Works and surprise, surprise it explains how the system works!

The second Google hit is an Amazon advert for a book on the subject and the third is an advert for a training course to learn all about it for £485!

A fair way down the first page, bottom in fact, is a link to one Liberal Democrat’s website – Roger Williams and there he explains things, with the aid of pictures, rather better than the first hit.

I suggest taxpayers insist all that is required is one central “portal”, well advertised and connecting to a page for each MP to blow his/her own trumpet. After all there are only 646 of them and I am sure that one 650ish page site would be a lot cheaper than a potential bill for almost £6.5 Million!

Tell you what, I’ll host it for £100,000 pounds per year!

Email me at for details 😉