Friday, 11 January 2013


All public figures, whether they are reviled or held in reverence, seem to think the world's collective breath is held until they go public with a New Year Message. So, why should I be different? Here goes. "Ignore the alarm. Pull the duvet up over your head. Pray for January to pass." T.S. Elliot wrote, "April is the cruellest month." But he didn't live in Wisbech, or if he did, he kept very quiet about it.


Well, we have an election on January 17th. The FDC seat for Hill Ward is vacant, following the death of much-respected local man, Bruce Wegg. Crossing swords are:

SAMANTHA HOY (Con) Sam is an engaging character who works hard for the town. Some might wonder why she wants to be a 'triple-hatter', that is, someone who holds office at Town, District and County level, but that is her business. Her great strength is that she will admit when she is wrong, and the words,"fair point" come easily to her, unlike certain other local demigods for whom such an admission comes as easy as pulling out their own teeth with a mole wrench.

DEAN REEVES (Lab) Dean is an ebullient and tough fellow, who says he is 'a civil servant'. If that conjures up someone who sits in an office and pushes paper, then think again. Dean works at 'the sharp end'. I will not elaborate, but he does a job which puts him face to face with some of society's most intractable problem areas. Dean is a committed family man who would be a much needed 'fresh face' in local politics.

JOHN WHITE (Ind) I know very little about John, except that he is Wisbech 'through and through'. I met him briefly when we were setting up the 'WIN' project (of which more later) and he struck me as very 'old school', as straight as a die, and someone who scorns the local party bitching, and just wants the very best for the town he loves.

OH, YES….I am not ignoring the fact that Bruce Wegg's death also left a vacancy on Wisbech Town Council. You will forgive me if I do not waste column inches on that particular witches' brew. I don't know the full details of why Erbie Murat was suspended as Town Clerk, but a local paper suggests that it was as a result of "personality clashes" between himself and someone who purports to be something called "The Beadle". I worked for forty years in large organisations. I had "personality clashes" every now and again, but we were professionals. The job came first, and we got on with it, and good management meant that anyone who forget that simple mantra didn't last too long. So, if you want to be a member of Wisbech Town Council, then best of luck to you. But don't expect local people to take you seriously.

WE LIVE IN HARD TIMES. Hard times usually require hard measures in response. 2013 sees the establishment of a Food Bank, to help the destitute and hungry in the town. Concerned local people are setting up a Credit Union to try to combat the disgusting rise of Payday Loan firms, which prey on the vulnerable, but are much admired by certain local politicians. Now we have another volunteer organisation, which tries to help those from a business and professional background who have learnt the hard way, that we are NOT 'all in this together'. This press release has been provided by my colleague, Mike Stannard.

Business and Professional Job Club.

When you lose a professional or a business position, you begin the fall. How far are you prepared to go? Have you thought about this, or are you just tumbling out of control, hoping for the best?
Recession is a hard time to find work. There are lots of very attractive people out there and the ones in work always seem to get there first.
Everyone who has been let go has a tale to tell, and, more important, everyone has dreams to fulfil.
Being unemployed places enormous stress on families.
Mortgage, car, holiday, food, tax: bills, come in whether you are in work or not.

We want to hear from you!

We can offer other people in the same boat. And we can listen carefully.
As you try and reboot, we can offer the support of a Wisbech organisation which is well respected and which can network brilliantly and give you that vital recommendation (if you are worth it).
As a business or professional person, you might like to get back into your previous sort of employment, or you might like to branch out a bit. You may still have dreams.
You won't fulfil those dreams by yourself: you need other people to network with. And meeting other people in the same situation can be very helpful.
Business and professional people only.

Wednesdays, Rosmini Centre, Queen's Road, Wisbech, 10-12 noon