Brakespeare: Is this the ‘curse’ of Barclay as two MPs’ careers totter and I catch up with Hudson and the police gig

PUBLISHED: 23:26 07 September 2012 | UPDATED: 23:33 07 September 2012

Fenland District Council's mobile gym

Fenland District Council's mobile gym


LYNN and Diane emailed to tell me about a psychic day at March Town Hall but forgot to mention when it is being held.

Some of you, of course, can work it out yourselves. For lesser mortals, I’ve emailed them for the date.

IT is fair to say Fenland’s £260,000 mobile gym – paid for by some heavily endowed quango from the last Government – has never quite delivered all that it promised

But no matter for it will soon be history and the council will be £30,000 a year better off by not having to staff it.

“The mobile gym has moved to a location in Chatteris in readiness for the opening of the new Chatteris Leisure facility,” says a council report.

“The new position at Wood Street enables the leisure team to have a base to launch marketing and membership sales for Chatteris Leisure.

“This will encourage existing customers to venture to the site and customers will be able to see the new building, encouraging them to continue their active lifestyle in the new facility once the mobile gym project ends in September.”

I FELT it quite poignant that farm minister and SE Cambs MP Jim Paice only learned he was being sacked by the Prime Minister while on a visit to the Livestock 2012 show in Birmingham.

The minister had just announced a new voluntary code of practice for the dairy industry but Prime Ministers, when they sack you, have their own code!

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “It is a disappointment as Jim has been a good friend to the industry.”

Maybe, although he might hope the incoming minister will know the price of a pint of milk. Mr Paice fluffed the question when asked on Radio 4 earlier this year.

Whether neighbouring MP Steve Barclay from NE Cambs called Jim to offer condolences I couldn’t possibly say and am far too polite to inquire.

However, there was a definitely patronising tone to the conversation when Mr Barclay tried to engage with Mr Paice during a recent Commons debate on gangmasters.

There was also the curious reference by Mr Paice to Eastern European workers who earn enough “to buy cans of beer that they then consume outside somebody else’s house”.

An exasperated Mr Paice added: “They do not always fully understand British culture and ways of life.”

They’ll be even more baffled now if they try to understand Government re-shuffles.

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanology also lost out in the reshuffle after being sacked as justice minister by the Prime Minister.

He, too ,“has history” with NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay after refusing to countenance the case for keeping open Fenland magistrates court and closing it despite universal condemnation.

Mr Djanology may have incurred the pleasure of his constituents by keeping seemingly busy the white elephant of a court complex in Huntingdon ... but some may think the curse of Barclay has struck here, too.


Curse of Barclay?


ALWAYS reassuring to know how well we are being cared for so I was delighted to learn that Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet member for public health, Steve Tierney of Wisbech, has created a “cabinet advisory group” to look at emergency planning/disaster preparedness in the county.

Cambridge blogger Richard Taylor was invited to join him for a briefing and produced a fascinating account which is on line and worth a visit.

I liked the revelation by Richard that during the emergency planning briefing it emerged that Cllr Tierney had left his mobile phone at home.

“He has promised not to do so in the case of emergency,” quipped Richard.

NO mincing of words by Conservative councillor Clayton Hudson, who says he is “over the moon” John Pye quit as Tory candidate for police commissioner and that he “couldn’t believe the guy’s arrogance”.

Cllr Hudson said: “Let’s hope the new candidate is a Conservative member and the process for selection is open and transparent.

“Sorry he had to go. He wasn’t one of us but expected us to campaign and fund his election. When elected he would have ignored us.

“I tried to engage John on a number of occasions by email and phone – no reply. His record on Cambridgeshire Police Authority is appalling. Rank and file members didn’t know what they were voting for.”

And to rub his pleasure in further, Cllr Hudson – in a series of postings on Twitter- added that “as a colleague said, lets all forget about this loser and move on. It’s all Pye in the sky now. Fantastic news. Another one bites the dust.”

Cllr Hudson said he “finds blunt works” and hopes the party might consider rallying behind 70 year-old former MP Sir Graham Bright, once PPS to John Major. Sir Graham was among the shortlisted candidates when Mr Pye won the nomination.

Former county council leader Shona Johnstone, fresh from her courtroom battle over a cycling offence, is back in the fray. Hustings take place this weekend for a replacement.

Wisbech county councillor Samantha Hoy took to Twitter to point out that it was not Mr Pye’s fault Conservatives eventually felt unhappy with an independent candidate standing.

Conservative Central Office allowed it, she said, and “they are the baddies here, not him.”


Clayton Hudson

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