BRAKESPEARE: Vagaries of political life, Googling a porn star by accident and new leader’s thoughts on all sorts of things

COPING well, it seems, with the vagaries of politics is Whittlesey councillor Martin Curtis seen here enjoying a spot of white water rafting on Tuesday – on the day he might have been engaged elsewhere!

Martin’s drive to become leader of Cambridgeshire County Council hit the rails on Friday after he was defeated by Fulbourn businessman Nick Clarke.

So while the latter, on Tuesday, was delivering the make up of his new Cabinet (that happily included Martin) Martin was busy elsewhere in his role as a board member of Nations and Regions East, responsible for delivery for Olympic delivery in the eastern region.

He popped off to the Lee Valley Regional Park, which stretches 26 miles along the banks of the River Lee, from Ware in Hertfordshire, through Essex, to the Thames at East India Dock Basin for the opening of their white water centre.

The centre will be the venue for canoeing in the Olympics and Martin was delighted


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“the venue has been completed on time and on budget and is the only Olympic venue that will be open to the public ahead of the games.”

One of the ways the centre will make money is through white water rafting and how better to shake off the politic maelstrom by getting wet and having a go himself.

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“I got very wet, and had a nice swim after falling out the raft on one occasion,” he says.

“But I loved it and would recommend it to anyone.”

Whether he would recommend politics to anyone, however, he wouldn’t say.

AS for the new county council leader himself, Brakespeare is already an avid fan- if only for the expectation Cllr Clarke has created of memorable quotes.

Trawling the archives of the new leader’s own blog I offer this handful of thoughts in the sincere belief they will be seriously added to in coming months.

On CIVIL LIBERTIES: “I think we as a nation are behaving like a lobster in the pan. The cold water was added and then the heat increased slowly and we have not noticed what is going on.”

On REGULATION: “There is too much of it in many areas and not enough in others.”

On the PUBLIC SECTOR: “Is tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo big. I have seen bloated public sectors in other countries. They are normally called the social democratic republic of ……and are normally not socialist, democratic or run well.”

On EUROPE: “I do not wish to be governed by Europe or be subjected to European law and regulation. I do not want to be part of a socialist dominated federal state of Europe.”

On PRISONER VOTES: “People who break the law should not be in a position to make the law.”

On LIB DEMS: “I can only think that is in the DNA of the Lib Dems to complain and moan about most things yet when asked to stand up and take the tough decisions they wobble and abstain.”

On BUDGETING: “Every time a petition is handed in demanding a service is retained the question must always be ‘so what service are you prepared to lose to make up the shortfall and would that be fair?”

And also on BUDGETING: “However painful it may be it is now long overdue to match spending with revenue, not spending with political social engineering. A bit of the old Thatcher handbag swinging is required to balance the budget.”

FENLAND, of course, hasn’t done particularly well out of the new leader’s Cabinet changes but we always have Councillor Samantha Hoy from Wisbech to cheer us up.

Political intrigue may be fine for some but for Sam, at 24 the youngest county councillor, there are more important issues such as a spare cat!

“Anyone in fenland want a cat, doesn’t get on with other cats but is lovely towards other cats,” she ‘tweeted’ on Tuesday.

Was this the same cat that featured in her Twitter stream the previous day which has “just bought a live bird in.” It was pretty grim.”

A LADY from ITV rings to ask if I can help put her in touch with the secretary of the Fenland Ditch Snorkelling Club.

It seems a comment on Facebook that such a club exists prompted her curiosity and she assured me there were plenty of references to it via the internet.

Brakespeare found the ‘source’ she alluded to, which describes how “people snorkel and swim up courses that are laid out among the drainage ditches. Since the ditches are extremely muddy, the participants must wear a mask to protect their eyes.

“Because of this, competitors have very poor visibility and oftentimes injuries may occur.”

I promised to call her when I had more news.

It might be a long wait.

EVER thought politicians like the sound of their own voices too much?

Fenland Council Leader Alan Melton seems to be taking an enhanced view of his own voice by believing we might pay to hear it!

He’s signed up to sing, as it happens, as part of a project called ‘Sing for Heroes’ and run in conjunction with the Peterborough Male Voice Choir.

The tale starts in February as Alan drove into Peterborough and spotted an advertising board asking for 40 men who had never sung to come forward.

The challenge would be to undertake training and take part in a concert with Leslie Garrett at the Broadway Theatre on July 16.

The idea is to raise �10,000 For “Help for Heroes” the charity that cares for disabled service personal and families wounded or killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The idea, so to speak, struck a cord with Alan who phoned up, took part in a voice test, and became one of the 40 chosen to take part (80 applied).

“We have taken part in two concerts so far, with rehearsals continuing right up until July 16,” he tells me.

16th July,

“I am thoroughly enjoying this. I still pinch myself as I can’t believe I am doing this.

“I am not sure whether I shall stay on with the main choir after July, but if we can raise the �10,000 I shall be very happy.”

WHILST Cllr Melton’s voice is likely to be heard in the oddest of places, I fear we shall be hearing much less of his predecessor’s.

Former leader Geoff Harper, still a county councillor but standing down as a district councillor, is planning to retire to Stamford.

PLENTY of folk, though, still coming into Fenland- and who knows a forthcoming feature by a national newspaper may help.

The Guardian is the latest paper to feature the Fens as it prepares to hand over its regular ‘Lets Move to….” slot to Wisbech.

Expect the usual pros and cons to figure and it will be interesting to see if Guardian readers in the town have contributed to the request to tell the paper of their favourite haunts or pet hates about the town.

Who knows if the pros heavily out number the cons then Fenland Council may have to reconsider its closure decision for the town’s tourist information centre.

YOUNG sports colleague Gavin Caney got a shock this week

after thinking his best sport story involved a porn star!

The enthusiastic novice decided to use the power of

Google to research the life of Mandy Fisher – a true

legend of women’s snooker.

He tells me he simply typed the words ‘Mandy Fisher’

into Google and was met with a shed load of returns

containing words that are not suitable for a family paper.

Apparently he didn’t visit the smutty adult websites,

preferring to add ‘snooker’ to his search to find the Mandy

Fisher he was looking for.

He admitted his faux pax to Ms Fisher while interviewing her

after she laughingly told him she’d been warned about the issue

by a friend who had encountered the same problem.

I’m still yet to establish the real reason why he skipped into work

with a smile on his face the next day.

He tells me it was simply because he had a good night’s sleep.

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