Labour’s choice, Olympic cost, Reg’s complaint, upmarket Soham and a touch of Spiritualism in Littleport

PETER Roberts, who was Labour’s candidate at the last election in NE Cambs, came second on Saturday in the contest to fight his party’s choice for the relatively more winnable seat of Cambridge.

In the end Labour opted for Daniel Zeichner who, curiously, came third at the last election, behind both the Lib Deb winner Julian Huppert and a Tory candidate.

What happens now is anyone’s guess with Mr Roberts feeling it’s “all too galling” and may not try again to become a candidate.

Not that Mr Zeichner has universal support from his party- Labour city councillor George Owers described him as a “terrible candidate” and he has “O per cent confidence in him.”

Cllr Owers even tweeted that “Daniel Zeichner does not deserve our time or effort” which seemed a strangely robust assessment.

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LESSER men might have packed up by now and gone to the pub but not so Reg Kemp.

For sometime Reg has insisted the process by which Councillor Bernard Keane was appointed town crier of March was unfair and he’s lodged a formal complaint to that affect.

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His gripe is that fellow councillors sat on the appointments panel and selected Cllr Keane over the alternative candidate Robert Freeman, the man who started the campaign in the first place for a town crier.

Mr Kemp says town council minutes record the fact “both candidates performed well in a crying test” but he’s far from happy as to how it was conducted.

“Mr Freeman contends that the so called crying test was held in an alleyway at the side of the town hall with no members of the public present and no equitable method of judging the respective merits of the two candidates,” says Mr Kemp.

Mr Kemp, who once served as a City of Ely councillor, believes the wrong man got the job and the matter is now with Fenland District Council who will pass judgement.

Oyez, oyez, oh crikey.

HAPPIEST news of the week was that five Cambridgeshire piglets destined for the Falklands arrived safe and well despite having to spend an unscheduled 24 hours in Chile following a snowstorm.

“Only three people have pigs on this island and it was clear that interbreeding was becoming a problem, because after a while, they are all related,” said Falklands farmer Andrez Short.

“They were showing the classic signs, including small litters”

Mr Short had tackled the problem in sheep by importing frozen semen but he conceded “pigs are a little different.”

YOU suspect there’s little chance of MP Steve Barclay being invited back into his former role with Barclays Bank should the Parliamentary job come to an end.

Mr Barclay, a lawyer, was director of regulatory affairs and then head of anti money laundering and sanctions at Barclays Retail Bank prior to entering Parliament as NE Cambs MP.

These days he’s to be found on the public accounts committee of the House of Commons scrutinising what went wrong banks and criticising the “current culture in British banks fuelled by a system where bonuses are paid to the individual but regulatory fines are usually imposed on firms.”

He accuses banks of placing “more value on short term profit at any time” and not treating customers fairly.

THE correspondent who popped a note through my door hinting at irregularities over the sale of two building plots really needs to provide me with more information. Likewise the correspondent concerned about possible footpath widening in Christchurch needs to explain to me in more detail of his or her concerns. Two unsolved curiosities.

POSSIBLE closure of two old people’s homes in Peterborough has caused a huge outcry and took up hours of airtime on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s breakfast show.

By far the most compelling moment was when presenter Paul Stainton concluded a live chat with council director Terry Rich. Here’s what happened.

“....because you’ve done this before in other places, haven’t you, closed care homes down?” Stainton inquired.

RICH: I’ve worked in a number of places where what I tried to do is to ensure that the resources available to the council were spent to the very best effect. .

STAINTON: Is that a yes?

RICH: Yes I have had to advise members on closing homes, and modernising services.

STAINTON: How many times have you done that, in different places?

RICH: How many care homes ..

STAINTON: How many different authorities have you worked for where you’ve been and advised people to close care homes down?

RICH: Um. In three.

STAINTON: Terry, I think we’ve got a full picture now of exactly what is going on with the care home closures. Terry Rich, Director of Adult Social Care at Peterborough City Council, for now.

Because he is on a temporary contract

I OFFER with little by way of encouragement or chastisement the news that “founders of Littleport’s first Spiritualist’s Church start new venture with ordination of Littleport resident Nick Brown.”

On Sunday and for two hours from 3.30pm the village hall will reverberate to spiritualism as the new church holds its “inaugural divine service with mediumship.”

The new group says its want to promote Spiritualism and reach out to all denominations.

So if you fancy an hour or so communicating with the spirits of people who have died don’t say you have been told where and when to do so.

A NICE alliterative aside from solicitor Brian Bowser, whose firm Bowser, Ollard and Bentley was a sponsor of the Fenland Building Design Awards.

He opened the envelope to reveal the winner as Cobblestones and quipped of the appropriateness of “a Bowser giving an award to a boozer.”

YOU have to wonder why stiff fines and confiscation of vehicles fails to deter hare coursers.

Take the recent case of five men from Sussex and with 70 previous convictions each several hundred pounds each – and their Mercedes taken off them- after being caught hare coursing at Hale Fen, Littleport.

Cambridge magistrate David Bredin told them to “let this be a lesson to you, poaching is regarded as a very serious offence in this county.”

Fat chance of that for as they left the courtroom they shouted they’d be back.

A CORRESPONDENT adds a belated comment to the controversy over Methodist minister Sara Cliff who continued to be a councillor in Lincoln despite moving to Soham.

“I haven’t really an opinion on the rights or wrongs of it but it was the Daily Mail description of her moving to ‘upmarket Soham’ that made me smile,” he wrote.

I tend to agree. Soham may be many things – wise, charming, rural, disarming- but upmarket?

COMFORTING news from Cambridgeshire Council and Cambridge City Council that they were �40,000 under budget after the cost of bringing the Olympic flame to the city came in at just �110,000.

County councillor Martin Curtis of Whittlesey and the Cabinet member for Olympics issued a joint statement with his Cambridge counterpart worked out that with 120,000 witnessing the events in Cambridge this worked out at 91p a head.

They claimed the “money represented excellent value and will create a legacy which will be priceless in the years ahead.”

So that’s all right then. Bound to be popular in Ely, Chatteris, Soham, March, Wisbech and Whittlesey which didn’t get a sniff of the flame.

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