Mayor out of favour maybe, MP looking for pastures new maybe and we’ve ‘lost 15,000 people, maybe

BACK from his foreign travels it was, as always, a joy to catch up with Wisbech Mayor Jonathan Farmer even though some might think the edge has been removed from one of his public positions.

He’s now deputy chairman of a new tourism committee with March councillor Mike Cornwell appointed chairman. Until now Cllr Farmer had chaired a tourism sub committee of Cabinet.

“It is nice I suppose to chair things,” he tells me. “But it’s hardly the end of world. I don’t actually care that much and it won’t make much difference at all.”

Cllr Farmer did, of course, lessen his popularity among the ruling elite with his outspoken views on the taxi rank on Horsefair but heaven forbid if demotion is the punishment. He must surely have been expecting worse!

OFF to pastures new is MP Steve Barclay who began his political attachment to NE Cambs by firstly living in March, then Chatteris and now, I learn, near Tydd Giles.

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Domiciled in the north of the constituency does lend one to assume Mr B will be looking for selection as candidate for the newly created Wisbech and Downham Market seat once the Parliamentary boundary changes are put in place.

MP for South West Norfolk is Liz Truss who might have been a potential opponent but I doubt her views on the ‘turnip Taliban’ prior to the last election will curry much favour with the Fenland Conservatives.

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MARCH has been delightfully graced for the past year with Bernard Keane as mayor and so it affords me considerable pleasure to advise of a charity horse race evening he’s hosting and to which all of you are invited to buy tickets.

The �10 a head ticket includes a two course meal of sausage and mash followed by crumble and custard and all served up at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel in March.

The Lions will, I suspect, be hosting the racing element on February 18 and the evening starts at 7pom with the first race at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available from the town hall or from the hotel reception.

QUITE a few thousand people appear to have gone ‘missing’ in Cambridgeshire and county council leader Nick Clarke is keen to find out where they all are.

“In November 2011 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published indicative population estimates based on a revised method for estimating long term immigration,” he says.

“This has resulted in the population estimate for Cambridgeshire for mid 2010 being revised down by some 15,000, mainly due to the reduction in the population of Cambridge City. Can this be true?

“It seems that it is the method that is disputed.”

Cllr Clarke is following up his concerns which he says has a huge impact on finances particularly for Cambridge city.

WAS it only last year that Sam Hoy was in the final of the young people of the year awards for some of Cambridgeshire’s best and brightest?

Her latest accolade is for something altogether weightier as she has won recognition and nomination from county council leader Nick Clarke who has entered the Wisbech councillor into a national award.

Sam will battle it out in London on February 27 for local government ‘scrutineer of the year’ for her work on council committees.

Fellow Wisbech councillor Steve Tierney is shortlisted for on line councillor of the year and for efforts which have amused and enlightened your diarist for many years.

Two other councillors from Cambridgeshire are up for an award at a ceremony to be attended by Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who remains miffed by Cambridgeshire’s refusal to accept his cash but to raise Council Tax instead.

TWO events in Kings Lynn this month appeal, a talk by columnist Peter Stanford at the London Road Methodist Church on the proposition: ‘Journalism: vice or virtue?’ although I prefer the event at Lynn museum on February 18.

It is billed as a ‘marathon of public ironing’ and visitors will be encouraged to experience a Victorian wash day.

LAMBING has come early to Pigeons Farm at Thorney due, says owner Linda Moore, to “some antics in the flock!”

She explained that “one of last year’s lambs has got to the ewes before our ram and some lambs have arrived two months early.

“The lamb last year was so tiny when he was born that he didn’t get the rubber band on his “bits” but has now grown up to be very “macho”.

“Even two ewes that were retired from breeding have produced gorgeous lambs.”

The farm is also celebrating a litter of piglets too.

Linda says that a black Kunekune pig called Hungry has nine little piglets-five black and four spotty!

Visitors have been flocking in to see them as the farm is offering free entry to children until February 10.

FROM Hew Dunnit comes a rap on the knuckles for confusing John Patten with Chris Patten, the latter of course being the chairman of the BBC Trust.

It was an easy mistake to make since both entered Parliament at the same time and have often been confused.

I once recall being invited to a top table dinner at Hertford College in Oxford where John Patten was a history fellow and before his election to Parliament. At one point he kicked me under the table for quickly digesting what I thought were cold, and particularly nasty, mushrooms nestling on a bed of cold mashed potatoes.

He leaned over to explain that I had just scoffed a particular delicacy of the college chef and the mushrooms were in fact snails. I think I recall getting paralytic ally intoxicated as I realised I was no match for this hardened bacchanalian lifestyle.

Mr Patten never invited me back.

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