2021
WORTHING HERALD ARTICLES
A SELECTION OF MY RECENT WORTHING HERALD COLUMNS CAN BE FOUND HERE
 
Archived Articles
 

Reflections on a Life in Politics

28th January 2021

 

Careers teachers or students ask me about paid jobs in politics. Most roles are unremunerated. Councillors may receive an allowance. A constituency activist can find politics expensive, whether seen as a hobby or lifetime occupation. Unlikely events led me in 1964 to the Singapore home of Admiral Sir Varyl Begg, our Far East Commander-in-Chief.

When asked what I might like to become, I was thinking that being Chancellor of Exchequer could be a worthwhile responsibility and fun, watching the rich and the poor, wondering how tax and transfer payments could make lives better.

Actions Lead to Remarkable Results

 

21st January 2021

 
 

In normal times, there are popular walks along the South Downs. One of my favourites is from the top of Bury Hill. The Arun river and railway wind through the valley to the north of Amberley castle. To the south the Rampion wind farm lies in the sea beyond Arundel and the coastal communities of our constituencies. The difficulty with day-to-day political activity is that it is often hides actions that can compound up to great benefits. There were arguments in the 1970s about coal miners and the industrial disputes. I kept trying to include the question: why were we burning coal and why were we choosing to continue deep mining?

Campaigning Charities, Common Sense

14th January 2021

 

At the weekend I enjoyed the online quiz evening led by Katie Sanderson of Brighton and Dan Coxhill of Worthing. The other MP was Sara Britcliffe: she was elected age 24 in 2019 for Hyndburn, Lancashire; this was two years after she had been mayoress alongside her father before succeeding him as the local councillor. Unsurprisingly she beat me in the quiz on topical culture events. We enjoyed answering questions together on the purposes, practices and lives in politics. It reminded me that in each major party in each constituency there are overlapping groups of people contributing within communities and nationally.

Partnership of Pupils, Parents, Teachers

07th January 2021

 

The fascinating BBC radio 4 discussion on education, schools and parents on Wednesday morning reminds me of a diagram by Toby Weaver; he had been the Ministry of Education civil servant whose signature was on my ‘O’ and ‘A’ level certificates. He drew circles around the student: the closest influences were parents and family. Teachers and friends mattered too. We want every child to grow, to prosper and to recover from difficulties. Adult authority matters. Forgiveness and love make a difference. No household can hang out a sign claiming truly that everything is always all right.

Social and Printed Media Matters

25th February 2021

 
 
 

We noticed the spat between the Australian political system and Facebook over fair payments for use of the product of traditional journalism. There are reports it is being resolved. The powerful realise that no one remains above the law. Big industry moguls in steel, railways, oil production have each felt the impact of regulation and monopoly challenge. My concern about the new giants is their advantages in taking so high a proportion of advertising revenues. Most of our public service broadcasters are funded by those revenues; most of our newspapers and magazines are too.

Best Leaders Drive Taxis and Cut Hair

18th February 2021

 
 
 

Newspaper leader-writers have the answer to most insoluble dilemmas. So does the cabbie and so do the barber and hairdresser. I welcome conversations with constituents, gaining good modern common sense and plenty of old-fashioned wisdom. Combining discussions and radio broadcasting keeps us informed, learning about sources of help.  Ministers respond to members of parliament who bring forward questions and experiences within each constituency. Here are illustrative examples that are now winging their way to Whitehall departments. 

Think New Things, Make Connections

11th February 2021

 
 
 

Thank you, Sir Tom. News this week has not all been cheerful. The army in Burma, Myanmar, tipped out the government that recently won 80 percent of the popular vote. The excuse was familiar. The general claimed ‘election fraud’. Heard that elsewhere recently? The real reason: was he apprehensive about a possible war trial at the Hague court on charges related to the appalling treatment of the Rohingyas? Sadly, expect the Chinese and the Russians to block effective action by the Security Council of the United Nations. A Russian court imprisons Alexei Navalny for breaking the conditions of a previous suspended sentence.

Cpt.Tom Bringing Our Nation Together

04th February 2021

 
 
 

Thank you, Sir Tom. News this week has not all been cheerful. The army in Burma, Myanmar, tipped out the government that recently won 80 percent of the popular vote. The excuse was familiar. The general claimed ‘election fraud’. Heard that elsewhere recently? The real reason: was he apprehensive about a possible war trial at the Hague court on charges related to the appalling treatment of the Rohingyas? Sadly, expect the Chinese and the Russians to block effective action by the Security Council of the United Nations. A Russian court imprisons Alexei Navalny for breaking the conditions of a previous suspended sentence.

Be Active Against Unfairness

25th March 2021

 
 

What I say in parliament is not always popular with ministerial colleagues. Years later, what was controversial may become the new orthodoxy. If the policy works, it becomes the brilliant child of the late adopter; otherwise it remains my orphan. Around 1980, government mistakenly brought forward a regulation that I thought was or could be interpreted as racially discriminatory. I prefer other words ending with the tory letters, including story, rectory, nonstory, dormitory, promontory, celebratory, satisfactory, perambulatory, circumlocutory, non-contributory…

Free Societies Flourish When They Care

 
 

18th March 2021

 

The week started with a series of successes for individual constituents. Our helping service is confidential: that is why we do not give details. Efforts to resolve difficulties work often, not always. Sometimes we can suggest an alternative way to view an issue. It can be helpful to change the question. Most organisations, private or public, want to do what is right, if possible and fair. The people with the computers can say yes. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister reported on the Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy.

Contributions To Our Lives Are Visible

 

11th March 2021

 

International days and special months matter. They provide a focus on achievements and on necessary progress. Black History gave newspapers and broadcasters prompts to remember overlooked pioneers in science, academia, music and healthcare. When Virginia was responsible for the National Health Service, it gained from the talents of women and skilled staff from many countries, heritages, skin colours and backgrounds. Missing were leaders of colour in the professional bodies and unions. She encouraged positive action.

Making the Future Better, Together

04th March 2021

 
 
 
 

I hope to contribute in the Budget debate on issues that matter to leaseholders here and around the nation. Urgently I ask government to suspend the threat of forfeiture on residential leaseholders who cannot pay. Most of the flats in the constituency are safe and saleable. All should be. The staggering sums of money needed to make some city blocks safe was discussed this week at the Housing Select Committee. A minority of leaseholders, more accurately termed lease-renters and by law only tenants, face section 20 notices of costs.

 

The Power of Unconditional Love

 

8th April 2021

 

This country is a finer stronger place as we understand and share the traditions and festivals of world faiths and national cultures. Some traditions are relatively modern: Queen Victoria’s Albert is credited with developing much of the Christmas we now know and celebrate. Easter is popular though its depth and breadth is not known to all. The significance of Holy Week and the agonies of Good Friday can be experienced in a lengthy vigil and by the reflections of a priest or minister.

Conflict and Chaos or Cooperation and Kindness

1st April 2021

The Police Inspectorate’s conclusions on the policing at the Sarah Everard Clapham Common bandstand vigil came out on Tuesday. I welcomed them. No one should have been surprised. The strikingly dramatic image of the woman on the ground had already been explained by The Times photographer. For hours, the gathering was reasonably Covid compliant. The twilight crowd grew with groups including Reclaim the Streets. Direct action protestors seldom cooperate with the police, the women and men who keep us safe.

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© 2019 Sir Peter Bottomley MP

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