I have come to the conclusion that visits from Shadow Ministers are like buses – you don’t see one for ages then two come together. Last month we had two visits in a week and this week has been the same. After the visit of William on Wednesday the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Philip Hammond MP was in town. We visited Dunsters Farm Limited at their new premises on the Waterfold Business Park ( and not alot of people know this but the Business Park is in fact within the Rochdale boundaries! ). We had a guided tour of their new cold storage facilities and saw at first hand how the business operates and heard of their plans for the future.
This weekend it has been back on the campaign trail again. I am on holiday next week so I will be able to concentrate on helping our Council Candidates.
Yesterday the Conservatives’ local government election campaign in Bury was given a boost when Shadow Foreign Secretary and former Party Leader William Hague MP visited Bury. I was pleased to welcome him in Bury Town Centre and then after meeting with several of our Councillors he went on the Metrolink down to Radcliffe. We have received many high profile visitors throughout the campaign which is a sign of how important the election in Bury is. I have known William for many years as we both attended Comprehensive schools in Rotherham ( not the same one ). Our paths first crossed when I joined the Rother Valley Young Conservatives an organisation which William had been Chairman of and which I subsequently took over the Chairmanship of. William is a year older than I am and was at Oxford when I joined the Young Conservatives. He is without doubt one of the finest and most down to earth politicians in the country and we were indeed fortunate that he was able to join us.
Instead of attending St.Anne’s Church in Tottington this morning I went down to the Communion Service at Bury Parish Church. After a short interval this was followed by the special service held each year at this time to commemorate those servicemen of The Lancashire Fusiliers who were injured and those who lost their lives at the Gallipoli landings in 1915. It is always a moving and thought provoking service and I was particularly impressed today by the words of Corporal Paul Brady who has served in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq who gave a personal account of what Gallipoli meant to him.
I was out campaigning in Moorside Ward again yesterday evening. We are continuing to be lucky with the weather. It is very difficult to campaign properly if there is torrential rain coming down, last night although the sun was shining it was noticeably colder than it has been recently. We received a generally friendly welcome from most people. I still think that unfortunately the winning party will be the Apathy Party!
I was out yesterday campaigning in East Ward and Redvales Wards for our candidates there. We were fortunate that we were joined by the Conservatives Shadow Minister for Local Government and Communities who is none other than Bury North’s previous Conservative MP Alistair Burt MP who is now the Member of Parliament for North East Bedfordshire. We spoke to alot of people in the local community about the problems there with parking and litter. There is also the major problem concerning the Compulsory Purchase Orders which have been made to demolish large areas of the housing in the Wards. These often create great uncertainty for the local residents.
We then attended and addressed a meeting of the Bury Muslim Forum and answered questions on a whole host of local issues.
As is the case for most politicians in the run up to an election this weekend has been mainly taken up with campaigning. The very warm and sunny weather has been great for being out and about.
Yesterday, I was able to catch the Grand National on tv, my wife Susan decided that our bet this year would be on Hedgehunter. Unfortunately, although it got round, eight others made it round before he did!
This morning I attended the Annual Meeting of Parishioners at St.Anne’s, reports are given on matters which have taken place in the last year; accounts are presented and the various office holders are elected for the next year.
I have been out campaigning for the local elections tonight as indeed I have on previous evenings this week. It is difficult to tell exactly how things are going but as far as I can tell the political climate is more favourable to the Conservatives than it has been for some time.