Monday, June 30, 2008

Getting Around

On Saturday morning I went to see the Sewell Toy Library, which operates out of the Christ Church Center in Magdalen Road. It was a pleasure to see in action - though my eldest did walk away with a deeply irritating piano - and there was a steady stream of people in and out. For a minimal cost, you can hire out toys and even play with a lot there and then. Knowing how fast my girls favourites come and go, this is a great way of ensuring they have something new to engage in every week. It is run with the help of 2 of the local - Labour - ward councillors and they and their team deserve a huge amount of praise for running a fantastic community initiative.

That afternoon we went on a fmily trip to try and collect as many "elephants" as we could around Norwich. One of the things you could never criticise Norwich City Council for is not putting on, or facilitating, enough free events for familiies in the City. We saw - at my count - roughly 27 of them. Emily enjoyed any with stripes on, although I was quite taken with the conceptual elephant on Millenium Plain outside of the BBC building. Emily literally kissed and hugged every elephant; a great afternoon in the sun.

Sunday morning we went out delivering leaflets in Eaton for our newly re-selected local candidate Niall Baxter. Niall ran one of the most amazing campaigns I have ever witnessed and no candidate could have worked harder. Niall is really well known around the ward now and I am thrilled he is to carry on working for local people; he added 4% to the Tory vote and made Eaton a real fight for the first time in years.

Yesterday and this evening we've spent the time putting the finishing touches to my parliamentary campaign team and writing our next leaflet and survey. Later in the week I am visiting a community group and meeting with the organisers of a youth football team. Busy, but enjoyable; so the hour I got asleep in the garden this afternoon because I was locked out was total pleasure!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not Bothering With Big Brother

Regular readers will know that my summer months are normally pre-occupied with the goings-on in Big Brother and I confess to occassionally getting obsessed. Occassionally. But this year after just a week or so in, I've totally given up on this.

When Big Brother was launched it was innovative and socially interesting. The idea was putting ordinary people together and seeing how they interacted 24-7; seeing emotions run high and seeing human frailty in all of its glory. So where did it all go wrong?

Firstly, the social meddling. The idea that we should watching people in a human zoo, but to remove those who are aggressive, racist, bullying is to suggest that those traits do not exist in society. They do; and we should watch this and see the best and worst of society. To meddle is to create some sanitised version of society.

But, secondly, why has it got this bad? What has led the social experiment to be social engineering? Well in the past the housemates were largely made up of ordinary people; people we could empathise with; people who live next door. And we would watch how these ordinary people got on.

But then something changes - either a desire to make it more interesting, a desire to watch something altogether more bizarre or a ratings gambit by C4. Instead of the ordinary people we get a bizarre sideshow of people. If I thought for a moment the contents of the BB House were representative of society, I'd move to Canada. These poor souls are dragged in, lured by a moment of celebrity - not a desire to engage in a social experiment. Each one of them stranger than the last. I don't know anybody remotely similar to these people - beit the vile bullying of Alex or the drama queen nastiness of Denis. They are pawns, dragged into something which I no longer want to watch.

Just think about how the characters have changed from series to series; from Craig Phillips (series one) to Kate Lawler (series three) to Cameron Stout (series four) to Nadia Almada (series five) to Pete Bennett (series seven) and now who?

By changing the contestants they've changed the social interaction and it has become pointless. Apparently the ratings go down and down; and each time C4 react with more and more bizarre stereotypes. Rather like Labour believed it lost elections for not being left wing enough, apparently BB is losing viewers because it isn't bizarre enough.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

LibDems Winning Here ... in Crewe, Henley & now Glasgow East

I have long been an opponent of the slogan "Winning Here", used by the LibDems, on the basis that if you don't win here or people don't believe you can win here then you look utterly ridiculous. Indeed, if you misjudge that prediction then people are less likely to believe it the next time.

For example, there was much amusement in Norwich when the LibDems continued to use that slogan here in 07 and 08, given the dreadful results for the party which saw a volley of seats lost. Knocking on doors around the City, people couldn't believe the arrogance of the party when everyone knew the LibDems were losing ward after ward.

They are now also taking a kicking from their own side, for ramping their chances in Crewe and Henley and then failing miserably in each. After all, if the LibDems don't win by-elections then what are they for?

After the events the LibDems are saying they didn't expect to win either seat; yet oddly enough before the poll these self same LibDems were saying that the result was too close to call!

I understand why they do it; because the LibDems must counter the wasted vote arguement and convince people they are worth voting for because they can win. However they do tend to use it no matter where in the country or what the previous results.

I hope the LibDems have an internal debate about their campaigning style, though from my experience of them they'll stick their fingers in their ears and hum until it all goes away. I think they ought to ask why they are the most negative and the most personal of all the parties. But, again, I'm sure they won't.

We await the slogan and the campaign in Glasgow East with some anticipation.

Why did Wendy Alexander resign?

Wendy Alexander made a fairly small error regarding party finance (in terms of cash sums) and has been punished by parliament. She's stuck out a lot of abuse from her opponents, notably the SNP, and also the media. And now, suddenly, she quit. Now I should be delighted and using this blog post to gloat. But this resignation has left me more confused than pleased.

Why go now? The pressure was finally lifting, Labour have a by-election in Scotland they'll need to fight hard and leadership is important. But she walked away ... a two fingered salute to politics? A moment of weakness? Well, Wendy is sister of International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander. I just can't help wondering if he knew of her intent before she quit - in fact, I wonder if she sought her advise?

Brown, at the time of his anniversary, is battered by a second by-election bruising and depressing polls. Blair's leadership was challenged by a volley of PPS resignations; I just wonder if Brown's leadership is being challenged by a higher authority?

Diss By-Election: LibDems still making no progress

I'm sure it won't make the news, but the result from the Diss by-election was:

John Cowan (Labour Party) 63 votes (3.4%)
Eloise Ellis (Conservative) 1041 votes (55.6%)
Trevor Wenman (Liberal Democrat Party) 768 votes (41%)

This is significant in many ways. Firstly Diss is a bellweather seat, which the Tories gained one seat in a by-election 2 years ago and then again at the 07 council elections with exactly the same swing. And yet last night, after a year in power at South Norfolk the LibDems made no advance against the Tory tide.

Again the LibDems were proclaiming a tight result and it's so close here ... hardly ... the Tory majority of 14% was the same as it had been a year ago; nothing changed.

The LibDems again threw the kitchen sink at this election and to no avail; with the exception of North Norfolk, the LibDems are against the wall both locally in Norwich and Norfolk and also nationally.

For those who call upon Rennard, Clegg and the LibDems to change their campaign techniques they should look at Diss as well as Henley.

And secondly is the Labour result; Diss is as urban as South Norfolk gets (which is why it should have been better for the LibDems) and they could only muster 63 votes? Oh dear.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Henley: View from the Tory Car

A group of us from Norwich and Norfolk have been to Henley to help in the parliamentary by-election to replace Boris. And ... wow.

It is a fantastic corner of the country; picturesque, gentile and with sky high house price. This former seat of Heseltine and Johnson is really part of the Tory heritage; and it shows.

Apart from the quality of conversation you can only get when you jam that number of Tory activists together for a 3 hour car journey, the first amusing moment of the day was the branch of Timpsons (of Tory victor in the Crewe by-election fame) proudly displaying their "John Howell - Conservative" signs. Quality effort there!

A few thoughts on the day; certainly not comprehensive and just what we saw. We drove through Henley (and, apparently for some time Reading too - well done driver!!) and also spent the morning and afternoon in 2 reasonably sized villages outside of Henley. I am not transposing this on the whole constituency; just as we saw it.

The Tory by-election machine is very well ordered. The sector office was a few minutes from the station and that site must have taken some getting. All the walk sorts were ready, bundled and ready to go. We signed in and were turned around in minutes; except after lunch when there was so much help a queue formed out of the door. There is a lot of high quality literature going out and the administrative support is good; much better than any by-election I have bene to before.

The poster war is being won, and won decisively, by the Tories. What is surprising is where we saw posters. There is one massive LibDem poster up in the centre of Henley, across from the Thames. Other than that we saw nothing - and the poster effort is normally the sign of the LibDems on a roll. Even in the villages we were delivering to some mixed areas, and certainly parts you would expect any LibDem campaign to focus on. The Tories have visable signs and plenty of sites. Indeed, the most irritating point of the day was walking up a massive driveway, to find a tiny A4 Tory poster in the window!! The Tories are also - importantly - beating the LibDems in houses as well as fields.

The parties are macthing each other leaflet for leaflet. We delivered a newspaper in the morning; and mine sat on top of a freshly delievered LibDem newspaper. In the afternoon we delivered a glossy brochure, which sat upon a new LibDem Focus leaflet. However, I saw no LibDem activists at all during the day, whereas we did pass other Tories. Again, the site of the famed LibDem by-election machine is being able to "control" the constituency with literature and they clearly haven't done this. And one other thing.

The LibDem campaign is actually more negative than I had read about. All of their stuff is aimed squarely against Howell; and in some cases it is very nasty. The Tories have, thus, gone for a straight bat positive campaigning approach. The only person I actually spoke to all day (well, the only elector of Henley anyway) said they had been turned off by the LibDem campaign and whilst not totally behind Howell they would vote Conservative because they were, at least, campaigning positively. Good news; but only one person, I know. The LibDem literature is a good standard but the message and the themes are, in my opinion, all wrong. They ought to stand back and look at what they are doing.

There was an amazing amount of Tory activists, and young activists. At the pub at lunch time, it was like reliving the conferences when I was 18 or 19; I knew a large number of people there and we are now 10 years on, mostly PPCs and feeling that we are the generation that will shape the future of the party. Great food, everyone was upbeat and ready to take on the world. Quite frankly if there had been a by-election in Jarrow the people there would be working flat out for a Conservative gain. The team work and positive attitudes are a stark contrast to that which I knew even 5 years ago; amazing what 49% in the polls does for you.

A great day ... so, a prediction? Before today I was quite worried we were heading for Bromley territory. But now if it goes wrong it wouldn't be for the wrong strategy, candidate or campaigning. In fact, if it did go wrong it would prove that negative campaigning and playing very, very dirty does work. However I believe it won't. I think a cut Tory majority on a much reduced turnout. And I will awake early Friday morning to see how wrong I am!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

LibDems campaign in Henley goes from bad to worse

I am off this weekend to help with the Conservative campaign and thought I would do some research before I went to get up to date with some of the issues. On visiting Norfolk Blogger, he advised me to go to Henley Tory website, which he thinks is boring. For what its worth, I agree but the LibDem one is almost as bad. Funnily enough the first story on this "boring" Tory website is that a Henley Primary School has accused the LibDems of using them as a pawn - including pretending that their candidate has visited the school (he hasn't), that results are poor (they are above average) and that they are under funded (they are not).

The LibDem campaign seems to have had a bad week; their latest glossy brochure has a big picture of Boris Johnson right above an article attacking the Tory candidate and suggesting people support the LibDem (who, apparently, up to 5 weeks ago lived in Portsmouth). Why use the picture of Boris unless you are suggesting implicit support? I cannot see any other interpretation than an attempt to mislead, although LDV are trying their best as always!

I'll report back later on the by-election as I see it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Note to the BBC

When I blogged that people would flock to the Davis banner of freedom, it was against the backdrop of 69% support for 42 days, a victorious Labour Party emerging from a parliamentary win and a media convinced that DD was bonkers.

Now, a few days later the commentators are changing their minds, the polls (especially within Davis' own constituency) are showing public backing for the resignation and even the Murdoch empire is backing off.

Note to BBC et al; check with the public before deciding what you think they think.

Happy Father's Day

In a world where the role of men in the family unit is under attack, mainly through the prism of science, it is good to be reminded of all the positive role models and the excellent fathers who make a difference day-in-day-out (and, yes, that goes for Mothers too). The girls - well, Louise, but let's keep up the pretence - had prepared a mock up Evening News front page declaring that I had been made the new Fat Controller. Would I want to take on the role of running the railways? Not likely; or is it my uncanny resemblance to Sir Topham Hat?

We spent a largely dry day at the Eaton Park 80th Birthday celebration, and the girls loved the miniture steam trains and the dragons on procession! Well done to all the organisers, a good event - just a pity about the weather! From there we went over to Taverham Old Hall for our second Teddy Bear's Picnic in 2 days (a trend starting?) and also a fete. A lovely day; the girls have spoilt me!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Teddy's Birthday

This week has certainly been the busiest in campaigning terms since the end of the local elections. I've been out helping with campaign teams in the City Centre and also Town Close this week; sadly missing out on the University stuff this morning. Plenty of leaflets to deliver and the people I spoke to as I went around seemed fairly determined that Labour are going to lose the next election. One gentleman who lived in a block of flats off Ber Street said to me that a Conservative government was the best thing that could happen to the country - because he was a Labour man and defeat was the only way to rid his party of Brown. Interesting stuff.

This afternoon was the Teddy Bear's Picnic as St. Albans Church Hall and it was really well done; face painting, games (which Emily won - cue parental pride) and a great afternoon. All put on free by our local church. Thank you and well done to all involved. We then had to have another picnic when we got home - the excuse? Apparently it's Teddy's birthday; congrats Teddy.

This evening we have been putting the final changes to the constituency campaign plan and also doing some preperation for an even we are putting in with Baroness Gillian Shephard in July. It's all go! And tomorrow is Father's Day ... and last year Emily bought Louise a "sweet shop" toy so goodness knows what her revenge on me will be!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why the Sun Won't Win It

I am glad that Kelvin McKenzie is ready to be the standard bearer for 42 days, especially as Gordon Brown's Labour Party is too gutless to do just that. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Kelvin won't make the ballot paper; why? Well, for a start we know that Rupert Murdoch is personally financing the campaign (Kelvin said so on national TV yesterday) and that the Murdoch press will swing behind him.

However the beauty of particularly "The Sun" is its claim to be the voice of the nation; our best read newspaper. There is no way on earth "The Sun" would back a candidate who stood a chance of losing. "The Sun" is always right, it always backs the winner and Murdoch won't take chances.

They'll be doing their research tonight, no doubt polls and focus groups too. And if the voters of David Davis' former constituency look like backing DD over Kelvin, they'll steer well clear.

Davis is still putting this issue firmly first and centre on the agenda; I even had a call from our local media today about my views on this. The more Davis speaks the more people will realise that our British way of life is being erroded.

If it thinks there is even a chance it may lose, "The Sun" won't take on H&H and it won't take on Davis.

UPDATE; a colleague of mine at work things this looks a lot like the Purple Party stunt from the awful BBC series "The Amazing Mrs Pritchard". I bloody well hope not!

Ireland speaks for Europe again

The victory for the NO campaign in Ireland has a huge impact on EU politics; but interestingly the one thing that came through from all of the TV coverage and news reports that I have seen if the total lack of political education and the numbers of people who didn't understand what they were voting on. I'm pretty sure that's the excuse they'll use for holding another vote, in the hope that the Irish can (once again) be convinced to change their minds.

However in a funny way, once again Ireland has spoken for the whole of Europe - because whilst the bureaucracy and the spineless politicans seek to remove more and more powers from national legislatures and place them in a political superstructure that has an increasing democratic and legitimacy deficit, the people in these countries have their views and opinions ignored.

The betrayal by Labour and the LibDems over the Lisbon Treaty denied the people of Britain their say over the future; without knowing it, the Irish may just have given us our voices back.

In politics today, a cry for freedom has gone up.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Probably the most remarkable politican of the last decade

The resignation of Tory Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, not just from his frontbench job but as an MP, is a remarkable piece of political drama. Quitting to force a by-election on the 42 days issue is an honourable and brave move; but for some of us, we've come to expect this from Davis who has a long history of speaking up for civil liberties. Tonight, a strong coalition is building around Davis and they clearly plan to take this fight to Brown and the country; persuading the majority of Britons who still believe in 42 days.

Any MP giving up his seat (and Davis could lose it) is remarkable.

Taking on a government backed by a large majority of people on a complex issue is remarkable.

Putting the right thing to do above your career is remarkable.

David Davis has a huge job to do and is now the unofficial spokesman for everyone who cherishes liberty; be it on ID cards, 42 day detention or the removal of trial by jury. Far from being a stunt, I am tonight very proud of Davis and if he brings the country with him on this, he could yet be the man who brings down Gordon Brown.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

LibDems make another U-turn on Lisbon

Tonight Nick Clegg's ridiculous stance on the Lisbon Treaty go a whole lot more ridiculous after his peers in the House of Lords did another u-turn and outright voted against a referendum.

So now we've had a manifesto committment to a public vote, abstention from his MPs and opposition from his peers.

So what do the LibDems think about the biggest European issue around at the moment? Nobody knows because you just can't pin them down. Still, at least Clegg has the 42 day fiasco to hide behind; but he can't do it forever.

I blame Gordon Brown, Charles Clarke, the DUP, Ann Widdecombe, UKIP and the vast ranks of utterly stupid Labour MPs

I am against 42 days detention without trial; not least because it won't actually work but for 2 other reasons - firstly the loss of our historical rights in this country to have a fair trial without being detained by the force of law, and secondly I believe that works fills the time given to complete it - so if you give the police 42 days they will take it; I just don't believe they need this time because they could do the same work (technical or not, Mr Brown) in 28 days, which for the record I believe is still too long.

So the utterly pathetic sight of a Labour government (a LABOUR government) relying on the votes of Northern Ireland MPs who, quite frankly, sold out to Brown in order to introduce a piece of legislation that will both be authortarian and ineffective is sickening in the extreme.

I am disgusted; as you can tell; and I hold every single one of the Labour MPs and the sole Tory and UKIP MPs that voted for this law to be personally responsible for the erosion of our liberties.

Thank God for the House of Lords, and I cannot wait for the day when Clarke loses his seat and a new Conservative MP for Norwich South can vote to repeal this nasty piece of legislation.

Monday, June 09, 2008

And they're off ...

After a few weeks off from campaigning, my letterbox has now become the new frontline. Last week we recieved the latest Green newsletter, proclaiming victory on all fronts in Town Close (well done them); they got in first too. Then yesterday we recieved a copy of "Town Close Matters" Conservative leaflet - of course I'd seen it before but it's always nice to recieve something you agree with 100%. And today, MP Charles Clarke had a glossy leaflet come through the door, persumably by paid deliverer as it was bundled up with other leaflets. I note the subtle change from red to green printing colour ... a political message there by any chance?

Both Tory and Green leaflets led with the local election results; Clarke's was full of glossy words and pcitures of him around the City promoting government policy. No mention of VED or 42 days. I wonder why?

The Greens also covered the post office closures, 20mph zones, City college redevelopment and their failed plans for an all-party exec. The Conservative one also featured an article on unitary, law & order and the cost of living. Charles Clarke went on crime, CCTV, park rangers and cycle paths in Whittlingham. I'd be interested in your views if you have recieved these leaflets.

This evening I have been finishing the wording for a new Conservative campaigning project and tomorrow I am addressing a street meeting about crime and anti-social behaviour.

Sofa Politics

When I'm fortunate enough to actually manage to watch some political TV, I always hope it's good stuff. I certainly wasn't disappointed by Cameron's venture onto GMTV - which proves why he is the single best communicator in modern politics. Like Tony Blair he was natural, good humoured and quick witted; but I don't get the same sense of nasuea with Cameron than I did with Blair. I think Cameron is personable and isn't saying what he wants people to hear, unlike Mr Blair. It probably told us little about a future Conservative government but it did say a lot about the man who is odds-on to be our next Prime Minister.

It also featured an interesting explanation about the now-infamous centre parting. Reams upon reams were written about Cameron's new sporting hair; did it contain a subtle political message? A new direction for the Conservatives? Could the hair tell us about the future of the Lisbon Treaty? Er, no, actually ... according to Cameron it was the impact of a cycling helmet on his head. Oh dear, there mut be dozens of hacks feeling very stupid round about now!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

New York: The Holiday of No Sleep

My long absence from the blog was caused by a 4 day jaunt to New York followed by 4 days trying to get over the jetlag. The brain-child of Scoland's answer to Carrie Bradshaw, we flew out of Stanstead and into JFK and out of dreary olf England into 72 degree NYC. The limo drive (yes, darlings, we ARE that middle class) from the airport to the hotel gave us some spectacular views and what was to come; it also gave Mrs Paton a spectacular view of her own ... a certain Torquay hotel owner. The hotel was wonderfully modern and, some might say, heavenly.

The thing about New York was its size; you constantly look upwards and you soon realise how many areas of New York you think you know. Everything is just huge; the shops, the meals, the service charges ... and I was very impressed, with one notable exception, ow polite everybody was.

The moment of the holiday for me was a certain young lady finding out that Spamalot was a musical; but still, she had her own way of dealing with it.

The event of the holiday was the view from the "Top of the Rock"; an amazing 360 degree view of the City - thank god for digital cameras because I still dozens of shots.

Obvious moment of the holiday was the carriage ride through Central Park - and I would have seen some vaguely famous building but somebody stuck their head in the way.

Sad moment, for me, was Ground Zero. I have to say that this was one the reasons I wanted to visit, before anything is built. But I was disappointed to find it a building site with no memorial in site. But worse (I mean, what else did I expect?) was the commercialisation of the site. People seling postcards and books of the attacks; the cry of $1 bottles of water - I couldn't help thinking that this was what happens when capitalism meets disaster. There were so many people around, it must have been on obvious place to set up stall.

Queue of the holiday was the 2-3 hour wait for the boat to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; we didn't even both so instead some of our party took to molesting another State of Liberty (photo evidence to come) - or was it the other way around???

Gasp of the holiday was the exhibition in the Guggenheim Museum. We were disappointed to find the actual building covered in scaffolding, but the main exhibition that went up through the central hall was astonishing; 8 white cars in different poses of a flip, with a neon explosion coming from each; you have to see it to believe it.

Arguement of the holiday; in the case of Paton versus the United States, I find in favour of Paton.

It was an amazing holiday (actually our first without the kids - thanks Mum!) and I am very much in love with the City; not just the shopping and the architecture but the buzz it gives you. From the mass of yellow cabs to the hotdogs on street corners. From my lovely new iPod to our breakfast bagels; a fantastic time.

We've now gone from Centre Parcs to Central Park; where next year I wonder?

Parking, Planning and Protests

I spend a week last Wednesday at a residents meeting in New Costessey and last Thursday at a similar one in Chapel Break, Bowthorpe, both about the same issue - parking. Now I've done a lot of public meetings in my time and very few issues, outside of election time, get anywhere near a crowd but both of these meetings were very well attended. I had done the week before a public meeting about the bus service in the West of the City with considerably fewer people. (Off the point, but it is a shame that people don't make more of an effort because all the meetings I have done have seen good debate and an excellent array of public speakers.)

Both Costessey and Chapel Break have blocked roads, inconsiderate parkers and issues wth blocking roads and driveways. Each time all the authorities can say is that neighbours should work together (this was nearlly word-for-word the answer that came back from the Labour executive when I raised the issue in Full Council some time ago). Sadly though, relations are not what they could be, and these residents need help to work through their differences including influencing the planning process and designing out some of the problems. One of the great tings about the SNAP is the fusion between the elected councillors and the police. Being able to help shape police priorities has been a great way of affecting change in our areas.

In both cases, the police are now working high profile shifts to help the situation. A senior council officer is persuing the adoption of some of the roads in Chapel Break to make enforcement easier and we as Councillors have been able to bring together different groups of people and different councils to get a result.

Parking is clearly a big issue and we have to sit up and listen to the concerns of local people.

Post Office struggle with the big question: Why not close Castle Mall?

Last week I sat as part of a Scrutiny panel that looked in detail at the work of the Post Office and their plans to shut multiple branches across Norfolk. My questions focused heavily on the support that PO Ltd. was giving to branches and the business plan of the Post Office (I would venture that they don't have one). Credit to the PO for turning up (and doing the later Public Meeting at the Puppet Theatre) but their information, analysis (and excuses) were pretty thin.

Although they spent much of the meeting on the ropes - and credit there goes to the Sub Post Masters rather than most of the timid councillors - it wasn't until the end that we got to one juicy mater. The Chair of Scrutiny, Cllr Stephenson, asked if giving the criticism of that branch Castle Mall would be considered for closure. The PO guys looked a bit shocked; it was a crown Post Office, they sluttered, and anyway it made a profit. I could resist asking if they thought that instead of migrating custom into the Castle Mall, if closing the branch culd lead to the emigration of custom out to smaller branches, such as Queens Road (New Lakenham), Vauxhall Street, Rosary Road and the like. Another flipsy excuse later, and I had to ask the blunt question - if eveyr other PO in the county and city is up for review, would they conceed that Castle Mall could be closed if it was proved to be the best option? Yes, or No? I think the answer was "no"; but at the later public meeting the same topic came up again and the PO seemed even less sure a few hours later. And I am grateful to a resident for writing to inform me that Norwich has lost 2 crown Post Offices in recent years.

So, come on Post Office let's have a real debate about the future of the Post Offices in Norwich, starting maybe with the Castle Mall.

UPDATE: I notice from last night's Evening News that Charles Clarke is on the attack too; this issue won't go away.