Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Canvassing was good today until I got rained off - again - and I concentrated my efforts on Willingham and Histon and Impington.

So far as Willingham is concerned, I have relatives who married and lived there and I am proud to number among my friends my old County Councillor colleague, Mr Tony Manning. Because I was more than willing to use some of my time gossiping with an old friend and colleague, I had half an hour or so with Tony, who is now nearly 90 but is as fit as fiddle. He kindly offered me coffee but I didn't accept because, having had lots of tea earlier, I was fearful of the need to pee later without anywhere to go. One can't just ask for someone's vote on the doorstep and then ask to go to their loo: it creates a bad impression!

Tony Manning was for many years County Councillor for Willingham and his son, Ray, carries on the family tradition of distinguished service to their community. Cllr. Ray Manning is Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council. The Manning family business is fruit growing and I can recall when much of Willingham was engaged in this and other forms of farming. Now, it is a great deal larger and largely a commuter village. I supposed that the new Guided Bus system will be of some assistance to Willingham but I was told that additional traffic coming through from Earith and beyond could be a bit of headache for the village's residents. There is certainly no easy or cheap answer to the Cambridge area's traffic problems, though I do recall the late Cllr. Robert James, when he was Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, putting forward the best idea for Cambridge that I ever heard when he advocated the construction of an underground car park beneath Parker's Piece somewhat akin to the Park Lane one under Hyde Park in London. The idea didn't catch on at the time and it may not be on now, more's the pity.

Anyway, having become more fully energised and much more knowledgeable as a result of my 'gossip' with Tony Manning, I embarked on 'proper' canvassing in Willingham and, later, in Histon and Impington. Sadly, there is still widespread lack of knowledge of the basics of South East Cambridgeshire. Indeed, a lot of people don't know that they live in the constituency and some have no idea as to who their present MP is. Needless, to say, I filled them in as best I could. The usual issues of MPs expenses, our involvement in Afghanistan, and Council and Government 'cuts' came up. I have even been advised that one of the other candidates 'is a fraud.' I have high hopes that this will not be said about me. Indeed, many people either know me or know of me already and I guess that, if they feel antagonistic for any reason, I would have heard about it by now.

The first and second pictures (above) are of Willingham street scenes and the third one (below) is of the middle and most attractive and old part of Histon. I know: my car needs another clean!

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