Monday, 11 May 2009
A lifeboat story...
Today has to be a personal highlight of the European Election campaign so far. When I was a child I collected bottle tops for a Blue Peter campaign to buy a lifeboat. Today I got to stand on one. - admittedly the boat was on shore in the shed but perhaps some day they will take me to sea. The RNLI is a fabulous organisation - so was the boat I visited today.
Today I visited the Caister lifeboat, near Yarmouth. It is the only non-RNLI boat in the country, has a 200+ year history and gets about 50 call outs a year. They raise over £140,000 a year just to keep the service going, all the lifeboat men are volunteers and their passion for serving the local community is palpable. When I asked how we could help they just told me to let people know what they do.
Earlier in the day I was at Huntingdon Regional College where again many members of staff were passionate about their desire to help their local community - both young and old. We need to provide hands on skills to help build our way out of this recession, local training is vital. But the principal explained that her building is obsolete, she has a cost effective plan for moving but is caught up in the multi million pound scandal of mismanagement of national funding budgets.
David Willetts explained to me in detail the capital expenditure accounting trap that has caused a double whammy for many similar colleges in the country. Sadly all the press were interested in was whether he can change a lightbulb - which clearly he can.
There are some very damning stories coming out in the press about those in political life - which is an insult to those who truly serve their communities. I have no time for those who fiddle expenses and the sooner this mess is cleared up the better.