My Column in the Wakefield Express

Politically Speaking
My column in the Wakefiled Express


In a few days’ time it will be my 40th birthday, and it got me thinking about milestones in our lives. When you are in your early twenties; the forties seem to be so far away, then at the blink of an eye a couple of decades have passed. Last Friday was a significant milestone; the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I would like to begin by saying thank you, and to pause and reflect for all those brave servicemen and women who fought for us to enjoy the freedom we have today. It was a heart-warming story last week of the veteran who left his care home without telling anyone to go to Normandy to mark D-Day, and was a story that was relayed at the Morley and Outwood Business Association event by MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber, Timothy Kirkhope. Timothy pointed out that it was particularly apt that ‘today we would be discussing Europe on D-Day and seventy years ago on this day we were at war’. This was the third Morley & Outwood Business Association event (MOBA) that I had organised and I invited Timothy as I wanted businesses to have a post-election session on what the result of the European Parliamentary election and the incoming new Commission is likely to mean for future European policy.  There was a frank and open dialogue between Timothy, local residents and businesses with issues discussed including the red-tape and bureaucracy in the European Union, immigration, trade in the single market and what the new EU landscape is likely to mean. There was plenty of opportunity to chat with Timothy who took away with him concerns that businesses raised.  The event was attended by local residents, charities, businesses, the Mid-Yorkshire Chamber, and the Federation of Small Business. 

On Friday evening I went to watch Lofthouse Brass Band performing at Outwood Working Men’s Club. The group is very talented, the music was both rousing and uplifting and it was wonderful to see such a mixed age group engaging in the music. Then followed the ‘New York Brass Band’ who are sponsored by the Arts Council. They told me that this year they are going through a significant turning point as they are playing at Glastonbury. They were so energetic and original, and I am sure it won’t be long until someone signs them up.

As I say goodbye to the thirties, and grey hairs ensue, I reflect that everyday around us there are important milestones in people’s lives; at an individual level, for a business and for our region as we enjoy the Yorkshire Festival and look forward to the Tour de France coming to God’s own county.