Friday, 11 June 2010

Oasis of opportunity in middle England

Chris White, the new MP for Warwick and Leamington, has made his maiden speech: White

He paid the customary tribute to his predecessor whom he described as 'an honourable member'. As is usual, he painted a picture in words of the constituency, describing its historic heritage, but also drawing attention to its pockets of deprivation. He pointed out that some 800 people were drawing the jobseekers' allowance in 2005, but the figure was now 2,166. Nevertheless, he described the comstituency as 'an oasis of opportunity' in Middle England and expresseed the hope that the green economy might create new job opportunities.

Much of his speech was focused on the people at the bottom of society and he was congratulated by the Labour member who followed for his 'passion for poverty'. He gave the example of a constituent who had been on benefits, obtained a part-time job ten miles away and found herself worse off after she had paid her travel costs.

The one thing I mildly objected to was the description of Whitnash as the third 'town' in the constituency. Because Whitnash was part of the old Warwick District it has its own town council: the town council, the district council seats and the county council seat are all held by the vociferous Whitnash Ratepayers who are really the creation of one man, Bernard Kirton. A former Labour activist who campaigned under the slogan 'Be certain, vote Kirton' he was an employee at AP for which Whitnash was a dormitory suburb.

I've no doubt that the Whitnash Ratepeayers do a very good job in looking after their voters. It is also an important swing area in general election terms so Chris is tactically astute to refer to it. However, I can assure you that any Martian approaching in his spaceship would think it was another suburb of Leamington with which it is contiguous. But such is political geography!

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