Local enthusiasm and a flood of ideas to sort out walking in Winchester

One of the things I’m most keen to do as a Councillor is encourage and support walking in Winchester.

Martin Tod, Phryn Dickens and Rose Prowse standing on Battery Hill with 20 mph signsI’ve been a campaigner for 20 mph zones for years. Since election to the County Council, I’ve successfully pushed to get pro-walking schemes on the development programme for Romsey Road and Stockbridge Road (and, yes, I’ve asked that these should include improved crossings at Boscobel Road and Clifton Terrace/St James’ Terrace). And my work with the Men’s Health Forum has made me only too well aware of the health benefits of walking. Read the excellent Walking Works report by Public Health England, the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support if you want to know more about walking and health.

One of the other initiatives that I’m involved with is the Winchester Walking Strategy Group – chaired by my council colleague Robert Hutchison – and with the expert input and advice of Liz Kessler. And it was during one of these meetings that I thought I’d tweet and Facebook a question to see what local social media users might have to say about walking in Winchester.

And I was pleasantly surprised by the response:
more …

Posted in 20s plenty, Walking, Winchester | Leave a comment

Local Lollipop People – a quick update

I’ve been getting some emails from local residents who are concerned about a threat to local lollipop people – I think as a result of this Living Streets campaign (an organisation I would normally support – indeed, I’d be quite keen to get a local branch going here!).

This has come as a bit of surprise, since a combination of campaigning by local people, hard work by local school governors, teachers and council officers and pressure from local councillors has just helped us get two more locally – one in Cheriton Road and one in Stockbridge Road.  I was chatting to the newly appointed lollipop man in Stockbridge Road only two days ago! more …

Posted in Fulflood, Walking | Leave a comment

Principle vs pandering on equal marriage

The Hampshire Chronicle has reported why the two Conservative MPs in the Winchester District voted as they did on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

George Hollingbery said:

“This was a free vote and one that was a matter of conscience. I have always believed that a defining characteristic of any developed society is that it treats its citizens equally.”

Steve Brine said:

“I have received more contact from constituents on this, mostly opposed to the Bill for what it’s worth, than any other subject in almost three years, and many said to me the coalition should not be spending any time on this has no mandate for such a major constitutional change.”

If you want to know what Steve Brine thought before so many people wrote to him, Andrew Emmerson has provided a useful summary on his blog.

What should people write to him about next?

(Perhaps we could tell him what a ‘constitutional change’ is?)


Discussion on Facebook has made clear that this wasn’t even populism!  As this Guardian poll makes clear, the majority of the population support equal marriage.

I’ve changed the headline from ‘principle vs populism’ to ‘principle vs pandering’.

Posted in Latest News | 3 Comments

Microchipping and that ‘Dog Speech’

It’s interesting to see micro-chipping of dogs in the news again. About 10 years ago, the Lib Dems discussed animal welfare and micro-chipping.

It was a long, earnest and fairly one-sided debate – and some of the journalists and researchers watching appeared to be losing the will to live – when I stood up and opposed the motion (at least part of it).

It’s safe to say, it’s not the most serious speech I’ve ever made. Mark Pack and I came up with the idea for it in the bar the night before.  But the journalists liked it. And I didn’t have to buy myself a drink for the rest of conference on the back of it.

The Guardian described it the ‘wittiest speech of the day’ – which I’ve always been rather proud of.

And the policy I was opposing ended up being cited in The Orange Book
as an example of the nanny state.  I once had great fun asking Paul Marshall why it was only me – a social liberal – who actually opposed the policy at the time, while the Orange Bookers stayed silent… :-) more …

Posted in Conference, Debate, Speech | Leave a comment

Twitter fame! One of only 250k to be hacked

According to Twitter, I’m one of 250,000 users who have possibly had their account hacked.

According to TechCrunch, this makes me cool!

After reading around, in addition to changing my password (natch), I’ve followed the advice in this Slate article and switched off java in my browser as well. more …

Posted in Twitter | Leave a comment