Douglas joined hundreds of local residents in Thorpe-le-Soken for the late night shopping and Christmas fair.
Thorpe high street has been lit up by some lovely Christmas lights on lamp posts. Douglas was out and about doing some Christmas shopping - and chatting.
Douglas was invited to address the local branch of the National Union of Farmers. The local branch AGM brought together farmers from across Tendring.
Douglas listened to local concerns - about both local and national matters. He outlined his views of what needs to be done to support farmers.
The Ark, which does so much to support children and families in Harwich, invited local MP, Douglas Carswell, for a visit.
Douglas learnt more about the Ark and the work that it does.
"The Ark has been part of the local community for decades. It has been providing early intervention to support local people years before the term became fashionable in government"
"I am fully behind the Ark - and the great team that makes it what it is".
Douglas has won The Spectator/Threadneedle Readers’ Representative Award 2009. The award, which was presented by Boris Johnson, is a great honour as it is the only award given out by The Spectator that is solely voted for by the public.
Douglas says, “I would like to say a big thank you to my constituents, who have put me here today and whose encouragement I value tremendously.”
Readers voted for Douglas because of his radical, reformist agenda. Not only did he bring down the Commons Speaker, but he has promoted changes that would make government properly accountable to Parliament, and Parliament answerable to the people.
Douglas used his speech at the event to reiterate his vision for Westminster, which includes making MPs outwardly accountable to voters, open primaries for every seat in the House of Commons, and right of recall so that local people can sack their MP’s if they think they are not up for the job.
He said in his speech, “If parliament answered to the people, I think there would be real dignity in our democracy once again. Too many people in Westminster, in SW1, answer only to other people in Westminster and SW1.”
Douglas Carswell MP joined hundreds of local people to mark Remembrance Sunday on the sea front. He laid a wreath at the War Memorial, having watched a parade past the town hall.
“It was a moving and poignant occasion” says Douglas. “We were taking part in something that was happening up and down the country.”
“It is especially important that we show our support to our troops at the moment”.
The Carswell Column
Who would you most trust to run your local library? Volunteers from a group like Friends of Jaywick Library, or remote government officials? Since local people took over the running of their library at Golf Green Hall, the library has been open for longer hours, offering a wider range of books. It even offers to help some folk with their shopping!
Who would you most trust to report news accurately? A mass circulation national newspaper, or the local Gazette? All the evidence is that local people trust what they read in local newspapers far more than in the big, corporate media.
Given that locally accountable services are far more reliable than anything run centrally, why is it that so many things are actually run from Whitehall? I suspect it has a lot to do with the vanity of politicians over the years.
We need change to get Big Government off our backs. Those of us who think that local people should actually have control over their local services are called “localists” and our agenda referred to as “localism”. I prefer to call it common sense.
On BBC Radio 4 this week, I was talking about how to improve local services in Clacton and Tendring. Far more important than which minister sits behind which desk in Whitehall, I said, is making sure that it is Tendring people that count.
Last week, I also came in for quite a bit of criticism for daring to challenge the consensus on man-made climate change. Not for the first time as your MP, I discovered that there are some questions that the Westminster establishment would rather that I did not ask.
Having joined Friends of the Earth years before I ever got into politics, I take the environment very seriously. But I just do not happen to believe that the consensus is right about CO2 emissions.
Iain Plimer, a respected Australian scientist, has shown that human activity only has a marginal effect on the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. More surprisingly, I learnt from him that the CO2 content of the atmosphere does not in fact determine temperature.
The earth is getting slightly warmer quite naturally, but that is because we are coming out of “the little ice age” – a time when the Thames regularly froze. We are still a long way from the Middles Ages or the Roman era, when temperatures were much warmer. And there were not many human CO2 emissions then, surely, were there?
Local people – especially older folk – are struggling to pay monthly bills. Yet thanks to the hidden subsidies and taxes to “fight climate change”, your monthly electricity bill is some 10 – 20 per cent higher. And it is set to increase by 60 per cent over the next five years.
And what do they do with all that extra money? Why, they give it to large corporations who then industrialise our countryside with giant wind turbines. Does not seem very green to me.
The Royal National Institute for the Blind launched their latest campaign in Walton-on-the-Naze - and local MP, Douglas Carswell, was there to give it his support.
The initiative was launched in response to local concerns about the number of cars parked on pavements that then obstructed local people. The nuisance particularly affects poorly sighted people and the blind.
This is a particular problem in Walton, which has some very narrow, pre-motor car streets.
The new campaign means that anyone parking their car in a way that proves obstructive is given three chances to move it - before action is taken.
"The key issue" says Douglas "is to make drivers aware that blocking narrow pavements can have serious consequences for blind people. This campaign will ensure that people are made aware when there is a problem.
It is a good example of local people finding a local solution to an issue that particularly affects us here in Walton".
Here is the text of Douglas Carswell's 10 Minute Rule Bill. It is designed to ensure that MPs are all properly accountable to local people.
More information about it can be found on his blog site www.TalkCarswell.com :
Parliamentary Elections (Recall and Primaries) Bill
B I L L
Make provision to require the Secretary of State to make provision for the recall of Members of the House of Commons in specified circumstances; to provide for the holding of primary elections in such circumstances; and for connected purposes
BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
1. Recall of Members of the House of Commons
(1) 10% or more of voters in a parliamentary constituency may petition for an election to be held on the issue of the recall of their MP in the circumstances specified by this Act and according to the procedures proscribed by the Act.
(2) The circumstances referred to in subsection (1) are that there is evidence specified or summarised in the recall petition that their Member of Parliament has
(a) acted in a way which is financially dishonest; or
(b) misled the House of Commons; or
(c) broken any promises made or agreed to by him in his election address.
(3) The procedures referred to in subsection (1) are that
(a) at least 1000 voters in the constituency must submit their petition and any further evidence that they may wish to append to the Standards and Privileges Committee (‘the Committee’).
(b) the Committee must then, within one month, decide whether or not the evidence presented to it satisfies the provisions of subsection (2) provided that before making any decision the Committee must invite the MP to make such representations as he sees fit
(4) ) If the Committee decides that the provisions of subsetion2 have been satisfied then either
(a) the Committee can decide that in all the circumstances no further action is required; or
(b) that a reprimand from the Committee is sufficient in this case;
provided that if it is minded to take either of those courses of action then it must invite representations from the petitioners before so deciding; or
(c) if the Committee does not so decide either of the above then the Electoral Returning Officer for that constituency must organise a recall election, in which the question shall be
‘should xxx be recalled’ Yes/No’.
(d) If at any recall election a majority of people voting votes ‘yes’ then their MP is recalled and a bi-election must be held within 3 months.
(e) If the Committee decides that the provisions of subsection (2) have not been satisfied or that they have been satisfied but that no further action is required or that a reprimand is sufficient then it must give its reasons in writing to the petitioners.
(f) The Secretary of State may by statutory instrument make provisions for the conduct of recall elections.
2. Primary Elections
(1) If any political party in a House of Commons constituency decides to hold a primary election in that constituency and it has the support of not less than 1000 voters in that constituency on a petition then it shall be the duty of the Electoral Returning Officer for that constituency to organise a primary election to take place at the next time an election is being held in that constituency.
(2) In this section a primary election is an election in which all voters may vote on a short list of candidates presented by the political party concerned.
(3) The candidate that secures most votes in the primary election shall be adopted as the parliamentary candidate by the political party concerned.
(4) The Secretary of State may by statutory instrument make provisions for the conduct of primary elections.
3. Short Title Commencement and extent
(1) This Act may be cited as the Parliamentary Elections (Recall and Primaries) Bill.
(2) This Act applies to the United Kingdom but only as regards elections relating to the House of Commons.
(3) This Act shall come into force forthwith.
If there is one single thing I would most like improved in our area, it is local health provision. There seems to be a constant battle to keep services local.
Peter Bruff ward at Clacton hospital came within a whisker of being shut - saved only by a determined local campaign. Harwich hospital lay underused for months – despite the vast sums of money that were spent on it. Without wanting to fuel local anxieties further, there remain some serious issues with GP provision in some parts of Tendring, too. Local people in the affected areas will know what I am talking about.
Worse, I have a horrid feeling that the money is about to run out – and our local Primary Care Trust faces the unenviable task of struggling to do more, with less. As your MP, I’m determined that we keep essential local services local.
Money seems to have run out for sea defences, too. Our local council has undertaken some vital repairs at Holland-on-sea. But they would be the first to admit that they have really only applied a sticky plaster. What is needed is a major project for the longer term, which would also give us back our beach!
The amicable Norman Jacobs, of Holland Beach Hut Owners Association, has invited me to speak at their AGM. I hope to have some good news to report – but frankly, I fear our campaign for proper sea defences is going to be a long slog.
Speaking of sea defences, the other day I attended a meeting about a very different sort; World War II military sea defences, to be precise – designed to hold back Germans, rather than the tide. The Victoria County History group’s latest publication catalogues all our historic pill boxes and coastal defences, and is a really important part of our folk record of the past. Well done to Chairman Roger Kennell, Colin Preen and the rest of the gang!
Next week, I introduce a Bill in Parliament designed to make politicians properly accountable. Despite all the noise about reform since I ousted the Speaker, there has not been real change in Westminster.
My Bill will give local voters in every constituency – not just marginal seats - the right to throw out politicians who put their own interests above that of local people.
I try to avoid mentioning party politics in the Gazette. So when I say that Martin Bell, the anti-sleaze campaigner, is backing my latest campaign to clean up Westminster, I hope you appreciate that this is a genuinely non partisan initiative. It might not make me popular in SW1, but too bad. Westminster needs a real shake up.
Local Kirby Cross residents raised £749 for Macmillan Nurses at a coffee morning on Saturday. The event was held as a local effort in support of a national fundraising scheme.
Organised by Norman Martin at the Masonic Lodge building at Kirby Cross, the event was attended by local MP, Douglas Carswell, and dozens of local people.
"From my casework in the constituency, I know just what a wonderful job Macmillan nurses do. They really makes such a difference to people with cancer.
Well done to everyone at the coffee morning. It was a really worthwhile event - and great to see so many people!
I'll be using some of the damsons I bought at the coffee morning to make lots of jam"