SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: Pavement politics and other campaigns
Books are a large part of my life. When Virginia helpfully gathers some together for me to give to Oxfam, I realise the range of my campaigns and my interests.
A book of talks given on the Third Programme reminded me of my task in 1957 with the Third Programme Defence Society.
The leaders included T. S. Eliot, Albert Camus and Sir Laurence Olivier.
From 1946, it had broadcast for six hours a day from 6pm. My role, age 12, was to address and stamp envelopes to supporters. The radio service was accused of being elitist. It survived, to be succeeded in 1965 by Radio 3.
I have a book of signs because as roads minister I relaxed the regulations so travellers could more easily find their destination, whether a tourist attraction or a hotel or the beach at Rustington, Ferring or Worthing.
It is time I renewed my interest in shops and offices displaying their street number.
Why is it that shop fitters fail to remind the owners of a new or refurbished store that the law requires and the public like to see the number?
At pavement level, I want all ‘dropped’ kerbs to be smooth. At the Houses of Parliament I noticed the difficulties of a colleague in her wheelchair so I asked for smoothing. Now a marble can be rolled without a bump along the way
Throughout the constituency, throughout the land, it would not cost much to build this into the standard for our streets.
These reflections follow the welcome news of Leasehold reform, the result of a long-term campaign that started in the constituency.
I am grateful to local residents who have written in response to the publicity on Tuesday.
A BBC interviewer ended our discussion with a comment on my colourful shirt and tie. I explained that I had come to work without expecting to appear on several television channels.
My clothes had come from the Leonard Cheshire shop at St Bridget’s in Rustington.
During the past fortnight, a number of campaigns have made significant progress, including gaining attention for legitimate journalists in Turkey.
One that has not is the dire situation of ordinary people in Venezuela, a country endowed with natural resources that should make people prosper.
Their problem was a charismatic once popular leader who wrecked the economy, followed by another who wants to avoid being defeated in a vote.
I hope we do not have to campaign for long for the locals there to have the government they want, one that can re-establish a better life for all.
During the week I joined NHS and Town Hall leaders to consider a possible public service and health hub in central Worthing.
This was before joining the head teacher and leading governor at the Heene Primary school, where I watched pupils playing on the site of the old pub.
That had been a successful campaign, involving cooperation with the County Council and the Church of England.
Doing good requires constant attention, persistence and building the team to achieve a task.
On the slow running issue of the A27, we have more to do.
I did enjoy the refreshment in High Salvington where a local resident gave me the benefit of his experience and views.
That reminds me: a pavement is needed from the village shop down to the main road.
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