Beauty matters, because people do

Orwell Bridge in Suffolk England spanning the River Orwell

More than twenty years ago, I was lucky enough to go, with my family, on a long drive through eastern Europe, to places that then felt very closed but have since opened up as the east has integrated with the west. The journey has left me with abiding and – in…

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A Week Worth Saying Something About

It seems with increasing frequency, you turn on the radio and hear Mark Murphy or his ilk telling you that today – what was otherwise a normal day, get up, breakfast, children to school, work, lunch, work, children back from school, tea, bath time, children in bed, bottle of beer,…

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The Right Thing To Do


Several times a week for the past decade, as I have left Liverpool Street Station from the Ipswich train, I walk past a bronze statue of an anxious-looking boy and girl with their suitcases.  The statues, part of a series in the station commemorating the Kindertransport and its leader, Sir…

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Progress on Ipswich Flood Barrier

Flood Barrier

Meanwhile, we are in the process of protecting the old port – the waterfront – from the damaging effect of floods.  Last Friday I visited the enormous hole that engineers have dug in the entrance to the New Cut, which from the outside looks like a modest palisade of sheet…

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Utopia Will Never Exist


I have a new namesake in politics – this time in France.  On Sunday Benoît Hamon gained the candidacy of the French Socialist Party, a feat as remarkable as the capture of our own Labour Party by Jeremy Corbyn and the Republican nomination of Donald Trump.  Many false generalisations about…

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I’ve just made one of those rites of passage that makes you feel a whole lot more grown up.  On Monday last week, Sarah and I left the house with our eldest but still very little son, now two years and just four months, for his first day at nursery. …

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The Power of Song


We have just had Christmas, the point in the year when churches are most full.  You will find amongst the pews people who otherwise never cross the entrance porch, making their annual pilgrimage to sing carols and rejoice in the festive spirit.  For the rest of the year, churches are…

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The Year Ahead

New Connexions on Princes Street

I don’t really feel the year began until Monday of this week, so I shall take this opportunity to have a look at what lies ahead in 2017 and what I would like to see achieved in the town. On that I am already a hostage to fortune.  For much…

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Happy New Year

Ben Gummer Stoke Park

In my last newsletter I wished you all a peaceful Christmas, because that is precisely what I think is the most special gift of this great festival.  That moment when the family comes together and the door is shut to the world outside, where news stops and we mark time…

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