This coming weekend is Small Business Saturday, a chance to celebrate all the great local businesses and I guess start Christmas shopping in earnest. The lights are looking fantastic in Romsey and this coming Saturday they go on in Stockbridge. Whish should act as a reminder to me to order a turkey from Robinson’s (just a small one).
This week in Parliament I was able to raise some of the ongoing challenges with getting decent broadband speeds with the Minister in DDCMS Questions. I am very conscious that some of the schemes put in place are simply not delivering the expected results, and in several funding streams have run out, goal posts have been changed and that causes a great deal of frustration when community groups have worked hard to get the required number of sign ups.
It was also White Ribbon day last week, a day to remember all those women lost to violence. I was on the Sophy Ridge show on Wednesday night talking about the action my Select Committee is taking to highlight the ongoing need for more effective action to tackle the cultures underpinning male violence against women.
I was very pleased to be able to attend an event in Parliament this week in support of the brave women and girls in Iran, protesting against the enormous oppression of that regime. I am aware there is a significant Iranian diaspora in this area, many of whom are scared for the well being of family members still in Iran. The regime trades on a currency of fear and many are terrified that by speaking out in this country their families will be targeted in Iran.
As we head into the Christmas season there is so much going on to look forward to. But first I am off to Derwentside on Sunday evening to visit the immigration removal centre there, as part of the WESC inquiry into discrimination in the asylum system. I am horrified at the racist abuse sent my way whenever I raise this issue, and just this week have had to move a couple of constituents onto the “blocked list”, due to the abhorrent content of their emails. We have to do better to discuss asylum and immigration in a more rational and thoughtful way and try and take some of the heat out of the debate. That sadly, even at Christmas, is a great deal easier said than done.