MP John Bercow with the first of his monthly columns
I was delighted to have the opportunity to present awards at the Royal Latin School prize giving ceremony last Thursday. Buckingham is extremely lucky to have two such excellent secondary schools, and I always enjoy visiting both and talking to both staff and students.
That said, the attempts by some of the more valiant members of the student body to introduce me to the mysteries of modern technology in education have, thus far, proved abortive. But I am confident that with the tutelage I regularly get at schools all over the Buckingham constituency when I visit, I shall shortly be arriving in the twenty-first century. Or, perhaps more realistically, the twentieth.
The attendees at the Royal Latin prize giving were in a particularly buoyant mood, partly because of the celebratory nature of the event, but also because of the success of the schools RLS 600 Campaign, which looks set to complete its innovative new science and technology facility – the Discovery Centre – for 2015. The fundraising initiative has been successful, and I have been happy, to assist the team in reaching their goal. There’s a little way to go yet, but I am confident, with the support of the community, the school will get there.
Prior to the prize giving, I was engaged in one of my regular advice surgeries, which I hold monthly in various locations across the constituency. Although many hundreds of local people get in touch with me every month to raise their concerns over telephone, or by email or post and I try to help as best I can, some cases are so complex or long-standing that they require a one-on-one meeting. If any readers feel they would benefit from meeting me with such an issue, do get in touch with my office.
On Thursday, I was in Aylesbury at a meeting of the planning inspectorate which I know was important to those living on the outskirts of Winslow. The appeal on the part of a developer to build a series of wind turbines in Stoke Hammond has been ‘recovered’ by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP. I will be giving evidence to the inquiry and explaining how, although I’m not against renewable energy, siting the turbines in Stoke Hammond would be a huge blow to the local community. Incidentally, they probably won’t generate much in the way of actual power either but this is not considered relevant to such proposals.
Then, today, Saturday, I will be the guest narrator for the Buckingham Choral Society’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. This has become an annual engagement for me, and one that is always tremendous fun. I hope, as always, that what I lack in artistic talent I make up for in enthusiasm for an event that is a wonderful community occasion.