Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Local matters

One runner this week and that's tomorrow.  Newmarket - which isn't actually as easy as you'd think.  I always find having a runner at Newmarket quite hard.  The thing is that if you're going somewhere else, you're flat out in the morning until you have to leave and you might find yourself getting home late, but from the time you leave until you get home - which could be eight hours or more - it's fairly easy as there's not much you can do other than drive the horsebox, get the horse ready, wait, talk, eat etc.  Effectively, you have an easy day.  When the runner is at Newmarket, you're rushing all day because you do all your usual daily stuff, plus fit in the time to run the horse as well.

If that sounds negative, it's not meant to be.  I'm really looking forward to the day, both because I love Newmarket and having a runner there, and because I'm really looking forward to seeing Loving Pearl (pictured in this paragraph, galloping on Monday morning with Jana on Railway Land; and in the next paragraph just before the gallop) have her first run for us, having run four times for Ralph Beckett last year.  She's a nice filly and, while I won't be heading there with unrealistic expectations because it's a competitive race and she's only resuming over a distance which might end up as seeming to have been short of her best, I'm expecting a good run.

If that sounds silly, I should just point out that her two best runs last year, when she finished second each time, were over seven furlongs and seven-and-a-half furlongs so, while she's bred to relish two miles, it would be rash at this early stage of her preparation to resume over any farther than the mile at which she will be racing tomorrow, particularly the Rowley Mile which I always regard as one of the most testing miles that there is.  She's a very nice filly and it's exciting to be running her at a great racecourse.  And I'm pleased that Nicola can ride her.  She is three-from-three in Tony Fordham's silks (thanks to Kryptos) although the overwhelming likelihood is that her strike rate in them will be 75% rather than still 100% come tomorrow evening.

Another nice thing about running tomorrow evening will be that the evening is sponsored by the Heath Court Hotel and the race which she is contesting is the Heath Court Hotel Fillies' Handicap.  The Heath Court Hotel is managed by my friend and former fellow Newmarket Town Councillor Robert Nobbs, so I'm pleased that we're running in his race.  And, yes, that wasn't a misprint: 'former' - both Robert and I lost our seats at the recent local elections!  That was disappointing but not surprising (for me anyway, but I didn't expect Robert to lose his).

Local politics shouldn't be party-political.  If you attended Council meetings, you wouldn't really know which party anyone is in, which is the way it should be.  In many parishes, there aren't even any political parties mentioned on the ballot paper, with candidates being merely described by phrases such as 'retired civil servant', 'plumber' etc.  In Newmarket, however, in recent years anyway, it has been the norm to have a political party next to your name.  This time around, for reasons some of which I imagine are obvious, there were several former Conservative Councillors who did not feel comfortable with having 'Conservative' next to their name. I was one of them.

Most of them stood under the auspices of the relatively young 'West Suffolk Independent' Party.  I could and probably should have done that, but stupidly had some misguided residual loyalty to the Conservative Party so, while I couldn't face the embarrassment of having 'Conservative' next to my name, I didn't like the idea of having another party's name next to my name either.  One other Councillor did the same, John Winter's widow Philippa, and it turned out that she and I were the only two candidates to have the description-box left blank.  Over and above our disenchantment with the Conservative Party, we both feel that correctly party politics have no place in local politics anyway.  I suppose we should just have written, 'Independent'.  Anyway, Philippa and I (unsurprisingly, it would be fair to say) both lost our seats.  As did Robert, a Conservative, which I was surprised about.

Now, I'm not going to criticise the Newmarket electorate for not electing me because I wasn't much of an asset to the Council.  I wouldn't say that I was a bad Councillor, but I never have much spare time, and I wasn't the most proactive.  But Philippa was outstanding; ditto Robert.  I would say that over the past four years, Philippa has done more for the town than any other Councillor.  (And Robert went well beyond the call of duty too).  Madness. She really should have been elected.  But that's the Great God Democracy.  And, unless you're involved in the Council or otherwise you keep your finger very closely on the pulse, you wouldn't have any idea at all, because people like Philippa are proper unsung heroes.

None of which goes to contradict a very good tweet which I read one Sunday a couple of years ago that 'At the moment I wouldn't trust a British electorate to vote that today is Sunday'!  Anyway, the upshot is that I'll have more time on my hands. And a further bonus is that I don't have to be involved in the current madness.  If you've read the front page of last week's Newmarket Journal (which you won't have done) you will have gathered that the local Conservatives have lost the plot and have been patting themselves on the back for, as they see it, 'winning Newmarket'; and that they have turned Newmarket Town Council business into party-political warfare and have created a mire of ill-feeling.  And it's a mire in which I'm not unhappy not to be bogged down.  (No wonder I lost my seat: the double negative tends to be confusing enough, never mind the triple negative).

No comments: