Jamie Reed Speaker Evening – Friday 25th November 2016

Tatie pot and Politics at Lamplugh Village Hall.

It could never be said that the Village Hall doesn’t provide us with variety; rock and roll, classical guitar, a comedy western and, on Friday 25 November, an illuminating talk by Copeland Member of Parliament, Jamie Reed.

Perhaps conscious that there would be a range of political affiliations among the audience of 40 who sat down to their pre-talk supper of tatie pot, our speaker promised at the outset that he wouldn’t be making political points. He gave us, instead, a fascinating insight into the life of a member of parliament and into some of the particular problems associated with representing England’s least accessible parliamentary constituency. We heard how, typically, his working week involves travelling to Westminster early on Monday; a 6 hour door to door journey, returning around midnight on Thursday, and spending Friday meeting constituents and others throughout the area; as he put it, anywhere from Dunmail Raise to Millom.

We heard an amusing tale of a desperate taxi journey from London to Carlisle when Jamie missed the last train, the night before being due to welcome the Queen to Whitehaven and, on a more serious note, of some of the changes that have come about in the conduct of politics during the last year or so. Jamie admitted he had never experienced a year quite like 2016 and clearly has some concerns about the way politics is going.

A question and answer session followed, and subjects included the campaign to protect services at West Cumberland Hospital and the impact that Sellafield has on our local economy; both positive and negative. Our MP since 2005 came across as someone who is passionate about his job and passionate about achieving the best for Copeland. He stuck to his word about not making political points, acknowledged that he didn’t have answers to some of the problems discussed and gave us a thoughtful and balanced view of how he saw politics nationally and the issues concerning us in Copeland.

Asked to give us a cheering thought to go home with, Jamie Reed didn’t hesitate; Copeland, he believes, has a very bright future, and businesses at the cutting edge of science and technology, properly supported and developed, have the potential to make this one of the very best areas to live in the UK. The appreciative audience left after an enjoyable evening hoping, surely, that he’s right.