£1.7 billion

So, as we all know, the EU has slapped a demand on the UK for an extra £1.7bn. This sum is so eye-watering that it is hard to make sense of it. I find it helpful to think of what it translates into locally. In round terms it means the residents of Cheltenham alone are being asked to stump up £3m on top of the £15m we already pay as a town to the EU each year

The future of our railway station

There’s nothing quite like a sci-fi film to point out the passing of the years. Particularly when the plot is about time-travel. But that’s exactly what some of us Cheltenham 30-somethings might be noticing at the moment. You see, we grew up transfixed by the ‘Back to the Future’ franchise – films about Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) and his adventures across time and space in his DeLorean time machine. What we never seriously imagined though was that 2015, the impossibly far-off year Marty travelled to in the second film, would ever actually arrive. And now it is almost upon us. 

Conference Season

So conference season is over. Poor old Ed Miliband might be relieved. On a human level I feel for him. But it really was an extraordinary howler to fail to mention the deficit once in his hour-long speech.

England Expects

The Union has survived. After weeks in which it seemed that our country was on the point of break-up, the Scottish people voted decisively to reject nationalism and separation. I was one of millions who breathed a collective sigh of relief as 55% of Scots voted to stay in the United Kingdom. I believe that ours is one of the most successful political unions anywhere in the world. To wreck it after 300 years would have been abject folly. 

Creating an Economic Plan for Cheltenham

We all want Cheltenham’s economy to thrive. A strong economy brings jobs and opportunities close to home, particularly for our young people. Prosperity also offers a pathway out of the deprivation which still exists at unacceptable levels in parts of our town. But if we are going to make Cheltenham a town of opportunity for all we need a plan - one with a clear vision and clear goals. 

Maggie's Culture Crawl

As many of you know, Maggie's is a fantastic charity working in Cheltenham, raising money for cancer sufferers and their families, as well as providing invaluable emotional support.

Cheltenham vs Gloucester

''Over the next 25 years I am sure that Gloucester will overtake Cheltenham on a number of criteria. We will carry on going up, Cheltenham will fall behind.” So said Richard Graham, the energetic and business-minded MP for Gloucester in an interview last month with the Citizen.

The British stiff upper lip

The British stiff upper lip. It’s engrained in our national psyche.  It’s a defence as strong and robust as the white cliffs, the mighty longbow at Agincourt, the red squares at Waterloo.