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Uncategorized

International Travel… to Scotland

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So Glasgow, what a place. I came up today for two meetings and then hung out in George Square, my first time downtown Glasgow. And what a great first impression.

Mind you the day started badly. I never even thought to check the weather forecast and assumed it was as warm as at home. What a typical southerner. Of course it was cold and raining. In a rush I did two things…

Firstly, I bought an umbrella. It broke. I went back to WHSmith and changed it. Then I took some cash out of the Travelex machine. Well, I thought I did. Actually I punched in my PIN number, chose my amount, then took back my card. And walked off. What a muppet.

This evening back at the airport I tentatively asked whether I could return my unused umbrella to WHSmith and get a refund. I could! A miracle! So thanks WHSmith, you have won tonight’s customer service award. Then I asked about my cash and discovered that after 30 seconds the cash goes back in. So need to check with bank tomorrow whether someone took it or the machine reclaimed it.

Now on my plane and preparing to fly south. So I escaped Scotland intact and I only had one embarrassing language situation. Ordering a coffee I really struggled to understand the girl; “d’yee wan a smorl oo reehglaar?”.

My pause while I tried to decipher her question was a little embarrassing, but it got worse as I paused for longer and longer. Never mind using encryption, I think we could harness a strong Glaswegian accent instead to keep our secrets secret.

Travel broadens the mind apparently…

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Uncategorized

At least I’ve won one election…

Whilst pounding the roads and streets of Oakley, Stevington and Pavenham earlier this year while campaigning for the Borough Council election,  I decided to put my name forward for the elected position of Parent Governor at Bedford Modern School.

I duly wrote my short bio and election statement  which was then sent out to all parents, along with the details of the other 4 candidates. The poll closed this morning at 9am and by 2.30pm I received the news that I had won by 19 votes. It made a change to losing by 41!

So I have finally been successful this year and I am delighted. It is clear people voted for my ideas to improve BMS.

It is a tremendous privilege to serve on the governing body of the 250 year old school, assuming the Trustees confirm the appointment. It is more than compensation for my disappointment in the election this year.

The appointment commences in September.

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So what’s next?

  

Well, possibly playing Cricket here at Pavenham next weekend in fact! 

I drove across to the ground to watch their match against Houghton this afternoon and ended giving my details in case they need someone next weekend. 

So I’ve dug out my kit from the garage and I’m sort of ready (although a nets session would help my confidence!).

Otherwise I’m focussing on areas of my life which were ignored throughout my campaign, namely my wife and kids. 

It’s great to have time at the weekends to watch sport, catch up on jobs at home and go on long cycle rides.

I wanted to win, but having got so close I am satisfied that the foundations have been laid should I want to stand again in four years’ time. 

But a lot can happen in four years…

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Campaigning

So close…

Yet so far… 

I was appointed the Conservative Candidate for Oakley Ward in January 2015. From a standing start and in only 4 months, I managed to gain 39% share of the vote against a long standing borough councillor (29 years) and former Mayoress. I also managed to reduce her share of the vote from 84% in 2011 to 41% at the election. In anyone’s book that’s a pretty impressive achievement. 

If I can achieve that, what else can I do in politics?

So I am very proud of my positive and engaging campaign, knocking on doors and connecting with people directly. I am very disappointed for the 914 people who looked to me to deliver much needed change in the Ward and I am sorry I didn’t quite make it. Everyone has been very kind by sending messages of support and congratulations. Thank you for what you have said; it means a lot to me.

On the plus side I have met some amazing people along the way and I have made many new friends. I love the villages that I have been spending so much time in and I really do care about their future.

I will always remember those 41 votes in whatever I take on next. 

But first I need to re-connect with my amazing family and do some normal things at weekends! 

The results follow;

 

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Campaigning

Archived: Three polling stations – one candidate!

Stevington

Oakley


and Pavenham…

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Campaigning

Archived: It’s polling day!


I feel like a Guardsman outside Buckingham Palace!

Let’s make a change today!

Go out to vote Ade Clewlow

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Campaigning

Archived: Why do we need change in Oakley Ward?

This is the question that the vast majority of people have asked me as I have been knocking on doors throughout the last 4 months.

And the answer is simple.

After 29 years it is highly unlikely that any borough councillor will have the same levels of drive, enthusiasm and ambition as when they started their role as an elected official. Everyone I meet agrees with that view. So we need to bring in a fresh perspective to the role in 2015.

I will bring new ideas which you can read here, the ability to reset important relationships across a wide range of important stakeholders, I will bring energy and a much longer term view to the role.

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I walked to the Stevington Windmill today (left), to take stock of my 4 month campaign.

I will not join every committee going; I will use my energy for the issues that matter and dedicate myself to making a positive difference to the people in the Ward and to Bedford more broadly.

Since 1986 the Council in Bedford has been ‘hung’ and you can see the result; a dilapidated and dreary town that nobody wants to visit. The lack of a majority has resulted in a lack of consistency in policy implementation and the independent councillors have swayed with the breeze, supporting this vanity project and the other. The current Mayor has served our town very poorly and we have a chance to change this but only with a Conservative majority will Bedford ever get the chance to put together a long term plan for the regeneration of the town.

As you can see from my website, I would be at the forefront of that programme if I am given the chance. And I would blog about the experience so that people know what is happening and not be left in the dark over the future of our Ward and our county town.

Yes, a Borough Councillor has responsibilities for the people of the Ward, tackling long term issues as well as those that bubble up. And the Borough Councillor should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age or issue. But the role must also demonstrate leadership in the Council; the town has been allowed to drift because of a lack of vision and decisive leadership and this has to change.

We need a more inclusive Borough Councillor and I am the only candidate in Oakley Ward who has the life experience to deliver this.

So if you are reading this now and you want to see a new, fresh approach to how local politics is run in Oakley ward, then vote Ade Clewlow on Thursday and let’s make a change together.

There is so much to be done…

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Campaigning

Archived: Campaigning to the end…

I spent 5 hours in Lincroft yesterday. I met many people and they were all surprised when I explained that it was the culmination of a 4 month campaign.
They didn’t expect to hear such commitment from a political candidate. I have been the only local candidate knocking on doors in this campaign. What does that tell you?

But that’s me; I’m a bit old school when it comes to these matters. How can I ask for someone’s vote and not put the effort in to meet them? This is what local politics is all about and I now feel a heavy burden to win this election because so many people I have met in Oakley, Pavenham and Stevington are relying on me to bring change to the Ward.

I can not have done more and there are still three days left to talk to people about what can be achieved if we make a change together on 7th May.

At the Mayoral debate I asked about the candidates’ vision for Bedford. There were signs from one or two prospective Mayors that they could offer the leadership Bedford so urgently needs. I would encourage the successful candidate to be bold and ambitious.

In these 4 months on the road I have been challenged by people in a way I had never expected. Local politics really matters to residents and they want to know what they are going to get.

That’s easy; fresh ideas, ambition, a vision for Bedford, the ability to reset relationships in the council and an unflinching commitment to the people I represent.

As a leader in the UK’s Armed Forces I have always thrown my heart and soul into my responsibilities.

As your Borough Councillor, you can expect nothing less.


Categories
Life events

Nepal: what can we do?

As a former Gurkha officer and someone who spent three months in Nepal studying Nepali in 2004, the tragedy that struck the country last weekend is heartbreaking. While I was there I spent time in Kathmandu and in Pokhara where I was based, but also in Gorkha, a little known town in between the two. 

The epicentre was practically underneath Gorkha. I can’t imagine the destruction it has brought to people there, including the family of a Gurkha soldier who was serving with me in York. I met his family while I was in Gorkha that weekend in February 2004 and I was treated like royalty by them. It was a humbling experience and I worry for their fate.

Ironically I gave a talk on Nepal at a school in Bedford only two days before the earthquake struck.

  
Children run through the narrow streets of Gandruk, near the Annapurna range.

Whilst so many people have been killed and injured, and with the country’s tourist sights lying in ruins, I received some good news that some of those Gurkhas who I remain close to are safe and their families are also well. But this will have a profound effect on the economy as tourists think twice about going to Nepal.

I really hope that the international community steps up and provides expertise to rebuild the infrastructure and sends specialists to look after the injured. When a country relies on its natural beauty as Nepal does, the UK must do all we can to help. 

If you can spare some money for the relief effort, that would help too.

Thanks.

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Campaigning

Archived: This election is going to be close…

I’m writing this from the Tudor Rose cafe in Oakley, which is a great place to recharge my batteries. 

  
I’ve just finished meeting residents in Farsands and Burleigh Place.

It was another positive morning; the majority of people I met wanted to see a change and would vote for me. Others were naturally reserved and needed more reassurance. 

One individual clearly had a problem with the democratic process in the UK generally. He has moved onto my ‘Life’s Too Short’ list.

So if you are reading this and you live in Oakley, Pavenham or Stevington, and you support my campaign, then go out and spread the word with your friends and family. A sense of change is tangible but I still need as many votes as I can to secure a stronger voice for Oakley Ward in Bedford Borough Council.

Last night at Pavenham’s Annual Meeting I heard many examples where the blame for the lack of activity or progress over certain issues was pointed at council officials. 

It was a moment of clarity for me.

It was obvious that a link in the chain, between the Parishes and the Borough was not working. 

The need for a newly elected Borough Councillor was as clear to me last night than at any time in this campaign. 

Vote for change on 7th May.

Vote Ade Clewlow.