My regular column generally attempts to cover two things: to reflect on events, usually political, with a report on local community activities that have caught my attention and to give my interpretation of what lies just around the corner. An attempt to give you, from the heart of Westminster, news before it happens. As I write this piece on Monday morning, that rule does not hold true for the potentially turbulent week ahead. And so it is probably best for you to write the news, to delete as appropriate once we reach the end of the week as you read this.
I am of course, trying to give some foresight into how the week will unfold on Brexit votes in Parliament. So, for you to amend: the Parliamentary vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration was passed/went down by close to 200 votes/was amended and passed/amended and still fell by just under 100 votes/an opposition amendment was passed and the outcome was that the PM went to Brussels to try to amend the backstop/faced a vote of no confidence in the government proposed by the opposition which led to xxxxxxx. You write the rest as the variety of outcomes are as complex as a game of chess, or more labyrinthine than a storyline of the TV series “House of Cards”. At least I tried.
Small Business Saturday has become an important annual event in the national calendar. I’m not sure if it is an Americanism that has crept in, being held on the Saturday after the ‘Black Friday’ sales. It serves to support and celebrate the local businesses, usually owned by local people that form the backbone of our economy with turnover, employment and profits staying local. I was pleased to have the Rt. Hon Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury with us for a business forum at the Pavilion by the Sea, Broadstairs. As the Minister responsible for HM Revenue and Customs, and the Minister who presents the Finance Bill following the Budget, he was on hand to discuss all things tax and to hear many great ideas from the business audience, particularly on VAT registration thresholds.
This being my last column before Christmas, time to look forward to the festive season, which for many is in full swing. I have written some of my cards, am yet to buy any presents, and am yet to put up any decorations. Thankfully that is not true of many boat and business owners in and around Ramsgate Royal Harbour. We have once more a fantastic display which is pulling in the crowds from far and wide. Well done all; this annual effort is truly fantastic and improves every year. For me, I know that the festive season has truly begun following the annual Thanet Male Voice Choir Christmas concert at Holy Trinity Church, Broadstairs supported by the children from Upton Junior School. This year’s charity – SERV (also known as Kent Bloodrunners) provide essential volunteer high speed transport of blood supplies around the county. A great choice.
I wish you a very happy Christmas.