Our Man in Westminster
Ihave had the pleasure over the past week of attending two different events which I enjoy because they plug the modern world into history, showing the sense of continuity which is so strong here in Kent. The first was the Kent County Show, and the second the annual civic service in Tenterden.
The Kent County Show’s roots only go back to the 19th century, but despite the many modern additions, and the fact that it is now a huge attraction for petrolheads with its plethora of motorised vehicles, it is still recognisably an agricultural show.
I was there on Friday, which took some ingenuity after two lorries managed to crash into each other at 3.30am at Junction 7, the main entry point for the show for those of us coming from the east of the county.
There was a degree of local knowledge one-upmanship as each of us explained how we had avoided the eight-mile tailback on the motorway!
I attend the show as the MP for Ashford, because I want to support our farmers and others working in related industries. But the truth is I would go anyway, because it offers a huge amount of gentle fun, and the opportunity to buy a significant amount of really good food.
The Tenterden civic service, like its counterpart in Ashford, takes place in a splendid historic church, and allows the wider community to give some thanks to those who go often about the often thankless task of local government.
I enjoyed the point where the town councillors pledge to exercise their responsibilities widely, and the people then pledge in return to support them in their work.
These are two timeless events, which remind me how lucky we are in Kent to have solid institutions which last for centuries, and which still provide necessary services in the 21st century.