At_duftonLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam auctor eleifend lobortis. Quisque vitae massa ligula. Donec eget lacus luctus arcu pretium varius id at magna. Pellentesque tempus aliquet arcu. Etiam elementum consequat nisl, at dignissim neque pretium id. Aenean id placerat tellus. Curabitur eu tellus elit, id blandit felis. Proin scelerisque, arcu sit amet fermentum elementum, mauris lorem euismod tellus,


bringing superfast broadband to penrith and the border.

Nothing that I have done in my short time in parliament has been as exciting or as fulfilling as broadband. My constituency of Penrith and the Border is the largest in England and consists of over 200 villages. Our greatest problems stem from distance and isolation. My neighbour with Parkinson’s has to drive to Newcastle Hospital […]


two campaigns: penrith cinema and newton rigg

On Thursday, I defended Cumbrian community action in the London School of Economics, where the rhetoric was as extreme as the setting was bland. My opponents compared parish council initiatives to Athenian slavery and the Bombing of Baghdad, in front of a quiet scholarly audience in a lecture theatre. On Saturday, I was amidst the […]

thoughts on the big society

I thought I’d share a couple of points I’ve been trying to make in correspondence with a constituent about the Big Society: thoughts welcome… Big Society projects are by their very nature local and varied. For that reason, they can only be fully assessed on the ground and in a particular place. A successful big […]


new year in cumbria

I spent Christmas with my family. My little sister, who has Down’s Syndrome, made Christmas for us. She spent much of the holiday in a pink, pointed woollen hat, with ear flaps – the kind I imagine a Peruvian wearing. She took my father swimming and me skating (I promptly fell over in the middle […]


save penrith cinema update

  Update on the Lease Situation at the Alhambra:   I spoke to Vince Hughes, one of the directors of Graves, on Friday. He explained in some detail the financial information and the offer he had received, but on a confidential basis. I encouraged him to talk to his Board about sharing information more widely. […]


save penrith cinema

  Please support our bid to save Penrith’s  Lonsdale Alhambra Cinema The hundreds of protesters, who I joined outside the Cinema on Saturday were amazing. There was real verve, energy and exuberance in the streets. I never thought I’d see so many people (still less end up standing between Darth Vader and Borat). I love […]

village hall led revolution, the observer, 2nd january 2011

An internet revolution driven by tiny rural communities and their village halls in Cumbria is giving the telecoms giants a run for their money This winter, 130 activists gathered to discuss superfast broadband in a village hall in Cumbria. They had come from 100 villages, by 100 paths. Ali had presumably travelled north along the […]

happy new year

As I write, the sun is setting on 2010: a year of two severe winters. Many Cumbrians have struggled with the soaring costs of heating oil, with the roads and with the cold. Now, it is warmer outside my cottage than in: the sheep are no longer burrowing in snow, the last of the ice […]


if i were to edit the today programme for a day

The Independent newspaper asked me what I would include if I were able to edit the Today Programme for a day. Here is what I chose…   The historian Jonathan Spence would describe how a seventeenth century Jesuit, built a ‘memory palace’ in his mind, which allowed him to learn thousand Chinese characters in a […]