Thursday, 24 July 2014

Walton Digital Work Hub

Earlier this year, I visited The Digital Work Hub, a flexible co-working space in Walton-on-Thames set up by Alec Grant. Its focus is on providing hot desks, meeting rooms and event space for home workers, micro-businesses, startups and entrepreneurs - ideal for local businesses, or those who want to try a middle ground between literally working from home and commuting. The Hub also runs workshops, training events and business surgeries. It's a great idea, and Alec has worked hard with his team to get the idea off the ground.

Throughout the summer, they will be offering new clients a discounted rate on any of their hot desk and meeting room packages. You can check out their website here for offers and events over the next few months.

Alec meets up with Sarah-Jane Shellard and the Walton Business Group ...

... and inside the Digital Work Hub in Walton town centre.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Less Tick-Box Diversity, More Meritocracy Please

I have written a column for Conservative Home, here, on the Equality Regulations that require 40,000 councils, police forces, schools and other public bodies to account for the social make-up of their staff and promote diversity - and section 159 of the Equality Act which licences positive discrimination.

I am opposed to these measures, because they place unnecessary red-tape on hard-pressed public bodies and businesses, and they are unmeritocratic and socially divisive.
Sunday, 20 July 2014

Super Saturday

I always think of the Saturday just gone as the 'Super Saturday' of the local calendar, because there's always a string of fantastic community events on. This year was no different, with Claygate Flower show and Molesey Regatta both blessed with glorious sunshine - despite all the forecasts.

I'm afraid I was over-booked this year, so I couldn't make the regatta. But, Claygate flower show was simply amazing, an increasingly popular village event that draws an incredible turnout. Each year, there is something different. This year, I had the privilege of handing out the awards for the children's fancy dress competition. Chairman Barry Fitzpatrick and his dedicated team really pulled off an amazing event. It's a brilliant family day out, and it was a special pleasure to enjoy the show with Erika and Peter (see below on the Flinstones' train ride!).

After the flower show, we hot-footed it over to East Molesey for The Foley Amateur Boxing Club summer party and awards. I love training at The Foley (based in Weston Green) and try to do my best to support their shows. It's a great club with a really strong ethos. The trainers, led by Paul Dawson and Gary Ball, give up a huge amount of time, as does club secretary Bev and club chair Lee Martin. After an excellent season, it was an honour to hand out the well-deserved awards (pictured below).





Saturday, 19 July 2014

Surveillance Legislation - why the rush?

This week, after just one day of scrutiny in the House of Commons, Parliament rushed through emergency surveillance legislation. Along with over 50 other MPs from a range of parties, I voted for an amendment which would have required us to replace it with a properly thought through Bill by Christmas, allowing for greater consultation, scrutiny, and amendments.

I discussed the issue on Radio for the Week in Westminster show here (from 22 minutes).

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