Thursday, 9 August 2007

MPs and Facebook

Just for a bit of light relief, I asked my friend Francis Churchill to have a look at Facebook for me to see how many MPs of different parties had got involved. This is how the BBC are running the results.

I was encouraged to see that my nagging of my Lib Dem colleagues appears to be paying off - although one (who shall remain nameless) has already gone on and come off again because his Facebook profile generated too much traffic!

If you're not already my "Facebook friend", why not join in here, especially if you live in the Northavon constituency?

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Foot & Mouth fears

It's hard to believe that it is more than six years since the major outbreak of Foot & Mouth - so severe that the 2001 General Election had to be delayed owing to restrictions on movement in the countryside.

It's difficult to convey the impact that the last outbreak had on a farming area such as parts of my constituency. When normal, peaceful village life is interrupted by burning piles of culled cattle and army trucks going backward and forward, it leaves a lasting impression. I remember vividly the fear among farmers that they might be next as the virus spread from farm to farm.

It was not only farmers who suffered but rural businesses who depended either on custom from farms or from tourists were big losers as well.

Although the Government response so far seems to have been better than last time, there are already concerns that footpaths are being left open, even across infected farms. Farmers are also complaining about a lack of information which was a big concern last time round.

We have to hope fervently that this is a localised outbreak that can be contained swiftly. A repeat of 2001 would be too dreadful to contemplate.