Derek Thomas MP - weekly newspaper column. Farming, GCSEs, and Transport.
We could do more to introduce our children to farming and food production in West Cornwall (and maybe some adults too!). Farming, food production and the good management of our countryside offers good satisfying jobs and we will always need people in this vital sector. Irrespective of what our children go on to do with their lives, understanding how our food is produced and the care that goes into the rural scenes we enjoy locally every day is of enormous value. This Saturday there is just the opportunity to take a look at the Boscarne Farm Open Day (St Buryan) from 3pm (2nd September). There is more information online and farm open days are always entertaining and informative.
I see myself as a fairly relaxed parent to my three children. Possibly because there is no denying that my wife has carried the lion's share of the responsibility especially since I became the Member of Parliament. However, I found myself to be an anxious parent for my 16-year-old son as he navigated his 11th year in education and his GCSEs. I know I did not take these exams as seriously as I ought all those years ago when I was at school but I found myself taking a much greater interest in my son’s progress and was mightily relieved on Thursday when he was pleased with his results. I wonder whether us parents appreciate the time, care, and effort teachers and school staff put into teaching each of our children. This past week reminded me of the commitment teachers and others have towards their pupils and I appreciate it. Thank you.
On Thursday I joined the Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP, on the train ride from St Erth to St Ives. This section of Branchline is one of the busiest in the country and we have great plans to increase the trains available through the provision of a passing place, extra capacity at the Park and Ride at St Erth, and improvements to the platform in St Ives. Our ultimate goal is to have light rail running between St Ives, Hayle, and Penzance. Next month will see the start of the work on the new bridge and all access lift across the platforms and to the car parks at St Erth so the Minister’s visit was welcome. I also enquired after the next round of Restoring Your Railway Fund as I’d worked with Helston to make the case to reconnect the Town to the railway in the most recent funding round. We lost out due to the competition but the Minister expects to publish another funding offer so we shall be ready. I would not be doing my job if I did not mention the case for keeping a dedicated ticket office in Penzance. When the arguments are presented by the rail industry to the Department for Transport, I’m hopeful that the Minister will remember the points we made and ensure Penzance Ticket Office is retained to carry on the essential service it currently provides.