Inside Politics - August 2009
For the media summer time is known as silly season - a lot of people are away, news is slow and often the desperation to fill the airwaves is all too obvious from the output we see on our televisions and from what we read in national newspapers.
One of the stock stories for silly season every year is the notion that Parliament's summer recess means that every MP in the country is on holiday for three months.
But the reality is far removed from what is reported and far more mundane - namely that for most of us the work doesn't stop. We carry on working throughout the summer no differently to how we work the rest of the year.
The hub of my work of course is what my team and I do in the constituency from my office here in Batley and Spen and with summer, specifically August being quieter, and Parliament in recess we have the chance to focus solely on this. We can catch up on work and yes, the slightly slower pace also means there's a chance for time away for some of us... at least in theory!
The over used quote from Harold Wilson tells us a week is a long time in politics but over the course of a year anything can happen. This last year has been a good example -
A year ago news broke that one of Batley's biggest employers - Fox's Biscuits - was looking to consolidate its operations onto one site, either here or in Midlands. Within nine months the plans were put on hold due to the uncertain economic downturn. And over the last year we've won countless battles - the Gurkhas, the post office card account, Royal Mail privatisation being among them.
But the next year will no doubt seem like an even longer one - by next summer we'll have had a general election and with it perhaps a new government. The build up to the election has been underway for some time and the next election has the potential of being one of those once in a generation elections when, for a variety of reasons, anything could happen constituency by constituency.
Unfortunately this will mean the silly season may very well stretch through the summer and even beyond its usual climax of party conference season! Hopefully we can keep our minds and our lives focussed on what really matters. In the meantime, if you're heading off for a holiday I hope you enjoy it and come back refreshed.