SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: Giving and reaping

Sir Peter Bottomley
Sir Peter Bottomley

People who keep a journal or who write a diary have my admiration. I have enough difficulty living my working life, without taking the time to record reflections.

The opportunity to contribute this column does allow time to reflect although events day by day do displace an intended theme.

In addition to serving constituency interests as well and as fast as I can, I work on national issues and give a little time to good causes as a supporter or as a trustee.

One charity funds a research fellow at Cambridge. We were pleased to notice the returns from the work of Ray Dolby, one beneficiary.

In later life his noise reduction systems made a fortune and the foundation established in his name is now itself paying for scientific research in addition to investigations into dementia.

Closer to the lives of parents and teachers in West Sussex, I have with fellow MPs been discussing how to make further progress on fairer funding.

Yes, we are seeing progress on standards and on cash available.

Yes, further progress is needed on both.

I invite head teachers and concerned parents to work with us; sometimes, the impression is wrongly created that we are not on the same side.

It is good that the assessment of reading by six-year-olds has leapt up; it will be better when that improvement continues.

It is great that the £600 college and school bonus for each student gaining A-level mathematics will be paid to Worthing College where maths and physics teaching is good.

As the EU Bill was going through the House of Commons, I gave tea to my younger sister and her husband.

He gives attention to the future of aviation and to the practical ways to grow crops in salt water.

She had a fine career teaching biology before successfully heading a girls’ school in west London.

In some ways she reminds me of the legendary Anna Hedley, one time head of Worthing High school for Girls.

In this month running towards Christmas, I had a soft drink (after a small stronger dram) with the Scotch Whisky Association.

They thanked me for helping to make the case for freezing the duty on whisky.

There are 40,000 jobs involved in Scotland.

As many people visit distilleries as there are visitors to St Pauls Cathedral.

I hobble around with a damaged leg. One target is to reach the 40th anniversary celebration for Motability, the remarkable practical charity that gives mobility to so many.

One great achievement was the change from an impractical invalid carriage for one to a well-maintained modern vehicle which could take a household.

In the past I was the minister for employment opportunities for people with disabilities; then at transport, I followed the guidance of experts to lay the foundations for overcoming apparent obstacles.

I am grateful to local campaigners who took me on a stretch of pavement in central Worthing.

With a blindfold I relied on gentle guidance.

It reminded me of the time I went around Belfast in a wheelchair, discovering unexpected unnecessary obstacles.