Focus on where you live:
West Sussex County Times Article
On Monday I found myself judging "Arundel's Got Talent" at the town's very successful Festival. I wondered how I would survive when the entrants were my constituents.
I needn't have worried. The acts were excellent and the under 18 group was particularly impressive.
But I disagreed with one comment that the event wasn't about competition and that everyone would be a winner. I appreciate that the ethos of taking part rather than just winning is important.
But the attraction of programmes like Britain's Got Talent is surely that there is a competition and a winner. Everyone can enjoy performing, and it's important to try, but not everyone can win.
I think the same rule should apply to learning. The idea that 'all must have prizes' is profoundly wrong. The brightest and the best must be allowed to succeed. What matters is giving everyone the opportunity.
At the Arundel event I was also struck by how much had been contributed by dedicated local volunteers who had encouraged the young people to perform.
I had the same thought the next day when I attended a cricket match at the beautiful Arundel Castle Cricket ground. The teams were young teenagers from Hackney and Greenwich.
The event was organised by the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation, run by the inspirational John Barclay, and sponsored in memory of my late grandfather who loved cricket and taught disadvantaged children.
Most of these boys from inner city boroughs were playing on grass for the first time, encouraged by a charity, Capital Kids Cricket.
They loved it. Yes, sports facilities are vital. But so too is the support of volunteers and charities like these who encourage young people and give them the chance to play or perform.
What a wonderful job they do.
30 August 2012
"I pledge to work hard for everyone in the constituency, to stand up for local people, and to be a strong voice at Westminster for your concerns"