The spring flowers here at Ote hall were making a valiant effort to welcome in the New year, but thankfully a few colder nights between Christmas and the dawn of 2015, put a halt to that. Hopefully they will remain dormant for a while longer, so that they can appear as planned, in time to adorn the garden in the spring for the first weddings in April.
It is incredible just how much damage can be done by web attacks that criminals perpetrate against emails and websites. Just before Christmas 2013 my aol account was high jacked sending requests for money to all my contacts. I was apparently languishing in some godforsaken Eastern European city, without funds, passport or nourishment! This unwelcome attack also corrupted the Ote Hall wedding venue website leading enquiries not to me, but to a dating agency which then led onto a heavy porn site! One concerned acquaintance called to tell me how concerned she was for my welfare, saying, “I am so sorry Carola, you used to have such a good reputation”!
It has taken the best part of twelve months to get the site sorted. The corruption was so great it has been necessary to rebuild it starting from scratch, ensuring those accessing it do not find their own computers contaminated.
This incident which has been a nuisance but hardly earth shattering, but when one recognises how easily large organisation, cities, even countries, could have all major infrastructure including power supplies, water, sewage treatment, communications, airports, government communications and possibly even sections of the military, and much more besides, effectively shut down, it is easy to realise just vulnerable we all are.
Technology has made us increasingly sophisticated in our communications and how we run our businesses, but I would hazard a guess that we are skating not only on very thin ice but also extremely close to the edge of a very deep precipice.
The starting gun for the General Election has been fired. Time will tell how effective this long haul election campaign will be. Already it is easy to see eyes glaze over as yet another MP pops up to tell us how ‘very important this coming election will be’.
Every General Election is important, but what is different about this one is that due to the rise of formerly fringe parties such as UKIP and the SNP, the outcome is totally unpredictable. And, thanks to David Cameron’s unfortunate Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, whatever the result, we could be stuck with it for five years.
An early election can only be held if agreed by two-thirds of the whole House, or if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days.
Interestingly much of East Sussex could be represented in Parliament following the May election by some outstanding women. Time will tell but it is fairly certain that Wealden will be sending the exceptional Nusrat Ghani to Westminster following the retirement of Charles Hendry.
Lewes could well be represented by full time nurse, former Brighton councillor, and part time urban shepherdess, Maria Caulfield.
Michael Ashcroft’s recent poll shows Maria currently running neck and neck with former Transport and Home office junior minister Norman Baker. Her experience as a senior nurse, has excellent credentials at a time when the NHS continues to hit the headlines.
Mr Baker is reported to be nervous of Maria, an intelligent, hard-working nurse currently specialising in breast cancer research at the Royal Marsden. She has previously worked at the Royal Sussex and Princess Royal hospitals. Baker who recently flounced out of the home office saying amongst other things, that he wished to spend more time with his old band The Reform Club, could well find himself with plenty of time to sing after May 7th!
My spies tell me that Eastbourne, traditionally a conservative seat and currently represented by a Lib Dem, could vote in conservative candidate and local girl Caroline Ansell. But Bexhill and Battle conservative Association, part of my late father’s old constituency, is bucking the trend having selected local man Huw Merriman. This safe traditional conservative seat will surely guarantee him a seat in Parliament.
Amber Rudd the current conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, gained the seat in 2010 with a narrow majority of 1,993. The Hastings pier which was almost destroyed by fire in 2010 – should be rebuilt just in time for the election in May. Amber will no doubt hope she can plan a double celebration embracing her victory, and the re-opening of this iconic landmark.
These professional women have all earned their places with excellent credentials. They have experience of working in the ‘real world’, as well as supporting their local communities which they now wish to represent. It will be interesting to watch their election campaigns as this unique election draws closer.
Carola Godman Irvine