Climate change leads to new arrivals

I AM very concerned about the impact of global warming and the impact it is going to have on the world and on my part of the world.I don't want to live in a Mediterranean-type climate with summer temperatures regularly in the 90s and snowless winters for ever more - I've often thought if it got that bad I'd move to the Scottish highlands!But I must admit changes to the weather patterns do have their compensations - and one of the most spectacular of these is the arrival of the little egrets.

Pix of Egrets, Cameron, and Gummers - in ES Newsdesk

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I AM very concerned about the impact of global warming and the impact it is going to have on the world and on my part of the world.

I don't want to live in a Mediterranean-type climate with summer temperatures regularly in the 90s and snowless winters for ever more - I've often thought if it got that bad I'd move to the Scottish highlands!

But I must admit changes to the weather patterns do have their compensations - and one of the most spectacular of these is the arrival of the little egrets.

These wonderfully attractive birds were very unusual in Britain until about a decade ago, and they never bred in this country.

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But they've spread north and west through Europe and there's been a colony on the River Orwell for a few years now.

And now they have moved into town. As I walked along the river with photographer Owen Hines, we couldn't miss a pair of these graceful birds flitting about beside the weir, right in front of the new Fairview development on the site of the former Compair works.

They were totally unconcerned by all the activity near them - and made a walk along the river just a tad more enticing.

However while warming is good for the little egrets, it is bad for other species like spotted flycatchers whose numbers are falling not because of the warmth in northern Europe but because it is getting too hot for them in their winter quarters in Africa.

It's a trade-off, of course. For every species that thrives in our changing climate, another will be suffering.

I think John Gummer's family possesses the kind of genes most people would die for!

The Suffolk Coastal MP may be just two years off his 70th birthday - but if you didn't know that he could easily pass for 10 years younger.

And it seems that son Ben, who is fighting Ipswich in the next general election, has inherited his father's boyish demeanour.

The problem for him is that at 29 he could easily pass for 19, and there is always the danger that a prospective MP who looks too young can be too easily thought of as being too inexperienced.

I met Ben the other day when he was accompanying David Cameron around the town and he collared me to say that it wasn't him who had been so thrilled at the prospect of Chris Mole losing in 2005 - it must have been his brother Felix.

In choosing Ben to fight the seat, the Ipswich Conservatives have once again opted for a youthful candidate - their last three candidates have all been well under 40 when first selected and Ben is the second still in his 20s. Edward Wild was Ben's age when he fought the seat in 2001.

It is very good news for a town like Ipswich that one of the main political parties has the confidence to choose a young candidate to try to win the seat.

Now Ben Gummer has to show the town that he isn't all boyish charm - that there is substance behind the smile.

And if he can't succeed in any other way could he not find a way of selling the Gummer family secret of eternal youth?

WHEN you are covering political stories, it is far easier to get access to opposition politicians than it is to get interviews with anyone from the government.

The fact is that they don't have any awkward problems to deal with like running the country - they can devote all their time to making the names and faces better known.

That is why David Cameron made his third visit to Ipswich in less than a year.

Over the last 15 years I've met six official leaders of the opposition (and Charles Kennedy several times) and would have made it seven had John Smith not died of a heart attack on the day he was due to meet me in Ipswich!

The only prime minister I've met was Tony Blair. John Major's Conservatives never wanted to have anything to do with the Star before 1997 - since then they've realised we might be important!

I have met Gordon Brown a couple of times, but not since he moved down the road in Downing Street.

I suspect he might be come in this direction at some time over the next few months, or at least offer us an interview.

But I can't see us getting three interviews over the next few months!

ON the day David Cameron came to Ipswich, there was also a visit to the town from the government's East of England minister Barbara Follett - but the press was not told about this until after it had happened.

Why was that? She came to Grafton House for a meeting with council chief executives and their political leaders (all Conservatives) from around Suffolk.

When I asked the civil servants who arranged the meeting why the press was not invited, I was told the message from Ipswich was that the meeting should be private.

Now the conspiracy theorists in the Labour Party are working overtime - were Mrs Follett's Tory hosts determined that her visit to the town should not overshadow that of their own party leader?

I can't really believe anyone was that worried about her visit - after all David Cameron remains a much more interesting politician than Mrs Follett.

But it would have been good to speak to a minister who has a direct responsibility for what happens in this region.

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