Society makes a stand in the wrong place

IT MAY be one of the great institutions of our town, but the Ipswich Society has scored a couple of own goals this month.I can't help feeling they've lost touch with reality somewhat over in their latest newsletter – giving the impression they're not really living in the real world of the 21st century.

IT MAY be one of the great institutions of our town, but the Ipswich Society has scored a couple of own goals this month.

I can't help feeling they've lost touch with reality somewhat over in their latest newsletter – giving the impression they're not really living in the real world of the 21st century.

I found it hard to believe when I saw they'd taken a potshot not only at the new-look Portman Road, but also at the Wet Dock Marina.

For all its impressive history dating back to the Dark Ages, the thing that sets Ipswich apart from other towns and cities of its size is its football club.


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It's a magnet for people from far and wide – more than anything else it's what's put Ipswich on the map over the last 40 years.

So to criticise the club for having a stadium that's too prominent near the centre of the town does seem churlish – it's a major focus for the town so the club really does deserve to have a home reflecting that importance.

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I wonder if there was anyone in Norwich moaning in the 12th century when Roger Bigod built a castle in the middle of the city – come to think of it, if they did he'd probably have had them put to death on the spot!

And another point about the football club. Aren't the two new stands – especially the North Stand – objects of beauty in their own right?

They may project an aura of confidence that was ultimately misplaced, and surely everyone in the town is hoping that the club pulls through from its financial crisis, but they do really show the world how important it is to the town.

And it's the centrepeice of the Ipswich Village development – which is regenerating a down-at-heel area of the town.

Frankly the 26,000 people who were there on Saturday couldn't give two hoots about the thoughts of the Ipswich Society – they're only interested in Ipswich Town.

And the Society also complained about the extension of the marina in the Wet Dock – to many people that really does look like a vote of confidence in this historic area and not something to be criticised.

Who can really object to the sight of hundreds of masts flapping in the breeze on a glorious summer's day?

The Society needs to realise that it cannot divorce itself from the rest of the town – it needs to carry the town with it or it's nothing.

When they heard an objection to the ground was the view from the top of Berner's Street, one person was succinct: "That's where they all live in the Society – they're not worried about the view from Chantry or Whitton."

It's an untrue and unfair charactisation – but it's something that the Society bigwigs need to bear in mind.

CHRIS Mole may have been the winner of the Ipswich by-election 15 months ago, but another of the candidates has reason to celebrate now.

Tessa Munt, who fought an energetic campaign for the Liberal Democrats, has now been selected to fight the Wells seat in Somerset at the next general election.

And that's a far better prospect for her party than any seat in Suffolk – including South Suffolk where she stood in 2001.

Mrs Munt will be trying to overturn the 2,800 majority of Tory bigwig David Heathcoat-Amery.

With the Liberal Democrats in a strong second place, she'll be trying to squeeze what is left of the small Labour vote.

As the Tories continue to thrash around in the doldrums, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Mrs Munt and Mr Mole will be clashing again in the future – on the floor of the House of Commons.

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