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Paul Geater

Thu, 05:30

When they first hit the headlines by protesting in London and other cities across the world a few months ago, I had considerable sympathy for the Extinction Rebellion protesters and their cause.

Anyone who has seen my column over the last couple of years will know of my concerns about the violent language that is increasingly being used in political debates in this country.

Ipswich's new-look Cornhill has certainly proved to be a significant meeting place this month with three major protests taking place - or at least gathering there.

If Boris Johnson had had his way a couple of weeks ago we wouldn't be at the start of the party conference season now, we would have been at the start of a general election campaign.

I've always had a fairly benign view of local councillors - I'm sure that the vast majority put themselves up for election to make life better (as they see it) for their local communities.

Trying to find a topical subject for a political column this week has been a total nightmare - no sooner has one issue blown up than the next thing you know it is trumped by something else even more unlikely.

The debate over the Ipswich northern bypass - or Northern Route as councillors like to call it - sometimes looks like a gift that keeps on giving for political journalists like myself.

Surely there is no one left who doesn't understand that high street retailing is facing a crisis - under pressure from the growth of online shopping, the migration of stores to retail parks, and a new squeeze on consumers.

I've known for years that building a new road across the north of Ipswich was a divisive proposal - guaranteed to set town dwellers against their country cousins. I hadn't realised how much Blue-on-Blue anger it would spark!

This week Liberal Democrats across Britain have their tails up after winning a famous victory in the by-election at Brecon and Radnorshire on the Welsh border.

Boris Johnson has now been Prime Minister for a week and it's already been a bit of a whirlwind as he travels around the country with the air of a Medieval Monarch offering gifts to all who cross his path.

We're now just a month away from Ed Sheeran's concerts in Ipswich's Chantry Park - and it's clear they will be the highlight of the year for many people from Ipswich, Suffolk and wider afield.

Boris Johnson's confirmation as the new leader of the Conservative Party and from Wednesday lunchtime as Prime Minister may be the end of a political chapter - but it's unlikely to immediately usher in a new era of stability.

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