WHEN asked what a Prime Minister most fears, Harold Macmillan replied: "Events dear boy, events."
In a Torbay context it's a lack of events the tourism industry most fears.
Events are the life-blood of the industry attracting visitors or just adding to the experience of those already on holiday.
And what a bumper year it has been with the usual regattas, children's week and pedal car grand prix, but in addition cycle races and chess competitions, a big red ball and many gorillas, powerboats and pirates.
Those responsible in Torbay Council, the tourism company and among the responsible sporting and voluntary organisations should be congratulated for making it a summer to remember.
But can we do even better? Perhaps hosting a nationally recognised cultural or sporting event, or an event which gains ground year on year to become recognised nationally?
Events such as Glyndebourne, the Great North Run and Glastonbury all started as small local events and are now global. Is the Agatha Christie Festival a candidate, or the British Chess Championship, or something else?
The past few years have proven we have fantastic expertise in the Bay for putting on new events and maximising the value from our hardy perennials, but perhaps now is the time to think even bigger and better.
WHEN a political party gains support from one direction but loses some in another at the same time the opinion pollsters call it 'churning'.
Drilling down into UKIP's opinion polls there appears to be a great deal of churning with Nigel Farage's party still gaining support from former Conservative voters, but losing some of the Liberal Democrat and Labour voters recorded as switching to them since the last election.
It seems many former Conservative voters see David Cameron as weak and too similar to Nick Clegg, who unfortunately these former Tory voters don't like either.
They haven't forgotten the cast iron guarantee for an EU referendum the Tory party failed to deliver, although 20 Conservative MPs along with myself rebelled and voted for one when the opportunity arose.
All this presents a real problem for the Conservative party as many voters see UKIP as the true heirs to Mrs Thatcher which both wins UKIP support from former Conservative voters but at the same time repulses those who normally identify with Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
THE United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has published the first of three volumes of the fifth Assessment Report — the most comprehensive assessment of the science of climate change ever undertaken.
The message of this report is clear - the Earth's climate has warmed over the last century and man-made greenhouse gases have caused much of that global warming.
The gases emitted now are accumulating in the atmosphere and so the solutions must be set in motion today. The risks and costs of doing nothing today are so great, only a deeply irresponsible government would be so negligent. Without urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions this warming will continue, with potentially dangerous impacts upon our societies and economy. This strengthens the case for international leaders to work for an ambitious, legally binding global agreement in 2015 to cut carbon emissions.
This report is the most authoritative, credible analysis of climate change science ever. It represents a huge amount of work by more than 250 unpaid scientific experts drawn from universities and research institutes in 39 countries around the world.
The UK is committed to reducing its emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050, compared to the 1990 baseline. We are progressively decarbonising our energy sector, transport and economy and have introduced incentives to reduce domestic energy consumption. The proposed Energy Bill will enable low carbon technologies to compete in the electricity market and attract investment.
Internationally, we are working towards a binding global deal to reduce emissions at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in 2015.
We agreed, as part of the EU, to enter the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and are pressing the EU to move to a 30 per cent emissions reduction target by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2030 in the context of a global comprehensive agreement on climate change.
Alongside this, the UK is providing £3.87 billion through its International Climate Fund to support developing countries, to demonstrate low carbon development, protect forests and to help the poorest countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.
It is all woefully slow and tiny compared to the scale of the task while climate change sceptics in industry, the city, the media and politics fight every proposal tooth and nail.
But as I have always said, if the sceptics are right and we take action to reduce carbon emissions, we simply get richer slower. If they are wrong, and the evidence suggests they are, the very existence of life on our planet is at risk.
TOMORROW, 3.30pm to 5pm, Paignton Library, Great Western Road, Paignton. Advice line 200036.
FRIDAY, October 18, 4pm to 5.30pm, St Matthias' Church Hall, Babbacombe Road, Torquay.