Our Man in Westminster - Kent Show and Ashford's Festival in the Park 2016

Even in the middle of this misleadingly named “summer” it is possible to have a good weekend where the English capacity to organise excellent outside events is on full display. On Friday and Saturday I enjoyed two very contrasting experiences which brought people together successfully. The first, as always at this time of year was the Kent Show at Detling. There have been some difficult years recently, most memorably for me when I reached the roundabout at the bottom of Detling Hill to hear on the radio that entry was now forbidden because the car parks were a sea of mud. Sighing with relief at the timing, I headed back to Ashford. There were no such problems this year. The sun was sort of shining, and more importantly the show was buzzing with large numbers of people. As ever there seemed to be almost more animals than people, with the livestock accompanied by many horses. There seemed to be more horse boxes than I have ever seen before at the show. As for the people, it was interesting to hear the views of the EU Agriculture Commissioner who made it clear that the future of agricultural subsidies in Britain were secure for as long as Britain remained inside the EU, but would naturally be decided by the British Government after that. The contrasting event I also enjoyed was Ashford’s Festival in The Park, which was in full flow when I visited on Saturday afternoon. With a good crowd, the biggest threat seemed to be that the beer tent would run out, but some of Ashford’s best brains were being deployed to prevent that disaster. Edward Lockett and his team deserve congratulations for the annual effort in making the Festival a success, and they also deserve the good weather they enjoyed.