News

The Age of the Train

As I write, the current local ‘low’ price for petrol is around 134.9p per litre or £6.14 per gallon, meaning £61.40 to fill a 10-gallon tank.  Perhaps this is one reason why train travel is booming, but there are probably others.  Over the past decade, rolling stock has improved dramatically in large parts of the country.  Gone are the slam-door trains and it was particularly pleasing to see the last of the multiple door garages.  You could just imagine the concertina effect that might occur in some collision scenarios.

The Big Loan

Following the Second World War, there was huge investment in new social housing, to replace losses and support the movement of people into the New Towns includingCrawley.  Much of this effort was through the Commission for New Towns.  In Crawley’s case, the housing stock peaked at 16,000 homes but this has today reduced to just over 8,000 units, largely through the effect of RTB (Right to Buy).  This is still a substantial housing stock, one of the largest in the south-east.

Europe

 Our relationship with Europehas again been dramatically placed in the news, appropriately triggered by a public petition.  Henry Smith MP did well in supporting the right of the people to express their view on our relationship with the European Union.  The last time that we had such an opportunity was in 1975 with the EEC (European Economic Community).  That EEC has surely morphed into something unrecognisable from the structure receiving public support 36 years ago, and without us having a direct say in this outcome.

Opposition

The Opposition in Parliament, and in local councils, plays a crucial role in holding a current administration to account.  There is the opportunity to vote against policy, and to promote an alternative.  That approach of suggesting other courses of action is more constructive but less commonly seen.  It is easier to say what you are against, and vote against, than it is to construct a different agenda.  The only problem is that opposition of this kind quickly loses credibility.  People want to know what politicians are for.  Local Labour politicians probably desire power but that driver is not enough.  There is an obligation to say why.

Go Ahead for Kilnwood Vale

The new Kilnwood Vale neighbourhood, west of Bewbush, is to go ahead.  This is the result of great partnership working between Crawley Borough Council, Horsham District Council and the developers.   

The Best Council Tax Record in all of Sussex

In all of Sussex, there are 17 local authorities that charge Council Tax.  Since taking control of Crawley Borough Council in 2006, Conservatives have set the lowest increases in Council Tax out of all these local authorities. 

Delusions

 When Labour won the General Election in 1945, Professor Harold Laski, one of the party’s prominent figures, prophesised, “1,000 years of socialism”.  They got six.    This is if you allow that the period up to 1951 was socialism, as many adherents have their different interpretations, all of which are right of course.  It is possible to become delusional about the consequences of power.  People can too easily believe that their influence and power will become permanent features, when in reality they are temporary and derived from others.

Weekly Rubbish Collections

Local Government has its origins. One of these important driving factors was the need to collect and dispose of rubbish, preferably weekly. If local government is not doing at least this, what is it about? Yet under Labour, Council Tax doubled and bin collections halved. Eight million households now have a fortnightly collection.

Spending without Resources

Remarks from the Labour Party Conference have included attempts at apologising for some of the errors made during 13 years in government.  This sudden effort at contrition does not go far enough.  We are paying more than £120 million each day just to service the interest on the national debt.  To rack up that kind of millstone commitment must have meant the government taking the national credit card out of its pocket and spending without any reference to available resources.

Technological Advance and Retrenchment

 We are used to seeing technology naturally advance at an increasing rate, particularly in the fields of mass communication and raw computer processing power.  It is not always this way as an intriguing British project is about to remind us.