Articles

The Path to Brexit?

By the time this is published, the parliamentary vote on the EU withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU should have taken place with the outcome known. By far the best outcome for the country would be for MPs to back the deal. This would respect the democratic verdict delivered in the referendum and provide for an orderly exit from the EU. Prolonged uncertainty is not good for our economy and it is worth noting that the business community are very keen for the deal to pass.

Delivering on a Positive Agenda beyond Brexit

Like last year, the headlines in the early part of 2019 will be dominated by our upcoming leaving of the EU. However, it is worth reflecting on the many achievements of the Conservative government in 2018, which happened despite ongoing disruptive opposition from Labour. In 2018 the Conservatives reduced the burden of taxation, invested in our public services, continued to back working people, as well as keeping our economy strong.

M23 Upgrade and Fixing Potholes

While there is much political uncertainty in the short term, I like to take a longer and optimistic view. Having a forward vision and getting things right for the long term as opposed to only having instant ‘quick wins’ is something I believe in. Transport in particular is something that requires long term planning and investment although it can involve short-term pain as improvements are undertaken.

Combating Drone Assaults

I hope that everyone is enjoying a peaceful Christmas. As I write on the 20th of December, tens of thousands of air passengers are trying to fly out of and into Gatwick Airport, and are having a terrible start to the Christmas holidays due to the dangerous and criminal actions of drones being flown within the airport grounds. This is without question a truly despicable act and I hope that the perpetrator(s) have the book thrown at them with the maximum sentences applied. It will also be very stressful for staff at what is one of the busiest times of the year at the airport.

The Draft Gatwick Master Plan

Last week saw the Full Council meetings take place at both Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council. Both Councils discussed and voted on whether to support the draft Gatwick master plan, which sets out Gatwick’s proposals for long-term growth. After the current consultation period, Gatwick Airport will publish a full master plan in 2019, with Government approval required for implementation.

Pursuing Gender Equality

This year we commemorated the 100th anniversary of women first gaining the right to vote, but it is a sad fact that even in 2018, being female in much of the world is a serious disadvantage in society. In some places, repression and fewer rights than men are seen as the norm with progress being painfully slow. I am however proud that the UK does promote gender equality across the world and achieves much through foreign aid, for example in helping to make education available for more girls who would otherwise have access to none.

Focus on Tackling Crime

It is concerning that crime has risen in the last year, although this rise is set against the backdrop of the fact that crime is down by over a third since 2010, and it did fall to a record low during this decade. I’ve always taken the view that any amount of crime is too much and to quote a soundbite from the 1990s, we really do need be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.

Debating the Brexit Deal

The next couple of weeks will be crucial in deciding what happens with our exiting of the European Union. After very long and arduous negotiations, an agreement on exit terms has been agreed between the UK Government and the EU. Whatever you think of the deal, Theresa May deserves credit for getting us this far in difficult circumstances. She became Prime Minister in the aftermath of the referendum and has been tasked with delivering this democratic verdict of the British people.

Litter and Rat Control

The Brown Rat has only been in Great Britain for about 300 years and has spread virtually over the entire planet, basically wherever humans are. Last week I observed rats in Crawley on three separate days including twice during the day, despite the fact that rats are mainly a nocturnal species. This suggests to me that their local population has soared, probably helped by a hot summer and warm autumn plus ample food sources. I was particularly concerned to observe rats in Crawley’s Memorial Gardens on two successive days. An average rat produces 40 droppings a day and urinates frequently. These are major disease risks as well as being unpleasant to come into contact with.

Remembrance

Last weekend’s Remembrance was a memorable occasion that will stay with us. After one hundred years since its end, the First World War has all but faded from living memory except for a very few who were young children at the time, but it will stay in our nation’s consciousness.