The Meanings of Christmas

It is hardly breaking news when I say that Christmas is almost here. Indeed, politicians of all parties will be wishing us all a merry Christmas in the coming days. This is nice, but much less common is politicians going that little bit further and referencing what Christmas really is about - the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. For some reason, it seems very easy to highlight the cultural side of Christmas that have become traditions in their own right, but not the true meaning of Christmas itself which is of course religious.

The Devastating Effect of Plastic Waste

Two years ago, many of us wouldn’t have known what microbeads are. Public awareness of microbeads and the damage they cause has increased dramatically in the last couple of years. I have previously written here about this topic and about Sky’s very commendable Ocean Rescue Campaign.

Recognising Fake News

The term fake news is one that came from America and has been associated with events there. However, last week we had a major example of fake news right here in the UK. A story in a national left-wing newspaper stated “The Tories have rejected all scientists and voted that animals don’t feel pain”. mThis spread like wildfire on social media, including by television presenters with large social media followings. It was estimated that two million people had seen online material relating to this story and nearly half a million people signed online petitions to protest.

Addressing the Housing Shortage

This Wednesday sees the Chancellor Philip Hammond present the Budget. One area I’m partially interested in is housing, given how the availability and cost are becoming a concern to ever greater numbers of people in Crawley and beyond. For decades we simply have not been building enough homes, nor have we been building them quickly enough, and we have seen prices rise to increasingly unaffordable levels. Supply has failed to match the much increased demand in the last 20 years.

Staying Safe Online

While not wishing to cause undue alarm, it is right to highlight the growing concerns around keeping children safe while online and what is being done to help address this. We all know that while the internet has transformed our lives and brought many benefits, it has also brought new risks and dangers. While our children may be savvy in terms of operating technology, they remain at risk in our own homes from abusers from anywhere in the world.

Fighting for Crawley's Neighbourhood Principle

Crawley’s council wards have always mostly matched Crawley’s neighbourhoods. This provides an easy understanding as to where our local councillors represent, as well as our councillors representing entire neighbourhoods rather than part of one and part of another.

Tough on Crime

Being a victim of crime is a horrible experience when it happens and depending on its severity, can adversely affect victims permanently. Any crime is too much but thankfully, the levels and severity of crimes in the UK are much better than in most countries, although that is no consolation if you are a victim here.

Tackling Climate Change

As I write on Sunday evening, we are just a few hours away from Hurricane Ophelia making landfall on the southwest coast of Ireland. It feels quite surreal just to write that. A week ago, had anyone else written that, I would have said how it is impossible to get actual hurricanes close to Europe and the British Isles.

The New Queens Square

Last Saturday I enjoyed attending the opening of the new Queens Square. I recognise that there has been a whole year of disruption while the works were being undertaken and it is pleasing to see that they have finally ended. The Queens Square regeneration follows the redevelopment of the old Sussex House site that brought Morrisons, Turtle Bay and Travelodge to the town centre.

A Commitment to Animal Welfare

I am delighted to see that the Conservative Government will soon be publishing a consultation on draft legislation, to increase the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. This is a ten-fold increase and as well as giving a much greater punishment for severe offences, it should also help act as a deterrent to animal cruelty.