Rewarding Crawley

 Last weekCrawleyhad much to celebrate at the South and South East in Bloom Awards.  These awards promote, support and encourage community activity through gardening, horticulture and environmental sustainability across the region. 

Seventy Years On

It is now 70 years since Britain declared on Germany and we were joined in the greatest armed conflict that the world has ever seen. The World War caused 450,000 British military and civilian deaths and many more injured. For six years the battles raged creating misery and suffering for many millions of people.

Compassion on the Ground

 The Scottish people voted clearly in favour of a devolved parliament in 1997.  This action transferred significant powers of self-government to Scotland but with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we remain the United Kingdom.  That is the label on our seat at the United Nations and I am grateful that this is the case.  Together the United Kingdom is stronger than the sum of its parts.

Limits of Local Government Power

 I have now attended four LGA (Local Government Association) conferences.  At each of these events, I have heard keynote speakers calling for greater devolution of power to local government.  These speakers have been from each of the three main political parties.  In a roundabout way, they have agreed with each other about localism – having decisions made as closely as possible to the people that they affect.

Who was in charge?

 The media traditionally takes an interest in who is running the country during the peak holiday weeks of late July and early August.  They try to come up with the most “provocative” name to attach this responsibility to.  Was it Gordon Brown running the United Kingdomfrom a holiday location in Scotland?  Could it have been Harriet Harman who it was thought would take on the role from 2nd August?  Apparently not as her office said that she was on leave from 5th August.

The Mountain of Debt

 Labour governments have traditionally been quite ready to borrow money and create national debt.  There is nothing wrong with responsible borrowing and lending at an individual or government level.  At the same time, we have seen how irresponsible borrowing and lending acted as a trigger for the current world recession.

Quality and Accuracy of Decisions

 Decisions by national and local politicians can generate concern or consternation and not just because of party politics.  Sometimes the commonsense of the decision is called into question or the competence of the politician(s) making it.  Last week, I wrote questioning the decisions of some of our politicians of all parties in providing the necessary resources to support our armed forces.  This is an example where I question their competence and observe that some of our MPs appear quite clueless on the matter.

Conflict and Contradictions

The government since 1997 has been ready to deploy British service personnel around the world believing that they can be a force for good alongside an ethical foreign policy.  There is ample reason to support this view with the beneficial influence that many British interventions have had.  We can debate the merit of the decisions behind specific military operations but once our forces are on operations, it is rightly the overwhelming desire of everyone to show their support and solidarity.

Manor Royal Improvement Project

 New Towns were always a far-sighted concept and the inclusion of an industrial estate or business park was a particularly creative idea.  WithCrawleyNew Town came Manor Royal and it remains one of the largest business parks in the south-east region.  It is an easy fact to forget but we need to be mindful that Manor Royal, and GatwickAirport, are key and complementary parts of theCrawleyeconomy.  Manor Royal is home to an estimated 500 businesses and 30,000 employees.

Civil Parking Enforcement

On Wednesday 17th June, the Council’s Cabinet will hopefully have approved the introduction of CPE (Civil Parking Enforcement) in Crawley from January 2010.  The new policy involves West Sussex County Council delegating to Crawley Council its responsibility for the enforcement of on-street parking in the Borough.  This change will allow existing parking restrictions to be imposed more effectively.