News

Errors in Power

 The government has recently admitted that it might have made errors with immigration policy.  It is healthy for politicians to concede that they might have got something wrong, even if recognition of this can seem belated.  Unfortunately extended periods of political power can cause those who wield it to believe in their own infallibility.  Such people can become legends in their own imagination.

Sale and Expansion

 It has been a period of great change for Gatwick Airport.  The sale of the airport by BAA to Global Infrastructure Partners was a significant event and it is reassuring to see that such sales are possible in today’s economic climate.  While the price was lower than originally expected, it was still a large-scale transaction.

Selling our Assets

 Desperation can take so many different forms.  Now the government is talking about the disposal of some of our national assets such as The Tote, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and the Dartford Crossing.  Given the state of the economy, some disposals are probably necessary but we should still be worried with this government’s previous track record.

Justice on Expenses

 We have recently seen the conclusion of Sir Thomas Legg’s investigation into MPs’ expense claims.  In the wake of this report, the behaviour of some MPs continues to hold our attention and earn our contempt.  Many of our elected representatives in their self-regulated world seem incredibly detached from the realities of public opinion.

Communicating our Political Message

We are close to the next General Election and we have our own Crawley Council by-election in October.  The political parties always look for appropriate ways to apply emerging technology to assist with their communication.  In practice, the methods that we use are complementary, not least because no single approach will reach everyone.

Seeking Efficiencies

 With today’s horrendous levels of national debt, it is inconceivable that any government can operate without some reductions in public spending.  Our borrowing levels are incredibly high and the cost of interest repayments is staggering.  Today’s recession had extensive unsecured credit as a primary trigger.  Any government which prolongs huge indebtedness is not learning from history, some of it very recent indeed.

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.