Crawley will be very well served with the re-election of Henry Smith as our MP. I was delighted to see Henry winning with over 50% of the Crawley vote, which was only the second time in the last four decades that any candidate has polled over 50% in any Crawley parliamentary election. Knowing him as I do, I genuinely believe that Henry Smith was by far the best candidate who is also the most committed to our town.
Outside of Crawley, while we may have polled highly with 42.4% of the vote, we did not do as well as expected and Labour did better than expected. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but calling a general election that wasn’t needed has proved to be an error and created some backlash. There are historical precedents of governments being punished for calling unnecessary elections and lessons should have been learned from history.
The better than expected result for Jeremy Corbyn feels to me like part of the same political trend seen globally in recent years, where extreme or unconventional politicians have done well, whether that be the far-left in Greece, the far-right in France, or Donald Trump in the USA. Telling people what they want to hear in order to win votes is easy, but delivering a credible programme for the serious business of government is so much harder. You only have to look at Venezuela where the far-left Hugo Chavez who was a populist leader, totally wrecked the economy and left the country in the extreme poverty that it is in today.
While the Conservatives need to learn from history about calling unnecessary elections, Labour need to learn the lessons from history from both here and abroad that promising the earth and printing non-existent money to pay for it always ends in failure. My party needs to accept responsibility for creating political instability but I take the view that all MPs now need to put the country’s interests first. Labour could help with that but will they, or will they continue to put their own narrow interests before that of the country?
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
14th June 2017