Last week saw another terrible terrorist attack in Europe, this time in the south of France. Sadly, France has suffered very badly from terror in recent years and we stand shoulder to shoulder with our French allies in the face of such evil attacks on their country, in the same way they support us in the wake of the chemical weapon attack in Salisbury.
Four people were murdered in this attack, including Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame of the French Police. Lt-Col Arnaud Beltrame paid the ultimate price by losing his life in seeking to end the siege, by trading places with a hostage following a series of shootings. His actions helped to end the siege that had left three other people dead and could have seen many others killed.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s tribute was very fitting, saying that the fallen officer "fell as a hero" after showing "exceptional courage and selflessness", adding that he deserved "the respect and admiration of the whole nation". Our own Theresa May also paid tribute, saying that the "sacrifice and courage of the police officer would not be forgotten.”
Many people around the world have been moved by the incredible courage shown and sadly the sacrifice that ended up being made. Easter is this coming weekend which is of course all about a sacrifice made that was for every one of us. It is easy to forget that amid our busy lives but I feel that it is right to take a break at this time of year, and to reflect on what is actually important and the sacrifices that have been made so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.
In politics and public life, we can have our disagreements about policies and how best to achieve things. Sometimes we can get bogged down in a point scoring exercise although I’m not going to falsely claim that on occasion I haven’t gone down that path myself. This Easter, I will take some time out to reflect on the bigger picture. I wish everyone in Crawley a very happy and peaceful Easter.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
29th March 2018