70 Million

 The Home Secretary, Alan Johnson MP, has said that the United Kingdom‘will cope’ with a population of 70 million people.  That statement on its own seems complacent.  Surely we need more assurance and planning than the view of a potentially here-today, gone-tomorrow politician.

North East Sector Decision

 Last week, we saw a most disappointing decision by John Denham MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.  He was minded to allow a new neighbourhood in the North East Sector, an area covered by the Pound Hill North ward of Crawley Council.  This would be a development of 1,900 homes within the previous full North East Sector allocation area which would have taken 2,500 homes.

Addressing Climate Change

Some 12 years ago, I tried to pick up a pre-booked hire car in Phoenix, Arizona. The plan was to drive up to the Grand Canyon. After going through the ritual of being offered and rejecting six unnecessary insurances, I was shown to the car.

Shopping and Entertainment on our Doorstep

 Crawley Borough Council is pleased to be working with the Crawley Times and Crawley Observer in promoting local trade in Crawley.  It is so important at this time of year to boostCrawley shops in the most natural way possible – by providing them with our custom.  Apart from the benefits to our local economy, there are also arguments around sustainability and the environment in terms of our use of transport.

How We Do Things

 A Crawley newspaper once remarked that debates in the Council Chamber sometimes had to be seen to be believed.  This was a reference to vociferous contributions and the strident nature of discussion.  While our political interactions can become heated, it is important to note that our differences are often about how we do things rather than what we do.  This is reflected in the fact that Crawley Council’s Corporate Plan is signed up to by all three political parties.  It describes what we would like to do with our core objectives.

Lisbon Treaty

The recent ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has allowed for the transfer of further powers to the EU (European Union).  It has also provoked some useful debate within the Conservative Party which will produce a set of realistic and attractive policies for the future.

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.