News

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.

Leading

 The European Election has produced some extraordinary results with the governing Labour Party receiving just 15.7% of the popular vote across the country.  No form of words can divert attention away from the fact that the government is deeply unpopular.

Fall-Out

 The communist state of North Korea seems like a location that is too remote from Britain for us to care about.  In many respects, this might be true but this week’s nuclear weapon test is an event than can have a much wider fall-out in every sense.  The East-West Cold War ended some 20 years ago and with it some of our focus on the dangers of nuclear proliferation.  Today we have other simultaneous worldwide concerns such as terrorism, recession, global warming and a possible ‘flu pandemic.  The coincidence of these issues could cause you to visualise that somewhere there is a global control room staffed by the people of a fictional organisation from the movies, such as SPECTRE or THRUSH.  

New Council Year

 On Friday 22nd May, we have the Crawley Borough Council AGM (Annual General Meeting).  This is the most ceremonial of our Full Council meetings with only the budget meeting coming close with its opportunity for strategic debate.  While I am not generally a fan of certain rituals, I believe that we have an AGM with the appropriate level of formality and gravitas.

A Slice of Democracy

While we prepare for our own local elections in June, India, the world’s largest democracy enters the final phase of its General Election. Hundreds of millions of people are eligible to vote in this massive contest. The main contestants are the Congress Party-led alliance and parties led by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) but there are many smaller parties as well. It is quite inspiring that so much effort is being put in to the principle of giving people their democratic voice.

Living in Harmony

 Over the weekend I attended a seminar arranged by members of the Crawley Tamil community.  A number of well-informed speakers addressed the meeting and presented some compelling evidence about the long-term persecution of Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population by their own government.  The Sinhalese people form the largest ethnic group on the island make up a large majority of the population. 

Voting

 Our votes for the County and European elections have now been cast.  The counts are proceeding on Friday for the County elections and on Sunday for the European elections.  Two very different voting systems have been used.  We have our traditional first-past-the-post for the County Councils and a very pure form of proportional representation for the European Parliament.  The system for the European Parliament allows a wide spectrum of political opinion to be represented and recognises that, as currently organised, no single political party can be in overall control.  Our current MP expenses scandal should assist the minor parties although who knows how minor they will be after the votes are counted. 

The Right Infrastructure

 We have recently seen news that the three remaining bidders for Gatwick Airport all include a second runway as part of their business plans.  This is an understandable aspiration to support certain business models emphasising passenger growth.  That said, there are other models that prioritise operational excellence, the passenger experience and in doing so might produce a greater return for each airline seat sold.  These are other routes to the essential profitability and viability of the airport operation.