Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 31st May 2017

This election is about public services. It’s about whether we have the number of police we need to protect us, it’s about whether the NHS will be there when we need it, it’s about whether our young people will get the education necessary for Britain to compete in the global economy.

None of that is certain right now. For all the time spent telling voters the deficit was the most important issue just two years ago, apparently it’s not anymore. Labour’s manifesto has been costed using the latest official figures, the Conservatives’ has not. Labour are using this opportunity to outline how Government can protect and serve the people, the Conservatives are burying commitments made in 2015. Labour want to ensure the system works for the many and not just the few, the Conservatives are u-turning on promises around free school meals and social care before the election has even happened. Hardly a sign of strong and stable government, hardly a vision for the future.

As the Leader of Crawley Borough Council, I will do everything I possibly can to shelter residents from Government cuts, but the impact of underfunding is coming to a head and there’s a limit to how far creativity can get around the problems we are now starting to see. If we want our local Police, NHS and schools properly funded then Crawley needs a voice speaking up for it in Parliament, the simple truth is that for all the pretty words and assurances we don’t have that right now.

The decision of Green Party candidate Richard Kail to pull out of this race to give other progressive parties a better chance of restoring our public services was a generous act, highlighting the scale of the threat we all now face.

This election campaign has torn apart any notion that the Tories have a firm grip on what they are doing. To give Theresa May a landslide majority on the 8th June is to stretch the current chaos on for another five years and by that point it is hard to see what will be left.

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