Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 14th June 2017

On Thursday, we learnt the scale of Conservative’s poor judgement. At great cost, both in money and—with Brexit negotiation’s looming—time, the Conservatives have found that they have gambled with the country’s future and lost again.

Instead we’re faced with a coalition of chaos, with the Tories getting into bed with a party with extremist links and embodying the worst of the bigotry that the Conservatives spent two decades trying to lose from their own reputation.

Millions who had never cast a vote before came out last week and voted for hope, for the idea that things don’t have to be this way. They were young people who’ve seen their futures evaporate over the last decade, families worried about the schools and hospitals they depend upon and senior citizens fearing that getting old under Conservatives means losing all they spent a lifetime working for. We must not let that hope die.

Voting is a powerful act, it forces parties and governments to recognise that voters and their concerns can no longer be ignored. When citizens forget this lesson it allows governments to run wild and when governments forget the lesson the next election is their end.

We now wait to see what, if any, form of policy programme the Conservative-DUP Government can cobble together. This means uncertainty for all of us at all levels. Will our schools get the funding they need to educate our young people, will hospitals be able to treat us when we fall ill and will getting old come to mean getting poor again?

I said before the election, that as Leader of Crawley Borough Council I would do everything in my power to protect the town from the full force of the Tories cuts and we are working hard to prepare meet local needs where the Government proves unwilling to do so. Ultimately though, the power of the council is limited and for Crawley to thrive we need a voice in Parliament sticking up for the town, not just an apologist for central government. With another election looming, we may well get our chance.

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