Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 11th April 2018

In general, there are two sides to everything and in politics the party system lets us see that in action. I’m not going to claim my party gets everything right and usually you can at least see where your opponents are coming from, even seeing things from their perspective requires you to squint really hard and turn your head a little.

What is much harder to understand is when someone argues in favour of a policy in one set of circumstances and then goes on to argue against it in another almost identical set of circumstances, the sole difference being that the political benefit to their party has reversed. That’s not just a matter of perspective, it means that either in the first or the second case they were wrong, and continuing to defend both is a hypocrisy.

Such is the case with the boundary review. The council has put together a proposal which meets the independent commission’s requirements for electoral equality, and effective and convenient local government while maintaining the neighbourhood principle as far as possible, yet the Tories claim the scheme violates that very principle. Given that just two years ago they were arguing in favour of similar changes as part of the West Sussex County Council review and, worse, anyone who looks at their alternative scheme can see that it crosses more neighbourhood boundaries the council’s scheme, what are we to conclude? An honest change of heart or political machinations?

Meanwhile, Tory leaflets are going out promising new parking bays across the town. Given that past parking schemes have cost an average £30,000 per bay and that the list of roads seeking schemes was approaching 200 last I checked, are we to believe they can finance five new bays for every road which needs them. The cost would be around £30,000,000, from a council with a budget half that amount. Never mind that the legal responsibility rests with Conservative-controlled West Sussex County Council. If they genuinely wanted to improve parking in Crawley, they already could. Impossible election commitments only lowers the tone of politics in our town

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