It’s always an odd feeling doing something for the last time. It’s ten years since I began writing this column, putting forward Crawley Labour’s view on the week’s developments and, now, here is my last.
Delivering 350-words each week for the over 500 editions which followed has been a challenge at times, but I’ve never regretted this opportunity to communicate directly with residents in my own words. Local newspapers are an immensely important public asset. It’s to the Observer’s enormous credit they continue to provide this regular contact between their readership and Crawley’s decision-makers.
In all those years, there’s only one occasion they ever refused to print what I’d written and, even then, that decision was on legal grounds. I should take this opportunity to apologise to the various journalists who found themselves still waiting for my copy minutes before print deadline. Those 350-words were often tricky to find.
I’m also very grateful to you, dear reader. Upon hitting ‘send’, I’ve often wondered if anyone will actually read the column, but the emails and conversations I’ve had with residents over the years has provided sufficient proof that there is indeed an audience. In a busy world with almost infinite free content, it’s a huge privilege to have people prepared to offer you their attention.
For me, after two years as Opposition Leader and eight as Council Leader, it’s time to move on. I’m not 25 any longer and other commitments must now take priority. It has been an enormous honour to have had this chance to lead our town, through Austerity, Brexit, and COVID-19, to steer the council through two years of No Overall Control and to now leave the authority back in Labour control and on a stable financial footing to face the challenges ahead.
I love our town and I look forward to serving our community in new ways. Crawley is a place with so much going for it. Our one weakness is the energy spent doing ourselves down. Just imagine if we used that energy to make things better.
Wishing you the best for the future, Peter