When in the Summer I raised concerns over how far police numbers had been cut and the idea that the rise in violence and drug dealing which members of the public were experiencing might have something to do with there not being enough officers to tackle crime, I faced an onslaught of criticism. The Police said that they had more than enough officers to tackle the problem, the Leader of Crawley’s Conservatives claimed I should be focusing on other issues and bizarrely our MP tried to suggest it was the council’s fault. What no one seemed to be doing was listening, the result: the violence has continued to get worse.
This isn’t the only time over recent months attempts to resolve a real problem have been met with a political response. When West Sussex first threatened the closure of the Open House homeless hostel in the county, I immediately started campaigning for it to be saved, I launched a petition which managed to secure over 10,000 signatures, raised awareness in the media and slept rough outside County Hall the night the petition was to be debated. Despite trying to get cross-party support for the campaign, the next thing I know local Conservatives are putting out leaflets saying that Labour was letting down local homeless people.
This isn’t about politics, this is about real people’s real lives. It’s no secret that I thought leaving the EU would create more problems than it solved, but with local voters having been promised by our MP that if they voted Leave they would receive a number of benefits my view has consistently been that he needs to deliver what he promised in that campaign or admit that he lied. Instead, he again seems to view this as a political problem, finding that what he has promised people cannot be delivered, rather than accept what he has done he is now undermining his Government at the most critical moment in delivering a deal. Now, I’m not a fan of the deal, but promises have been made, and rather than shirking his responsibility it’s time he delivered.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council