I have not hurried to make this blog post because not only did I want to fully digest the results but also with a number of other elections also taking place in France and Greece, I thought it worth considering the fall out and impacts of all.
British Local Elections
Firstly on the local elections throughout Britain, the coalition Government clearly paid a heavy price with hundreds of hard working Councillors of both parties being punished in what I very honestly believe to be a case of the mid-term blues. Mid-term blues are often experienced by the governing party and in the case of this Coalition Government, having to make the level of cuts necessary to get our economy not only out of the danger zone but also back on track was always going to lead to unpopularity as the effects of the cuts started to bite, even though there was no other choice left - remember the famous post-it note left by the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury for the incoming Government which read "Good luck, there is no money left"?
However I believe the jubilance demonstrated by the Labour Party Leader and his Shadow Chancellor since last Thursday night to be most misplaced. These two characters had their finger prints all over the shambles left by Gordon Brown's Government and whilst some may argue that this was a global financial problem, our ability to prepare for and come through it was severely hampered by the reckless spending spree undertaken by their previous Labour Government. What amazes me and many others I have spoken to in recent years is that the economy left to them by John Major's Government in 1997 was so strong that it took so long to ruin - just imagine how much better prepared we would have been to face the recent recession had these clowns not squandered every last penny!
Whilst there was a clear sign of protest from voters, there was no major sign of faith placed in the Labour Party or their half baked policy statements as could be interpreted from results because the major winner was voter apathy with many people simply choosing to stay at home. The challenge for the Coalition Government is now to reconnect with those who choose to stay at home and the many who never or rarely vote and to communicate far more clearly than it has done since the Budget. Some others also believe that the two respective parties should compromise less and be more true to their political principles and in this regard it won't surprise you to learn that I would like to see more traditional Conservative policies being pursued - however the reality is that if the Coalition remains until the planned General Election in 2015, the politics of compromise is probably here to stay but at least there will be clear choices for the electorate when the time comes.
London Mayoral Election
After the local elections, we saw the re-election of London Mayor, Boris Johnson who in my humble opinion has done a fantastic job for London and I am very pleased that he has been given the opportunity to show what can be achieved during the next four years. Boris has also taught Conservatives a valuable lesson, a lesson which has seen one of the highest levels of deliverance on pre-election promises in my lifetime, despite a very challenging economic climate. He has shown that we can and should be ambitious and can push the boundaries of what those around us believe is possible, he has banished the German made bendy buses that were a danger to many of the capital's cyclists and replaced them with a new Routemaster bus which has been designed to meet the specific needs of Londoners and has some groundbreaking new green technology on board - who would bet against him delivering driverless tube trains or even a new airport now along with then many other important priorities he has set? Above all, he has shown us that strength of character can beat the negative politics of our oponents - watch out Eastbourne Lib-Dems, we've been taking notes!
French Presidential & Greek Parliamentary Elections
Finally, whilst all this has been going on we have had the French Presidential elections and Greek Parliamentary elections. France's outgoing President, Nicholas Sarkozy lost to Socialist challenger Francois Hollande and the Greek situation remains very unclear as whilst I wrote this blog entry earlier today, the second placed left leaning group were trying to form a coalition after the leading right wing group had failed. However these two situations pan out, it seems that we may be heading towards another Eurozone crisis with resistance in France to austerity measures and a now far more likely Greek default. This could present major challenges and threats to our own economic situation but I hope very much that because our Government has taken the difficult decisions and remains committed to seeing them through, that this may actually give us a competitive advantage in many areas with the possibility of some European based businesses considering switching to Britain to benefit from a more stable environment which is not so closely tied to the faltering Euro - time will tell!
Well that's enough of the bigger picture for the moment. Here in Eastbourne politicians of all parties have much work to do and wouldn't it be great if our oponents in the Labour Party & Green Party were able to stage a breakthrough? I am sure that this would not only ensure much wider political debate but also keep Conservatives and Lib-Dems on their toes.
I remain committed not only to continue working hard for my constituents in Sovereign Ward along with my two ward colleagues Philip & Gordon and our County Councillor, David Elkin but also to play my part in some of the other important big issues in Eastbourne such as the Harbour Retail Park redevelopment, the Town Centre regeneration, delivery of an Asset Management Strategy that prevents many of our key attractions falling into disrepair, preservation and improvement of our wonderful seafront and improving transport links to the town.
firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything I can do to assist.