Monday, May 21 2018

Published on June 8 2017. Opinions
So what now?
Amber Rudd in Downing Street in happier days e Secretary

So what now?

As John Major was supposed to have said after his surprise win at the 1993 election, “that was a turn up for the book, wasn’t it”.

After weeks of discussion about the size of the expected Conservative landslide, a seismic shock has hit the political establishment with a Labour revival that was far beyond their expectations resulting, almost certainly at the time of writing, in a hung parliament. 

The national implications of this will be discussed endlessly on TV, radio and in the national papers but what does this mean for Rye? Almost certainly, business as usual. Amber, who was clearly the PM’s colleague of choice during the election campaign, will doubtless take a short while to recover her equilibrium, but we can be fairly confident that, with her now-tiny majority, she is going to have to work hard to win the confidence back of her constituents and this could be good for all of us.

Clearly, not even a senior politician can change everything with just a click of the fingers but she can exert influence. A small example of this occurred recently when a resident complained directly to her about the speed of traffic on Winchelsea road and the worn paint on pedestrian crossings. Within two weeks all the road markings had been replaced and the relevant highways authority had been in touch with the resident with information about new and existing signage.

As everyone knows, we have bigger traffic and parking problems than just Winchelsea Road and we – and by ‘we’, I mean our Town Council – should not be slow in using her when it comes to ensuring that any plan that is finally adopted in conjunction with Rother, ESCC and the Highways authority is one that works for Rye and works the way WE want it to work rather than simply meeting the convenience of authorities miles away who have no real interest in what happens here.

Then there is the thorny question of the Landgate. Negotiations with Rother and the prospect of financing repairs and ongoing maintenance are all going to be complicated and difficult and here again, our MP can be of considerable assistance – so let’s use her.

One of Amber Rudd’s own pet projects, of course, is bringing the Javelin to Rye and London within a hour’s journey time. Personally, I am concerned that this is one of those things where one should say, be careful what you wish for, you might get it. Would HS1 benefit Rye? or would it simply turn our town into a dormitory for commuters with a consequent dramatic increase in property prices. It would, however be good for Hastings and we can probably be assured that a lot of energy will be going into ensuring that this happens

There are other matters, too: immigration, farming subsidies, fishing policy, tourism, to name just a few. And these will all be affected by the Brexit negotiations which are now going to be far more difficult than if the government’s plan had worked and the hoped-for large parliamentary majority had been achieved.

It is up to us to make our wishes clearly and loudly known. We have an MP who badly needs us and we should make the most of the opportunities that provides. The next election may not be too far away.


Photo: library image

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