Mercury column – April 2018

There’s a rhythm to life in politics. It’s no different from the changing seasons or the rotation of Christian festivals. The political world has its own yearly calendar that seems to come around and around, year after year. That’s not to say politics is mundane or predictable, as the momentous political events of the last few months and years demonstrate but there is a certain amount of certainty. Whatever political party is in power in Westminster there are the annual stories about NHS winter pressures and whether increased GCSE and A Level pass rates are because exams have been dumbed down. Likewise, there are the set political pieces – the Queen’s Speech, the Budget, the party-political conferences and the latest failed attempt by his own party to remove Jeremy Corbyn.

Locally, we are accustomed to a regular walk to the polling station to cast our votes in the local elections. For some, this is a yearly occurrence, as they vote for either borough or county councillors. Yet again, we are in the midst of another local election campaign. This will be the last using the traditional method of voting for borough councillors three out of every four years. From 2019 we will be voting in so-called “all-out elections” once every four years. This makes sense financially, as it will save taxpayers thousands in election costs, and also provide stability for the local council allowing councillors to think long term instead of just until the next election.

Spare a thought for those taking on the responsibility for directing our local services. I know how dedicated you must be as a local councillor. I’ve seen it demonstrated yet again in recent months as they’ve been involved in making important decisions on our behalf and getting involved in the issues that matter. Conservative councillors continue to work with me, as your Member of Parliament, to get the best for Great Yarmouth. Whether that is finding a long-term solution to halt coastal erosion, campaigning for and securing a Third River Crossing or making the town an attractive place for increased business investment, they make a difference that benefits us all. An improved connection to the Outer Harbour and Enterprise Zone means we are better placed to take advantage of the growing wind farm industry or secure contracts to supply major national infrastructure projects, like the anticipated additional runway at Heathrow Airport.