Column for Ilford Recorder 31 December 2009

Columns written at the end of the year are supposed to be reflective. But  as I write this I am in a combative mood. Locally I am angry that once again  Redbridge Council has failed to grit any streets and pavements in Ilford South  so that the predicted heavy snow has turned many into lethal ice sheets, yet another example of the lack of planning and preparation under the local Conservative leadership.   I am also angry at  the ridiculous plan by NHS bureaucrats  to downgrade KingGeorgeHospital. I have been campaigning hard to stop this including calling a special debate in Parliament. I am pleased that Redbridge Council’s Health Scrutiny committee will  hold a special meeting on 13 January. I hope that Councillors will reject these plans and refer the matter to the Secretary of State for Health. I am disappointed  that despite great efforts by  Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Climate Secretary Ed Miliband the 192 countries gathered  in Copenhagen failed to get a  legally binding international agreement to combat and manage climate change. The main responsibility for this failure rests with the two largest polluters in the world China and the United States.  We now need further urgent action and a more robust approach by the European Union to get a binding agreement by the end of 2010. The next year will also be vital for the economic future. Thanks to the co-ordinated recovery actions taken by the G20 countries led by Gordon Brown the world has been saved from economic collapse in 2009. We are now coming out of the global recession. But the recovery is fragile. We must not risk a double dip recession or depression by precipitate or savage cuts to public spending. In 2010 we need careful and experienced leadership to combat the threats facing our community, our country and the world. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and peaceful New Year.

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