I think we can all agree that a less than ideal General Election result for the Conservatives led to a Queen’s Speech delivered in difficult circumstances, following in the wake of three major terrorist incidents. Then there was tragedy at a new level: the Grenfell Tower fire.
On Sunday I attended the Armed Forces Day commemoration, organised by the Royal British Legion. Later at the Old Steine I paid my respects, and sent a postcard, to those affected by the appalling Grenfell Tower tragedy. These two events led me to a terrible conclusion: whilst our magnificent armed forces have been incredibly successful at protecting us from external threats, large and secretive bureaucracies charged with maintaining our safety within the UK appear to have again let us down in a dreadful way. This must not continue. I am therefore delighted that the Queen’s Speech confirmed that a Public Inquiry into Grenfell Tower will be held, which will hopefully shine a light on the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Locally, I hope that all political Groups on the Council will work together to ensure that nothing like Grenfell will ever occur in Brighton and Hove.
On the wider political scene, I think most will agree that the recent Conservative Party Manifesto will not be remembered as the greatest example of 21st Century literature, as it gave little hope of a brighter future. There were some real nuggets of optimism in the Queen’s Speech. There was confirmation that we must achieve a good Brexit, increase our prosperity and allow our trade around the world to expand; commitments to new infrastructure spending; measures to ensure the UK remains a world leader in new industries including electric cars and commercial satellites; a raising of the National Living Wage; the tackling of the gender pay gap; measures to protect the victims of domestic violence and the reforming of mental health services.
And importantly for our city - a ban on landlords and agents charging letting fees, which will be good for many in Brighton & Hove. On this basis I am remaining positive for the years ahead and look forward to these new laws coming to fruition.
Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.