Sometimes the smaller things in life can make a difference. In that spirit the government last week announced more money for Councils to mend potholes and smooth the roads. Along with other MPs I have been asking for more cash to sort out the damage done by the winter rains and floods. I have noticed in recent days white markings appearing alongside broken pieces of carriageway. They seem to presage repairs, rather than marking place kicks for a far away football competition. Wokingham is getting £782,000 more this year, with £332,000 of that added in the latest government press release.
The Council is making progress with the Rose Street end of the Town Centre redevelopment, whilst the new Council executive get ready to revise the proposals for Elms Field in the light of the many replies to the consultation and in the knowledge that Sainsburys do not want a foodstore there. I am also pressing the Environment Agency to help the Council come up with more schemes to flood proof our local area against the next wet winter. We should be able to keep the two main A roads into Reading open more often if work is done on the A327 and on the Loddon Bridge roundabout.
In Parliament thought is already turning to the May 2015 General Election, now the local and European elections are out of the way. I have been busy working on proposals for the next Conservative Manifesto. Mr Miliband last week had a launch of new ideas for Labour. We are going to have another attempt at legislating for a referendum on our membership of the EU by 2017, despite the continuing opposition of the Liberal Democrats. Rumour has it that some of them are having second thoughts and asking why they want to stand against the voters having a say on this most central of issues.
I have been one of the voices urging the government to stay out of military intervention in Iraq. It is worrying to watch another civil war breaking out in the Middle East. This time the west is more inclined to support the government against its opposition, whereas in Syria they wanted to support the opposition to the government. The death and destruction both sides are doing in both countries is sad to watch. My fear is our military engagement might cost more lives and add greater complexity to an already bitter situation. The Syrian opposition is not all good, and the government of Iraq has failed to win over the minority communities to its mandate. The west must tread carefully, and respond to cries for humanitarian assistance. Our diplomacy and advice might help. Killing more locals will not.