Voting and Bunting

Writing a weekly column for this newspaper means I am often catching up or looking into the future, and this week sees me doing both, in a Janus-like way.

Last week saw the local council elections take place, with borough and district councillors being elected in many wards across the whole Brentwood and Ongar constituency. My congratulations to all those who stood for Council, for whatever party, and worked so hard to win the votes of their electors. And my commiserations to those who worked equally hard, but just missed out on a win this time. I like to think it is character building to lose at least one election – I was beaten by Jeremy Corbyn in the General Election in 2015, and it does not seem to have done either of us any harm.

I am, of course, delighted to report that the Brentwood Borough Council Conservative group increased its majority by one, thanks to Cat Tierney’s success in becoming the new councillor for Herongate, Ingrave and West Horndon. On my patch, the Epping Forest District Council results were notable for one new Conservative councillor, Ian Hadley, taking the Moreton and Fyfield ward uncontested.

Looking forward to the weekend ahead, I have no doubt that there will be many Brentwood and Ongar residents pulling out the bunting and preparing to watch Prince Harry marry Meghan Markle in what will be a beautiful, if low key, Royal wedding. There’s no Bank Holiday for this wedding, as there was for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but I‘m sure many of us will tune in, raise a glass and shake a flag at what may be the last major royal wedding until young Prince George goes down on one knee.

Whatever your feelings about monarchy (it won’t surprise you to hear that this Tory is in favour) it’s hard not to feel happy for a young couple who have found love and companionship - perhaps doubly so when one reflects how hard it must be to do this as a modern prince. As those of you who’ve celebrated in previous street parties will know, a royal wedding, like an election, is one of those shared national experiences when we can pause and reflect on where we’ve been and where we may be going to.