Here is my Party Leaders piece in the Harlow Star this week:

After four years of Conservative control Harlow Council is delivering more for less, plugging the financial black holes that Labour left us and trying to make the town a better place to live and work. Under Conservative control, we have frozen Council Tax for the last three years – it doubled under ten years of Labour.

We have preserved the future of our community services, doubled recycling levels to over 50%, renegotiated the Kier contract to provide better service and more than £4m savings, and we are investing £20,000 pounds to improve landscaping and tackle litter hotspots in each ward – we are committed to investing in our local community.

That’s why after decades of neglect we secured £3 million investment in the cemetery and crematorium. To promote jobs, supported by Robert Halfon MP, we were chosen as one of 19 places in the country for an enterprise zone – creating up to 5,000 jobs. We also successfully secured £3.5m to upgrade the roads to support this.

Through working hard for residents and protecting our community services the Council has been shortlisted as one of the best performing in the country and nominated for a community investor award – we run an achieving Council that local people can be proud of. Nobody appreciates people who stand for office and sit on the fence.

Labour is fighting this election with no manifesto, no alternative budget and no ideas for how they would run our town. This is a very dangerous position – with no budget or plan to save the community services Labour would therefore have to close them.

Residents deserve an Administration that are passionate about getting things done to improve our community. My Conservative colleagues and I have a clear record of delivery on all the key issues faced by our town.

It was @harlowtorygirl birthday yesterday, so I missed the “live” announcement that Rick Santorum accepted defeat and cleared the way for the Race proper to begin. Admittedly Newt and Ron Paul are still hanging about like bad smells, but effectively the primaries are now over.

And so, providing nothing crazy happens, former Masachusetts governor Mitt Romney will be the man to face Barack Obama in November.

Romney starts well behind in the polls, probably because of the brutallity of the Republican primary, but as Mike Smithson points out Romneys tactics could well deal with this gap in the polls quite easily.

Many have accused Romney of not being ‘Republican enough’ in the primaries, but I have a sneaking suspicion that things will change as the race proper begins. I suspect we will se the romney camp try and put a clear dividing  line between him and Obama on Tax levels for a start.

One thing for sure – With the actual race now starting, things are going to get very interesting!