About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

local democracy sucks!

So guess what? Despite two petitions, hundreds of letters, dozens of response forms and 10 passionate public speakers (as well as 74 members of my facebook group!) - totalling more than 7,000 people - members of Canterbury council's ruling executive committee voted unanimously in favour of closing Whitstable's visitor information centre.
It was one of the most frustrating evenings of my life - everyone who spoke, including yours truly, made relevant and helpful suggestions about how to make money and save money, which has been the council's argument all along, and avoided the temptation of insulting the councillors.
But they just didn't seem to be listening and if they did they completely missed the point. They didn't even go for a compromise of deferring a decision for six months while holding a public consultation - which is something they should have done right at the beginning!
The decision has been called in, which means it goes back to another committee and the executive has to explain itself, but judging by experience with this council so far that will just be a technicality.
Whatever happened to councillors representing the people who elected them? I know for a fact that each and every member of the executive has had representations from countless people - including the four members from Whit and HB - but that seemed to count for nothing.
I'm not sorry we did this campaign because it was and is an important issue and I think it's right that as a local paper we should get involved, but given the result and everything that has happened during the process, I will have to think hard about repeating the experience.
Which is perhaps the saddest thing about this whole process. If I'm so disillusioned after just one experience of battling with the council (and others!) how do those seasoned campaigners keep going? I am truly in awe of their energies.
Bah humbug!
That will have to be it for now as my helpful daughter has just returned and is trying to add her own comments to this blog.
But before I go - I managed to write the story up, send it over and have two conversations with work without any arguments with bosses! So at least that's one good thing...

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