We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers. This in from John Luckett from Whippingham. Ed
What a breath of fresh air and a privilege it was to meet Martin Bell OBE last week on his visit to our Island, a true gentleman – and both interesting and inspirational. No Party Whips; party leadership dictates or “Block voting” for this man, oh no!
Cynics may say it is the start of the “silly season” as our Local Elections approach – but in all seriousness, I believe this is the most important electoral choice for generations. The choices Island voters make which will shape the Islands fortunes for the next generation. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the 70% who didn’t vote the last time round (no matter what your allegiances) become more involved and have their say on how the Island is to be run.
Straw poll finds current administration out of favour
The only people I have encountered who appear happy with the current state of affairs is the Conservative ruling group themselves, I have not met anyone who thinks the incumbent ruling group are doing a good job – and I meet a lot of people in my daily life as a health professional. The lack of confidence in its leadership also being confirmed with the e-petition calling for Cllr Pugh’s resignation more than doubling since being reported last week.
The Island is currently on the edge of an abyss which threatens our very special quality of life. As a Belgian politician once said – “We are standing at the edge of the precipice, ready to make the great leap forward”. Sorry folks, but I am not ready to jump, thank you very much!
The Island must come before party political loyalties
I fear nothing will change positively on the Island until we have a Council led and managed by people who are independently-minded and committed to putting the Island before party political loyalties (I include ALL parties in this) – is this really too much too ask? Consistent and blatant “block-voting” by the current ruling group has undermined democracy beyond measure and resulted in what I think amounts to a “licensed tyranny” over the last four years.
There has not been one example of any Conservative breaking ranks on any issue over this period because they are told by their Party leadership how to vote. Although I was told by one Conservative a while ago that “…we have a jolly good bun-fight behind closed doors” – so why do they do it? Because they will get expelled from their party if they do – their rule book says so! How can the Island electorate have confidence in them if their own party leadership do not trust them enough to make up their own minds?
Many driven to despair
Like many people I meet, this Conservative council by their actions; broken promises; and sadly by their personal conduct have driven me to despair – but I do remain positive and know that there are people capable of seeing us through these difficult times, most of whom are existing or prospective candidates of an independent persuasion.
To be fair I also know there are some genuine and talented people in the parties too (but only some!) and it is my fervent wish that they work together after May and get the Island back on its feet. I also want us Islanders to be proud of our Council and the people who work for it too.
Bell: “…reconnect those that govern with those who are governed”
The Conservatives maintain their power on people’s apathy and disillusionment, together with a loyal “party faithful” and a well organised machine that successfully gets their “faithful” to the polling booths on Election Day. The biggest challenge facing every candidate is as Martin Bell said is to “…reconnect those that govern with those who are governed”.
No-one can deny there is an almost total breakdown in this relationship here on the Island.
Party politics stops things getting done
My own three years experience of campaigning/activism on Island issues (which at times has been a steep learning curve!) has taught me beyond doubt that practicing party politics stops things getting done and has no place in Local Government. Also one party having all the power stifles democracy.
Martin Bell’s visit was of true significance and proves that one can succeed and make a difference at the highest level whilst still maintaining their personal integrity, credibility and freedom of expression, and I wish all the independent candidates success in May and I will be actively supporting and campaigning for some of you.
Burke: “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good (people) to do nothing”
To those 7/10 people who did not vote last time I remind you of the words of Edmund Burke who said “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good (people) to do nothing”.
Please take an interest and ask your prospective candidates lots of questions and make them earn your vote and trust, it has never been more important for the Island.
John Luckett, Whippingham