Have you added your signature to either the pro or anti fixed-link e-petitions?

If you haven’t but want to, you have until just before midnight tonight. Just follow the links in the article.

Solent forts:

Update 18.02: Due to the start of purdah, the Government election e-petition site has closed until after the election.


One minute to midnight tonight (Monday) sees the deadline for adding your signature to one of two e-petitions lobbying the Department for Transport over for a fixed link to the Isle of Wight.

An e-petition calling for a fixed link to the Isle of Wight has attracted just short of 5,000 signatures, whilst the e-petition against a fixed-link has just over 1,500 signatures.

For a fixed-link
The ePetition calling for a fixed link has gathered 4,936 signatures at time of publishing.

It reads,

We need a Fixed link tunnel to Isle of Wight. It’s such a hassle to get on/off the island, and expensive! Also with the recent accident on the Wightlink ferry, and red funnel traffic issues in east Cowes, which caused mayhem, these are another reason why we need it!

Campaigners from the pro-camp have put together outline plans for a tunnel across the Solent and even gone as far as setting up a legal entity to support the campaign.

Against a fixed-link
The ePetition against a fixed link to the Isle of Wight had 1,557 signatures at time of publishing.

It reads,

Say No to the Isle of Wight Fixed Link. There is another petition saying yes to a fixed link. So this petition is for all of us who want to say no.. Make your voice be heard before the 2015 referendum.

Both petitions come to a close at 23.59 tonight.

Image: tpholland under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 30th March, 2015 1:42pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2cWy

Filed under: Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Travel

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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83 Comments on "Have you added your signature to either the pro or anti fixed-link e-petitions?"

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Lord Bermondsey

I’m going to start a petition calling for an end to petitions regarding the repetition of petitions to participate in fixed link or no fixed link repetitive petitions.

Carl Feeney
BEFORE YOU SIGN EITHER WAY PLEASE INFORM YOURSELF…… LOOK BELOW. Try: http://www.solenttunnel.org (which was originally produced to inspire debate) and the more up to date: http://www.solentfixedlink.net (which now includes the FULL VERSION of the £100,000 professionally produced “1998 Fixed Link feasibility study”) The 1998 study evaluated that an “immersed tube tunnel” is the most likely and suitable form of potential fixed link to the Isle of Wight.… Read more »
peteiow
Personally I think the concept of a fixed link is one of those ‘nice ideas but…’ scenarios. However I don’t think Carl’s 10 reasons can go unchallenged so here goes from someone trying to look at it entirely objectively: 1) Freedom of movement: whether the link is fest and efficient depends on where it goes to and from, if its from Ryde to Portsmouth great! If you… Read more »
Mason Watch

Well argued…..

peteiow
The FL campaigners keep quoting the difference in average wages between the island and Hampshire, what they forget (conveniently?) is Hampshire is a large county, much of North Hampshire is part of London’s extended commuter land with residents earning London wages and paying near enough London house prices. A more suitable comparison would be wages in somewhere like Gosport, commutable from Portsmouth but subject to severe traffic… Read more »
Mason Watch

Does Mr Feeney have any business interests that might benefit from a fixed link?

tiki

If you don’t like living on the island Mr Feeney – MOVE. This is all pie in the sky nonsense .. read my lips IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. 95% of the island don’t give a monkeys obviously if the petition stats are anything to go by.

ThomasC
Read my lips, tiki: IT WILL HAPPEN There: my posting that in capitals will have precisely the same effect as you aggressively posting that it won’t happen. Logically we need a fixed link to improve the overall economic lot on the IW. This particularly applies to the lowest paid and most disadvantaged on the IW. Are you among those? Wightlink and Red Funnel rely on the ‘I’m… Read more »
Mason Watch

It may be morally repulsive to you Sir but it are is likely to reflect the majority of the population here. This petition is of no credible use with a tiny percentage of the Island even vaguely interested and only the zealots for connection getting involved. You are living in a fantasy world.

Don Smith

tiki’s,

They all said that about getting a man on the moon – By the way, the moon is in the sky:-)

tiki

Re point 7 – Shall we cancel the current regeneration of East Cowes and wait for a fixed link? Scoff .. snigger.

Dave Moore

Looks like midnight has come early! E-petitions website is not taking comments until after the election.
Timed at 17:45 March 2015

Stuart Brown

NO FIXED LINK

These petitions are pointless without 100K votes (nearly whole island)

The Referendum Group is anything but, Pro or Anti all’s views accepted search on Facebook for “No Isle of Wight Fixed Link”

Carl Feeney
The trick to a debate is to lay out your case and have it scrutinised and discussed. I’ve put 10 points that many see as favourable concerning g a fixed link in a previous post. If the response is “if you don’t like it here, move away” with no offerings of why those 10 points are false, it is quite clearly an admission that those points are… Read more »
Cynic
Here is one “profound reason”, the cross-Solent problem will be little different to that pertaining today *unless* it was state-funded and operated. Islanders would remain a captive market and fixed link operators and/or unions would have a potential stranglehold on access to/from the Island, if above ground/sea-level the convenience of access would be interrupted by weather, maintenance, lifting of central span to allow shipping to pass etc.… Read more »
garageelfiniow

I dont need 10 profound reasons – I want to live on an Island on the South Coast of England and enjoy all the benefits the Island offers- if I dont I can move the the mainland and live with everyone else.

Vix Lowthion
Actually the trick to winning a debate is to be persuasive – not to be antagonistic towards people you have yet to get on your side. The maths is poor (average wage would not increase in line with Hamp). There’s nothing about the impact a FL could have on our public services – hospital and fire etc and also on house prices for the average islander. It’s… Read more »
retired Hack
I completely agree, Vix. I’m against a fixed link, and I’m embarrassed by some of the arguments being put up by those with the same view. In particular, it’s quite unacceptable to tell people who may well have been born and bred here that they should leave home because of their views about the island’s future. It’s just as intellectually shallow, though, to present the fixed link… Read more »
Caconym
If there is one thing I can’t stand its the “Little Wighter” attitude. I was pretty ambivalent regarding a fixed link until I started seeing all of those arrogant “I speak for The Island, capitalised, if you don’t like it LEAVE” comments. So, yeah, let’s have a fixed link. It may not do anything for the economy, but it sure will be fun watching the frothy mouth… Read more »
ThomasC

Why would IW wages not rise much closer to those in Hants with a fixed link, Vix?

If wages wouldn’t rise, why would house prices?

Why would reducing time to get to Southampton and Portsmouth hospitals be such an issue?

You seem very confused.

Vix Lowthion

Simple. When you join 2 places together, the averages do change. Hampshire average wage could go *down* and Island average wage could rise.

The more complex answer is that the reason for lower wages here isn’t just the lack of a fixed link – we have a lot of seasonal tourist jobs and carer jobs and not many stockbrokers and lawyers.

retired Hack
Simple economic theory, ThomasC. Wages would not equate unless there was absolute freedom of movement – free of cost and free of time. A fixed link would provide neither, unless there was no toll and no travelling time. A fixed link toll might be cheaper than the ferries, and if so it would encourage freedom of labour movement to some extent; and to that extent wage levels… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

Vic – as a parliamentary candidate, what is your view on a situation where some seriously ill Islanders decline treatment in specialist mainland units because they can’t face the commute?

Vix Lowthion
The same stance I would take in 10 yrs time if we have a FL and no longer any island A&E, and an island resident dies in the traffic jams getting to Portsmouth. Having to travel for cancer and cardiac care is not something which only islanders have to do. Yes, islanders have the extra cost of a car ferry trip, but other areas can also have… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Vix – I am referring to a situation my family had to endure and sadly we lost someone very special. I will leave it to others to interpret the meaning of your statement, “contrived for effect”! You seem to miss the point – it is not just the “cost of a car ferry trip”. It is standing waiting for a red jet in the cold and wet.… Read more »
Vix Lowthion
Absolutely. And there are many pro FL causes which led me to initially support a bridge or tunnel. Not least the huge problems that people with a disability have in getting on an off the island – the fact they are forced to pre book, that they have to exit their vehicle during the crossing. These are the key issues with the pro FL group should be… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Vix – my point is that there are people suffering now! You refer to the hypothetical person who could die if the local A&E is closed in 10 years time. You have no evidence that it will close and you ignore research that shows the best outcome for a patient is to be treated at a specialist centre rather than the nearest centre. I am referring to… Read more »
Vix Lowthion
Do you wish to persuade people of the pro link cause, or just attack and belittle those of us with genuine concerns about the impact of a fixed link? If you all would stop attacking me, you would find a sympathetic ear for all you say. But banning me from the FB group and haranguing me on here makes it harder and harder for me to work… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

Vix – as a member of the electorate, I am raising with a parliamentary candidate a very genuine and sincere concern about the fact that many ill people need to travel to the mainland for treatment and that some are unable to do so. This is something that I feel strongly about due to the loss of a parent and my own personal experience.

Vix Lowthion
You are attacking me as if I am firmly anti link, or that I don’t consider the issues we have by being held on an island served by private transport companies. For every aspect you view as positive about a link I can see an aspect which could also harm our health service and our house prices and our environment and our island life. All I wish… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Vix – I have made no personal attack on you. I am not a member of any political organisation. I am not a member of the Pro-Link group. I am simply raising a very serious issue … one that I will raise with every parliamentary candidate given the opportunity. Healthcare is increasingly being delivered through specialist centres. The number of people required to travel to the mainland… Read more »
Vix Lowthion
Not a personal attack – no. But like I keep having to reiterate: you do not win support to a cause by attacking people who think differently. The aim is to *persuade*. If you don’t want to change minds, and don’t wish to be democratic, then fine. Regarding people travelling to the mainland for health care (as other people do the same, travelling across counties and sometimes… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Vix – no matter how much funding we pour into the NHS, a hospital for 140,000 people simply cannot be a centre of excellence for cardiac, stroke, trauma, neurology, etc, etc. It just isn’t possible. In 2006, the Royal College of Surgeons recommended that a safe major A&E should serve a population of no fewer than 300,000 (http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/Reconfiguring-hospital-services-lessons-South-East-London-Kings-Fund-March-2011.pdf). The Nursing Times has published data showing that centralising… Read more »
Cynic

Total waste of time as e-petitions are self- selecting and need access to computers and comms to be able to vote.

retired Hack

Agreed. The FL campaign won’t gain any serious traction without support expressed in a properly-run (and financed) referendum.

ThomasC

Was there a referendum for the Severn Crossings?

Was there a referendum for the Skye Bridge?

Was there a referendum for the second Mersey crossing that’s having £1.5bn spent on it for much lesser benefits than a cross Solent fixed link would bring?

Why is a key infrastructure project so different for the IW?

Vix Lowthion

You wish to railroad this through without a democratic backing?!

ThomasC
Not particularly, but maybe you should go do some homework on the subject – there is no constitutional basis for a binding referendum on an infrastructure project. For that, we have a planning process. Nothing gets railroaded – it is considered appropriately, using the existing frameworks, instead of all of this flapping about needing a referendum for this, that and the other, which is something that the… Read more »
Cynic

There have been 38 local referendums in the last decade.

Vix Lowthion

The Pro FL campaign started off seeking a referendum. I support that. Only 4% of islanders (though anyone from could put their name on it) signed the petition.

So now the tactic has changed, a referendum ‘ isn’t needed’? Why the change of heart?

Cynic
Shouid there have been a referendum for the Skye Bridge seeing that those Islanders were ripped off and the project has to be taken over by the Scottish government? The Mersey tunnel connects two parts of the cohesive industrial and housinfg developments on both sides of the river and is part of a through-route. The Severn Crossings are through-route extensions of the M4 and M48 as connecting… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Cicero – it would be really nice to get “ripped off” like the Isle of Skye and have to pay an extortionate £5 for a crossing. I would even welcome the point at which they raise the price to £20 a crossing and the Goverment step in and nationalise. My parents were quoted £130 to visit their grand children last weekend. I understand that this weekend people… Read more »
Cynic
Apparently the ferries are ripping your family off for £130 this weekend. Why do you think it would be any different if the investment bankers that own the ferries built the fixed link that would cost a multiple of the Skye Bridge? Would they leave profits on the table out of the goodness of their hearts? Will a New Labour or Tory government fund and operate a… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Cicero – as stated previously: 1. I support your preference for a state funded FL. 2. however, in the absence of state funding there are mechanisms to ensure FL tolls are regulated and controlled (with the option to take the FL back into public ownership). Why do you say, “Apparently ..”? Are you doubting the cost of a return ticket or do you feel that is value… Read more »
Cynic
@IGF “Are you doubting the cost of a return ticket or do you feel that is value for money?’ Neither I am quoting your statement @21:21. Other ways of control 1. Government regulation of ferry prices -the same way that you claim FL tolls would be regulated- by setting them to the Scottish method of Road Equivalent Tariff. 2. Renationalise the ferry services paying for it with… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Cicero – so with neither of your options achievable and Islanders currently paying fares in excess of £100 to private equity companies …. how do you suggest we break the stranglehold? Like you, I would prefer a FL to be state funded …. but if that is not going to happen then at least a FL would offer us the option to negotiate a better deal with… Read more »
Cynic
IGF “Right now we have no prospect of either regulation or re-nationalisation.” Unless the government is changed from the Tory/New Labour duopoly. There is an opportunity coming in May, so let’s hear what the PPCs say about it- especially the Labour PPC- as I think the response of others (excepti Vix who has already stated her policy- are predictable unless they clarify them in their published electoral… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

Cicero, I think most of the candidates would have to choose a 4th option. Their parties just don’t believe in public ownership.

Cynic

As I said Vix “predictable unless clarified” :-))

peaceful_life
@Thomas. The keyword to the latter part of your question is the fact that the island isn’t ‘key’ to the rest of the UK’s existing* volumes of current* GDP. The bean counters were only ever interested in sales numbers and for them…the island simply doesn’t have the demand in an ever competitive market of contraction and the island is about as saturated with property monopoly money, which… Read more »
retired Hack
I think we need a clear statement from the FL lobby about whether they favour a full referendum or not. I find it very worrying that elements of that lobby appear to think that public opinion can be properly tested by non-scientific means such as petitions and Facebook. Those are fine for pressure group activity; and would be an out-and-out disgrace if made a basis for anything… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
I support a FL and am lobbying hard for it. I personally would like to see a full referendum. The pro-fixed link team may want to make a formal statement on their view. A note of caution though … please do not assume that everyone who supports a FL has the same views on this. There are discussions amongst supporters on how best to achieve a FL… Read more »
Cynic

The acid test would be whether the Pro-FL group is actually able to raise the money for an independent feasibility or pre-feasibility study without massive donations from vested interests (as it appears happened in the 1998 study)

I'll Get Flamed
Fully agree Retired Hack. I’d like to see this done in stages. An independent poll to understand if there is support for a FL. If there is sufficient support we could then progress to a professional feasibility study. If a feasible option does exist then a formal referendum of Islanders and possibly impacted areas on the mainland. Such a phased approad would allow the management of investment… Read more »
Cynic

e-petitions are not independent as they are subject to the voting vagaries of that occur in postal voting but without the necessity of having to be registered with a local authority.

Personation and multiple voting by vested interests are as easy to do in electronic voting as they are in the voting for reality shows and the never-ending X-factor and its copies.

retired Hack

@I’ll get flamed: Thanks. My comment above (10.15pm) was intended to address ThomasC’s lack of enthusiasm for a referendum.

Rod Manley

It has probably gone beyond a feasibility study now, it is obvious it can be done.Didn’t they make a tunnel in London? It’s a lot easier to do these days. It wouldn’t be hard to decide where to put it, plenty of places, I think they started to build one once.

Cynic

Because they *can* does not mean they *should*.

(The US could wipe out the problems of the Middle East and increase the value of their energy reserves with a couple of nuclear weapons- but should they?)

A feasibility study should cover not only the technical problems of construction but also the economic and social impacts.

Don Smith
I would suspect that it is far too late now to implement it at the forthcoming General Election. However, at a future election (Local/General) it may just be possible to incorporate the election with a referendum on whether people want a fixed link or not. Do you want a fixed link? ‘Yes’ or ‘No’? All this bickering will get nothing done. I support a FL for two… Read more »
calderjon

I support the fixed link idea too
Don, I just cringe at “The Judean People’s Front” (Monty Python) who are running the campaign.

If it’s going to be done, it needs to be done properly – not on the back of a fag packet behind the bike sheds.

Cynic
@Don “However, at a future election (Local/General) it may just be possible to incorporate the election with a referendum on whether people want a fixed link or not. you want a fixed link? ‘Yes’ or ‘No’? All this bickering will get nothing done.” Pointless unless some kind of independent feasibility study is done that sets out the benefits and drawbacks of a fixed link. Otherwise it would… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
I support the thorough questioning of the polls, e-petitions and other material supplied by the pro-FL supporters. We need a proper study into the feasibility and impact of a FL. However, whilst those opposed to a FL are quick to question the polls, e-petitions and other reference material …. they aren’t actually supplying their own data or references. For example, we are told that crime will increase… Read more »
Cynic
IGF- Seeing you ask for evidence of the weakness of polls and e-petitions…. :-)) Ways of influencing e-petitions: 1.Multiple votes using disposable email addresses 2 If the e-petition checks for multiple votes from the same IP address (unlikely but could happen), create multiple users and vote with their email address e.g. spoofvoter101@nnnn.co.uk) 3. Use free wifi services to enter votes (the wifi IP might disguise the IP… Read more »
peaceful_life

@IGF.

Personally, I’m indifferent to the proposition of a FL, that is…within the limited premise of whether it can be built or not, hypothetically..of course it can, *but* that completely ignores the myriad of external influences above and beyond our individual wants*.

You have been referenced to these influences, for which there is plenty of data.

I'll Get Flamed

Forgive me peaceful_life … I am genuinely interested in your view … what data are you referring to?

milly

Will we get a fixed link though, who are the decision-makers?

Vix Lowthion

Land owners. Council planning authorities. Investment banks. For starters.

I would add island residents to that.

Cynic
Mmmm! Remind me- which was the party running the government? From the LibDem candidate’s claims of successes 2010-2015 made on his election pamphlet it appears to have been his party? True to apparent form the pamplet slides the political knife into the Labour party with the comment “Can’t win Here”. Might well be true, but I would like to hear Stewart’s, Geoff’s, Robert’s and Mat’s comments on… Read more »
Black Dog
The following is just my observation about the debate. On a personal front I am still undecided and therefore others like myself and those who have strong views either way deserve the opportunity to debate this matter seriously. The generic Island population has been dying for years and it only people relocating and retiring here that has replenished the numbers. I ask the question if you were… Read more »
Cynic

Quite right Black Dod but that debate should be based on reliable information not emotion. Such reliable information is sparse at the moment.

milly
Thanks, Vix I always consider who the decision-makers are because we are a top down democracy. The capitalist system ensure that the ‘powers that be’ decide. We should decide. The result of this e-petition looks heavily in favour of a fixed link.I thought that people were in favour of one in general all along. A straw poll is a reflection of a cross section of the population,… Read more »
Cynic

Sorry Black Dog- fat fingers/bad proof reading day! :-((

Cynic

@Milly “A straw poll is a reflection of a cross section of the population, which indicates a desire.”

Not quite! It indicates a “desire” of only those who were polled not the community at large.

Cynic

A straw poll might indicate that AT or Stewart or Vix or McKie or Gooddall should be re-elected. Would you trust that poll or the May election?

retired Hack
Exactly. I, for example, am against a fixed link but I haven’t signed the e-petition because I don’t accept its relevance as a democratic tool in something as important as this. Some FL supporters understand the need for a properly-funded, neutrally-organised – and, particularly, neutrally-worded – referendum to test islanders’ views. Other supporters appear not to understand this. If you accept that a proper referendum is a… Read more »
milly

True, but 5,000 is still plenty and it has closed already. So you take from it what you perceive.

milly

Do we trust opinion polls? or do they indicate by statistical analysis what might be happening? In the past they have indicated either ways, until you get the actual election or referendum you are never really going to know.

In this case gut reaction might be that the pro-fixed link e-petition majority could well be the popular belief.

Take it or leave it.

Cynic

@Milly “Do we trust opinion polls? or do they indicate by statistical analysis what might be happening?”

No to both questons. If the base data is suspect, no amount of statistically polishing will it truthful.

(In USSR elections 97% supported the Communist Party did that mean they really wanted Stalin’s government?)

milly
The fixed Link is becoming a serious issue, it is no longer a joke that can be dismissed by sleight of hand. When people start to organise and petition, it becomes a political issue that cannot be ignored.Over 6,000 signatures over a Fixed Link means that it will have to be taken into account. On this basis it will become a General Election issue for the island… Read more »
Albert Street

Sadly it appears that Mr Stephens is conspicuous by his absence.

mat
The Necessity of Connectivity: Concerning a Fixed-Link to the Isle of Wight: The debate on “For or Against” is irrelevant when it it comes to connectivity. Whether it is a ferry, bridge or tunnel or a balloon. It is a necessity to solve the ongoing problem of connectivity. Any idea or scheme, through land sea or air is feasible, study or not. Decision-making by the “powers that… Read more »
peaceful_life

@IGF.

Energy constraints, to which you pointed out that the recent drop in oil prices as to refute these constraints. Which is not the case, it’s an ongoing situation and as I say…plenty of data.