‘Wonderful democracy in action’


- Credit: ©ARCHANT } NORFOLK 2002.

Last week I saw a wonderful example of democracy genuinely working, something that I feared I might never see in my lifetime.

The cynic in me has always perceived our democracy as being almost undemocratic in the way that it operates as MPs and councillors move from the hustings to either Parliament or the council house.

Too often, after their election, those self same people who seek office to be our representatives spend their term of office seeking to progress their party policies, often regardless of and rarely seeking the views of those that they were elected to represent.

No more. It has been wonderful to follow the debate about the possible regeneration of the Knowle. It has been enlightening to see all the issues made public and then see our representatives listen, take note and make a decision that has taken account of those issues raised rather than blindly follow the ‘Party Line’ or the current prejudice of any single political party.

I make these points, not because I have any strong views one way or the other about the future of the Knowle. I am not on either side! However, I have valued the contributions made by those heavily involved in both sides of the debate. Thank you one and all for your contributions. It has given us all an opportunity to understand the issues and make up our own minds about where we stand.

What is also clear in my own mind, from conversations that I have heard, from what I have read and from conversations that I have been party to over the last few months, is that the majority of the community feel that the councillors have now got it just right.

People may feel that there could be a case for the eventual re-development of the Knowle but that the proposal on the table was not the right one, at this time, for a town like Sidmouth, which is a garden town that is attractive to tourists of all types and which enjoys a thriving economy, despite the economic pressures that are so prevalent in other parts of the country. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

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Congratulations to you all, you councillors. Thank you for showing that democracy can work.

Tim Smith