I have often considered the words ‘and they have exactly the same vote as I’ to be the most offensive words I have ever written. But the previous statement must in turn be covered by its own caveat; in that most of those who are covered by that sweeping statement have not got the intellectual curiosity to be, themselves, offended.
Take one particular event, or rather non-event, in my immediate community within Durham City. The County Council produced a five-year Plan for the alleged improvement of our County, in terms of extra housing, roads, ‘green spaces’, predictions and expectations of new industry and businesses over the next five-ten years. As for the content of that plan, it produced over 3965 statements, of over 97% of which were partly or actively hostile. The level of comment or query, should have had,. in my own opinion, a response level in the tens of thousands, which goes to show how many people actually get involved in Local Government. However, this document was published to form the basis of changes which were proposed to alter the very nature of a substantial part of our once-cherished Green Belt, by building houses and roads all over it. Many other changes were proposed, and the whole plan is up for scrutiny by an Inspector. But my point in telling ATW readers about this Plan, which of course the County Council is extremely proud and protective, was also the subject of a ‘road-show’ exhibition, which was set up in community buildings and centres all over our County, and when this exhibition was set up , I wrote about it at that time on ATW, and the final paragraph went:-
The comment is the truth that we, as a community, get exactly the Local Government we deserve. An Exhibition on the Plan were held at Framwellgate Moor on the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 23rd, and the room was thronged with interested people. A similar exhibition was held at the Laurel Avenue community centre in Gilesgate on the 24th, the following Thursday, and only two people, one of whom was myself, signed in by 7 p.m.
My first sentence, along with the caveat, should now be considered, especially in the light of this Court Case where a PCSO managed to get herself ‘airside’ at Gatwick, then told passengers ‘en route’ to their departure gates that there was a limit of £1,000 which they could take out of the country, and she would be confiscating the rest, which would be handed back upon their return. We should obviously condemn this woman PCSO, but should some level of blame not accrue to the strangely silent people who allowed themselves to be ‘conned’ out of their hard-earned holiday cash. Just imagine if some clown gets dressed up in a uniform, and tells members of the public to give away their money. What would you do, if such a statement or demand was made to you, on your way to board an aircraft?