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Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody

Lisa and I were discussing the way that democracy has been effected by the Internet ... on one hand, more access to data, and on the other hand more professional control by the 'powers that be' - unelected / appointed officers who see this extra data access as (frankly) a bit of a nuisance. Some take the attitude that they know best, and that members of the public don't know what they're talking about and call for impractical things to be done. Which is a great shame, because some members of the public do have innovative ideas and suggestions which can and could be helpful.

On a few occasions, I've attended or submitted inputs to consultations where I have felt that my inputs (and the inputs of all the other people who have put thought into what they would say, and spent time and money saying it) provide the consultation runners with the ability to tick a box that says "we are democratic - we have consulted". Would it be possible that I have an unduly cynical view and public input really is considered? I would hope so, but I don't see how the public has any substantive input when the "consultation" is done after decisions are made and there are just a few tiny things that could be changed (Wiltshire budget meetings!), nor how the public's view is truely canvassed when they are asked to make a multiple choice selection from a limited set of options - so limited that the only options on offer are those which suit the canvasser's paymaster. I can recall a travel and transport meeting in Trowbridge where the audience was split into table groups and half the groups (mine included) refused to place an order of importance to the options given, on the grounds that important alternatives had been ignored.

So it has been a great pleasure already this year to see several decisions made which take the public (consultation) views into account. I refer to the decision to give permission for Asda to build a new supermarket in Melksham - something which I believe has much more in favour of it than against, and to the decision to refuse permission of the Westbury Eastern Bypass, where I have great sympathy with the people of Westbury who live alongside the current road, but also extreme disquiet that the solution offered would have been expensive and limited in its effects - some of which would have been to encourage congestion elsewhere.

With the change from a County Council to a Unitary Council, we saw little immediate change save for replacement of 99% of the signs (even though I could swear that I remember an FAQ Answer that said they new authority would not spend a lot of money on an immediate re-branding!) and that was potentially because it was the same old faces in the same old roles through April and May and into June. But now there is an opportunity - and this is an opportunity that was "sold" to us by the people who suggested Unitary - to move forward with a system fit for the next 30 years, rather than one that was good for the 1970s and 1980s.

Here is the old logo, and motto / sound bite:

Wiltshire County Council
Improving life in Wiltshire - County Council old motto (to March 2009)
(I had some trouble finding one of these that hadn't been replaced, and it seems that the new motto / sound bite has been so heavily sold that most people have already forgotten the old one)

And here is the new one:

Where Everybody Matters - Wiltshire Council

I would like to thank the team that has put in so much effort for Wiltshire in the past, and also to welcome the newcomers to the team who have a golden opportunity to go forward with both the old and the new motto's in their work. I sincerely hope that they will be Improving life in Wiltshire and remember that Wiltshire is a place Where everybody Matters ... and that includes the rich and the poor, the businesses and the individuals, the healthy and the sick, the urban (the majority of the population of the county now lives in towns with a population of 8000 or more) and the rural, the private transport user and the transport user who cannot (or does not wish) to use private transport, the local voter, the youngsters, the tourists, and the people who work in the county but live outside.
(written 2009-07-05)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z300 - Politics and Religion
  [4223] Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again - (2013-12-16)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
  [3921] On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [3845] Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21)
  [3806] 2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17)
  [3676] Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31)
  [3592] Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been. - (2012-01-26)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3323] Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11)
  [3313] What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30)
  [3264] Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25)
  [3051] Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14)
  [2971] Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26)
  [2948] Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07)
  [2870] Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14)
  [2864] Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10)
  [2856] Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06)
  [2824] A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25)
  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
  [2757] Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09)
  [2752] Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06)
  [2740] Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26)
  [2712] A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08)
  [2689] Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2353] All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2279] Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1769] July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1579] Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17)
  [1573] Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14)
  [1526] Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1386] New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10)
  [1350] FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
  [1060] What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01)
  [1003] Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21)
  [967] Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05)
  [875] Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22)
  [780] Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27)
  [750] Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07)
  [696] Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23)
  [682] Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12)
  [674] Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07)
  [671] Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05)
  [607] On being British - (2006-02-14)
  [602] MP face to face - (2006-02-12)
  [539] rich and famous - (2005-12-23)
  [505] Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26)
  [469] Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19)
  [415] Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15)
  [384] Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [335] Sad priorities - (2005-06-03)
  [326] UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27)
  [313] Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16)
  [301] General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05)
  [289] MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23)
  [280] Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15)
  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)


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