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Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again

I suppose I should be happy that democracy is at work and the new candidates for the 2015 general election for the Chippenham constituency are starting to learn their way into the area. And I know they have to start somewhere... but I worry just a little at the appeal for popularism rather than meaningful informing and probing that this brings. I find it hard to believe that a new candidate is taking credit for a Wiltshire Council decision to spend [c2]ã52 million on catching up on pothole repair, and I wonder if a questionnaire I'm asked to fill in is more about giving me a good feeling that I've been asked and able to give an answer that seems positive and in line with the candidate, rather than being a useful or meaningful input.

Let me explain that. I am asked "Do you think that we need to have a new rail station at Corsham and additional rail services serving Bradford-on-Avon and Melksham?" And I am given three boxes - "Agree, Disagree, Unsure" to answer. Not three boxes for each question, but three boxes to give one blanket answer. It's a nonsense - there are three questions that in my view need different answers, but the marketing pitch looks for a warm and fuzzy "agree" to a blunt principle.

Corsham could, indeed do with a station. Good idea that's been around for many years, but train service patterns need to be set up so that it's useful. There's a danger of the populist view being "build a station" but calling for one to be built in the absence of any services passing through that the operator / rail industry is willing to stop there.

Bradford-on-Avon already has 2 trains per hour each way. To add more? Maybe, but I'm not sure that the line has capacity for more services, and it would be far better to lengthen the trains from 2 or 3 carriages up to five or six. Running the extra capacity as "additional services" would cause operational issues, and cost more in terms of all the extra crews. Ironically, it would also use up more of the Bath - Bristol capacity and make it hard to lay on local trains passing through Corsham. So - which do you want - Corsham or Bradford-on-Avon?

Melksham ... well... the service went up from 2 to 8 each way per day about 10 days ago, and it's unclear to me whether the candidate is asking if I want more on top of the eight, or is asking based on the two. Starting from the current (8 each way) service, minor additions - most notable an 07:30 round trip from Westbury on Sundays, and a 21:15 round trip on Mondays to Fridays, would be really good within existing stock provision. A later northbound service on Saturdays, and a southbound service at around 07:40 from Swindon would be welcome but require a bit more work to provide. But beyond that we should concentrate for the next 18 months in getting the existing service well established rather than campaigning directly for many more.

I find - as I've made clear - the questions I've been asked to be shallow and asked in a divisive and biased manner. Whether that's the intent of the candidate, or the candidate's "men in grey suits" giving advise and pulling the strings, perhaps time will tell.

P.S. - The candidate in question is a follower of mine on Twitter (and following people who speak locally as I sometimes do is a good idea). Should there be any follow ups, I'll post them here, as it would be excellent to have the other side of the story
(written 2013-12-16, updated 2013-12-21)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Z300 - Politics and Religion
  [4737] Why you should vote for Lisa in Melksham Central - (2017-05-01)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)
  [4734] Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22)
  [4729] The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23)
  [4725] Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06)
  [4720] Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [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)
  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [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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TransWilts - first day pictures
Some other Articles
Happy Christmas from the Well House Manor team
Saturday train to Swindon - two weeks in
Melksham Resident? Commuter? Save yourself 2000 pounds and 100 hours in 2014, and have a better journey!
TransWilts - first day pictures
Democracy - alive and well with the beauty pagent starting up again
Five lessons learned or re-learned on my travels
Celebration of the fruits of LSTF, and of the people who have helped and are helping
Thun, Switzerland
TransWilts train services - up from 2 to 8 per day
A THANK YOU to those who have brought the new train service to fruition
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