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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 [82][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
  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)
  [257] Politics gets nasty. Must be an election coming up. - (2005-03-25)
  [280] Spotted - the local MP - (2005-04-15)
  [289] MP for Devizes, Wiltshire - (2005-04-23)
  [301] General Election day, UK - (2005-05-05)
  [313] Making bona fide international marriages more difficult - (2005-05-16)
  [326] UK Tax payment totals and where the money is spent - (2005-05-27)
  [335] Sad priorities - (2005-06-03)
  [377] A Strengthened City - (2005-07-14)
  [384] Managing conflict and disappointment - (2005-07-20)
  [415] Campaign Drift and efficiency. - (2005-08-15)
  [469] Yesterday was Kiss and Ride - (2005-10-19)
  [505] Would you steal ... petrol? ... a training course? - (2005-11-26)
  [539] rich and famous - (2005-12-23)
  [602] MP face to face - (2006-02-12)
  [607] On being British - (2006-02-14)
  [671] Both ends of the animal - (2006-04-05)
  [674] Wiltshire to get an extra MP - (2006-04-07)
  [682] Iran has enriched uranium ... - (2006-04-12)
  [696] Is than an uphill or downhill task? - (2006-04-23)
  [750] Almost everyone loses - (2006-06-07)
  [780] Separation and Integration - (2006-06-27)
  [875] Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones - (2006-09-22)
  [967] Realistic on line shoot'em up - (2006-12-05)
  [1003] Room at the Inn, Guy at the station - (2006-12-21)
  [1060] What a relief from the tax office. - (2007-02-01)
  [1109] False imprisonment - a contrast from the news - (2007-03-15)
  [1135] Government pressure on me to shut up after I make the papers - (2007-04-05)
  [1175] Local elections - choosing who to vote for - (2007-05-03)
  [1247] An afternoon at a public enquiry - (2007-06-27)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1350] FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Western Region - (2007-09-13)
  [1386] New software product for warmblooded programmers - (2007-10-10)
  [1428] Travel Across Wiltshire - the game - (2007-11-11)
  [1526] Carers at work - court case changes - (2008-02-01)
  [1573] Budget tax increases hit vehicle market - (2008-03-14)
  [1579] Rome, and the faith of Rome - (2008-03-17)
  [1729] Back from the future - (2008-07-30)
  [1769] July child ponders on August children - (2008-08-23)
  [1872] Barack Obama wins US Predidency - (2008-11-05)
  [1881] Wiltshire Council says - part 1 - (2008-11-13)
  [1882] Wiltshire Council says - part 2 - (2008-11-14)
  [1987] One Cheer for Local Democracy - Asda in Melksham - (2009-01-11)
  [2012] The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29)
  [2028] Things people say on the phone - (2009-02-06)
  [2075] Supporting Parkinsons and Trains - (2009-03-11)
  [2178] Melksham Candidates for Wiltshire Unitary Election - (2009-05-12)
  [2206] Spot the odd one out - (2009-05-29)
  [2257] Ramblings on church and state linkage in Melksham - (2009-06-25)
  [2270] Wiltshire - a chance to improve life for everybody - (2009-07-05)
  [2279] Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire - (2009-07-11)
  [2288] Wiltshire Community Area Partnerships - (2009-07-15)
  [2353] All change - Wiltshire Parliamentary - (2009-08-13)
  [2640] How is your tax pound spent? - (2010-02-18)
  [2689] Can my dog eat potatoes? Doggie Dietary Research, and political sleaze! - (2010-03-23)
  [2712] A more informed decision than ever before - (2010-04-08)
  [2740] Melksham Hustings at George Ward School - (2010-04-26)
  [2752] Voting day - UK General Election - (2010-05-06)
  [2757] Bodicea, Lincoln, and our new MP - (2010-05-09)
  [2792] Should Government compete with private industry? - (2010-06-03)
  [2824] A pint of Black Rat, and a lazy barman - (2010-06-25)
  [2856] Two sides of the coin - (2010-07-06)
  [2864] Changing with weather and seasons - (2010-07-10)
  [2870] Old prices - what would the equivalent price have been in 1966? - (2010-07-14)
  [2948] Melksham shamefully makes the national headlines - (2010-09-07)
  [2971] Should the public sector compete with businesses? and other deep questions - (2010-09-26)
  [3051] Positively reforming the system - could it be done? - (2010-11-14)
  [3264] Alternative Vote (AV) - explaining and an example - (2011-04-25)
  [3313] What does our MP do on a Bank Holiday? - (2011-05-30)
  [3323] Is Melksham town centre dying? - (2011-06-11)
  [3325] The Olympic Torch, and Melksham House - (2011-06-14)
  [3438] Melksham to become a part of Trowbridge? - (2011-09-13)
  [3592] Are we one man, one vote? No, and we never have been. - (2012-01-26)
  [3676] Rising prices, changing habits and society - (2012-03-31)
  [3806] 2011 Census results - initial figures for Wiltshire. - (2012-07-17)
  [3845] Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street - (2012-08-21)
  [3905] How should we choose our Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner? - (2012-10-27)
  [3921] On rememberance, on war, and on preventing the war cycle - (2012-11-11)
  [4079] Melksham Area - Unitary Council results, May 2013 - (2013-05-04)
  [4275] Eurpoean Elections, and other elections ahead. Some thoughts on campaigns and policies - (2014-05-08)
  [4286] Reaction in Radstock to new First bus prices - (2014-07-12)
  [4343] Politics and the railway the connects Wiltshire - (2014-12-06)
  [4354] Wiltshire Police - assuming someone is guilty just on the say-so of a member of the public? - (2014-12-16)
  [4476] Upcoming election - Chippenham Constituency - the major candidates compared - (2015-04-29)
  [4485] Misusing statistics? - the seedy side of election campaigning - (2015-05-04)
  [4489] Election results - what if we had a party list system? - (2015-05-08)
  [4548] Melksham - two small townships, or one big one? - (2015-10-22)
  [4597] Not standing as your local councillor - (2015-12-18)
  [4614] PC Plod - alive and scaremongering in Wiltshire? - (2016-01-04)
  [4625] Where does Wiltshire bus subsidy money come from? - (2016-01-19)
  [4720] Celebrating our diversity rather than discriminating for it - (2016-11-02)
  [4725] Writing Python 2 such that Python 3 is easy - (2016-11-06)
  [4729] The oldest part of Los Angeles - (2016-11-23)
  [4734] Thoughts on the new Blackmore Ward of Melksham Without Parish - (2017-02-22)
  [4735] Revisiting - should I stand for Melksham Without Parish Council in May? - (2017-02-24)


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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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