Nik Butler: Next time expect more, demand more and question more

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By the time this article is published we will have no more days with which to rally the local consciousness to the issues surrounding Horshams democracy and local planning agenda.

Looking back at my own written thoughts on the topic of North Horsham Development, and the subsequent implosion of the local Conservative group, it’s obvious that ‘There is none so deaf as those who will not hear; none so blind as will not see.’

What began in disbelief and outrage has revealed itself as a Machiavellian twist on loyalties; with an expectation to influence the hearts and minds of people in authority.

If the council were a private business, with a recognised CEO or Chairman then I am sure that this level of public outrage, of public outcry, would have caused those board members to ‘reconsider their futures’ and resign; before they were the cause of any further damage.

Unfortunately, or possibly not, local government is not like a private company, there is no www.uswitch.gov from which Horsham residents can change their local government provider to improve service whilst reducing their rates.

Instead we rely on open platforms of speech, soap boxes, Facebook and local press all of which we should expect to act, not as propaganda, but as pressure. To remind the elected and the civic official that the role of a servant is to serve not serve notice.

Accusations that Free Speech Charters are nothing more than paper-selling exercises leave me wondering at the chutzpah which suggests we should be shocked that at least one group are focussing on their responsibilities.

So it is we come to the final hours of this initial consultation, a term I still type with a wry sense of disappointment, and I think no other vote in the last few years will have gone down with such attention paid to it.

However this marks not the end of the protest but the foundations of both local awareness and greater demands for representation, not in private party meetings, at the ballot box.

No matter the outcome of the vote in the council chamber the unexpected consequence of shining a light into one party’s operational aspects has the community expecting to ask better questions of their candidates. My hope is that by this time next year Horsham will expect more, demand more, and question more, of their candidates.