Nik Butler: Our district’s community united in protest

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You have to admire Horsham District Council for its unplanned ability to unite local communities in protest.

If it were not for the Bandstand in the Carfax I doubt there would be a better place from which to demonstrate public outrage which the council so easily evokes.

From Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre Joint User Group, to the Horsham District Indoor Bowls Club, through to HAODS; campaign groups are gathering. Actually I do not think HAODS were protesting. I think that was an excerpt from an upcoming production of Sweeney Todd. I guess scenes of cut throat politics in reaction to the self entitled is easily confused.

Various groups have assembled through protest, and communities have gathered under various banners against Incinerator installations, North Horsham Development housing plans or the lack of hospitals.

I can think of no other corporate body, than a council, which can face constant criticism of poor delivery and yet maintain a dominance in providing services. Does anyone else see the irony?

The Conservative ideal of encouraging free markets in order to provide a variety of retailers and service providers compared to arguing vehemently against the concept that you can choose your council candidates or your council.

We can swap our energy providers, our broadband delivery, or our cars, but try to swap out a faulty, or poorly communicating council for an improved service and you are instructed to wait until elections. At which time you are provided scare stories, or articles of blame, all designed to coach individuals into accepting that the poor service they recently experienced will be washed away in a baptism of ballots; to be born anew into a fresh council. All its past transgressions forgiven.

What impresses me is the level of apparent contempt which I see some councillors hold towards those protest groups. If the concept of gathering with a shared view, to discuss options and agree a direction to ensure that a cohesive message is shared with a community, is contemptible; these councillors must experience a level of self loathing.

There is no difference between how a political party operates or how a campaign group organises itself. Both groups appear to operate with the same principles. To gather and to communicate a shared conviction. The only difference is one has assembled with the purpose of maintaining organisational power and veto whilst the other is the voice of the community.