I AM 80 this year and have voted in every general and local election since I came of age. I have always, after due consideration, known beforehand who I would vote for and why.
However, for the first time in the forthcoming elections I am unable to find any good reason for voting for any candidate likely to stand.
The reason for my dilemma is simple.
The local councillors are being progressively rendered impotent, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives alike, by the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition in Parliament.
Central Government is dictating both small and far-reaching changes to our local community which Lib Dems and Conservatives in Horsham cannot change now or in the foreseeable future.
Therefore, voting for a candidate from either of these two parties will do nothing to alter the changes they are charged to make and support on the orders of their leaders in Westminster.
Further, the fact is that a vote for any candidate of a different political persuasion is a wasted vote.
Such a candidate would be in such a small minority on Horsham District Council that he or she would be rendered ineffective in representing alternative policies.
Take, for instance, the shameful cut in the Mobility Allowance from the elderly and disabled living in care homes around Horsham.
The district council has to make this cut to people for whom mobility is necessary to their independence because they have been directed to do so from their leaders in the coalition Government.
Other instances abound. The cutting of the Educational Maintenance Allowance to youngsters takes no account of those who live in rural areas who can neither walk or be driven to school.
They and their parents will be forced to pay daily return bus and train fares for lengthy journeys.
No one needs reminding what is happening to rail fares. Lib Dems and Conservatives say however that ‘local discretionary grants may be made’. There is no indication of where money will be found for councils or colleges to make such grants or what appeals mechanisms may be invoked for aggrieved students.
Consider also the local effects of imposing responsibility for budgeting on the doctors and nurses associated with our excellent practices in Horsham.
The Lib Dems and Conservatives are telling our doctors to take on something they should never be asked to do.
We do not elect doctors to spend taxpayers’ money. We elect politicians to do that. That is one very good reason why we trust our doctors, nurses and carers far more than we will every trust politicians for all their rhetoric.
Politicians may legitimately gamble with our money – one remembers investments in Icelandic banks for instance – but they should not be allowed to gamble with our health as Lib Dems and Conservatives seem prepared to do.
This, then is why I ask through the County Times whether there is a candidate for the coming local election who can give me one good reason why I should vote for him or her.
My one hope is that I may be spared the empty rhetoric of ‘Difficult decisions must be made’, ‘We are giving more power to the people’ or ‘We are all in this together’!
Wherever ‘it’ may be located we are not all, as I hope this letter makes clear, there yet.
Brighton Road, Horsham
I AM DELIGHTED to announce that CLIC Sargent raised over £55,000 in Sussex in 2010.
This will help us to continue to support and help the 90 families who heard last year that their child has cancer in the county.
A huge thank you to everyone in Sussex who worked so hard to raise such a fantastic amount.
For more information about our work or to request a fundraising pack please call me on 01273 897381.
Community fundraising manager, South East
Malling Street, Lewes
ON BEHALF of Horsham Lions Club I would like to thank your readers for a great response to our activities over the Christmas period.
We carried out very successful collections outside Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s, raffled food hampers in a number of local outlets, and took Santa round streets in Southwater with Christmas carols.
The money raised enabled us to supply a number of food parcels to needy local families to brighten up their Christmas, and will also help in our service activities over the coming weeks.
Horsham Lions Club
I WAS recently the lucky winner of a sushi-making class at Wabi in a competition run by the County Times.
I’m writing to thank you as myself and a friend had a wonderful time.
The class was led by Scott Hallsworth himself and was extremely interesting and enjoyable.
We were treated to a fascinating demonstration by Scott and his talented team of chefs and had the opportunity to make our own sushi under their tuition.
The results both looked and tasted delicious and it was fascinating to see the attention to detail and care taken by the staff with regard to ingredients and preparation.
It has given me new insight into Japanese cookery and I would recommend the experience to anyone! Thank you very much.
Bedford Road, Horsham