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VFW - Vote for Warminster Day is start of a new era

(October 25, 2011)
WHEN Warminster voters get the chance to vote for a new town councillor for the first time in over four years much more will be at stake than just their democratic choice in a town that sees the long established Dewey House membership increasingly at odds with their residents and could usher in the path to a new era.
VfW day - 'Vote for Warminster' day - on Thursday November 24th - comes in the aftermath of expensive municipal mistakes which include widening of the pavements (and damage to local trade), the rejection of the parish poll vote on the Assembly Hall mega-loan, the failure to turn up at the steps of the Town Hall their cheque book, the car parking charges fiasco (and damage to local trade), and the month after month delay in the calling of this by-election.
A combination of factors may create the opportunity for residents and traders to embark on a new path by taking a big interest in what at first appears to be a minor local government event - a town council by-election - that will either still leave 10 of the ruling party feeling they are in charge or accept a wake-up call they have been sent.
The message the result could send is the key to the next two years. The strong independent streak that has manifested itself through the quick nomination by three relatively apolitical residents amongst the growing number of townsfolk who back their candidate Paul Macdonald are taking on a political machine but if they win through with their new found enthusiasm going back just a few years will be a shock to the system.
That candidate Paul Macdonald (along with Steve Dancey) ushered in a new vision for the way forward by challenging and scrutinising the ideology of those charged with representing the community in the council chambers since 2007 which they began just before the worst economic crisis this century and the worst decision making by councillors is a bonus.
It clearly shows that this is not political opportunism as anyone who reads their website chapter 'The vision Document' shows a positive set of ideas.
The approach adopted by Paul and others like him came from listening to local ideas before any of the flawed and damaging decisions were taken and leading to a clearly established schism being revealed almost daily between the wishes of the public and their elected representatives.
Indeed, the hundreds who used their democratic right to protest at the parish poll are almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg, and illustrate the gulf between the sort of councillor the town needs and what it could be argued it has.
It is now a challenge to chose between those councillors (and their candidate) who think they are elected solely as a paper exercise to then sit and take decisions on behalf of their electors or councillors who believe they are given that right to sit in the council chamber so that they can consult their community and then represent their views not just their own.

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