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A missed point

Thanks to Alan Wilson for his response (SA, April 12) to my earlier letter. I would politely point out that Alan has entirely missed point of my argument. The referendum of 2016 (which was legally advisory) did not give the government sufficient detail about the electorate’s wishes to actually implement the result.

To demonstrate this, I would ask Alan which particular Brexit he favours; May’s deal? WTO? Canada ++? Norway? Malthouse? The reason that there is such a confusing range of options is that the 2016 referendum asked a binary question about a complex, multifaceted issue.

The fact that we triggered article 50 and entered negotiations without deciding what we wanted to actually achieve has left us in chaos, weakened and embarrassed.

Shamefully, the 21 members of the cabinet have never actually agreed on a common goal, let alone parliament or the country as a whole.

Alan says “there appears to be an assumption by those campaigning for a second referendum that the outcome will be different.”

Obviously, the outcome will be different because the question will be different.

It will clarify how the electorate wants to proceed next, after three years of negotiation and discussion.

And if the electorate decides that remaining is now the best outcome, I hope these words from David Davis in 2012 lessen his frustration: “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

Neil Mercer

Maidstone Road


People not parties

What a pleasure to see your report (SA, April 15) of Stratton St Margaret’s Parish Council, trying again to get to grips with the traffic plans for the White Hart and the Great Stall Bridge.

One great virtue of this council is that they work together without political party labels. So, I have to wonder why candidates for the borough council have to be politically identified.

Many of them are the same people, so why are they improved by wearing rosettes?

I can understand that party labels help voters know what they are buying, but voting is more than just clicking on ‘like’, so just voting for a party is a form of laziness.

We should take time to know whom we are buying. Labels also help parties to market themselves and organise their members, but that is their advantage, not that of the electorate.

So, why parties at borough level? What have they done for traffic in Stratton?

One thing they have done is to delay the Great Stall scheme totally, because some party representatives affected want to protect their own wards.

And I am told that party unity is more important than exposing a nimby who is protecting his council seat. I have told the individual concerned, to his face, in public, that his attitude is unworthy and disgraceful.

And local canvassers tell me that party unity matters because if the ward flips, the town council could flip, and Swindon is of course a bellwether for Westminster elections.

So we should put up with poor planning for future traffic because it could bring down a party majority.

And what good has Westminster been able to do in the present crisis for us, who elected them, while they fight their party battles?

Some major reform of our party system is needed.

New Labour got it wrong when they decided that getting to Downing Street was more important than Clause 4, and the Tories thought the answer to UKIP was to risk our future with Europe.

And all their advisers with their computers and their backers with dubious funds are more important than all the voters leading their lives and expecting their elected politicians to serve them rather than their parties? I think not.

Vote we all must, but let us vote for the best person, not a party.

Andrew Martin, Lower Stratton

Pavement parkers

Parking on the pavement is not the only problem caused by transit vans.

They also park in the small laybys provided for visitor parking on the smaller estates.

They cause a nuisance by taking over the parking spaces overnight and at weekends and cause blind spots by also parking on bends and T junctions.

Wasn’t there a time when work vans were required to park overnight at a depot and the drivers had to travel to and from in their own transport?

Janet Cole, Haydon End, Swindon