HIRA provides Hustings when residents can hear and question Election candidates’ platforms, plus observe performances that cannot be disguised. Following the Elections there was lengthy Facebook discussion, a few arguing that it was pointless to vote.
This is a dangerous approach to take, leading to increasingly complacent Government at all levels. It also demonstrates failure to understand why generations lost their lives fighting for self-determination. Sadly, such attitudes are an easy way out, justifying disinterest in engaging with current affairs – locally or nationally. Arguably, there could be far more governmental information disseminated to the public. However, more of our public need to make the time to ‘engage’ with their elected representatives. Hustings provide this opportunity.
A few concerns arise. One is claims by some East Hayling voters that they received no Polling Card, which also serves as a timely Election reminder. Whilst these voters must take this up with the Council, an important issue is that it is well worth taking one’s Polling Card to vote, as it has the individual voter’s number on it. On May 3rd a voter heard their number called, followed by their ballot paper; then the voter noticed that the number called didn’t match their Polling Card number. When the voter questioned this, they were told that it was the checker’s error, and staff would try to resolve this discrepancy at the end. Without the Polling Card, the voter would not have double-checked with the Council staff and could have had their own vote disqualified.
On the theme of communication, residents were assured that early May waste collections would be as normal. Parts of Hayling had no such collection that week and it was only fortuitous that these bins, left out for almost another week, contained recycling rather than general waste.
Disappointingly it’s not only the public who don’t keep themselves well informed. Despite having been provided with the Aqua Dome’s detailed brochure and Wendy Coates’ contact details for clarification, a political candidate at the Hustings admitted that they knew nothing about the Project. In the May Islander, the Council’s Head of Planning, who also had not contacted Wendy, assigned the ideas to existing Leisure Complexes which are fundamentally different to the Aqua Dome’s multi-generational and socially inclusive proposals. Such attitudes, at any level, are disturbing because, like the indifferent voter, their failure to properly engage with this socially relevant concept effectively dismisses it.
Contact HIRA firstname.lastname@example.org or drop boxes: Hayling Community Centre, West Town, Mengham Library, Morris Dibben, Mengham, The Terracotta Pot and Gift Shop, Eastoke.
Diary Date: Wednesday June 20th URC 7:30 Chief Inspector Clare Jenkins