Writing this on the train to Victoria this morning, I’m wondering if I will arrive in London on time. I’ve mentioned before that the train can prove to be a bit of a lottery but it’s still quicker and less stressful than the road, which even on a motorcycle, makes the journey a huge challenge once the Medway bridge has been crossed.
The train, having just stopped at some signals, not for long I hope, gives me an opportunity to gaze out at the country scenery adjacent to my window, where a huge muddy canvas marks yet another housing estate being built outside Faversham.
I discovered this morning that Westgate station will go ‘Part-time’ in two weeks. 08:00 to 11:00 opening I was told. That’s not good news in terms of an unsupervised space running parallel to the village for most of the day. In fact, the station is looking very shabby these days. The last coat of paint on the building must have been applied when I was still going to school in Broadstairs and it shows.
Cllr Goodwin and I are getting together tomorrow to have a stroll through Westgate and make a note of the issues that are most immediately visible. I’m a little concerned that the railway station, where many people will get their first impression of the village, looks as shabby as it does and I wonder if anything can be done or will the railway company simply leave it to slowly rot away alongside a score other similar small stations in Kent?
Last night, I attended a meeting of the Margate Charter Trustees in the Old Town Hall. I hadn’t realised the extent of the work done by the group in support of local charities and good causes and it demonstrates how much positive work goes on behind the scenes that many people, including me, weren’t aware of.
Finally, I wanted to point out a difference between what I can and can’t write now I’m an elected representative. It’s only natural that people in Westgate would like me to take a firm position on issues that are of concern to the community; over development being a good example. However, when I’m writing here, I have to be aware of new rules and regulations which mean that I have to be careful when it comes to any expression of a personal position on any matter which may find its way into the council chamber for a vote. Let’s say that I write that I’m against the development of new flats at the mythical Acacia Ave in Westgate. If Acacia Ave now comes up in council business then procedurally – my understanding anyway – I could find that my published position could rob my community of a vote, as I could be seen to have made my mind up in advance.
It all sounds convoluted and that is, I suppose, why we have a democracy. So please don’t try and draw me into making public statements of position on potentially controversial matters, as rather like a lawyer, my first priority is to serve the interests of my client community and personal expressions may run contrary to this.
This all reminds me of the trial of Thomas More: “The maxim is "Qui tacet consentiret": the maxim of the law is ‘Silence gives consent’. If therefore you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied. “
So as a councillor, rather than a ‘Blogger’ it may sometimes be expedient to remain quiet until such a time as speaking or writing can deliver the best result in the right public forum.