Council improving our lot? Dream on!
Have you ever had the feeling that you are living in a dream? More to the point, have you ever had the feeling that you are living in someone else’s dream? Like it or not, you are. We all are, from the Cameron dream of a land where the rich are comfortable and the poor, disposable (‘Let them eat cake’… they can get it from the food bank) to Cllr Gerry Clarkson’s secret dream – I suspect – of an eventual ‘City Ashford’.
In the seventies, there was a book popular among the superficially thinking classes called The Games People Play. It was a work of psychology-made-easy for the common man and in it was a section headed, if I remember correctly, Let’s All Have My Idea Of A Good Time.
This is the game that all people in authority like to play. In the family it starts with “Daddy (or in some families, Nanny) knows best”. In the wider world it is the bankers and politicians who lay out the rules for the rest to abide by.
We can see the game being played here in Ashford. There are two main teams; on the one side are the ‘expansionists’ on the other are the ‘traditionalists’.
One battleground, where the expansionists appear to have carried the day was the Chilmington Green housing estate scheme.
Another has been the solar power proposal, where the Nimbys (under the guise of traditionalists) held sway.
Stuck somewhere in the middle, though leaning toward the traditionalist camp are the Town Centre Team headed by Cllr Galpin and Ms. Jo Wynn-Carter. Graham Galpin is reported as saying that without more people living in the town centre, we are in danger of becoming a doughnut town with a hole in the middle.
In this I believe him to be absolutely right. A number of people (including me) wrote to the Kentish Express declaring this to be the case around the time of the construction of the Designer Outlet.
But to return to Cllr Clarkson’s immediate dream – of a maybe Morrisons, a could-be cinema and a hoped-for college; these are all, I’m certain, dreams which all who live actually within the town of Ashford will wholeheartedly share.
These are the things which could truly do that which the council used to declare as its primary aim; ‘…to improve the lives of all Ashford citizens’.