Shouting from both sides and confusion all round
Ioriginally thought I’d leave the referendum without comment this week but I find it’s impossible to do so. Everybody seems to want to know what everyone else thinks about it. The standard cliche is that ‘It’s all over bar the shouting’. In this case, it has been quite clear that the shouting went on first – and what a lot of shouting there was. There was so much of it from both sides that the result for many was total confusion. I was speaking to a senior school teacher at the weekend. She told me that many of her younger colleagues had been so confused by the claims, counterclaims, promises and threats issuing from spokespersons on both sides of the argument that they had decided not to vote. What an appalling situation! We like to think that our teachers are among the more intelligent members of the community. It’s pretty sad then, isn’t it, that some of them were among the 23 percent – almost a quarter – of the local population who didn’t vote. I see that Ashford has joined the Business in the Community’s Healthy High Street Programme. No one would disagree with the idea that our High Street is in need of help and the scheme has apparently driven some other towns to make considerable progress. I sincerely hope that Ashford will benefit – our town centre has been in decline for years. Let’s hope that the decline has reached its nadir and that better things are to come. Sadly, I can’t totally silence the cynical voice in my ear that says the Portas Pilot Scheme was supposed to be the magic bullet which would transform our town centre into, if not quite a garden of earthly delight, then at least a dynamic and thriving centre of commerce. There was talk of an emerging ‘cafe culture’ (I don’t think anyone was quite sure what exactly that would turn out to be) but I’m sure it suggested rather more than a few tables and chairs outside eateries in pedestrianised areas of the town centre. It will be interesting to see how the Stag coffee shop in the High Street and the new tea shop opening in Park Mall will get on. I was sad to see that the little one which opened in Bank Street opposite Debenhams had such a short life.
‘Let’s hope that the decline has reached its nadir and that better things are to come’