Dull but vi­tal – make sure you vote

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

As elec­tion frenzy takes hold of the po­lit­i­cal classes, what about the rest of us? Mere mor­tals that we are, do we join in, or just let them get on with it? I have spo­ken to a num­ber of peo­ple around the town and, as you might ex­pect, I found a pro­found lack of in­ter­est in the whole busi­ness.

“What­ever we do, whomever we vote for, the re­sult will be the same. The whole sys­tem is geared to make the rich richer and the poor poorer,” said one man. “So I’ll not vote. I’ll just let them get on with it. I’m re­ally not in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics.”

This kind of de­featism, or ap­a­thy, call it what you will, is the thing that will in­evitably make mat­ters worse. It re­ally is im­por­tant that we all cast our votes, in both the gen­eral and lo­cal elec­tions. But to other mat­ters. I found my­self in pos­ses­sion of the Ten­ter­den edi­tion of the KE last Thurs­day. To my sur­prise, what I have al­ways thought of as a thriv­ing lit­tle town with dozens of in­de­pen­dent traders do­ing good busi­ness is now ex­actly the op­po­site. The front page has pic­tures of some 17 shops that have been forced out of busi­ness and now stand empty.

Ten­ter­den coun­cil­lors are blam­ing in­creas­ingly heavy park­ing charges, which have been im­posed by Ash­ford coun­cil. Rate in­creases have put ex­tra pres­sure on small busi­nesses, but it seems that Ten­ter­den Town Coun­cil has re­duced the bill to res­i­dents.

One coun­cil­lor, Sue Fer­gu­son, said that they need “to draw on Ash­ford’s knowl­edge”. As far as this goes, I don’t think that many Ash­ford res­i­dents would see this as be­ing of ben­e­fit to Ten­ter­den, given the par­lous state of our own town cen­tre, re­plete as it is with hair­dressers, es­tate agents, phone and char­ity shops.

Steve Sal­ter, au­thor of a num­ber of nos­tal­gia-in­duc­ing books about Ash­ford and colum­nist in the KE with his ‘Re­mem­ber When’ page, seems to be hooked on the sub­ject of ex­tinct pubs.

Sev­eral peo­ple with whom I’ve dis­cussed this go blearyeyed and sen­ti­men­tal – some even seem­ingly an­gry.

The sim­ple fact is that pubs, like ev­ery other busi­ness, rely on cus­tomers buy­ing their wares and, th­ese days, there would be sim­ply not enough cus­tomers to go round.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.