There’s no pleas­ing ev­ery­one

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS -

You can’t please ev­ery­body even some of the time, so why bother?

Why do lo­cal au­thor­i­ties try to gauge pub­lic feel­ing for projects (or to can­cel projects) when the com­mu­nity can’t come to­gether over a sin­gle is­sue?

But that is what is de­manded of coun­cils and gov­ern­ments these days — do what the peo­ple want!

Which peo­ple? The loud­est? The most? The in­flu­en­tial? The rich? The poor? The Right? The Left? The mid­dle?

Democ­racy is di­vi­sive, pit­ting opin­ions and loy­al­ties against each other to de­ter­mine who con­trols the na­tion for the next three years.

It’s ma­jor­ity rules — kind of — and to hell with what the rest of the coun­try wants.

It sure isn’t per­fect, but it’s the best we could come up with in a few cen­turies’ no­tice.

A re­cent Whanganui mayor tried to mea­sure pub­lic opin­ion with ref­er­enda on a num­ber of top­ics.

The­o­ret­i­cally, it was a way to en­sure that what­ever got done was in the best in­ter­ests of the both­ered-enough-to-vote com­mu­nity.

In a ref­er­en­dum, we want their gut feel­ing on is­sues they may or may not be qual­i­fied to com­ment. Peo­ple voted vis­cer­ally, tem­pers flared, opin­ions flew, vit­riol flowed and venom in­jected it­self into the veins of the vot­ing com­mu­nity. And it was all re­ally point­less be­cause each ref­er­en­dum was non-bind­ing and ig­nored any­way. A lot of peo­ple were dis­ap­pointed, still are.

Re­cently we were asked by Whanganui District Coun­cil to de­cide on a rub­bish col­lec­tion sys­tem.

Op­tion A: re­tain the sta­tus quo — where we pay too much for pri­vate rub­bish col­lec­tion and take re­cy­cling to the Re­source Re­cov­ery Cen­tre.

Op­tion B: rates-funded kerb­side re­cy­cling ser­vice and our ex­ist­ing ex­pen­sive pri­vate rub­bish col­lec­tion.

Op­tion C: rates-funded rub­bish and re­cy­cling. None will suit ev­ery­body. That’s the way democ­racy works. The ref­er­en­dum closed on Novem­ber 9 but de­bate via news and so­cial me­dia is on­go­ing.

Ev­ery­one looks at it from their own per­spec­tive. How will it ben­e­fit/af­fect me and my fam­ily? Will it cost me more or less? Which of the op­tions will be to my per­sonal ad­van­tage / dis­ad­van­tage? Com­ments abound and each is valid, but to try and get any­one to view it in a col­lec­tive way is fu­tile.

Scot­land had a ma­jor ref­er­en­dum a few years ago and the re­sults were bind­ing. Over­all, the Scots seem pretty happy with the out­come and those who op­posed it are (mostly) get­ting over it and mov­ing on. Bri­tain had a ref­er­en­dum re­cently — Brexit — but the re­sults were the most di­vi­sive thing to hit the UK since Oliver Cromwell.

At least the Round­heads and Cava­liers sorted things out af­ter a few years of skir­mishes but Brexit looks like drag­ging on for a long time. Those who voted in favour (and won) ap­par­ently weren’t re­ally want­ing Bri­tain to with­draw from the Euro­pean “Union”, they were just hav­ing a bit of a lark with the vot­ing pa­per, they would have us be­lieve. That’s enough for those against Brexit to call for an­other vote in the hope the de­ci­sion is re­versed.

That won’t hap­pen so Gov­ern­ment is try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate the best deal for Bri­tain af­ter with­drawal.

What­ever hap­pens, the rift be­tween the for and agin will re­main and pos­si­bly widen in the years ahead.

Democ­racy is a dou­bleedged sword.

When one side wins, the other loses, be­cause life isn’t fair and never has been.

We elect Gov­ern­ments and coun­cils to make de­ci­sions on our be­half: per­haps we should leave them to it.

The Run­way Mile is be­ing held this Sun­day at Whanganui Air­port.

This ex­tra in­for­ma­tion could be help­ful for peo­ple want­ing to com­pete.

Run the Run­way Mile: ■ The skate­board race for Pri­mary and In­ter­me­di­ate-age par­tic­i­pants is not re­stricted to skate­boards. Scoot­ers are ac­cept­able.

■ Late en­tries will be ac­cepted up un­til 15 min­utes be­fore the sched­uled start of each race. No late en­try fee will be payable.

■ Spot prizes have been do­nated by a num­ber of firms and or­gan­i­sa­tions:

■ Skate­board / Scooter Race

Air Chathams (re­turn flight to Auck­land), San­i­tar­ium (prod­uct vouch­ers), MARS Pet­care (con­fec­tionery packs), Mitre 10 MEGA (gift vouch­ers), Wil­son Hunt­ing (cam­ou­flage pack), Stir­ling Sports (gift voucher), Em­bassy 3 Cin­ema (dou­ble passes).

■ Sec­ondary School Stu­dent Mile

Air Chathams (two re­turn flights to Auck­land), San­i­tar­ium (prod­uct vouch­ers), MARS Pet­care (con­fec­tionery pack), Wan­ganui Aero Club (in­tro­duc­tory flights), Mitre10 MEGA (cof­fee vouch­ers), Em­bassy 3 Cin­ema (dou­ble pass) and Air­ways NZ.

■ Adult Mile

Air Chathams (two re­turn flights to Auck­land), Wan­ganui Aero Club (in­tro­duc­tory flight), Har­vey Nor­man (mi­crowave, Breville chop­ping boards, cof­fee maker), Mitre10 MEGA (cof­fee vouch­ers), Whanganui Toy­ota (WoFs), Pak’nSave (char­coal barbecues), Em­bassy 3 Cin­ema (dou­ble pass) and Air­ways NZ (shirts and bags)

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