There’s no pleasing everyone
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)