People have a right to be heard

I refer to your recent article ‘Up to 100 refugees could come to town’.

This is clearly an emotive subject, but while I personally respect the right of people to hold views different from my own, it appears that Mr Chowney does not.

It is a common trait in contemporary politicians that they appear to believe that everyone thinks, or should think, as they do, and that anything else is ‘abhorrent’.

Is he accusing others of being racist because they have different views?

Does he not consider, as do others, whether the chaotic, inconsistent and disjointed approach taken thus far by the European Union, which has lead up to this, is helping the situation or actually making it worse?

Does he not ask why other non European countries, who in many respects are in a better position to absorb these refugees are not offering to do so?

He is right to say he ‘cannot understand.....’, since he clearly cannot, as with others at local and national level, who appear more concerned with pursuing their own agendas than reflecting the views of those they purport to represent, whether or not they agree with them.

It is small wonder that there is a growing gap between the general population and their political ‘representatives’, who are unable to grasp that it causes increasing questioning, concern, and indeed resentment at being told on the one hand that they have to put up with ever more cuts and diminution of services across the spectrum, including health and education, but that suddenly there is no problem or shortage of funds when it comes to certain projects, be it the link road or providing for refugees.

Hastings is one of the least prosperous areas in the county, yet the council is offering to re-home half of the county’s entire allocation.

Rather than petitions after the event, I would have been more impressed if HBC had bothered to canvas the views of their constituents before volunteering, since that is the nature of the democratic system, is it not.

People have a right to be consulted and have a say in such decisions, since it is them, rather than the politicians themselves, who are most directly affected.

I appreciate that this is part of a government initiative, but while it is not entirely clear from the article, it seems likely that most if not all of the funds will have to be found from local resources.

If so, HBC, together with other local authorities, should be pressing government to fund its own programme, perhaps by means of a levy on the super rich – now that might be a suitable subject for a petition!

C Simmons

Gillsmans Park

St Leonards

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