Nik Butler: Time for resolutions on both sides of debate

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Welcome to the New Year. Please ensure to wipe your feet on the doormat of public opinion as you enter.

From all that we experienced in the previous year it seems clear to me that 2014 will be a time in which the public are encouraged to sit down and be quiet; to stop rocking the boat with questions or commentary.

As I listened to the recording of the recent Horsham District Council meeting and I read the comments afterwards I found myself unsurprised by the opinions delivered. Moreover I was disappointed in how aloof the council are perceived to be by the public that they serve.

So, in a time when resolutions are made for improving waistlines and for removing bad habits maybe it is time for new resolutions to be made on both sides. With elections of national and local issues scheduled for 2015 there is a little under 18 months with which to encourage each other to pay more attention to process and policy.

Otherwise we will have to surrender our rights and freedoms to corporate lobbying and narrow personal interests. Conversely our elected members who are adamant in requiring respect for the roles they occupy should do more to earn, rather than request, that respect.

Whilst the district faces another year of prospective non increase in council taxes we face the reality that a decade of self invested, and otherwise apathetic, voting has robbed Horsham District and West Sussex County Council of any opportunity to resurrect their finances from short term electoral promises.

Will they be as brave to suggest that they can continue to run council services on such promises in the future? I rather doubt it. Still, maybe they can distract every resident with discussion over new retail investments and cineplexes.

Both items of which I feel are moves designed to take focus away from issues as yet unrevealed. 2014 is the year to increase our investment in the only areas not under governmental legislation, our time and our passions.

As foreign investment seeking oil and land begins to seep into our communities it may be time to poke at those who feel politics and democracy is of no import to their lives. We should invest time in each other so that we can resolve to change how we respect, and are represented by, those who seek to stand in the 2015 elections.