THERE’S a tremendous luxury about being retired.
It’s that sense of freedom. I love it.
I don’t mean the freedom to jaunt off on a world cruise (assuming you can afford it). Even if we were allowed, with things the way they are pandemic-wise.
I mean the freedom to say what you really think and to pursue what you believe in without being beholden to anybody and without having to keep one eye on your future prospects.
And that's what our former MP Robert Key is doing with great gusto, by issuing a series of well-informed and hard-hitting videos online that ought to be required viewing for every student old enough to understand.
Because this lifelong Conservative really nails what’s wrong with our current unitary and parish system, via subjects ranging from housing, roads, cycle lanes, traffic regulation, the vexed issue of the Salisbury bypass … all of which boil down in essence to this: a load of stuff that’s being done to us and decisions being made for us without our consent.
It’s insulting and absurd, as Robert says, that our city has been demoted to parish status, and it’s had a disastrous effect in terms of local democracy, with so many people now so disillusioned they can’t be bothered to vote.
I’m talking about intelligent people I’ve met on my walks round Harnham. They’ve just given up. “It doesn’t make any difference what we think” is what they say.
It's shown, too, by the fact that none of the Big Three parties has been able to muster a full slate of candidates for every ward in the May elections. Traditional party supporters have had their arms twisted (metaphorically) but have declined to stand for office. Yet the party leaders show no sign of recognising why this might be.
What people like, as Robert points out, is to feel that they have a say in their local community and are listened to. But it ain’t happening because Trowbridge is too remote.
Unitary government for Wiltshire is a failed experiment, and he sees no reason why it can't be changed.
To find out more and follow the unfolding series of interviews, go to the SOS – Save Our Salisbury group on Facebook.