Letter from the Sidmouth Herald
supporting the Festival and critical of Town Councillors.
Festival brings town recognition
Some Sidmouth Town Councillors really ought to
learn to moderate their language when reacting in public to ideas and opinions which they
do not like. Last May we had the reference to the residences of older people as
"ghettos". Now we have Councillor Reed's dismissal (last week's Herald) of
Stephen Wozniak as "the learned doctor" and "the master gardener".
Councillors who dismiss differing ideas as "rantings" set themselves up for
further criticism. How sure are they that 'there is no local support for this point of
view?" Have they asked anyone outside their own charmed circle? This is another
example of unilateral decision-making like the refusal of a farmers' market for the town.
If putting up financial support for a Sidmouth Festival is "risking public
money" portraying " a naive ignorance", where are the audited accounts
showing the profits accruing from participation in Britain in Bloom or production of the
Town Guide? The late finding of £5000 for folk-week is jumping on a bandwagon. It could
have been offered much earlier, conditional on a folk-week actually happening, so as to
reduce the "risk to public money", thus showing commitment and encouragement
when it was most needed.
To dismiss the festival as "an event that only involves one week of the year"
betrays a sorry lack of vision. The name of Sidmouth is recognised in many parts of the
world because of its festival and attracts year-round visitors as a result. More people
have heard of us through that link than have ever read the town guide or seen that we have
occasionally won Britain in Bloom!
Elections are imminent - perhaps more judicious language and more open minds are called
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