The nature of informed, civil debate is in its death throes, it is a sad reflection of the times that people do not care enough to engage in important matters of the day, but rant about insignificant gripes or other people.
In recent weeks the Gazette has featured letters about important topics such as litter and waste, traffic management, bullying, Independence and education, but in the main part, these topics are either ignored, generate mystifying replies with confused, aimless points, or display a tendency to have a pop at the letter writer for daring to have an opinion, rather than
in engaging in enlightening debate.
A worse disease normally occurs when letters are printed online, yes there are usually comments, but few engage in the topic properly and many resort to personal insults or go completely off topic altogether!
The lack of debate and civil, clear communication is not only demonstrated by the public in general but also within our public bodies who seem unable to explain clearly or engage well with their communities.
Locally we have a Council who love to ‘engage’ in public consultations but then go on to barely communicate what meetings will be about, or do so only using hard-going jargon, creating such confusion that it deters questions, stifles debate and the creation of ideas, making a mockery of the intended ‘engagement’.
I wonder what ideas generated by the public, if any, will be used by the council from its latest round of engagement meetings during November in regards to the redesign of its services and the £10m in savings (aka cuts) that they need to make (Gazette, Nov 8th).
And don’t even get me started on the Stornoway Trust, a democratically elected body that pays little heed to explaining their motives, business or aspirations to the community they supposedly serve.