Editor's Comment: October 2014
PUBLISHED: 11:04 22 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:14 22 September 2014
Mike Lowe, Editor of Cotswold Life, generously allows Cameron another month to respond to Katie Jarvis' letter, and refuses to yield to the pixel-pitchfork brandishing Twittermob.
The open letter Katie Jarvis wrote to David Cameron in our last issue outlining her despair over our ludicrous planning policies generated a huge response from readers – but not from the Prime Minister himself.
Now I have no problem with that. The bloke has been a bit busy after all, popping back and forth from his holidays to deal with a series of major crises. The threat of terrorism in Syria and Iraq, the systematic destruction of Gaza by Israel and the danger of a war in Ukraine are all more important issues than the provision of affordable housing in Frampton Mansell. So we’ll give him another month.
Coincidentally, that month will be a highly significant one for planning matters in the region. Stroud District councillors are expected to vote on plans for another superstore on the outskirts of the town while Eric Pickles is expected to rule on the fate of Gloucestershire County Council’s extraordinarily expensive proposed incinerator at Javelin Park. This is certainly one story that isn’t going to go away. The figures involved; the way the land was acquired, sold and bought back; and the detail of the contract with developers Urbaser Balfour Beatty, demand close public scrutiny. The local press will hopefully ensure that no stone is left unturned.
Believe it or not, we do not encourage Adam Edwards, our resident curmudgeon, to upset whole sections of society every month. He just seems to have the knack of doing so.
A couple of issues ago it was the Cornish who were up in arms when he belittled (rightly, in my view) their award of ‘special status’; this month it’s been the ever-growing brigades of cyclists who have taken umbrage at his opinionated column. I defend Adam at every turn – after all, I approve his words before they appear in the magazine – but I do get a little weary having to constantly point out that his views are his own and are not necessarily the views of the greater deity that is Cotswold Life. Or that freedom of speech doesn’t only exist unless you agree with what’s being said.
Even more tiresome are the complainants who form a Twittermob and arrive angrily at our gates bearing pitchforks and flaming pixels. It soon becomes clear that most of these people haven’t even read the article concerned, have never read or even seen the magazine and have no context in which to view the supposedly offending words. They don’t know that rather than dislike cyclists and cycling, we actively promote it. They don’t know that we gave over a double-page spread to Mark Cummings’s Tour de Gloucestershire in the last issue, or that we regularly publish recommended cycle routes in conjunction with the Cotswold Conservation Board.
Still, I suppose that it’s always good to get a reaction from readers, and a lively debate always makes for good reading.
And at that point, I note with some trepidation that the fox-hunting season is fast approaching...
This article by Mike Lowe is from the October 2014 issue of Cotswold Life.
For more from Mike, follow him on Twitter: @cotslifeeditor