Progressive Alliance 

NOW is the time for a Progressive Alliance in Salisbury!

The combined progressive vote in four Wiltshire Council city wards in the recent election outnumbered the candidate who won. And while Salisbury City Council is more complicated, there is ample room for manoeuvre.

In St Martins and Cathedral the winning candidate received 817 votes for the unitary council while the progressive opposition won 1,127. In St Paul’s Lib Dems, Labour and Greens won a total of 805 votes compared with the winning candidate on 650. This has to stop!

Salisbury Compass is calling on the progressive people of Salisbury who were robbed of fair representation because of tribal politics to rise up and urge Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and all progressive independents to start WORKING TOGETHER to win greater representation on Wiltshire’s Southern Area Board and the city council.

If it’s already too late for the General Election, then we have four years to build a powerful alliance of progressives before the next local elections. As Compass chair Neal Lawson said at the launch of Salisbury Compass on March 2: “We need hope – and we can have hope. But it won’t be done to people, it will be done by people. The Progressive Alliance will build from the bottom up rather than the top down.”

It’s up to us – progressives in Salisbury and throughout the country to show the way.

Our political system is broken but Salisbury Compass has five ways to fix it: 1) A Progressive Alliance dedicated to introducing a fairer, more representative electoral system.

2) Fair taxation shifting the burden from income to wealth in a more progressive way.

3) End the practice of politics and business mingling in a revolving door of corruption.

4) Expose and end the conspiracy of silence that allows lobbyists to spend millions on influencing politicians and elections in favour of their vested interests.

5) Kick big money out of politics and have a properly funded party political system that prevents super donors from the City of London to the trade unions from hijacking our electoral system.

If you are interested in building a Progressive Alliance find contact details for the local group at or come along to our next meeting at The Yard café, Dews Road, Salisbury at 11am on June 10.

Dick Bellringer, Chair of Salisbury Compass

Charter vital

YOUR news of June Osborne’s prospective move to be the Bishop of Llandaff offers an occasion for Salisbury people to thank and congratulate her on her achievements as dean of our wonderful Cathedral.

So much has been accomplished from the ambitious restoration of the ancient fabric to the creation of an award-winning team of committed volunteers, giving their time as guides, education assistants, stewards and other supporters. Alongside this, the fine musical and liturgical traditions of Sarum have been cherished, developed and widely enjoyed.

Two years ago the Cathedral celebrated the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, and Salisbury’s copy of the Runnymede Charter enjoyed an exhibition in the Chapter House.

This year is the 800th anniversary of the ‘Big Charter’s’ briefer brother. Under the young King, Henry III, the original Charter was divided into the greater Charter of Liberties and the smaller Forest Charter.

At first it was the shorter Charter that attracted most attention. It defended in very practical terms the rights of free men living on the Royal hunting grounds to sustain their families and animals on the natural resources of the King’s land.

This was about ordinary people’s entitlement to a livelihood. These basic rights were later eroded by ‘enclosures’ and ‘clearances’, and the systematic exploitation of the poor by the rich.

We live now in a society where health and social care are under growing pressure and benefits are being reduced in the name of ‘austerity’.

Is it too much to hope that our copy of the Charter of Liberties could – with the unanimous support of local churches and community leaders across parties – become the living focus for renewed mutual support and the assertion of common rights? The Trussell Trust has shown the way. But there is still so much more to be done.

John Potter, Salisbury

Break for me

MANY people over the years, including in these pages, have said that parish councils are better off without political parties, so it is disappointing that Independents and small parties will no longer form part of Salisbury City Council, swept aside by the national enthusiasm for those with blue badges.

After a 10-year absence the majority of voters who did not back a Conservative, and the greater number who did not vote at all, will be wondering what a Conservative controlled local council will be like.

If the new Conservative members are like the returning ones, they may be surprised. Unlike the national party the old Salisbury Group were “tax and spenders” favouring an expanding and active council delivering services for a better, busier, cleaner city – and raising the taxes needed to pay for that – albeit after an election, not at the first point of need. So there is a good chance that the strong and improving City Council built by all over the last eight years may take the opportunities offered by the recent asset and service transfers from Wiltshire Council and take the city’s local services to the next level.

Having spent 10 years doing so myself, I hope that they do. In the same way that the people living there make a house a home a good council can help make a city a community, for the benefit of all who live and work here.

Whatever happens I would like to thank all those who voted for and supported me over the years, proving that Independents can make a difference and I wish the staff and members of my old council well in their future work. I will be enjoying the break.

Andrew Roberts, Former Leader, Salisbury City Council

Divide us up

IT seems yet another planning failure is presented that does not make sense when they give permission to destroy ancient woodland with rare species and damage to the habitat.

Of course the manufacturer who wants the sand is happy. He is the one that will gain a profit from it all. You cannot just put back all what nature has done in a thousand years.

We have a big problems going through to south Wiltshire of late, all coming out of Trowbridge that are so far away. One would ask: are there any local people sitting on the committee that know the area? One that can speak and truthfully say ‘I visited this site’ and have knowledge of it! The feelings of the local community are concerned!?

I believe we need a Brexit from Trowbridge together with a two part county, north and south divide. We know that down here, we do not get the advantages of the north.

That is evident to see by all who live here. Is it Trowbridge we have to thank for the explosion of planning here in the south. That is the largest expansion Salisbury has had in decades and with no real infrastructure to service the population! Our hospitals and medical service will have large demands on them when our troops and families get back together with many other services that at present fall short. Getting into and through Salisbury is difficult enough for the Ambulance, Police and Fire services not to mention just getting to work and back.

We need our representatives who serve at County to support a motion to bring this about. You will serve your constituents better when this happens.

John Wigglesworth, Durrington

News is good

WHY does the Journal always prefer to lead with bad news when there is an opportunity for some extraordinarily good news to be publicised for the city to celebrate?

Whilst the Dean of Salisbury Cathedral’s elevation to become the Bishop of Llandaff was relegated to page seven of last week’s edition, the front page reported on the inquest into the death of a 21 year-old man whose drink and drug fuelled night out had led to him straying on to a railway track leading to his being killed by a train.

I guess the answer to my question has something to do with the unimportance of the Church in today’s society alongside so many other distractions which, perhaps, played some part in the life of the man whose tragic death made the headlines.

Tim Hawkes, Pitton

Our next gig

THANK you so much for publishing the lovely letter from Mr Taylor about Salisbury City Band’s concert at St Thomas’. We really enjoy playing there, the acoustics are excellent. We raised £75 each for the Poppy Appeal and St Thomas’ Organ Appeal.

We shall next be playing in Salisbury on Saturday, May 13 in Old George Mall from 10am until 12.30pm with a break for the Mayor Making Procession which will be led by Shrewton Silver Band. We should like to recruit additional players for the band – particularly brass.

Wendy Oliver, Treasurer, Salisbury City Band of The Royal British Legion

Flimsy choice

AS one who normally tends to vote Conservative, I trust that the local party will have learnt a salutary lesson in their choice of a candidate for the Winterslow Division of Wiltshire Council.

Whatever their reasons for de-selecting Chris Devine, they showed no consideration for the residents of this division in their choosing a candidate living in Shrewton whose knowledge of the area was flimsy.

Thus to lose this seat which had one of the highest turnouts in the county at a time of such overall party success nationally, deserves some contemplation by the powers that be.

Brian Edgeley, Firsdown

I’m humbled

MAY I through the Journal offer a sincere thanks to all those hundreds of men and women in Winterslow, Firsdown, Farley, West Dean, Clarendon and Pitton who voted for my re-election to Wiltshire Council on May 4.

It is humbling to receive such a level of support across our area and I shall continue to concentrate on all those local issues that play such a large part in our daily lives, as well as ensuring we are represented robustly at Trowbridge, which many feel has grown remote and uncaring of late.

Cllr Chris Devine, Winterslow

We will work

I WOULD like to say thank you to everyone who supported me in the council elections. On the doorstep I met many residents who kindly took the time to share their views with me. I look forward to ensuring these messages get through.

I would also like to thank my former SCC councillors who didn’t stand or who were de-selected. We will ensure that the Conservative members are challenged on contentious issues, and held to account in the way opposition should.

Caroline Corbin, Bemerton Ward

Thanks to all

THANKYOU to all who voted for me at the election on May 4. Although unsuccessful this time, your support over many years has given me the privilege of representing you which was much appreciated and enjoyed. Also, my thanks to the many helpers who delivered my leaflets and helped in so many different ways. Please accept my sincere thanks.

Ian West, Till and Wylye Valley