23 Jul 2009

Daily Echo

Will of people must prevail.
THE issue of whether or not fluoride is added to tap water is of huge significance. It is about how we wish to order society. It is a fundamental test. Do we live in a democracy or have we given up on the idea?
I have always entertained the notion that important decisions should be made by those that we elect. If those who exercise power over us fail to deliver, we can get rid of them.
I had thought that a consultation was an exercise in finding out what people think. I didn't expect that the Strategic Health Authority (SNA) undertaking a consultation would ever expect to get away with promoting only one side of an argument.
Worse still, when it was clear that most people expressing an opinion were against the proposals, they decided to go ahead anyway. Now, they are busy telling us that their wishes will prevail, no matter what a future further ballot, opinion poll or referendum might say.
It seems that our government gave the SHA the power to determine this issue. The fact that only one of the 12 unelect-ed board members lives in the area to receive the fluoride makes a mockery of the assurance from Prime Minister Gordon Brown that local people will decide.
I am a member of a town council, a district council and Hampshire County Council. , On all three levels of government we debated the issue. I and other elected councillors, who represent thousands of people, decided that we should not support adding fluoride to tap water. The SHA have given no greater weighting to this than they would have to any individual making a view known.
Where detailed questions and concerns have been raised about the proposals, the SHA have often failed to address them.
The consultation process was flawed and will be challenged. The proposals themselves may in fact be illegal. The fact that the water companies have required an absolute indemnity from any legal claims arising from fluoride added to tap water, might just offer a clue about the significance of the risk.
You and I, the taxpayer, are picking up the bill for this sham of a consultation. You will also be paying for the fluoride to be added to tap water. You will in turn be picking up the bill for any legal costs and successful claims made by individuals demonstrating harm from fluoride in the tap water.
Can we tolerate this? Absolutely not! Join groups like Hampshire Against Fluoride, write to your MPs, send notice that you will .refuse to pay for tap water that has fluoride added to it. The will of the people must prevail.

No comments: