Let's move the debate along

PUBLISHED: 16:02 29 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:07 10 June 2010

Listening to the silent majority: more strange letters in the Journal. Can t we just as Tony Blair always says move on? M Paterson quotes Amanda Rivers, who said in her letter the week before that Thousands are against Asda and replies: I would

Listening to the silent majority: more strange letters in the Journal. Can't we just - as Tony Blair always says - move on? M Paterson quotes Amanda Rivers, who said in her letter the week before that "Thousands are against Asda" and replies: "I would suggest that just possibly her findings are distorted by those who are the silent majority."We can agree that her findings are being distorted. But I know that's not what you meant. What you meant is that the so-called silent majority who did not vote against the Asda may well be for it. What you meant is the people who did not vote against a supermarket in two consultations may be pro-Asda.If, as you say, you have been reading the letters in the Journal "for many months now", you will remember one some weeks ago which patiently attempted to explain that, if the council wish to have recourse to the silent majority in order to justify their completely ignoring the petition and the Unlocking Exmouth consultations, they had better think again, since the number of people who voted against a supermarket on The Exe was far in excess of the number of people in Exmouth who voted in a Conservative council, or the number of people there who voted for the EDDC.Therefore, if the council tell us they represent the silent majority, we might equally tell them the same thing and refuse to recognise their authority. The same is also true nationally. The proportion of people in Exmouth who voted against a supermarket on The Exe was far in excess of the proportion of people in this country who voted the Labour party into power. Shall we then do what we like, telling the Labour party that we 'represent the silent majority'?The same is true in America. Perhaps M Paterson should get on the phone to Obama and let him know he did not win the election after all because 'the silent majority' did not vote for him.Here's the deal, M Paterson, can we put this to bed once and for all because I am getting tired of explaining this stuff over and over again - the silent majority cannot be heard. This is, as we might have guessed, because they are silent. Anyone who claims to hear people who are silent is a fraud. I hope this is clear.People who vote and participate, people who speak, they are the ones who determine our collective destiny. It must be so, because only by registering your opinion can your opinion be known. It has always been that way and always will be. This is what we call democracy.So let's have no more of these disingenuous appeals to the silent majority. Let's try and grasp some basic concepts. Let's move this debate along. Mike Fairclough,(via email)W

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