I don't advocate vandalism!

I agree with the many critics of the call for wanton acts of vandalism by Councillor Martin Eager (Ledbury Reporter, March 14).

It was very unwise and exactly the wrong message to send out to impressionable youngsters.

It is also an injustice to give youngsters the wrong message by misinterpretation or misunderstanding of words and phrases.

It seems very sad to me that my words, which were accurately reported, have been so misunderstood by some.

I reproduce a dictionary definition for civil disobedience below:

“The refusal to obey certain laws or governmental demands for the purpose of influencing legislation or government policy, characterised by the employment of such non-violent techniques as boycotting, picketing, and non-payment of taxes.”

I would not dream of comparing myself with Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi and others like him. However, I am content to follow their example in response to what I perceive as unreasonable government.

Gandhi proclaimed a campaign of civil disobedience in protest at a tax on salt, leading thousands on a 'march to the sea' to symbolically make their own salt from seawater.

I doubt there are many now who would regard Gandhi as sending out the wrong message to young people.

It did, after all, lead to independence for India from the colonial power.

As I clearly stated, I was not asking anyone to break the law or to refuse paying a tax. I did ask people to consider refusing a “governmental demand” by not submitting to unreasonable and harmful increases in the scope of car park charges.

I asked residents to consider avoiding the increase by parking legally on the street. I believe these comments are appropriate.

It has been a sad week that saw the death of Tony Benn. While I would not subscribe to all his views, the man was one of the foremost supporters of representative democracy in Britain.

He was forever warning against the dangers of over centralisation of power in government and the failure of Parliament to respond to the needs of voters.

He believed that Parliament only listened when the people spoke loud enough.

I feel sure he would have supported Ledbury residents if they chose to express their displeasure by direct and legitimate action designed to send a message to Herefordshire Council.

Clive Jupp

Ledbury town councillor

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