Campaign hasn't put to sea, in my estimation

Friday, January 24, 2014


LETTERS From Siobhan Gailey, Cowes:

LIKE a poor political manifesto, the Better Ferry Campaign is full of alluring promises but without the detailed information an issue of such importance deserves.

It is the ongoing failure of those behind the campaign to offer us, the community, a glimpse into their vision that makes me so wary of the gift they purport to be bearing.

Last week’s front page article was the third opportunity that campaign mouthpiece Patrick Seely has had — and wasted — in the County Press, to explain what exactly his Community Interest Company is all about.

Among questions he chooses to sidestep is whether he has any indication Wightlink is indeed for sale, how much he can raise to complete a takeover, what would be the source of this money (presumably it is borrowed from a financial institution and so will, like Wightlink’s debt, need to be repaid?) and how, if he is successful, he plans to offer more sailings and cheaper fares.

He could also answer why the financial institutions to which the current owners are beholden would simply write off debt, as his plan seems to require, and — if they were prepared to take that unlikely course — why Wightlink’s existing owners couldn’t simply do the same?

These fundamental questions remain while the campaign material so far includes a frankly baffling and counter-productive video, in which the great and good of the Island line up to tell us what a difficult and expensive place the Island is to visit.

The ringing endorsement by the MP strikes another discordant note. With an election looming it would be easy to think his input is as much about the ballot box as it is about the future of Solent travel.

With the failure to address the real questions, coupled with this unsettling political element and negative tactics, I am afraid the Better Ferry Campaign will remain in dry dock as far as this resident is concerned.

• More letters about the Better Ferry Campaign in the Friday, January 24, County Press.

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