Somewhere in Hampshire, an anonymous parish council decided to leave the naming of a new Hyde Group development to local primary school children. As the scheme was situated by a field of large, vocal cows the class of children, engaging in laudable democracy and with an irrefutable logic, settled on naming the development ‘Mooey Fields’.
In a display of udder contempt, the parish councillors mooved to reject the suggestion and reassigned the naming of the scheme to a more adult committee.
Personally, I don’t see a problem with the name ‘Mooey Fields’. It’s not offensive or even that silly – in regaling the story, a work colleague didn’t even make a connection to cows until the pun was pointed out. Further, it takes into account the local area, which is something the children didn’t have to do – the name certainly makes more sense than, say, The Spiderman Scheme.
What I do have a problem with is local councillors empowering young people to make a decision – a decision that, let’s face it, is really not that important (what’s in a name?) – and then reneging the agreement because, basically, they didn’t like the result.
Is it any wonder that turnout at elections is so low? Are we surprised that young people do not wish to engage in politics when those rare opportunities they do have are vetoed? What message are those parish councillors sending about local and political engagement?
Is anyone really breathing a sigh of relief that parish councillors intervened to stop the development being called ‘Mooey Fields’?
These children deserve a pat on the back for engaging with their local community. The anonymous parish councillors deserve a different kind of pat altogether…and I won’t say where.
Closed Circuit: Risky Strategy (Friday 6th June 2014), Inside Housing, Online: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/closed-circuit/6505356.bloglead, Available: June 2014
Art (ahem…) copyright of Neil Jackson, 13/06/2014.