Letters 10.11.18

Vote first, worry later
I WAS mentioned in Voice Letters on November 3 (“We live in a deMOCKracy”), so here is my return of serve.
I may initially have misunderstood Mr Westwood; I thought he may have suggested that a democracy must enshrine certain political and cultural values, even though they change over time.
That would not seem to be the case, since Mr Westwood’s cogent arguments relate to election of public officials.
However, even an electoral process that runs like a Swiss watch won’t weed out someone with potential to be corrupt or incompetent.
Don’t forget, Swiss cheese has holes.
After an election is when the rubber hits the democratic road, because democracy is more than elections.
It’s the ongoing process of ensuring transparency, accountability and due diligence – the Swiss Army knife of oversight and scrutiny – which prevents power becoming concentrated and decisions becoming opaque.
I would probably vote for Mr Westwood’s suggestions as to how public officials can be elected.
They are persuasive… but nothing automatically flows from that. People aren’t perfect.
Maintaining democracy is the messy morning-after, like digging coagulated emmental out of the fondue.
Or writing to the editor.
I’d take a selfie of Mr Westwood and I having a beer in Zurich, for sure. Say cheese.
Trevor Preston
Walcott Street, North Perth

Lest we forget Vadm Beatty
IN commemorating the Armistice, it is pertinent to acknowledge the connection between this historic event and the name Beatty Park in Leederville.
In 1920, Reserve 884 as it was then known, was named Beatty Park in honour of Vice-Admiral [First Earl] Sir David Beatty (1871-1936), who served in World War I.
As commander of the grand fleet, Beatty accepted the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in 1918.
Beatty played a crucial part in the naval armistice negotiations, insisting on the unconditional surrender of the High Seas Fleet.
The German ships anchored in the Forth of Firth, where Beatty issued his most famous signal, “The German flag will be hauled down today, Thursday, at sunset and will not be hoisted again without permission”.
It set the atmosphere for the captivity of the German fleet at Scapa Flow, which ended with the scuttling of most capital German ships.
Lest we Forget.
Hope Alexander
West Perth

Not building on Gleddon’s vision
I WOULD like to comment on the article about the heritage grants awarded to restore the Gleddon building in Perth (“Tall order”, Voice, October 20, 2018).
Robert Gleddon was a surveyor and successful business man who worked mainly in Kalgoorlie.
He died in 1927 after his wife, and had no children.
Although I have not actually seen his will, I believe he left his money to the university to establish a travelling scholarship fund to “promote and encourage education in surveying, engineering or mining”.
The scholarship fund is now administered by UWA and is known as the “Robert Gledden and Maud Gledden travelling fellowships.”
The university was the only tertiary institution in WA at that time of Robert Gleddon’s death.
UWA does not currently have a faculty of surveying or mining, but it does have a faculty of engineering.
To the best of my knowledge not one scholarship has ever been awarded to either a surveyor or mining engineer.
I find this abhorrent and contrary to the wishes of Robert Gleddon himself.
They do not go to the industry advertising the availability of the Gleddon scholarship, but keep it secretive within the engineering sphere.
This is wrong.
Robert Holloway
Plunkett Street, Highgate

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