What's fact and what's opinion?

PUBLISHED: 13:11 19 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:04 04 May 2010

IT is easy when expressing a viewpoint to make the mistake of assuming your reader understands your underlying thoughts. Dr Perry s assertion that a more careful reading of his original letter would reveal his understanding that Multiplex is dark and al

IT is easy when expressing a viewpoint to make the mistake of assuming your reader understands your underlying thoughts. Dr Perry's assertion that a more careful reading of his original letter would reveal his understanding that Multiplex is "dark" and also his belief that "the anti-Mereham campaign as a whole is fundamentally pro-Multiplex" may be an expression of those thoughts which were not revealed in his words.

Dr Perry had an opportunity to clarify his viewpoint. But he fails to distinguish properly between fact and opinion.

The planning system is a dull but vital mechanism intended not just to protect beautiful countryside, but functional countryside. It is intended to balance such protection against growth and employment; against present and future social needs. To have any chance of doing this there has to be a plan: and there is. This plan is the result of lengthy consultation conducted at local, regional and even national level. Mereham is, quite simply put, not part of that plan. It will not be built "elsewhere". This is not an opinion, it is a fact and there is no implicit demand that any other local democracy should be penalised by the actions of this campaign.

How Dr Perry, or anyone else, regards local democracy is a legitimate arena in which to express opinions: to agree or disagree.

I do not see local democracy as tribal; I see it as part of a process. I do not believe that individuals who take an active part in this process do so to the exclusion of all other concerns: quite the reverse.

M ROWBERRY, By email.

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