Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1919. OPEN COLUMN.
It is a frequent comment, and an occasional complaint, tliat Ashburton County shelters _ a placid community, it being difficult to arouse local enthusiasm, or ' indignation, no matter what good cause there may be for, either. Townsmen and farmers are alike in this failing, if it. is a failing, but criticism leaves them 'apparently cold. Yesterday was an occasion for many elections in all parts of Canterbury, but Ashburton County electors, apart from a casual Harbour Board opportunity, were not set the task of visiting the polling booths, owing to a lack of candidates. It is a matter for individual opinion whether this absence of "strife" is .desirable; some advantages cannot be denied; yet were such apathy to become a habit, the last state of the County would be worse than the first. Electors who rarely have the chance to exercise their rights, are prone to overlook that they possess any. Contests, political or otherwise, create publicity, and it is generally admitted, nowadays, that nothing does so much to diminish wrongs, or to re-adjust rites, as publicity, whether by speech or through the Press. There is no need for any grievance, to remain unventilated whilst there is a free Press, the correspondence columns offering ample facilities for reformers> or the dissatisfied, to state their views. Some communities have the traditional British habit of "writing to the papers" rather too much, whilst in other places, the opportunities are neglected, .which, is detrimental to public interests. Diffidence concerning literary standards should not prevent a man, or woman, sharing knowledge or opinions valuable to the general community. For instance, we consider that. thSanks are due to men like Mr. A. Hewson or Mr J. Lewis, who recently wrote for the "Guardian" their reminiscences of earlier happenings in the County; posterity will be grateful, and many old settlers and some of the newer generation expressed gratification. Such contributions from readers ought to be encouraged, and with this object in, view, we direct attention to the new feature initiated in to-day's issue, namely, the "Open Column," on page two. Here is scope for all classes of readers to unfold to an expectant world their experiences in town or country, shop or farm, factory or office. If the daily routine is regarded by any reader as too drab, an article might be written sug-; gesting methods of securing bet-
ter thing's. The possibilities are almost limitless. Our main object is to create greater bonds of interest, between all County residents, and there are few better ways of developing- these than by spreading' a knowledge of what has happened, or is happening, to our neighbours, or by publishingl their suggestions to improve the common weal. Despite the pressure on our space, we shall not begrudge the weekly column, nor any extra labour involved, if the object of the "Open Qolunin" is attained; only the apathy it is designed to destroy can prevent it being a considerable success.