January 19th is less than three weeks from now. Time to get cracking by adding your name to an important petition which has been launched locally. The Jan 19th “deadline” was set by the Communities and Local Government Secretary when he announced he was “minded” to accept a plan to merge West Somerset District Council with Taunton Deane. If you agree that this is an unecessary step which will undermine local democracy then please sign the petition. It is slightly more complicated than ticking a box – you will have to supply a valid email address, you will then receive  an email from the website asking you to confirm. Your vote will not be recognised until you have clicked confirmation. But at least you know this a proper petition not a half-baked web consultation like the one Taunton Deane organised to “test” public opinion.  We already know that many people are dead against this merger. Lets help to prove it. here’s how to access the petition: You can also send a letter or an email direct to the Communities Secretary. In an ideal world I would much prefer a referendum to be held as a proper test of public opinion. Referendums can be organised efficiently and within reasonable cost and they have the advantage of providing genuine evidence of real people’s views. You cant “fix” a referendum by getting stooges to fill in questionairres!  Christchurch in Hampshire has just held one to test opinion about similar plans to merge their council. The result was a significant No vote: