Letters play a part in enhancing democracy

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

Have your say

There are many definitions of news, with one of the simpler ones being: ‘News is what people talk about.’

If our stories stimulate conversations around the area, or reflect those that are already under way, then we won’t be going far wrong.

And of course, another indicator of the interest caused by a particular article is whether it generates letters to the editor.

Two tales in particular have passed that test by a long shot recently, namely the story of the man who decided to gorge himself to put on weight in the hope of qualifying for an operation that would help him slim, and the story about the councillor who walked out of a council meeting while Muslim prayers were said.

Both sparked a number of letters, and in each case some were for and some were against the actions of the person concerned.

And again in both cases, people who wanted to have their say did so by posting comments at our website portsmouth.co.uk

For me, it’s a great example of democracy in action.

We are able by and large in this country to say what we think on matters of public interest and the letters columns of local newspapers – and more recently the comment sections on newspaper websites – give people a chance to fulfil their democratic ability to voice an opinion or broadcast some point of information.

And of course, very often a letter to the editor or a comment posted at portsmouth.co.uk will prompt us to inquire into the subject and lead to a story.

So I hope that if you read something that pleases you, or upsets you, or gets you hot under the collar or just glowing in appreciation, that you let us know what you feel.

Full details of how to have your say are published in our Opinions section on pages 6 and 7.