Leading article: Frontier town

Click to follow
The Independent Online

So Swindon is Britain's most progressive town, or at least its most "wired" one, for it is the first in Britain to offer free high-speed wireless access for all its residents.

But its position at the top of the high-tech leadership table is nothing new. It was chosen by Brunel as the hub for the Great Western Railway and its station had the first railway refreshment rooms in the world. It also pioneered free at point of delivery public health care, for railway workers had a small levy on their wages in exchange for free care for themselves and their families.

Swindon had the UK's first lending library and the GWR helped fund an educational institute that developed worker education. Now, the pioneer role continues.

Last year the Swindon Council scored another first – it banned fixed speed cameras. That's another development that will surely sweep the country, for when Swindon leads the rest of Britain is bound to follow.