I write in response to the article ‘Council critics won’t join the fray’ (Gazette, December 4). My take on the subject is as follows. Being a councillor is a poisoned chalice in the present day in as much as you’re often damned if you do and damned if you don’t. We live in times when an unpopular policy is now regularly meted out at national level, much of which is then trickled down to local level for implementation and with the hands of councillors and officers alike often tied. Despite this, councillors are the ones that face the worst of the wrath from the electorate because they relate directly to them and the local area, are ‘on the front line’ and are easily accessible, and so I would suggest they would have been facing more neativity whatever in recent times than they may have done previously.
Having said that, the way in which the current administration by way of the ruling group has ploughed on with unpopular schemes regardless of how strong the opposition to them is or how valid the case is not to implement them has raised this particular bar to a new level. I mention above that local councillors are more easily accessible, but we’ve seen a fair amount of ‘heads in sand’ syndrome over the course of the past two or three years when the public had the temerity to pay attention and then attempted to engage with them only to receive no response and/or (at its worst), open contempt regardless of how relevant, sound and valid the points made and raised. There will undoubtedly be a honeymoon period of sorts in May once the new administration is sworn in and I genuinely hope we will see change for the better whoever is in place… but, make no mistake, the role of councillor is not going to be the walk in the park it was – (relatively) not so long ago, no matter who or what you stand for.
Steve Coombs, Charollais Close, Canterbury
Herne Bay Gazette, December 11th 2014