Having seen the quotation regarding myself in the Folkestone Herald yesterday I would like to put the following on record:
I did not disagree with the stance taken by Liberal Democrat and some Conservative Councillors in leaving the Council Chamber at the last full council meeting of Shepway District Council and my support for the Firefighters in this town is unequivocable. That should be patently obvious from my last post dated 2nd November. I strongly believe that our District Councillors of whatever political party are there to do a job - stand up for the interests of the people of the district. I believe that the proposals on the table from the Fire Authority will endanger lives in Folkestone and the wider district and should be rescinded.
However, being a reasonably fair-minded person, and given that Gordon is one of my neighbours in Sandgate Road with whom I am on friendly terms with even if we do disagree politically, I wanted to hear what he had to say on the matter. I still cannot understand what Rory Love thought he was achieving through his stance on the Lib Dem motion laid down to council. If he had further information then it should have been shared with the Council there and then.
I think that my relationship with some elements of the Shepway Liberal Democrats is a matter of public record as being somewhat poor. So much so, that rather than remain a member of a local party that could allow its officers and others to treat me in such an appalling fashion I asked permission from the Executive of the Bromley and Chislehurst Liberal Democrats if I could rejoin them.
They very kindly agreed and this has enabled me to continue to play an active role in the party that I have been an active a member of for just over 20 years. I still am a Liberal and could not imagine myself in any other political home despite some of the rumours that some have tried to put about to smear my name in the district.
I would like to publicly thank those Shepway Liberal Democrat (some of whom are now non-members due to their disapproval of the conduct of certain Executive Officers and others) and Liberal Democrat members from further afield who were supportive of myself and my family during and subsequent to events in May. Qun, Anna and myself are very grateful to you for your friendship in what has been the saddest set of events in my political life.
For the record, I am still awaiting the outcome of a regional investigation into the goings on surrounding my resignation as Parliamentary Candidate. Once that investigation has reported I reserve the right to make a public statement as/if I see fit.
As for my comments on Ming, my more recent views had been more supportive as I had seen his performance as our former Leader improve. I was saddened by his going but I did feel that it was regrettably inevitable. I had a personal issue with Ming which coloured my view of the early part of his Leadership and it need not be aired here.
My view is that Ming should have challenged Charles Kennedy for the leadership when Paddy Ashdown stood down in 1999. Last year was perhaps too late for him. For the record, I wanted Nick Clegg to stand last year. He refused and so I came to support Chris Huhne.
I am supporting Nick in this leadership election as I believe that he is best placed to reach out to people who are liberal and Liberal but who are currently not voting Liberal Democrat. I respect Chris Huhne, admire his intelligence (if not always his judgement on some issues - Trident and "Clarkegate" being two examples) and am sure that he will hold a higher profile position on the Frontbench subsequent to the Leadership Election.