I was very disappointed that Cllr. Ezekiel failed to write in last week's Gazette about his views on Manston Airport expansion. I would have liked to have responed in the local press but cannot because of the short timescale for which he is ultimately responsible. So I have written this.
Dear Cllr. Ezekiel,
I write with reference to your column in the Isle of Thanet Gazette. I would like to have responded to you in the newspapers but sadly with the rush to hold a Council meeting next Thursday 12th February it will be impossible to do so. You are given a column by the biggest selling local newspaper as Leader of Thanet Council, not as an ordinary member of the Conservative Party.
Your column says nothing new this week that you have not written previously. There is nothing in it, that could not have been written next week. Why have you written a national party political piece that could have been dictated by Conservative Party HQ? The community we both serve is asking us questions about the proposals for Manston.
At the risk of coming over all over Royston Veysey, the Gazette is a local paper for local people. Here was your duty as Leader of our community to explain why you were rushing things through. You could have addressed concerns.
You could have explained why everything is being rushed through, you could have balanced the pros and cons and then indicated what you thought were the most significant factors.
It is not just my view that you have made a serious error of judgment. Our MPs Roger Gale and Steve Ladyman have both written widely on the subject since the public announcement. They have listened to local people and understood what they want to hear. Quite rightly they have served their constituents by writing about the proposals at Manston.
You may not comprehend the distrust your actions will cause. I have often heard you condemn some parts of the local community for being cynical. Here you have decided to put the national Conservative Party’s interests before those of the local people of Thanet. People will draw the conclusion that Thanet people's interests are secondary to your antagonism to those who hold different political views to yourself.
You owe local people an explanation. I would suggest you can rebuild some trust by apologising for your error of judgment in your next column in the Gazette.
Cllr. Mark Nottingham