Letter: Lay off councillor Alan!

PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:07 06 February 2017

It is with great sadness, but little surprise, that I heard of Councillor Alan Lay’s censure by the “independent” disciplinary committee which oversees conduct by councillors.

I said, on social media, as soon as the affair came to light, that the hangman was already oiling his rope and testing the fatal trapdoor.

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Alan for some time and he is, in my opinion, one of nature’s gentlemen. His years of experience as a businessmen have given him a wisdom and a sense of proportion which have benefited all those in the council wards which he has represented.

Sadly, what is little short of a vendetta has been aimed at him over the last four years, ever since he had the temerity to win the County Council election for Peckover and Roman Bank in 2013. The sniping started almost immediately, when he was criticised for not attending the election count. He was, in fact, busy helping his disabled wife with a medical matter. Then, he was offered all manner of “advice” on social media about how he should be doing his job as Councillor as, clearly, he was not as qualified for the role as his predecessor.

Next, he had a mobile phone thrust in his face as he was speaking at a council meeting. Needless to say, the owner of the phone escaped any official censure. As the months went by, his honesty, his ability and his judgment were regularly mocked on social media, despite the fact that he was working hard to meet the needs of the people in his ward.

In late 2016, his detractors saw another chink in his armour. In this case, it was via his wife, who had been seriously ill, and unable to attend town council meetings due to her disability. She was sacked under the non-attendance rule. All technically legal, but just the latest in a long series of actions aimed to discredit and discomfort Alan Lay.

Finally, he was accused of threatening behaviour towards another Councillor. Alan may be many things, but a street fighter he is not. Nearing 80, he is spritely enough, but the very idea that he could pose any threat to a robust man half his age is nonsense.

So, his public service to Wisbech ends on a sour note, and his detractors are no doubt congratulating themselves on a job well done. He has been squashed, his character tarnished, and all because he was brazen enough to win more votes in an election than someone else.

That those who have subjected him to four years of malicious attention are now, themselves, about to bask in what passes for the pinnacle of achievement at a local political level, is a cruel irony.

History alone will be the judge of whether Alan’s detractors are morally fit to wear the robes and chains of municipal office.

DAVID PRESTIDGE

Wisbech

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