We want the truth, not propaganda.

In today’s edition of the Leatherhead Advertiser on page 19 (“Engaging with the majority”), Mr Vigors, Director of Lonsghot Cherkley Ltd, states that he and his company stand by every word printed in the latest edition of Cherkley Express. Yet on this Blog, on 21st November, “Civic Trust member”, in a post titled “Is it Obsessional to look for the truth ?”, pointed out several of the misrepresentations appearing in that news-sheet.

In view of this, it is perhaps not surprising that Mr Vigors, without one iota of evidence, refers to those who support Longshot as the “majority” and dismisses opponents as “an increasingly small and isolated group” in a manner reminiscent of the use of bolshevik (majority) and menshevik (minority) in  the propaganda of early 20th century Russian communists. In this light I find the appeal to “due democratic process” worrying.

It is difficult to see how having the support of a botanist and a recorder for the British Isles, and leading figures from Friends of Box Hill and the Surrey Hills AONB Board, as well as several senior members of the CPRE inter alia makes one isolated. Nor do I understand how Cherkley Campaign Ltd can be said to be “increasingly small” when in fact its membership is increasing. One cannot help but recall the double-speak of George Orwell’s 1984.

It is, therefore, no surprise in this letter, that does not let facts get in the way of propaganda, that we are told objectors are “primarily motivated by self-interest.” But by what, pray, is Mr Vigors motivated? Not, perhaps, by his own self-interest as a director of Lonsghot Cherkley Ltd?

As for the alleged self-interest of objectors, I fail to see what the self-interest is for those whom I mentioned in the 3rd paragraph above. I fail to see what self-interest I have as I live several miles from Cherkley Court and will not personally be affected by what happens there. I fail to see what self-interest motivates many other opponents of the Longshot application.

The reasons why the LRA opposed the application were clearly set out in the Association’s Spring Newsletter. I fail to understand how these can be construed as self-interest.

No, Mr Vigors, we are not motivated by self-interest but by an interest in Leatherhead and its environs, i.e. to protect the rural character of the chalk grassland on Leatherhead Downs in the Surrey Hills Area of Great Landscape Value from development as a golf course, for which no need has been established.

Yes, Mr Vigors, we are obsessed – but not by Longshot’s plans. We are obsessed, as “Civic Trust member” said, by seeking the truth.

I and many others consider that the so-called “due democratic process” was flawed and call for complete openness and transparency.

Time for openness and truth.

How many of you noticed the article "Conduct complaints ‘were not malicious’" tucked away on page 6 of yesterday’s edition of the Leatherhead Advertiser?

According to the article, MVDC stated that: "the independent report into the complaints made against Councillor Rosemary Dickson does not say that those allegations were malicious – this is the view of the Conservative Association as set out in a press release issued by them."

It is also, in fact, misleading to say that the independent report clears Cllr Dickson of all allegations; it does not and, given the limitations of the inquiry, it could not. As "Civic Trust member" wrote on this Blog on the 22nd November: "The report does not clear Cllr Dickson of the seven complaints; it merely states the legal officer did not find clear evidence that Cllr Dickson had contravened the MVDC Code of Conduct."

According to the Advertiser article, "Mole Valley Conservative Association political agent Andrew Barrand conceded that the release may have been misleading."

Sorry, Mr Barrand, it was misleading. The repetition of this misleading statement in the recent edition of the so-called Cherkley Express, together with a photograpoh of the councillor concerned, can only make one wonder how closely the Conservative Association is involved with Cratus. Maybe I am reading more into things than I should. But I wonder.

Mr Barrand is quoted as saying: "It sounded, to people looking at it, that the complainants were being vindictive when that wasn’t the case. It was us saying it, not the council or the report."

I do not know all the complainants, but I do know some. In every case that I know of, the complaints were not made for any personal reasons, but on a point of principle because the complainant felt the democratic process had been subverted.

Personally, I feel it is very regrettable that things have become personalized; and in view of Mr Barrand’s statement above, I have to ask where the personalization has come from. It is my own view that certain parties are intent upon personalizing the issue both in order to discredit those who have valid misgivings about the Longshot application and to deflect attention from the shortcomings, that some perceive, in the way the application was eventually approved. In other words, it is my view that personalization has been an effort to descredit those concerned with the proper working of democracy.

Why am I writing this? Though not a complainant, I was asked by the independent investigator to give evidence. I did so in good faith and told the truth as I perceived it. Yet I have it on very good authority that in the independent report Cllr Dickson implies that I and another fabricated evidence and lied.

In view of Cllr Dickson’s misleading statement about the report, first given in the Advertiser and repeated in the Cherkley Express, she has forfeited the protection of confidentiality. For the sake of openness and transparancy, I urge that the report be put into the public domain so that people can judge for themselves whether the claims – still being perpetuated, it seems, by the "Conservative Association" -are valid or not. I have nothing to hide.