Opinion: Response to Private Eye

Opinion: Response to Private Eye
Ian Hislop

The mischief-making satirical magazine that is famous for lampooning public figures has again featured former Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Leader David Jukes. It talked about the May election voters inflicting ‘humiliation on a smug Tory regime’ determined to press ahead with a £100million ‘vanity project’, and referred to the fact that 13 Conservative Councillors lost their seats, including ‘pig-headed’ David Jukes.

That’s one way of looking at it. Oh, and by the way, Private Eye Editor Ian Hislop lives just outside Tunbridge Wells, so he must know what he’s talking about? Right? Others, however, believe that generations to come will see the Alliance Party campaign that stopped the theatre as a pyrrhic victory: The end of an innovative initiative to secure the town’s long-term future, replaced by an increasing drift towards becoming simply a dormitory for commuters.

The Alliance has certainly managed to muzzle the controlling Conservative group on the Council. And in the meantime, it has made major developers think again about investing in a town where, they believe, you can no longer rely on commitments made by the Council. (Think here of the £100million that we were told was to be spent on Royal Victoria Place shopping centre.)

This column has more than once referred to David Jukes as a Marmite man, with those who love him and those who don’t. Say what you might, he was a Council Leader with a vision and a passion for making Tunbridge Wells a great place to live. He believed it was a town that needed major surgery to survive, not cosmetic facelifts.

Where now are those with a credible vision for Tunbridge Wells?

as usual, on
a postcard…

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