Last week the residents of Battle rejected an outstanding District Councillor in one of the most surprising and unjust local election results of a very difficult night for the Liberal Democrat party.
Kevin Dixon was a passionate, hardworking and effective representative, greatly respected by councillors of all parties.
The announcement of the shock result was received in total silence, far removed from the usual cheering jeering and clapping when an opponent is unseated.
Senior councillors from all parties, who have seen Kevin at work in the council chamber for eight years, were stunned that such an excellent representative could be rejected and throughout the day were expressing their regrets and commiserations.
They know only too well how much Rother needs good representatives, regardless of party.
One hopes for the sake of Battle that the winning candidate justifies the electorate’s confidence and proves able and willing to make the very substantial personal sacrifices needed to fill Kevin’s shoes.
One frequently hears people bemoaning the calibre of those wishing to represent them, at all levels.
Battle has been extremely fortunate to have excellent representatives for many years and perhaps assumes, quite wrongly, that this is the norm.
A result such as this, where party prejudice so cruelly overrides commitment and ability, does local democracy no service and can only discourage high quality candidates from stepping forward in future.
Chairman, Battle Branch Liberal Democrats