Mayor pulls out of launch of Wye Future Group

The Mayor of Ashford has pulled out of the launch of the Wye Future Group to be held this Saturday because he had not been told what the purpose of the organisation is.

Cllr Malcolm Eke was asked to launch 84 balloons — each representing 10 of the 840 acres that Imperial College owns in Wye — at a recent meeting of the Ashford Independents at the King’s Head. has learned that he was not informed about the purpose of the WFG and was therefore unaware that it was the same organisation that is mounting a legal challenge against Ashford council’s signing of the ‘concordat’ with Imperial.

The launch of WFG has been hampered also by the scrapping of plans to hold it on The Green. Originally, the group had planned to have a stand alongside others at this Saturday’s Farmers’ Market but had to abandon this idea when it was pointed out that Imperial College owns The Green and may not have taken kindly to WFG setting up stall there.

Instead, the launch of the balloons will now take place near the Post Office accompanied by a group of Morris dancers. The balloons are being sold for £1 each to raise money for the group.

Later on, the WFG will hold its official launch in the Village Hall where there will be a display of cuttings from the Kentish Express. Ploughmans lunches and other refreshments will be sold while there will also be a free glass of wine for all visitors.


About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome, Pieter Vos in Amsterdam, adaptions of the Sarah Lund stories in Copenhagen, and versions of Shakespeare worked for Audible.
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8 Responses to Mayor pulls out of launch of Wye Future Group

  1. J Arthur says:

    It stretches the imagination to believe that when he accepted the invitation to officiate at the launch, Cllr Eke did not understand what WFG was forming itself for and was responsible for mounting a legal challenge to the concordat.

    The aims of WFG and its challenge are all part of the democratic process and are being pursued openly and above board quite unlike ABC’s track record in this matter.

    Perhaps he was got at by the controlling Conservative Party and/or Council Officers and pressured to abandon his visit to Wye?

    WFG is entitled to a full explanation from Cllr Eke as to the reason for this about face and perhaps he will defy the usual wall of secrecy inherent in the ABC culture and name the person or persons who scuppered his engagement? I somehow doubt it.

  2. Ian Cooling says:

    Hmm, I have noticed a tendency in “J Arthur” to see conspiracies everywhere. May I therefore offer a slightly more boring alternative as to what might have happened?

    First – the Mayor is the ambassador-at-large for the Council as a whole, not the political group from which he or she is elected. The appointment rotates among the groups in the Council. This year it’s the turn of the Ashford Independent Group.

    Second – Malcolm Eke has been an excellent Mayor. He is diligent and carries an awe-inspiring workload. He also does the job thoroughly – I was very impressed indeed that at our Street Party last Christmas, he didn’t just open the festivities and then disappear. He stayed right through to the end in some of the worst weather we have had for years.

    Thirdly – WFG have chosen to open legal proceedings against the Council. In these circumstances, I cannot understand how even “J Arthur” can see the acceptability of the Mayor representing the Council at a WFG event. Would “J Arthur” invite someone who was suing him to his dinner table? I suspect not.

    Fourthly – the Council legal officer who advised the Mayor that his attendance would be unwise (I assume that’s what happened), would have been failing in his duty not to have done so. The final decision on whether to attend or not would have been the Mayor’s.

    Fifthly – I think (hope) we can al agree that it was indeed a great pity that the Mayor was placed in the embarrassing position of having to withdraw from the event. But I’m afraid the fault does not lie with “the controlling Conservative Party and/or Council Officers”, but in one place only.

    I understand that the invitation was issued at the annual dinner of the Ashford Independent Group, which was held in Wye this year. I cannot for the life of me understand why the assembled wisdom of the Ashford Independent Group gathered together that evening, did not spot the pitfall and seek early legal advice before the invitation was accepted.

    So, “J Arthur” – I’m afraid that, once more, it is simply cock-up and not conspiracy.

  3. J.Lo says:

    I agree, his pull out brings lillies and liver to mind. Absolutely appalling. Mind you, he is a rather invisible Mayor. I doubt he even knows where Wye is.

  4. Ian Cooling says:

    For JLo – I hope you will understand my finding it slightly ironic that someone sheltering behind a cloak of anonymity, should accuse another of lacking courage.

    Also, having read my post above, you will now see that the Mayor does know where Wye is.

    Pity you didn’t check first.

  5. J.Lo says:

    Interesting that you did not show on the day to support WFG and you are defending the Mayor for not showing?

  6. Justin Williams says:

    Sorry, I didn’t see you there – I was at the stand outside the post office early talking to Alan Paterson and those manning it. I work on Saturdays and so had to go to London immediately afterwards and was, therefore, unable to make it to the village hall.

    And as for ‘defending the mayor’, that really is amusing. Not sure how you deduce that. It might have helped if WFG had not sent us a press release saying that he was turning up when, at that point, you knew that he had pulled out.

  7. J.Lo says:

    Justin, I think you are doing an excellent job, my comments about not showing and defending the Mayor were aimed at Mr. Cool……

  8. Justin Williams says:

    This debate about who said what or who turned up where or who defended who is now closed.

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