This correspondent writes:
This long in the tooth Budleigh Salterton resident remembers being horrified when I read a letter in the Exmouth Journal in November 2009 at the time of the Longboat saga. This included a paragraph referring to a letter received recently by the author from Mr. Williams:
Mr Williams wrote “I am mindful that in the 9 years I have been employed by the Council I have seen/read considerable correspondence from you (whether it be to the Council or the local press). You will perhaps forgive me for commenting that I cannot recall a single occasion when you have said anything positive about the Council or its planning process and as a result I have read your comments with this background in mind. It might be that I am mistaken in my recollection but I believe it is important that I inform you of this perspective.” Big Brother is watching!
I think a letter published the following week from a former senior civil servant summed up what was thought by many at the time:
“Having spent 40 years of my career in public service, most of the time in Whitehall where Ministers and officials receive their share of critical letters from the electorate, in my experience we would never have dreamt of replying to a member of the public in such a way, indeed it would not have been allowed. Our creed was, accurate always, robust as necessary, but never, never rude or insulting. Mr Williams should be formally disciplined for his behaviour.
Public servants either elected or serving officers must always remember that it is the electorate who put them there, and in the case of officials, who pay their salaries. To forget this is a road I never want to go down – as [name redacted] says, Big Brother – not for me, thank you.”