They forget their position
POSSIBLY Messrs Greenslade and Parsons have been in politics too long, since the letter they wrote and which appeared in the Journal on December 20 was a political reply, rather than a common sense one ("Angered by your inquiry").
There are many things they could have said in reply to your investigation which would have answered the questions you raised without conceding any wrong doing; instead they came across sounding like pompous fools.
First, the attempt at a comparison with the Australian radio hoax is disgusting; a cheap attempt to hijack genuine public sympathy to their cause.
The Australian hoax was an attempt to get laughs at someone else's expense, which ended in tragedy. Your e-mails were a realistic attempt to follow up a complaint from a reader that councillors were not doing their job.
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Next, rather than refer you to Leveson, perhaps they should read the bit of the Leveson report which commends local newspapers for doing an excellent job.
Your article followed up a complaint by a reader that e-mails were not responded to. One logical way of investigating this – and there could be others – is to send e-mails yourselves and count the replies. Yes, it imposes some slight extra burden on councillors to reply, but they should expect to be tested occasionally, and the burden is hardly onerous. In no way is the action of the Journal comparable with illegal phone tapping, for example.
I am sure that Messrs Greenslade and Parsons entered politics believing that they could change things for the better; I can accept this whether or not I agree with their policies. However, years of authority and deference seem to have caused them to forget that they are the servants of the public.
Like all servants, they must answer to their employers, the public, for their actions, and, like all servants, if they fail in their duties, they can be dismissed.
Meanwhile, I feel the Journal is doing a good job of ensuring that politicians remain answerable to the public. If that results in your upsetting them sometimes, the answer is simple – if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.