A left wing activist, and husband of a Labour candidate at the forthcoming election, has decided to be critical about the fact that my family are politically active in the town that they live in and love.

Strange isn’t it that my family has been politically active together since my election in 1998, but that he has only decided to make an issue of this now, when his wife is up for election…. hmmm I wonder if there is any correlation to this fact.

To be honest I am surprised that he is so surprised, after all Harlow is one of those places that values families working together for the greater good – just look at our most treasured piece of artwork, the one currently representing the town at the national exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum – The Family Group; the clue is kind of in the name.

He seems to think that there is something wrong in family members getting themselves elected, by a democratic majority mandate of the people, in different wards of Harlow, under the same political banner…..

If anything, the only thing wrong with it is the absolute drain this can have on a family. Family dinners often become overwhelmed by conversations not about how the family is but how other people are, how we can keep helping others. Family events get moved or cancelled because a “special” meeting has had to be called to deal with an urgent item of council business. As Parents, my wife and I have had to decide who gets to go to my daughters parents evening or school play and who attends a council meeting instead.

And yes, both my Father and Father-in-law are councillors. Do you know what? They were also in the same year at the same school in Harlow and played in the same football and Cricket teams then – so obviously something very sinister is going on! Come off it.

There was once a time when Public service was valued by the left as well as the right, and families that were involved in helping their community were valued, but for this Labour candidates husbands it seems that a family that works hard for the town it loves is suspicious and wrong. David Foreman of Harlow TUC get a grip!

David seems to think that he has uncovered a massive state secret, but as far as I remember the Press and indeed the other political parties have known and made jokes about this fact for years; in fact the previous Labour MP used to do so regularly in the press.

But for the record and just so no one can suggest I am hiding anything:

Cllr Eddie Johnson is my Father

Cllr Shona Johnson is my wife

Cllr Clive Souter is my Father in Law

Stephanie Souter, who is my Mother in Law is standing for election in Staple Tye ward this year

Cllr David Johnson (EFDC) is my Brother

Funnily enough, I am not embarrased that my family feel the need to work hard for the town that they have lived in for generations but totally proud of the hard work and commitment that they show to Harlow, the town I love.

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