Last week was a bit strange for me.

Firstly I was subjected to personal abuse in the full Isle of Wight Council meeting from several Conservative councillors while they ‘debated’ their awful budget and then I opened the County Press to find myself the subject of Malcolm Mime’s column.

I’m not sure when a St Helens Parish Councillor last attracted such levels of interest.

I would like to thank Malcolm for reminding readers why I stepped back from the Independent administration in 2017.

Read Malcolm Mime's column about Jonathan here.

I have recently been asked by many to set the record straight and so I refer those people to his column.

I would however like to take the opportunity to add that Dave Stewart and his cronies (to adopt Cllr Peace’s terminology) have chosen to ignore the fact that, despite being told, their personal attacks on me refer to a time when I was going through a number of personal traumas, which led, compounded by their unpleasantness, to me receiving treatment for clinical depression.

What they also seem to have forgotten, is that is all in the past. I have recovered and moved forward.

However, our Conservative-led council seems to have taken up permanent residence in the past to the detriment of us all.

As Malcolm set out, I resigned as council leader as the activities and behaviour of others was making it impossible to take things forward.

What I perhaps naively didn’t realise is the level of the determination the Conservatives would show to fight against change or progress to protect their own interests above all else.

So, to answer Malcolm’s other question, I have ‘come back’ because change and progress are desperately needed and I want to help see this happen

The way the current Conservative administration has operated has diminished respect for and interest in the Isle of Wight Council.

Having time away from the council chamber has given me a much clearer perspective on what people think of the council and why.

However, having been a councillor, I know how important work the council is.

As such it is dangerous and damaging, albeit understandable, for people to have such negative views. Further, this is why people who are not part of the tired old party machinery need to come forward and stand.

It’s the only way to change things or we are just stuck with the same old, same old.

Only two per cent of the population are members of the main political parties but that is where those parties draw their candidates from.

We want to see the other 98% of the population represented.

We need change now.

However, the Our Island group can’t do that alone. No single group can.

This is why a key part of our approach is to work with others who will put the Island first and leave aside personal and party political interests.

Isle of Wight councillors are there to work together for the interests of the whole Island, not just for their ward or personal or party interests.

This is why we currently have no effective opposition in the council and why the Conservatives are successful at what they do. They work for a bigger picture. Unfortunately it’s just the wrong one, as it is exclusive of the majority of people on the Island and is driven by their national party agenda.

We know it is possible to change things for the better. All it takes is a cross on a piece of paper.

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