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Leader of council in online sock puppet row
THE leader of Christchurch Borough Council has defended himself after anonymously praising the council’s work online and criticising cynics and “moaners”.
Cllr Ray Nottage, ward member for Purewell and Stanpit , commented on the Daily Echo’s website about the potential sale of the Civic Offices b ut failed to identify himself as the leader of the council or even a councillor, despite being questioned about his identity by another commenter.
Posting under the name “doomdodger”, he said: “Where on earth does all this doom and dispondency (sic) come from. Christchurch is a great place, the council is doing a great job in a great community.
“Has this Victor ever done anything that benefits Christchurch or is he just another failed moaner intent on causing trouble.
“Get a life Victor, your comments becoming a parish have no substance are a complete joke.”
When questioned by the commenter “Victor” about whether he was a senior member of the council, “doomdodger” said: “Sorry Victor, I have not got time to deal with your ranting.
“But do now know who you are. So come clean, you are the appointed spokeman (sic) for the two independent Councillors.
“Your interest is not to see the borough prosper but to attack officers and members doing an excellent job at CBC.”
When contacted by the Daily Echo regarding the comments, Cllr Nottage said: “This is not something I am not saying on my blog.
“I was using the system as it is set up on your website, the same way as everyone else has.
“I was responding to an extraordinarily cynical view online about the working of the council.
“It is supposed to be anonymous and if someone is allowed to say the chief executive David McIntosh doesn’t care for Christchurch under anonymity, I should be allowed the same rights.
“I have used the system that you have set up in the way that you have set it.
“What I was doing was following through the process which you have decided is acceptable to your newspaper. I thought that signing up to your system in the Echo was anonymous. If you should expose me, then you should expose everybody.”
Independent councillor Fred Neale said: “I would have thought that as leader of the council, Cllr Nottage would not want to hide behind anonymous comments.
“I would have thought he would have no qualms about posting comments about the council’s work in his own name.”
He added: “As to his suggestion the Independents have their own ‘spokesperson’, nothing could be further from the truth.
“Cllr Bungey and I are more than capable of speaking for ourselves and have absolutely no need for a spokesperson.”