This is Robert Smith, the lead singer of famous 80's goth band The Cure. They are Crawley's best-known musical export. According to the web, Mr Smith now lives in London and hasn't lived in Crawley for very many years. How wrong this is! Yesterday, the Crawley News inadvertently revealed in their letter's page, that Robert Smith lives on Ashdown Down in Tilgate. It is a shame that after his several years of inconspicuously living here, Tilgate's best kept secret has been revealed to the world.
For many years in Tilgate, local residents and myself have often bumped into the unassuming and very ordinary looking Mr Smith. I fondly recall knocking on his door during local elections, and how we discussed the local issues of the day, and how we put the world to rights. I will of course keep his voting intention secret.
I have often seen him popping into the Co-op to buy a loaf of bread or a jar of coffee, and popping into the off-license for a four-pack of larger. I think he is a Carlsberg man. I once stood behind him in the queue at Uncle Harry's Chinese takeaway while he was ordering Szechuan Style Quick Fried Squid and Egg-Fried Rice. I sometimes see him out for a stroll around the lake in Tilgate Park and did you know he was a regular at the Golf Club? He once even bought me a pint in the Grasshoppers. He's a nice guy and well-liked locally.
As one of Crawley's most famous people, he is very widely-known in Tilgate but he had done a grand job in keeping this hidden from the world. That was until yesterday. For some reason best known to Mr Smith, he apparently decided to write one of the most nasty and deliberately misleading letters that I have ever seen published in a Crawley newspaper. This letter arguably libelled both myself and my colleague Cllr Richard Burrett, and could be legally described as defamation of character. I have reproduced this piece of fiction below that the Crawley News printed in their paper yesterday.
NO CONFIDENCE IN LIKELY LEADER, CRAWLEY NEWS, LETTER, AUGUST 28 2013 - PAGE 23
Watching the local Tories tearing themselves apart over the past few months has made interesting reading. I might not have agreed with (former council leader) Bob Lanzer on some things, but he was good at his job, and I wish him well.
The people who look set to take over the running of the council fill me with dread. Duncan Crow and Richard Burrett seem to me to be the most likely successors, and what have they ever done for the town? What they have done is take nearly £400,000 in allowances since they came into power! Any policies for that £400,000?
What have they done for the town apart from to pocket taxpayers' cash? Have either of them had a real job in their lives? From what I understand, they haven't worked - and prefer to live off of us.
ROBERT SMITH - ASHDOWN DRIVE, TILGATE.
Upon reading this, I was just about to consider whether to take legal action against Mr Smith when I was suddenly struck by an amazing moment of clarity. It dawned on me that all my memories of seeing him in Tilgate were in fact just figments of my imagination and not reality. I then asked some local residents who had lived in Tilgate for years. No one else had ever seen him in Tilgate either.
Puzzled by this, I then checked the electoral register for Tilgate, and surprise surprise... no Robert Smith is registered on Ashdown Drive. I did find it very strange that someone who had such a keen interest in the internal matters of the Conservative Group at the Council, was not even registered to vote.
Then I remembered that the Conservative Group at Crawley Borough Council are electing our new Group Leader shortly, who is very likely to become Leader of the Council. I then recalled how Cllr Richard Burrett and I are seen as potential strong candidates for that position, and how we had recently stood up against bullying in our Conservative Association, which had resulted in defections to UKIP. Then I looked again at the letter and it instantly reminded me of the writing style of a recently disgruntled and disgraced ex-Conservative.
The penny finally dropped and I realised that this letter printed by the Crawley News must be a fake, by someone with an axe to grind - the sole intention being to damage the good characters of myself and Cllr Richard Burrett in the run-up to the leadership contest, but falsely trying to portray it as coming from an ordinary member of the public.
I then decided not to sue Robert Smith and realised that he still lives in London. My apologies to Mr Smith as the Cure have not moved back to Crawley - my headline is false. In my defence, I will say that it was not me who wrote the letter, using deliberate impersonation designed to deceive, and nor was it me who printed and published this letter in a local newspaper - that was the Crawley News.
The up-side of all this? Based on their recent habit of printing malicious lies about myself and my then obvious denial being the story in Let's Smear Duncan 1 & Let's Smear Duncan 2 then "The Cure Deny Moving Back To Crawley" may well be a big story in next week's Crawley News - available at all good Crawley Newsagents!