Thursday, February 05, 2009

Why Thanet needs a Mayor

It seems quite simple to me, Thanet needs a Mayor, a visit to Thanet's council chamber, will give you a pretty good idea, why, assuming you can withstand the uncomfortable public area and of course the generally turgid agenda.

To be honest it's a while since I, had the time and the stamina to endure a couple of hours of Thanet's political elite, posturing, massaging their egos, and eagerly monitoring the debate, in that obsessive manner associated with train spotters, awaiting some rare procedural misdemeanour at which point they intervene, look indignant turn to seek approval from their political allies, whilst their opponents express impatience and frustration.

Whilst the council chamber makes good theatre, to my mind all it means is more bureaucracy and expense, particularly wasteful I feel, are those cabinet members, whose posts effectively duplicate that of the paid officers.

This is not the case in Thanet, but elsewhere its clear that some local authority officers are politicised, I can think of one particular authority, where the leader of the council is so bereft of ideas, that policy seems to be the domain of the chief executive rather than the elected administation, which is why a full time focused politician is needed. Someone with the authority, management skills, vision, fully employed on the task of running the district, at the very least cost savings would acrue from fewer meetings and produce a more focused authority.

Thanet as with all government, is bloated probably inefficient and over staffed, I believe tremendous cost savings could be made, just take the role of chief executive whilst such a post might still be necessary with a Mayor, would the chief executive need for a deputy?

The biggest improvement might be that a Mayor would be so blimin busy as to not have time to be distracted by outside business interests.

Incidentally I am available.


  1. The thought of you managing a budget and deciding where the money is spent is too horrible to contemplate Tony.

    My canary has more brain cells and common sense than you

  2. I can understand your reservations and obviously we have such intellectual giants guiding our lives.

    Such role models, can someone tell me, when that Standards Board meeting is taking place.

  3. Interesting that you are advocating a mayor when so many of the towns which adopted them have since got rid of them or are in the process of getting rid of them.

    What makes you think that the same people who control the council (any council, really) now wouldn't get elected as mayor, along with their cabal? I don't see that being a solution.

    The whole thing is corrupt, nepotistic, parochial and the Standards Board for England is ludicrously ineffective. The only way that will ever change is when people are organised enough to look over the council's shoulder and force them to change course.

    Whether by recall petitions, being part of a local trade union, opposing outsourcing (which often ends in lucrative deals for councillors as much as the companies making a profit providing services) or whatever, none of the answers involve a mayor.

  4. I presume you keep the canary, 11:59, so you know when the noxious gas emanating from your piehole has built up to dangerous levels.

    Keep up the good work Tony.

  5. Mayors are usually stupid councillors that nobody knows what to do with. Do we really need any more?

  6. Right on Peter G. And have you heard the one about the Labour mayor who refused to attend a grievance hearing brought by the Leaders wife, where he was accused of so many accounts of bullying and harassment that her union didn't know where to start with the complaint?

    How come that one never got in the local rag, or brought the Labour politically correct brigade out in force?

    One rule for them, and another for everyone else? Or perhaps the Leader's wife doesn't matter?

    No wonder there was a fracas at the Mayors Ball.

  7. 11.25 We are talking here about an elected mayor not a ceremonial mayor who would of course be the leader and therefore the leaders wife, his wife. The problem we have at the moment Labour or Conservative administrations, the leader selects the cabinet and the cabinet selects the leader, if they are all in safe seats democracy isn’t really involved.

  8. So who in Thanet of the current political establishment is likely to put themselves forward for this job? I am not aware of any other high profile person with the right qualities who appears interested to have ever suggested he/she would like to take it on.

    Or would you support a high flier from outside the area who is attracted by a big salary? Or worse still, a low flying smooth talker who is attracted by a big salary.

    And would the elected politicians who work with him be the same as now, or could he bring his own team? Where is the democeacy in that?

    It seems to me that you just want change because you don't like the current bunch, even though they have attracted business to Manston, a new ferry service (maybe) to Ramsgate, Thanet Earth, shops to Westwood Cross, built a new road at Haine, the Turner Contemporary, etc., etc..

    So just what exactly is your beef? And if it is because the current leader of the council is not frightened to a have go back when people attempt to bully him or his wife (see 11:25 above), aren't you applying a double standar when the Labour Deputy Leader threw a punch and got away with it?

  9. Most likely some of the considerable backbench talent that is sidelined and marginalised by the cabinet system, incidentally Malcolm says if no one decent comes forward and he is forced into standing, if elected he would do the job but wouldn’t take the salary, so others may stand on that basis.

    I would say the way the present administration handled the last big local investor, CGPs could well be a contributory factor in their shares last trading at 10p.

  10. The fact that you could seriously suggest that Malcolm has the expertise, experience or people skills to run the council is a very serious dent to your credibility Michael.

    Malcolm is OK for banging in hundreds of FOI requests every year, none of which have had any substance or impact except to tie up ridiculous amounts of officers time and waste tax payers money,is one thing. But to actually be a leader of anything that will make a positive difference. You can't be serious.

    Having watched them come and go for many years, the most obvious candidate for the Mayor post is someone like Leadbetter, who knew how to get things done, but was even more unpopular outside his party than Ezekiel.

  11. 7.48 I think part of the problem is that experience in this case often means that an experienced councillor is one who has been trained to conform with the officers wishes rather than those of the electorate.

    As an ex colour sergeant Malcolm would have had to learn considerable organisational skills, he is also a graduate which suggests a reasonable level of education and intelligence.

  12. Yes, but he lacks a certain common sense and perspective. Hence the hundreds of FOI requests and complaints to the district auditor. None of which can ever have had any substance otherwise we would have heard about them.

    Your response to 7:48 also suggests a certain vanity on your part. Who are you to suggest that any concillor is an officers poodle? Do you know any of the ruling "elite"?

    Have you ever invited them for a discussion to establish their views on any issue, or are you basing your comment on supposition and political partisanship?

    And you still haven't answered the point about what precisely your problem with the current set up.

    And isn't it enlightening that 11:25's point about a bullying and harasssing mayor has not been answered bu anybody? The silence is deafening on that one and it seems to me like that has the potential to be the biggest stink of all.

    Does it mean all the Labour party in Thanet are protecting a colleague? What exactly are the accusations? What happened?

  13. 3.19 I can only site examples related to things that have occurred under the current administration that I have looked into, which recently have to do with the development of Manston.

    There seems to be no coordination between the big projects there, the new airport access road plans show it actually going through buildings on the new China Gateway plans.

    Thanet Earth slipped through with no environmental impact study so that the lorry park has a classic problem, they have dug the drain too near the well.

    Yes I do know and discuss matters with a lot of councillors some of whom see themselves a ruling elite, which is one of the reasons I made the observation I have.

    You will find recent posts on my own weblog written by both Thanet MPs and sent to me for publication.

    To give you an example of what I mean council officers deleted the email address this is a standard to mote councils, it took an official complaint by me to get it reinstated.

    Anon could you kindly give yourself a nickname, I appear to be having a conversation with you and it is difficult from my point of view to regard you as a series of random numbers.

  14. I am in total agreement for a mayor keep campaigning Tony and someone will come through. From what i have seen of Malcolm he is suitable, he is straight and also has a brain which is more than can be said of many on TDC council, the current purely political system doesnt work - party politics should be taken out of local politics and then the best of all talents can be chosen by a mayor,no-one ever stands as an independant as they dont have any hope or clout in the council, a mayor is the way of cutting thro it all. one thing is certain Ezekiel would not dare stand for mayor!

  15. Michael, I'm Warren. How do you do.

    I am as concerned as anybody that the council does the right thing. But I have to say that I find most of what I read, from yourself and others on the blogs, appears mostly politically motivated or has the intention of halting the deal for selfish reasons.

    It seems to me that professional advisors should to warn if there is a real problem, and the council should take steps to resolve as necessary. All have professional accountability for their actions.

    Self appointed "informed amateurs" only cloud the issue.

    If you don't mind me saying so your reference to the leader E-mail address is a perfect example of my criticism that your arguments about the council are weak. If that is an example of mis-management then I think you do it an injustice.

    And you still haven't answered the point about the FOI compalints. Is it good to promote the qualities of someone who has tendencies to be potentially vexacious at worst, or vindictive at best, to a council he wishes to take charge of?

    I think there is nasty business going on here amongst the blogging community.

    As nasty as the mayor bullying the leaders wife.

  16. Hi warren I have been really tied up as I have received replies from the EA and the latest Pleasurama plans, so sorry for the delay in replying.

    On environmental issues I take advice from an EA accredited pollution cleanup contractor and a friend who has a doctorate in geology, without knowing the qualifications of the experts TDC use it is a little difficult know how to respond to you here.

    With the email address I sent a joint email to the leader and chief exec in the hope it could be resolve quietly and quickly, then after a couple of weeks one to them saying I would raise a complaint if they didn’t reinstate it, then after another week the official complaint and immediate reinstatement.

    Personally I am always reluctant to use FOI or complaints but that seems to be how the council wants to operate, simple questions no answers what do you do.

    Yesterday I published all the info about the airport issue coming up on Thursday, why isn’t on the council website it’s something most locals would want to read.

    Malcolm doesn’t want to become mayor, but wants us all to have the option to decide if we do, don’t you think this is a good idea in a democracy?

    You may wish to look at today’s Pleasurama post on my own blog and consider why no one at TDC will stick their neck out so we have a safe development