Thursday, December 16, 2010

Local Democracy we deserve better

before reading this please note these are my personal views and may contain error  and also I 'm bloody fuming that Thanet council has no provision for allowing members of the public to exit the council offices DESPITE HAVE WRITTEN TO RICHARD SAMUEL BEFORE ON THE SAME SUBJECT

Stupidly I've always held the view that we the public ought to support democracy by a) voting in local elections and b) getting involved.

I do both to some extent, however tonight forget the involved bit, tonight's council meeting was, the part i witnessed a complete and utter farce.

At the opening of the meeting it was made abundantly clear that the council (the ruling tory group) had decided to take Montefiore Tennis court off the councils asset disposal list.
In any sane world a bit of clarification and everyone would have past on to the next item, however this didn't allow for Labours self serving stupidity. Firstly a motion was voted by a show of hands this was in favour of not debating item 10 "This council agrees to remove Montefiore Games Centre (Tennis courts) from asset disposal register" since as council leader Bob Bayford had agreed not to, this was too easy for Labour they still wished to debate a pointless motion insisting despite a clear show of hands on a recorded vote they clearly lost 18-29.

The agenda item 5b dealing with petition on the same subject all in all this subject was debated and questioned for I would guess one and half hours.

It was a farce of great magnitude, effectively Clive Hart's Labour group managed to steal a defeat from the jaws of victory, had they accepted the conservative leaders genuine withdrawal they could have made capital but decided to put on a show for the supporters gathered together for the occasion .
I may blog on this a bit more but feel free to fill in the detail, Labour looked to me like complete idiots tonight.

Having left Cllr Poole in little doubt I was hacked off with Labours performance to his credit, when I went back up to the third floor he was kind enough to travel back down to the entrance and let me out of the building. Well Done Cllr Poole for opening the door, the rest was just politics of the worst sort!


  1. Tony, the Chief Exec apologised to council over the doors fiasco and will address the matter in the morning. If it's any consolation he's probably more annoyed than you.

    Montefiore tennis courts I'm at a loss to understand and felt much like an observer at the Mad Hatter's tea party!

    Montefiore and others of similar public concern that I had reviewed with Cllr Latchford, such as Barnes Ave, I requested come off the register on July 15th at a meeting with officers but as you heard, because of the village green application being still unresolved, its proper status could not be finalised.

    So the hour's debate was a non-event I'm sorry to say.

    Labour knew we were reviewing our assets this summer and so if Cllrs Poole and Fenner had bothered to ask me rather than raise a petition and create an atmosphere of worry among the residents I would have told them!

  2. We shall have world government whether or not you like it. By conquest or consent. ~James Warburg 1950

    Hardly surprising ,anyone for tennis

  3. "Doctor" Moores is clearly the only Councillor with ability and brain-power. We should applaud him and stand back in amazement. I see that he is saying the same of himself over on his own teeny tiny blog, where he is, once again, calling commentators who disagree with him daft and making patronising comments towards them. Why will the people of Thanet not learn that only the "Doctor" has valid views and is allowed to express them without ridicule and insult.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. So 7:43 displays all the finest Labour traditions of name calling and down market obsenities.

    Nice to see Clive Hart and co cannot resist their political point scoring attempts even when the council was proposing what they claimed to have wanted. Just imagine how much worse it would be if they were running the show and Hart was leader of the council.

    One thing I would agree with is that Cllr. Poole would make an excellent doorman.

  6. 11:26PM

    Just because James Warburg said something does not mean it is going to happen. Look around you for groups come together, like to EU and the UN, whilst nations tear themselves asunder, like the English, Welsh and Scots.

    By the way, H. G. Wells said the Martians were coming so you better watch out!

  7. 11:26

    Obviously commented on Dr M's blog and got shot down.

    Bitterness anyone??

  8. At a recent residents meeting Mr Bayford suggested that the public should attend council meetings to see how council works. I took him at his word and went. Well if this is democracy god help us. All political parties were to blame. They obviously do not comunicate appart from personally attacking each other. The chair with help from officers stifled any chance of a debate. To top it all when the public got irritated by what they were hearing one councillor got out of his pram and gave them an icy blast demonstrating the contempt some have for the electorate.
    The meeting has been recorded so I think that all voters should watch this on line and make their minds up before the next election. This was not TDC's finest hour.

  9. Good morning Tony,

    I had been feeling very depressed about last night.s meeting,until I read your blog. The behaviour of the Labour Group was appalling - constant interuption, name calling, and the dogged pursuit of a moment in the limelight for the public attending for the Montefiore issue - followed by the obligatory claim of victory in the photo for the press.

    I am cheered becaause I think you saw it, as a relatively neutral watcher, for what it was.

    I noticed you left before we got on to the substantive agenda items - on flats policy; HMO's etc by which time I had lost patience with the nonsense and managed to be listened to in reasonable order.

    There were some clear tactics for the forthcoming election on show. Labour members time after time claimed every success; denied any responsibility; and constantly, and I mean constantly, undermined good order and debate to drown otu the answers to their mud slinging and invented threats and rumours.

    Scare stories; avoiding proper debate; hiding away from any responsibility for the disastrous financial legacy of their time in power; these are the themes of the coming election campaign.

    I hope, and trust, the electors are as sharp eyed and thinking as you were last night. Thank you, you have cheered me up no end!

    On a more positive note (for your known interests) KCC approved a re stucturing plan yesterday that will see the current senior directors reapplying for positions under a new structure and there will be fewer of the senior posts in the new structure. Cost saving in action with real impact. KCC Members highway money (from myself, Jarvis and Burgess) is giving Palm Bay to Westgate a Sunday bus service; and the rescheduled KCC LocalBoard for the 25 January at St Saviours in Westgate will include an extract from the successful theatre project funded for youngsters in Cliftonville by Mike Jarvis and myself. Quietly, the good work goes on. No doubt some labour news sheet will claim to have done all these things themselves in due course - let me know when it pops through your door!

  10. Tony, this is the problem with TDC, on Simons own admission here, if you want to know what is being planned you need to ask him rather than rely on press releases.
    That says it all.

  11. Bluenote, you may want to check out who calls the Liberal Democrats "flip-flops". The term appears frequently on his blog. A rabid Labourite? No, the right-wing dinosaur MP for Thanet North, wife-employer Gale. Perhaps you should tell him what you think about silly name-calling. Oh, of course, that wouldn't suit your political bias, would it?

  12. What a shame, Cllr Wells, that you didn't "get depressed" when your then Leader, Cllr Ezekiel, and his side-kick Latchford, behaved like thugs in the centre of Margate towards another elected Councillor. Or the numerous other occasions when Ezekiel's appalling behaviour made Thanet a laughing-stock.

    Your notable failure to say anything on those occasions shows your intervention here for what it is - cheap political opportunism and point-scoring. The Labour Group may well have performed badly last night, but for you to adopt the moral high-ground is one helluva liberty and joke.

  13. Tony well done and straight to the point,last nights behaviour by the Labour Gropp reached a new low, they are obviously in the grip of election fever.With the current leader and deputy leaderLabour are fast becoming a joke not humourous but sad.The disaster affecting us all of the last Labour Government, coupled with the comedy duo of Hart and Poole at Local level, I am sure the Tories relise that the commedy duo are an assett which they are in favour of keeping!

  14. 'Local Democracy we deserve better'?

    Yo may care to check out last nights extraordinary meeting of the council on Thanetonline.
    Maybe a councilor or two could tell us why they disregarded the voters point of view?

  15. ASnon of 1216, you have no idea what I may or may not have said or done. If you were a genuine student of local politics you would know I have stood for the leadership of the group against the previous leader on more than one occasion. However, cheap - and anonymous - points are your style.

    Anon of 342: the consultation yielded 26 valid comments, all in favour of a mayoralmodel. Current legislation would require at least 5000 for a referendum. For myself, Mayors are expensive. Look at the three London boroughs which are most deprived, and have directly elected labour mayors, who are all paid over £70,000 each, let alone the additional office costs etc etc

    It is not a cheap alternative by any means, and based on last nights events alone, the local Labour group will not work with anyone else, and struggle to work with each other in any meaningful sense.

  16. Mayors are only expensive at £70,000 if they do nothing but I am sure they can hold the council to account. Council chief exec'a at £150,000 are expensive if they cant get simple things right like puting the safety of Tony (and the public) at risk even after he has had the same fiasco before!

  17. 12:11PM I do not like silly name calling whoever does it and say so at every opportunity. The comment I was referring to, now removed, also contained an uncouth dose of obsenities as well.

    What is with the wife employer adjective to Roger Gale, MP. Didn't Steve Ladyman also employ his wife or is that OK for Labour MPs?

    Think your bias is showing again.

  18. The only folk who lost out over Labours 'Christmas Pantomime' were the people of the 'Hoot' organisation, and Councillors, who had to listen to Cllrs Poole and Fenner, who were trying to argue an arguement that had already been won. It seemed to me it was more a case of political point scoring, directly lifted from the Labour party's handbook for pre election pontification!. The real way to go about politics is surely to continue to serve the people who elected you, the wider community, and leave the politics to the leaflets.
    Otherwise the electorate is ignored for the six months leading up to an election!. After all any elected person represents ALL of their constituents, not just those who voted for them!

  19. Ken

    Electorate ignored - like you and most other Councillors ignored my communication over the governance consultation last weekend.

    Cllr Wells. You miss the point, probably deliberately. Most of the objections to the consultation were based on the undemocratic way the Council went about it. If you had bothered to read my email, which you probably didn't, you would have realised that the Mayor/Cabinet option could well turn out to be the cheapest option in the long run.

    An opportunity missed but May 2011 is just round the corner. And no, I don't want the Harts ruling over my life either, but I'll make darned sure the electorate gets to know how shady this last few weeks has been.

  20. And a final thought. Where has the Fourth Estate been over the last few weeks? Apart from a couple of lines one week and a slightly longer article buried away in the middle of the paper the following week there has been nothing. We're not looking for a Bob Woodward but a little righteous indignation wouldn't go amiss. Or could it be that the KM Group, aka Daily Mail and General Trust, don't permit criticism of Tory administrations.

  21. Andrew

    I did read your email, I just dont agree with the reasoning, nor do I believe has account been taken of this being a late act of a desperate dying government trying to cloak its lack of popularity in populist measure.

    Their previous record on this type of event includes saddling us all with 24 hour licensing, texting people during an election campaign that they should not give a XXXX for closing time.

    Perhaps they should have left a few hours closed to throw in at this point, it could have proved more popular!

  22. So you stood against Ezekiel, Cllr Wells...but you never had the moral fibre to say anything publicly against him and his side-kick as you have found the gumption to say now - and have on many other occasions - about Labour.

    That is what sickens people about politicians. Silent about those who behave badly in their own Party, but mouthy about bad behaviour or performance - often of the same kind - by those in other Parties.

    THAT is cheap political point-scoring, Councillor, not the points I am making. Sadly, you are so good at it.

  23. Bluenote, I am biased just as you are. Gale is - unfortunately - my MP. Ladyman was not. Gale persistently refuses to say how much he pays his wife or to confirm that her employment was subject to free and fair competition. This despite his Party in Government expounding transparency in all areas of public expenditure.

  24. Chris Wells pipes up when it suits but doesnt say a thing about children services or bullying by common purpose graduates too close to the mark for comfort may be ?

    Shame on him.

  25. Anon of 0213, I have said much about childrens services and my view of the situation - in print in the gazette; repeated on Tony Flaig's blog; and on thursday in Kent County Council' directly and publicly stating my difference with Paul Carters views on restructure.

    Anon of 1117. There is a difference first between what you directly observe and what you have reported to you. I observed the games on thursday and just how pleased the labour leadership was with its games.

    Secondly, if you are part of a group, logically your best way of changing things is from the inside. That I did try to do, as is well known. The current TDC Cabinet is very different in tone and attitude to the previous one. Why do you think the labour party are so dedicated to dragging previous issues through the press?

  26. Steve Ladyman was my MP, 11:19PM, but, despite my bias, I never criticised him for employing his wife. It was, and remains, within the rules, only now MPs are restricted to one family member only. It does make sense for I know with Mrs. Ladyman that she often dealt with constituency matters well outside the working hours one would expect from a regular employee.

    Look how many self employed people have their spouse/partner on the books, some to act in an administrative role but many simply for tax purposes. Do you really think they are appointed after open competition and is there actually any requirement for such in employment law?

    I repeat you are simply showing your bias in the absence of any real argument as displayed by your earlier, now removed post, full of four letter words. Typical Labour, swear and shout but policies - what the heck are they!!
    Oh, I forgot, they are a blank piece of paper according to everybody's fourth choice leader.

  27. Funny how Ladyman got a top job elsewhere so shortly after losing his seat

  28. Yes,10:23, particularly after his declared loyalty to Thanet and accusations against his opponent of being parachuted in. Did not take the old 'Northern sort' long to forget his Thanet 'roots' and scurry off to a nice little number lined up during his health ministry days.

  29. Anons 10.23 and 10.35 did you not know that there are no jobs in Thanet and over 5,000 out of work and thats without the 8,000 that cant work or say they cant.
    And thanks to the bankers and the course that the coalition has taken things can only get worse in Thanet.
    As Norman said, Dr ladyman got on his bike.

  30. Cllr Wells. Other Councillors at least had the courtesy to acknowledge receipt of my email.
    The hectoring and badgering tone you employ in this and other local blogs just lumps you in with the Labour group of which you are so critical. The real problem is that you can't see it.

  31. Anyone know where on the somewhat cluttered TDC website you can find the link to webcasts of council meetings?

  32. Despite webcasting of TDC meetings being a big turn off, following a report of the pilot, the council meeting of 7/10 agreed to continue them. But Andrew you will be luck to find one. Enter 'webcasting' in the tdc site bing searh box and you can find the report.

  33. Using a little bit of computer jiggery pokery I have discovered that the "Consultation on new Governance Models for Executive Arrangements" page was published on the TDC website on 18th October 2010. That's eight and a half weeks before the Extraordinary Meeting.

  34. Thanks Anonymous. Unfortunately that link only leads to a TDC report saying that webcasts are sort of a good idea. Doesn't tell me where such webcats might be found.

  35. Chris Wells 9.16

    You haven't replied to one question put to you on this blog relating to children services, forced adoption, or common purpose involvement , if this is incorrect please point our where your answers can be found ?

    Many are watching and waiting.

  36. Anon of 0148 fair point.

    On the basis of what I know and have met I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theories re common purpose or forced adoption. When I was Babinet Member for Childrens Social Services i did get a lot of correspondence on this subject and looked at it then (for myself not through officers).

    I can honestly say the only contact I have had with common purpose is through my day job, not my political job. The delay since the last blog challenge was because I went to Ian Josephs website and have read his book in the interim. He makes some good points about flaws in the system. However in my judgement and knowledge of how social services work in Kent, there is not a forced adoption conspiracy. Much of this seems to be based on a combination of cases where things go wrong, some of which are inevitable and regrettable, and a misunderstanding of the role of concurrency teams.

    I suppose I hesitated to put this in print as i suspect I will now get a hurricane of views from common purpose and forced adoption campaigners, but in the end can only call this as I have experienced it and on the information I have been able to gather.

  37. Bluenote, I fully appreciate the difficulty that posting anonymously causes - it is impossible or at least difficult to distinguish between contributors. But for the record, my posts are those referring to Gale and his employment practices. They do not extend to any post - which I did not even see - that included abusive language. I never post in those terms.

    You often conclude an exchange with a conciliatory message, which is fine. On this occasion, let me. Right and left biased posters use bad language and become dogmatic and rude. I have seen it on local blogs over time. There is often a pompous and hypocritical stance adopted by those managing the blogs. Thanet Life is a prime example. Standards could be higher across the board.

  38. Councillor Wells, if, as you say, the best way of dealing with and changing things is through the group of which you are a part, surely, your condemnation of Labour's behaviour the other night should be managed within Council?

    Your choice to go public and use blogs and other media to spread your views - which you never did in relation to the issues within your local Tory Party - gives the lie to your self-assumed respectability.

    You are simply making political capital and scoring points, cheaply and opportunistically. You try to claim to be different from other politicians, to be a more moderate and conciliatory individual, and to occupy some higher moral ground. Sorry, but you don't convince.

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  40. Are we expected to believe there wasn't any chastisement by the ex Kent CEO, 'common purpose' speaker either ?

    Please pass me the white feather !

    All councillors from all parties know exactly whats been going on for years , you dont have to read Ian Josephs book to find out, as you are all party in your role as corporate parents.

    I suggest everyone who is not a councillor also reads that book especially the part where KCC rakes in Millions each from forced adoptions.

  41. "Just doing our job..." Yeah, tell me: how many times was that phrase used at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials...!?

  42. Actually 7:22PM, it was 'I was only obeying orders' I think you will find.

  43. Chris and all party councillors if we ignore this

    Paedophile ring hidden in the British Care System

    we get this

    David Icke - New World Order Dance, by Plumbjam

  44. Why are Kent MP’s and councillors so silent, although we know he supposedly works with Kent MP’s?

    John Hemming LIB DEM MP mentioned this issue in the house of commons yesterday.

    Many of the families affected will be lighting Chinese lanterns as a protest on Christmas eve at 10 pm. They will include Phil Thompson, whose great-grandchildren were put up for adoption for no good reason by Walsall council.

  45. Concerned citizens can no longer sit on the sidelines and hope that tyranny will simply stop on its own. The ruling authorities will only continue their abuses unless The People go on the offense and stop them.

  46. hundreds of lanterns lighting up the skys in Kent

    imagine if all the families who have had children stolen for forced adoption by KCC thats around 1000 every year, in 10 years thats 100,000 children, if they all light a lantern for each child it would look like day break

    how very sad and I hope these thieves remember that God doesnt pay his debts in money !