Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crisis in Local Democracy?

Just thought I'd copy you in to this interesting event at Canterbury Christ Church University, since many readers of Thanet blogs have an interest in local politics, as you might be aware I have some passionate views on local news media, particularly where politics is concerned.

Surprisingly I've been asked to speak, I'd tell you more but I'm hastily cobbling together a few words to say, I think I may have to delve deep into the Bignews archives, other bods invited see details below:

'Crisis in Local Democracy?' Click for details

The media and public opinion in Kent politics

Public debate with a panel of local politicians and journalists. Part of the 'Making Politics Matter' series jointly organised by the Department of Applied Social Sciences and Department of Media.

The event will explore a number of themes relating to the relationship between local democracy, local politics and local media.

At the moment the running programme is:

- 6:30-7:00pm - arrival, refreshments
- Welcome, background to debate, introductions - Agnes Gulyas (10 min)

- Graham Gibbens (10min)
- Leo Whitlock (10min)
- Maureen Tomison (10min)

- Short questions break (max 2 questions)

- Paul Stannard (10min)
- Guy Voizey (10min)
- Tony Flaig (10min)
- Mike Eddy (10 min)
- short break for drinks/coffee
- Debate


  1. I realise it is national rather than local politics, but you could have referred to the events that have unfolded over this weekend with your Party's David Laws having to resign after being exposed - by the media - for fiddling his expenses.

    I generally take agin the media for exerting too much control and trying to create the news agenda rather than reporting on it, but there are times - and I think Laws is a good example - when exposure is in the public interest.

    What is rather sad about Laws is that, even within the Liberal Democrat Party, he felt unable to be open about his sexuality - a separate but linked issue. This, as much as yet another MP found to have been fiddling, proves that all this talk about a "new era in politics" is hogwash.

    I thought the same when Nick Clegg was asked recently how come his Party is now supporting spending cuts in this year when during the election they opposed the concept. He tried - and failed - to argue convincingly that the economic circumstances - thanks to Greece - have deteriorated further. If we really had a new political landscape and culture, surely he would have said, openly and honestly, that the Liberal Democrats had simply conceded on this point as part of the deal to join government with the Tories. Dressing it up as something different - or trying to - shows that these people have not changed and offer nothing new. But they have got their Cabinet seats!

  2. Anon 8:58 I dont agree at all with what you say, firstly the Telegraph have papers to sell and if they can push an extreme agenda they probably will.

    Journalist are frightened by the thought that two parties neither of whom, won the general election should work together, journalist are under pressure to churn out stories and how much more difficult is it if dissension is missing.

    Heterosexual or homosexual most people separate private life with professional, for instance you cannot man up and use your own name is that a sexuality issue or maybe your too embarrassed to come clean with your own political background never mind sexual preferences.

    Its become clear that Labour hid the dire economic situation, which has been revealed to be far worse than claimed. Both Conservatve and Liberal Democrats have joined to sort the mess out and good luck to them its best hope.

    Finally do tell me which local MP took a donation for party funds from a developer and then sang for their supper as it were.

  3. Tony, this is not about Labour, nor the past. It is not about other people's political views. It is about the present and the future. It is about your views. It is about your Party. It may be uncomfortable for you, but your Party is now part of government and is rightly subject to (proper) scrutiny. You seem incapable of arguing a political point of principle without simply shouting "look at you, look at others". Sorry, but it's YOUR time now.

    Liberal Democrat MPs made great capital at the expense of the other main parties during the Parliamentary Expenses furore last year. I think it's right that apparent hypocrisy should be exposed. Labour and Tory MPs had their hands in the till and suffered for it. Rightly so. It's equally right that Liberal Democrats should face the same. They are no longer the cosy bunch of slightly quirky intellectuals who can say and do what they like because they are not a realistic political force. They are in government now.

    As usual, I don't understand the points you are making; they are too confused. But on sexuality, I am openly gay. My point about David Laws is that he was - allegedly - fearful of his sexuality being discovered and that is what led him to fiddle. What does that say of your Party that he should fear for his future if "truth were out". I am not suggesting that his sexuality should be an issue; it should not. But his being frightened of it being MADE an issue is one.

  4. Anon 12/28 clearly it's your politics that troubles you, I have no such hang ups, I happen to be a liberal supporter not a leader or policy maker this blog is written for fun and I am proud of the way in which both Liberal Demicrats & Conservatives have conducted themselves so far.

    So please move on , labour lost as they no longer had the support of the people or "bigots" as is the prefered term in used by the leadership

  5. Tony, you're now as good at avoiding questions as Simon & Mark! Time to enter politics yourself perhaps?

  6. Point very well made 438. Every question is turned - evasively and irrelevantly - into a snipe at Labour. A Flaig fixation, it would seem, masking an inability to answer or debate any points made about CURRENT politics and the Lib Dems. So this is the "new politics".

    Don't worry, Tony, it's all just for fun. Isn't it?

  7. I take it 10:07 your related to 4:38
    as I say move on, as far as I can tell you've asked no question.

    Clearly I support this government David Laws situation is unfortunate but it's clear no intent existed to claim more than he would have been entitled had he been more open in his personal affairs.

    Lets face in comparison with Gordon "Bigot" Brown and all those free loading Labour chancers , and again look to the MP who took money from a property developer to prop up his local Labour party, just how honest is that?

  8. Tony, you're fixated on the issue of the local developer and payments to the local Labour Party. You know more about that than I do. I would suggest if you have evidence of wrong-doing, you take it to the police or some other relevant authority.

    Oh and thanks for proving my point that your only debating ability is to evade the issue and point and try to turn the spotlight on others. You're not as good at it as other more accomplished politicians, though, and you are making yourself look rather silly trying to copy them.

    Why not stick to what you might be better at - making a point of principle and arguing the case for it on the basis of facts and your own views.

    And there is no link between me and 0438. Cheap shot again on your part for trying that one.

  9. anons' have it your way now lets move on.

  10. Mr Law's claim for expenses was not just a bit of fiddling, it was a diliberate act of extracting money from us tax payers by false pretences. The rules since 2006 have been very clear and if anyone but an MP extracted money from an employer they would end up in court. As would a benifits cheat. Thanet folk know that MP's believe they are above the law.