Monday, November 07, 2011

Labour "No Comment" on Manston - It's just not politics!

Labour recently issued a briefing concerning, Manston, written by the esteemed local leader Clive Hart, the casual observer might think that the great man is not being as open as he could be, when he writes  "The proposed night-time flying policy may well become the subject of a planning application and therefore it would be inappropriate for any councillor to comment further at this time.

Some might even be unkind enough to speculate that "local" Labour are just seeing which way the wind is blowing, certainly at one time only Cllr David and Cllr Elizabeth Green opposed expansion of operations at Manston, however prior to the last local elections, Labour in Thanet took an anti jobs line against Manston, possibly having taken a cold calculation, that young people don't vote but nimbys do.

Still in the interest of enlightenment unfortunately it is true that, politicians are restricted in what they can say due to the previous Labour government introducing draconian measures, in local government, basically, showing complete contempt for democracy, the previous Labour government decreed that a politician was not allowed to discuss issues in public that they might later debate or vote on in council.

I'm sure you'll think I'm making this up, but read this from a Tory website , I understand that the coalition government will be soon reform this Labour nonsense and then Clive Hart can say what he wants, when he wants just like you and I. Many will have witnessed the waste of money as cretinous councillors up and down the country, have taken political apponents to task through "standards boards" hopfully once this is resolved we know where our politicians stand on issues other than re-election.


  1. I would suggest that the important issue here is not where individual councillors stand on the issue of the airport, but where their Parties stand, at the different levels of governance - District, County and Parliamentary - and what expansion means for local people.

    The argument for jobs is a powerful one, but what if the area is left with very few extra jobs but still the disruption from night flights? In cost benefit terms that would be a bad result. Given the population of East Kent, and the relative proximity of Gatwick, and to an extent Southend and Stansted Airports, I wonder if Manston really is viable.

  2. The issue of predetermination came up at the ill-tempered 14th July TDC Full Council meeting. I blogged about it on Ville Views the next day. Labour has to avoid the predetermination trap that they fell into last time. The reality is that the statement is merely a cover to allow them to vote. I would be stunned if Labour didn't vote as a Group against the night flights proposal. After all, it was a manifesto pledge...

  3. Sadly, James, Parties of all colours and at all governance levels often show a disregard for their manifestoes.

  4. Tony is quite right that, at one time, only the Councillors Green opposed night flights and Cllr. Mike Harrison even wrote an item on his blog entitled 'Night Flight Hysteria.' In that he condemned the scare mongering of the Stop Manston Expansion group.

    Suddenly, with local elections looming, Thanet Labour recognised a vote grabbing advatage in Ramsgate and all became anti-night flights, thus demonstrating that political advantage takes precedence over serious consideration.

    What is needed is for all our councillors to look realistic at this issue, consider all the pros and cons sensibly and then act in the best interests of Thanet as a whole. Sadly that probably will not happen.

  5. Clearly Labour have some sorting to do. What is the position of the Tory Party and its individual Councillors, and the Liberal Democrat Party? I realise the latter have no representation on Thanet Council.

  6. It is worthy of note, 10:31, that whilst TDC has dithered over Manston, Southend airport has expanded, taking business that might otherwise have come to East Kent.

    Perhaps a while back someone wrote on a Southend blog, "with the close proximity of Stansted, Luton, City and Manston airports, one wonders whether Southend is viable."

  7. The difference between Southend and Manston airports is that the owner of Southend is fully committed and has put in millions of its own money developing the airport and the airport railway station. It seems like Manston wants the government to do its development at no risk to itself. In its recent documents Manston does not even commit to pay for sound insulation for affected residents, do they expect TDC and/or the residents to pay for this if it is needed?

    I also have news for Will Roberts. The last local elections were only in May this year, a lot can happen before the next election in 2015.

  8. 01:28, my comment was relevent to what happened in the run up to May's elections, but I would be the first to agree that it could all change long before the next one. Such is politics!

    Wouldn't it be nice though if all our councillors could seriously consider the proposals, discuss them with the electorate in their respective wards and then vote the way those good people direct rather than long party lines.

    Then, just perhaps, we might get a result based on the wishes of Thanet as a whole rather than on the Nethercourt and Central Harbour wards of Ramsgate in isolation. I still doubt it will happen.

  9. Correction Anon at 1:28, perhaps you should have said the difference between Southend and Thanet is that the people and local authority in Southend welcome the expansion of their airport whereas, in Thanet, like everything else it has to be opposed.

  10. It would be a good idea to check out to see exactly why the people of Southend are fighting against expansion including night flights.

    The promise of jobs is a false one as any scrutiny of other regional airports shows.

  11. Shame nobody's answered the question about the other political parties and their individual councillors.

  12. 9:18 I think you will find that the Conservative group policy, well publicised in local papers, has been to wait on the full details of Infratil's proposal and the study report on that.

    Labour oppose night flights period.

    Our local Conservative MP has expressed concern over night flights.

    The Lib Dems are not in office anywhere in Thanet. UKIP only have one policy, sod the Europeans, the BNP were last seen chanting at some immigrants on Margate sea front, the Greens oppose everything except cave dwelling and DUP don't take much notice of Thanet. The handful of local SNP members want independence.

    Doea that answer your question?

  13. Thank you, Anon. Very Clear.

  14. Hart is a joke he goes on about prededermination. He is well aware this is not a planning application but a policy desision on the 106 agreement. Therefore the whip could be used. I bet you will see some labnour turn on Hart. those that truly care about the future of Thanet!!