Friday, December 09, 2011

A Hard Left Turn for Thanet

More later I suspect when I catch-up with everything. For a narrowly balanced council to fall, on what some might describe as thinly concealed coercion over parking charges in one part of the district and the personal animosity of one Councillor towards another, seems bizarre.

Still, this leaves our island now looking very isolated in a sea of Conservative councils and a lurch to the left risks - on local Labour's almost  schoolboy grasp of finances to date -  a serious and consequential loss of basic common-sense in an economic crisis. Should you have any doubts then simply look back on the record from the Labour Cabinet over the last year which has contented itself on shouting down any attempts to debate the bigger and more serious numbers, while remaining quite conspicuous in being unable to suggest anything much more remarkable than removing the tea and coffee allowance for councillors.

Poor Thanet!




47 comments:

Tom Clarke said...

A sad day for Thanet and democracy, but some element of self inflicted wounds must apply to the Conservative party for endorsing Worrow as a candidate in the first place.

No doubt now, at a time when co-operation at all levels of governance is more than just desirable, we shall have TDC engaged in political rhetoric against our local MPs, KCC and the coalition government.

Mind you, it is a finely balanced situation and another change in the shorter term is not beyond the bounds of possibility. Some councillors are not exactly spring chickens and all is not total harmony in Labour ranks, with Driver treading on toes regularly.

Best of luck in opposition, Simon, and I am sure you will act responsibly in the best interests of the people who elected you. Shame the snake Worrow did not do the same.

Anonymous said...

Would the last person in Thanet Please turn off the lights as they leave....Thank You.

Peter Checksfield said...

Let's hope that Hart realises there's more to Thanet than just Margate, unlike his predecessors... & you too Simon if you consider encouraging people to shop in Birchington - Thanet's last surviving thriving village - a trivial thing.

Anonymous said...

can not believe this has happened cllr Worrow should hang his head in shame voting with labour been in every group this has put thanet back in dark ages last time labour was in power they left the cupboard bare
think i will move out of thanet as we will turn into a backwater again

Michael Child said...

Truly Simon I wonder if the differences will be all that significant, the budgetary constraints are pretty much the same, what actual changes do you envisage?

The outward side of the council that I mostly see is via the internet, visibly broken since the previous Labour administration, still bust through – what shall I call the Conservative administration before the one just gone – the Ezekiel years, visibly bust throughout, what shall I call the new conservative administration, the Bayford weeks and now at this moment hanging on your own sidebar. It would seem that the council announced the results of last night’s vote two hours before it actually happened, what can one say?

Anonymous said...

Have you tried taking a deep breath & counting slowly to three anon?

Anonymous said...

Party politics should play little or no part in local councils, in my view, so that when we could get away from all this petty bickering and concentrate on serving the needs of the local area.

It would be nice (but unlikely I fear) to see those on the blue side accept defeat in a dignified way, wish the new Leader all the best, and vow to work with him in the best interests of Thanet.

Anonymous said...

I presume now all the other towns will go for the same - and who's going to pay for that idiot Worrow's parking ideas - we are the ratepayers of Thanet! The Conservatives should never have let him in - didn't they realise he changes his colour like he changes his shirt.....I would have send mind if I thought he had one! Let Labour have him - it's the only party left he hasn't tried. By the way when is the by-election?

Peter Checksfield said...

I really don't think 1/2 hour free parking is going to cost us THAT much anon, though it could make a difference to the strggling businesses there...

Is it just me, or is there more anonymous comments on the blogs than usual today?

DrM. said...

Peter

You really have no idea do you!

Anonymous said...

Okay Mr Checksfield, I am a Birchington pensioner and that's all I wish to let you know. I' m also one of those people that mr Worrow said he wanted to represent when he was the 'Grey Party' as a parish councillor.... That's before he became an independent last time! If I don' t want to give my name - I don' t have to ask you!

Michael Child said...

Simon nor do I, what I and I suspect some others would like to know, is how things are likely to change under a Labour council. You say “poor Thanet” impying that we are in for a change for the worse.

Is this likely to lead to some massive increase in my council tax?

Is this likely lead to a considerable reduction in my local services?

I am very much a floating voter, both locally and nationally, more likely to vote for those who communicate with me than those who don’t, frankly having lived under both Labour and Conservative administrations, national and locally, both have done daft things that make it more difficult for me to live and trade.

I suppose given councillors to vote for, both you and Clive Hart would attract my vote, as you both reply to me. Bob falls into the bracket of one who pretty much never bothered to reply to me and so wouldn’t have attracted my vote.

Picking over the bones of how we have arrived where we are is a useless exercise, we are where we are.

DrM. said...

Michael

It's how the finances are managed which is most important at this time.

In addition, the portfolio holders need to be capable of discharging their duties intelligently.

Thanet has moved from one extreme of literacy, numeracy, broader employment and business / managerial experience and tertiary education among it's Cabinet to the opposite.

Good luck!

Rick Everitt said...

Speaking as someone with broader employment, business / managerial experience and tertiary education, I think you should check your facts.

And perhaps brush up your grammar at the same time - "it's" indeed!

Regards,

DrM. said...

Which must make you an exception Rick and possibly deeply embarrassed by the company you keep I'm sure, so I must apologise. As for 'Its' and 'It's' yes a high speed typo I'm afraid but do try this one Tweet from Clive below - the God Thor, which just about sums up my fears so far!

"Afternoon thoring out at home"

So do please share with us what you do other than being a defeated Bexley councillor, to direct the future of Thanet? Of course, this is in sharp contrast to what was until yesterday, your serially 'retired' or 'resting' colleagues?

'Performance' is not a title that sits well in the hands of Labour councils.

Anonymous said...

Rick, how would you know the extent of the management experience and expertise of the now outgoing portfolio holders. How presumptuous of you to claim greater expertise than theirs and I am left to wonder if it comes anywhere near the level of mine, within the top fifteen managers of a major corporation.

Sadly I see no such experience or expertise on the Thanet Labour front bench which leaves me concerned for our isle. Those who lived here when they were last in office remembedr only too well the mess they made of the finances then.

Peter Checksfield said...

Oooh, a bit touchy today, aren't we Simon?!

Anonymous said...

Sour grapes isn't a good look. Perhaps you should have turned up at Council and articulated why Bayford should have remained leader. As it was the people bigging up Bayford did a terrible job - hence him losing!

Rick Everitt said...

I've not offered any comment on the outgoing office holders that I can see, simply pointed out in terms that I manage a team of staff in a medium sized business, reporting to the chief exec, and have for 13 years; have run my own small publishing outfit and been self-employed in the past; and have a university degree - all in response to the suggestion that none of the Labour front bench meet any of the criteria set out.

It's a fitting comment on the way the Tories operate in Thanet that they sneer in this way at their opponents - as if no one who doesn't have such a background coule ever aspire to run a council. And probably one reason why the same Tories couldn't garner
enough votes from local people - with and without these qualifications - to continue running this one.

DrM. said...

Rick.. I would have more confidence if I saw any evidence that the recently 'resting' Hart & Poole, had a simple clue about finance and management but the evidence is clearly not.

I hardly think a split council gives you a mandate either and remember, that outside of Worrow's defection, more people voted Conservative than Labour and Thanet has two Conservative MPs.

It's now a small island of red in a sea of blue and the odds of Clive now surviving as Leader over the longer term I would think are pretty poor with you about. In fact, as you probably know, there's already betting with you on 2:1 although not being 'local' may be a political disadvantage as Mark Nottingham discovered to his cost!

Good luck!

Michael Child said...

Simon one of the local Labour councillors has just been in the shop and purchased two copies of the book that I have just published on The History of Ramsgate Harbour. After your comment we looked on with interest to see if he would do anything interesting with them, eat them or something.

I couldn’t contain my curiosity, and having given him a cuppa in my rather dubious kitchen with Ralph a local historian and photographer, where the discussion mostly revolved around local history, I asked him why he wanted two copies.

Seems he intends to read one and present the other to the town council, should I be worried about this, as I have heard that most of them are socialists? You see it seems they have been learning to read, I don’t know how this could have happened, it will be the wimmin and servants next.

DrM. said...

Michael

That's encouraging. Is he or she on their Cabinet team where such literary skills would impress?

Next time try him or her with a copy of Karl Marx or Francis Fukuyama and tell me what happens!?

John Holyer said...

I find this all very confusing but no doubt it will be explained to me this evening on 'Newsnight'.

I'm sure that this chap Worrow, whoever he may be, is basking in the attention. This whole sorry episode is risible.

There is little or no place for party politics at District Council level. I just wish they would all stop playing politics and get on and actually do something to help Thanet, rather than themselves. It is redolent of the Clogthorpe District Council.

Michael Child said...

Simon in this case I would rather he didn’t lose his chain. I am not privy to the makeup of the new cabinet, do tell us.

DrM. said...

Sadly John, you can't avoid party politics because that's how we run modern democracies and find consensus in regard to policies.

The tragedy is the chasm that now separates left and right, as evident as the editorials I read on Osborne's fiscal policy in The Economist and The New Statesman on the aircraft.

One says that monetary policy is prudent, the other not but perhaps because I'm a Conservative, I prefer to trust The Economist for an opinion.

John Holyer said...

DrM, Your 16:35,

There needs to at least three of them on the Cabinet Team. One to read, one to write and one to keep an eye on the two intellectuals.

DrM. said...

I like it. Perhaps Rick's your third man?!

Tim Clark said...

Oh dear. A bad case of sour grapes I fear.

John Holyer said...

To DrM,

Yes Simon, you are correct in what you say when you compare the opposing editorials in the Economist and the New Statesman. And I believe this illustrates my point. For I get the impression that many District Councillors like to play at Westminster style politics because it makes them feel important and, in some cases, they have ambitions to become an MP. This damages Thanet. Whereas they would do us and themselves more good if they concentrated on becoming good administrators and organisers.

We need a true leader with charisma and intellect. We do not need a Z list local politician.

Anonymous said...

When something like 40% of school leavers in Thanet leave school with no qualifications, can one expect one's Councillors to be drawn from the intelligentsia? Attend the Thanet Local Board meetings and judge for yourself.

Tim Clark said...

Simon
I think you are quite right in your assertion that the local finances need careful attention. I have also read Clive Hart's speech from last night where he complains that the previous administration did not involve his ragtag army as much as he wanted. Sauce for the goose etc.
I know little of these things. Now that there is a Labour administration does that mean that the chairman has to change?
Above all, ride out the storm. Find an electable Leader; one who commands respect from a wider circle than his predecessor. Listen to what the people on the Island are saying; all of them not just the retired of Birchington and Westgate. Win Ramsgate back. And never forget that this Island has two widely respected Conservative MPs

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Cllr Everitt seems to be a bit rattled! How reassuring he has so much experience!

Laurence Davies

John Holyer said...

"never forget that this Island has two widely respected Conservative MPs"

Here, here to that.

DrM. said...

Unfortunately for some, Labour keeps the chair as well, which throws the earlier deal between the parties out of the window

Peter Checksfield said...

Yes, Roger & Laura are superb. Just a shame that so few Thanet Tory cllrs follow their example.

Tim Clark said...

Labour kee6f whatn5vers5ty S506n/* ping the chair seems a little unfair.
If the Conservatives are to regain control, and they really must for the good of the Island, then childish comments about the literacy of the incumbent Administration is not the right way to go about things. They might not all be graduates (of which University Simon?) but calling them names is just descending to a level that does you no credit. As I am sure you would say under similar circumstances, grow up!

DrM. said...

I can't see much evidence of name calling but I do see legitimate concern over the talent gap and the skills required to run a council in the hardest fiscal environment since the War

Michael Child said...

Simon are you proposing some sort of aptitude or intelligence test for people wishing to stand in UK elections? Because if not how would this work?

DrM. said...

No Michael I'm suggesting that television's X-Factor be taken to it's logical and popular conclusion and politicians should be selected for their musical talent and good looks!

Intelligence and aptitude has no place in politics as we are constantly reminded by you and other Thanet bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Voters Betrayed as Conservative-Elected Councillor Votes for Labour Administration in Thanet
Last night the Conservative administration of Thanet District Council,led by Councillor Bob Bayford, was replaced by Labour when Councillor John Worrow, formerly elected as a Conservative for Birchington South, voted for Labour Leader Clive Hart.

Just two weeks ago and without any prior warning, Councillor Worrow resigned the Conservative whip. In last night’s leadership vote, he voted for Labour’s Clive Hart thereby ushering in a Labour administration despite 62% of voters in his Birchington South ward having voted Conservative in the May election.

Alasdair Bruce, the remaining Conservative Councillor for Birchington South commented: “I am appalled that the vast majority of voters in Birchington South have been disenfranchised by the actions of Councillor Worrow. He has betrayed the 1171 residents who voted for him as a Conservative candidate and he has sabotaged the democratic process in my ward and in Thanet.

“This is not the first time he has changed sides shortly after an election and I call upon Mr. Worrow, who claims his personal vote is unassailable, to submit to an immediate by-election. The voters of Birchington South can then decide whether to endorse his unilateral decision to vote for a Labour administration against the express wishes of his constituents”.

Not only did the Conservative Party win 62% of votes in this ward, it was the largest party in Thanet as a whole in the recent elections with 47% of the popular vote.

Independent Councillor Jack Cohen also voted for Clive Hart, despite Labour coming last in Birchington South with only 18% of the votes cast in May.

Michael Child said...

It’s not the good looks, intelligence, musical talent or aptitude bit the worries me Simon, it’s the selected bit that worries me in such local politics, it sort of begs another chapter in Animal Farm. I still think the proper way out of this one is to let local people elect a leader, novel idea but there you go. As it is much of the current scenario is being played out on old enmities, inimsits or inimcus, I can’t remember?

Anonymous said...

anon again!
Seems to me that something is going adrift everywhere in Britain, not only Thanet.
The Conservative Leader has committed 'politcal suicide' in European Raum. Now they have us by the 'short & curlies'. I'll wait to hear from my German buddy's what the general concensus is, and pass it on.
So, now Thanet is to be organised by the Labour Party. Well, after many years of Conservative 'stagnency', it could be a nice breath of needed fresh air influx for the area.

Tim Clark said...

The only person showing "legitimate concern" is you and this seems to be based as much on resentment as anything else. Your silly reply to Michael again does you no credit - Michael is at least trying to engage and you are taking your anger out on him.
A lot of what has happened this last fortnight is wrong - Worrow is a turncoat, as indeed is Jack Cohen, ex-Conservative councillor. I don't know much about the internal politics of the local Labour group but I suspect that it will struggle when it can no longer resort to mere political posturing. The DRiver factor will also create issues and I suspect that the good guys will be back in charge before the next local elections. As I said before your aim must be to prevent this happening again by making local Conservatives the main party and that, like it or not, means winning Ramsgate back.

Anonymous said...

Dr M

"Tertiary Education"

"Business Experience"

Can you please enlighten us on what your self-inflated self have brought to us over the years Simon? Thanet's web technology sucks, its record retention policy does not exist, and you can hardly say buying M&S at the top of the market was the wisest decision.

Perhaps the greatest and most relevant question of them all - if one is so clever, why was one overseas on a day when such an important vote was going on and your party needed you?

You must have been cutting things very fine. I've driven back to thanet from amsterdam in 4 hours before, door to door, so no BS please.

Thanets voters and now its councillors have spoken. Your previous chosen leader is charged with fraud, your current leader lost you seats through weak leadership and wrong direction on key issues. Here is the result.

Tom Clarke said...

11:15 Just what would you have had the PM do, sacrifice the city and its revenues so that we can watch the business transfer to Europe.

The EU has become an expensive club to belong to with increasingly dubious benefits. We needed to look hard at our ongoing relationship without just following the rest of the minnows who cling to the Franco-German apron strings.

I also have many German friends who are themselves questioning why they should go on bailing out irresponsible EU members. Euroscepticism is not unique to Britain.

As for Thanet, I very much doubt you will get your breath of fresh air. The place still has major problems, there is still no money and it is difficult to see what new direction Clive Hart's administration can take.

There will be rough seas, and probably more changes, ahead regardless of who is called mein fuhrer(or should that be Comrade Leader).

John Holyer said...

To anon again at 23:15,

While you're at it you could ask your German buddy why his government is currently printing Marks? You could also ask him how he feels about being taxed in order to prop up Southern Europe?

In addition to the Guardian you could also read some history books to better inform your conclusion.

Tim Clark said...

Well said John