Monday, April 30, 2012

'Your'e Hired' - Margate's 22-Year Old Mayor

With no sign of Alan Sugar or even Simon Cowell, the Margate Charter Trustees tonight appointed the town's youngest ever Mayor elect, 22-year-old Councillor Will Scobie, a transport manager at a local Thanet school of English.


As you might expect from my previous blog on this subject, where I predicted that the Thanet Labour Group Charter Trustees would turn-up in force to block vote, the election was split along clear party lines. The Conservatives were firmly opposed to what was broadly perceived as a cheap political stunt with career objectives or as I commented: "Our objection has nothing to do with age but everything to do with experience, tradition and obligation to the people of Margate."

The Conservative choice for the role, was former Mayor and paratrooper, Cliftonville Councillor,  Brian Sullivan.

The new Mayor-elect will take over from Cllr Iris Johnston in May and will have the privilege of representing the town at the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympic torch procession, as well as many other civic functions, such as Remembrance Sunday and events outside of Thanet.

In such controversial circumstances, feelings at the meeting were occasionally heated and often near boiling point. To illustrate his point, one trustee pointed at the many rows of portraits and ancient and modern photographs of former Margate mayors through the centuries and commented: "These people had to work hard for many years to achieve this. What have you done?"

My own views are very clear on this matter and I suspect they reflect those of many people of my generation and older that I have spoken to since I first published the rumour last week. Labour and Clive Hart, are clearly taking a leap of faith declaring that the mayoral role as many of us know it is old-fashioned and that younger and more energetic blood is required.


I wish Will Scobie, the new Mayor-elect every success, if only because this is a time-consuming and demanding role which requires strong personal qualities, a familiarity with local tradition, history and dare I say it, protocol. School, university and only eleven months as a district councillor in a safe Labour ward might not be enough, in the eyes of many people on the island but then again, it may encourage a much younger generation to take a very different view of the civic role and its traditions after almost a thousand years.

Labour in Thanet is very big on 'Consultation'or as Clive Hart said earlier this evening 'Progressive' but I suspect the only opportunity that anyone has had to express their views on this 'faites accompli' is here. What do you think now rumour has become fact?

Is this good for Margate or will you wait and see? I'm putting an opinion poll up on the sidebar for your votes. In the minds of some readers this evening, this is a progressive move but for others, this kind of political tinkering proves every joke about Labour-run councils to be true.

 Cllr John Edwards was elected to Deputy Mayor. Both positions will be ratified at the annual Mayor Making and AGM on Tuesday 22nd May at the Winter Gardens Margate.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pathetic !!!

I give up, Thanet is a joke, lead by the blind, followed by the apathetic masses.

What is the point anymore....

Absolutely Pathetic !

Readit said...

Young blood could be good for the mayoral post - we can only wait and see.

Unfortunately I think we are about to witness the puppet state of Thanet - one wonders who will be pulling his strings?

Anonymous said...

It is fantastic. Young people should be interested and involved in politics. It is very easy for bloggers and message board posters to criticise. Get out there and be involved for yourselves and stop being ageist!

1 o'clock Rob said...

Like many I believe that a Mayor should be someone slightly older who has a track record of public service. We can hope that Will shows the position the respect that it deserves. Positives could be that the younger generation may become more interested in local politics... but I'm not holding my breath.

denplan said...

Well William Pitt the Younger was only 24 when he became Prime Minister so I suppose 22 could be considered positively ancient for Mayor of Margate

I'm not John Worrow said...

When I was a young man, being Mayor never came in to my thoughts.

Young men and women have always represented their country in the past. Many young still today go to war and fight for Queen and country.

If the young are old enough to die in afganistan, iran etc, doing what they believe is right. If young Will Scobie believes he can help Thanet as Mayor, I am willing to let him try.

Michael Child said...

Simon, sorry to be so ill informed, but when you say elected it suggests another candidate, so really in order to say if I thought this was the right decision, could you tell me who the other candidate or candidates were?

simon moores said...

Sorry.. I omitted to mention Brian Sullivan in my haste but have corrected this before i read your comment

Anonymous said...

Of course the grovelling, fawning we-love-Labour-Thanet Gazette will be saying what a magnificent, brilliant and inspired idea this is from the great mind of the dear leader Clive Hart!

Bucket please.

Ian Driver said...

Brilliant result. The future is Youth. Wedll done Will I am sure you will do an excellent job. Best wishes

Ian

Michael Child said...

I suppose there is a sense in which being former Mayor and paratrooper would make one qualified post, a sort of paratrooper sandwich. Sorry about that Simon the Ipo made me chuckle.

Anonymous said...

Endorsed by Ian Driver. The joke is now complete. But shouldn't Jeremy Beadle have appeared by now?

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Beadle is dead.

Anonymous said...

I wonder which one of the Tiggywinkles he will choose to be "Mayoress!" What a joke!

Anonymous said...

Judge Will by his deeds not his age. Its about time Thanet had some fresh thinking to get it out of the current doldrums (whether labour, independent, conservative or that other party).
Good luck Will you'r an example to the Isle's young people and hopefully you will inspire some of our older councillors to get their fingers out and up their game. PS sorry to see Iris go though.

Anonymous said...

It would be great to think that this young man could actually prove to be useful in this role rather than in it as a result of manoeuvring by the triad! Unfortunately, I can't see a mere 11 months at the pit face being much of an apprenticeship. Would that more of the Thanet electorate were aware of the farce that we now call TDC. When I discussed some of this with my 20something daughter, her comment was 'you are having a laugh'. Any chance of booking seats on that plane when you find a suitable island Simon? Bring back the fake sheik...all is forgiven.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting my film again, Simon. Hope people enjoy it all for a second time!
Christine

1 o'clock Rob said...

Just a shame Christine that it is full of half truths, rhetoric and outright lies... Nice camera work though!

P.S. Just hope that Thanet Watch live up to expectations and isn't just a mouthpiece for Labour. Hate to tar you with the same brush normally reserved for Fox News in the USA... "Fair and Balanced"... lmao!

Anonymous said...

Ask around Thanet's sixth forms if Will Scobie is an example to the young. Those that have even heard of him, think he must be a complete wally for even wanting to be a councillor.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I think it is great news well done Will,
As for the predictable comments from a bunch of silly old farts set in their ways I see them as form of entertainment.

simon moores said...

And there we see the problem of our times, respect for the office of Mayor and it's duties, in a traditional role, as understood by most people, is reduced to the ramblings of 'old farts' who can't relate to the values of the 'The X-Factor' or 'Britain's Got talent'

Anonymous said...

Yet another act of dumbing down to the lowest common denominator. Is there anybody left in Thanet who believes that positions of authority should be taken those who have skills, rather than those who think they have skills? The problem is that politics is about opinions, and so any idiot with opinions and a big mouth or nose for publicity can get themselves into the frame for a position of authority. Knowledge, hard work and experience count for nothing anymore, and Scobie, Worrow and Driver are the perfect examples to prove the case.

Anonymous said...

Yet your headline and photo is taken from another 'reality' show!

Tony Beachcomber said...

In this day and age how anyone be expected to respect authority when those in authority abuse their positions. Look at the way this government is treating people, especially people who are disabled which equates to the actions of a bully.
Nobody respects a bully.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Back to the subject, my son returns from Hemland this week and he is younger than Will Scobie. He has been on the ground and has completed his tour.
So following this thread he is old enough to fight for his country and take the ultimate responsibilty of looking out for his own life and those of his comrades. Yet back home he would not be considered savvy enough to hold a position of political authority .

Anonymous said...

Go and retire for a while and cme back when you are capable of a bit of respect!

simon moores said...

5:58 Go and lie down for a while and come back when you can follow an argument.

simon moores said...

Tony.. I'm sure all readers share an admiration for your son.

Using your own argument then, I assume he went through basic training of some kind before being transferred to active service?

Would you say that he's now ready to assume command of his regiment?

Mentioning your son reminds me of another young Thanet man I met last month who has just left the SAS.

Both have gone and achieved something remarkable and learned a great deal on the way. In fact, both have become men in every sense of the word as we understand it within society

You know as well as I do what the Mayor of any town represents from a traditional and historical perspective. It's not a youth opportunities scheme and demands a strong element of maturity and experience. It's not a political role either although in Margate it stands to become increasingly politicised.

If your son returned to civilian life, became a councillor and stood for Mayor, possibly having let more than 11 months pass, it's quite possible that we would not be having this argument and everyone reading this will understand why?

Historically, being elected mayor was a privilege and someone like Iris illustrates its finest qualities. Isn't it better to be the Mayor with the respect that goes with it, after one has grown-up and has a little experience of life, work and even the wider world beyond Canterbury?

Tony Beachcomber said...

Simon,

All the position of Mayor of Margate does is represent it has no authority it does not control or command anything. I think you have over rated the position and lets be honest anyone with a level head can do it as there are no real demands.

simon moores said...

And there you have it Tony.. You dismiss and diminish the role as if it were worthless.. After all.. Anyone can do it as you say but I wonder what the generations of Margate's leading citizens over the centuries who earned that accolade might say!

Anonymous said...

One of the greatest was Charlie Young who would have welcomed and encouraged Will and not just because of the Labour connection, but he would have recognised talent, commitment, loyalty and a willingness to serve the town. Age would not have been an issue. I had the privilege of meeting Tony Benn at a meeting that Will was also at, he was very encouraging of youth and did not see age as a barrier to any role. I cant work out what your issue is but you are coming over as either someone is jealous as you wanted the job or someone who has a downer on youth.

1 o'clock Rob said...

So Tony, if anyone can be Mayor why has the position historically gone to a long serving public servant?

and more importantly if anyone can do it and it has no authority, no control or command over anything and the position is over rated why is Will Scobies possible appointment seen by those who have put him forward as such a landmark in Thanet Politics?

Anonymous said...

Well I think it was an absolute "stitch up" I have heard that the likes of Hart C, Aldred Scobie snr and Clark all turned up to the meeting - something they haven't done for a year - they obviously believe in the Mayor and the Charter Trustees and will presumably now pick up their robes that I have been told are still hanging in the office where they have been since 2007. We will see = they have done their "duty" - hypocrits that is what I think, but time will tell.

simon moores said...

I find it interesting that Labour are unable or reluctant to engage intellectually around this subject and simply throw around the usual jibes.. this time a 'Downer on youth.'

Yes..perhaps Charlie Young might have approved of Will but then being an old-fashioned character, he might have recommended he show a little less hubris and perhaps wait more than 11 months as the most junior councillor in local politics before throwing his hat in the ring?

Perhaps equally revealing is the reference to Tony Benn, which speaks volumes about local left-wing politics.

Selecting Will was a radical departure from centuries of tradition and yet it was done in just over fifteen minutes and to all intents and purposes, whipped through by the appearance of Labour Charter Trustees who rarely if ever appear for any other function.

It was delivered as a 'faites accompli' with little discussion and no consultation in what is supposed to be an apolitical environment, which will I suspect now become unavoidably political as anything to do with Labour on the very left is.

But let's not deceive the public as fools and pretend it's not what it actually is.

Anonymous said...

I do feel that Will should have waited before going for such a post in the council - but even I! as a conservative voter, would have thought you could put up someone better than Brian Sullivan. I mean, come on, he's already done it a couple of times and not that well. If that is all you could come up with.......I would have thought it would be better for Iris to be put forward for another year, for both sides.

simon moores said...

We would have been quite happy for Iris to do another year but she said she had to concentrate on Cabinet rather than being Mayor.

simon moores said...

We were also happy to consider Tom King as Chair of the Westgate Residents Association and an Indeopendent councillor which seemed a good compromise proposal to me at least.

Tom didn't want it though!

Anonymous said...

If Clive Hart was involved in this then it shows he is the biggest of all hypocrites. He talks up consensus an working together, but seems to have pushed this through without consideration of tradition or the sincerely held views of others. As a non achiever in working life himself, it is not surprising he supports another non achiever.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, what a fuss!

As for the matter of age, I am appalled that this is even a matter being discussed. If a young person were to berate an older person for being incapable of doing something due to their age we would be hearing cries of ageism. It just would not be tolerated.

The apathy of young people towards politics is apparently rife in sixth forms with the students there feeling Will is nothing more than a 'wally' for wanting to be a Councillor. Surely involving himself in politics is better than leaving school without any qualifications or ambitions. Or is the suggestion that wanting to achieve things in life as a young adult is a trait that ought to be stamped out? Perhaps we should discourage young people from wanting to do and/or make something of their lives? That the message they should receive from older people is that they can do nothing worth recognition until they are middle aged or older? Simply because older people believe young people just 'can't'? Maybe we could start teaching them this in schools so that they don't get ahead of themselves??

Age does not necessarily bring with it a respect for history and tradition. I am sure Will is aware of exactly what is expected of him and that he will do it well. Come on people. Get a grip!!!

simon moores said...

8:43.. one more person who seems unable to follow the argument. The focus of which is the question of whether it is right and proper that a councillor of 11 months, aged 22, is qualified for the position of mayor, either through service or experience. After all this is a radical departure from tradition, here as much as anywhere else in the UK.

Answers on a postcard please!

Anonymous said...

I think we should cut the c*** about Will Scobie and just accept that this appointment is just another cynical step towards a full-time career in politics.
Being Mayor,with its generous allowance, will help him move effortlessly from education to professional politico, without having to bother with that tiresome business of spending some time in the real world on the way.

Anonymous said...

grow up and get over it you fool. The future is youth so stand aside with grace and dignity.

simon moores said...

I love the jargon 9:05, did you make it up all on your own I wonder and should that be 'Yoof'?

Try and concentrate.. it's not an argument over youth.. it's a question of experience and a radical departure from centuries of tradition.

Does 11 months as a councillor and no real employment record qualify a previously full-time student of 22 as mayor of Margate? yes or no please?

Anonymous said...

If it is not an argument over youth then perhaps you should stop using his age as part of your 'argument'.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as so many people seem to believe that this argument is about youth, perhaps it is time to consider the way you put your point across. Everyone else can't always be wrong! Perhaps it's time you were a little more succinct and put your arguemnt forward without mentioning age. This may prevent some of the confusion that you feel is prevalent in people's comments on this blog. Or can none of us apart from you follow an argument?

Anonymous said...

In some circles giving someone a paid job for they have no qualifications or experience would be considered cronyism at best, or corrupt at worst. Or both. Imagine the outcry if David Cameron fixed it for one of his pals.

simon moores said...

"Simples" as the Meerkat might say.

In this example age and experience are inextricably interconnected. So just for the record, are you telling me and other readers that school, university, a part time job and 11 months as a councillor are sufficient qualification and experience to overturn the normal process.

Just to remind ourselves, that's many years of public service, quite possibly the chair of several council committees and perhaps even a Cabinet role, before being offered the privilege of being proposed as Mayor.

Perhaps I am just old fashioned? Perhaps youth should be a shortcut to my job or indeed any role as long as it's politically expedient.

Michael Child said...

Simon OK allthatsaid and assuming that you are right and Will is the wrong person for the job, and assuming my calculations are correct and he is active as mayor for about five days a week and he goes on holiday for a fortnight.

You are left with the youngest mayor in the country costing about £40 per active day, less than the cost of the lowest paid council worker, Margate has a young and intelligent person with a masters degree, promoting Margate.

So as a local business man who may have contributed about, what’s the council tax paying population of Margate about 20,000 or 1,000 I don’t know anyway for arguments sake say you either contribute 0.2p per day or 0.4p per day, how are you going to see a cash return on your money?

I would have thought the publicity surrounding the youngest mayor will be news worthy, are you going to fly a banner, take him I a plane?

I have checked and am told that he is quite, fit, so how may extra wedding banners do you think the young ladies, or of course gay men will order, based on being associated with this publicity?

simon moores said...

All very good points and I don't deny the publicity aspect either. Neither do I anything against Will and wish him luck.

I'm however talking about process and I think you may be conceding that using the role of Mayor to accelerate the political career of a young person without any previous or substantial experience or indeed employment history may be inappropriate given that the Mayoral role is supposedly apoliticial.

Now this is how a proportion or readers and local politicians see the matter and although I would like to have more votes on the poll, I don't see uniform applause for the decision.

So perhaps we simply move on and recognise this for what it is, a form of youth opportunities scheme by the Labour group to help develop the political career of their youngest councillor.

If your'e happy with that assessment then so am I.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Simon,

Yes, I reckon anyone with a bit of savvy can do the Job of Mayor of Margate.
Before TDC came into being on 1st April 1974 the position of Mayor was a very responsible job, head of the Corporation of Margate.
After that, as you well know the position is just a representative role so there can ever be any comparison to pre 1974 role.

Anonymous said...

Where in the "mayor rulebook" does it say you have to have years of experience as a councillor? He may have only been a councillor for 11 months but he has been involved in politics for years and has done things many other councillors haven't. Also we are forgetting that he is the only councillor that has any qualification in politics! Good on you Will

Tim Clark said...

This is a fait accompli so we might as well move on. I'm sure Cllr Scobie will have a wonderful time and the allowances will go a long way to topping up has salary as a part-time minibus driver. This sudden adulation will also doubtless go to his head and a promising young political career will have been ruined by older politicians who pushed him too hard too soon - it can only be a matter of time before he's selected to stand, and lose, against Laura Sandys. If he really wants to make a career as a politician then I would advise him to move as far away from the Isle of Thanet as he can, and maintain a much lower profile whilst he works his way quietly through the ranks of the Labour Party.
And a final thought on politicans with no experience of the real world. Both major political parties are presently led by career politicians.

simon moores said...

I'll second that last word Tim...

Tim Clark said...

I was going to walk away but I can't let 5:56 go without asking him to name any of Cllr Scobie's achievements and to remind him, as I have had to remind the Sage of King Street twice, that Chris Wells is also politically qualified

simon moores said...

And I've read Marx and it wasn't Groucho Marx either!

To be perfectly honest and having met Harold Wilson, at age 23 politics was something that happened to people over the age of 50 but clearly times have changed for the better as has TV!

Anonymous said...

I have a tricorn hat!
Can I be considered for next year?

Anonymous said...

So glad my Thanet Watch report has sparked such interesting debate. But I would like to know what counts as politically qualified?
Christine

Anonymous said...

I beleive Will has a degree in politics Christine amongst other qualifications, nice guy and believe if we have to have a Mayor for Margate we could have done worse as past years have proved, Iris certainly excelled herself and Will shall do the same