Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A Little Localism

Mayoral elections are rather topical at present, what with Ken and Boris fighting it out again for control of London and young Scobie dramatically closing the age gap between the Mayor and the Youth Mayor of Margate.

Some of us are of course old enough to remember the GLC and Ken's fight to the death with Maggie Thatcher over who wore the pants in London. Let's not forget of course some of Ken's more bizarre policies and advisers either and of course, some of the more unusual deals which have an uncomfortable habit of surfacing before elections.

At least two of our London boroughs are now regarded as on the fringes of being hopelessly corrupt in the political sense and their names and the ethnic criminal gangs and groups that control them, came-up in conversation at a conference I attended in March. This was in association with electoral fraud. It's rather like the political elephant in the living room, everyone knows it's there but nobody wants to wake it up.

In rather too many cities in this country, fraud and corruption is seen as a growing problem; remember 'Militant' in Liverpool? There is mounting evidence that local democracy is being hijacked and so is local government or as one judge famously put it in 2005: "The system is wide open to fraud and any would-be political fraudster knows that it's wide open to fraud. Anybody who has sat through the case I have just tried and listened to evidence of electoral fraud that would disgrace a banana republic would find this statement surprising."

Some members of Militant did of course find a happy retirement here in Thanet and I can think of several characters but there's already concern being expressed over the forthcoming mayoral election in London. I'm sure you can imagine that with cities that already boast a track record of dodgy election practices, like Birmingham, 'Localism' in the 21st century may have a whole new meaning that this cradle of modern democracy never really anticipated.

But with national local elections tomorrow, together with the unhappy news this afternoon, of former Thanet council leader, Sandy Ezekiel, being charged with fraud, to cheer everyone up and perhaps restore a little faith in our stumbling political process, mayoral and otherwise, here's a clip from 'The Comic Strip' dealing with Ken's first great battle for London.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this has all suddenly become rather overshadowed now that your former leader has been charged with fraud, don't you?

Anonymous said...

ECR IS BACK!!!

Anonymous said...

3;57 remember that in this country you are innocent until proved guilty

Tom Clarke said...

7:44, not if you are a Tory, I am afraid, but, if Labour, you are still innocent even after being tried, convicted and incarcerated.

Any mention anywhere of the former miners leader who embezzled some £160K from his members charity or the former expenses fiddling Labour MP who is pulling the ill health stroke to avoid facing up to her charges.

Sadly, corruption exists in all sorts of places, but in Thanet we only get excited when it involves Tories.

Anonymous said...

Who's that then Tom?

Tom Clarke said...

Actually, 1:31, you could have looked it up yourself, but as you have asked here goes. The mine union leader who was sentenced to 8 years on 27th April for embezzling his members charity fund was Neil Greatrex.

Margaret Moran is the former Labour MP for Luton who should have appeared in court last week for fiddling some £80k on her expenses, but got her lawyer to plead ill health.

Was not going to say, but you asked.

Anonymous said...

For those of you with a memory of the 1980 Greatrex was also know as Silver Birch and was funded by MI5 & supported by the Tories to split the NUM

Tom Clarke said...

9:04 Quotes a rumour started at the time by Scargill, for political reasons, and which was totally unfounded. Does anyone seriously belief that MI5 have nothing better to do.

Like I said earlier, in some minds only Tories are guilty of anything so when you find a Labour culprit like Greatrex, he suddenly becomes a Tory stooge.

9:04 will be telling us next that Margaret Moran was a closet Tory, but then he may have a point. All these champions of the working classes cannot wait for personal riches and the feel of ermine on their backs. Just think of all those Labour peers who were never going to set foot in that place.