Saturday, June 09, 2012

Going Local

Out and about this morning and I see that the different political parties are already working hard in Westgate.

I had a friendly chat with the gentlemen from UKIP and did point-out that almost everyone of their pledges for Westgate had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Thanet District Council's remit; i.e. wind farms, weeds, resisting social housing, introducing a parish council and a referendum on supermarkets etc. "Isn't this all a little disingenuous?" I asked.

James Maskell is the Conservative candidate, Jodie Hibbert is Labour's choice, Jeff Elenor is UKIP's champion and Bill Furness is running on the Liberal ticket.  I haven't seen a TIG presence yet, no doubt peddling their unique mix of animal rights, parking and LBGT marriage policies. I've heard that the Green Party and perhaps even the BNP may be circulating, seeking a quick-by-election publicity opportunity.



For some reason, the iconic image of the helicopter scene in the movie, 'Apocalypse Now', sprang to mind, an embattled Westgate, it's beaches closed, suddenly the focus of attention of every political party in the land; that's with the exception of George Galloway's 'Respect' Party (Bradford Spring T-shirts now available on-line) and who knows if they will put in an appearance.

We have seen of late, the independents in particular, straying beyond the more mundane, day-to-day responsibilities of a local ward councilor and seeking to position themselves on county or national issues. These may sound grand but it's the local case work that really matters, helping often vulnerable people navigate their way through what can sometimes be a maze of local government services and regulations.

Then, there's issues like a Sainsbury's superstore on the Canterbury road and plans for a new Tesco in Station Road, to be presented to the Residents' Association meeting on Monday night. From what I can judge, many people I speak with, want neither. I'm particularly irked by the proposed plan for a Tesco, having approved commercial use for three small shop units opposite Molly's, to reflect the look and feel of Westgate and then seeing that, coming back a couple of years later as a Tesco Metro. I'm in London on Monday and so will miss the WWRA meeting as I may not be home in time but I have passed me feelings on this and other local issues along.

26 comments:

me said...

Apocalypse Now or as we call it here in Thanet .............the local council

Anonymous said...

Simon, why would anyone vote Conservative when they've witnessed how easy it is to 'cross the floor' ?
I do not understand why a by election wasn't called when this happened in Birchington. I used to vote Tory, but I am having second thoughts because I do not trust the person elected to stay with the political group he professes to be loyal to. Also, wasn't Jack Cohen a Conservative and now is an Independent. What is going on with the Tory party in Thanet ? I cannot vote Labour because of all the in fighting in their group and I do not honestly believe they have the interests of Thanetians at heart. What does a slip of a girl know about the historic problems of Westgate ? I understand that her Facebook page exposes her lack of decorum and education to say the least. All I am left with is Ukip, and can they, given the Gregory/Worrow/Ezekiel/Driver business of late be any worse ?
I think I know where my vote MUST go.

simon moores said...

In mynopinion, a vote for UKIP is simply a vote for Labour, as it splits the natural Conservative vte along some very strongly held views on Europe which have nothing to do with providing council services to the people of Westgate.

As for crossing the floor, we have rather too much of it and particularly now when individuals with a high opinion of themelves and no future in the main parties and realise that they can be handsomely rewarded and wiield disproprotionate influence by going independent!

James Maskell said...

I am standing as a Conservative and if elected will serve Westgate as a Conservative.

Anonymous said...

With the greatest respect Mr. Maskell, that was exactly what Mr. Worrow said ! It is all a gamble, and though your loyalty might be with the Torys now, how is the voter ever going to be sure your loyalty won't change at some point. I am inclined to vote the way I have always, but to be honest, I think we need someone older than yourself to fight the cause in the TDC. It is admirable that young people want to get involved, but you haven't actually got any 'life' experiences have you ? I assume you are not a mortgage holder, married or a parent, though I might well be wrong, if I am, I apologise. Do you live4 in W?estgate itself ?

simon moores said...

Looking at the poll on the sidebar, I'm wondering why, given the unhappy prevailing situation in the council, people are keen to vote Labour?

Are they content with a leadership and policies directed by Clive, Iris, Driver, Cohen and Worrow or am I missing something?

Tom Clarke said...

Best of luck, James. Personally I do not have a problem with a few younger faces around the council though I think a bit of experience is desirable before becoming leader or, dare I say it, even mayor.

James is very different to Worrow, Anon 9:30, for the latter had already jumped ship from the Grey Party before joining the Conservatives. James has been an active young Conservative for several years now and a keen observor of the local political scene. I think he will make a good councillor as well as a bright prospect for the future.

Tom Clarke said...

Simon, the side bar poll is too limited to reflect majority intentions and, because of the low numbers, is too easily hijacked by a handful of activists. Let's wait and see what happens on polling day, but work hard at getting the Tory vote out.

Anonymous said...

A vote for Labour is not only a vote against Conservative but against those pesky Independents.

It could be argued that this will strenghten Labours position so that they do not need those pesky Independents.

Tactical voting is what it is called.

Jon said...

When somebody votes for a candidate in an election the voter shows trust in the candidate which is formed by a number of things including "track record" and "personality". Of course the policies that the candidate stands for are the ultimate clincher. I think 8.57 is being rather unkind to James Maskell comparing him to Worrow and Cohen. James Maskell has conducted his blog decently and with considerable thought over the months whereas Worrow, showing an ever increasing lack of mental stability, jumps from party to party trying to gain maximum leverage for himself. The Conservatives were warned not to adopt him as a candidate at the last election but failed to take notice. As for Cohen - he is a past chairman of the local Conservative Party who was expelled for physically abusing a lady member at a meeting. Hence his current hatred of anything blue. You cannot compare these low grade specimens with Mr Maskell.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you are missing it, then so am I ! Could it be that the majority of voters are so disinterested in local politics that they will either vote how they always have or not bother at all ? The Cohen/Driver/
Worrow/Gregory/Harrison/Ezekiel matters have not helped matters I suppose. I tell people that if they don't bother voting then don't complain about the state of the TDC.

Anonymous said...

Can you answer the questions that anonymous 9.30 asked Simon ? Mr. Maskell is doing himself no favours by staying silent. If he is the one we need to vote for, we need to know what his position is.

Anonymous said...

You're missing several things, but the publicity surrounding former Tory TDC leader Sandy Ezekiel's corruption trial / former Tory mayor Ted Watt-Ruffell's animal cruelty conviction / former Tory cllr Ken Gregory's hateful phone message are just three to get you started!

Tim Clark said...

9:30. Follow your line of reasoning and you will never vote for anything again. James Maskell has stood previously as a Tory candidate; your inference that all Tories will defect as soon as they are elected is perverse - Ian Driver wasn't a Tory.
Your other inference is that James is too young and inexperienced - this based entirely on assumption since by your own admission you know nothing about him. So in your view James is too young; what about the other candidates? Jodi(e) Hibbert, about the same age so she's ruled out. And of course she doesn't live in Westgate. That leaves the fringe parties and TIGs.
The only way that we will rid ourselves of the playground politics prevalent in TDC is to start introducing new people. I have no problems with James standing - if you read his blog (have you?) you will see that he devotes a considerable amount of time to local politics already and displays no TIG-like tendencies.

Anonymous said...

Who is to say that a UKIP candidate if successful wouldn't realise that more can be done as part of a major party and cross the floor too?

tony flaig bignews said...

Hopefully, we will see a clean campaign based on what candidates have to offer, things shouldn't get bogged down in spurious arguments about age, I've no doubt most candidates will be judged on personal attributes, myself I've only really met two of the candidates James Maskell who has good knowledge of the workings of the council although never having been elected and Bill Furness who is much respected in Birchington Parish as well as being closely involve in local campaigns, Sainsbury's, Animal welfare in addition to a solid experience council experience.

Chris Wells said...

I have had the privilege of knowing James Maskell for many years. He has canvassed and delivered for the Conservative Party certainly since around 2005; and previously stood as a district candidate for us in Salmestone Ward. Whilst he may not yet be married or have a mortgage I do know enough about his personal circumstances to know he has consistently earned a living since leaving school and college, and rented properties without difficulty in more than one part of the area. He is a serious thinking young man (young from my imperious age!) and has served, from memory, as a governor of both Thanet College and Salmestone School.

Any comparison with Worrow does undeserved credit to Worrow, who had, has, and is ever unlikely to ever offer such maturity.

I shall happily offer to help James with his campaign, and know he will be an appropriate successor to the late Brian Goodwin.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget boys and girls that we are in "purdah" ! So don't start saying things that can cause problems at election time. There should be a clean campaign and TDC should go back to representing the residents of Thanet and not themselves.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I think it is unlikely that the by election will be clean as there is too much pride at stake and nobody wants to come last.
The two front runners will be labour and conservative because people do feel uncomfortable with a factional council. For the conservatives it will be a bad time for a by election because of national issues and this is the ideal opportunity for voters to express disapproval. Then it doesn't help the conservatives having UKIP and strongly backed independents on their case. I think on paper it does point to a Labour win by the smallest of margins.

Tom Clarke said...

I really fail to see the connection between pride and an unclean fight. One would have hoped that the same pride, that Tony speaks of, would have encouraged candidates to win clean even if that is not the normal way for Labour.

As for national issues, surely this is a local election, about Westgate and its people in the main, and who controls TDC on the slightly bigger picture.

Looking locally, instead of central government who are still trying to sort out the mess left by Labour, do the people of Westgate really want their local council to continue to be hijacked by a group of turn coats as is the case at present.

Vote Labour and Worrow and Driver continue to blackmail the Labour leadership. Vote Conservative and the grip of these dubious self interest individuals is weakened.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Tom

You can be really hard work at times. All I in saying is how it is and judging by the terrible way the blue corner have responded to John Worrow's defection I think nothing can be ruled out.

People like you have made local politics so personal something I would never do.

Bill Furness said...

I am standing as a Liberal Democrat and if elected will serve Westgate for the people of Westgate and not for the Party,I will support the needs of the community above party politics and like the Independents not subject to the party whip.

Tom Clarke said...

Tony B, guess you will be telling me next that Mike Harrison has been really sweet to Ian Driver since he jumped ship. Please, let's not be naive about this Worrow nonsense. The guy abandoned the party that got him elected and has since embarked on a campaign amounting to Tory phobia. Of course, people kick back.

Similarly, Ken Gregory has endured snide comments from Labour folk for years because he crossed the floor. Like you said, politics is not always a clean fight, though that does not make it right.

The problem of turncoats could be easily resolved by requiring them to stand for re-election under their new colours, though I will not be holding my breath on it happening anytime soon.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Tom,

Getting back back to a point I made earlier about national issues.
Over 12 months ago the electorate of Westgate were perfectly happy to elect 2 Conservatives and 1 independant to represent them on TDC. Even though we are going through all this drama on TDC I doubt if this will make the way people change their vote. However this by election is being fought on national battle lines with all main parties putting up candidates, something that has not happened for a long time in Westgate. Considering that the coalition are looking increasingly out of touch with the electorate I doubt if those affected are going to reward coalition parties in this by election if they have got alternatives. You can blame the previous Labour government as much as you like but it will have no bearing how people will vote in this by election, in fact it will come across as desperate.
If the conservatives were to win this seat I think it will down to the way the people will take to the Conservative candidate if he was to lose I think it will be down to national issues as they would have been the stronger influence,

Anonymous said...

I will not vote for anyone under 30, no matter how clever or attractive they are. You can't beat real life experience and I don't want to be represented by a kid. Give me a statesman any time, someone who knows what it is like to bring up a family and struggle in a career.

Tom Clarke said...

Tony B, I still think a Westgate election will be more about local issues, especially when I read people fretting about where candidates live.

Nationally, I would have to admit to disenchantment with the coalition government on several issues, but that would not make me vote Labour or any of the fringe parties. Whether I reflect the views of the Tory faithful in Westgate remains to be seen.

Guess we will just have to wait and see.