Friday, May 17, 2013

Walk This Way

"Petty and vindictive" was how the Conservative Group Leader, Bob Bayford, described Clive Hart's Labour decision to remove Cllr Shirley Tomlinson and Cllr Ken Gregory from all their Council committees last night and which led to a Conservative walk-out from the Annual Meeting of the Council in protest.

There had been some hope that this most important meeting of the new Council year might have led to a recognition that squabbles going back to 2003, (Mike Harrison mentioned one) and the baggage of the near and distant past, might have been left behind but apparently not.

The meeting started with the election of a new Chair of Council and brave Doug Clark, who recently suffered a stroke and now has speech difficulties, was dragged-in by Labour to make-up the critical voting numbers. As expected, the vote went unanimously across all Parties, to replace him with the admirable Cllr Kay Dark but the next surprise came with Labour putting Cllr Harry Scobie forward as Vice Chair and UKIP,'s Roz Duncan, siding with Labour to give it to him by one vote, flexing her new political muscles in a minority administration.

As one might expect, Cllrs Worrow and Cohen, sitting together, voted with Labour on every motion, reminding me of two ventriloquist's dummies and once again, were duly rewarded with the well-remunerated and influential roles of Chair of Planning and Chair of the Finance Committee. Cllr Ian Driver left the Chamber before the next vote as he was unceremoniously kicked-off his job of Chair of the Scrutiny Committee and this was awarded to Cllr Jo Gideon in return for the Conservatives not opposing Labour having the Chair of Council and its casting vote. Cllr Driver is now firmly back in the wilderness, where many would argue he belongs, together with his soapbox.

It's not, I fear, an auspicious start to the new Council year. Ian Driver, who has now turned Green, may have been booted-off scrutiny but Worrow and Cohen now represent a protected species in return for the two votes that keep Labour in control of the Council; that's if every Labour member turns-up to vote at every meeting until May of next year and UKIP sits on its hands.

None of us yet know what UKIP actually stand for locally or what they are actually able to achieve beyond representing the purple protest vote. Indeed, what we have here in Thanet, is the worst of all worlds with a minority administration in control and personal vendettas being pursued in the chamber, that go back a generation.

For some of us, the good news hidden by the walk-out, was the appointment of Cllr Julie Marson to the Conservative Cabinet, who will now 'Shadow' Cllr David Green on the Labour bench. It would be nice, I believe, if my colleagues and I could actually get on with business without being reminded of what happened in 1993, 1982 or indeed during the 19th century Peterloo Riots but I don't believe it's going to happen any time soon, given the tortured landscape of local politics.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who were the two Tory cllrs who had the dignity not to walk out?

Wanda Rogers said...

I'm not surprised by this example of power gaming. This is already evident in community activities where the councillors are involved when it suits the party agenda. Simon, perhaps the Conservatives have a better understanding of what community is already been experiencing for some time. I have two specific examples in mind.

The community will gather tomorrow to have their own celebration.
Www.lovemargate.org.uk

Anonymous said...

Not so long ago you were implying that Shirley Tomlinson should "do the right thing" and resign, yet now you walk out on a council meeting because she's been removed from a committee!

Simon Moores said...

Cllr Wise and Wells stayed because they were part of the next business on the agenda and there was no wish to interrupt that.

Anonymous said...

I think 8.00 is missing the point. Who appointed the council as judge and jury? Both these people have served their sentence - I don't say what they did is right, but that is not for a petty minded council to decide the punishment - otherwise Mr Worrow would have been out long ago! This smells of Worrow demanded Labour lower their standards to keep two little minded, offensive invididuals on side.
Labour get some backbone - if you can't rule without these two, so be it. Better than being held to ransom - it's time to get back to governing Thanet and not pandering to hold control.

john Kirby said...

In Shirley Tomlinson's case it was not even a standard council committee. Her appointment with Her husband Mick was to help the Friends of Margate Cemetary which they have both involved with since it's formation over a decade ago I think that the by this action Clive Hart will pay a heavy political price and his cohorts from Birchington Independents have also shown themselves up as spiteful, petty individuals who I hope are obliterated by the electorate in 2015- John Kirby

Simon Moores said...

The BBC may have left me on the cutting room floor as they have now asked for bigger guns in the shape of Clrl Bayford to interview. Not sure what they are after though!

Perhaps I was too wet in the political sense?

Anonymous said...

Labour have stooped rock bottom this time. Yes those two made a mistake - but I thought Labour were meant to be fair minded and gave people a second chance - it's not like they never made a mistake. Mr Hart you need to think long and hard about what you allowed to happen or, are you so power crazy that your sense of decency and fairness goes for such a low price? - If you want to retain any credibility, have a good rethink who you get into bed with.

Anonymous said...

Worrow will be out next time - looks like he's taking Clive with him!!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you cam across as pompous and self-centred as always during the interview Simon?

Simon Moores said...

Always possible of course or perhaps there was water on the camera lens!

Anonymous said...

presumably Cllr Hart thinks Labours' Mike Harrison's Harassment Notice for homophobic abuse is ok - isn't Harrison Vice Chair of Scrutiny? Whiff of hypocrisy?

Anonymous said...

Whether Hart's actions were right or wrong, can anyone explain what the Tories actually achieved by walking out last night besides yet more negative publicity?

Simon Moores said...

On occasions one has to send a very clear message on a point of principle and this was felt to be such an occasion.

Richard Card said...

Are there no other questions, of which you are aware, concerning Cllrs Driver, Tomlinson and Tomlinson ?

Anonymous said...

Should we now call Shirley Cllr non-Driver?

Anonymous said...

I am confused here. Wasn't Roz Duncan a former Conservative Councillor ? I understand that some Tories have become disillusioned and have joined UKIP but how does that work when she voted with Labour ? Why would anyone vote for her if she was once a Tory, now a UKIP member yet votes with Labour ? Looks like she would be in office for long, she can't seem to make up her mind ! Would those who voted for her be happy that she is now a Labour sympathiser ?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9.03. Don't worry, it will all be sorted out at the next elections. I predict Worrow, Cohen, Hart, Tomlinson (both male and female) and loads of others will be going. The TDC is a pantomime at the oment and no serious work is being done. All we can do is wait for common sense to return and eventually this Mad Hatter's Tea Party will be sorted out. What an absolute mess and how frustrating it must be for those councillors who want to get on with the serious business of council. We can but wait.

Anonymous said...

You are right anon 7:12pm. Vote UKIP and get Labour. I'm sure the electorate of Cliftonville East will be very impressed.

Anonymous said...

7:12, Maybe she has a mind of her own and votes for what SHE thinks is right, regardless of what other party she's agreeing with? If only Worrow, Cohen, etc would do the same!

Anonymous said...

A nice touch. All the vote UKIP posters by the roadside have a "Thank you Thanet" banner across them. I might not agree with them but nice to see.

Anonymous said...

It's a pity that the Tory party didn't get it's own house in order some time ago. It's all very well moaning, but integrity is a word the Tory party have no familiarity with!