Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lost at Sea

The heatwave is predicted to stay with us for at least a week and at the same time, I really don't expect many people to be inside reading Thanet's local weblogs as they make the most of our short summer.

Southend Pier
I haven't really been encouraged to write over the last week, if only because I'm completely losing patience with the state of local politics. We now have UKIP and Cllr Tom King's independents, peddling a conspiracy theory, which also includes a 'Green' Ian Driver, who simply can't understand that a £3 million TransEuropa debt was a loss and not a loan to the company and that the priority always remained one of keeping the port of Ramsgate open.

In the Council chamber, the one evening that the Thanet Gazette, should really have been present, there was nobody to record the remarkable personal attack, the Council Leader, Clive Hart, directed at a member of the public, who had tabled a question to the Council. While I might recognise Cllr Hart's exasperation at the subject, attacking the 'In Touch with Thanet' Facebook page and its author, is neither clever nor acceptable from the Leader of the Council when the focus of such an attack has no right to reply. I'm sure the video of Thursday's Council business will be the most popular to date.

Lost in all the background noise on Thursday, was Cllr Dr. Jack Cohen, lovingly known as 'Rowley' by his colleagues, taking over as the leader of TIG, Thanet Independent Group, from Cllr John Worrow. He made a fine speech, congratulating Cllr Worrow on his many notable achievements to date and was generous in his praise of the work of the present administration. Let's not forget of course that we are where we are today in Thanet's sad political history, exactly because Cllr's Worrow and Cohen obediently raise their hands in support of each and every vital Labour vote. Not quite the Pavlovian reflex the good people of Birchington had in mind when they voted for them in the first place.

If I'm frank about it all, Thanet's political process is now drifting aimlessly, without any oars and with rather a lot of wind to push it around in circles.

Consensus Politics in Thanet
Between them, UKIP, the Independents and the other Independents, have control of the balance of power and here you have a bizarre mix of agendas, left and right wing politics, daft policies and wacky conspiracy theories from individuals you really would not want in charge of your lifeboat or indeed, a shopping trolley in Tesco.

Leaving aside District politics, County politics appears to be faring no better, with UKIP visibly lurching so far to the right in Thanet that in Ramsgate, even Trevor Shonk may feel comfortable with its trajectory. Domestic politics now reminds me vaguely of Germany in the 1930s and I'm not alone in expressing concern.

I've put up a picture of Southend Pier from yesterday, recalling, with nostalgia, that when I was a boy, Margate had one too. I had a marriage proposal to fly over the end of the pier yesterday in addition to a RMT Union banner over Bob Crow at the Durham Miners Gala at noon. There's an irony there I'm sure.

Other than filming the new Lawyers 4 You TV advert on Friday, I've been asked to do some advertising for Ryan Air. I asked if I had to pay them first and how much hand baggage allowance I might take with me in my own aircraft!

Finally and for the individual who is energetically searching my weblog for the address of a brothel in Broadstairs, you won't find it here I'm afraid but should you find one, I'm sure that some readers might be interested in your customer feedback comments. I'm not sure that TripAdvisor caters for this quite yet though!

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

I was not aware that the good Dr. was also siding with the left. I feel that my vote has been wasted in Birchington since the LGBT Worrower handed power to the Labour group.

I have called for Worrow to stand for re-election in the IOTG letters page, but he has no conscience about what he has done, and his recent tantrums and swearing does him no credit.

Duncan Smithson said...

Simon = I found it very interesting that Clive attacked me and my work for three of the five minutes of his response. To me - it simply served to highlight the 'Leaders' attitudes. Must admit - never been threatened in Council Chambers before - it was a first :D Still - its all good fun :D

Anonymous said...

Glad you think it's fun Duncan. I don't. If our elected representatives cannot behave themselves then they don't deserve to be re-elected. If an MP had abused someone in the public gallery I am sure the speaker would have soon put a stop to it and an apology issued..............

Bemused of Birchington said...

I see that Bob Crow, who gets paid nearly as much as the PM, lives in a 3 bed council house. Will he have to give up his spare room subsidy?

Norah Batty said...

Don't lose heart Councillor Moores. You are not alone in your sadness in the way TDC is being run. When the next elections come round, I have a feeling we will see some massive changes. The voters are not stupid, they can see what is going on.

Simon Moores said...

I will be visiting the surgery in the morning and asking if its correct its using a premium line.

John Hamilton - talking sense and cutting through bullshit said...

I'm not aware what was said about Dunkers, but it appears that it would have been 100% correct comments about a pointless and worthless socilist agitator, who really should be treated with the contempt that those who really have nothing to offer always should be :)

Amyone ever wondered where this particularly pointless individual Dunkers suddenly sprang up from ;)

Simon Moores said...

What 'Dunkers' writes or supports is somewhat irrelevant to the behaviour expected from the leader of our Council.

In this example, Cllr Hart's reply should have been politely focused on the question asked of him and not, instead a personal tirade against the member of the public asking it.

Duncan Smithson said...

Hello all :D where did i come from. I will accept that. Must admit - I have kept my head down but now I am being a little more vocal - flexing me media muscle, so to speak. Nora - I agree. John. Check out my heritage. I am glad you have noticed me. Simon. I have talked to a lot of people recently. Your name is always mentioned positively. Regardless of political point of view. Thank you for your blog dude. All the best.

Anonymous said...

I have asked this question before. Is there a licenced bar at these council meetings or do you have to bring your own?

Simon Moores said...

It's a local tradition for Members to bring their own refreshment. Frequently peppermints but sometimes stronger by all accounts!

Anonymous said...

Duncan is clearly either telling lies or kissing a**e: I spoke to him about Simon Moores and it wasn't positively!

Simon Moores said...

Do you really believe I'm at all bothered by your opinion 6:50?

Anonymous said...

UKIP "lurching" to the right in Thanet, that might even give comfort to Shonk? Come on Simon, even you would find it difficult to prove that one! You're just jumping on the "hysteria towards UKIP" bandwagon that's going around the country. If anything you should be worried that Scobie was guest speaker at a UAF meeting in Broadstairs recently. The same UAF that tried to stop Farage speaking in Hove several weeks ago. That surely was a "lurch" too far towards non-democracy!

Anonymous said...

The DEBT figure is 3.4 million and the way you dismiss 400 000 pounds of public money is a clear illustration why there is a need for someone outside of the main political parties to hold this council to account.
This money has had to be found from reserves to balance the current budget and with another ten per cent cut to come next year
this council's services will be in dire peril.
Both the Tories and Labour along with senior management have been found out gambling with public money and between them colluded to keep this from the full council.
The Independent group has rightfully called for an Independent inquiry -as no other group will do so as they are both busy covering each other's back.As a labour member who was whipped into defeating the Independent's very valid motion I feel ashamed.

Simon Moores said...

Sadly, the Independent Group appear to be at best, financially illiterate and at worst, politically opportunist.

Regardless of whether the sum is rounded up, down or sideways, this was money that the Council, like the other main creditors, hoped it might receive, even in part, if it could provide the environment for TransEuropa to trade its way out of the circumstances it found itself in.

All at the same time as keeping the port open and other sources of revenue flowing.

Until such a time as the financially challenged arrive at an alternative in regard to what they might have done in the same circumstances, perhaps it's best to stay quiet and stop flogging the proverbial dead horse!

Anonymous said...

There seems to be little point trying to move you from your entrenched view regarding the money not collected by TDC from the erstwhile ferry company but it’s probably worth a try.
If you rent a house out to someone the money you charge takes into account your costs – insurance, maintenance, agents’ fees, possible legal costs etc. The chances are you would probably budget that some of the income would be put to use perhaps financing another purchase or a new car. Should your tenant not pay up you get rid of them as quickly as possible and find a tenant who will pay, therefore covering your costs and keeping the budget for other things on track. If you don’t get rid of the tenant you simply get further and further in to debt in the hope the tenant comes good in the end. The question is how far you let your tenant go before you call time.
The money owed to TDC by Transeuropa is a huge debt. It was already a huge debt when the Conservative administration allowed it to rise over the million mark, and it has now snowballed. It would be interesting to see a copy of the accounts showing just how much money TDC spent trying to bail out the ferry company, which already seems to have had a questionable financial record. Plus there is how much they lost in real terms from unpaid port fees, maintenance, bunkering, staff, insurance etc. All of this is a real debt which should have set financial alarm bells ringing years ago to the extent that the plug was pulled and a search was made for a more reliable and viable operator to use the excellent facilities at Ramsgate.
Finally there is the question of how much TDC has lost from the expected profit from hiring the port facilities, which would have been transferred to the general fund – the shortfall of which will need monies to be transferred from other areas of a pitifully inadequate council budget. There is no point trying to wrap this affair up in red tape and secrecy. Your beloved David Cameron wants absolute transparency in all things political so I hope that we will see an in depth, independent enquiry into this whole sorry affair from the moment the debts started to mount up.

Simon Moores said...

Yes but you appear quite oblivious to the Chief Exec's statement at Council that the income from port activities continued while the TransEuropa debt was under review. This made a significant contribution to the Council's income and would have been removed if the Council had chosen to wind-up TransEuropa at some arbitrary point in time.

Ie regardless of TransEuropa owing the Council berthing fees, the greater priority lay in keeping the port open, trading and with an income.

Think of European airports and cheap airlines like Ryan Air. Many of these local Government subsidise the cheap carriers because of the greater economic benefits to their region in the tourism and business economy.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that if a ferry company went belly up at Dover another would soon take its place. I don't see them queuing up for Ramsgate. I speak as a layman in these matters and if anybody cares to correct me I don't mind.

Anonymous said...

Do people still say dude?

Anonymous said...

6:22, Only people over 35 who still think they're teenagers.

Duncan Smithson said...

lolz. You have to love the mask of anonymous :D For reference, I cant remember talking too much about Simon, other than saying he seems good at the big, national issues. And that his blog must take some time to produce. Yes - 6:22 - its a common word amongst 'young' people that live by the sea. Sorry if my informality offends you and good to see you picking up on the "big points" - are you Clive???? As for FerryGate - why havent TDC been working night and day to try to find another operator?

Anonymous said...

Regarding your last point Duncan, what makes you so sure that they haven't been? Or do TDC personally inform you of everything they do?

Anonymous said...

That would be a patronising dude (Origin America 1885 ish) then? And of course the mask of anonymity means you will never know if I have picked up on the BIG points previously.

Duncan Smithson said...

8.25 - would be lovely if you actually gave a name. No - I do not have a hotline to TDC but I believe the press reported that due diligence was not carried out. Think sue said that one.

Duncan Smithson said...

I just spotted another response. Must admit - the quality of some of the feedback on this site is brilliant. Love yer come back at 7:02 - intellectual genius! :D [waiting for the comeback on my use of the term 'yer']

Anonymous said...

As I said Duncan, patronising.

Anonymous said...

Clearly a university education has paid off yer dude.

Anonymous said...

How nice of Hamilton to pop up out the woodwork. Who is on the night shift tonight then? Is it the our king of fool's by any chance! The plug should have been pulled earlier on the port or at least consulted or communicated with it's council members and members of the public. TDC should have no place for commercial dealings of this nature and they are still doing under our noses with Iris Johnston giving away tax payers money to commercial companies and setting up events groups for this reason! It is pointless going around politically. At the end of the day Thanet District Council is in the mess it is in because they decide to put petty politics ahead of the real issues, which is very sad. Politics should not be primary but secondary. At the end of the day it has been mishandled an enquiry is imminent and backs are against the wall. Everyone will be pleased to know the task and finish group for pleasurarma have requested to raid Patterson's filing cabinet on due diligence and all related files which he believes was not fully necessary. Let the members decide that, officer led yet again. I bet important confidential documents conveniently goes AWOL.