Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Benefit of Law

Last night, another committee meeting at Thanet Council, had to be abandoned, thanks to the publicity-seeking antics of Cllr Ian Driver.

While I recognise that Cllr Driver is very keen to film meetings rather than participate in a constructive manner as an elected Councillor, readers may have noticed that the question of filming Council meetings is presently a matter of debate. Only this week, the Conservative Group at TDC expressed their views on the matter, in response to a Standards Committee report. This I should add, is firmly focused on the antics and interruptions of Cllr's Driver and Worrow in the Chamber, which makes the proper conduct of Council business a struggle at best, a political farce at worst.

In regard to the former, I'm reminded once again of a quote from Sir Thomas More, in the film, 'A Man for All Seasons, " shown further below. Cllr Driver is a member of Thanet District Council and while he may have a long and distinguished record, over many years, as a political agitator for various socialist groups, he has signed-up to the members code. Until that code is changed, disrupting the business of the Council contradicts what he stands for and the interests of the very public he represents.

In regard to his former colleague, Cllr Worrow, I will be putting the following question to Cabinet Member, Cllr Michelle Fenner at the next full Council meeting in December:

"In view of the gravity of the Police investigation facing Cllr John Worrow, would it not be sensible to suspend his role as the Council's Diversity Champion and recommend that he step aside until he has had an opportunity to clear his name?"

I would expect that Cllr Jack Cohen, now the leader of TIG, would also ask his colleague, Cllr Worrow to stand-down until his name has been cleared in this matter.

In the meantime, here is that quote I mentioned earlier and perhaps it applies to Cllr Driver and Cllr Worrow in equal measures.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

It seems that the ink on the standards report had hardly dried before we were given a perfect example of how much it means to those it was targeted at! This man is a joke and, although given life by labour, he is now a thorn in everyone's side. It's my belief that many good cllrs would speak out louder were it not for the pervasive threat of litigation from a minority number of cllrs, who use it as a weapon to keep the truth about their on an off screen antics out of the public eye.

Anonymous said...

Simon, does'nt Worrow get money for being chair of something-part of his labour bargain wasn't it? Surely he should stop taking rate payers money until this is sorted out. So can you add that to your question on a rate payers behalf?

Simon Moores said...

More in ECR department I suspect 11:38 and yes.. the threat of litigation has been a problem thanks to a single individual using it like a blunt weapon against any criticism of personal behaviour

Tony Ovenden said...

Simon, not wishing to appear thick but what exactly has John Worrow done wrong.

Simon Moores said...

I recommend looking-up the story on the Thanet Gazette or going back a few entries here

Anonymous said...

No Simon, this is merely Worrow being ACCUSED of doing something wrong. Big difference.

Simon Moores said...

Absolutely, this is a grave allegation made against a sitting councillor and quite possibly I'm more familiar with the background than I'm prepared to discuss in a public forum. Cllr Worrow should be given every opportunity to prove his innocense but until then it would be sensible to step aside

Anonymous said...

It's also about his tantrum performances in council. Having sat in the public gallery, there is a lot he does that never makes it onto camera, obscene gestures etc!

Bemused of Birchington said...

Is this the same councillor Driver who objected to being filmed and photographed whilst taking part in assorted animal rights protests? Sauce for the goose etc.

Bemused of Birchington said...

As someone who voted for John Worrow thinking I was getting a Conservative representative, it is surely time he stepped aside until such time as these allegations are resolved.

Anonymous said...

Driver and Worrow have consigned the electorate of Thanet to 4 wasted years with their tantrums regarding sexuality, diversity and bloody minded arrogance regarding their own opinions. They have no belief in democracy and I just wonder whether the residents of Thanet appreciate just how much these two comedians have done to local issues. Driver has no regard to Councillors' Codes of conduct - but like all bullies he would be the first to scream about victimisastion. he pops up on Radio kent and BBC South East with very monotonous regularity that I cannot even have an early morning shower without listening to his drivel - this morning about Ramsgate Port on radio kent - he must have a hot line to their producers -please BBC kent and South east news spare us mere mortals from this idiot politicin

Barry James said...

To all those that believe the report is solely about Driver and Worrow think again. I have sat in Council and listened to the bile and sarcasm. All Councillors should behave in public and act with decorum even if they feel provoked. Simon I know you are a Tory and neither party comes out of this smelling of roses

Simon Moores said...

OK.. granted. Principally about Driver and Worrow with a sprinkling of a few characters on both sides of the chamber who should know better.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it is going to need a monumental effort and a great deal of time for the Council to attain some form of respect from both the local community and those beyond. It is very sad to see the demise over the years of respect for Thanet Councillors probably as early as the Cyril Hoser trial. There have been some genuine Councillors over the years whose main aim was to serve the community who elected them and do what they thought was in the best interest of Thanet Residents. Unfortunately these appear to be far and few between these days. Due to the behaviour of quite a few Councillors it s no wonder that people with a genuine interest in serving the residents of Thanet shy away from standing for election to the Council. It is also unfortunate that Council Staff are tarred with the same brush due to the behaviour of the Council.

1 o'clock Rob said...

@ Anon 5:02, you won't be free of Cllr Ian "Pass me the soapbox" Driver on the TV or Radio, don't you know he has his own ex/retired Hack/Journo as a friend who has "contacts" at the Beeb and other news outlets!

Anonymous said...

True in part 7.19. But just how back do you go! I was a teenager in the Hoser days so come, it's not really relevant today. Yes, you are right in that it will take a lot of hard work for cllrs to work together. This will need honesty and trust between all of them. As someone once said trust is hard won, easily lost. Perhaps this will be more likely to happen when there a greater proportion of new cllrs with less history to draw on, I'm sure this will make for a more constructive council chamber and less places for officers to hid and get out of the jobs they are employed to do. Make no mistake, officers have a lot to answer on a number of our more spectacular cock ups, it's not all down to incompetent cllrs.

kandy jones said...

i think you are trying to stick this standards findings on to worrow and driver. if people would come along to any of these meetings wouls see for themselves the abuse some cllrs get from others, i for one have witnessed MANY outbursts from other cllrs other than worrow and driver, i have witnssed cambell shouting at trevor shonk, who didnt respond, so cambell carried on until i shouted to stop the abuse, his answer was, "it dont matter, hes only UKIP" another member of public saaid that doesnt matter, he is still human, to which cambell tutted!
i witnessed with my own eyes an ears when Hart threatened a member of public sitting in on the cabinet meeting.
the people of thanet need this council filmed by independant people as 'they' edit their filming, which shouldnt be allowed. as Binks says, you make a mess, you should own up to it, and not be whipped into silence.
'they'/you can try to lay the blame onto worrow and driver, but we the people know the truth.
there will be a change in 2015, people have had enough.

Simon Moores said...

I wasn't aware that Trevor Shonk was a district councillor and as for Cllr Hart 'Threatening" a member of the public, would someone care to remind us what this so-called threat actually was? "Have a nice day," "Don't walk in the woods after dark?, "I know where you live?"

There is no "editing" of the filming it's all in your imagination. The filming is there as a matter of public record to show the process and debate. It only records that; ie when Cllrs are speaking and not the shouting from the gallery and off topic exchanges.

I'm sorry to say that "the people" in this case I suggest you, know very little about the "truth."

It's a council chamber and you are going to have robust exchanges between councillors. Watch the last Council video for confirmation of this. This type of exchange happens in Parliament too. However, what is not acceptable is the action of individual Cllrs,seeking personal attention, disrupting the meetings.

Barry James said...

Simon please remember your perception of what is happening within and without is coloured by your time in politics and as the report states not the perception of the publics.
Please stop dismissing, as Clive Hart did yesterday, as a problem with one or two people. As you have read on ITWT there are an enormous depth of feeling in Thanet over this matter and it has been building up since Cyril Hoser and your own leader being jailed has added to the problems.
I myself have had emails from Councillors accusing me of allsorts when I try to get to the bottom of why TDC chose Shaun Keegan.
What I would like to suggest is you and some of your colleagues meet with some of the more vocal critics of the system to see if we cannot convince you to relook at what is in effect a them & us situation.
BTW Kandy was talking about a Ramsgate Town Council meeting but all interactions between Councillors have an effect on peoples perceptions of behaviour

Anonymous said...

If you needed an example of officer incompetence, you couldn't have done better than last nights display at TDC planning. It was a tour de force of officers squirming like worms on a hook. No wonder we have a planning department that's considered such a joke. I even felt sorry for all the councillors present having to make decisions based on flawed information from these officers, shame on you TDC PlC.
The farce was made complete by the no show of cllr Worrow who, despite calling in an application, did not have the good manners to turn up. The chair cllr Cohen didn't even turn a hair at his only members abuse of the system by wasting officers and cllrs time.
So the two 'trouble makers' have both scored this week.

Simon Moores said...

I grant you that interaction between Cllrs colours perceptions but at the same time confusion exists between Parish Councillors and TDC Councillors. If Cllrs act inappropriately they should be censured, end of story, like the Reverend Flowers in the news today.

I suspect however that Thanet is, in reality, very little different from the great majority of councils in the land but that with enough people crying "fire" in a crowded cinema often enough, the results are predictable.

Anonymous said...

I see on Thanet press releases that the Thanet South Conservatives have waded in regarding the standards report. I agree with all but the last point. Any costs should be borne by the relevant association that selected the candidate, provided they are still paying their membership fees. That way there would a better level of accountability by all involved.

Bemused of Birchington said...

You ask for a reminder of threatening language by Cllr. Hart.The threatening language by Cllr. Hart might have the time when Duncan Smithson asked a question to him at a TDC meeting. Firstly Cllr. Hart accused Smithson of throwing down a cigarette end, and at the end of his answer to Smithson's question he added "I hope you get home safely" or words like that. (It's all on video). There were cries about threats from the gallery to which chair replied that "We do not make threats". If Cllr Hart did not intend a threat then so be it but "I hope you get home safely" is often seen as an implied threat when delivered in the way that Cllr. Hart did. I only watched the video and felt it was not a nice thing to say.

Simon Moores said...

It's a very stupid and immature remark from a politician and hardly a threat is it?

Bemused of Birchington said...

Quite right, but from someone who I hope should have known better.

Barry James said...

His remark to a member of the public was as if that member was a politician. However I agree it wasn't statesmanlike, demeaned the office he holds, and was not criticised by the Chair as rightly it should have been. There is a huge difference from being robust and being rude and petty and it is about time certain people within the Council learnt to grow up!! sorry Simon rant over