Sunday, August 17, 2014

On the Bench

Just George
A photo portrait of one of Westgate's most visible and popular characters, 'George'.

If you live in the town, then you are bound to encounter George and like many others, I make a point saying hello when I see him reading his morning copy of The Sun on the bench in Station Road while he waits for the cafe to open. He is always cheerful and chatty and I'm reminded of Peter Sellers in the movie, 'Being There.' If you ever watched it then perhaps you'll recognise the character.

Changing the subject now to a more serious note, yesterday, I received the decision notice (TDCSC/113/14) from Thanet District Council in regard to the complaint made against me - and two other councillors - a year ago.

This process had been delayed because the complainant., Margate landlady, Ms Louise Oldfield had also made a criminal complaint of harrasment; one which demanded a lengthy police investigation and which I'm sure you have read about by now, if not here, then in the national press or even on the BBC.

Kent Police, after spending large amounts of tax-payers' money interviewing bloggers and tweeters far and wide, finally dropped an investigation; initially forced-upon them by the office of our much criticised  police and crime commissioner, Ann Barnes and I'm pleased to say, that Thanet District Council have also followed their example and thrown-out  Ms Oldfield's complaint.

So what has all this achieved? Unfortunately, under Freedom of Information rules, the Council is unable to share the on-going costs of satisfying Ms Oldfield's many different inquiries, this one included and I'm afraid that Kent Police, are equally reluctant to reveal how much it cost the taxpayer to have two officers of inspector rank, investigating such serious allegations over a period in excess of six months.

Arlington under Construction
The end result, is that I and two other councillor colleagues have decided to withdraw from local politics next May, as a consequence of this unpleasant experience and I'm sure that Louise Oldfield's friends and supporters will be delighted to hear this.

And what did we do? In fact absolutely nothing and certainly nothing that might be regarded as either criminal of malicious. At worst, we tacitly disagreed with Ms Oldfield's position on the proposed Tesco development on Margate seafront and nothing more.

As Simon Davies of Privacy International described it:

"The move signals a bizarre twist in British policing from extending criminal evidence from content to context. This has the potential to create a serious chilling effect on free expression.........The most disquieting aspect of the police action is that the unnamed councillor faces criminal charges for doing no more than “liking” a Facebook post of the former mayor of Margate, pointing out that an objector’s artist’s impression of the proposed Tesco development is in the wrong place and of the wrong size. The development’s opponent claims this was “offensive” to her and complained she was the subject of criminal harassment by the three prominent local councillors."

Is this, I wonder what readers expect from Thanet's politics; that the police should become involved, over a disagreement on whether a Tesco store should be built on Margate's seafront and then should come knocking on the doors of councillors homes to interview three of them under caution, because someone holding an opposite opinion, is offended by what the Thanet Council Standards Committee describes as "No more than freedom of speech?"

I leave the final judgement to my readers, after all, both the police and the Council have now arrived at similar conclusions and perhaps the public sees things differently? Now, at last we have seen an end of it and if the local, rather than national press make any mention of it, I will be very surprised.

11 comments:

Still Even More Bemused Of Birchington said...

What is the latest in the Tesco at Arlington House saga? Does one person have the right to prevent construction of a Tesco store on a site which is in desperate need of revitalizing?

Anonymous said...

Personally I think we have enough Tesco stores locally and that the seafront site would be better used for something else but the complainant Ms Oldfield will not be getting my support in this matter or any other after this display of tantrums.
Even though I don't fully share your political views I have found you to be an excellent councillor, well balanced and intelligent, perhaps too much so for Thanet politics.
Sorry to see you go Simon.

John Holyer said...

Anon 12:10, I'm with you on Arligton. As for Thanet politics, Simon is like a racehorse pulling a milk float.

Simon Moores said...

Too kind.. remember 'Ernie' the fastest milkman in the west?

Dates me I'm sure...

John Holyer said...

I do remember Benny Hill. He would have found a rich seam of material in some parts of TDC, methinks.

Anonymous said...

You could hear the hoof beats pound
As they raced across the ground
And the clatter of the wheels
As they spun round and round
And he galloped into Market Street
His badge upon his chest
His name was Ernie
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Now Ernie loved a widow
A lady known as Sue
She lived all alone in Linley Lane
At number twenty two
They said she was too good for him
She was haughty, proud and chic
But Ernie got his cocoa there
Three times every week
They called him Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

She said she'd like to bathe in milk
He said alright sweetheart
And when he finished work one night
He loaded up the cart
He said you wanted pasturised
Coz pasturised is best
She says Ernie I'll be happy
If it comes up to me chest
And that tickled old Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Now Ernie had a rival
An evil looking man
Called Two Ton Ted from Teddington
And he drove the baker's van
He tempted her with his treacle tarts
And his tasty wholemeal bread
And when she saw the size
Of his hot meat pies
It very near turned her head
She nearly swooned at his macaroon
And he said now if you treat me right
You'll have hot rolls evry morning
And crumpets every night
He knew once she'd sampled his layer cake
He'd have his wicked way
And all Ernie had to offer
Was a pint of milk a day
Poor Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

One lunchtime Ted saw Ernie's horse and cart outside her door
It drove him mad to find it was still there at half past four
And as he leaped down from of his van
Hot blood through his veins did course
And he went across to Ernie's cart
And he didnarf kick his horse
Who's name was Trigger (Trigger)
And he pulled the fastest milkcart in the west

Now Ernie rushed out into the street
His goldtop in his hand
He said if you want to marry Susie
You'll fight for her like a man
Oh why don't we play cards for her
He sneeringly replied
And just to make it interesting
We'll have a shilling on the side
Now Ernie dragged him from his van
And beneath the blazing sun
They stood there face to face
And Ted went for his bun
But Ernie was to quick
Things didn't go the way Ted planned
And a strawberry flavoured youghurt
Sent it spinning from his hand
Now Sue she ran between them
And tried to keep them apart
And Ernie pushed her aside
And a rock cake caught him underneath his heart
And he looked up in pained surprise
As the concrete hardened crust
Of a stale pork pie caught him in the eye
And Ernie bit the dust
Poor Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Ernie was only fifty-two, he didn't want to die
Now he's gone to make deliveries
In that milkround in the sky
Where the customers are angels
And ferocious dogs are banned
And a milkman's life is full of fun
In that fairy dairy land
But a woman's needs are manifold
And Sue she married Ted
But strange things happened on their wedding night
As they lay in their bed
Was that the trees a rustling
Or the hinges of the gate
Or Ernie's ghostly goldtop a rattling in their crate
They won't forget Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Anonymous said...

You could hear the hoof beats pound
As they raced across the ground
And the clatter of the wheels
As they spun round and round
And he galloped into Market Street
His badge upon his chest
His name was Ernie
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Now Ernie loved a widow
A lady known as Sue
She lived all alone in Linley Lane
At number twenty two
They said she was too good for him
She was haughty, proud and chic
But Ernie got his cocoa there
Three times every week
They called him Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

She said she'd like to bathe in milk
He said alright sweetheart
And when he finished work one night
He loaded up the cart
He said you wanted pasturised
Coz pasturised is best
She says Ernie I'll be happy
If it comes up to me chest
And that tickled old Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Now Ernie had a rival
An evil looking man
Called Two Ton Ted from Teddington
And he drove the baker's van
He tempted her with his treacle tarts
And his tasty wholemeal bread
And when she saw the size
Of his hot meat pies
It very near turned her head
She nearly swooned at his macaroon
And he said now if you treat me right
You'll have hot rolls evry morning
And crumpets every night
He knew once she'd sampled his layer cake
He'd have his wicked way
And all Ernie had to offer
Was a pint of milk a day
Poor Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

One lunchtime Ted saw Ernie's horse and cart outside her door
It drove him mad to find it was still there at half past four
And as he leaped down from of his van
Hot blood through his veins did course
And he went across to Ernie's cart
And he didnarf kick his horse
Who's name was Trigger (Trigger)
And he pulled the fastest milkcart in the west

Now Ernie rushed out into the street
His goldtop in his hand
He said if you want to marry Susie
You'll fight for her like a man
Oh why don't we play cards for her
He sneeringly replied
And just to make it interesting
We'll have a shilling on the side
Now Ernie dragged him from his van
And beneath the blazing sun
They stood there face to face
And Ted went for his bun
But Ernie was to quick
Things didn't go the way Ted planned
And a strawberry flavoured youghurt
Sent it spinning from his hand
Now Sue she ran between them
And tried to keep them apart
And Ernie pushed her aside
And a rock cake caught him underneath his heart
And he looked up in pained surprise
As the concrete hardened crust
Of a stale pork pie caught him in the eye
And Ernie bit the dust
Poor Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Ernie was only fifty-two, he didn't want to die
Now he's gone to make deliveries
In that milkround in the sky
Where the customers are angels
And ferocious dogs are banned
And a milkman's life is full of fun
In that fairy dairy land
But a woman's needs are manifold
And Sue she married Ted
But strange things happened on their wedding night
As they lay in their bed
Was that the trees a rustling
Or the hinges of the gate
Or Ernie's ghostly goldtop a rattling in their crate
They won't forget Ernie (Ernie)
And he drove the fastest milkcart in the west

Anonymous said...

How many more times do we have to repeat the fact that the once proposed Tesco store was never, ever going to be on the seafront but BEHIND AH in All Saints' Avenue?
'Those who lie to make their case have no case at all'.

Anonymous said...

Tesco is NOT coming, corporate decision, nothing to do with anti's
so site will stay derelict and undeveloped for the foreseeable future

Still Even More Bemused Of Birchington said...

Anon @ 12:40 pm. Where can we find the information re Tesco not coming that will substantiate your statement?

Anonymous said...

That's not what I've heard 12:40, on the contrary everything is just waiting for the final go-ahead and should be opened around the same time as Dreamland in 2015.

PS. Simon thanks for treating Purple Om like the obvious troll that it is. He's already driven everyone away from at least one blog and it would be a shame to see the same thing happen here.