Friday, 6 July 2012

Westgate Election results, a glaring message to councillors of both major parties.


My best guess, and I have been saying this since the last year when the district elections returned the no overall majority result, is that we are likely to get this situation of Labour control at Thanet for the next nine years.

Historically the election results at Thanet District Council tend to reflect the situation within the national government rather that the situation within the council.

If there is any lesson for the Conservative group in this result, it is to wake up to life in opposition and start to become an effective opposition.

I very much avoided posts about this during the run up to the election, I didn’t want to be seen as influencing the result in any way and as the readers of this blog are measured in thousands this seemed a possibility. 

As a commentator on local issues I had got used to dealing with the pre-election situation with Conservative control and a Labour opposition and during that time I found the Labour group to be on the whole responsive to local issues and of course being opposition much more open and much less guarded in their responses.

Now at the moment my main concern locally, Pleasurama is up for decision and under normal circumstances I would expect some interested and informed responses from the Conservative group, especially from shadow cabinet members who would normally be both better informed about the issue than most councillors, but have less in the way of restrictions than the cabinet members, when it comes to talking to a member of the public.

The responses I have had so far have been very derisory and seem to be based on the assumption that the shadow cabinet are suffering a minor blip in a period of continuous Conservative rule, in what after all should be a safe Conservative run council.   

Back in April I offered to add the Conservative shadow cabinet member to my email list (cabinet members, senior council officers and MP) relating to The Royal Sands and he declined, this is an example of the sort of problems that members of the public face when trying to find an effective political opposition in Thanet.   

Trying to work out how the Conservative group view Ramsgate and major council related issues in Ramsgate, which for the most part relate to the council owned property in the town, I slowly came to the conclusion that there was an element of spite towards the town from the Conservative group.

Oddly enough this spite was sometimes directed at the wealthy, who one assumes would under normal circumstances be Conservative voters. The best example of this was the eviction of the historic vessels from the historic vessel pontoon with the benefit to the council being progress from reduced mooring fees to no mooring fees.

It is as well to appreciate that most historic vessels are considered to holes in the water into which one pours money, not a choice for those without it. 

I would guess that use of the internet is an area where councillors and the council could do with considerable improvements, the last experience here being the Mayor Margate FaceBook fiasco which revolved around a group of Conservative supporters trying to say that the Mayor of Margate had used FaceBook improperly during this by-election.

Slowly and to my mind rather sadly it became apparent that none of these people understood FaceBook sufficiently to even be able to recognise what was a publicly viewable page and what was a private page normally only viewable to the account holder.

The other side of this coin is that an increasingly important part of becoming and remaining elected as a politician is that politicians internet presence. A great part of this is some sort of social media site where electors feel confident that they can comment reasonably and the politician will respond reasonably and in a public forum. 

I would say that here, by that I mean blogger one is looking at older politicians and voters, with FaceBook the people tend to be younger. In Thanet I would say that that for the most part councillors and officers are terrified of social media sites, especially blogger and with very few exceptions don’t understand FaceBook, which is potentially less controllable and more dangerous.

Thanet District Council opened a FaceBook account in 2009, see http://www.facebook.com/pages/Thanet-District-Council/83700846372 ran it in the most muddled and confused manner until March 24th of this year when they stopped posting to it.

Most of the younger people I know have a FaceBook account, assume it is a sign of being alive and I guess it is the first place they would look when trying to work out who was who, when determining not just who to vote for in an election, but whether to bother to vote at all.

Even to a much older person like me, one aspect of deciding who to vote for, would be to see if a candidate had some sort of live internet presence, where they were prepared to communicate openly with people who voted for them.

For both parties there is an important lesson to be learnt here from the results, the two candidates that got the most votes were young, under 25 I think and the winner was female. This isn’t reflected in cabinet posts or committee chairpeople, most particularly within the cabinet and shadow cabinet where the intention is to form a governing group.

The formation of effective groups is a science in itself and all of this, something that all of the scientists involved agree about is groups made up of the same type of person are ineffective. A group made up of men over 50 is unlikely to be able to achieve anything much at all apart from an ever increasing level of animosity between members.    


Rambling on here since Labour took control I have managed a few small achievements with the council that I never managed for years of asking when the conservatives were in control. The most recent of these is to get access to the new licensing applications which I now publish on the press release blog, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Thanet%20District%20Council%20licensing%20applications perhaps some tiny sign of more open government at TDC.

Staying on the subject of press releases, which I publish in the format they are sent to me, compare say a Turner Contemporary press release http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Turner%20Contemporary%20Press%20Release where the images appear because they have computer code in them that cause images published on their website to appear in the press release with one published by the council today that has computer code pointing at an image in my password protected email account (the TDC logo) so it doesn’t appear at all, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/westgate-on-sea-by-election-result.html.

Or ones published by the Conservative group, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Conservative%20Group%20Press%20Release which mostly look as though they were formatted on a 1960s computer.

Or ones by the Labour group that look as though they were formatted on Windows 95, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Thanet%20Labour%20Group%20Press%20release

Incidentally the pictures illustrating this post are on Jodie’s FaceBook, I don’t mean that I have copied them from there, just inserted the coding so that you see them here although they are only published there. I guess this would raise some interesting copyright issues.

A few pictures around Ramsgate Harbour this evening, they should have all published by about tenish, I don’t know what they will be like as I took them with my mobile phone, haven’t looked at them yet, just ftpd them to my website and I wouldn’t expect it to be much good in the fairly low light conditions, here is the link http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop712/id3.htm an added factor here is that needing reading glasses and the phone not having an optical viewfinder I can’t really see what I am taking.      


I will ramble on here if I feel like it. 

94 comments:

  1. Try not to be so happy about things, Michael, and, yes, you have a point about gender and age representation amongst committee chairman. Having said that, the bisexuals seems to have a disproportionate number for their population share and the mayor is young. Guess you cannot have everything in the search for equality of representation.

    In other respects be very worried that the trend could herald a return to Labour governance in 2015 and the final nail in the dear old UK's coffin. Don't even go there about Thanet property prices. That said, I do agree that the Conservatives largely only have themselves to blame. Trouble is that it's us, the people, who get left in the mire. (Really trying hard these days not tgo use that word you don't like)!

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    1. Tom, I assume that you are a bloke, I had a pretty frank discussion about this with quite a few people recently and came to the conclusion that bisexuality is age related.

      I won’t expect any response about this one, but cast your mind back to when you first became sexually interested in other people, I guess if you are a normal male this would have included people of the same sex, if your attractions are now exclusively heterosexual, i.e. of you never look at a pretty boy with interest, then consider did this change in attractions happen suddenly, or did it taper off over a long period of time?

      Incidentally this discussion came about because the most erotic sketch by the painter Turner appears to be a self portrait of him giving fillatio to someone else, the discussion was mostly centred around why Tracey Emin didn’t include it in her selection and what older women’s attitudes are towards male homosexuality.

      But no I am not gloating here both Jodie and James were to my mind much better candidates than the average, and most important to me they both have an internet presence.

      As far as the last general election goes, out of the party leaders I think Gordon Brown was the best of a particularly bad lot, technically my family understand maritime issues best and scrapping the Ark Royal and associated planes before the replacements were ready sums up our mad governance, given the opportunity in the next election I would probably vote monster raving loony.

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    2. Michael does appear to be right that the tory led council was against spending on Ramsgate but at least Tom is a bit more even handed in recognising that the mayor of Ramsgate is a young man!. I assume that its was this mayor he is referring to.

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    3. 5.37 I think Tom is referring to the Mayor of Margate, I would guess the mayor of Ramsgate is about 60, whereas Will Scobie the mayor of Margate is I think 21.

      What concerns me about that however is that Will is the only councillor with any formal higher education qualification in politics and yet he isn’t a cabinet member.

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    4. Wrong, Michael, for Chris Wells is an LSE graduate, but then he only has a Shadow Cabinet post.

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    5. Silly me Tom I thought Chris's degree was in history and economics, not politics, that said it's as well to use anyone with a useful qualification.

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    6. Chris is useless though so qualifications aren't everything.

      JT

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  2. "the bisexuals seems to have a disproportionate number for their population share"
    What a backwards thing for anyone to say, what part of Kent is this blog from?

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    1. Surely that should be backwards and forwards if it's bi-anything.

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  3. If you were to email councillors, Michael, you might find a number who not only have good degrees but also have Politics, Economics and related subjects in their qualifications plus masses of related experience.

    As you obviously know their email details are on the TDC website. You might be surprised at how well-qualified many are.

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    1. Chris Wells.

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    2. We seem to have bit into to a bit of a tangle here, my understanding is the it is only Will with a masters in some aspect of politics

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    3. Michael, you are too well read to not know that economics and politics are closely related and you cannot study one without some aspects of the other. Having said that, historically we have had some good leaders who were not academics, Churchill for one, so degrees are not everything. Only time will tell if young Will Scobie is going to develop into a useful politician instead of a run of the mill one, full of soundbites but lacking in substance.

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    4. I take your point, anonymous 06 July 19:42, but I am sure you will agree that it is not the qualifications per se that matter, but rather how the Councillor uses them to make Thanet a better place.

      The mighty Councillors and benefactors of the Victorian era did not have PPE; all they had was a determination and ability to make their town a better place. Do we have any such in TDC today?

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  4. I'm surprised ANYONE bothered voting for Jodi after two months of her and Will embarrassing Thanet in their roles of Margate Mayoress and Mayor because of their age and inexperience... oops, their detractors were wrong, they've done a wonderful job (and haven't even killed their pets as far as I'm aware!).

    Of COURSE we need more younger people in politics (and it's a shame that James was in the same election as he deserves to be there too).

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    1. Suspect James was picked over more experienced former councillors to compete with Jodie. Labour picked their candidate first so what do the Tories do? Pick an ex-councillor, a sitting county councillor or a young person to show they're 'in touch' with the young voters of Westgate?

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    2. not a sparkling set of candidates if this is the younger generation

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  5. Surely you're having a laugh with "I didn’t want to be seen as influencing the result", what we say and think as bloggers has little effect on the readers I'd imagine, perhaps over a long period you might talk people round, anyhow it abundantly clear that most voters are influenced by the bigger picture, which as far as I can tell explains the extraordinary vote for UKIP a party which has no place or relevance locally.

    Anyhoo it seems you are one of the few approved Labour bloggers in these parts.

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    1. Tony it isn't influencing anyone that bothers me as I think like you it isn't very likely, it's being perceived as influencing people, rather in the way you seem to perceive me a a Labour supporter.

      I am a floating voter and will always vote with my interests, my businesses interests and Ramsgate's interests in mind.

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  6. Lookslike UKIP cost the Tories a seat on the council.

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    1. Wrong, Anon, the Tories cost themselves a seat on the council mainly due to the performance of central government. How many times have we heard the Liberals blamed for costing both Labour and Tories seats where their vote has exceeded the difference between the major party candidates. It is all nonsense. If people do not vote for a party, that party should be asking why, not looking for someone else to blame.

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  7. One thing is for sure, Bignewsmargate promoting Libdem Bill Furness got his number of votes DOWN to 66 and his anti labour ranting ensured that labour won. Yes blogs do have influence.

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    1. I don't know about that, but I do believe that Simon's constant sniping about Jodi (and Will) influenced voters, though not quite in the way he expected...

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    2. Peter, I think you are being very naive if you think blogging about relative unknowns, at least in Westgate, made any difference to this outcome. Tory voters are disillusioned because of central government performance and Labour, as is their strength, mobilsed their vote. Mind you, Simon, is also picking the wrong scapegoat to blame in UKIP taking Tory votes. They can only do that if those voters, liked me, are unhappy with the performance of the party they normally support.

      Frankly, I suspect Labour could have put up almost anyone in this bi-election and won it. The Jodi, Will or Simon factors were all largely irrelevant. Indeed, defence cuts probably contributed far more with veterans, normally right of centre, utterly brassed off with the government.

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    3. Tom I think the whole business of the internet and local elections is still an unknown. Both candidates did fairly well and the difference was only 105 votes so just over 50 people voting the other way would have swung the thing.

      My guess is that most of these elections are won or lost mostly on floating voters like me who either vote Conservative or Labour to get the most clout out of their vote.

      I think a factor here is that both candidates were exceptionally good and James in particular has a high internet profile noted for sensible comment and views, I would have been hard put to chose between them.

      I would say that rubbishing either candidate by the opposite party would have had a negative effect for that opposite party.

      In this case the rubbishing base don an inadequate understanding of FaceBook suggesting Will had misused it when every ordinary FaceBook user could see what was published was a hacked page, probably backfired.

      Put the canoe on the other foot for a moment an say that a prominent Labour councillor and cabinet member had published an image of a hack of James’s blog suggesting that he had acted improperly when he hadn’t and I think those who recognised this would have been unhappy about it.

      If anything turned the issue for me it was the subsequent photoshoping of the image to put someone else in the frame.

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    4. Michael, fifty votes is a sizeable percentage on this kind of turnout, but be that as it may, I know two groups of people whose dismay with central government has caused them either not to vote at all or for a non major party as a protest. What they may do in a general election remains to be seen, but my guess is that Cameron, having made a pact with the devil, bit like Hart has with the TIGs locally, will have to pay the price.

      It is regretable that local elections too frequently reflect national trends, but that is the way it is I'm afraid. As for us bloggers, well, for the moment at least, I do not think we are half as important as we sometimes think we are.

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  8. Sadly Michael.. you lost the Facebook argument pretty decisively and the alleged Ramsgate apartheid of the previous administration, is a bone you won't let go of which is complete rubbish and let's not forget the Aliens in the Attic!


    So time to move on I think. The photoshopping was a lark for the benefit of Rebecca!

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    1. Why aren't TDC letting developers build on Dreamland (instead of buying the land) if Margate and Ramsgate are being treated the same?

      As for your "lark", this proves once again how you just can't grasp the idea that it would benefit local Tories greatly by working WITH the press and not against them.

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    2. Simon I don’t think there was any argument, you published a screenshot of the Mayor Margate account page signed on by the account holder, with associated text saying that what was visible on that page was inappropriate.

      The simple equivalent here would be if I acquired a screenshot of a page signed on to your blogger, twitter, email, facebook or bank account and then published it online with text disapproving of the content of your inbox or bank balance.

      I guess you are aware that I am not without some computing ability and so perhaps some more practical demonstration would help you to understand this issue.

      My guess is that if I were to do so you would be annoyed, but would probably accept immediate and public apology.

      As far as the Conservative administration and Ramsgate goes, you or any other group member only has to start engaging with Ramsgate people and issues, Pleasurama, casino, Westcliff Hall, Eagle Café, night flights and so on.

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  9. Moores is the worst kind of slimy, look-at-me politician - quick to criticise and insult but devoid of any substance. These so-called schoolboy pranks are pathetic smears and not dissimilar to Worrow's antics.

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    1. Bet you would not say that to his face, or mine for that matter.

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    2. Why not his? And what's it got to do with your face?

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    3. What's it gotta do wiff you then, eh. Charming!

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  10. I think Simon is doing his best batting for his team against a very difficult to play opposition who are able to always play on their own pitch and are bowling from the gasworks end.
    As for slimy you are right about worrow,but not simon,arrange to meet both of them before you make judgement calls of that nature.

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  11. Anonymous at 14:30,

    Clearly, you do not like Simon Moores for some reason or other. It is a shame that you do not possess the courage to attach your name to your calumny.

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    1. "Tom Clarke" doesn't reveal his identity either (so I don't know how people are supposed to say things to his face).

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    2. How do you know that? What should I call myself. At least my thread of comments can be followed, but yours are just lost amongst those of all the other anonymous trolls.

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    3. How about calling yourself "pompous-exarmy-torypensioner-blogwhinger" Tom?

      Then we can follow your views and disregard them - hangemflogem, nationalservice, tuppenceonmypension, torygoodlabourbad, notliketheolddays etc.

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    4. What is wrong with ex-army? Are you not a blog whinger? Don't we all hope to be pensioners one day? As for Tory, well I would like to be, but am not too keen on DC's idea of being one. As to pompous, well I never regarded my self as such, but I kind of like the idea. Trouble is my face is not red enough nor my belly sufficiently large, oh, and I don't have face fungus under my nose.

      By the way, did you enjoy your somewhat bellicose rant. If it didn't clear all the bile out of your system, try concentrated liquorice.

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  12. A quick review of all that has been said in the original post tells you all you need to know. An untruthful headline - as what follows does not lambast each party, but mainly one; a series of crying in the wilderness comments because some politicians do not believe Mr Child is as important as he thinks he is; and then instant reading of comments to rebutt and respond to anything which does not accord with the Child view of the world. It is his blog, he can say what he likes; as to whether anybody believes him or takes him seriously, I doubt. Remember the Fire Brigade being called because the cliff was falling down? According to Mr Child he must be right as he has an engineering degree - as must Mr W Scobie as he has a politics degree. According to Mr Child bi sexuality is age related because that is the view of the people he talks to - and drugs are the acceptable face of his brand of society. Presumably we are about to hear it must be right because Messrs Driver and Worrow have degrees in bi sexuality.

    The election in Westgate is ably explained by combining Tony Beachcomber and Simon Moores comments on Thanet Life. Where Mr Child gets 9 years from as the potential rule of socialism is anybody's guess - perhaps its Mr W Scobie's view, which as Mr Child constantly asserts, must be right.

    No better example of distorted thinking has ever been placed on the internet; and, as ever, simply portrays Mr Child in an accurate light - as a wannabe influencer, sniping at those who do not geneflex to his whims.

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    1. Chris you seem to have omitted a complaint about the photos this time, did you miss the link?

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    2. A bit of a rich comment from a KCC councilor who was made to apologies by KCC's Standards committee for calling a local blogger a word that implied he was "a slimy grovelling and devious person" because the blogger supported the view of the leader of Kent Libdems. Presumably Chris Wells made that comment as a councillor otherwise no action would have been taken. Like Thanet's Standards committee we need get it straight when a councillor is speaking as a councillor and when he is speaking as just a member of the public.
      Michael is entitled to his views but this is another example of a local councillor making a personal atack because he disagrees with somebodies views. It seems to be the blogging style of local councillors to make these personal attacks but as we have seen in Westgate the voting public do not like the Tory party that is dominated by these people. Now thats a lesson for them.

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    3. I have got a mo here between church for children lunch and giving the youf of today near death experiences in a sailing dingy, so will try to make some sort of response to Chris’s comment.

      I guess after a couple of thousand years it could be said that crying in the wilderness is not necessarily completely pointless.

      The cliff Pleasurama fire brigade business was because the council gave me the developers contractor, and their own contracted civil engineers the wrong drawings.

      The council’s civil engineers completed three expensive reports and supervised a £1m repair contract based on these wrong drawings showing the infills between the concrete arches that form part of cliff façade behind the site were made of concrete blocks.

      When the contractor removed the supports for these infills I took the appropriate action.

      Later I discovered the correct drawings and published them, the net result of this was the contractor asked me to supply high definition copies.

      I have been down this road with Chris before, but have come to the conclusion that he is just unable to understand the implications.

      The tirade about sex and drugs is a bit lost on me, I take it that Chris missed out puberty and subsequently slept through the drug culture that started in this country in the 60s and is still very much with us. I recommend he reads Jeffrey Archer’s book “Prison Diary” it goes a long way to explaining the problem.

      I have to own to the 9 years, I added the three years remaining before the next local elections to the following four year term and came up with 9 instead of 7.

      I look forward to long tirades about my mathematical abilites, which are already threatening to consume my waking moments like my anxiety about the square root of minus one.

      Finally many thanks for the compliment of producing the most distorted thinking on the internet, I wouldn’t have thought this possible.

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  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. You forgot to mention Ken Gregory!

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    2. 9.50 comment deleted as you can’t accuse named councillors of fraud here.

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    3. The 0% salary fraud is no libel issue.

      The civil servants simply took the money and denied any pay rise and the councillors approved it.

      Inspiring in being so blatant and no doubt relying on the public to be too stupid, lazy or cowed to say anything.

      How should the public discuss this use of public funds?

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    4. I don't understand a word of this.

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    5. 0% salary fraud: Samuel and White of the Gang of Four approved themselves a pay rise - but publicly declared there was no pay rise.

      It seems they opened the council approval meeting, put up their salaries, closed the meeting, reopened it, then voted no increase on their increased salaries. And declared that to the public and coucnil.

      Hey presto a 0% increase that was a (10%?) increase.

      The actual payrise is still secret - FOI refusal of payslips etc. The next year they were sacked with pensions based on salary.

      Maybe Moores as Chair of the meeting who approved it and McGonigal as Finance Director now CEO can explain?

      Looks like fraud of public money by the senior civil servants to me.

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    6. has this 0% fraud been investigated by councillors or the police?

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    7. Do tell on the details. It does look like fraud doesn't it? Why open and close the same meeting to raise salaries then publicly say they weren't raised?

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    8. Ask Simon.

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    9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    10. comment deleted again, you can't accuse named councillors of fraud here, either do it in court or on your own blog please.

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    11. Simon Moores was the Chair of the 0%/pay rise commitee. That's a fact.

      10:11 confirmed there was a TDC or Police or other investigation of this issue.

      No details are provided as yet of the investigation or the payrises or whether they were 0%.

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    12. An anonymous person "confirms" something. It must be true then!

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  14. Thanet Tories were marched out into the wilderness under the "leadership" of Ezekiel. This style of "leadership", unique to Thanet, was developed under the previous Labour administration, and involves not talking to anyone who disagrees with you and riding roughshod over minority interests. Unfortunately, those who followed Ezekiel had learnt their craft from him and have continued to ignore the views of the public and pursued their own agenda. Perhaps the worst example of this was the attempt to ride roughshod over the wishes of the people of Ramsgate and impose unrestricted night-flying on the town. What's needed in Thanet is a wholesale clearout of the Council and a new batch of councillors who are committed to public engagement. We don't want a load of retired dustbinmen, telling us what we should think. Many of us are capable of thinking for ourselves. We want open-minded individuals who will listen to the views of local people and attempt to reach a consensus.

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    1. I don't think Will or Jodi have ever been dustbinmen.

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    2. In Will's case that would have given him some life experiences on his CV instead of just grammar school and university followed by a post graduate course at university. Jodi, on the other hand, does seem to be a bit more street wise and, I guess, there is no more relevant life experience than giving birth.

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  15. Anonymous at 11:53,

    I am to take it then that you have decided what are, "the wishes of the people of Thanet". This is Curious bearing in mind that you later state that many of us are capable thinking for ourselves.

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    1. I haven't got a clue what you are talking about John. I assume that, as usual, you are making some spurious point for the sake of it. I haven't decided what people think and never implied any such thing in my posting. The issue of the night-flights was decided by public consultation and the response from local people was overwhelmingly against. I'm not imposing my views on anybody. I'm just stating what people said when they were consulted. The remainder of my posting was devoted to pointing out that councillors should be reasonable people with open-minds and should be both open to persuasion and responsive to public opinion. Do you live in some parallel universe where this is currently the case?

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    2. No, anonymous, my point is not spurious. It is far from it. I have a deep conviction to be suspicious of anyone who appoints themselves to speak for me. This is what I inferred you were doing. You have told me that this is not in truth the case. Which I cheerfully accept.

      The trouble with public opinion is that it is fickle, sometimes blinkered and never unanimous. It is the case with many people that they expect councillors to give them what they want when they want it; this they call being helpful.

      Anonymous, curiously you ask me, "Do you live in some parallel universe where this is currently the case?" I do not understand your remark about a parallel universe. I can only assume that you are attempting to be rude for reason that I have made you cross. I can sympathise with you in this. It can be irritating when someone disagrees with you.

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  16. John, what you have written as a reply makes no sense at all. You have not read Anon 11.53 in the order he has written it.

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    1. anonymous @ 14:32,

      Please explain in what way my comment fails to make sense. The words I quoted were his and not mine.

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  17. 11:53 sounds spot on with the Ezekiel regime - only disabled grants Wise remains and pointless Bayford.

    The similar Labour lot only have Pleasurama and the aquifer and WC to mess up now - Carter did his Manston deals direct with Infratil.

    Town councils and Independents and one seat only are the way forward rather than KCC and TDC party sheep imposing their views on us.

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  18. How interesting that Michael takes a single sentence comment on his recent drug ramble and labels it 'a tirade'. The use of illicit drugs has fundamentally damaged both UK and US society. I was at LSE between 1973 and 1976. I know how many fell by the wayside because of drugs; how many suffer mental health problems to this day because of drugs. I know how damaging alcohol can be, but find it strange that others use the legal alcohol to promote additional drug usage, confusing the boundary between legal and illegal substances. I remain a vocal opponent of 24 hour licensing - a Labour invention - because you never recover such control once it’s gone. The Labour government wanted to follow this by encouraging gambling, and narrowly lost the debate; others in their party and the Lib Dems have always wanted to legalise 'soft' drugs.
    Our society is facing enormous challenge, ceding economic power to the east, struggling to pay our way in the world. Our society has over-paid itself for more than 30 years, if you read the economic fundamentals, draining wealth overseas. We need to be tougher not softer; more focussed, not disappearing in a cloud of smoke; and harder working overall, as well as smarter if we are to compete economically in the world again.
    Who's going to vote for that when others offer the dream of benefits and legal high?
    Neither young nor old can expect much good news in the next few years as this struggle for competitiveness continues around us. Whether some of our politicians and commentators even realise this battle is joined, as their personal lives are often left untouched by semi retired status, or relatively protected publicly funded status, which permits them to push for their own pay rises, consider council tax rises, appoint a new senior manager at £90,000 per year (whose manifesto was that in for TDC?). Commentators distracted by sex and drugs and rock and roll - or a £1m commitment minimum to the Ramsgate Maritime Museum over the lifetime of the lease. (NB the senior manager will cost twice as much!!)
    I have never used the term Councillor on internet comment; but unlike others, have never used the 'Livingstone defence' of private life - something Cllr Worrow used himself to get off a standards complaint so a bit rich for him to gripe about it now. This country is struggling to convince anyone it has the character and determination to survive the current mess. For many it will always be easier to hide from the painful economic truth that's out there, but in the end the economics will have their impact and the chaotic public sector overspends will have to be dealt with. It has hardly started. For all the loose talk about cuts, there has been an increase in public indebtedness since the election; all that has been cut so far are Labour's previously grandiose expansion plans. And voters seem to want to return to this fool's paradise? Quantitative easing stokes inflation; government generated pretend jobs store up debt; and whilst it is clearly in the stocks, and deservedly so right now, we will all need a functioning banking system. Government has no money, merely some of yours which it claims to spend better than you. Do any of us think government needs to be bigger? Most think much smaller, and more careful. Trouble is what we know objectively must be done, waivers when its our pockets that are emptied.

    Now Michael, that's a tirade!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So Chris, you can make a comment without being abusive to anybody, learn the lesson, if you want to get votes dont be so abusive to people, they and blogs have long memories.

      Delete
    2. Chris on the drug problem and assuming you read my post and comments, so I am a bit lost as to as to where your areas of disagreement with me are. Presumably you don’t think that the punishments related to cannabis should be so close to those for heroin as to send out the message that the related problems are similar.

      On the crazy 24 hour drinking I have often posted and commented as to what stupid idea this was, not the least because it makes where I live in the town centre almost uninhabitable.

      The other crazy Labour legislation that causes me considerable problems is the pub smoking ban, which means customers trying to get to my bookshop often have to run a gauntlet of half cut smokers to get to my shop.

      I guess the problems with all three of these issues is that the situation required properly though tout legislation and also now the Conservative government isn’t dealing with them.

      On the potty situation where civil servants pay is concerned, what we need is to cut the proportion of bureaucrats to people actually doing something, in my own family there are several people who work for the government as scientists and members of the armed forces, whose jobs have either gone or are under such threat as to damage their lives. While so far all of those working as government bureaucrats that have been offered and taken substantial redundancy, have then been reemployed as government bureaucrats, often doing the same job with a different job description at a higher wage.

      The situation is crazy, all politicians at every level promise to deal with it and fail.

      Anyway allthatsaid at least you do comment on a public internet forum under your own name, which means we can communicate with you, this means that from my point of view as someone who accesses local politics pretty much exclusively via the internet, means that were you standing in my ward you would get my vote in preference to someone who didn’t.

      Delete
    3. Michael,

      You make an intriguing point. I would like to answer. But first I would appreciate your definition of what are in your words, "government bureaucrats" and in what way you consider them to be worthless.

      Delete
    4. John simple question, difficult answer, basically in any organisation you need administrative workers, mostly in the private sector the amount they cost the organisation is restricted by the profit of the organisation.

      In the public sector this isn’t the case, so that whole groups of people are generated shoving paperwork, well now actually computer files, backwards and forwards or running some department that has no useful purpose.

      This is particularly evident when government funded websites embed something from a commercial site where the statistics are available. An example here is the government funded Turner Contemporary website where they use a commercial video hosting company to host their videos that are embedded in the Turner Contemporary website.

      A great many of these videos get less that one viewing a day, but as there is no commercial imperative, it carries on happening. Something similar happens when the council embed youtube videos, ie all the work is being done and paid for but no one is looking at the results.

      Delete
    5. Michael,

      You claim that in the Civil Service whole groups of people are employed just shoving paperwork backwards and forwards. At the risk of being frank, this a nebulous statement. Though to be fair I expect you meant it in a pejorative sense; for clearly the Civil Service displeases you. However, you may wish to consider that a department which serves no useful purpose to you might well be a boon to someone else. In my experience, the attitude of much of the punters towards the Civil Service is that if you give them what they want when they want it then you are being helpful. Otherwise, you are nothing more than a paper shover living off the hog on their taxes.

      I do not know if the videos you mention are generally helpful or not. This is because you do not give any examples.

      Delete
    6. John if you go to the Turner Contemporary website follow the media channel link you will find most videos have a link to Vimeo on it and that most of these were put up by the gallery, clicking on the link enables you to view statistics and so on.

      On your other point I generally find that the civil servants and by this I mean everyone mostly paid for out of some form of taxation, at town, district, council and national level I have dealings with are courteous and helpful.

      I also talk to quite a lot, and have formed the impression that a lot in ever sphere are over worked while a lot play the system.

      The problem however is that there is a limit to the number of people whose incomes can be funded by the people who actually provide wealth, and on another level a limit to the number of people whose incomes can actually be funded by people either producing something tangible or some useful service.

      In this country we have one of the highest gdps in the world when you take into account population size and the area of the country, but there are limits to what this can support.

      Delete
    7. Michael,

      I agree with you that the public sector - combat troops aside - is overstaffed in many areas and must be cut. Similarly, the public must grow to accept less from the public sector. In the meantime the private sector must work day and night to enrich the nation. Glad I'm retired.

      Delete
  19. The painfull econmomic truth is we are paying too much to Kent County Councillers to
    talk drivell about nothing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ot, more probably, you do not have the intellect, 8:57, to understand what they are saying.

      Delete
  20. No, Chris' rant is drivel. Who cares about his views on national policy? He's a Broadstairs, Thanet and KCC councillor - what is he doing for Thanet and Kent? He was bounced off the KCC Cabinet and this rant does nothing to suggest any policies since.

    Grumbling about 90k civil servants? OK. But there are at least 4 now and some hired on Chris's watch. While TDC civil servants increased by 30% to over 750 under Ezekiel and Bayford.

    Government has no money? Drivel. KCC has 2Bn. It's being spent on hiring civil servants and councillors to tell us there's no money.

    The civil servants are running things - badly - and the councillors trot along behind making excuses and signing the paycheques.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I presume your rant is highly intellectual, well informed debate. Now you are seriously having a laugh. Did you learn your skills in your secondary modern's debating society.

      Delete
    2. No reply to the points made. And only empty insults. You must be a councillor. Try again.

      What do you think of 90k salaries and 750 officials approved by our councillors?

      Delete
    3. But they are not points, just unsubstantiated assumptions and, as such, not worthy of answers. You even assume I must be a councillor, but again on not a shred of evidence. When you learn to debate and make factual points and statements, I will respond, but until then you can whistle in the wind.

      Delete
    4. You're just a nobody, just like me!

      Delete
    5. Yes, indeeed, I am just a nobody, or somebody as takes your fancy, but like you? Somehow I very much doubt it.

      Delete
    6. 9:48 you do sound like a councillor in dodging the questions. Unwarranted assumptions versus points is pompous nonsense.

      Try again: what do you think of 90k salaries at TDC and 750 staffing approved by our councillors? It's a very simple and factual question.

      Delete
    7. Since there is no actual evidence of either of these allegations, merely hearsay via newspapers, they are not facts. I have no idea how many staff the council employ nor do I know the salaries of senior officers. As such I am not in a position to comment.

      You have a nice day, but, if you want to debate your alleged points, please find somebody else who is as gullible as you.

      Delete
    8. You seem to be confusing allegations with facts. And hearsay is opinion which is different again.

      Petty insults too seem to reveal your kindergarten debating skills.

      Your elaborate confirmation of your ignorance of either 90k salaries or TDC staffing does rule you out of comment though.

      The salaries are on the TDC website though.

      Do try not to be so fastidiously pointless as it only stifles debate.

      Delete
    9. Hearsay is not opinion but evidence which is second hand. Also go easy on the long words, they prove nothing, least of all education, and on you come over as pathetic.

      Delete
    10. Quibbling again 8:40 - yes hearsay is second hand...opinion. It's not evidence. Unless it's provided to a court. Hearsay isn't specific to a court though.

      Insults again too I see.

      What was the unwarranted assumptions waffle that didn't make any sense at all?

      If you think you can comment on the 90k salaries from the TDC website then your august opinion would be of interest.

      Or you could just be a pompous twit.

      Delete
    11. For someone who accuses others of insults you are not averse to flinging a few about and your definition of hearsay is bizarre. Any repeat of something you have heard or read, but not witnessed first hand, is hearsay whether in a court of law or elsewhere. As to the salaries, I have already said I know too little of the facts and circumstances to offer any qualified opinion. Unlike you, I do not assume a £90K salary is somehow wrong or OTT without knowing the job or qualifications of the recipient.

      Anyway, time to call it a day for you are not in my league.

      Delete
    12. Mr Quibbles joins debate on TDC 90k salaries and staffing and KCC budgets. Proceeds to random semantics and insults and eventually confirms he knows nothing and has no opinions.

      Yawn.

      Delete
    13. That's about the size of it, Anon old sport.

      Delete
  21. At times like this I find it difficult to follow the comments. It is all a bit esoteric and nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Everyone seems to know what is going on, whereas I don't know what I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The biggest increase in TDC staff in recent years was caused by bringing the waste collection service in house - something supported at the time by virtually everyone. It is probably time it was market tested to an outside agency again to check on value for money.

    There are differences between hiring new senior managers in the aftermath of a re-organisation, and reshuffling those you have got during re-organisation. In opposition the Labour party endlessly criticised the level and numbers of senior staff: a few months into their control have set about hiring a new senior member of staff, on a very substantial pay grade. Many commentators here say blandly that the Labour group are not blowing the budget; I disagree, its just happening in ways that are often hidden from public view. In due course, as at national level, someone else will have to come in and play the traditional role of conservative governments since the war, and clear up the mess left by Labour spendthrift ways.

    ReplyDelete

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