Saturday, 26 November 2011

Conservatives lose majority at Thanet District Council

With john Worrow resigning the whip we have an interesting situation developing which I will try to write something sensible about.

My first thoughts where that perhaps the councillors ought to have considered the results of the leadership consultation with more interest.

All of the local people who responded to the consultation said they wanted to elect a leader of the council, instead of having one chosen for them by the councillors.

I have decorated this post with some more pictures of Ramsgate to give me something to look at while considering the implications.

I will ramble on about this as thoughts occur to me



  1. Since May no one had a majority , although the conservatives had a majority of the vote. Now nothing changes, except that a silly little bloke from Birchington has his 15 minutes of fame!

  2. Time for a chage of Leader, methinks.

  3. If he was a "silly little bloke" then the people that chose him as a candidate last May were just plain daft. Maybe you should hear his side of the story before you pass judgement.

  4. Anon 19:44, He was elected with the support of his party and wearing its rosette. The least he should do now is let the good people of his ward decide whether they still want him and whether, in fact, they agree with his side of the story. Anything else is obtaining and clinging onto office by false pretences regardless of who chose him in the first place.

  5. party politics have no place in local government. Whipped votes in Thanet? come on........

    ban all political groups, locals vote for individual locals to deal with each issue as an individual.

  6. Great pictures Michael, glad to see the lead is still on the roofs.

  7. My first thought is what has changed ? because John was such a dedicated Conservative and probably still is.
    Then there is another point why do so many Conservatives in Birchington always end up falling out with the main party. This is not the first time this has happened and will not be the last as Birchington does have a history of independents who do serve Birchington well. I don't think any of this is down to party politics it is more about the dictatorial attitudes of others within the party.

  8. I recall an Independent Councillor in Ramsgate who converted to the Conservatives shortly after being elected. I don't remember any Conservatives insistng there should be another election then.

    Having said all of this, I would be pretty annoyed if I'd voted for this person and he'd then switched allegiances. I would want to know why he hadn't made sure that he could work with the party before accepting their shilling. I certainly wouldn't vote for him again.

  9. Wonder what Worrow was on about below when he removed a post which is still visible in the Google web cache

    Worrow's World: Unelected Quango!
    6 days ago by John Worrow

    ... views on equality (actions, or lack of, speak louder than words) have given me no choice but to boycott parish meetings, and to not recognise this unelected organisation.

  10. To be honest I didn’t really know how to finish this post, so I haven’t.

    The comments are helpful in both trying to frame an opinion about what this means for our local government and how people feel abut this.

    Thanks for keeping the them reasonably inoffensive, I haven’t had to delete any.

    16.38 sorry I didn’t clarify the majority point too well. I think slb’s point is more that the Conservative group are not exactly Conservative, apre from when it comes to getting elected.

    16.42 the answer here is I think to hold a mayoral referendum petition, 5% of the electorates signatures would secure this and assuming people vote to vote, we would then be able to chose our own leader.

    19.44 tricky one as I doubt he would have got elected as an independent.

    20.02 historically in Thanet councillors have resigned the whip, walked across the floor, but I don’t ever recall on resigning unless they had to.

    20.49 an interesting thought, but not one that I think we are likely to get.

    Tony I wish I had taken more pictures, what you see in the viewfinder gives you no idea of what they are going to look like on the screen.

    My guess is that he will join the independents who seem to be the only enlarging political group.

    22.21 I suppose the point is do you vote for the person or the party and if you vote for the party, do you see the Thanet Conservative group as being Conservative.

    8.54 I would say that this as much getting used to blogging as anything else, you soon learn with the internet

    The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
    Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
    Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it
    -- Omar Khayyam

  11. I see over on Worrow's World he is only publishing plaudits. Suggest he should do the honest thing and offer his ward electorate the opportunity decide on his stand, and he does not publish the comment. Says it all, I guess.

  12. My resignation from Bob Bayford's group was precipitated by the disdainful disregard, intransigence and procrastination shown on issues that particularly affected the Birchington community and Thanet .I understood, I was elected to represent people first and certainly not last.I find Cllr Bayford's remarks lamentable and presenting a double standard on expecting me to stand for re-election, when Sandy Ezekiel’s administration, of which he was a leading member, happily accepted, a Ramsgate First councillor, into their ranks without a call for a re- run of his election. And when a former Dane Valley councillor was found guilty of animal cruelty there was no call from Thanet council's version of the Conservative party, for him to stand down, after he became independent.

    I stood to do my best for the community and still consider that this is the only way forward. My future decisions will be freely based on what is most beneficial for the Birchington community and for Thanet without the dictate of an insensitive whip coming from Thanet council's unique version of the Conservative party.

  13. So your conscience is clear then Cllr. Worrow, but since when did two wrongs make a right. I have long held the view that anyone who crosses the floor should resign from office and put their case to the people who elected them in the first place.

    Sadly, as so frequently with politicians, they huff and puff about their righteousness, but will not do the truly honest and democratic thing, let the people decide.

    As I understand it, life has not been easy within TDC with the virtual hung control situation, but still some very evident progress is being made in Thanet. Let us hope, for all our sakes, that your high principled stand does not lead to even more of a stalemate in the corridors of power at Cecil Street and a halt to that progress.

    Perhaps you might have been better advised, and probably have achieved more for your electorate in the long term, if you had sought to alter things from within.

  14. Great photographs. Many years ago Sir Victor Sassoon, on a visit to Canterbury, told me that roofscapes were often more interesting than what you would see at eye level. The pics prove the point. Thanks.

  15. Thank you for commenting Tom Worrow. To my mind the weakness in Tom Clarke's respones is that it is based on assumption. It could equally be the case that a candidate resigns the hip because his position is exactly the same as he put to electorate but, in his opinion, the other members of his party do not represent the position they purported to stand for. In these circumstances the logic would be that all other members of that party present themselves to the electorate ?

  16. Resigns the "Hip". I blame some 2004 rioja. My wife got a crate on an offer.

  17. Retarded, his name is John.

  18. Retired there is no more assumption in my comment than yours for you go on to talk about some assumed hypothetical situation.

    Either way, if you change the flag you purported to serve after the election, you should explain the reasons to the electgorate and let them decide. If John Worrow is right, and it is his fellow Conservatives who have lost the plot, then the people will support him.

    There is enough dishonesty in politics at national level without bringing it down to the little wards in our home towns here.

  19. From some of the innuendo here I would suggest that the local Conservative party - or at least that bit of it that forms TDC - is about to implode. Has the Tesco carrier bag resurfaced one wonders?
    Interesting that no Conservative councillor could find the time to be at the Stop Live Exports meeting in Broadstairs yesterday. Laura was there - presumably she doesn't count as a Conservative because she represents predominantly Ramsgate wards. If John Worrow wishes to resign the Whip (how ridiculous - shows how puffed up with self-importance they all are)then good for him - there is plenty of precedence for politicians swapping sides without re-election - Winston Churchill for instance.

  20. It's good to see someone highlight & care about the problems in Thanet outside of "the big four" (Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs & Westwood Cross). I'm sure that much of Thanet forgets that these places even exist, never mind actually visits & shops in them.

  21. 19:09 Precedence does not make it right to get elected claiming to be one thing and then changing to another.

    As for the 'Live Animal Exports' that should not be a political matter but one of conscience. Personally I have concerns for our cattle farmers if this issue is not carefully researched before we kill off their trade.

    I am also concerned that at least one local politician is using this to raise his own profile in pursuit of a separate agenda. I may be wrong, but I would reckon the odds are stacked on a challenge for the Thanet Labour leadership before too long, with a sharp lurch to the left to follow.

    It would seem that all is not well amongst our local egos.

  22. The council, Bob Bayford and in particular, Laura Sandys, have been quite vigorous in pursuing the animal transport issue. It's position is quite clear and unfortunately, from our point of view,the authority lies with DEFRA and the Minister to resolve

  23. Anonymous at 20:49

    I agree with you. Whipped votes in Thanet comes across as pygmy playtime politics. Still, I suppose that playing at politics like the grown ups is much easier than doing good for Thanet. Which I admit would need some hard and dedicated work.

  24. John Holyer, a great many people work extremely hard to try and make Thanet a better place. Rarely do they receive recognition, thanks or even respect for what they do in a very challenging and deprived environment.

    Whipped votes, which are unusual, a normally a function of policy and provide a necessary function i.e the political group agrees on a course of action and act collectively, through a whipped vote, to make it policy.

  25. can somebody translate this part of the last comment into english?

    "Whipped votes, which are unusual, a normally a function of policy"

    No doubt Ipad finger trouble again.

  26. If the Council, and in particular Bob Bayford, have been working so hard pursuing the animal transport issue why weren't they at the meeting yesterday? Cllrs Driver and Fenner were there - Cllr Driver whipping up the masses in true Militant Tendency style and Cllr Fenner dithering through a speech. Laura Sandys appears to be doing a great job but I'm sure she could have done with a little support from her so-called political allies.

  27. 1932 If you'd been at yesterdays meeting you would have learnt from the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming guys that
    1. Only new born male calves are exported - no use for dairy farmers
    2. RSPCA and CWF are working very successfully with the big retail chains, Tesco, etc, and this is encouraging the supermarket chains to buy the young animals and rear them until a later age prior to supplying their shops with beef.

  28. "Normally a function of policy" I've switched to a PC

    In regard to the animal rights meeting, it's simples...!

    1) It's a Westminster issue now, firmly in the hands of Laura Sandys, the local MP to lobby on the matter and as previously explained, outside of the remit of the local council, which has represented it's views to all the agencies, our MPs and the Minister.

    2) The Labour Group, in the shape of Driver, Fenner et al, know quite well that all their noise is simply a political smokescreen to give the impression of indignant action in the constant search for votes.

    The real work happens behind the scenes and we are quite aware of the strength of feeling but this is NOT a political issue regardless of how hard certain Labour members are trying to convince the public it is. It's a matter of law, European and domestic and that lies with Westminster and Brussels and not with TDC, which as a council has an entirely different remit and no authority in the matter.

  29. DrM,

    Your replies are couched in political terms, once again, which some might suggest proves my point.

    I am not interested in what goes on behind the scenes. You have the stage. Please explain to me how you personally have made Thanet a better place. I will then offer you a grovelling apology.

  30. anon again!
    re 1st message:
    Which silly little bloke from Birchington did you mean?

  31. Mr Holyer..

    We all make a contribution to policies and decisions that have the objective of making Thanet a better place. One of mine, for example, is introducing a policy to control the spread of single bed flats. Then there's wheelie bins and seagull bags and much much more if you want to drill into the detail of individual portfolios.

  32. So you're the one! Not all of us are married with kids you know.

  33. DrM,

    Thank you. I do indeed want to drill into the detail of individual portfolios, as you suggest. Please tell me more about your policy to control the spread of one bedroom flats. How will this benefit Thanet?

    I feel my apology coming on. But not quite yet.

  34. But many are married with kids so the present inbalance on accommodation types needed addressing.

    Is there another silly little bloke in Birchington other than Worrow. I guess there must be, but he happens to be the prime subject of this thread.

    John Holyer, you are usually one of the more sensible contributors to these pages so simply attacking Dr. M demeans you. There is very evident progress for the good on several issues, if not all, in Thanet and live animal exports is not within local authority power to stop other than by lobbying parliament.

    Personally I support the notion, suggested elsewhere, that Ian Driver is profile raising and has a separate agenda. One that does not necessarily serve the longer term best interests of Thanet Labour harmony.

  35. Tom Clark,

    Thank you. I fail to see how my questioning of a DrM, a Councillor, about his policies demeans me.

    Perhaps you were upset about my earlier use of words such as 'playground politics'. I take your point. But maybe it is the case that I remember all to well the Councils that once had their own foreign policy and even declared themselves nuclear free zones. I do not want to hear about a Councillor's politics or their internecine squabbles. It does not do for them to hide behind The Party. I want to hear what they personally are doing and have done to affect life here in Thanet. If that demeans me then so be it.

  36. Once again a few thoughts on the comments.

    First thanks to commentators for not posting offensive comments, I haven’t had to delete any comments.

    14.30 I can’t see anyone resigning because of anonymous comment.

    John I hope you will attempt to do something about what is becoming perceived as a very Margate focused council. As I said before I think a leader directly elected by local people is the way forward for Thanet.

    Frankly trying to play at party politics at this low level of government in a district that is broadly evenly split between Conservatives and Labour is just ludicrous.

    I would say that the able councillors with sufficient time to devote to our problems all working together would be hard pressed to improve this area significantly.

    As far as the flag thing goes, I think that although it says Conservative on the tin when we vote in Thanet district, what we actually get is a tad different, and not easy to explain.

    18.05 you will be glad to know that I still have a few more to put up.

    Retired, it is Monday morning and I have read your comments twice, perhaps I will understand them later in the day.

    Tom again, in reality what happens in our local elections is that the vote is usually for Labour or Conservative with the floating voters, the tiny minority that actually make any difference, basing their vote on their feelings for the national government of the time. What tends to happen is that people vote against whichever national party has been in power for a significant time.

    19.09 good point about Winston Churchill, if he can change sides than I suppose John has sufficient mandate.

    Peter, believe me this part of Ramsgate is pretty bad, have a look sometime.

    19.32 and DrM on the live animal issue, I suppose the problem here is that the senior council officers and the cabinet have not been seen to be visibly proactive on this issue. Possibly because the petition was launched and much of the campaigning driven by a Labour activist.

    The time it took the council to get around to publicising the petition relative to the time it took the leader to criticise what was a peaceful protest when Rodin’s Kiss arrived, as examples.

    The defence that there is nothing that can be done is a weak one, and one that the council is often inclined to use.

    JH I think this comes back to the councillors deciding that they should chose a leader rather that having one chosen democratically by the electorate.

    DrM at 20.16 recommend you have a glance at some of your own postings before you became a councillor. Truth is that most people perceive the local council as one lump, county district and parish, and when like many of us in Thanet are, those people are suffering from years of poor council management, the main iconic council owned real estate in Ramsgate being a good example of what I mean, councillors are inclined to get blamed. You may be doing your best from where you are sitting, but from outside it doesn’t look so good.

    21.07 I have just replaced my iphone and at the moment I can’t even get it to accept me writing the word Margate, while on DrM’s blog the recent comment relates to someone who got confused with theirs, I think it is called living in the modern world.

    Don’t think I can catch up with the rest at the moment.

  37. Tom Clarke,

    You say, "There is very evident progress for the good on several issues, if not all, in Thanet". Can you please expand your statement. I am truly interested. In the absence of a proper local newspaper I have to search for knowledge where I can.

    Please do not anyone tell me that it all goes on behind the scenes and imply that as a consequence I should not worry my head about it. I have an answer to that all prepared.

  38. John, I can only speak as I find and there are areas of improvement. Margate old town is like a rediscovered gem since the opening of the Turner. Not necessarily attributing full credit to TDC, but they must be entitled to some.

    The litter situation around my home patch is much improved from the comination of wheelie bins and seagull proof bags. A much needed dog litter bin requested for Nelson Place appeared a few weeks back. An untidy area of gardens and memorial benches has been tarted up.

    Generally the graffiti seems to be reduced, though that may be seasonal trend, who knows? The new shelters on the Eastcliff at Broadstairs are a welcome replacement for the rotting and frequently vandalised ones there before.

    There is good though there is still much to do, much sadly that the cash will not run to I guess. I accept that it would make little difference at the moment who was in charge at TDC politically, but individually there are some committed and well intentioned councillors. Just happen to think Dr. M is one of those and at least he tries to keep us informed through his blogging activity.

    I am not deliberately at variance with you and perhaps used the word 'demean' wrongly in what I was trying to convey. Like I said, I usually enjoy your comments and think we are of similar Thanet vintage in that we both remember the Thunder Jets!

  39. Tom Clarke,

    Hello Tom. You are a Margate man. My parents used to keep the Station Hotel in Margate. I have memories of falling asleep to the sound of the steam trains opposite and to the screams of the girls on the Scenic Railway in Dreamland. These sounds never bothered me. I looked forward to the day when I would be old enough to ride the Scenic Railway.

    The Station Hotel later became the Flag and Whistle and is now up for sale.

    We moved from Margate to the Admiral Fox in Ramsgate and that is now flats.

    Are you perchance related to Alan Clarke who went to Dame Janet School?

  40. Tom Clarke,

    I agree with you. Margate Old Town is looking good. It is a credit to those responsible.

  41. John, more Broadstairs than Margate though the latter was my favoured stamping ground as a teenager. Supported Margate FC, danced at the St. Mildred's Hotel at Westgate and recall Sid Phillip's talent shows at the Winter Garden.

    No, I am not related to Alan Clarke, and, since my folks originated from London and only settled here after Dad finished his time at RAF Manston, I have no relatives in Thanet outside my own immediate family. Even my folks moved away whilst I was in the army.

  42. Back to the animals again because Dr Moores is again missing the point of my earlier comments and at the same time confirming himself as a political pygmy.
    Consider why Cllr Driver has taken up this cause. I very much doubt that it is solely motivated by a love of animals - he hasn't shown any signs of this in any of his previous manifestations. So there is a further political motive. If you had been at the meeting on Saturday you would have seen him get a standing ovation at the end of his speech (the only representative that did); this from an audience that was only 50% tree-huggers. A sizeable proportion was what you might call middle England. A lot of the people I spoke to said that they didn't suppport Ian Driver's politics but thought that his efforts in stopping this trade were laudable.
    Now it is likely, if not certain, that this trade will eventually leave the port of Ramsgate. Either the Jolene will be declared unfit or some other intervention will halt things. Who has made the most noise and been most closely associated with it in the public eye and will therefore claim all the credit? Who is associated in the public eye with Herod-like wringing of hands and condemnation of protests at Rodins Kiss?
    Now John Worrow's departure from Conservataive ranks leaves the ruling Party extremely exposed. Any more hiccups and we're talking about confidence votes and a change of rulers (Sandy Ezekiel being convicted is the obvious hurdle on the horizon)- and who do you think wants to emerge from the chaos as Leader of TDC? Remember Ken Livingstone and the GLC or the similar takeover of Liverpool Council by a political Militant running mate of Cllr Driver. Maybe pygmies is too large a term; protozoa maybe?

  43. 16:50 You are merely stating what I have pointed out repeatedly before, Driver is about raising his own profile, nothing more or less and the unfortunate beasts presented an opportunity to do just that. However, I disagree with you beyond that, for I think he has bigger targets than just leader of TDC.

    The new proposed constituency gives Labour a real chance of wresting what we knew as South Thanet back from the Tories. Who will be the candidate with the redder than usual rosette. Clever boy, you guessed it.

    Before that, however, as with Nottingham, there has to be the dawn showdown with Hart and frankly poor old Clive is out of his league with this one.

  44. 1713. Spot on. I hadn't thought of the Parliamentary aspect but of course you're right; that is Cllr Driver's real aim. Laura Sandys is doing a fine job in South Thanet and deserves the support of every Conservative in the area; that includes the support of the so-called Conservatives on TDC; Bayford, Moores, Wells etc. They need to get out and really get behind her; it is her effiorts behind the scenes that will put an end to the animal trade not Cllr Driver's incitement to law- breaking which will only serve to prolong the agony for these poor creatures and was a telling indication of how little he really cares about them. At the meeting last Saturday he pleaded for more people to turn up at the demonstrattions when lorries arrive so that they could block the road and prevent the lorries entering the docks. Imagine how the animals will react to that. If anyome needed any proof that he is working to his own personal agenda then this was it; and the sooner our local Conservatives start to comabat this inpublic the better. Rebecca Smith; get off the fence and start publishing this sort of thing. Saul Leese was at the meeting; make sure he reports it honestly.

  45. Please we cannot afford to lose Laura Sandys. She is the best constituency that Thanet has had for years.

    I agree with anonymous at 17:13 when he says that the Conservative Councillors should support Laura Sandys. On his website Simon Moores ponders, " if there is some small political space for the Marxist argument and Conservative policy in the same room" I may be old fashioned but that does not sound true blue to me.

  46. Laura is wonderful (& a nice lady too), though I'd also say the same about Roger Gale. They must be very embarrassed at the behaviour of TDC Tories at times.

  47. To clarify, I'm not saying that Roger Gale is a nice lady! ; )

  48. Dr M, Ramsgate Resident here. STILL WAITING FOR MY SEAGULL PROOF BAG.

  49. Understand Driver and Worrow are to call their new party "MILITANT TWODENCY!" Maybe Readit will also join them so that he can influence the distribution of seagull proof bags his way.

  50. Anon 10.11 You are obviously happy with the low level of service received from your local council.

    When I pay over £1200 in council tax per annum I don't think it is TOO MUCH to expect a seagull proof bag, worth about a fiver, in return.


Comments, since I started writing this blog in 2007 the way the internet works has changed a lot, comments and dialogue here were once viable in an open and anonymous sense. Now if you comment here I will only allow the comment if it seems to make sense and be related to what the post is about. I link the majority of my posts to the main local Facebook groups and to my Facebook account, “Michael Child” I guess the main Ramsgate Facebook group is We Love Ramsgate. For the most part the comments and dialogue related to the posts here goes on there. As for the rest of it, well this blog handles images better than Facebook, which is why I don’t post directly to my Facebook account, although if I take a lot of photos I am so lazy that I paste them directly from my camera card to my bookshop website and put a link on this blog.