Monday, 11 March 2013

Thanet Conservatives? Thanet Councillors? A Monday ramble.



First. Bit of tweeting between Clive Hart leader of the council and Rebecca Smith editor of the local paper, to start with.

    rebecca smith ‏@eastkented

    @CliveHart maybe rebuilding faith in @ThanetCouncil is more important than point scoring. It's not about a rosette #justsaying

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    Mar 9 Cllr. Clive Hart Cllr. Clive Hart ‏@CliveHart

    @eastkented @ThanetCouncil How would you feel if members of another team kept falling short & your team took blame? It's unfair to majority

    Expand

    Mar 9 rebecca smith rebecca smith ‏@eastkented

    @CliveHart Petty to make Ezekiel case party political. Action of 1 man. Damage to TDC as whole. Why point out Hoser etc Tories. Not relevant

    Expand

    18 hrs Cllr. Clive Hart Cllr. Clive Hart ‏@CliveHart

    @eastkented Sorry Rebecca but you pointed out Hoser etc in the Gazette - not me. I just filled in the blanks. Very relevant to local people.

    Expand

    6 hrs rebecca smith rebecca smith ‏@eastkented

    @CliveHart why *sorry* Clive? Context of corruption at TDC imp not party - individual action not party policy! #electioncoming #cheapshot

    Expand


5 hrs Cllr. Clive Hart Cllr. Clive Hart ‏@CliveHart

@eastkented The 'sorry' was simply me being polite in explaining it wasn't me who chose those reported on in your newspaper.

I am not much of a tweeter and have been tied up with other stuff over the weekend so no blogging and very little internet.

Obviously the fallout from the Ezekiel trial is still with us and my guess is that it will be here for some time. Perhaps the main problem being that this doesn’t look to be one of those one off flash in the pan things where we had one crooked councillor who has now been found guilty and that is the end of it. The argument above isn’t about whether or not we have a history of bent councillors, but whether they were all Conservatives.

I guess the big question really is, what can the council do to rebuild trust? One thing to look at would be alternative forms of local governance, unitary authority and elected mayor. I guess a snag here is that with the majority of Conservatives in East Kent these solutions would seem to result in permanent and total Conservative local government for Thanet. Somewhere in all of this is of course the question is would the Sandy Ezekiel case have come to trial under a Conservative administration?

Much of the problem revolves around national party politics not really working at local council level, with much of the selection of councillors being based on the colour of their rosette, rather than their suitability and commitment to representing local people at the local council.

The next big thing in local politics, that is assuming we don’t have any more councillor arrests for a bit, should be the Kent County Council elections

County Councillors get significant allowances, here is the breakdown for last year https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/council-and-democracy/Transparency%20project/member-allowance-scheme.pdf    and here what individual councillors actually pocketed last year https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/council-and-democracy/Transparency%20project/councillor-allowances2012.pdf few got less than £250 per week with some topping £800 per week.  

Nice work if you can get it, but a key question for me is out of whatever list I get to vote for, it won’t be which political party they belong to, nor will it be their underlying political persuasion, it will be how responsive they are in terms of responding to me and dealing with local issues.    

What in the first instance is their web presence like?

At the moment I have the bumph from the Conservative candidates and the Labour candidates, are any  of them on Twitter, do any of them have a blog or a FaceBook page?

I will ramble on here I expect  

38 comments:

  1. "Somewhere in all of this is of course the question is would the Sandy Ezekiel case have come to trial under a Conservative administration?"

    Extract report Isle of Thanet Gazette, 18 November 2011.



    Former Thanet council chief Sandy Ezekiel arrested for alleged fraud Friday, November 18, 2011 Isle of Thanet Gazette
    Follow
    FORMER Thanet council leader Sandy Ezekiel has been arrested on suspicion of fraud and misconduct in public office, the Isle of Thanet Gazette can reveal.

    Mr Ezekiel, who represents Cliftonville East ward for the Conservative Party, was arrested on October 5.


    Arrest: Sandy Ezekiel, left, former leader of Thanet council

    He was interviewed by police at his home.

    Mr Ezekiel, 58, said he was unable to discuss details of the allegations for legal reasons, but confirmed he had been aware of an issue since May.

    He said: "There is no wrongdoing on my part. This is the kind of thing you have to put up with if you are involved in local politics, it's as simple as that."

    Another man, aged 63 from Margate, has also been arrested in connection with the same allegations.

    He is not a public official or thought to be connected with Thanet council in any way.

    Neither Mr Ezekiel, of Crow Hill, or the other man has been charged with any offence.

    Both men have been released on police bail until January 25, pending further investigations.Mr Ezekiel has been a district councillor since 1999.

    He was re-elected in May's district poll with 1,187 votes – the most in the ward.

    He was leader of the council for seven years.

    As well as holding a seat on the council, Mr Ezekiel is a member of the Joint Transportation Board.

    Mr Ezekiel stepped down from the council's top elected role in March last year.

    The reins of power were passed to Bob Bayford, who beat John Kirby in a poll of Conservative members to the post.

    Mr Bayford confirmed he was aware of the arrest but added: "It would be totally inappropriate to make any comment at this stage."


    Read more: http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Thanet-council-chief-Sandy-Ezekiel-arrested/story-13885318-detail/story.html#ixzz2NFklXSpX
    Follow us: @thisiskent on Twitter

    Aware of an issue since May 2011; arrested October 5 2011. Labour administration took office in December 2011. Under whose administration was any referral to the police have been made?

    An apology is due I believe Michael.

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    1. Chris I will start with an unreserved apology.

      I am sure the investigation would have been just the same under either administration, I guess that it took place under both may well help to get the other side of this one.

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  2. please do advise me as to why any candidate who is available on twitter or facebook may be more successful and/or experienced for their role than one who commnicates more traditionally?

    In Margate we have at least one candidate who is omni present in such fora but has absolutely no experience of anything other than education to date. According to your philosphy, that is more important than experience and track record? Really?

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    1. Chris I suppose the answer to this is best covered in fifty year intervals, in 1913 one would have expected ones politically representatives to have been literate, their views publicly expressed in the media of the time, by 1963 one would have expected them to be conversant with the use of the telephone, their views publicly expressed in the media of the time.

      Now I suppose I expect to be able to find something about them on the internet, politician sort of translates as, person of the people.

      Thanet wise apart from you do any of the other county councillors comment on the blogs regularly under their own names?

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    2. By traditional communications you mean you have one election leaflet from them just before the election and you never hear from them again until the next election 4 years later. If you are very very lucky they may even knock on your door (not seen one where I live for over 20 years). Plenty of those councillors around Kent.

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    3. Chris, your sentence "In Margate we have at least one candidate who is omni present in such fora but has absolutely no experience of anything other than education to date. According to your philosphy, that is more important than experience and track record? Really?"
      I cant see where Michael has claimed that he prefers a councillor with web presence RATHER than one with experience. There are many KCC and TDC councillors with experience of life but who contribute nothing other than voting when told to do so - take a look at KCC council meeeting webcasts. The profile of the average KCC councillor is a very narrow over retirement age white male. Maybe Margate should vote a bit of young educated blood and a woman if they can. After all having only education and no other experience has not stopped Dave Cammeron, George Osbourne and co from thinking they can run the country.

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  3. Clive Hart misses the point. When they were in opposition, he and his Labout chums didn't do enough to hold the Conservative adminsitration to account. They weren't demanding information and weren't insisting on transparency. The reason is simple. They knew that, eventually, they would get back into power. Now that they are in power you will note they aren't insisting on total transparency. I'm fed up with the lot of them and I won't be voting again.

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  4. Michael, how about yourself or one of the local writers / historians putting together a book on (nearly) 40 years of the TDC, mentioning both successes and controversies? Not only would it be interesting reading, but I'm sure it would sell well.

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  5. Maybe a boycott of the election is viable. Certainly we should consider which KCC councillors are not required again. Doublehatters? Gideon and the airport committee have hardly held Infratil or McGonigal to account? Wasn't Chris Wells heading that at one point too in his TDC role as well?

    Clive's hardly spoken up on the Labour ChinaGate £25k donation - the largest ever single donation, or Manston and the missing monitors and fines or changing the KLM night flight times.

    I think both parties also voted almost unanimously for ChinaGate and Manston night flights several times.

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  6. So Chris, are you inferring that it was a conservative councilor who informed the police about Eziekel's dodgy dealings?

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  7. I was simply correcting the unwarrented assumption contained in Michaels question regarding the liklihood of investigation under different political regimes. I made no comment regarding who may or may not have been involved; simply pointing out the referral to the police was made under Conservative administration, something Michael had cast doubt upon, for which he has been honest enough to apologise.

    Perhaps Michael the clue to the relative absence of cllr comments lies within theconstant anonymous stream of half truth and accusation that folowed our mild and open exchange. Yes at one point under my cabinet portfolio I was responsible for the monitoring of the airport; and ensured the monitors that were user were mended, tested, and in working order, and moved around to test the noise from various points of the compass. I alsowent to the airport consultative committee to explain what had been done when they started to ask about progress. Forthe record I remain an unrepentant supporter of the airport as one of the best ways of providing well paid shift work in the long term, as t has done in many other areas. The support of the council was cricial to the basing of aircraft at Southend; the current administration policy gives off an air of anti business positioning: the airport needs more flexibility at the beginning and end of the day, and a limited number of night slots to make it work, in my personal view. Again, for the record, I spoke and voted against Chinagate because of the potential for damage to Acol in the plans as presented; would have voted for if there had been modification.

    And finally, the labour party appear to believe that the only qualification for serving the needs of the voters of Margate and Cliftonville is to be related to influential people in the local labour party - one who fixes it for his son; and one who fixes it for his partner. Can you imagine what the sainted Iris and the other motor mouths of the labour party localy would say if one of my children had been fast tracked through processes without experience to potentially serious decision making at mayoral and county level? One of my sons had an interest in politics, and pursued it in Glasgow and Lancaster before changing career direction. But crucially fought to make it on teir own, as all my children have, and not relied upon parental and lartner influence to overcome open and proper cometition. The arrogance and hypocrisy is breathtaking - particularly when the child mayor of margate's only substantial contribution at district level so far has been to demand a pay rise; and like all kindly uncles and aunts overseeing their spoilt offspring, the labour group gave him his way! Which of the described approaches treats the voters with more comtempt I wonder?

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    1. Chris,

      Here, here - well said.

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    2. If it was only true of all KCC tory councillors, a daughter given a seat even though she lives 15 miles away and I doubt whether she has visited her district since her family photoshoot.

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    3. When I took my place at Thanet Compact in 2010, I asked a former labour TDC Council leader ( who was a part of the same compact) in front of colleagues what his role was in the China Gatweway Development? I did so because that Development appears to have some link with a planning dispute I am following in Manston.

      Not only did he refuse to answer my question(citing some manners protocol), but some months later oversaw the Thanet Council responsibility for the Thanet Compact transferred to a Labour Colleague who ran (or still runs?) a large Thanet Voluntary and Community Sector Forum, who then went on to insist that they only want to publish "Good News" in their magazine? This decision was undemocratic as it was done without reference to the Management Committee, of which I was a part.

      This same ex Labour Council leader is also involved with Kent Police Equality Committees, and some of my associates have fallen under his influence. I have a meeting with these former associates tonight. It remains to be seen if they have distanced themselves from him, and Kent Police, sufficiently for us to resume our working relationship.

      It seems the Thanet Villages, particularly Acol, have been poorly served by Thanet Labour. But as Chris has implied, it all seems to be about the maths with Labour, not social justice. There is always the hope they will put aformentioned wrongs right, but I won't hold my breath.

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    4. Chris, from the point of view of one who both contributes to financing and has to live with the results of our local government you paint a pretty bleak picture. It certainly doesn’t sound as you will be sitting down to some sort of cross party talks to solve some of our most pressing problems.

      I think the whole point of this post was that the editor of the local paper and the leader of the council have been shunting around the problem that our council is to a lesser or greater extent dysfunctional.

      With them it was the fallout of the previous administrations leader being a crook and now you seem to be saying the present administration is based around self seeking nepotism.

      I don’t think the comment here is really sufficient reason just to walk away from the situation and hope it will in some way just recover, to me it just seems to be the usual and underlying it the considerable confusion about which local council is responsible for what.

      I can see this confusion about councils being fairly prevalent at the ballot box, which may have some ramifications.

      On the subject of the mayor of Margate, I have encountered him in action on several occasions, the most recent being last Thursday at The Winter Gardens event, I haven’t found any shortcomings there. He always seems to be properly dressed for the occasion and deports himself in the proper manner.

      I guess from my own perspective of considerable age anyone between 20 and 55 seems a bit on the young side, I guess one argument for decayed leading figures is that aren’t likely to last for too long.

      I guess when it comes to our district council you and I are not arguing as to whether or not there are serious problems, I think it fait to say we both agree it has although we have different perspectives, so what do you think could be possible solutions?

      SG with China Gateway, which I objected to the two senior council officers concerned came to see me and discuss the issue, their explanation of the council’s tactics was thus: If they turned down the application and the planning inspector subsequently allowed there was a good chance of it going through with insufficient environmental controls, so they pursued the passed with robust controls approach.

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    5. Michael,

      I take your point about the Margate Mayor. He may very well look the part. But is he a good administrator and innovator?

      I could say dress up and strut around as a rock star; but I would stumble over the fact that I can neither sing nor play a musical instrument.

      As an analogy in 6th Form we were encouraged to read DH Lawrence. I did so but could not see what all the fuss was about in the plots. I re-read him in my thirties and clearly understood. He had got it spot on, in my experience.

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    6. Michael, I have become aware of the various tactics that are deployed around planning issues. My point was about who encouraged the application and its after effects. If I perceive that any Councillor, past or present, have been involved in the trashing of our environment, then I would find it difficult being in the same room as them, let alone as part of some Board.

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    7. John I don’t think the mayor is supposed to be a political appointment, so I don’t think admin and innovation comes into it that much, although I doubt he is lacking on either front, certainly when compared to other councillors.

      I guess the main requirement is keeping your nose clean, attending the functions and having something reasonable to say to the people meeting the mayor. As far as I can tell his performance on all counts is above average.

      On the intelligence and ability front, the last time he popped in here for a chat my son who is of a similar age and embarking on his chemistry doctorate was also here, Will seemed to be able to hold his end up in a wide ranging conversation, neither of us noticed any lose toys in the attic.

      I get the feeling that politically he is fairly middle of the road, seems to be particularly interested in youth issues, I would say if you were to take an average cross section of TDC councillors and judge them on all counts he would come in the top 10%.

      SG as far as I remember the land was earmarked for industrial use some time ago, the main snag is that it right next to where they pump our drinking water out of the ground, I think the missed the simple prerogative of not putting the toilet next to the well.

      An aside to this is that there is only so much of the water reservoir you can develop on top of, something like, you may get away with industry there, expanding Thanet Earth and expanding the airport, but not all three.

      Bit of an old council problem here, invite as much industry as you can and make allowances on environmental grounds to boost the local economy but miss the point that industry and commerce won’t move to an area that doesn’t have the highest environmental standards.

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    8. Michael,

      If I understand you: you are saying that the Mayor is nothing more than a figure head for which he requires no strong education, intellect or worldly experience? OK so be it and nice work if you can get it. Can I apply, I once had a job greeting VIPs [including Gillian you won't know her - she was lovely and totally irrelevant to this blog].

      I do not want to get into a debate about youth versus age. After all I was young once and this in Thanet too. What I do know is that in my my youth I was certain about the way the world should be. Now I'm just certain about the way it is.

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    9. Two types of mayor at distinct government level, what we have in Thanet at the moment ceremonial mayors, the other type which we don’t have in Thanet at the moment but could petition for a change to the type of government which is called the elected mayor system.

      An elected mayor would be the political leader of the council, instead of having a leader chosen by the majority of councillors, the leader would be elected at the polling station.

      The council were supposed to hold a public consultation about which form of leadership the people of Thanet wanted, in one way this happened in 2010, the council held a public consultation which they kept as secret as they could.

      Despite this some members of the electorate found out and responded, so the responses were unanimous that locals wanted a referendum to decide on the type of government in Thanet.

      The council then decided not to allow this and proceeded to obliterate any record of the consultation.

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  8. Michael,

    As John Holyer explains so well, I did not suggest that the child mayor of margate cannot dress himself, even from the lofty perspective of mid fifties he does not appear that young. However, I do suggest he may not have the experience to fulfil the roles he is being fast tracked for. I am sure many readers of this blog would say that many of the worst politicians of recent years seem to have gone straght from school and university into politics and done nothing 'real' en route. Read carefully Margaret Cook's article at the weekend about the overweaning ambition of mainstream politicians and their self centredness.

    Or here's another comparison for you, coincidently, one of my daughters was in the same year (of grammar school) as the child mayor. he has been to university; come home; been to university from home; and been handed roles on a plate through his family contacts and influence.

    My daughter trained to become a vet in those same 5 years; earned herself a job in a highly competitive market against her peers, at a cornwall practice; has been the highest fee earner in at least three of the last 8 months; and has already developed a personal, trusting clientele for whom she makes life and death decisions for their business animals and pets. She has also been published in a learned veterinary journal for having found some obscure desease I cant pronounce in a cat.

    In a crisis, whose experience would you trust to deliver the best decisions?

    The political scene in Thanet needs some new blood. But neither party has a particularly good track record in new blood in recent times, although at the last district election both sides did enter some new candidates who are doing well. But we are all mainly aware of the difficulties. I have been seeking work for some months, and have been recently advised to take my membership of TDC off my CV, so I know very well how the council may currently be perceived, or more accurately the councillors (and this happened before the Ezekiel trial).

    This mess has much to do with being a hung council. Too many people are afraid to talk and think strategically, for the future, its all about getting the cheers of the 20 or so campaigners in the gallery, or a press headline. Morale amongst officers given all that has taken place is very low If I am advised to hide links with TDC what does this all do to their careers?

    There is no magic bullet - just trying to be the best you can day by day, and trust in the end people will think carefully about whom they want to steer their lives and the considerable sums of public money involved, and not be 'conned' by constant claim and pretty pictures. And yes Michael it does feel bleak and difficult for any of us who are in this to try and benefit the communities they represent, and not their egos or pockets.

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    1. I would add to Chris Wells comment, that it seems to me that both Chris and Simon Moores do attempt to contribute around the Thanet blogs and answer some of our questions, more often than not being promptly attacked by sundry anonymous contributors, in the main, for their trouble. Labour councillors contributions are non-existent outside the occassional posting on their own blogs and that seems to be down to just Dave Green now.

      Perhaps if we bloggers engage in a sensible blogging dialogue with those councillors that do try, instead of always going on the attack, we might just find out more of the answers we seek.

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    2. Professional, PPE, unworldly politicians are the curse of modern government. Not one of them appears capable of rescuing us from this present parlous mess into which they have chucked us.

      Among other things they appear to govern by formula without any understanding of human nature. They abandon leadership in favour of focus groups. Which are by their nature unreliable. A focus group will say one thing today and another tomorrow.

      I agree with Tom Clarke in that we should concentrate on discussion with the likes of Chris and Simon Moores and Michael, for the reason given.

      Though I have to admit that I find it difficult to resist having a go with some of the sillier anonymice.





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    3. Difficult one for me Tom.

      Much to TDC Monitoring Officer Harvey Patterson's disgust, I produced taped evidence at an appeal hearing(October 2009) depicting Councillors Hart, Poole, Campbell and Aldred laughing hysterically at their own jokes as the planning committee as a whole voted to evict my senior citizen mother and disabled partner from their mobile home in Manston (which is sited in the garden of her former cottage home). They did not succeed on that occasion, depsite fake minutes produced by Mr Patterson claiming to represent them as an accurate recording of events of their decision meeting in May 2009.

      Interestingly, we discovered, literally the day after this appeal hearing, that Cllrs Mick and Shirley Tomlinson got the Bradgate Caravan Park extension of 51 Mobile Homes passed on agricultural land the previous week, as reported in YourThanet of October 28 2009.

      In this paper Cllr Hart says of this planning decision, and I quote:-

      "Several Colleagues, myself included, made it very clear that we were concerned with procedures on the night and I understand an investigation is under way. For exactly the same reasonI cannot go into any further detail at this point".

      As this was three and a half years ago I wonder if Clive could update us? After all, this development is only about 100 metres from my mother's solitary mobile home?

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    4. Chris I think he must be about 25, makes me wonder where you see childhoods end and your 55 presumably makes you pregeriatric? I guess there may be a bit in the middle where we qualify as useful adults, I am trying to remember.

      I have two children around this age who both seem to be contributing adults in our society, am I missing something here?

      However back to the actual subject, which is how the hell the council regains its credibility? Perhaps a dignified silence is really the only option.

      The CV aspect is an interesting one, rather you than me, I would imagine secondhand bookseller superseded by technology wouldn’t get one very far either.

      Tom you do seem to be hammering home my point that in the first instance I would look for an internet presence before doing my voting, and yes I have said before if Simon or Chris stood in my ward I would vote for them just on the basis that they are responsive.

      Shop window smashed, kept up all night by noisy drunks, shops all round where you are trading closed, parking charges increased, towns main leisure sites derelict, roads and pavements disintegrated, most of the drains in the road blocked, harbour so silted up that international events have to be turned away, the list goes on…..

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    5. As Michael often points out when blanking out names from copies of emails, if you have an internet presence there here is no hidding place and it can be pointless trying to leave things out of a CV. There's no hidding place for you Michael in your career history and cllr Wells's public record is very public. Its a pity TDC did not resort to Google when last year they employed a £90k short lived regeneration director. Maybe a change of name is the only solution to be able to leave our past behind.





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  9. I judge people by their actions not by their age or political party. There is much work to be done to repair the perceived rot of the past. Even if some of the public's perception is unfounded, work must be done to be starting afresh. In the last few months I've been on the receiving end of members heckling at planning committee, and I won't even go into the things that other elected members say about residents in bars and restaurants. Standards really need to improve. Yes, I and others could report people to the Standards Committee. This may yet happen. I sincerely hope that elected members will realise the importance of the office they hold and that with it comes great responsibility. If they are unable to behave even in the most basic and civil manner with each other and with the residents they serve, then perhaps they should retire. It's this atmosphere that puts most decent people off from standing for office. Perhaps this is their intention.

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    1. You could add the rudeness and name calling elected members have resorted to on the blogs. There for all to see forever.

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    2. Louise, I have been giving this one some thought and think the options are probably unitary authority and stronger town councils or elected mayor system.

      Both have their pros and cons, but frankly in the last few weeks when a labour cabinet member told people holding a public meeting that it was inappropriate behaviour, both to hold a public meeting and invite the press, followed by a recent leader going off to prison for his actions as a councillor, I think something has to happen and don’t think, starting afresh would work unless it is enforced.

      The pros of the mayoral system is it’s easy to instigate, a petition of 5% of the electorate triggers a referendum, the question in the referendum being essentially do you wish to elect a council leader or have one imposed upon you? The other pro being that it is reversible. The cons of course being if you get a bad leader, a criminal for instance.

      The pros of the unitary authority are greatly reduced costs and a much more drastic change combined with more powerful town councils. The cons being that it isn’t reversible and would probably lead to a permanent Conservative administration.

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    3. Some senior Tories are getting pretty desperate when the only criticism they can find of someone is that they're "too young"...

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    4. Michael,

      There is no evidence that unitary authorities are cheaper to run - although plenty of evidence of the costs of changing over to different forms of authority structure. The recent police commissioner elections may be an intersting case i point, for firstly the cost; secondly the participation; and thirdly the farcical pretence of independence for an individual who ran as an independent, but was actually a party political supported candidate. Changing the structure is a cop out for failure to demand better representation on the ground, with better quality candidates. Yet as Loiuse says above, few decent candidates are going to rush and join the current image and behaviour, whatever the structure around them.

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    5. Chris,

      You are quite right that better quality candidates could be the answer. We must accept that in 39 years it has been impossible to find enough Councillors of both persuasions who are capable of doing the job. You must admit that the conservative record is singularly atrocious. Where does Roger Gale find them. The Labour Party are no better with the same old names being trotted out year after year with no brain cells whatsoever. If you then consider the officers, they are almost a bad with highly paid senior staff making exceptionally poor decisions because of the lack of knowledge and experience. We must surely accept now that forming a local administration of people who are capable and who are not in it for personal greed or gratification, is just not going to happen.

      For the benefit of the Area as a whole we must throw the towel in now, accept that we cannot form an effective local government and join with those in neighbouring Authorities who can.

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  10. That is not what I said Peter as you well know. It is the lack of experience of life outside politics and the advantages of having opportunity opened for you by the silver spoon of family influence that is so hypocritical from labour (we are all equal) members. Real life experinece is going to be vital in the difficult days ahead, courtesy of banking greed and labour economic incompetence.

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    1. Dont forget all those coallition cabinet members whose family siver sent them to Eton or similar, then to conservative central office before becomming MPs and ministers. Do they count as having no real life experience?

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    2. Define "lack of experience of life outside politics". Buying houses? Driving cars? Cat breeding?

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    3. Anonymouse 6:28,

      In answer to your question, "Yes".

      You should try to grasp the fact that not everyting is about party politics.

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  11. As a voter in Planet Thanet, I find reading blogs on here enlightening, and depressing in equal measure. The meeting in Ramsgate was over the former Pleasurama site and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Councillors involved. IMHO every Councillor should come out with an opinion one way or another just so the electorate know where they stand.

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  12. Michael,

    It is a sad fact, but both political parties in Thanet are unable to put forward enough decent candidates. The conservatives in the South have a far better record recently than Roger Gales office where most of the problem Members in the conservative party seem to get dragged in off the street. The list is endless and I am sure everyone knows who they are. The Labour Party seem to put forward the same old names year in year out, most of whom will either doff their hats to one particular lady or get hauled over the coals. The end result is that the locals who could do the job, wont come forward. A Unitary with beefed up Town Council's is the only answer. That would at least take out the pathetic backbiting because the representatives from Thanet would be lost within a much bigger brain pool. I wont comment on the officer mismanagement at TDC other than to say the senior officers are totally and utterly useless. Perhaps we should all start writing directly to Eric Pickles.

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