In her Thanet Gazette column today, Jane Wenham Jones’ comments: “Let’s face it, your average local authority can barely run a bath let alone a commercial venture” and in a second remark she describes one of our local councillor as an “Old duffer”, leaving enough scorn for other “Old duffers” at Pierremont Park planning meeting.
A grand old age should bring with it considerable experience of the world and with it, respect. In local politics however, this position is frequently an excuse to hang on to influence, well beyond one’s sell-by-date. This is, I believe, the nature of the problem we are experiencing in Thanet, a frozen political morbidity that delivers limited value and even less confidence to the electorate.
We should be asking ourselves whether as a community, we can afford to have decisions made on our behalf by elected representatives who are in constant danger of dozing off in the middle of an argument. I don’t doubt that many of our councillors have given great service over the years but this is the 21st century and Thanet faces immediate and pressing challenges over the changing face of the island its population and its long term future.
If any councillor is not able to use the internet as easily as he or she can read the local paper or change channels on a television, then perhaps it’s time to leave and make way for a younger generation of local politicians. At next year’s local council elections I intend to remind local people that a brighter future for Thanet may lie in the hands of new local politicians under the retirement age of 65 . If we can’t find any then we should be asking why politics on the island has stagnated to the point that younger people in their forties and fifties might not wish to be involved or indeed, feel excluded.
And if Thanet Life is still around next year and growing as quickly as it is today, then I plan to use it as a platform to support anyone with energy and new ideas, regardless of political affiliation, who may think that he or she can make a difference, doesn’t have local party support and would like to try for a council seat. Thanet needs change, it needs a vision and it needs political representatives it can believe in and trust with its future and I hope here is somewhere for it to start.