Monday, April 30, 2007

The Big Week

It’s the beginning of “The big week” and I’m out today doing some last minute canvassing. Although, these are local elections, they come at a time of impending change, a new Prime Minister, the spectre of Scottish independence and the real possibility of a snap General Election in the near future.

The next government will inherit a mortgaged future, a bankrupt treasury, a sclerotic economy and an electorate that no longer trusts politicians or government. This week, at least, people have an opportunity to express their support or opposition to the record of local government and a central government process which is now so centralised and authoritarian, that local democracy has become very limited in what it can achieve within the straightjacket in which it is tightly wrapped.

How the week ends will prove interesting for all of us. I can’t remember a time when local elections and national political interests coincided or indeed, collided with such force. Over the last decade, we’ve seen our country become badly broken, the victim of a grand and well-meaning socialist experiment that has failed. On a local basis, here in Thanet, we’ve accepted more than our fair share of collateral damage, which has in turn, shaped the face of the island. With luck, the results of this week’s local election will deliver the people and the direction we need to make Thanet a better place; small steps at least, until a General Election gives us the opportunity to choose between a Soviet-like state control of our lives or one which recognises the importance of “localism” and can offer greater autonomy and respect to the local democratic process.

Here’s to the ballot box a new life under Gordon Brown - a PM that nobody voted for - and the grinding inevitability of new taxation and state controls that are bound to follow.

22 comments:

Dane Valley Ted said...

Over here in the Valley there seems to be a lack of information from any of the parties.
I have only seen 1 pamphlet from the tories and nothing from any of the others.
On other occasions we have had door-step canvassing,but not this time,I have already made my mind up to vote against the current administration,but I hope you succeed in your ward.

tony flaig bignews said...

I had a tory round here to be honest I felt sorry for the bloke.

Seems a bit of a cheek Simon, to lay the blame on Labour for the state of Thanet as you well know our biggest problems are structural we have poor roads and poor planning both of which sit firmly with your lot.

Those county tories sitting in Maidstone have not got a clue about anywhere East of Maidstone. Even take this new TV Channel where is it based, Maidstone.

Your colleagues rolled over for Waterbridge changing the local plan against advice.

We're not all muppets simon!

Anonymous said...

I am a bit dubious about the claim that state of Thanet as you well know our biggest problems are structural we have poor roads and poor planning both of which sit firmly with your lot.

The improvements to the road to Pfizer for example has stalled due to central government pulling the plug on funding. Central government would be Labour would it not?

Anyway good luck!

earwigger said...

Dr Moores,once again your comments are too quick to pull on national politics,this is precisely what local people are fed up with.what we want here in Thanet is to get solutions to our own LOCAL issues.The council's stock in trade answer is always -'its not our fault,blame the nasty government'.Here in Westgate which you hope to represent shortly,we are faced with losing our Westgate bay medical centre if larger premises cannot be found,surely this type of issue is far more important than political point scoring? I feel that you have missed a chance to be a good representative for Westgate as an independent and will become just another party politictian serving the Tories first and those that elected you last.

DrMoores said...

I think "more than our fair share" is a pretty accurate description Tony if you look at the demographic changes that have taken place in Thanet over the last ten years. It's not all central government's fault perhaps but a large proportion of our problems stem from the ODPM, who may qualify as "Muppets" in their own right!

Anyway, we'll see on Thursday!

DrMoores said...

The Westgate medical centre is looking for a larger facility in Wesgate, correct but there is no suggestion, that I am aware of that it would leave the village. I've just made some calls and my understanding is that this is an exploratory conversation and hasn't progressed to a point where it should be of any local concern -me included!

Anonymous said...

Good luck in Westgate! For those of you who think that under a centralist labour Government, a Tory KCC or TDC ever had much freedom; think again! We have Westwood Housing Estate coming in and there is nothing we can do about it. How much money has KCC been short changed on compared to Northern (Labour) Councils? It can't spend millions on road infrastructure around Westwood as a result! A while back I read on Thanetlife, the obnoxious PC nature of a form for KCC Youth Groups to bid for money; KCC has no choice but to use it as it is dictated to them by central government.
I am not happy about TDC's Tories but I want to send a message to the next incumbent at No 10 because I am even unhappier about Labour; the only way I can do it is by doing my utmost to support my Local Tory Councillors by voting for them. A massive loss of Labour councillors will give a big message to Brown! Who knows, a resounding Tory success will mean fresh Councillors like the Doc and James Maskell being able to join forces to resurrect a palace coup and get Ezekiel out of the 'Leaders' chair.

On the subject of canvassing; have seen my Tory hopefuls but no hide nor hair of any others. The best our Labour hopefuls could come up with was a phone-call on Sunday because they have access to a list of 'Postal Voters'in their ward and asked me how I intended to vote. Hit the telephone Doc?

stuart said...

I don't really buy all this about the Tory administration having their hands completely tied. If that is the case then what is the point of having a local conservative administration while we have a labour government?

One issue I know of, regarding the change of policy on use of the Dreamland site. Tories mostly voted for a policy that allows change of use and increase in value of the site and mostly Labour voted against that policy.

I just trying to point out that the current administration can not blame central goverment for everything!

Simon, out of interest can you tell me your views on Dreamland policy, the current developers and whether you think the current administration has acted in the best interests of the town on this issue?

Anonymous said...

The Tory Group have voted to ensure that whatever "leisure/fun park" goes on the site will be a 12 month a year facility, and not just a 2 weeks in the summer + odd bank holiday weekend cheap and cheerful rip-off. What's wrong with that?

DrMoores said...

Stuart - You will have to have the short answer I'm afraid as I'm a bit time-pressed today.

Certainly, I believe that the current administration has acted in the best interests of the town. Why wouldn't they? This is however a very complex matter which involves private ownership of an important part of the town. It's a development I will be continuing to watch with some interest. As you know, I have been reporting on it over the last two years.

As for the point of local government, if central government continues to chip away at local democracy, then what value that remains will steadily diminish over time unless we use the ballot box to express our views.

stuart said...

Anon 3:38 - i can only assume that you aren't aware of the offers that were on the table from potential operators. And I'd have a guess you haven't seen the developers consultation designs of some rather grim and packed in housing with a couple of token 'leisure' facilities.

Simon, I know we don't agree very often and this topic will be no different. I am of the opinion and have been for some time, that the only reason Waterbridge's plans contain so much housing is because of the policy change voted in by the Tory administration.

Had they voted for the policy in line with the goverment inspector then I think we would be looking at a very different Dreamland by now!

DrMoores said...

Ironically Stuart, I err more towards your concerns on this matter and without any doubt, I will be looking for the best possible result for Dreamland if I am given a seat on the council.

As I explained to Tony Flaig the other week when we talked, I'm no different to anyone else living in Thanet in wanting the best for our community with the resources available. I also believe that if you want to make things better then you have to step up to the crease and try and make a difference for the better, however modest. Even if you don't agree with me on lots of different matters, I suspect that you would rather have me batting for you than not at all? Or am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Living in the unfashionable bit of Westgate, south of the Canterbury road, I haven't seen a single candidate out canvassing, and have only received one flyer, from an independent!

DrMoores said...

That's interesting as much of the area has, I know been worked. Drop me a separate email if you like and tell me which road. I've certainly been over there...e.g, Dunstan, Linksfield etc.

James Maskell said...

The order in which the political parties have canvassed where I live (Cliftonville West) is Conservative (ages ago), Independent (a couple of weeks ago) then Labour. Labour canvassed less than a hour ago and was none other than my Salmestone opponent Harry Scobie! Seems Cliftonville West Labour have called in reinforcements...

Anonymous said...

Stuart - I am intimately familiar with all you refer to. Major and sustainable leisire is what is required. Nothing that was produced was good enough. An element of housing will always be part of the deal, but the quality of the rest of the offer is what will determine the outcome.

Michael Child said...

Here in the middle of Ramsgate I have seen a lot of canvassing by Ramsgate First, a little bit of Conservative and no Labour. I have noticed that the new voters 18 and 19 year olds that I have spoken to don’t seem to have much interest in this election, perhaps councillors could consider talking to the 6th forms in schools and colleges so that this group felt more represented.

I am just completing publication of a guide to Ramsgate for 1895 when we had just managed to wrest government from a rival town strange how history repeats itself. If you click on the Michael Child link on this page you can read the section from it about local government at this time. Their achievements were truly remarkable.

Anonymous said...

Re electoral canvassing - I think the "big" boys must be getting worried - On Saturday morning I had an unexpected visit from Sandy Ezekiel - not the candidates who are standing for Westgate but the "man" himself!! I wonder why!!After having run through a whole list of of things I was dissatisfied with I asked Mr Ezekiel if he could give me one thing the Tory party had done to improve Margate in particular his reply was "Market Square" - not an awful lot to show for a four year run is it? In their election blurb the Tory party claim in particular to have preserved the heritage of Westgate - take a look at the site where the beautiful Even Tide House once was - work seems to have come to a standstill over the past few months and there is just a huge vast empty derelict area with part development at the back - what is the future for this site?
Eileen Cunnew

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Good luck on Thursday Simon. But to you and some of the postees above, it's businessmen with vision who make things happen. Regrettably, there've been precious few of those on Thanet Council since 1974.

DrMoores said...

I suspect a little electioneering on behalf of the independents here Eileen as a similar post has appeared elsewhere. No worry.

Sandy has been out lending support in a number of wards and so has Roger Gale. There's nothing unusual in that I'm afraid and I'm deligted he came to see you in Westgate.

One problem with canvassing on Saturdays in particular is that, in my experience, you have a one in five chance of finding someoen home in some areas. Sometimes better and sometimes less.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Reading some of the comments I feel as a candidate I must be fighting a different election than everyone else.Like everyone else I have been on the knocker and listening what the punters are saying, and from what I can gather there is a large proportion of the electorate who will be voting and have not made up their minds. Well that was the position up until last weekend. The tilt maybe in favour of the Conservatives or so we are led to believe but there are still underlying issues such as turner centre, dreamland and its former owner plus westwood cross homes that the electorate are still chewing on.

Ken Gregory said...

Tony,

The words,'Pudding, proof, eating, The , is, in, of,the, The' spring to mind!