Friday, December 28, 2007

Let's Have an Ice Rink

Reading the Thanet Gazette today, I see that there is yet another letter from another “Thanet Independent Action” "councillor" taking the council to task over the usual Turner 'conspiracy theory.'

What bemuses me is that Mr or Mrs X, a “Parish Councillor for Y” are now starting to sign their names and use the title, “Councillor X” as if they were District or County Councillors for any one of the Thanet wards, which may provoke confusion in those who aren’t properly aware of the difference – explained here - . “A Parish Council is the lowest tier of local government has nothing to do with the church, despite its name, has little power but a reasonable amount of influence in regard to local community projects, such as war memorials, street lighting, rights of way etc. It plays a useful role in representing local views back-up to District level."- BBC

Aside from my confusion with the context, What's clear in the last two letters I’ve read in the Gazette from ‘Thanet Independent Action’, is that the two correspondents are at worst, ‘away with the fairies’ and at best, have a very tenuous grasp of the harsher financial realities facing local government here in Thanet.

It's suggested that we “Use the Turner Centre money and build a new pier and an ice rink”! I don’t think so. It’s not our money to spend on anything else but the proposed project and the message, still isn’t getting through. Let’s be thankful then that those suggesting such solutions have no democratic responsibility for allocating or spending any of your money on such a scale or we would be in trouble. Let me try again to explain for anyone who has missed it and those who don’t want to see it.

If we don’t have the Turner Centre here in Margate the money which has been allocated only for the Turner Centre – not ice rinks or piers – by KCC, SEEDA, Arts Council et al - will go elsewhere. Anyone wishing for ice rinks, piers and other good works, which, like me, we would all like to see one day, will then have to explain to the people of Thanet why they lobbied against the only chance for a national project of any description coming to Thanet. Perhaps the future really does lie in “Kiss-me-quick hats and Margate rock?”

I see this morning that the public toilets at St Mildred’s Bay have been re-tagged over the last 48 hours, this time, with bright blue paint. One can’t fail to be frustrated and depressed by the result, given the efforts and costs involved to have them renovated this summer. Equally bad perhaps, is that we have to keep opening times restricted to avoid vandalism inside and to try and control (unsuccessfully) the regular activities of one particularly group of sexually active male residents, who, the cleaner tells me, are averaging 30 condoms a week. I even picked-up a used ”sharp” outside last week, which he kindly disposed of for me.

The Gazette, didn’t quite catch-up with the result of the NSPCC charity flight; the best being a rushed and crude cut and paste job entitled, “The Best of the Blogs.” At least it had some coverage of what was achieved but I also understand that the Gazette are unable to actually read the different local weblogs because of a company policy over accessing “Social Networking Sites.” If anyone can explain how any of the local weblogs sit in the same pigeonhole as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, Let me know!

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Simon,
Sad thing is, and I have sat on 'both' sides of the fence, is that these'independant' voices, do not understand the mechanations of local government, If they did the could be more effective, as it is all they are is a distraction from the realities of life and a platform for their own ego's. Sorry to say, but its true.

Ken Gregory

Michael Child said...

This is really a depressing picture with it seems no level of local government really able to do much about the vanishing leisure facilities in our towns and no hope of any new ones. One wonders how other towns manage to get leisure facilities.

We keep hearing how this is all about money, either our money that is taken away from us and then returned in ways we don’t want or money that TDC simply haven’t got. However when I ask simple questions where money has already been allocated why it appears not to be being spent in the best way to improve our status as leisure towns it’s very hard to get coherent answers.

Just one example why can’t the new swimming pools be built on the seafronts where they would be tourist attractions? In Ramsgate the old marina site has always been earmarked for this purpose, I can provide more examples if you want.

With us fast moving towards the toilets becoming the only public facilities provided by TDC perhaps we shall all have to come out in order to get any leisure on TDC owned sites

Young Codger said...

Probably old people with too much time on their hands interfering with the future of us younger people. You've had your chance, leave it alone!!

Anonymous said...

As you come to the end of 2007, Dr Moores, you must be quite pleased at how Thanetlife seems to get the scoops:
Q.Who first drew our attention to the sand in Ramsgate harbour?
A: Thanetlife on Apr 3 2005!

Q. Who first warned of the pernicious effect of Westwood Cross?
A: Dr Moores on 18 Apr 2005 on Thanetlife who said " Within a 5 mile radius, shopping centres such as Westwood Cross are rapidly consigning traditional high street shopping to the history books and creating a commercial desert in their place". (How true you were when we look at Margate today!)

Q: Who was first to reveal that TC was unpopular with the people of Thanet in a 70:30 ratio?
A: Thanetlife, where Dr Moores revealed that many of the 30% pro votes had TDC and KCC IPS tags!

Q: Who queried why work had failed to start on TC in September 2005?
A: Thanetlife.

Q: Who said in 2005 in respect of TC , "local people possess more commercial pragmatism than some of ourcivic leaders might posess?"
A: Dr Moores (20 Sep 2005) when the visitor numbers were projected at 195,000. (How projections for visitors shrink (now 130,000) as costs rise)

Q: Who in respect of TC said :
" Perhaps we should be asking KCC to spend £25 million on a really good conference centre"
A: Dr Moores on Thanetlife on 8/9/2005.

Q. Who has agreed to underwrite all costs of TC?
A: KCC ! (according to Cllr Wise on Thanetlife!(Now, forgive me for being just an un-informed and negative Council Tax payer, but don't we in Thanet pay more of our Council Tax to KCC than TDC. Ergo: the cost of TC is underpinned by Thanet Coucil Tax payers?)

Q: Who in respect of TC quoted T.E Lawrence on 23 Sep 2005 as follows:
" but dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
A: Dr Moores on 23 Sep 2005.

I think Thanetlife has developed, as a result of your input, Dr Moores,into Thanet's premier blog and when you consider the fuss over 'visitor' 30,000 and 2 years later your counter shows almost 360,000 visits; thats marvellous.

However, I beg to question your 'conversion' in respect of TC on 'The Road to Damascus' when you became a TDC Councillor! I just cannot believe that some-one with your commercial acumen and general intellectual grasp of the finer points of arguments can really consider that the TC is not an un-mitigated disaster since its conception and should be abandoned forthwith before incuuring vast problems for Thanet. Has it really cost KCC Council tax payers £7,000,000 already?

ThanetBizBlog said...

Most district councillors sign their letters as 'councillor' with no complaints from county councillors saying that they can't do this incase people think they are county councillors. I am a parish councillor and I have just as much right to sign my letters as councillor as any other kind of councillor does. To think otherwise is like saying if you play for Margate FC you are not a real football player, but if you play for MUFC you are. Some people with their own political agenda might not like it but I like all other parish councillors ARE councillors and it is our demoractic right to say so.

DrMoores said...

Thank you 8:25, I see you’ve been busy and I commend your efforts!

There is certainly a difference, after a good six months, of seeing the challenges we face as a community from the inside rather than the outside.

To be honest, as the record shows, I’ve had reservations over the Turner Contemporary (TC) since the very beginning. Have I changed my mind? “Yes” and “No.”

First of all, let me agree with everyone who wants to see a better Isle of Thanet and particularly a regenerated Margate and thriving Ramsgate.

If you trust me, even a little and regardless of my political views, then you’ll know that I want the best possible result for the area where I grew-up, went to school and eventually returned to after almost 25 years in business.

Margate, like all those other seaside towns, including even Blackpool, faces enormous problems, many of which have been thrust upon us by an unsympathetic and cynical government with little or no regard for the future or quality of life for those of us whose families have lived here for generations.

We are poor, poorer than most and we’ll be even poorer in 2008 with our central government grant slashed.

Whether we might have fared any better under a government of another colour is of academic interest because we have to halt further decline and encourage the regeneration that the island needs. I would argue that this is happening all around us, Westwood, the China Gateway and more but Margate, without doubt, needs help.

So what can we do? Encourage investment for a start but that isn’t enough on its own. We also need an atmosphere of confidence and perhaps a project or two that conjures-up a common sense of purpose.

The Turner Contemporary isn’t a magic wand, it’s a catalyst project. Rather like the Guggenheim in Bilbao, it may be enough to help jump-start Margate’s economy in the right direction. I would love to see a new pier and an ice rink and perhaps a water park built with the money; maybe instead of the TC but we don’t have that choice; it’s not like winning the lottery and we get to choose what we spend the money on. So the TC it is and with it, well-meaning councillors, like me, of any party, have to make sure that we arrive at sensible decisions in order to spend the little public money we have wisely and to best result.

As for the cost, I had the same argument with Councillor King last week. Yes we are KCC tax payers and some of the TC money comes from KCC. However, in proportion to the modest amount we may have indirectly contributed, we stand to see a disproportionately large return from the population of Kent as a whole!

I’ll remind you of the quote from TE Lawrence you refer to:

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.”

The Turner Contemporary and a regenerated Margate exist in the same dream and maybe it is vanity on our part to imagine that we can possibly change things for the better. But given the narrow options open to us, would you have it some other way and have both the opportunity and the dream go elsewhere? I certainly would not.

DrMoores said...

Certainly 9:57, Parish Councillors, perform a valuable local role, as indicated earlier.

However, the electorate will more likely recognise, their ward councillors and their district councillors who are bound by standards of behaviour and expression. They may be rightly be confused by letters appearing from "councillor" so and so, crammed with incorrect and misinformed information appearing in the local press, if that person fails to make entirely clear the personal nature of his or her views and indeed, the equally restricted nature of the local democratic role.

All this is rather self evident to any reader as you omit to sign your name and rather qualifies what's been written.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your response, Dr Moores,to my post of 8.25 and thank you for it. It is easy for us,who sit on the side-lines, to harbour cynicism, and I do not envy for one moment those who have shouldered the 'civic' burden willingly and selflessly in order to try and make things better for their community.

I just have reservations, shared by many, that the TC will not do what is so desperately needed of it and that other measures need to be taken and quickly. I just hope that the dream does not become our nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Well researched 8.25 with regard to the 'scoops' on Thanetlife, however, you missed todays offering from the Gazette, 'Jobs to go at Ursuline College'!

This was posted almost exactly as the gazette over a fortnight ago on Thanetlife!

However, the person posting was ridiculed and slated for vitriolic lies, and that the comments should be taken with a pinch of salt!!

How nice to see these comments validated! Makes you wonder why people were so quick to bash an obviously informed source! Just proves that the truth will come out in the end!

Don't forget, you read it first on Thanetlife!

Anonymous said...

For goodness sake how pathetic!

I'm a real councillor and your not! Yah boo sucks!

Power corrupts, obviously!

IndependentActionMember said...

Dr Moores, by your own rule you should write what kind of Doctor you are by your name.

At the end of the day you don't like it because we are a democratic voice for many residents. Well Distict Councillor,get used it.

Lord Lucan

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it was you Dr Moores that said that the comments relating to the Ursuline College should be taken with a pinch of salt!

Apparently after getting inside information!

What a shame that you did not look at the information with an open mind! Still, at least your blogside got it right!

IndependentActionMember said...

I believe that David Cameron was right to urge China to end aid to the 'Robert Mugabe government'.

Apparently he told the Chinese to use their economic muscle to "make Mugabe see sense".

I would like to know if Cllr's Ezekiel and Latchford will be following their young leader's example when they next meet with Chinese officials here in Thanet. I shall be asking this question when I next see them.

Thanet Independent Action supports small and medium size businesses. However we are suspicious of the long term aims of un-democratic countries that want to invest in the UK.

I agree that in some cases this kind of investment can be beneficial to places such as Thanet, but quite often the best job's that are created are filled by people from the incoming nation.

I come from the centre ground of politics and I am against all forms of extremism.

I feel that we appear to be sacrificing far too many of our democratic principles for short term economic gain instead of using our influence in a more effective way.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting how this medium has become a 'source' for our local press and media. Not only does Thom Morris, a reporter for IOTG have his own 'blog' but now does a 'Blogwatch' item in IOTG.

It was his item yesterday that seemed to confirm rumours earlier this month about financial difficulties at Ursuline first reported by a 'blogger' on Thanetlife, as 11.28 points out.

I am beginning to think that as news media, Thanetlife, ECR and Bignews have much to offer their readers!

DrMoores said...

I see we return once again to the subject of the Ursuline and if you re-read the original comment thread, while one of the rumours did indeed prove to be substantively accurate - as reported in Friday's Thanet Gazette - others still required the "Pinch of salt treatment."

An anonymous rumour is simply that until it is supported by fact.

It would be useful, if the so-called anonymous and "democratic" voice for others, who claims to be a "councillor", both declared who he or she is. "Thanet Independent Action" which holds no mandate from the people of Thanet, I assume wishes us to lecture ChinaMex on the country's human rights and investment record? And perhaps wave goodbye to the potential investment and jobs that would accompany the visit.

We have a government and a Foreign Secretary, we even have a Shadow Cabinet. Best leave such important matters with them I think!

Tony Beachcomber said...

It does make me chuckle when I read anything by the "build a pier brigade". Their comments have no thought behind them except lets build a Pier.

In reality, Margate Jetty which is taken from the French word Pier to avoid confusion with the stone structure, was built so paddle steamers could unload at low water the one million visitors Margate received by sea during the victorian "season". There was also a small cargo trade, all this kept the Margate Pier and Harbour Company solvent. The stone pier as it is known, had the coal trade and other cargo operations to make it pay, not forgetting fishing also. Also there was once a levy MPHC received on coal that arrived in land to offset loss of coastal trade.

Once the passengers stopped arriving by sea and the coal stopped. Margate Pier and Harbour Company went into terminal decline and the Jetty went with it.

So if a new Jetty was to be built how on earth is it going to pay bearing in mind the maintenance costs and the exposure of a long structure to the marine environment that would have to be built to reach any depth of water.
All long structured Piers throughout the country are facing enormous problems with continuing maintenace costs, Short structures or sundecks are not so bad off. Lessons need to be learned from eslewhere by the "lets build a pier" lot before they even think of coming up with the idea.

We can all go on about the past, but it will never come back. My view, is that we need to create centers of excellence that blend old and new that have a sustainable life. Dreamland, the Jetty were once centers of excellence in their time.

The idea of a Turner centre at a reasonable cost would be a center of excellence, so would an ice rink and a Dreamland heritage park.

But "lets build a pier" has the potenential of becoming Milleniun dome/turner center mk1.

IndependentActionParty said...

Dr moore,for such a know it all, you should be aware that all parish councillors are councillors and have a legal and democratic right to claim to be councillors.

No dout if you were a county councillor you would think that you are more of a councillor than a district councillor. Maybe something else is not big enough.

Dr Moore,you claim to be a Conservative,but If another party were in power in Thanet would you still be?

All three Independent Action Councillors who serve the Parish of Birchington are people with principles.

I would like to see someone as charming as Dr Moore get elected to any level of local government with out the name of national political party behind him.

A man I do respect is Councillor King who puts the needs of the residents first.

As for human rights and China, I have a lot to say about that.

Anonymous said...

Some ruffled feathers, Dr Moores, by the look of things.

To be boring and raise the issue of accurate reporting, Westgate residents may have missed the snippet at the end of the article 'Sr Alice steps down...'. Thom Morris reports that Ursuline College "already has plans for NEW building on the school site....".

Looking at your excellent aerial pictures, what used to be an attractive site from the back of Linksfield is already crowded with a Sportshall and a very large teaching block; all built in the past 5 years. Are we to lose more openfield space along the back of Linksfield? Does anyone know if plans have been shown on TDC planning?

Anonymous said...

11.10 Why don't you try to keep up and actually read what has been written. If as you say parish councillors are superior moral beings then why are you so anonymous in your patronising statements to the people of Thanet. If you are so proud of yourself at least have the courage of your convictions and put your name where your mouth is!
As for respecting Cllr King name me one occassion where he has actually achieved anything apart from complaining?

IndependentMindedPerson said...

Independent Action Councillors do have a democratic mandate in Birchington.

In the Birchington North Parish ward our party leader won with more votes than TDC's deputy leader. In Birchington South our Chairman won with more votes than any other councillor.

Our Parish Councillors do have a democratic mandate from the people of Birchington and a large support from people all over east kent.

Dr Moores, when are you going to write what kind of Doctor you are next to your name?

As you think parish councillors are not councillors, maybe you think only your kind of Doctor is a Doctor.

Maybe you also think that only hereditary lords are lords.

DrMoores said...

You are deliberately missing the point 12:13.

Nowhere has it been said that a “parish councillor is not a councillor or entitled to use the title. Instead what has been written quite clearly, is that councillors, of any flavour, have a responsibility to the community they serve to make clear who they are and who they represent when using the media. Thus, you will see a district councillor or a county councillor signing their names as such. As a consequence, those people reading any published letters know who they are and whether they are representing a personal or political viewpoint.

At the same time, if a councillor –once again of any flavour – uses an online medium like this one, it is morally and democratically incumbent on that person, if he or she uses the title as an elected representative, to reveal who they are. I’m sure readers will agree that in a democracy, one can’t really have “anonymous” councillors. True?

So once again, if Thanet Independent Action or indeed any councillor or any party or persuasion exercises the role and writes to the papers, it is only sensible to a) state what kind of councillor that person is; a marriage councillor, a parish councillor or a county councillor and b) to ensure that at least some attention is given to the minor detail of getting the facts right.

As it is, you prefer to remain anonymous and others can judge!

It's all rather like carrying on a debate in a public forum with someone wearing a paper bag over his head. I take it you've watched Blackadder II?

DrMoores said...

I have seen no further planning applications for the Linksfield road area. I receive, like your other ward councillors, all the new applications each Monday, to examine and act upon if required.

In regard to rumours, whether they prove to be true or not, have a responsibility, a duty of care if you like to balance the public interest with a concern that material is neither libellous or defamatory. If someone sends me information directly, as sometimes happens; "I have heard that".. then I know the source, which gives it a further level of credibility.

However, if a person is clearly changing the subject of a comment thread with a personal agenda, as we see here from time to time, you'll have to forgive me if I appear cynical over content which that person is not prepared to support, even privately by email.

Michael Child said...

I think the biggest problem with the Turner is that it has become seen as a solution to Margate’s problems, however it is frankly too small and too isolated from anything else related to the arts to be likely to make a significant difference. At the moment its main achievement seems to be a light at the end or the very dark tunnel that Margate is fast becoming, I’m afraid that the light is far more likely to be the headlight of a train coming the other way.

Now if Margate is to return to being a leisure town it has to be able to offer at the very least an all weather day out to the average family, it’s either that or make a firm decision that it won’t be a leisure town in the foreseeable future and forget about any leisure investment.

Given that TDC KCC have a budget for leisure facilities it may be that it’s time to see what could best be done with it, we are told that we are to lose our museums next although there doesn’t seem to be any reason why they couldn’t be self financing.

Now I am told that TDC intends spend £450,000 on the work that is due to start on the cliff behind the Pleasurama development in Ramsgate in the 7th of next month. However because the building plan hasn’t been finalised this may well be a waste of money. So I for one would like to see district councils disbanded see the bulk of our council tax and business rates go to a town council for each town, I don’t quite know what you call a councillor but I do know that having seen so many daft decisions in Ramsgate it would be nice to see at least one of our councillors on the TDC cabinet so I had someone responsible for answering reasonable questions and putting forward my concerns. With taxation one would expect a modicum of representation and frankly I am just not getting it, I am happy to provide details of this should anyone want them.

Yes Simon I have watched Blackadder and seen Monty Python and tried writing to councillors and council officers see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/tdc/ although for the most part I don’t publish my correspondence with these people, what happens is though I ask a reasonable question, get passed to a councillor or officer who then fails to give a reasonable answer.

Anonymous said...

I thought every one knew that part and parcel of being a councilor or politician is never answer the question go round it !!!!

Anonymous said...

12'35 Thanet ind. action etc whatever. Why don't you just tell the Chinese to get stuffed and take their investment money elsewhere. You can also get rid of and stop buying cheap chinese goods that litter your house too. Excellent, put Thanet on the map as having the stupidest pressure groups on the planet who would love to keep us all in stagnant poverty just to prove themselves right. Absolute power corrupts but a little power in the hands of small-minded, ignorant people who want to appear "the big man" is far more dangerous!
As for the Gazette, don't make me laugh its the Labour Party's private newsletter that would justify child slavery if Bottle Brown suggested it. Like I said.......STUPID

DrMoores said...

Michael makes a valid point in "With taxation one would expect a modicum of representation."

Regardless of the level of democratic responsibility, we are all there to try and achieve the best for the people who voted us into the role in the first place.

Of course, people should lobby their local councillors, of all types, if there is an issue that needs resolving but it's also important to recognise how very slowly the wheels of local and county government turn which can be a source of real frustration to both the electorate and their representatives!

Anonymous said...

Who is Thom Morris and what qualifies him to select the best of blogs? Is it his "vast" journalistic experience or just that he knows how to use the internet?

Anonymous said...

One of the features of our local councillors that impresses me most is the fact that they openly identify themselves on issues when visiting Thanet blogs. Cllr Wells, Cllr Cameron, Cllr Green and Cllr Moores are meticulous in regard to this and they share in discussion and argument with TDCs electorate by so doing. They do this despite the 'flak', occasionally some of it personal, that comes their way from 'Anons' like myself. I completely support the Doc's stance here, Birchington Cllrs; if you come on as 'Anons' then fine by me but once you say you are a Cllr and are in what is a public forum, then it is only right and proper that you identify yourself.
I claim no such position as a democratically elected cllr so Anon will do for me.

Michael Child said...

The problem with the cliff repairs is work starts on the 7th of next month so the slow grinding of bureaucratic cogs could cost us all a great deal of money, the essence of what is happening is they are starting on big project that will ultimately cost millions of pounds without first having resolved what they are eventually building. They haven’t even waited for the environment agency’s flood risk assessment that is being prepared at the moment.

Certainly they can’t build using the approved plans as they are full of errors, apart from peoples heads and vehicles being embedded in the ceiling, where an attempt has been made to fit a 5 story building in a space only big enough for a 4 story one the architect seems to have been dimensionally challenged.

The experts I have discussed developing the Pleasurama site with generally are of the opinion that the only large development that would work on the site is one integrated with the cliff, where the cliff top is extended over the building and slightly beyond so that anything thrown of the cliff won’t hit the building of the cars parked in its car park.

Taking this into account it probably means that that the £450.000 will be wasted as the cliff fa├žade would be rebuilt differently were it part of a building.

Anonymous said...

OPEN YOUR EYES AND READ THE LETTER AGAIN

DR MOORES, if you take another look at Cllr Jean Fleaming's letter you will see that she DID say she is from BIRCHINGTON PARISH. And District councillor DO NOT always include their ward etc. It is time for you to say sorry to Cllr Jean Fleming, deputy leader of Independent Action (Birchington Parish)

ML

DrMoores said...

Excuse me, try reading the thrust of what I said rather, than what you think I may have said. The question of titles is purely incidental to the content.

I'll help if you like:

"What’s clear in the last two letters I’ve read in the Gazette from ‘Thanet Independent Action’, is that the two correspondents are at worst, ‘away with the fairies’ and at best, have a very tenuous grasp of the harsher financial realities facing local government here in Thanet."

So "Cllr Fleming (Birchington Parish and deputy leader of Thanet Independent Action)" writes:

"We know that the maintenace costs of that controversial art gallery will be another burden for taxpayers in Thanet, so without admitting that we shall have a 'Turner Tax', Thanet Council try to hide the fact by raking in cash from all directions... the farce has gone on long enough, scrap the thing before yet more money is wasted. Listen to what the people want: a pier an ice rink, help for smal business.... it is about time that the decision makers listened and bowed to the feelings of the majority."

Given Cllr Fleming's grasp of Thanet's finances and the nature of the funding arrangements for the Turner Contemporary project, perhaps we should all be relieved that she is deputy leader of 'Independent Action' and has no input into financial policy decisions that might have a broader impact beyond the parish of Birchington!

As she is in a position of some responsibility, perhaps she might be capable of presenting the facts of the so-called 'Turner Tax to support her argument rather than appealing to the local paper for publicity for her conspiracy theory?

And if we should lose the Turner project and the regeneration money that goes with it and receive nothing in return, then we can all thank "Thanet Independent Action' for their efforts.

I wonder why I even bothered to reply!

Anonymous said...

It must be people drying out after Christmas excessess that seems to have led to this present 'spat'. I agree with the Doc's view about the Turnip Centre although reluctantly and with dreadful misgiving but only time will tell. What is causing me some personal confusion is the protocol concerning the term 'Councillor'. Is it accepted use for a Parish Councillor to term themselves Councillor? Should all Councillors put the body they sit on after Cllr? eg. Cllr(TDC) Moores; Cllr(KCC) Wells and Cllr(BPC) Fleming? Or perhaps it should be Cllr Moores (TDC); Cllr Wells (KCC) and Cllr Fleming (BPC). I believe that Parish Councils come under the same stringent code of conduct for standards as any Councillor at any level does so presumably there is some protocol in writing for the correct use of the term Cllr and who can use it. I am reminded of a sketch here from the 70s; can anyone jog my memory?

DrMoores said...

Don't quote me but I believe the correct form is Cllr. John Smith (Eastern Ward) Nowhere District Council

or:

Cllr. John Smith (Ward) Nowhere County Council

or:

Cllr. John Smith Nowhere Parish Council

This way, nobody gets confused!

Anonymous said...

JUST ONE THING Dr Moores

Would you now be kind enough to correct Friday's post where it was said that Cllr Fleming signed her name as if she were on TDC rather than BPC?

Many thanks

Charlie

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr Moores, I hope this doesn't set of a series of regular Cllr visitors writing their details in full eg. Cllr Ewen Cameron (Bradstowe Ward) Thanet District Council! All a bit of a mouthful.
Some-ones reminded me of the sketch I was thinking about!
Characters: 3 Cllrs standing in a row.
Cllr J Fleming: " I know my place! I look up to him because he is a TDC Cllr and to him because HE is a KCC Cllr"

Cllr S Moores: " I look up to him because HE is a KCC Cllr but down on her because SHE is a Parish Cllr"

Cllr Chris Wells: " I look down on both of them because I AM a KCC Cllr"

Cllr J Fleming:" I know my place!"

Sorry to all concerned, couldn't resist it!

DrMoores said...

Very good, I thought of the same sketch myself (Messrs Corbett & Barker) and I'm pleased you thought of it too!

I must do this more often. The hit counter just ran past 360,000 and now hundreds of people who didn't know what a parish councillor is or does are now better informed!

I was given a book of "insults" for Christmas, so perhaps I should start using that for material in future, based on today's traffic.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Reading all these comments through my Labour glasses, I just wonder what all the fuss is about. The majority of Indendants at all levels of local government end up as Conservatives anyway. Take a good hard look at the current and previous Conservative administration, how many of them were once "independant". Wouldn't life be easier if you all kiss and make up now, than wait until after the next local government elections.

Cllr Martin Wise (TDC) said...

Cutting Council Tax is easy if you are prepared to reduce or do away with whole chunks of service.

As around 80% of local government expenditure relates to staff costs, reducing staff to make efficiency gains is the sensible way to do this, but when theoretical maximimum efficiency is reached, staff reductions usually equate to service cuts. e.g. if we only employ 1 rat catcher, we can either make him/her multiskilled in another role to achieve efficiency gains, or cut the service altogether, leaving residents to make their own arrangements with private operators. Some can afford this, others can't, so the Council has a quandry.

At TDC we are constantly reviewing options when people leave, and will rejig the services to do without the leaver and increase productivity if at all possible. This is what happens in any normal business, and the same rules apply to local government.

TDC also funds many activities that we believe enhance the quality of life for residents. These are discretionary, and we could cut them tomorrow, but we would undoubtedly be criticised by local interests.

For example we grant fund Thanet Leisure Force to operate our 2 swimming pools and other leisue services, we fund 2 theatres, many museums, and give grants to many local organisations to assist them in their own objectives.

We operate a crematorium, provide visitor information services and fund events through the Town Partnerships. We could stop many of these tomorrow to cut the Council Tax requirement, but choose not to because we feel they are important. However, we are always looking for better ways to achieve the results we want, and no group should expect a blank cheque to keep on providing a poor or unsustainable service.

Most importantly of course, we have aspirations to make improvements in Thanet. These will cost money, and of course we could cut these costs simply by pulling the projects. Our aspirations were listed in our manifesto, and can be seen in the Corporate Plan (on the Council website, and the project briefs that derive from it.

For the record, we do not contribute anything apart from officer time to the Turner Contemporary project.

As Resources Cabinet member I am always pleased to meet anyone who has ideas that can help us to save money, or move us forward. I only ask that contributions are polite, reasonable and informed.

I hope that answers some questions in regard to bot the Turner Project and the "eating of cake" item on another thread.