Sunday, February 15, 2009

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Judging by the almost frantic response from Labour's Cllr Clive Hart to the column in today's Kent On Sunday by Cllr Chris Wells, you might think that a county election was around the corner!

Clive looks to have emailed everyone he could think of, me included and perhaps even Gordon Brown, to protest at Cllr Wells' "FUTILE ATTACK ON KCC OFFICERS" (his capitals).

Chris's column makes an interesting and thought provoking read but it doesn't mention Clive which has upset the latter, who says of his political opponent, Cllr Wells:

"Now, with his former role as a Cabinet Member terminated and with the county elections on the horizon, he apparently feels free to cynically chastise our Chief Executive and leading officers at KCC and furthermore, attempts to jump out of his constrained silence and on to a supposed bandwagon for electoral gain."

Laying politics aside for one moment, there's little doubt that there's truth in Chris Wells assertion that : "A dangerous mix of looked-after children and vulnerable adults is stifling Thanet's progress." If you don't agree with the statement, please leave a comment and tell me why or indeed why Thanet and particularly Cliftonville, should be over-represented in having to manage the problems of other councils much further away than the Government's 20 mile regulation for such 'displacement' allows.

Some of us are old enough to remember what the community in Cliftonville, Margate or indeed Thanet as a whole was like before it became a convenient 'fire and forget' target for other authorities.

Anyway, the nub of the problem here is that Cllr Wells is both authoritative and lucid and places Cllr Hart at an intellectual disadvantage at every turn. Apparently Clive thought of it first but I fear the challenge was never expressed so well as by Chris but read the column and decide for yourself whether the former has your sympathy or not.

Pictured, Cllr Hart in Cliftonville in the company of another endangered political species.


Anonymous said...

Ah, bless you, Clive, it is genuinely entertaining to be accused of bandwagon approaches by yourself, the world's greatest bandwagonner of all time. Every time anyone comments about anything around the areas that you represent you are straight into print, claiming prior rights and years and years of campaigning to achieve the same thing. Without realising you open yourself to the obvious irony that clearly then, you achieve very little!

One of the things about being in opposition a long time, as you have been all your electoral life to date, is a failure to realise that public pronouncement is not always the best way to change things. If you had read my piece carefully, you would appreciate that it was a response to the appallingly inaccurate News of the World story, and spoke of considerable quiet efforts to change awareness of the issue.

However, I doubt if any of these essential truths will change your approach, which is always rather more about how important and hard working you are, than actually making the changes needed on behalf of your constituents.

I am sure that with Iris, you will form a regular, media release based, mutual congratulation society, as you have at District level with two colleagues, label it a successful team, and hope to fool all of the people all of the time.

Only time will tell.

Chris Wells

Anonymous said...

anon again!
I too remember Cliftonville's 'halcyon days'. Look at the mess now. It seems that the Local Councils involved over the past 30 years have just collected the Council Tax, and done nothing with it.
Come on guys and gals, it's time to invest something.
Also, with the shortage of cash, would it not be 'saner' to shelve the Turner Centre for a few years until the present 'going for broke' climate eases?

DrMoores said...

As I understand it, The Turner Centre is a bit like "Great Aunt Bettie's will". We either collect it and spend the cash on what it's been earmarked for by the arts council, SEEDA et al and hope it jump starts the regeneration programme, or let some other seaside town have it.

As for the council tax, you have my sympathy as there's not enough for Local Government to do anywhere near what it needs to do with council tax receipts. Bear in mind that some 20% is now going to pay the pensions in the public sector as well.

Finally, I see today that Government will have to raise income tax by 12 pence in the pound if it aims to meet its public spending committments and deal with the financial catastrophe that surrounds us.

Clive Hart said...

What's made me angry is that nearing county election time and true to form, after several quiet years, Chris Wells and local Conservative's are suddenly out and about complaining of the dangerous mix of looked-after children and vulnerable adults placed in Margate & Cliftonville.

After four long years of making exactly the same argument at the highest levels and virtually on my own at County Hall, I am pleased to learn that at long last he finally agrees with my repeatedly voiced concerns on these issues.

Long before Cllr. Wells started to represent the area concerned, I was one of the three district ward councillors in Cliftonville West who originally called for action - resulting in the Thanet Enquiry report, and this despite fierce opposition (at that time) from the leader at Thanet District Council who said we were exaggerating matters. I have also consistently called for KCC to widen their enquiry to include vulnerable adults over the past four years. It would have been nice to have had some support from Cllr. Wells in this regard during his time as a Cabinet member.

Now, with his former role as a Cabinet Member terminated and with the county elections on the horizon, he apparently feels free to cynically chastise leading officers at KCC and furthermore, attempts to jump out of his constrained silence and on to a supposed bandwagon for personal electoral gain.

The problematic social mix in Margate & Cliftonville is something genuine frontline councillors deal with 24/7. The only answer is a consistent multi-agency approach but the one thing this smoldering social problem certainly doesn't need is fanning just before each and every election!

Cllr. Clive Hart - KCC Margate & Cliftonville.

DrMoores said...

I appear to have lost a comment in the ether!

What I was saying is that with Chris and Clive slugging it out, we have room for an interesting debate here and I wouldn't be surprised to find Iris chiming in too!

Meanwhile, I see that Cllrs Green and Nottingham have taken their own postions firmly in the pink corner, wet sponges at the ready!

mnottingham said...

The key question is if
Cllr Wells is "authoritative and lucid and intellectual" as you claim, why do you not complain publicly about his absence from the Cabinet at Thanet. Your silence speaks eloquently for itself.

As Simon, you are keen to compare intellects could you list the current TDC Cabinet members you regard as intellectually superior to Cllr. Wells please?

DrMoores said...

A bizarre question Cllr Nottingham. I could pose an equally unusual question in response by asking you how many of your own colleagues you might consider intellectual?

I'm sure you'll agree that this is not the kind of debate that Thanet Labour would welcome or would be in the public interest as the same public is more than capable of reaching their own conclusions on such matters.

mnottingham said...

Not at all, I didn't cover the issue by referring to the comparative abilities of the councillors but by posting both their views uneditted.

This was how you chose to define the issue so it is for you to account for this.

You have avoided the question because it is a difficult one for you to answer. The Thanet public are keenly aware of many competences that some members of the current Cabinet lack.

The public are also familiar that as soon as a difficult question is posed many Thanet Conservatives avoid answering. As you have done.

So why do you not advocate Chris Wells intellectual attributes to bolster the Cabinet if you define that as being so critical?

Indeed some members of the public wonder why people as intellectually capable as yourself allow people your intellectual inferior to perform poorly in the Cabinet.

I am sure you'll avoid these questions again I'll leave it that you just want to play yah boo politics. Fine but don't dress it up with talk about intellect and ability etc.

I expect by the size of him Chris Wells Dad was bigger than Clive Hart's..........

DrMoores said...

It's not my place as a simple backbencher to comment on the intellectual composition of my party's cabinet in the same way that I would not ask you to do the same. You might be embarrased if I did. It's not an episode of University Challenge after all!

It is a Leader's/Group's decision on who plays a part and at the same time, some people have full time jobs or commitments and are unable to devote the time to a cabinet role. There's also the 'two hats' issue, as you may know where mixing county and local roles is discouraged.

This Blog entry and thread invites readers to draw their own conclusions over Chris Well's column and they are, I'm sure, like you, more than able to judge the comparative qualities of Cllr Wells and Cllr Hart.

DrMoores said...

oops.. spelling mistake..!

Michael Child said...


Anonymous said...

Is that the same, Cllr. Mark Nottingham, that my wife and I, saw at Thursday's meeting, that was open to the public?

If it is, we were disgusted that he spent nearly the whole meeting playing with his phone.

We were even more disgusted to see that he was wearing an old pair of jeans. I wear jeans, from time to time, like most people, but there is a time and place.

His dress code (or lack of) is an insult to all the working class people that voted for him, many of whom would spend their last weeks wages to look smart on such an occasion.

What use is an intellect if you don't know how to use it. Its rather like driving a racing car in second gear all the time!

I might only be a BMW driver, but at least, I know how to drive it, and how to get RE$ULT$!

If Cllr Nottingham is an example of being smart, I am pleased to be me.

I guess he would also look down on the intellect of people such as Branson or Sugar, and other wealth creators that are lucky enough not to be all left brain and blinkered.

Anonymous said...

I watch with interest the comments of Cllr Nottingham. He certainly has a very big opinion of himself. I suggest he looks back to his time on Lewisham Council, a long way from his now rather grand socialist house on the Royal Esplanade in Ramsgate.

mnottingham said...

Anon 9.03 I was not playing with my phone I was writing this live weblog
Jeans? I was glad of them cycling back in the snow.
Intellectual comparisons? that's how Simon categorised people in his original post, not how I categorise people.

Anonymous said...

What snow or did you miss the floods the day before?

Sorry but the impression is one of yet another scruffy leftie who can't be bothered to show respect with the added bonus of an attention deficit disorder, tapping away on his blog in council time when he should be paying attention to the job he's elected to do.


mnottingham said...

The blog was a report on the meeting click on it, so paying more attention than most there but you know that and just want to have an anonymous pop at a Labour man. Hard to argue with someone who wishes to remain anonymous because they know they are making things up.

As Simon said recently about anonymous blogging comments

"the debate is polarised and frequently abusive, which is disappointing but no surprise"

Perhaps I should add his besieged tag to my blog?

Michael Child said...

Reading through this made me think that there could be benefits, both locally and nationally, if potential candidates had to pass some sort of aptitude or intelligence test prior to standing for election.

Perhaps one of you chaps could put forward a motion that TDC trial it for the rest of the country.

DrMoores said...

My own feelings on anonymity and blogs are well known. It's simply good manners, in my book, to sign your name when you make a statement about another person.

That said, Mark Nottingham did rather leave himself open to criticism at the council meeting. It's probably best not to play the part of blogging councillor journalist in the chamber in real time as most observers won't realise that's the case and will suspect an attention deficit.

Also. A clean shirt and tie wouldn't hurt, it shows a conventional measure of respect for the democratically elected role regardless of whether one is cycling or not. It's something that the Conservative group tales for granted but obviously some members of the Labour group (a very small minority) are rather more relaxed about such matters of personal appearance in the public eye.

Michael Child said...
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Michael Child said...
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Michael Child said...

Simon what are Conservative group tales, is there something you have seen when exercising within the member working group you haven’t been telling us about?

DrMoores said...

A mixture of the Canterbury Tales, tales of woe, a tale of two cities (Ramsgate & Margate) and more besides!

In fact, it's one of my regular spelling mistakes as I fall between two adjacent keys in a burst of tyoing!

Michael Child said...

How about my two deletions as the children riotously greeted me then, pity you didn’t say tails though but good enough for me, I was sort of saying on big news the Plato’s horses head argument, without imperfections all horses would be the sameand I don’t really know if difference of race could be see as an imperfection, but roughly we would all be the same too

Anonymous said...

Next time I ride my bike to the office, I shall where dirty jeans;

I am told that the unwashed look will win me respect from the local drug users.

It begs the question: Does the councillor concerned ever use soap and water or does he rely on imagainary snow to wash him clean?

Anonymous said...

correction! I meant imaginary

michael said...

Byt ov a pwolum heree wiv typees

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We have people that can't spell (or are tired) Vs people that text in smelly jeans at council meetings!

Michael Child said...

10.42 I trust that’s the euphemism from Wee Fee Men, nice one.