I was out leafleting at Millmead this morning for the Dane Valley by-election. Given that it's the end of November, it was unusually warm in the sunshine and I found a great many residents busy outside their houses for one reason or another. Curiously, I didn't experience any of the 'Anger' at the Conservatives, described by the LibDem's Bill Furness in his campaign leaflet.
Bill, who I have never met before was busily doing the rounds, as were I hear the Harts' equally energetically promoting the benefits of New Labour. I wouldn't normally comment on another party's election leaflet but Bill's has left me quite agape with admiration for his energy. Apparently, he has repaired the roads, cut back overhanging trees, swept the pavements and cleared fly-tipped rubbish from Dane Valley, all on his own and without even being a councillor. Clearly, he's a one-man whirlwind with superhuman powers of persuasion.
But rather like the children's story of 'The King's New Clothes', I have to raise my hand and say, "Excuse me, aren't these mostly Kent County Council issues and the responsibility of the equally hard-working Michael Jarvis, who happens to be a Dane Valley District Councillor and a Kent County Councillor both." All this 'Success You Can See' has apparently been achieved by one man who appears able to bend both county and local council officers to his will It's a mystery to me how he does it all, magic perhaps?
Meanwhile, over at 'From One Rant in Kent', I read that this week, that there "are more racist political activists in the Conservative Party than the BNP", and that "Thanet remains a place where racism is unchallenged and tolerated." I'm told that Thanet's Labour group has now rejected the council's 'Blogging Protocol" as a restriction of free speech, which a cynical observer might thinks is just another way of saying 'we'll say what we like about anyone and any subject when it suits us and don't give a damn whether it's honest, decent, truthful or not!'
I rather think that the people of Dane Valley are rather less concerned about the spectre of racism than the impact that £200 billion of public sector debt is going to have on their families and futures. I still can't find any real evidence of support for Labour, instead I'm seeing lots of apathy, the consequences of political scandal and a catastrophic loss of confidence in central government. December 3rd should prove to be an interesting day indeed.