Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Ghost in the Machine

I see preparations for the local elections are warming-up with a sudden outbreak of Liberal Democracy in Dane Valley. Now what being a Liberal Democrat actually means these days in coalition, I’m not entirely certain and neither, I’m sure are many others? Other than being visibly and demonstrably antagonistic to the ‘middle class’ and its values, a pillar of ‘LibDem’ policy is of course closer ties with Europe and the rapid transfer of our Parliamentary authority to the EU in Brussels. Readers may recall that the Conservative Party was in favour of derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECR), so that we could put our much abused house in order and replace it with legislation of our own; more sensible and pragmatic instead. However, Nick Clegg was having none of this and so we are stuck with it and the Alice in Wonderland world of minority privileges that go with it.

So, in a way, I’m almost sorry I’m not living in Dane Valley to hear the arguments from the LibDem candidates, beyond of course what I’ve already read on the really important local issues such as the ‘Mysterious closure of Margate caves’ or indeed all the money that TDC is reportedly spending on the Turner Contemporary, without any of us presently on the Council knowing anything about it! In the true spirit of competition, I wish them the best of luck with their campaign!

Here in Thanet, the more important issues, as I see them, revolve around carefully and efficiently managing our finances at a time of declining Government grants, finding new ways of encouraging inward investment, tourism and business and of course dealing with the many problems that accrue from our high score on the overall social deprivation index. There’s a great deal more of course and some of these are single item agenda issues, such as the future of the airport, which may be result of broader public debate or a consequence of the ‘Domino Effect’ of having less money to spend. Those people fortunate enough to be elected in May will soon discover, as I did, that the role of being a councillor is rather different to what they may have expected and it takes a good three years I suspect before one really starts to understand how the machine of local government actually works or indeed how one can make small adjustments to its course.

Meanwhile, I see Labour's Clive Hart is 'Twittering' that "Thanet Labour will take rigorous enforcement action against people responsible for littering, graffiti and dog fouling." Very good Clive but what does vigorous enforcement action mean I wonder, beyond the powers already available? There's no doubt we have a big local challenge with the latter, related to the spreading numbers of problem dogs and their owners in well-known areas; I see them myself. Ultimately however the solution must lie with the overburdened Magistrates courts and experience shows that those most likely to be a source of any of these problems are those least likely to pay a fine or be overly concerned by the threat of enforcement. I would say that all that can be done is being done and there's increasing emphasis at the moment on target areas in Thanet but inevitably we end-up re-visiting the legal system and often the European Convention on Human Rights all over again!

Anyway, no time to sit here blogging about other places in Thanet. When the rain stops I really need to get out and start delivering leaflets in my own ward or I may find myself sitting out the next four years!


derick97 said...

Now what being a Liberal Democrat actually means these days in coalition, I’m not entirely certain and neither, I’m sure are many others?

surely it means proping up a party which did'nt win the general election

DrM. said...

'proping' sounds a little dubious whatever that might be but given the huge swing that was required simply to win even a small majority, the Conservatives, by any measure did quite well. You have to remember that over the last decade or more the constituency/seats system had been firmly stacked in Labour's favour and a year ago, it looked like an almost impossible mountain to climb.

Readit said...

Looks like the mountains of Thanet are growing higher by the mnute.

Bill Richards said...

No party won the last general election in terms of an overall majority, but one got the biggest share of the vote.

Perhaps derick97 would have been happier had the Lib/Dems propped up the party that suffered its heaviest defeat in decades.

If you don't like coalitions think very seriously about AV which will dramatically increase the chances of such in the future.

Anyway, let's hope everyone has a good election.

Michael Child said...

Simon, I have received and published the local Labour manifesto but have had nothing from the local Conservatives yet, nor can I find any local Conservative internet site with any content, although the local Labour party have produced both a static website and a blog.

Is this significant of something, or is the manifesto, website and or blog going to appear?

DrM. said...


As you might expect, the Conservative manifesto is somewhat longer and deeper than that of the opposition!

To be serious though, I will give some thought to publishing it online.

Michael Child said...

Ah can we expect a manifesto along the lines of a parody of Poe? “Deep into that darkness peering………. Quoth the Simon, "Nevermore."

DrM. said...

More like

"Edmund, a butler's tale"

Michael Child said...

Oh well you know what happened to George iii, best keep polishing the silver.

Anonymous said...

You remarks attacking the LibDems wishing to hand over more power to the EU would carry more weight if you did not have "Thanet.EU. under the Thanet Life heading

DrM. said...

Not quite sure I follow you logic as if you type in Thanet.eu it goes directly to this weblog.

Unfortunately thanet.com is owned by someone else who doesn't do anything with it.

So it's simply a website URL for Thanet, which happens to be in Europe and in no way serves as an endorsement of LibDem policies!