Thursday, December 29, 2011

Running Short of Wonga?

Only a week to go before the first cabinet meeting of 2012 and I'm reading through the council papers, as thick as my thumb, to help fill the seeming eternity between now and New Year.

Don't mistake me, I enjoy the Christmas holiday like anyone else but it feels longer with each passing year and already, I have had several unsolicited text messages offering to get me out of debt. On television, the cash advance adverts from 'Wonga.Com' and others like it, are starting to stack-up on Sky TV like a line of landing aircraft arriving at Heathrow; only 273% APR you know!

Reportedly, British shoppers are set for new year debt crisis in 2012 after a record £4.3billion was spent over the last two days and up to to 12 million shoppers – one in four of the population aged over ten, were thought to have crammed into high streets and shopping malls yesterday.

Back to the council papers and the new cabinet's decision on the controversial Hartsdown and Pierremont park developments, postponed from before the holiday, seems likely to fill the public gallery. The draft budget is really going to prove most interesting, as we finally get to see where the Labour Group, which failed to clearly articulate any financial policy - other than a saving on coffee and biscuits -  before last month, tries to fiddle with the 2012 council budget, which has been work in progress since May, to deliver an impression of  its socialist credentials, without having to raise Council Tax.

I recommend arriving early for a front row seat on the evening of 5th January and I'm sure the Mayor will have the bat signal glowing in the night sky over Cecil Square!


Anonymous said...

Perhaps Infratil should be invoiced for the last 2 years "landing out of hours", that should refil the coffers a bit.

Tom Clarke said...

Not sure the Pierremont Park community centre is controversial, Simon. It was used as an election issue ealier this year, with the objectors calling on those who opposed the scheme to vote for like minded candidates. In fact, in only one ward did such candidates get elected and, in all, 13 out of 15 elected councillors in Broadstairs support the community centre. That sounds like a resoundly big yes in favour.

No doubt the protestors, now with a whiff of success in their nostrils, will be back in force with their bussed in tree huggers and will once again claim overwhelming opposition to the plans. To hell with last May's democratic process, the danger now is that a lot of work, along with the much needed new centre, could fall foul of the antics of the vociferous minority.

DrM. said...

You may be right Tom but there is a vociferous protest group who are intent on making it controversial and it's led from the left of the chamber from the emails I receive.

Anonymous said...

Today's IOTG front page must have given you a laugh Simon. No sooner labour back in power locally and the spin doctoring of mandy days is exposed for all to see.

DrM. said...

The tears of laughter are still falling from my eyes! Not only from reading the story but the most revealing part that Cllr Poole owns an iPad with the promise of more email blunders yet to come..

Tom Clarke said...

With you all the way on the left bit, Simon, for the meetings of the protest group, under the visible leadership of Norman Thomas and Christine Tonge, are held in the Red Hall. Hardly think anyone on the right would call their pad by such name.

Afraid it is the age old tactic of gathering those who make the most noise in order to claim massive opposition. The various groups and organisations who hope to use the facility are a little more quiet and gentle in their approach to life.

Mind you, when did democracy ever get in the way of left wing politics and why miss a chance to kick those nasty Tories over in Broadstairs.

Tim Clark said...

You know I could have sworn that at least two of those named posters on this thread have previously predicted that the IoTG would not attack the Labour council. Bit of word eating going on, or is hubris too sour?

DrM. said...

Some opportunities are too good to miss, even for the Gazette and the Clive and Iris show is the newspaper equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel

Retired of Westgate. said...

As a ward councillor for Westgate with no other responsibilies it is about time you started to act like one.

What does a park in Broadstairs have to do with Westgate? What about getting our Blue Flag back on Westgate beaches? Why is double parking still allowed in St. Mildreds Road?

These are the issues that you should be addressing now not other things from outside the ward you were elected to represent.


DrM. said...

Dear Retired, I will do my best to answer your questions and recommend you come along the the WWRA meetings, first Monday of each month, where you can raise such issues with me, Cllr King or KCC Councillor Robert Burgess, like everyone else. You will find us very happy to help where we can, frequently working in concert to deal with Westgate issues.

Broadstairs does of course have very little to do with Westgate but please remember that until quite recently, I was the Cabinet Member for Planning and I am now in the Shadow role and so have a Thanet-wide and not just local remit.

We may have good news on Blue Flags in the coming season and in any event, St Mildred's Bay is one of the finest in Thanet.

Double parking isn't allowed but that's an enforcement and resources issue outside of my control, I am sorry to say!

Michael Child said...

Simon any chance of a bit of expert knowledge here, who does Thanet Council SAG (Safety Advisory Group) comprise of? Are they qualified in safety matters? Are there any elected representatives on it?

Oh yes and do you think there is any political slant to cancelling the Broadstairs new year celebrations while the Ramsgate ones are still going ahead?

Tim Clark said...

You're quite right about the IoTG story being too good to ignore. The trick now is not to look as if you are crowing. Remember you have one of those iPads with the dodgy keyboard as well. A statesmanlike attitude will win more friends than gloating.

ascu75 aka Don said...

273% APR that is one of the cheaper ones Simon. Well replied to Retired of Westgate by the way.

Tim Clark said...

Blog needed to congratulate Roger Gale. A much deserved reward.

Tom Clarke said...

I'm with, Don, on your reply, Simon. Foxtrot Oscar would have been more in my reparté which probably explains why you are in your position and I in mine.

Happy New Year to you.