Friday, April 20, 2012

A Dark & Unhappy Place

A dark and unhappy place.‘ It’s how I described last night’s long council meeting after one particular incident and I will do my best to deliver a short summary, while recommending that all readers try and watch the video of proceedings when it appears next week.

Sadly, Peter Tatchell and Abu Qatada were otherwise engaged and could not attend, so where to begin? The very fact that Councillors Nicholson and (Lenin) Harrison were wearing suits and ties,  rather gave the game away, as both normally dress down to express their working men's solidarity with the proletariat.

As expected, the Conservative motion not to debate gay marriage was lost and then everyone was waiting for the big moment, for Cllr Driver to deliver his carefully prepared speech. He didn’t disappoint, with bold rhetoric and strident references to discrimination, apartheid and more. Young Cllr Will Scobie followed-up with an equally passionate speech about bullying and the problem of troubled gay young men committing suicide but quite what that had to do with the motion or the Government consultation, is anyone’s guess.

Basically, the hour-long debate was polarised between those on the Conservative side who  wished to debate the motion with reference to the Government’s directions; implementation, or how we best remove the ban on same sex couples having a civil marriage and the Labour and Thanet Independent Group, supported by a noisy and partisan public gallery,  following a script of their own. This had nothing whatsoever to do with implementation of equal civil marriage and rather more to do with a huge soap-box opportunity for accusing the Conservatives of ‘copping-out’; slinging allegations of homophobia around like confetti.

At one point, I reminded members opposite that there was no purpose in being drawn into a battle over the rights or wrongs of equal marriage as this will be the responsibility of Parliament but what actually happened resembled some kind of Orwellian show trial where the Conservatives were in the dock.

In any event, Cllr Driver’s motion was carried by the combined weight of the Labour and John Worrow’s independents and Cllr Driver declared a victory and unfurled a rainbow flag, (shown in the video below) demanding it now be flown from the top of the council building.

Very disturbingly, as I pointed out to Council later that evening, several people in the public gallery were ‘Tweeting’ an account of events.

A local woman named Jan Dunn ( @JanDunnFilm) was broadcasting comments like "Staggering homophobia being shown by tory councillors in Thanet re motion on equal gay registry marriage" and "Thanet homophobes confirmed so far Cllrs ... , .... and ..... , quelle surprise all tories!"

While I have removed the names, I'm told this may be a criminal offence as there is a clear rule over broadcasting from the Council gallery and the public were reminded of this before the meeting began. Equally disturbing was that Clive Hart, the Leader of the Labour Group, clearly hadn’t a clue what I was talking about and its implications. - see video from ThanetWatch below.

Other high points or should I say low points of the evening, were the eulogy delivered by Cllr Worrow. Leader of Thanet Independent Group (TIG)  to Clive Hart who he described as running a ‘New progressive administration’ and added ‘On this hysteric note has grasped the nettle of leading TDC successfully’ which at least received a laugh before he realised what he had said.

The Leader of the ‘other’ independent group, Tom King, had his own opinion on Cllr Worrow and the TIG’s who he described as having ‘Over inflated egos and self interest who were elected as independents but who now use threats and intimidation; resembling nothing more than political pygmies.'

Let’s not forget Cllr (Sober) Jack Cohen for a moment, who had one of his senior moments, having moved his political support and perhaps even his legendary drinks cabinet, closer to the Labour Leader’s office since his defection to TIG. Cllr Cohen, who declared that ‘strange things happen in Birchington’; many of us would agree, has a bee in his bonnet over free parking. Last night he accused Cllr Bruce of fiddling the results of his recent survey, published on this weblog. In a nutshell, the Conservatives proved that Labour’s figures were completely awry, unfairly favouring quite remarkably, Birchington, in contrast with, for example, Northdown Road but Cllr Cohen was having none of it although at times members commented he was more incoherent than usual.

A few final notes. Manston airport has completely disappeared from the council’s corporate plan or more accurately, the word ‘Airport’ appears just once. The plan itself has no promises, simply ‘aims’ but this led Council Leader, Clive Hart to angrily retort that he ‘Under promises and over delivers’ or was that the other way around?

So there you have some of the action. I have deliberately left out Cllr Worrow’s more bizarre and offensive outbursts and reference to his sticking out his tongue and blowing kisses at councillors and added a little excerpt from 'I Claudius' instead until you can watch the video of the meeting. You really need to view this for yourself, otherwise you would never believe I’m not making it all up. At times, council officers looked quite appalled and even Labour members opposite looked very uncomfortable. Any resemblance to Cllr Clive Hart or Cllr Iris Johnston in the first video is purely coincidental. - 

From where I sit, proper democracy here in Thanet is a dead duck. The council is controlled by the TIG’s who are keeping a minority Labour administration in control. In May we will see what their reward is. Rational debate isn’t stifled, it’s simply suffocated. There’s not even a small effort on the Labour benches to pursue anything that I would recognise as rational argument, just shouting,  hyperbole and some weird ideology of the 1950's factory floor, from  several Labour members, those with a primitive class-war-hatred of ‘Tories’, which doubles as an insult.

As reported in today's Thanet Gazette, Cllr's Worrow, Driver and Cohen, will be conducting a 'Triumph' on Birchington High Street at 10:30 am on Sunday morning from the Alpha Road car park. All  'roads lined with cheering crowds' please!

"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words" - George Orwell - 1984


Anonymous said...

The inmates have surely taken over the asylum!
Vote in local elections?
Watch this panto on video?
You is 'aving a larf innit?

Anonymous said...

Marvellous choice of video. A sad day for Thanet indeed, I would love to know how Clive feels to not be in charge already.

I'm not John Worrow said...

Sorry Dr M, I had a strong feeling you would be up against a linch mob last night at the meeting.

I was vey tempted to come along and see the show. It would of been even better if you got Harry Hill to come and they could have a fight in the middle. Roger Gale vs Clair Soloman in the middle.

Could of sold tickets and would help the local economy heaps.

Seperate note, dont put the rainbow flag on the roof of the council building, thats a bit OTT.

Anonymous said...

One of Jan's tweets was-
"To the Tories: The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities"
There you go Worrow.straight from the mouth of one of your own,now go and apologise to all the people you have denied individual rights or shut up and resign.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for supporting marriage equality at least at council level. It means a lot to many people to have equal civil marriage and I applaude Thanet for standing up against the abusvie words shown by others in the area, especially our MP.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps , instead of the Rainbow flag Worrows lot should fly the Jolly Roger!!

Anonymous said...

Despite the ridiculous antics of some members of our illustrious council, in part up to the standards of some of the loony left councils of yesteryear, the real blame for all this lies with the coalition government.

The last Labour government managed to avoid this issue for thirteen years in office yet a Conservative led one introduces it whilst the country has far more important problems to resolve.

Whether David Cameron somehow thinks this makes the party more universally loveable or not, the fact is that, as in Thanet last night, sensible debate turns in cries of homophobia. The party stands to appear even nastier, having handed the opposition this weapon, and at the same time it alienates great swathes of its own supporters.

This simply was not necessary, but a soap box has been handed to the rabble rousers and they are using it with great gusto.

Tim Clark said...

Congratulations to the Labour group for supporting a Conservative government initiative that their own party were too scared to introduce when they were in office.
OK now move on. They've had their pantomime now you need to put together a strategy to neutralise them.
Have just been talking to three fellow dog-walkers in the park; they too support gay partnerships but think that Council time would be better spent on things that concern everyone.

Tim Clark said...

They didn't even manage to get their facts straight. Cllr Driver has been bragging about how TDC is the first council in England to support gay marriage. I'm afraid that Southwark beat TDC by several weeks as this article from a lesbian magazine shows.'s-southwark-council-becomes-first-in-country-to-back-equal-marriage-(3).aspx

I'm not John Worrow said...

ooh, Dr M must of added that bit about Jan Dunn after I had read the post this morning. Looks like Clive Heart has used his discretion and chosen the three wise monkeys in this matter.

Let's maximise it's potential, Dr M's got a bone to pick with Jan Dunn, Thanet Charities need donations. Lets have a sponsored blow up sumo suit match between them to sort it out.

Winner gets to nominate a local Thanet Charity who will receive the donations. Hopefully lots of people will come to watch and with lots of donations, and spend lots of money in Thanet helping the local economy.

Anonymous said...

It's not about homosexual partnerships,it is about whtether or not a debate should take place on the subject of homosexual marriage.
No wonder some people are confused on this matter!.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how that Driver chap is able to run rings around Thanet's traditional parties. I suspect he is becoming Thanet's George Galloway. Which in some respects is not an entirely bad thing to happen.

James Maskell said...

The Gazette reports Sunday 22nd. I would go but Im working.

The "March" is Alpha Road Car Park through Station Road ending at Albion Road Car Park, not quite Nijmegen but still, its the thought that counts. Would a road closure notice be required? If so, has one been put in place? Pesky rules...

simon moores said...

Sorry, I haven't a bone to pick with anyone.. I did some further editing during which I checked the Twitter feed of the person making the offensive comments. I would call that sensible reporting, others might not.

John Kirby said...

Last night's meeting was nauseus in the extreme. To see Cohen, Worrow and Driver giving sanctimonious speeches regarding the wonderful leadership of the current administration was totally over the top. Worrow's performance in particular was spectacular - I thought there was a new planet in the solar system "Planet Worrow" from which there would seem to be no return.They say you get your rewards in heaven - but this bunch of Birchington and Northwood Nobodies will probably get their pot of gold in the form of Chairmanships of major committees at the next Council AGM. Heaven help us -the Conservative made many mistakes - but to team up with this lot of rag tag and bobtail and the Labour Administration will make Thanet District The laughing stock of Kent- Clive dissassociate yourself now and get some pride in your group - many last night looked totally bemused - I was!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Going off subject but heard some very worring news that 1000 new homes being built at Westwood Cross are for housing people from Lewisham?I thought this "Dumping of people" from other Boroughs was going to stop.....Would you clarify

Anonymous said...

This is depressing. I want to view this within a wider context and not simply because of the subject of the debate in question, which is clearly controversial.

I can understand that the councillor who proposes a motion and is successful would be jubilant; and that (s)he would want to celebrate in triumph over a topic which (s)he feels so passionately about.

I'm not sure, however, whether demanding a rainbow-coloured flag be flown from the top of TDC is being particularly magnanimous in victory. I cannot imagine that, if the vote had gone the other way, the Catholic priest would have demanded a Crucifix be stuck on the roof, or Vatican flag flown above the Council offices.

I think those in the public gallery ought to be ashamed of themselves, but I suspect they never ever feel ashamed because they're probably all perfect unlike me and the rest of the world.

To my knowledge it is not a criminal offence to broadcast in the gallery of a council chamber - even if not permitted to. (Not filming etc is only a criminal offence - under the Criminal Justice Act 1925, section 41 - and a contempt, when this takes place in a court-room.) It would, however, probably be a civil trespass (even though it is public space - sort of) because the land-owners - TDC - don't permit it.

I'm not a lawyer, but I would imagine that the Tory councillors will now be considering legal action for libel. If they were to, it would be interesting to hear what the High Court would decide over whether not supporting same-sex marriage automatically equates to being a confirmed homophobe. I'd love to see these people's reactions if they tried tweeting or jeering in the public gallery of the court - then they'd soon be in trouble.

simon moores said...

I have hear this Lewisham rumour before and was told there is no truth in it. In fact, what the London boroughs normally do is not buy homes but flats or target areas with very low rent like Cliftonville West and Margate central, hence the problems we have locally. My fear is that this is now displacing to Westgate and other areas as Greater London faces enormous pressures to house people.

The local authorities agreed not to do this much like they agreed not to send children more than 20 miles from their initial home but you can read today in the Gazette the problems we have had with some local schools in attempting to deal with a tidal wave of displaced children; many of who are refugees and have had no previous schooling before.

Anonymous said...

Jan Dunn is another local fim maker - much more prestigious than I am. She was greatly praised for producing feature films in Thanet - by the last administration as far as I remember.

Anonymous said...

1.00 - this is a very hollow victory when the person involved realises that it doesn't mount to a bag of beans. Instead TIGS has shown itself to be a militant group and will not see the light of day again after the next election - if it makes it that far. I agree with John Kirby that the Conservatives made mistakes and one of the biggest was giving Worrow the chance to get into the council - the same goes for Labour and Driver, but as someone has already said Labour are entirely to blame for giving them both air. Simon - is it right that Sober Jack didn't even vote, if so - so much for solidarity. At least he's useful to foot the bills...............

Anonymous said...

Tories don't waste your time talking to Clive anymore - what's the point of going to the monkey, go straight to the organ grinders!

Tim Clark said...

The weekend Triumph is actually a march against rising fuel prices - or so Worrow says on the letters page of today's IoTG. Still why let the truth get in the way of a good story?
I'm glad to see as well that Plain Jane is in line to join Roger Gale and TDC Conservatives as another local celebrity homophobe.

Tim Clark said...

Doesn't excuse her libellous and offensive tweets - or is it only offensive when attributed to someone to the right of Lenin?

Anonymous said...

While everyone else is aware that the Government have been working with the petrol companies to simplify tariffs and bring prices down - suddenly this has become Worrow's original thought. A bit like the fact that the 'old' council started a parking review last summer ( I think that's when cllrs Bruce and Cohen came down Birchington high street with some council woman). I hope my rates are not paying for the road closure for Worrows (short lived) glory march! Simon love the Caligula film........unfortunately looks far to familiar.

Anonymous said...

I was in the 'public gallery' last night, and felt intimidated and not able to clap when someone said that 'they are bullies' because i felt if I disagreed I would have been set upon by the BLT(sorry LBT) brigade! They reminded me of the Hitler Youth!!!!

I'm not John Worrow said...

I've read some of the comments saying John Worrow and Ian Driver wont be around after May.

How Do You Know?

My access to demographic data is non exhistant, but just how do you know what percentage of people in Thanet are Straight, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and what percentage of them are or will still be conservative after May?

I'm going to take a wild guess and say people dont walk upto Dr M in the street and say Hello I'm your new neighbour and I'm Gay by the way. Sexuality doesn't enter the conversation/introduction.

How many straight men would you say would move down from London who appreciate an art gallery and like chic little seaside cafe's and boutique's and a bohemian life style.

The answer is nobody knows.

Peter Checksfield said...

I couldn't understand the reference to a Rainbow flag at first, but then I realised that there's a striking resemblance (both in looks & charactor) to Zippy and Bungle

Anonymous said...

Hang on in there Tories - any shit that rises quickly to the surface loses it's gas just as quick!

Anonymous said...

4.15 - no one has said that TIGS won't be there after May. In fact, they have to be, to get their unjust rewards from Labour. Their survival has nothing to do with sexuality, it's more the fact that they have all betrayed the electorate that voted for them and are now making a mockery of our administrative system, and Labour are just letting them to hold onto power.

I'm not John Worrow said...

I disagree Anom 5.14pm, With ref: to Anom 1.35pm I quote

"Instead TIGS has shown itself to be a militant group and will not see the light of day again after the next election"

It's human nature if you feel that you have been wronged, you will want to punish them in revenge. Because the Conservative Party announced that they didn't want to debate the same sex marrage topic at all.

It sends out bad signals to anyone in that or other minority groups who have the human rights to speak, and that the concervative group in Thanet will not acknowledge there right to be represented.

So they will seek revenge and punish the concervative party out of spite and vote for anybody else.
In this case Labour or the independants.

If bill and ben the flower pot men were also running as political candidates, they would most likely also gain votes from last nights fall out what they would never of got in normal circumstances.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the gallery lot were Hitler League of Youth. Were those gents still around I think most of the crowd would have found themselves on a cattle truck before the night was out.

Anonymous said...

6:04 (Otherwise known as I am not John Worrow) Are you being funny or are you just thick. Last night's fiasco was not about anyone's rights, but whether the issue should have been debated at all, let alone at TDC level. The government, a Conservative led one, called for consultation on how to end the ban on same sex marriage. It did not call for a debate about its rights or wrongs.

You may be right that this could cause problems for the Conservatives at the polls, but not, I would suggest, from the minority groups you indicate, but from the much larger religious ones who will blame Cameron's government for bringing this in.

Labour did not do so in thirteen years in government and it was in no parties manifesto at the last general election. There is, therefore, simply no mandate.

Ren Wood said...

Watched the Thanet Watch video clip and wondered where I had seen most of those people with the banners before. Then it came back to me. It was in Pierremont Park about this time a year ago campaigning against the Community Centre. Then they were up at Westwood Cross campaigning about slave labour at Thanet Earth.

No doubt they also say No to Night Flights, shout at lorry drivers down at Nethercourt Roundabout and erect tents in bizarre places.

Anonymous said...

Still don't get you 6.04 the next election here is a couple of years away not this May.

I'm not John Worrow said...

@Anom 7.39pm, I was quoting May, because that is what Anom 1.35pm stated.

@Tom Clarke, your repeating exactly what you said earlier, which is correct to what your refering to.

You havent been paying attention to what was being said by Worrow and the minority groups during the build up to Thursday.
It was about the human right to be heard as a minority.

Once the Concervative group released that statement saying we vote against even debating about the subject, it sends out bad feelings that minorities are not even worth any concideration at all. They shouldn't be allowed to speak, they should be opressed at all costs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks For posting news of my film of the lobby so swiftly! They don't look intimidating do they?

James Maskell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anon 6.21 so the Hitler Youth were gents - you are a sad twisted idiot. So is Simon Moores allowing postings which by implication support, or make light of the holocaust. you should be ashamed. You deserve Worrow and Driver

simon moores said...

Christine.. you share some very strange company and "Yes", many people did feel intimidated but you knew that and bought into it quite happily.

James Maskell said...

"Once the Concervative group released that statement saying we vote against even debating about the subject, it sends out bad feelings that minorities are not even worth any concideration at all. They shouldn't be allowed to speak, they should be opressed at all costs."

What are you talking about? The vote was whether to debate the motion or not. The motion wasnt related to TDC business and the Conservatives felt it shouldn't be debated which they are entitled to say. Describing it as oppression is a bit extreme, dont you think?

Michael Child said...

Considering that some people who enter politics of all parties have quite strong feelings about equality, I would think if the Conservative group continue along these lines there is a reasonable possibility that some of their number may cross the floor, the only thing I am really uncertain about is where they would cross too, because on this issue the only group that seem to be at odds with Conservative party policy is the Conservative group. Perhaps they will form the Conservative group, this rather begs the question, what would the existing Conservative group call themselves?

Anonymous said...

8.29 - are we reading the same posts? Anon 1.35 never mentioned May and you are sadly misled if you think last nights fiasco was about minority groups. It was about self publicity and wanting to the centre of attention.

Anonymous said...

Hello Simon. I heard that Driver and Worrow have something to do with Arthur Scargill and all the militant trade union leaders. Is this true/ have you heard anything?We don't want extreme socialist types in Thanet.

I'm not John Worrow said...

@Anom 9.25pm oops, 1.35pm was the wrong comment. I cant direct you to the comment I was refering to, as it and other comments seem to have been deleted.

@James Maskell, yes that was what the original consultation was about. But that was not what the lead up to Thursday night was about.

Opression or Political Repression in Thanet of minority groups has been going on for decades. there is a lot of suppressed tension in the local area.

It's mainly to do with which generation the councilors were born in (all parties, not just Concervatives). Most of them are from a significant previous generations where Political Repression and Dictatorship was normal.

So from their point of view, descrimination and abuse of the minority's was wide spread and acceptable. If the minorities try to speakout, they were suppressed.

When the minorities have been subject to abuse, attacks, threats of violence, vandalism and they report it here in Thanet. It's dismissed by local authorities and never recorded.

Anonymous said...

10:38 Ian Driver was formerly a member of Scargill's Real Labour Party and campaigned as a candidate with them in Wandsworth. Obviously he learnt much of the far left's method of seeking power from minority support.

Worrow is whatever it takes to be noticed this week. At the moment it suits him to be alongside the big noise Driver, but a year ago it suited him to be a Conservative to get elected. He was even in the Grey Party just so he could have the title 'leader.'

Anonymous said...

Very surprised that councillors felt intimidated. I wasn't there, but have heard the same from others when confronted by a public gallery packed with people thinking the exact polar opposite of them.

Perhaps a sign that those feeling intimidated have got it totally wrong? Surely if you stand by your ideals and the majority of people you represent then you've got nothing to worry about?

Of perhaps it's a sign of weakness which means you should not be there in the first place?

I'm not gay, but the tizzy this has got our local conservatives into makes me want to enter into a same sex marriage. Except I can't. So I'll protest!

simon moores said...

Let's be very clear. Wasting an hour on Thursday night had very little to do with the more immediate problems facing the people of Thanet but climbing on a rainbow-coloured soap-box for the type of publicty exercise you would associate with George Galloway.

If some readers simply don't understand the difference between Parliament, County, District and Parish council responsibilities then I politely suggest a little reading is required before any more daft statements are made here.

Anonymous said...

7:01 It was not councillors who felt threatened but members of the public who had to share the gallery with the Red Hall rent-a-mob. I would suggest your view that such demonstrations are representative of public opinion is way off beam.

Tim Clark said...

Ok time to draw a line under this and move on. John Kirby got it right when he said you got your tactics wrong - I'm afraid you had good advice from both James and myself that would have left Driver looking like the windbag he is but you chose to ignore it. Now you as a group need to sit down and work out how to be a majority opposition to a minority administration propped up by three maniacs.
I have a few ideas but they only work if they are not broadcast beforehand. They'll be in your in tray sometime over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me but i almost wet my shreddies with laughter at the thought of Tim Clark giving strategic politcal advice. Worrow and Driver are already developing their next campaign which will once again leave you dull witted, second rate, hompohobic fools miles behind.

Anonymous said...

Well let's see how Worrow and Driver campaign their way to success in the next district council elections. Incidentally 1:55, if you were not so dim witted, you would not disclose your identity so easily with your terminology. Have a nice march.

I'm not John Worrow said...

Bored already Dr M, post something else we can argue about!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what on earth W&D's next campaign will be about. Gay marriage in churches? Not sure that's within the power of TDC. Whatever it is they have up their sleeves (if anything), they'd better get in quickly before they're booted out at the next election!

Tim Clark said...

Dear Jane. If you had bothered to read the other comments you would have seen that people such as Simon, Tom Clark and I, who have long objected to this unnecessary debate within this forum, have been labelled homophobes by the Diversity team. Since in this week's Plain Jane you too said that you thought the debate was unnecessary I saved them the bother of labelling you this way.
You are no more a homophobe than I am, and I am not a homophobe. However, you don't do irony. You also confused me by putting your comment in an old entry so I have repeated this comment in the most up-to-date one as well.
And to all those souls who think we only have a few weeks to wait until the local council elections - wrong! The next one for TDC is not for another 3 years.

I'm not John Worrow said...

Erh, sorry Tim. Yourself and Tom probably objected to debating it.

Dr M invited the people of Thanet to express there points of view on this very blog on the 9th April on the post entitled WINGING-IT

Dr M's tired already, argue about something else.

Tim Clark said...

INJW. I had no problem with the consultation I just felt that TDC had little to offer except to allow the Registrar to use Aberdeen House. I therefore felt and still feel, that the whole exercise was a waste of Council time - not because it isn't a worthy cause but because it was on a topic that TDC had little influence over. If you allow this sort of debate to take up Council time then what about a debate on human rights abuses in Tibet, female circumcision in east Africa, child labour in India? Where does it end and where do we draw the line? For taking this view I am labelled a homophobe. That has been my stance throughout this discussion.

I'm not John Worrow said...

Just watched the webcast of last weeks meeting. Don't know why only one camera view was working this time, so couldn't see the audience.

Is there no hi res/hd option available on the webcasts, as the picture qualities quite poor.