Friday, August 24, 2012

Off Limits

It appears that we have a subject that is not available for debate at Thanet District Council, for any reason and that is the performance of our Diversity Champion, Councillor John Worrow.

I'm waiting to read, with interest, what fellow bloggers in the public gallery, Tony Flaig and James Maskell made of last night's farcical performance on the part of the Labour Cabinet, which led Westgate's Cllr Tom King to storm out of the Council Chamber in a visible mix of rage and frustration.

The item on the agenda was the performance of the Diversity Champion, who had been the subject of a motion of no confidence - thrown-out by Labour - at the last full Council meeting.

Cllr Michelle Fenner, who holds the portfolio, managed to deliver one of her trademark, lengthy monologues on equalities on how the wicked Conservatives had done nothing to address the sad state of affairs that Labour had inherited in Thanet. She finally mentioned Cllr Worrow, by name, in the last sixty seconds, as an outstanding champion of anything and everything that was diverse on the island. While Cllr Johnston, never short of a word or three, chipped in exclaiming she knew what it was like to be bullied.

Cllr King attempted to question Cllr Worrow's record of achievement, asking what he had actually done but Council Leader, Clive Hart, decided that any debate was inappropriate and that Cllr Worrow was 'The subject of a personal vendetta,' with 'No evidence' against him whatsoever.

This swiftly descended into a heated shouting match, leading Cllr King to stalk out of the Chamber and Cllr Hart to launch on to a rambling self justification for not allowing Cllr King to speak on the item, claiming that Cllr King had threatened him and he wouldn't give in to threats. In the back row, Labour's Cllr Peter Campbell, visibly dressed for serious Council business, in a pair of bright red swim shorts and a loose beach shirt offered a stream of facetious remarks, much like a dated character from the Muppet show.

Finally, it was my  turn to speak and I expressed my concern at a role and an individual, surrounded by ever-growing rumour and salacious comment, which reflected poorly on the reputation of the council. Could he not, I asked, go and meet the local Imam rather than use his role as a club with which to beat anyone who challenges him with the serious allegation of homophobia.

'That's enough' said Clive, we're not discussing this any further, the man's a saint and he's being persecuted by the lot of you.

Well, he didn't exactly say those words but it's near enough to the truth for Government work and that's where we left it. The Diversity Champion is 'Off Limits' and enjoys a unique and special immunity from debate and criticism of any kind, as long as he holds the balance of political power at Thanet District Council.

I should add that the Labour Cabinet decision surrounding Pleasurama and the Royal Sands development appeared to be equally off-limits for intelligent debate and Conservative Leader, Cllr Bayford walked out before the meeting had concluded, followed by the rest of us.

If I had one final comment on last night's business, it's that democracy fails all of us, when those who are clearly ill-equipped to deal with the responsibilities of public life are promoted well beyond their ability.


Ashamed said...

How much longer must Thanet Residents put up with Cllr Worrow, it is perfectly clear that he has acheived nothing apart from betraying the Residents of Birchington who voted for him as a Conservative.
Cllr Hart will not allow the Leader of the true Independents Tom King to debate the Worrow issue, we all know that Hart is only in power because of Worrow. Cllr Hart should choose his allies very carefully, because the day of reckoning is not too far away.
It is certainly not a vendetta, I am sure most people do not care about Worrow at all, he is his own worst enemy.
As for Cllr Mrs Johnstone saying she knows what it is like to be bullied, really? it would be a brave man or woman.
Cllr Hart time to allow a democratic debate on the Worrow issue, The Council cannot continue as it is at present, it is a mockery of democracy. Your time is up Worrow, time to go.

Anonymous said...

It may not be a popular comment on this website but I have seen Iris Johnston bullied in public by two Cllrs a few years ago, the leader of the 2 bullies is now on trial but not for that.

1 o'clock Rob said...

Well racking my brains here to think of anything Cllr Worrow has actually done to benefit his constituency...

Can think of many things so far this year that make me wonder how such an odious oaf could ever get elected in the first place.

Do the people of Thanet a favour John, resign and disappear into obscurity... go back to your village as they just emailed and they want their idiot back.

Regarding Cllr Fenner... well "useless" springs to mind when her name is mentioned, and as for Cllr Hart... errrm, won't say much as I always feel ill when I think about him.

Your faithful servant and former local Labour voter turned off them by their inability to do anything EVER!

*The views in this comment are those of its author (1 o'clock Rob) and are not representative of the blog owner*

Bernie said...

I have to say your posts about local politics are interesting and this one inparticular chimes with me! This kind of closed door/refusal to discuss is exactly what I have been suffering in trying to progress a very serious complaint through TDC. In the end it has gone all the way to the Chief Executive and they are still trotting out the same replies and protecting their own - at the expense of safety of the public especially children. I now have to proceed to the Ombudsman, but the months and months that it has taken to get any answer at all out of TDC is appalling - all their corporate standards broken! - and it really takes it out of a person to keep on banging your head against a brick wall. Which was no doubt the desired experience for me by TDC!
Are these meetings open to the Public? Is there a list of dates available if so? All TDC's refusal to be open and above board and to perform their duties efficiently has done is make me more interested in local politics (prob NOT the desired effect, LOL!)and I think I really need to get to know all the local 'characters' and their measure :) Keep up the good work! x

simon moores said...


Unless commercially sensitive material is involved, meetings are open to the public and the dates are on the council website

Anonymous said...


All I can say is you're not the only one and try not let them get you down. When you go the Ombudsman she will probably carry out an initial assessment and then decide you are out of time. The problems you describe are endemic and have been for years. Officers cover for other incompetent officers and after having been compromised by Members. CEO is very weak and accepts everything she is told.

Anonymous said...

Worrow will probably get Mr Fox to call Tom King a Pig Monster now.
Incidentally. What happened to all Worrows homophobic bullying complaints against everyone since he announced himself in the Gazette as being straight?
Can you bully a straight man in a homophobic way?