Monday, December 31, 2012

Praedicatur atque Politics

St Mildred's bay
I've been gazing into my morning cup of Earl Grey, trying to discern the future from the tea leaves. Quite how this works when a Twining's finest tea-bag is involved, I can't quite say but the New Year's visions spilled from the drink's muddy depths in quick succession.

There will be more political scandals and indiscretions of one kind or another here in Thanet but given recent history, this more closely resembles an unavoidable statement of fact than a Nostradamus-like prediction. To the outsider, local politics frequently represents a series of long-running personal feuds, frequently nothing to do with politics and split in many directions age and ideology among them.

While Ian Driver's one-man medicine show crashes around the island in pursuit of news-worthy and populist causes and Cllr Dr.Jack Cohen continues to be supported by officers during planning meetings, Leader of the Independents, John Worrow, will, in return for his self-absorbed propping-up of the administration, demand that Council Leader, Clive Hart, proves his public commitment to 'progressive' diversity, by including an openly gay or at the very least, a bi-sexual councillor on his Labour cabinet. This would, he may insist, set a bold example to the Conservatives opposite, who, rather like me, would much rather get-on with the rather more important challenges facing the island, than continually waste Council time with staged bickering over diversity issues.

With the Kent County Council elections only five months away, Labour will be expecting to recover some of the seats it lost the last time around when it was effectively wiped-out at County Hall in the wake of Gordon Brown's charm offensive and the recession. Having written the obituary for the Margate Charter Trustees and finished university in the same year, the energetic, young Will Scobie, presently Mayor of Margate, will likely have a four week gap between the end of his mayoralty and being presented by patron, Clive Hart, with a relatively safe Margate county ward, to fight as part of Labour's on-going youth opportunities scheme. There are strong  rumours of an attempt, among members of the local Party, to try and position Will as a local youth candidate, just in time for the next General Election.

Hovercraft on Margate Sands
UKIP will become a force to be reckoned with both locally and nationally and Labour will hope that the same pattern of voting that split the Conservative vote and delivered Jodie Hibbert a surprise seat in Westgate, described by Cllr Jack Cohen in last week's Thanet Gazette as "A magnificent victory," may be repeated in the County elections. Given the message that I heard repeated on the doorstep, that voting Labour in Westgate would reverse the local benefits cuts, I'm looking forward to see if that particular conjuring trick is ever delivered to those who were naive enough to believe the promise.

Attempts will continue through the Council's standards process, by the independents, to put an end to this weblog and its clumsy satire. I should add that I spoke with the monitoring officer last week and informed him that I had apologised unreservedly for using the adjective 'Sober' in conjunction with Cllr Jack Cohen and in the circumstances, further public expense and a full hearing in January would appear unnecessary, at least to me. I'm afraid the earlier clip from the Woody Allen film, 'Bananas' stands the test of independent scrutiny and is deemed to be fair comment on the charged political atmosphere here in Thanet.

Labour, concerned that ThanetLife is now attracting rather too many readers, will stage a circulation fight-back with a resurrected weblog from the lovable 'Lenin', Cllr Mike Harrison, crammed-full of hot socialist news topics, personal reminiscences of the good times during the Spanish Civil War and the occasional Facebook indiscretion. In fact and in the interests of balance and fair play, I'm rather tempted to offer to write it myself!

Here in Westgate, where I live and work, I suspect we may see a resurrected Sainsburys application for the Canterbury Road as the company can afford to battle-it out with the Council over what is for it, small change planning costs. A Tesco Metro in Station Road may be a different story when it comes before the planning committee and if I were a betting man, I might think that residents and traders' objections in addition to the highways issues, like Sainsburys might stack the odds against it. Planning is of course based on legislation and not wishful thinking and like the courts, it's always very difficult to predict an outcome until the jury delivers its decision. That said, I'm vaguely optimistic that the Council will win the Dreamland CPO case and that at long last, the amusement park will have a future, however modest, on which Margate can help rebuild its fortunes as a popular seaside destination for all the family.

Before, I forget, another prediction, with my fingers firmly crossed, is an end to the flooding experienced in Westgate in 2012. Our MP, Sir Roger Gale has also been pursuing this complaint with Southern Water and I've  received a letter from Katie Lewis, KCC's Drainage and; Flood Manager advising that "the cleansing work has now been undertaken and there has been no further reports of flooding since this work was completed."What goes down the drains in Westgate and occasionally blocks them, is something I would rather not dwell-upon.

I've lost my flow of thought and the dog, asleep on my desk in front of me is no help as its excessive flatulence can drive me away from my work for short periods. So I'll take a break and wish everyone who has visited my weblog in 2012, a very Happy New Year in 2013 as well.

1 comment:

John Holyer said...

Revealing the fact that you drink Earl Gray could well brand you as a toff in some eyes.