Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Sunny Side of Margate

Margate Beach December 2012
The contrast in weather between yesterday and today couldn't be more extreme.

I took a walk into Margate a little earlier to enjoy the winter sunshine and shot some photos along the way. You can find the picture gallery here.

The Old Town looked delightful but I was unconvinced by the present exhibition at the Turner Contemporary, which didn't really excite my limited artistic imagination on this visit.

I was quite impressed by the gymnastics of the teenagers jumping of the sand berm on to the beach, opposite Primark and in particular, two lads, Mike in the white shirt and Dan in the red. Future Olympic hopefuls? You never know!

One Giant Leap
James Maskell has asked me what the result of the motion, surrounding mobile phones in the Council chamber was on Thursday night. Without going into detail, we have the neo-Luddites, on the extreme end of the political spectrum, who firmly believe that all phones and digital devices are the work of the devil and should be switched-off  and the digital-progressives, led by young Will Scobie, who believes quite the opposite and indeed, that 'Tweeting' should be encouraged.

I lean towards the 'Scobie-side' of the argument and believe that phones should be switched to silent, out of courtesy and that there should be no barrier to using tablets or smartphones to access data. I did exactly this at a Cabinet meeting earlier this year to bring-up the company records of the Royal Sands developer and correct an error in our own Council documents.

Margate's Old Town
Anyway, as far as I understand it, Will Scobie won the day with his amended motion and Thanet District Council has now officially entered the 21st century, leading Clive Hart to announce that he felt a "Tweet coming on."

Following Will Scobie's speech, there was talk of giving all Councillors a briefing on Social Media but I'm really not convinced, given the problems experienced with FaceBook and Blogs, that encouraging Members; a number of whom have yet to be introduced to the Internet, towards unrestrained 'Tweeting', is a good idea.

Meanwhile, I see that Cllr Ian Driver, is calling for the resignation of Council Chairman, Doug Clark for his “Appallingly partisan and unconstitutional abuse of power,” following Cllr Clark, a Labour Party stalwart, using his casting vote to kill any debate on the controversial Royal Sands development.

Council Business
On this occasion I have some sympathy for Cllr Driver, as I had seconded a very similar motion that was also rejected by the Chairman's casting vote, as reported in the previous blog entry.

Ironically, it was the same Council Chairman and distinguished, former Mayor of Margate,, who was proud to inform me, that he never uses the Internet and wouldn't know how to. I understand that sending baked clay tablets in cuneiform script is the recommended method of contacting him on Council business. If you don't believe me give his email address a try!


Michael Child said...

Simon my take on this is that they all need to have a go, but starting at the “I’ve been for an early morning swim” or “just done the weeding in the garden” level.

Blogger and Twitter are fairly manageable, but Facebook a minefield for the unwary. I guess the safest starting point would be a blogger hosted blog with the comments turned off.

I know there was some laughter at Clive Hart’s initial Tweets, but I genuinely think he approached it in a sensible manner, particularly looking at it with the benefit of hindsight.

Of course the facility to live stream for free on YouTube means that this could happen with the council’s public meetings and frankly if a meeting is open to the public then in the 21st century this should include the internet.

As we both know if you are allowed to have a device turned on then it would be very difficult to tell if that device was recording, or for that matter live streaming straight on to the internet.

I use the Google plus facility and I would have to physically turn this off to prevent my phone automatically transfusing, images, videos and sound recordings directly to the internet.

1 o'clock Rob said...

Nice photoset there Simon, maybe we can ask the UK Olympic Committee to petition the IOC get Parkour (FreeRunning) added as a new Olypmic sport? Although we'd have serious competition from the French!

Bernie said...

fascinating comment! What you say about Cllr Clarke esp. interests me.

Cllr Clarke has an email address listed on the TDC website. However, when I contacted him as a matter of urgency I received not even an acknowledgement let alone a reply! What you say explains that!

Instead of offending members of the public who are trying to bring important matters (inc. TDC failures) to his attention, and gain his help, TDC would do better to admit he is incapable of using email even, and advise people to write snail mail instead.

As the 'Conscience' of TDC he really should be more aware of such matters, and more aware of how he is misleading the public, if there is no way he will EVER reply to emails sent to him!

I'm glad TDC has joined the rest of society in the joys of social media!

John Holyer said...

It is only a matter of courtesy that phones should be switched to silent. But I am puzzled why anyone would insist that they be switched off. Are they afraid, as Michael suggests, of surreptitious recording. Is it a requirement that phones be switched off in the House Of Commons? If not, then why should it be so in the TDC Council Chamber? What do they fear?