Saturday, February 16, 2013

Off Road Blogging

I read our local paper today, expecting to find angry letters to the editor at their treatment of Sir Roger Gale last week and I wasn't wrong.

Given the Thanet Gazette had at least two clear days to discover what our Member of Parliament had actually said in the Westminster gay marriage debate, rather than act as a proxy for the frequently unprintable opinions of Cllr Ian Driver, it's hardly surprising that people were upset. After, all, I sent the editor the clarification that appeared on Thanet Life hours after Sir Roger had written it but did any part of it appear in print locally? Of course it didn't.

And what's with the week in, week out, 'Mr Angry' letters to the paper from Mr Muir of Westgate that have appeared as long as I can remember? The common theme, is a sardonic and visceral dislike of our Thanet North MP, which implies a festering personal grievance, going back many years. So why print these unless the editor is very short of material or has a personal or indeed political motive. This may be connected to the fact that our local paper, having a duty to report news, fairly and impartially, is both distrusted and disconnected from the political process at the highest levels. As I've written before, that's not good for local politics and it's certainly not good for Thanet.

This month, one can't avoid being left with a sense that the wheels are rapidly falling-off Clive Hart's political bandwagon at Thanet District Council.

Other than Royal Sands and a troubled-looking Portas Pilot making the news, we have Cllr  John Worrow, who 'may or may not' have resigned or 'may or may not' have received a death threat from an anonymous address in Medway. There's Cllr Ian Driver, on a personal crusade and creating anarchy within the Council at a speed not witnessed since the glory days of Militant, of which he is a former member.

Passing Meteor
It's been a wild week in local politics for my opposite number, the political driving-force behind Clive Hart's Labour administration, Cllr Alan Poole, who having managed to successfully shoot himself in both feet simultaneously in front of the BBC then repeated the trick as an encore, at a public meeting on the Royal Sands development in Ramsgate. This time he was reportedly wearing a blindfold and a pair of lovingly hand-embroidered, red laughing trousers, supplied for the occasion by his inseparable colleague, Cllr Michelle Fenner.

One really has to admire Alan's political courage, dry wit and unique gift with words; a politician of the old school, who really knows how to work a difficult audience.

Over on the north side of the island,  Tony Flaig has also spotted that the 'Scobification' of the Mayoral process in Margate, is somewhat irregular, as the talented young 'Dave' is suspected of unfairly leveraging an office, which has been strictly apolitical for a century, to further his aspirations as a Labour County Council candidate in May. In fact, the political manoeuvring is so shameless , as Labour's own 'faites accompli', stealth youth opportunities scheme, it's quite breathtaking. However, the real casualty in this argument, has to be confidence in the office and political independence of the role of Mayor, which still needs to completely recover from the earlier scandal, associated with the prosecution of Ted Watt Ruffell.

There's rather more I could write about too, on another public meeting last week and the bizarre behaviour of another cabinet member; it's on an embarrassing par with Cllr Poole's legendary sense of tact but I'm saving this for a rainy day!

Finally, I've just spotted a problem that I identified locally a couple of years ago and wrote about from a concerned Thanet perspective and which was completely ignored by the media. At last and in the light of the serious  Romanian and Bulgarian immigration challenge facing us here at the end of the year, it's been revealed. This is long after me worrying over what I was seeing here in Thanet, with migrant children working the streets. Then, I had a conversation with a director at 'The Big Issue', who explained, how what can only be described as an 'immigration scam' at the magazine's expense, is quite legal under EU law:

"Under a loophole in EU immigration rules, Big Issue sellers can claim ‘self-employed status’, thereby gaining a National Insurance number and, with it, an instant legal foothold in the British labour market."


Anonymous said...

I note that there were five letters for Roger Gale and one against. If Mr Robert Muir's dissenting letter is the best the IOTG can do to show balance then the people of Thanet are a wise bunch of people.

Anonymous said...

While immigration is a "Big Issue" there can only be so many Big Issue sellers, unless the distribution is that of the Sun. Nevertheless it is a major worry that when I visit Cliftonville I hear many languages spoken, none of them English.

Anonymous said...

Mr Muir has been writing to the Gazette for the best part of 20 years now. I remember his letters appearing when Mike Pearce (hardly a renowned pinko) was editor.

Raymond said...

I'm pretty sure there can only be one seller of the Big Issue in any one designated area by their HQ... I guess that these designated areas can be pretty small though. :/