Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Great Budget Bunfight

It's late. Far too late to write any detailed or even whimsical account of this evening's full Council meeting. On the agenda was the budget for 2013 - 2014 but as you might expect, this was somewhat overshadowed by the homo-erotic or was that homophobic rhetoric that the crowded public gallery had probably come to hear.

The language from Cllr Ian Driver, was at times truly shocking and if I repeated it here, I might be in breach of my own acceptable use rules. Cllr Worrow didn't behave much better and interrupted an important motion on domestic violence against women to complain angrily that 'Heterosexual members get treated differently' in the Council meetings.

Labour's budget passed, just, with the help of Cllrs Worrow and Cohen. Hardly surprisingly, even though they are now a TIG 'party' of two, Labour's Clive Hart, who declared himself as Thanet's 'Economic Development'  supremo, voted to continue supporting them them in their committee and special responsibility allowance roles.

The Conservatives offered an alternative budget amendment that would cut out Labour's new Cabinet position and what they viewed as unnecessary bureaucracy. The end result would have been a Council Tax cut of 2.5%. This was voted down but required a count as the margin was so narrow, with Cllr Driver and Cllr Tom King abstaining, hoping to have their own amendment passed. Instead, it was thrown-out and one could not avoid the impression from the very angry outburst from Cllr King, that followed, that he had been cleverly distracted by Cllr Hart to abstain from voting for the Conservative amendment in return for something else. Perhaps I'm wrong.

I've got to go flying on Friday morning, so I will have plenty of time to think about Part 2. of the Great Budget Bunfight, for a further analysis of the events and the characters, later tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I was in the gallery - incredible that Driver gets away with slagging Roger Gale off in the language he uses and Worrow - well he just needs to get back in his play pen!

Anonymous said...

I thought Worrow was diversity champion? What has he got against the diverse subjects discussed at council meetings? Presumably he will only be happy when discussing himself.

If Driver is using foul language then he should be suspended. Mr speaker Bercow would give him short shrift, does not the council have a speaker type person with similar power to speaker Bercow? Surely Driver and Worrow are due for a visit from Darling.

Anonymous said...

A mention by Mike Pearce in the IOTG today. Support for you. Sort of.

Anonymous said...

The council does indeed have a Speaker, it is the chairman. He has a duty to ensure that the meetings are run to acceptable standards; he, of course, has to decide what those standards are.

Anonymous said...

Then if what is reported is true then the Chairman is bringing the council into disrepute, isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Urgent email from Sir Roger today. IOTG has definately got it wrong, but what sells papers?

Simon Moores said...

Curious how the Gazette lays into Roger Gale, without actually analysing the facts. No mention of this weblog of course as a source of what the MP actually said.

Just interviews with outraged of Thanet.

Anonymous said...

Then 8.24 he is clearly not willing or able to ensure proper standards are maintained or he accepts behaviour that most right thinking people find unacceptable

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance that we voters will have the opportunity of viewing a webcast of this latest farce? If the language used was as offensive as is implied, perhaps that 'gentleman' should be reminded that if he were to use it in the street he would be at risk of being arrested for breach of the peace.

Simon Moores said...

Yes, the great budget bunfight should be available as a webcast in a week or so

Anonymous said...

7.00pm again. What a pity that it is not available 'live'!

Bernie said...

I was at the meeting as well - and not for any fist fights between Cllrs of any persuasion - and have to say it was one of the saddest things I've seen for a long time.
Sad for Thanet.

I could not believe that so many Cllrs, the vast majority old enough to have been brought up "properly" with decent manners, were absolutely INCAPABLE of sitting in silence and listening while others were speaking! It's an appalling lack of respect both for others and for their position. Also for the public, both those watching in the public gallery and those who would/will watch the performance online.

Sad that when problems with the microphones cropped up, Cllrs were not willing to even try and raise their voices when speaking so that those in the public gallery (and prob other Cllrs as well) could hear exactly what they were saying.

Sad that Cllr Driver thought it appropriate to perform such an animated rant about Roger Gale. It was a disgraceful performance.

Sad that so many Cllrs had nothing to say. Nobody wanted to debate very much at all really. Even the massively important budget had people moaning that an hour's worth of speeches and to and fro was too much! One hour!

Cllr Worrow's almost behind the hand remark along the lines of LBGT violence was more important than drink driving because it kills people. At least that's what it sounded like from where I was in the public gallery. Unbelievable. So no empathy or sympathy for families affected by drink drivers then?! Drink driving which of course kills nobody?!!

Elderly men in the public gallery clambering over empty chairs in order to have a word in Cllr Ezekiel's ear. Whatever it was he was concerned about, Cllr Ezekiel reassured him he had it covered and it couldn't fail.

So, a chamber full of people, most of whom were incapable of sitting and listening to others speak, some of whom ignored the Chair and continued with their more important rants; other lolling about and spinning around in their chair, calling out comments upon almost every statement made by others; slurred words during a speech and swaying over the table; some Cllrs who spoke only two words publicly - either for or against in the two recorded votes. What a display of behaviour from those people with such position in our local society. Openly and without any embarrassment or shame at all that it was seen by the public in the gallery and would be seen by the viewing public on the TDC site webcast.

How inspiring for anyone remotely interested in politics!

Or maybe that is the idea? Put off anybody who may be thinking about getting involved locally to enable elderly Cllrs to keep their precious jobs even longer?! Somehow I doubt that much care goes into what was being done though.

I still am finding it hard to believe what I saw at that meeting and will definitely be back for more meetings as I believe it's important that more people take an interest in what's going on here.

Now this morning we hear that out of all the Councils contacted by a national newspaper about a FOI request regarding the spending of the Portas money, Margate was the only one not to respond! That in itself has attracted more criticism. Why could TDC not respond to this FOR request and provide the information?!

Tim Clark said...

Any of our 56 Councillors care to comment?