|Kim Seen on an a Visit to Thanet's Gateway Building|
There's a plump young dictator in North Korea called Kim, who likes basketball, pizza and heavy artillery, loosely following the plot of an old Peter Sellers satirical comedy of the Cold War. He thinks that if he declares war on the United States and loses, he can confidently expect to have his country rebuilt, through the generous largesse that the United States bestows on all its vanquished enemies (as it did for Germany through the Marshall Plan at the end of World War II and Iraq more recently).
Then last week, you might have heard that our Police Commissioner for Kent, Ann Barnes, appointed the notorious socialite Paris Hilton to the new role of junior police commissioner. Paris then did what Paris does best on Twitter and I assume Facebook too, although we haven't seen the latter social network figure in the Daily Mail just yet. Young Paris has managed to become an unintended 'car-crash' celebrity of sorts, while simultaneously calling into question the judgement of Ann Barnes. In such unfortunate circumstances, I'm not convinced the position of youth commissioner remains tenable.
Here, at the centre of the political world with county elections just around the corner I sit here reflecting at the often turgid nature of local politics and what, in some quarters, appears as a sense of entitlement; a warped view of public service as a career choice which replaces employment.
After all, what might readers think, if any outwardly healthy, energetic and well-groomed leader of a local council had been claiming a disability pension for well over a decade? Based on the strength of the public's views this month, there's little sympathy for politicians and even less for politicians living on expenses.
It's rare for me to find common cause with Ian Driver, but people may also be irked by the lifestyle choice of the young Rodney, spending much of his time twittering enthusiastically that he is delivering political leaflets; hoping perhaps to make a career on Labour's gravy train, rather than looking for real work as you or I might understand it. Thanks to a little help and encouragement from family and influential political friends, collecting a series of generous allowances at the public expense, on an accelerated path that may soon exceed the average family income, here in Thanet.
Local politics on our own small island has become a career subsitute for some and I would argue that this lies at the heart of many of our problems, the often entrenched tribalism and the confidence deficit which now surrounds us. Local Government reforms were supposed to encourage politics as a part-time vocation but instead it frequently achieves the opposite and this is as good a time as any to encourage some frank and soul-searching introspection among ideas and time-expired councillors of all parties and in every corner of the land.