Saturday, May 04, 2013

Now What?

It's the day after and the political landscape in Thanet has been plunged back into the sixties. For many, if not most of our new County Councillors, who I welcome, the internet, much like the renaissance,  is something that happened to other people; so I recommend an investment in some Basildon Bond writing paper and a fountain pen, should you wish to communicate with them in future.

This really is a serious issue for Thanet as a whole. While Nigel Farage is a lucid politician with great popular appeal, as yesterday's election results demonstrated, the same is not universally true of his growing army of supporters and that's a problem for everyone of us in Thanet, for the next four years.

Listening to Mr Farage on the BBC yesterday, debating in the studio against the leading lights of the other three main parties, he really did demonstrate that conventional politics is dangerously out of touch with popular opinion and I'm reminded of that SDP moment many years ago, which promised much and delivered little other than the political impetus which created New Labour. I write from experience here, having once cobbled-together speeches for the likes of Lord David Owen and having been on a parliamentary committee, when I was not much older than young Will Scobie, with Shirley Williams and Anne Sofer. You live and learn!

I did notice that yesterday, Labour's Chuka Ummana was trying to frighten Nigel Farage over leaving Europe and was put firmly in his place over the statistics. There's no doubt that Europe plays a vital part in our economy but our trade is increasingly moving out towards the new economies like Brazil and the former Commonwealth.

UK goods exports to EU in July 2012 £12.5 bn (48.6%) 
UK goods exports to non EU in July 2012 £13.2 bn (51.4%)

I'm with Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan in believing that we can negotiate a better deal with Europe as a vital trading partner, rather than have Europe take over our domestic governance and reduce our Westminster Parliament to an impotent rubber stamp.

People also get confused over the European Convention on Human Rights (nothing to do with the EU) of which we are a signatory and Tony Blair's Human Rights Act, which protects the likes of Abu Qatada and has our judges walk all over what many believe is our national interest in generously interpreting the 'Rights' of all kinds of disreputable and criminal individuals. The LibDems, committed to a federal Europe, aren't going to let us renegotiate our place in the EU or allow the Human Rights Act be 'Tweaked' in any way and Labour presently sits with them. That only leaves the Conservatives in a position to make change and without an overwhelming majority in the next Parliament, this simply won't happen and certainly won't take place if the natural Conservative vote splits, as was demonstrated so dramatically, here in Thanet yesterday.

Meanwhile, this short video illustrates where we find ourselves today, the clock having been turned back in protest. In Birchington, I'm sure that Roger Latchford is grateful to John Worrow, Christine Tongue and Bernard Le Roche, for the YouTube Nazi poster video 'set-up' of a week ago. This had absolutely the opposite effect of what they intended, giving the former deputy leader of Thanet Council under Sandy Ezekiel, a place at County Hall. Well done Worrow and Tongue. You could not make it up!



Anonymous said...

I think you're overstating the importance of the internet there Simon, and if anything it has probably been highly detrimental to some people in this campaign (Ian Driver and Matthew Brown for example).

Anonymous said...

Can someone please persuade Worrow and Tongue to do a similar stunt in time for next week's Cliftonville district councillor election? Anything will be better than Louise Oldfield!

Simon Moores said...

I'm not sure you follow my drift there but in the broader context, Tony Flaig and Matthew Brown, together with Ian Driver really says it all!

Anonymous said...

Hello Simon,

Not politics related - sorry! We live opposite Ethelbert Square and for ages had to put up with youths using the park area as a 'hang-out'. We witnessed drinking, smoking, drug-taking, dog fouling and yobs riding around the park on motorbikes, churning up the grass. Many seemed to come with a rucksack and the group were dominated by a particularly unpleasant creature with long blond hair and a grey hat, which seemed to have been surgically attached to his head.

In recent months though, this group have not been around - I really hope I am not tempting fate by writing this! I haven't even seen 'The Prat in the Hat' around Westgate recently. I assume they have just taken their behaviour elsewhere and are probably even now ruining other people's lives.

I wondered if you knew anything about what might have happened to this group? Westgate is certainly quieter without them and I hope it remains so.

Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

If it is the older generation that actually goes out and votes and it is also the older generation that have less access than any other group to the internet, how can the internet have played a significant part in the election results ? In my opinion, as a first time UKIP voter, the Tories got exactly what they deserved. I have only seen Robert Burgess once in my road in the time he has been our Kent County Councillor. I do not live off the beaten track but on a main road in Westgate and the only time he actually was seen in my road was a few days before the election. He looked unkempt and detached. I saw him, I closed my door. It is far to late to engage in doorstep politics now, we've only had a short while of the coalition and already the people have had enough of being ignored by self-serving egotistical councillors. (With the exception of yourself Simon) I am not a sycophant, I think praise is due when it's earned, and I see much of your work and results from what you do for Westgate. I am pleased Robert Burgess has lost his seat, but will be happier when Cameron and his Etonian chums have gone.

Simon Moores said...

As regards Ethelbert Sq and the youth with the long hair, quite coincidentally this came up in the neighbourhood plan meeting last night.

Apparently that particular group of troublemakers have split up but there is, I'm warned, a new intake from the same school coming-up. Peace for now I hope but please keep me advised and I will pass any problems and descriptions on to the police.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Simon. Phoning the police isn't something we've had to do recently but I'll keep you informed.
Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

The last time I saw 'The Prat in the Hat' he was trying to be elected as a Lib-Dem! ; )

Michael Child said...

Simon there is a key question here; Regardless of your feelings about what our future relationship with Europe should be, how did you feel about being denied the promised referendum that would have allowed you to take part in the decision making process during the life of this government?

Simon Moores said...

Hard done by because Lisbon was a mistake!

Chris Wells said...

spent much of the last week, and the two or three before that speaking directly to many many voters; in the main voters who had previously canvassed as conservatives on anything between two and five occasions. There were four clear lines of response to my calls and conversations: many said quite straightforwardly and openly that what they were about to do had nothing to do with me, or my local party performance, they were sending a message to David Cameron pure and simple. Secondly, they talked openly about the immigration, both from europe, and from other parts of the country, which is ruining and dragging down our towns. Thirdly, many (and before anybody jumps, please remember these are conservative voters) stated they were fed up with having voted in a conservative government, who were not conservative enough in their actions, ie too influenced by the Lib Dem part of the coalition. Finally, many of the older voters stated they were angered by the very low interest rates on their savings, and the increasingly heavy taxation of their dwindling income. Overall the message was get tougher on europe, immigration, benefit lifestyles, and stop retending to be a liberal democrat.

The results overall appear to me to record a serious shift to the right of british politics, with traditional tory voters using UKIP to force more right wing policies, and uniting the blue collar working class with the retired, increasingly under pressure 'worriers' about their, and their grandchildren's future. The shifts are at their most obvious and serious in areas where these problems combine: larger numbers of retired; employment difficulties in areas of high immigration, and benefit dependency. This is reflected in other coastal communities in the south east, and across Lincolnshire as well. If you look at the county council seats, most expected a return to the 2005 position. Yet the Labour party is well short of its 2005 total; and the combined tory and UKIP vote is much higher than the 2005 total.

Will these voters return to the conservatives and/or labour during the next two years? Only if they feel they are being listened to, and Theresa May's performance this morning around the news studios did not give the right tone to convince the doubters; indeed it was pitiful. As was Angela Eagle for the labour party. How the two traditional main parties now react will decide if this is an historic protest vote; or an historic change of political direction in our society for the foreseeable future. On paper it would appear locally to be a disaster for the conservative party; but the shock waves for labour are at least as traumatic, positioning tself as the defender of the unemployed and benefit claimant as society moves right away from it.

Any sort of combination between UKIP and the conservatives will see labour banished to the sidelines of politics for a decade or more. The middle ground is no longer where david cameron thought it lay..he needs to get out of metropoliton central, and listen to the shires if he is ever to understand whats happened.

Anonymous said...

I've always voted Labour (except for a vote for Green in the late 80s, when everyone seemed to vote Green) and I'm definitely voting for Louise Oldfield this week. Good luck Louise.

Tony Ovenden said...


You have omitted one vital point in your argument. The KCC elections in 2005 was held at the same time as a general election so there was a higher turnout. There can be no comparison to the 2005 KCC elections. Take 1997 for example the Conservatives lost heavily throughout the country yet regained control of KCC because of the general election turnout. I am sure if Thursday had been a general election date the results would have been different. I suppose the big question is can UKIP deliver for Thanet instead of carping on about europe and their obsession with foreigners.
Finaly it is not very often Simon comes out with a cracker. But I do love the comment "Basildon Bond and Fountain Pens" that realy sums up UKIP and their 1950's thinking. To be honest do you really think the Conservatives should go down that road.

Anonymous said...

If Nigel Farage reaches and 'accommodation' with the Tories, on the understanding that Cameron is removed first, the I will not bother to vote. The Tories, Labour and Liberals have proved themselves to be untrustworthy. I voted UKIP because I am sick of the three main parties, simple as that.

William Epps said...

If UKIP and the Conservatives do not reach an agreement then we are condemned, by splitting the right of centre vote, to a Labour government in 2015, elected on a minority vote yet punishing the majority as always in pursuit of their socialist agenda. If that is what you want 5:27 be my guest, but I would like to see any merging of the right wing vote that keeps Labour out.