Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Really Big Question on Europe

The Bloom is Everywhere
I realise people expected me to pass some comment on the shock political news from Laura Sandys last Monday but as you may have noticed I was away. A regulatory debate on the future of online gambling in Brussels and then a keynote lecture to a railway industry event on Friday, about the emerging shape of technologies that might influence transport in 2030.

From the first photo taken outside the European Parliament, I wonder if the graffiti is a subtle reference to UKIP's wayward MEP, Godfrey Bloom?

As you might expect, the soaraway Thanet Gazette has its fevered speculation over the potential 2015 local candidates for South Thanet somewhat awry. The coming selection process for a candidate is the remit of the local association and they have two options; either select from a candidate who is already established on the Conservative 'A' list and has applied or follow an open hustings path. Time will tell what they decide and of course, who wishes to apply for what is very clearly going to be one of the country's most scrutinised seats.

While I was away, I noticed the rumour-mill was also playing overtime in the Labour Party direction, with the suggestion that Will Scobie might be asked to step aside in favour of a' more experienced and grown-up' candidate, now that a recent poll suggests a possible Labour victory if UKIP splits the Conservative vote or indeed, if Nigel Farage chooses to run as a candidate, in order to try for UKIP's first parliamentary seat.

But 2015 is still a long way away in political terms and at some point, people will have to ask themselves whether they simply regard UKIP as an anti-establishment protest vote or whether they really wish to pursue an agenda of taking us out of Europe. If it's the latter, then both Labour and the LibDems are firmly committed to keeping us under the growing political control of Brussels but David Cameron has promised a referendum.

Wandering over to the EU Parliament
I notice that at next week's Council meeting on 5th December, my colleague, Julie Marson, has tabled a motion: "This Council supports the EU Referendum Bill currently before Parliament, which makes provision for the UK to hold a referendum on its membership of the European Union before the end of 2017."

This put Clive Hart and the young Scobie in a difficult position, because Labour leader, Ed Miliband's policy is 'NOT' to offer any referendum on our future place in Europe and of course, the polls show here in Thanet that this is exactly what many people want, being exhausted and dismayed, by the local impact of so many Brussels imposed problems from fisheries to immigration.

Normally, motions surrounding central government policy, do not have a place in a local council chamber but since Clive Hart's Labour administration took control, it's used its position to curry favour with the Labour Party HQ and the Trades Unions, by consistently tabling motions that attack the Government, to be followed by wasted hours of Council time to debate, such vitally important local issues, such as gay marriage. This offer the circus act of Cllrs Driver and Worrow, the platform opportunity they need to cause the regular havoc, which has of course, helped bring the Council into disrepute and by many, is regarded as a form of cheap entertainment on a wet Thursday evening.

Quite how the embattled Council Leader Clive Hart will deal with the delicate European question remains to be seen, particularly with the spectre of unrestricted Bulgarian and Romanian immigration facing the island, after Xmas, which UKIP are locally making a great play of. I do believe, we have a problem to confront and I did notice, as an aside, that Hastings Council was complaining bitterly last night on the BBC News, that London's Newham Council, is involved in a programme of clandestine 'Social Cleansing' by sending families to house in the town. Thanet was mentioned in the same story but apparently our own problem, according to the BBC, lies with Lambeth Council.

Finally, I believe both main parties share the same concern that locally, UKIP is lurching to the far right of politics and I made reference to the rumour about homeless Somali families being resettled at Westwood Cross, which was raised without any supporting evidence. This was, I assume to alarm people, by a UKIP county councillor, the husband of UKIP's Kent Chairman, Mo Elenor, - the same lady who greeted the news that Laura Sandys was stepping down ,because she was frightened of losing to UKIP - at a Westgate residents meeting this month.

Regardless of our differences, we remain a tolerant society but much like the video clip above from Jeeves and Wooster, I'm increasingly reminded of the atmosphere of the 1930s and Thanet appears hell-bent on finding its own caricature version of the character of Sir Roderick Spode to spread alarm in the absence of anything that might resemble a coherent policy for the future of our island, North and South.

If local politics carries on in this unfortunate headlong direction in advance of 2015, I doubt that many like me, would wish to play any part in it beyond that date but there's always room for optimism, as I'm sure you will agree.


Anonymous said...

Will has done a lot of good work in the area and is a local candidate. Why parachute someone else in from outside, and let's be clear, it would be an outsider as Labour has no one of Will's calibre locally. Will has a track record of winning against the Tories, let no one forget that.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the motion on the European Referendum at the next Council meeting. I like Cllr Marson's style!

Laurence Davies

Simon Moores said...

5:32.. just remind us where he had a fight on his hands? He hasn't even completed a single term as a local councillor yet and yet he's a PPC. Even to the most self-indulgent Labour supporter that must appear just a little odd?

Anonymous said...

Guido Intern..... Coun Scobie, have you been asked to stand aside for Stephen Ladyman?
Scobie...... Absolutely not true.
Guido... Has your father been asked if you'll stand aside?

Allan Mallinson said...

Well I heard the Scobie being replaced rumour in a pub in Fordwich yesterday evening so it is spreading. If Thanet Labour want to scotch it they should issue an official denial on their blog PDQ as it will otherwise gather momentum.

Then, perhaps they cannot deny it!

Anonymous said...

Does Mo Elenor buy her clothes in the same charity outlet as William Scobie ? They could be mother and son looking at their fashion sense !

Anonymous said...

What would you prefer, Will supports Thanet charity shops or buys his suits from Saville Row?

Anonymous said...

There are some decent men's clothing retailers at Westwood and in our towns. One would expect a councillor and our representative at county hall to at least look smart and that can be done still supporting local businesses.

Anonymous said...

So, 7.03, you have confirmed it, the Parliamentary Candidate does indeed buy his clothes from a charity shop ! Well, I suppose, if you aren't working, and can't afford a £25.00 suit from Tesco, perhaps it is just as well that he helps keep the charity shops afloat !

Anonymous said...