Friday, December 06, 2013

Death by Inches

St Mildred's Bay - Westgate
The promenade in Westgate has been swept clean by the sea this morning. I was outside at 1AM, just before high tide and have never seen a sea that high in living memory. It was above the lip of the promenade in St Mildred's Bay but with the wind-speed relatively light and the wind direction, backing-off to the west, the tide didn't come in beyond the sea wall defences and so we must count ourselves fortunate in contrast with many other spots along the east and south coasts.

I was in the Council meeting until late and immediately noticed on returning home that the tide was in, just after 10pm, three hours earlier than it should have been, which indicated the size of the surge that was pushing along the North Sea coast.

In the Chamber, it was a lively evening and it's hard to know where to start or indeed finish.

Among the highlights, were Labour Leader, Clive Hart's spirited denial that his administration bore any responsibility at all in regard to poor public perception of local politics and the Council. The Victorian prime minister Lord Rosebery said of the increasingly embarrassing Commons performances of Lord Randolph Churchill in the 1890s that ‘he died by inches in public’. So, too, Clive Hart, though he died by the mile yesterday evening as he conspicuously failed to grasp the size of the reputational problem facing the Council.

Instead and for almost ten minutes, he blamed the Conservatives back to the time of Cyril Hoser and read out a list of achievements, the greater part of which were not his own, believing that these would close the door on any criticism of his administration over the last two years. This led the leader of the Conservatives, Bob Bayford, to retort that Cllr Hart was "Smug self satisfied, arrogant and self serving; sanctimonious;" "finger-pointing hogwash."

The debate over the Standards Committee report raged-on for what seemed like hours, often during business that had little or nothing to do with it, as it kept coming back, with one Labour member or another suddenly popping-up and delivering a long and frequently emotional speech about their personal achievements on the front line of socialism. Eventually, Cllr Bayford, submitted a motion asking the Council to invite the Standards Committee to rescind their resignations and at long last, everyone agreed that this sounded like a good idea and so peace may have broken out by the time the Councillors trooped-out for some traditional mince pies in the Chairman's office at the end of the evening.

The Conservative Cllr Julie Marsen, attempted to bring a motion before the Council, supporting a future EU referendum, as this appears to be a subject very close to the hearts of voters in Thanet. The motion was firmly outvoted and kicked into touch by Labour in a narrow recorded vote, with the parliamentary candidate for Thanet South, Will Scobie among those rejecting any suggestion of giving people a say on our relationship with the European Union or renegotiating our membership. Given that we are witnessing the 'benefits' of uncontrolled migration in deprived areas such as Cliftonville and Margate, placing an immense strain on our local resources as a consequence, this was disappointing.

I asked of question of my opposite number, Cllr Alan Poole, "Can residents expect to have their rubbish collected efficiently and on-time between now and the New Year' and was surprised to receive a five minute answer, which I think could have been settled by a simple 'Yes.'

Cllr Poole reported that most collections were being dealt with on-time but tactfully identified a reading problem among local residents as an issue. I retorted that a printing error in the Calendar delivered to households didn't help and that a straw poll among my own councillors revealed that some were still not having their bins emptied. I realise that any new system presents a challenge but we still have some way to go to iron out the problems and Xmas is just around the corner.

As predicted here first
For those of you thinking of voting UKIP in future, perhaps it's worth noting that our two UKIP councillors left the meeting early; late night Xmas shopping perhaps and consequently were not around to take part in an important vote, narrowly won by Labour.

I have deliberately omitted Cllr Driver because I'm sure he will blog about himself without my help. This time, he wasn't thrown out but having confessed in response to a jibe from Cllr Hart, to being a 'Trotskyist' in the 1980s and resplendent in a 'hoodie' rather than a shirt and tie, he flounced out of the chamber before the end of his meeting, taking his small coterie of vocal supporters with him.

Finally perhaps, there was an empty place, once again, for Cllr John Worrow. When I asked Cllr Fenner where her protege was and whether we might ever see him again, she told me that I should be "Ashamed" for asking. It's obviously none of my business but perhaps his constituents in Birchington might like to know as he is still paid a generous allowance as the absent chair of the Council's Finance & Audit committee as well as being the Council's Diversity Champion. A statement perhaps, from his TIG 'Leader' Cllr Dr Jack Cohen would be polite but please don't hold your breath.

So that's it for now. There was of course much more and for the highlights, well, I'm afraid you will have to wait for the official video, out soon!


Anonymous said...

I think it is time you dropped this obsession with Will. Will has been fighting for Kurds this past fortnight. He has the gravitas to get important and honest issues like this out in the open and being discussed. Will is also not just a box ticker as you Simon have said before, quite the opposite. Will is on record as saying he doesn't thing Ed Balls should be Shadow Chancellor. Do you think that's what a box ticker would say? Will Scobie the man for 2015.

Simon Moores said...

"Fighting for Kurds" Gosh it sounds as if he's been down in the trenches on the border with Turkey.

Listen... he is an unemployed university politics graduate, supported by the state it appears, who has never worked and has yet to complete a term as a local councillor.

as you can see from the photo, the predictability of the whole cynical positioning exercise from council seat to mayor and beyond has been writ large here and yet people like you attempt to deny it and attempt to use big words like 'Gravitas' a term normally associated with grown men with achievements of note.

DonW said...

Whilst amused by and largely sympathetic to your jibes at young Scobie, don't you think that this sort of thing contributes to the low opinion of TDC?

Bemused of Birchington said...

As a Birchington resident who voted for John Worrow in the belief that I was voting for a Conservative councillor, do I have any redress other than by the ballot box, something that Worrow doesn't seem to test?

Simon Moores said...

Why Don? Do you mean I can't have an opinion or that the shameless positioning of young Scobie by Labour increases the publics poor opinion of local politics?

Anonymous said...

Excellent point made by Don, though I strongly suspect that these jibes are backfiring judging by Will's continued popularity.

Simon Moores said...

Why and where are they backfiring 11:21? Will's so-called 'popularity' is among those that mostly never read blogs or even newspapers. They don't know any of this and many would quite frankly would vote for anyone with a red rosette regardless of this weeks economic figures showing a recovery.

I'm afraid that we bloggers are often guilty of thinking the universe is as large as our readership

Anonymous said...

How patronising! It might surprise you that most Labour voters can both read and write, and are more than aware of local blogs and newspapers.

Anonymous said... really interested to discover exactly where the popularity for this young man exists. Being an old cynic, perhaps if not an MP, then perhaps an MEP, so vote to keep the options open? I think Simon has got it many people other than those of us who regularly read the local blogs know exactly who is who in TDC anyway? Plus, sadly...and who cares?

Simon Moores said...

11:55 You will have to ask Labour's Cllr Poole who made the comment about not being able to read.

However, while most people are able to read and write although several local councillors may be challenged, media statistics actually show that less than 20% of the population actually read newspapers or watch the news.
Rather more of us watch East Enders and Coronation Street than read the Times or The Sun, I suspect.

Anonymous said...

The two Ukip members may have left early but at least they attend. The Tories have'nt had
a full team at full council for over a year-and this is a hung council! Last night SIX were absent and with labour and their cohorts one down motions such as Cllr Marsden's could of been won.
The Tories appear to like being in power but have no heart for opposition-or is there a split in its ranks? Strong opposition makes for good balanced council otherwise you get what you deserve
a second class council with a third class leader

Michael Child said...

Just read this one Simon and wondered about you never having seen a sea that high in living memory, is some sort of reverse memento mori involved here, perhaps the reciprocal of reincarnation. I guess you would know more about the zen stuff than I would.

I too wonder about the sniping at Will, are you perhaps softening us up for an octogenarian Conservative parliamentary candidate here in Thanet South? It does make one wonder if there are any Conservative politicians in the area who are under 50 and what age is considered to be middle age in local political circles.

Simon Moores said...

And your point Michael? Would you leave Will in charge of your business I wonder? Would you consider him qualified with no work record?

Simon Moores said...

12.53 is that an excuse for leaving en masse before the end of a Council meeting. Rather like leaving work early and missing an important piece of business

And its "Could have been won" not "Could of been won"

Did you leave your English lessons early at school?

Anonymous said...

The general attitude of this blog has been noted by many who live in Margate. On the common topic of Will's dress, Will was always dressed in a suit when he was at the school gates to collect Jodie's children and always looked smart. He never drove there, always walking, which should be encouraged in this petrolhead age. He deliberately lived in a grotty part of town when campaigning for Dane Valley, he wasn't at his dad's then, so he knows how the other half live. Will has referential integrity, and it's not all down to being relational, he'd one the hard work and has been fighting for years.

Simon Moores said...

I'm lost. What is this "referential integrity" when you have never had a proper job and what you do have was delivered on a plate by you dad, the vice chairman of the council and his political chums?

Now if I did that with my daughter, fresh out of uni, just imagine the flack I would take here!

Anonymous said...

The Labour cabinet is out in force today.....

Anonymous said...

Who is the idiot to be heard on the video parroting "Wor? Wor? Worran-idjiot!" over and over again? I think we should be told!

Anonymous said...

I guess that anon at 2:23 meant "REVERENTIAL INTEGRITY". Will and Ed Balls should get on like a house on fire. He collects kids from school because he hasn't got a proper job and has plenty of spare time on his hands, and he probably walked because it's easier than driving for such a short distance. And as for living in a grotty part of town, I presume he is now fully aware of all the dodges to using the welfare system to his advantage. And of course people will vote for him because he is s real down to earth regular kind of guy, (who else said that?).

Barry James said...

" he flounced out of the chamber before the end of his meeting, taking his small coterie of vocal supporters with him" and touch unfair Simon as ex-cllr left marginally before Ian and 1 other Cllr walked out at the same time. On the other hand cllr Johnson seemed to be accusing all in the public gallery as being Driver's army which for obvious reasons was decried from the public gallery and no action was taken by the chair. Not everyone in the public gallery comes with the intention of being disruptive and not everyone who is disruptive supports Ian Driver.
It does seem to many though the ruling Cabinet is acting as if they are under siege conditions

Readit said...

Simon, you really don't get it do you. The Conservative group pay lip service to raising TDC's image with the public.

You make personal attacks on Will Scobie,(who I do not wish to have as my MP) but I would not dream of undermining him.

Cllr Marsen tables motions related to national, not local politics, knowing full well the answer before voting and councillors on all three sides continue to act as though you are MP's (MuPpets)

You dimiss the 20% of the electorate who are bloggers and newpaper readers as an irrelevant minority, when they may constitute 50% of the 40%(approx) electorate who elected you.

You wonder why there is such a low opinin of TDC out here. We do have more than one brain cell between us and we can see right through you all.

Simon Moores said...

Ok Ken, so let's deal with your points one by one:

Scobie is an invention of the local Labour group and there is a chance that the people of South Thanet may one day soon, be represented by an unemployed youth who has achieved little, other than being the son of the deputy chair of the Council. He has no opinions beyond Labour sound bites and even less in the way of any meaningful life experience. Just the man to represent Thanet South you may think?

As Labour have frequently introduced motions - gay marriage and the bed room tax which have a national and not a local remit a motion on Europe would not seem unremarkable, given the number of Bulgarians and Romanians, either already here or expected shortly. Ref Insp Mark Pearson last night and my conversation with a senior immigration official at Dover who tells me that it's already started.

Not sure where you reach the irrelevant minority as being dismissed. You had really better read my earlier comment more carefully.

As for your possessing more than a single brain cell, I really can't comment and i will leave that for others to decide

Anonymous said...

In 1973 we had the highest tide for 400 years. The breakwater at Dover was totally under water and I remember having to board a British Rail Ferry, which was alongside the jetty, using a ladder because the boat was so high above the jetty that the normal gang plank wasn't long enough.

Michael Child said...

Simon only just noticed your question, secondhand and antiquarian bookselling can be learnt by anyone with a modicum of intelligence, so I would say anyone like you or Will who has managed postgraduate study would be able to pick it up reasonably well in a few months. With someone achieving three reasonable A levels taking usually a bit longer, if you mean, would I when considering employees discrimination against them purely on the basis of age, then no I wouldn’t. If you mean would I say consider you would make a better bookseller because you have some experience in the area e-crime or flying an aeroplane or that Will would make a worse politician because he hasn’t, well you need an oracle for that sort of thing.

My judgment on the issue is that a reasonable minimum educational standard for a senior political representative would be a degree and frankly you can’t get much of a senior job in the private sector these days without a masters or phd. My own son wanted to a research chemist as opposed to an analytical chemist and a phd is the only realistic way.

Then there is the, coming the other way the age I would like to se politician starting in parliament, well in commerce and industry optimally senior positions you are looking for people between 30 an 50 which means you really want to get them started not much later than 25, so given the required educational standard there isn’t a lot of leeway.

I guess in this game a person dealing in books with a masters and aged around 25 and I deal with a few, if I said that I either wouldn’t buy from them, or sell to them based on their age or ability to do something else would be seen as a sign that I was on the way to a mental institution.

Just tried it on a runner who is a Latin graduate aged 23 and tried to sell me a copy of “Bibliotecnia Cantiana” for three quid. Conversation went:

Q “Do you have any employment experiences outside dealing in European Topography in Europe America and the Antipodes.”

A “Done a bit in China and Africa too.”

Q Not really good enough I want the book for £2.”

A “Split the difference”


William Epps said...

Since the Thanet District Council under Labour have previously debated Equal Marriage, Banning Live Animal Exports and the so called Bedroom Tax, all of which are outside their control, it is rather hypocritical to use that as a justification for rejecting a motion calling for a debate on the EU referendum.

Interesting that our PPC for Labour in Thanet South voted against the motion, presumably meaning he would deny us the right to a referendum on an issue of great concern to many people in Thanet. He also, from a Meridian news item the other evening, seems to be unaware that the government is actually a coalition and not a Conservative one. Worrying in someone aspiring to Westminster.

Ken, you seem to have missed the point that Bob Bayford is offering dialogue on what Thanet people expect of their councillors and has already had a conversation with Barry James of FORS about setting up a meeting.

Another point you should consider, Ken, is that you are actually allowed to criticise the Conservatives here. Try criticising Labour on the Thanet Labour blog site.

Anonymous said...

The rumour is getting stronger that if Farage stands then Scobie will have to swap with a stronger candidate as Labour have to win Thanet South if they are going to win the next election. You may not have to bother about him but UKIP instead

Anonymous said...

Believe me, the "rumour" is rubbish. Will Scobie will be Labour's candidate. End of.

William Epps said...

6:05, whereas I very much doubt Labour would change their candidate, having groomed and promoted him for the role, I fail to see how you can dismiss the rumour as rubbish. Strange things happen in the world of politics and it might not even be a local decision. There are powers within political parties who can call the tune.

Readit said...

Simon, William justifying a Conservative motion by reference to the idiotic actions of others puts you in the same state of denial as they are.

Anonymous said...

To deselect Scobie you'll have to get by his father. He's just giving his son the chances he was denied. He is non-entity now, but he's a beginner and freely admits this. Let him lose this election as we all expect, possibly lose the one after, and then don't tell me he is inexperienced, he's ready for serious politics after that. Underestimate Will if you must, but don't under estimate Harry Scobie. You're out of your comfort zone here Moores.

DonW said...

Apologies for the delayed reply. Of course you are entitled to an opinion but maybe at times it would be best to keep it to yourself. It begins to sound like a vendetta or a crusade. Perhaps that's what modern politics is but I'd rather know why I should vote for you rather than why I shouldn't vote for them. Constantly dissing the opposition is unnecessary as we are all quite capable of seeing how incompetent they are. As I said before I do agree with your views on Labour's positioning of Young Will but I can reach that opinion by myself. Your constant sniping does nothing for the image of local politics in general. It amazes me that football players and managers show more respect to their opponents than politicians and many regard them as thugs!

Simon Moores said...

Here's the press release that may explain the thinking on the motion

Press Release​6 December 2013

Thanet District Council Labour Group quash debate on an EU Referendum

At last night’s Council meeting, the whole TDC Labour Group, including the Labour Parliamentary candidate, Will Scobie, voted to quash debate on a motion submitted by Conservative councillor Julie Marson, which called upon the Council to support a referendum on the future of Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

Dismissing discussion on Europe as a ‘stunt’, the Labour Party, whose policy is to not allow the people of Britain a referendum on Europe, denied Thanet’s elected members their chance to debate this issue of huge public interest.

Cllr Marson said: “This issue directly impacts the lives of the people of Thanet and polls show that the people of this country overwhelmingly support an In/Out referendum on the EU. I am disappointed but not surprised that the Thanet Labour Party does not wish to allow debate on an issue on which they are so out of touch with the residents of Thanet. I am proud that the Conservative Party is completely committed to giving the British people a referendum on Europe.”

Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Bob Bayford said: “ The Labour Party have been quite happy to discuss national issues such as same sex marriage and abolition of the spare room subsidy, but do not trust the people of this country or their elected representatives to discuss our future relationship with Europe.”


The full motion stated: The future of the UK’s relationship with the European Union is a vitally important issue for the people of East Kent, including Thanet.

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.

Simon Moores said...

Don.. if i had not predicted here from near day one the route Will was taking, almost step by step, most people would not have known about it. In fact I've been correct in every prediction made so far and nobody has batted an eyelid.

The next prediction and not mine I should add, is that with a new Mayor of Margate to be voted in for May 2013, it's going to Labour. Well we know that because it's inevitable because they have the numbers that bounced Will into the position and allowance which gave him the opportunity to build a KCC profile within 11 months of becoming a Councillor.

However, I'm told that being an unemployed parliamentary candidate, even with a KCC and TDC allowance demands a little extra and it was suggested last week, that his Partner, Jodie, formerly deputy mayoress and drawing a Councillor's allowance for rarely showing her face in Westgate, might be slotted into the job.

This, I'm told, would give the happy pair more time to pursue Will's campaigning and a combined take home of about £30,000 in allowances and all at the public expense.

Anyone care to rule this out of the question as pure fantasy from my source, as Clive, Iris and Will's Dad, Scobie senior, I was warned about earlier, hold all the cards?

Anonymous said...

Is this £30,000 tax free? A nice little earner.

Simon Moores said...

It's a rounded figure but anyone can simply go online and add up the allowances which are probably a little more in total.

It's odd but one's politics seem to colour how one views this.

If you are working and a Conservative councillor, then it's possibly seen as a potential abuse of the system in an unethical manner.

If you are a Labour supporter, then the ends justifies the means.

Don't know about the Lib Dems as they are rather thin on the ground.

John Holyer said...

I believe that it is an error to predicate a person's ability to serve in government solely on their educational qualifications. However impressive these might be. Over the years I have worked alongside 24 year old graduates with double firsts from Oxbridge. It is true that they have a brain that can boil water; but they are prone to forget to put in the tea bag or even to be sure why they boiled the water in the first place. Very clever people are prone to make silly mistakes. Especially the young, ask any ambassador, senior military officer or SNCO for that matter. A double first must be fulfilled by experience. Government is about the lives of other people and requires much more than an academic veneer. A degree is not the be all and end all and is nothing more than a beginning.

Will is growing up knowing nothing of the exciting world out there. Will is doing nothing more than what he is told and speaks in slogans. That's no life for the young. I feel sorry for Will. He is being used to fulfil the dreams of his failed elders.

Personally, I am insulted that a political party should insidiously seek to foist upon me an unemployed non entity in the belief that the tribal vote will prevail.

Anonymous said...

Of course a son of a lord taking the same path, as a Conservative, would be castigated.

Anonymous said...

9:47, name one son of a lord who has gone to district councillor, whilst still completing their post grad, months later to mayor, months after that to county hall and a few more months on to PPC.

Bemused of Birchington said...

David Prescott, son of Lord Prescott, has just failed in his bid to become PPC for Greenwich. A bit older than our Will but better connected, so what has Will got that Prescott junior hasn't?

Simon Moores said...

Well, it sounds as if he was on the candidates approved list but failed the local selection. If Lord Prescott was on the selection panel perhaps he might have succeeded?

That's more like Labour in Thanet. After all Cllr Scobie senior is Vice Chair of the Council.

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps Will is just good at the work he does? Bet you never thought of that.

Simon Moores said...

I really expect something better and more insightful from anyone choosing to debate here 12:57

Let's use an earlier comment, shown below as an example and if you can't keep-up with grown-up conversation there are other several other blogs to choose from.

"Personally, I am insulted that a political party should insidiously seek to foist upon me an unemployed non entity in the belief that the tribal vote will prevail."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon Moores said...

That's most unkind 2:28 and pushing my acceptable use policy can you re-try?

Anonymous said...

Well, point taken, Simon, but at least I enjoyed writing it and it was true. If it was my little lad I would be seriously worried what he has let himself in for.

Anonymous said...

Hello Simon, Local Labour have groomed a local chap for the job. I'm not 100% with you that this is a bad thing. Would the South Thanet Tory big-wigs even be able to prepare a local for this job and then push him or her through without the A-list trampling on the chairman? That said, the A-list often gets things right and I will miss Laura Sandys, she's held in exceptionally high regard in Thanet and in SW1. Reading your blogs I'd vote for you! But man, you don't just put your head above the parapet, you put your whole body - good for you.

Simon Moores said...

Dr Steve Ladyman, well established local politician with a career to match yes. Fresh out of school.. No job and running at the taxpayers expense courtesy of dad and his friends.. Well some people may not see it quite as ethically as you do

Anonymous said...

Too late Simon, I have a screen grab of the comment you briefly published!

Simon Moores said...

And your point? It flashed into life and equally quickly flashed out of existence.

Anonymous said...

Laura Sandys writes:

"I am extremely disappointed that Thanet’s Labour Councillors, including Parliamentary Candidate for South Thanet Will Scobie, have voted to block a council debate on the EU Referendum.

Thanet residents deserve a choice on the EU. Not only have Labour Councillors made clear that they are absolutely against giving them that choice, they won't even allow an open and democratic debate on the issue."

Bernie said...

is it really the opinion within TDC that any member of the public who attends meetings are lackeys for Cllr Driver?

That really concerns me!

I started coming to meetings after dealings with Mr Patterson and the Chief Executive gave me some indication as to what kind of ship is being run there, and I was interested enough to want to see these people for myself. Not to mention what goes on, and trying to get to know our local Cllrs.

How many Cllrs at TDC really believe this I wonder? It is really contemptuous towards ordinary folk like myself who have had some experience at the sharp end of TDC and are interested in finding tou more about how our local politics work.

or is that the idea? Annoy the locals so much, insult them, so they turn away and thus aren't watching what shonky business is being conducted?

If I had been at that meeting and been described in this way I would be insulted - not because there is necessarily anything wrong with those who do support Cllr Driver, I wouldn't know, but because it is as good as saying people do not have a mind of their own.

I do not support one party and watch current events locally with interest. Praise where it is due, and criticism also! So to be described as backing one particular personality and party would be an insult to me.
Yet it seems an insult can be thrown around in public like that and nobody blinks. Yet if the public dare to criticise a Cllr...well, we all know how well that goes down with certain people!! Hmph! x

Barry James said...

The same opinionated remarks have been made on several occasions by members of the Labour Cabinet Bernie most notably on Thursday evening by Iris Johnson. The same Iris who felt the standards report couldn't be supported as it tarred all Councillors with the same brush. Therefore tarring all in the public gallery as Driver's minions was extremely hypocritical of her

Anonymous said...

Looking at the conversations on here, it seems almost déjà vu. It is no wonder the public hold such low regard of Thanet Council and all it's elected representatives. Everyone should be held responsible it is a collective responsibility; every councillor signs a statement to say they will act in the best interest, serve and be the voice of the community. I must say there has been none of that. So many are disillusioned and how does this inspire confidence in anyone. This is not politics this is downright nasty, vindictive hate. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for those who fuel this. Work for the community instead of your own personal and political agendas!

Simon Moores said...

Sadly, as long as we still have politicians who live and breathe the politics of the early 1980s the people of Thanet will suffer