Saturday, March 15, 2014

Don't Inhale Suddenly

I've been away, off and on, this month, which may explain the gap in my blogging coverage. I return to discover that a Ramsgate councillor, Ian Driver, wants to open a cannabis cafe in Margate and that our old friend, Birchington's Cllr John Worrow, is now blaming UKIP and perhaps even Nigel Farage personally, for attempting to 'poison' his political career, with an unfounded allegation of a serious sexual assault.

Of course, it all happens here, as we know and quite why Ian Driver would prefer to open the first smoking rooms, since the 19th century in Margate, rather than his home of Ramsgate, where he is a councillor, I can't quite follow. Neither it seems, can the BBC.

As for John Worrow, his video account of why police dropped charges, contradicts what I have heard, in regard to the evidence but I'm sure everyone will be happy to welcome him back to his seat in the council chamber as Cllr Hart's principal cheerleader.

If you watch the video, then John Worrow appears to be suggesting that the Conservatives and UKIP, somehow colluded, in an effort to remove him from the council chamber, so that together they might overturn Labour's very slim minority. If that was indeed the case, then you may have noticed that Labour remain very much in control of Thanet Council's political merry-go-round and John Worrow's absence to date, has made not one iota of difference beyond making the meetings a little shorter. For the administration to change would require all the independents to vote Labour out or a sudden illness to thin their ranks decisively at the next council meeting. Both of these appear somewhat unlikely.

Meanwhile, I see the criminal justice system is being used once again, this time with Cllr Driver, making a complaint to the Serious Economic Crime Unit of the Kent and Essex Police regarding possible misconduct in public office by a senior Thanet Council officer in relation to a planning application submitted by East Kent Opportunities LLP for development of 550 houses on land adjacent to the New Haine Road.

Daily Mail
I'm starting to wonder whether Kent Police may have to set-aside a budget for dealing with criminal complaints against both the council and its councillors, as it appears to be starting to become a habit. If you throw in Freedom of Information Requests and Subject Access Requests as well, then less than ten individuals here in Thanet, with a passionate and consuming interest in every small detail of the local government decision-making system, are using-up a remarkable level of resource indulging what I can only conclude in several well-worn cases, to be an obsessive hobby. I'm sure you will have seen these individuals popping-up on the local blogs with monotonous regularity.

I've heard nothing back from Kent police on my own case yet. It's somewhat ironic as I've now met two government ministers and spoken with several national newspapers.

The view from London, at least, is that Kent police are not covering themselves in glory, in what looks remarkably like a very minor version of 'Plebgate.' and I already have my first FOI back from the Police Commissioner's office, which I will ultimately share and which confirms, in my view that a contradiction exists between the Office of Ann Barnes and Kent Police. I'm waiting for Kent Police to produce the documents I have requested from their side of the conversation and then, I hope, I will have a complete picture of what happened on or around 15th October of last year, to suddenly encourage the police to resurrect a complaint they had already dropped and to it, explore a complaint of a conspiracy against three local councillors.

Finally, I see that both the Daily Mail and the local paper appears to be 'Bigging-up' the Broadstairs meeting this afternoon to discuss a cannabis cafe culture for Thanet. Quite why, I don't know, as nobody has a mandate and I doubt the government are poised to change the existing legislation to oil the publicity of Cllr Ian Driver's latest political bandwagon.

Thanet already has a problem with social displacement and some very odd characters wind-up on our doorstep, courtesy of the probation service and mental health units across the south-east, looking for cheap rented accommodation. Imagine for one moment what the consequences might be, for our children and most vulnerable residents  of de-criminalising public cannabis use locally? It would, I suspect, encourage a drugs culture in an area already struggling with deprivation and substance abuse statistics which are either the worst or among the worst in southern England.

How many people would wish to take that risk?


Bemused of Birchington said...

Of course Cllr. Driver has tried a variety of drugs in the past and it doesn't seem to have done him any harm, has it? Maybe the Birchington North Councillor will support this venture and propose another café in the village, in a spirit of equality. Perhaps he will persuade a UKIP representative to open it. Of course pigs will fly first.

William Epps said...

When smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes in public places, like cafes, is prohibited, why should cannabis smokers expect special treatment?

Bemused, do you have medical evidence to back up your claim that Cllr Driver's drug habits have done him no harm?

Bemused of Birchington said...

William, I hope you are pulling my leg. The question was tongue in cheek and rhetorical. Difficult to get across in the written word.

Strictly speaking it is not illegal to smoke substances other than tobacco in, for example,a public house. So if I chose to smoke the dried leaves from my potato plants in a pub I wouldn't be breaking the law. (I wouldn't be very popular either). "The law is a ass."

Of course Cllr. Driver's idea is just another bandwagon to jump on in his search for publicity as a member of the green party. Hard to believe that Caroline Lucas is a member of the same party. He actually appeared on the regional part of The Sunday Politics to put his point across, strange then that he didn't talk about the reintroduction, albeit legal, of live animal exports through port Ramsgate. Then if it is legal then he tends not to be interested.
Just to set the record straight, I am a lifetime non-smoker, nor have I partaken of any illegal substance.

John Holyer said...

I get the impression that Cllr Driver is a political melon, green on the outside and red on the inside.

Lyndon T Palmer said...

The PCC has no operational control over police. I could see the possibility that the prior inquiry by Parole Board might influence police inquiry decisions. Given that Force Pro Standards has held for 3 years a report of concern from the retired Det Ch Supt case officer Ken Speakman murder.

But to opt for a self limiting conspiracy inquiry ? Interesting.

Charging up a cul de sac to conclude the end is blocked whilst seeking admiration for her running style ?

Your FOI was a justifiable use of public resources.

Don Wood said...

Driver seems to bandwagon from one thing to another I personly feel sorry for the Green Party having him amonst their midst will not do anything to improve the ratings.