Sunday, 24 November 2013

Oh for a PROGRESSIVE council.

“Don’t shoot the messenger” was a blog comment I read…………............... It should have read “Don’t shoot the messenger and tear up the message without reading it”

To be fair, there are many hard working councillors on both sides, there are also many good officers struggling to cope with their workload. But this was not the point that four honest men (persons) and true were trying to make. What their report stated was that the public in general hold the corporate body in low esteem. A totally different thing! Can’t be proved scientifically but to anyone who spends more than a week in the vicinity it is bl**dy obvious.

Blame was heaped on one nameless councillor who is running amuck. But why can he cause so much havoc? Let in filming and he has no soapbox. Explain why an offshore company was the preferred bidder for onshore development. Find a port operator and past losses may be forgotten. Get public buildings back into gainful employment. And most of all stop acting like muppet MP’s and remember the individual hard work should be backed up with civil debate for the benefit of the electorate, not an irrelevant party.

Social media is not the enemy, it can be the means to communicate ideas, stimulate discussion and most of all promote communication. If you live in a digital age and are switched on to analogue then perhaps it’s time to pull the plug.


40 comments:

  1. Agree with you in the main, Ken, though not entirely on the public perception. True I am only a town councillor, but I am well known in my ward, get around a fair bit and talk to a lot of people. Most of the complaints I hear are more minor irritants like dustbin collection and dog poo than the more major ones that seem to afflict Ramsgate. In Margate there is even a feeling that things are on the up so, far from being a Thanet wide dissatisfaction, I do feel it is variable dependent on where you are or go. That said, there exists appalling apathy amongst the electorate with a poor regard for politicians generally at all levels.

    Clearly the present leadership seem to have a serious problem with communication which is a bit surprising when the same party dominate RTC. One would have hoped that with an on sides town council, the likes of Hart and Poole could have done a better PR job in Ramsgate. They are also unnecessarily dragging their heels on the filming issue, now widely accepted as both desirable and the norm, both creating an image of something to hide and providing the maverick councillor (IOTG last Friday description) with a platform and stunt opportunity.

    On that gentlemen, I find it surprising that the FORS group, or at least their main spokespeople, seem to have swallowed the line of this chameleon (again IOTG last Friday) hook, line and sinker. In my view, and this is hardly a political comment for who knows what his allegiance will be to next week, he has certainly not helped the image of local governance and has made a major contribution to reducing it to the level of a farce.

    I agree with you that there are some good councillors and hardworking officers, but how one gets the best of those to the top and into positions where they can lead, I simply do not know. Certainly I despair when I hear people calling for some kind of confess, apologise and reconciliation programme, like we had just come through years of some bloody conflict, as a prerequisite of moving forward.

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  2. William if you only read IOTG then you need to get on Facebook joint Friends and make commentary about what you read on there. As the comments you post about (as in FORS commenting in IOTG) could not have happened as we have made no official comments in IOTG I wonder what you are talking about. Maybe you can add it to this column. I think you ought to understand that the message is not the same as the messenger and your personal animosity towards another human being is rather over the top.
    Imagine for instance if filming is introduced who will take the credit and who will spin it.
    Further governance in Thanet or rather the perception of it is hardly unique to Thanet look at the percentage of people who vote as you point out yourself. Is it apathy or is it people are so fed up they wont bother until something else comes along.

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  3. Barry, where exactly did I say that FORS commented in the IOTG? The comments referred to above by me are within Smudgers article where the expressions 'maverick councillor' and 'chameleon currently with the Greens' are made. The paper's description, not mine.

    My animosity, as you describe it, is directed more at the performance, the band wagon jumping, the soap box approach, the disruption in the council chamber and the general disregard for rules or procedures than the man. I do not know him personally, but I can abhor his conduct in office.

    If filming is introduced, which I support, the credit is surely due to central government who are pushing local councils down this road. Spin is an irrelevance but I am sure you know who will trumpet his success from the highest point in Thanet and on what ever media outlet will give him time or space.

    Since you are a highly qualified chap, as you are not slow to point out, can you please explain to me the difference between apathy and people not bothering. I thought that is what apathy meant.

    Now I suggest you read through my comment again, as clearly you misread it the first time, and then read your own and see if it all makes sense. It certainly does not to me.

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  4. William having thought some more about this I will give you a Ramsgate perspective.
    Where were the Conservative Councillors when FORS were campaigning from January this year to stop the ruling labour party from giving away the freehold to Pleasurama?
    The reality of life in Ramsgate is dominated by the almost 100% labour controlled Council so we have no Conservative input.
    The demise of attractions in both Margate and Ramsgate go back to the feet of one man, now deceased, who played a huge part in destroying what was a diminishing market however the people of Ramsgate have seen the spending of vast amounts of money by both parties in Margate but little in Ramsgate, that is a reality. We have lost Pleasurama, an eyesore for 11 years, We have lost the Pavilion, an eyesore for 5 years. We lost both Westcliff hall, and the Port and what do we have in Ramsgate to replace them, answer absolutely nothing.
    From January 2013 until now who in the Conservative party has spoken for Ramsgate, Who in the Labour Party has spent anything on Ramsgate. Where is the fairness in that for the people of Ramsgate.
    Only Ian Driver has spoken out, not one of your colleagues has done the same.
    The message from the people of Ramsgate is clear we want support for Ramsgate equal with that given to Margate and we will campaign vigorously until that happens.
    Finally are you with Ramsgate people or not?

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    1. Seems you have gone well off thread now, Barry, onto your own particular campaign whereas my original comment was directly related to Ken's post.

      Since we have a district authority, I do feel we have to find district solutions, although I can appreciate your primary concern is Ramsgate as mine is Broadstairs. I have told you before and it is worth repeating, you tend to see Ian Driver through rose tinted specs. He is far from alone in speaking out on Ramsgate's problems, indeed only last week both Julie Marson and Laura Sandys were calling for TDC to be more open on the Royal Pavilion negotiations, and several of your own RTC Labour councillors champion your causes. If they are less noisy in the process it does not mean they are less committed.

      In answer to your final question, I am with Thanet people for our towns are too close together to be treated as separate problems. Accepting they have some characteristics and problems of their own, we are nonetheless all dependent on efficient governance from TDC. Go to a unitary authority, as some have suggested, and the spreading of the available funding gets greater. In essence, there are no easy solutions.

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    2. "rose tinted" is your perspective although not the reality of life

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  5. "I find it surprising that the FORS group, or at least their main spokespeople, seem to have swallowed the line of this chameleon" William I have given you a perspective above, I would like you to give me more credit than you seem to in the statement I have highlighted. No one in FORS has swallowed an ounce of Ian's use of trumpeting however as I said above where is the Conservative or Labour support in Council. The answer as you know and I have had confirmed from your colleagues in TDC is nowhere. Are we expected to go it alone?

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    1. You were too quick for me, Barry, as I was still answering your last comment when this one arrived. I feel I have already answered this for I know there are many people, of differing political parties, who are passionate about Ramsgate.

      On the go it alone bit, you are talking to an ex Rhodesian army officer so I do know a wee bit about going it alone along with international sanctions for good measure. We also got sold down the river by Thatcher and Carrington, but hey, sh*t happens and life moves on.

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  6. The neglect of Ramsgate over the last decade gives Ian Driver a perfect platform for bandstanding. The only way to prevent this is for TDC to tackle the problems head on.

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  7. William, it is difficult to believe that similar time and effort goes into the regeneration of Ramsgate, as the TDC organised fund raising which Margate enjoys.

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    1. I don't disagree, Ken, but it only serves to emphasise the point that the changes must be a district rather than town level.

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    2. it is good that you agree with the regeneration of one town on the island but it is hardly fair

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    3. Bollix, Barry, now you are getting annoying. I did not say one town should be regenerated at the expense of any other, but that as we have a district council controlling the finances, the changes have to be brought about at district level.

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    4. William please stop attacking me in public like this. You seem to want to make this personal. I support Ramsgate and many, many people in Ramsgate think the portion of the pot that comes here is unfair. We should be regenerating the whole of the leisure industry across the Island not just Margate

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    5. Barry, if you attack me, as you did above at 10:53, putting in words I did not state, you must expect a response. You seem to wish to debate on a public forum and then get uptight if others do not always agree with you.

      I have told you before, read what is written before you respond. You are missing the point that I support the total regeneration and certainly not one town in isolation. I am not anti Ramsgate anymore than I am pro Margate.

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    6. Funny we just agreed on something about regeneration.

      You have stated FORS people are gullible, I am on FORS ergo you say I am gullible. Not so and we go on. Maybe if you retract that comment we can make progress as Duncan says

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    7. OK, if it helps I will retract the comment that you are gullible where Driver is concerned providing you withdraw yours about my animosity to another human being. It is the way the man conducts himself in public office which I abhor not him as a person, who I do not know. He make be a perfectly lovely bloke in his private life for all I know.

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    8. agreed lets keep personalities out of it. The point about the freehold is below and has been a major point of contention for some time

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    9. It's not that you're gullible james, it's that you need everyone else to be so they swallow your BS and are naive enough to believe you are anything other than driver's minion/apologist.

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  8. Thank you Ken.
    Remove Ian's need to soapbox he will go to pastures new. And William you don't know half of what we do behind the scenes so please stop attacking me. I know it is the political way but so unnecessary. As Ken has said come live here and watch what happens like we do.

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  9. Barry, I am not attacking you, but every time I make a comment, in this case in response to Ken's post, you leap in to criticise what I have said. Fair enough as you have a right to your opinion, but are you denying me the right of reply? Why the political way for I do not even know what your politics are and, in any event, I think the introduction of politics into local government was and remains a tragedy.

    We are only discussing here what we have written and what you may do behind the scenes is irrelevant in that context. It is a bit like me saying I used to travel along dirt tracks expecting a mine or roadside IED at any time, so I deserve some respect. I have to be judged now by what I do and say today and within the context of the debate.

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  10. William please follow your own advice. It was you who said FORS was gullible, It was you that used "rose tinted" Those are attacks on my integrity.

    Please answer this as it is fundamental to the perception of Ramsgate people about both parties. Please name one Councillor from January to August 2013 who has spoken for the people of Ramsgate over the eyesore that exists on Ramsgate seafront.

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  11. Barry, councillors at Ramsgate and District level seem to have been engaged with the Pleasurama matter fairly consistently over this last year, but, as I believe you know, they are now seemingly in a position of watching and waiting pretty much with their hands tied by the agreement into they previously entered. As an outsider it seems to be a waiting game for the moment so shouting about the past is hardly productive.

    Since you appear not to read what I write, but leap back almost out of context, I will comment no further on the integrity issue. Suffice to say I accept that you and I see the Driver situation somewhat differently and you have as much right to your opinion as I have to mine. No offence intended I assure you.

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    1. William writing in Public that FORS are gullible and view things thru "rose tinted" is an attack on my and all other members of FORS's integrity. Further No RTC members supported FORS in their campaign to stop the freehold being given away. NOT ONE in fact most of RTC are the same labour cabinet that tried to sell it off.

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    2. Gents. I think this is highlighting the problems of blogging. I think there is one fundamental issue I could get you both to agree on. Cllr Driver has been used by Clive et al as the one person that has brought TDC into disrepute. Personally, I feel that the current administration should accept a little more responsibility and not shoot the easy target. Agree on that one?

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  12. I don't really care what Cllr Driver does and I am surprised how many people can't see straight through him. The problem I find with social media is that it is all opinion and promotes people with political ambition . There are very few commentators out there that actually achieve something and it is usually the quiet ones that remain focused .
    I am not blowing my own trumpet here but I am using my self as a example. I have identified a problem with the TDC collection of art and artefacts going back to 1991, research my subject thoroughly, use social media to high light my cause, got some TDC members interested, involved the media. TDC agree to scrutinize the problem and set up a task and finish group with myself a non elected member on the group. TDC have taken a firm grip of the management of the collection . I can tell you all the problem with the collection is identified to the part of the collection that is lower down the scale and runs into thousands of items. The other part of the collection of higher grade items that runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds is secure apart from a few conservation issues. What the task and finish group is looking at is how to take the whole thing forward in Thanet's best interests. Even though I have been critical of TDC I do not exploit a situation to drag down TDC as some people seem to do with pleasure.

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    1. To clarify another point I have not mentioned that there is justification to sell part of the collection off as these items have no relevance to the core collection. Like any other asset the rest of collection needs to be made to work for Thanet now that Thanet has taken the heritage route.

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    2. Here, here, Tony, and I congratulate you on what you have achieved. Like you I think history should be preserved and our archives treasured for future generations.

      Just for the record, I have no political ambition, despite pressure to do otherwise, I limited my involvement to my own town council and I will not be standing again. That said, I respect what many councillors do and, like you, abhor the show boating that has taken a grip of Thanet politics over the last three years. It is entirely self serving and does nothing for the people.

      Let us hope, for the good of Thanet, that the quiet focussed ones ultimately prevail.

      Duncan, I would agree that the whole council need to look hard at sorting out their image, get the filming going to avoid the allegations of secrecy and conduct their meetings in a generally more adult and good mannered style. Shouting convict, homophobe or allegations of corruption across the chamber is disgraceful and, were it parliament, the offenders would be forcibly evicted. Allowing one to hijack and bring to a close a meeting was a descent into anarchy.

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    3. As was the public humiliation of the Independent members of the Standards Committee. Finally Bob has spoken out and condemned the humiliating tactics used on them

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    4. Hope you are not suggesting I support the way the Labour administration attacked the independent members of Standards, Barry, and I am with Bob on this all the way. What took place was paramount to bullying and is unacceptable. Even so, two wrongs do not make a right.

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    5. Not at all William was adding it to the way people perceive what is wrong. The answer to you question to Tony is.
      In December 2012 SFP asked for the freehold to be given to them for a figure of £3.3 million to facilitate the finances they were trying to raise. FORS started a campaign which included 2 petitions saying to TDC do not give the freehold away. At a meeting at a Ramsgate school in August organised by RTC 200+ people made it clear that to do so would be political suicide and several members of Labour finally agreed that they were wrong and from there the idea was dropped

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    6. Thank you, so the freehold has not been given away.

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    7. Yes William as I explained due to the protests

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  13. Tony, quick question as you are a Ramsgate councillor, has the freehold of Pleasurama been given away?

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    1. William, the Pleasurama development agreement includes a 199 year lease to the developer. The problem for TDC is that legal action to gain back that lease even if the developer has defaulted, is likely to be contested in a very expensive cort case. The request by SFP to purchase the freehold has been denied at present.

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  14. readit 17:05
    As TDC took the Goddens to court (for dreamland) and won, couldnt the money set aside for the court case, be used to get the leases back from the Seriously Failed Project that is Pleasurama??

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    1. Kandy, The problems with Pleasurama / SFP go far deeper than just
      re-possession of the lease.

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