Monday, 21 April 2008

TIME FOR THANET TORIES TO 'TOSS THE TOSSER'?









Please forgive my headline to this post; I couldn't resist alliteration that The Thanet Times and The Sun newspapers indulge in so frequently.
This unsavoury story began on Saturday 14th April 2007 at Margate's Winter Gardens at a ball to mark the end of Civic Office of outgoing Mayor of Margate, Cllr Douglas Clark. An altercation developed between 'Our Leader' Cllr Ezekiel and two other Councillors, Cllr John Watkins and Cllr Clive Hart. Rude words were spoken and the matter became the subject of a complaint to The Standards Board of England, who are responsible for overseeing standards of behaviour and conduct of local Councils and Councillors.
Rumour for the past few days has been that The Standards Board is about to release its findings into a complaint made to it, concerning conduct that night. My enquiries to The Standards Board this morning proved fruitless, which did not surprise me!
The rumour from a number of different sources has been consistent in that Cllr John Watkins and Cllr Clive Hart have been exonerated but that the Standards Board whilst recommending no further action in respect of Cllr Ezekiel were critical of his conduct. One interesting feature is that it is rumoured that Cllr John Watkins is considering an appeal.
Whatever the findings of The Standards Board turn out to be, I for one think that behaviour displayed that evening was unbecoming. The Leader of TDC, whoever he or she is, is the key appointment that represents Thanet and is sought by the National and Local media for comment, views, opinions and information about Thanet. Thanet is in enough difficulty without having its Council Leader held up to ridicule for his language or conduct. There are hard times ahead and we need the best Leader we can get.
The question I ask is simple; is Cllr Ezekiel the best representative that our controlling Tory Group can find from amongst their ranks?
I hope that our Tory Councillors are having a serious think about this issue and that they come to the same conclusion that I have come to. Like Labour MPs, who are concerned about where Brown is taking them, our Tory Councillors should ask themselves the same questions about 'their' Leader. To what extent is the groundswell of anti TDC comment and feeling around the towns, down to Cllr Ezekiel? He is perceived as favouring big business interests; being remote and being autocratic in his 'leadership' role whilst forgetting the needs of the people of Thanet.
A new Tory Leader could swing the situation round for the Tories locally, otherwise I predict that whilst the rest of the nation swings behind Cameron, Thanet will go Labour in 3 years time.
It is perhaps time for Thanet Tories to 'toss the tosser'.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if his current 'problems' are why he found himself in such esteemed company at the weekend. ( Your,'Fly on the Wall' post ).

Perhaps the Standards Board may suffer an unfortunate fire ?

Ian J said...

Let's be honest, apart from the inconvenience of having to get ones self re-elected periodically, the voting masses can get stuffed.

Now your councillor may never say this, but I'd bet my bottom Dollar/Pound/Euro that's what they think.

Since when has politics been about public service? not since the Victorians, and not even then most of the time.

It's about lining your own pockets and those of your friends, stuff the plebs, it's all a bit repetitive, like a soap opera, maybe an Emerdale style plane crash into the council chamber during a meeting would liven up the plots and improve the ratings.

Cllr David Green said...

ian j

I can only speak for those I know. (That is my Labour colleagues and one or two of the Tories (funnily enough those that comment occasionally on Thanet blogsites))
It really is trying to do ones best for Thanet and the wards we represent. Nobody would put in the time and effort required if it was the allowances that motivated them, they barely cover direct expences. Remember, every four years you can kick us out!

Bertie Biggles said...

Ian, I have to agree with Cllr Green on this. Other than a small minority interested in 'power', influence or prestige,and an even smaller minority that become corrupted (Visit The Standards Board for England), most Cllrs regard their role as one of un-paid service to their community and do their best within the constraints placed on them. Some-one has to do it.

Rick said...

I think that it is a reflection of the state of Thanet (and TDC minds) that they would think this a red hot issue. So Sandy got a bit irate. Big deal.

But to think this issue, of alleged language, more important than Common Law laid information of Misprision of Treason, suspected perjury in the High Court, alleged conspiracy to pervert justice, mail intercept, failure to enforce planning law against a gun range, failure to report firearms offences to police, questions of preferred appointment to TDC staff etc etc ?? On these matters the TDC Standards Cttee sat without examining the case file submitted to the acting Chair of their committee and, in spite of the promises of TDC solicitor to question Cllr Neville Hudson about this, still no answers.

The SBFE cannot consider criminal matters. So the fact that it considered the Sandy Ezekiel matter shows that the remarks did not fall under the category of threat. IE Pedantry.

I assume that people who voted for Sandy knew of his disposition and still voted ? So what is the problem ?

Anonymous said...

I know several Labour councillors and know they give freely of their time to help their ward residents. The allowance they receive barely covers fuel costs, stationery, postage etc. By contrast the two Tory councillors for my own ward, in my experience and that of others, don't reply to e-mails or letters, never hold surgeries or produce a newsletter informing us what is happening. All councillors get funds for local projects but we never hear of anything. We don't get asked what we'd like to enhance the area. Even the local PACT is for two wards together and at the recent one, only one of the five councillors from the two wards attended giving bland answers to questions concerning those who'd attended. Cllr. Cameron in another ward states on his website he doesn't hold surgeries and asks to be contacted by e-mail. Fine if you have access to a computer. I've had people turning up on my doorstep or stopping me in the street to ask for help because their councillor had ignored their enquiry and I'm not elected to anything. Three years to go until we can vote this lot out unless any jump ship and join another party then we might see a few fireworks.

Anonymous said...

Ian J, 0900, I think you're spot on in a tiny number of cases but I know that some (both of the cllrs Green , cllr Wells and cllr Hart among them) really do work hard and with a degree of selflessness which highlights their true motives. You shouldn't tar them all with the same brush.

Anonymous said...

Anon 13.05 omits to mention that my home address and mobile telephone number are also published. Anyone without a computer can obtain this information simply by phoning the Council. If they do not have a phone, they can go into the Council offices to enquire.

Ewen Cameron (Cllr.)

Anonymous said...

Oh - nearly forgot - reproduced from my personal contact statement (TDC web site);

"I do not hold surgeries, but I am available to all constituents to serve you. I invite you to contact me by phone or e-mail on any issue of concern to you."

Since when was a phone a computer?

Ewen Cameron

Anonymous said...

The problem is not the elected councillors. It is the unelected,overpaid officials who seem to answer to no one, least of all the public.

Anonymous said...

Apologies, Cllr. Cameron. My memory failed me at the crucial time but doesn't alter the fact that some of your colleagues fail to answer e-mails and letters or, I have been told, return phone calls.

Thom said...

Interestingly the whole TDC email thing could almost be a story. Anyhoo, that parking thing we did last week, we emailed EVERY councillor via their @thanet.gov.uk email and 5 replied. It turns out most of them have a super special secret email that TDC forwards their mail to. I have the emails of anger that "you didn't ask me!"

And the Standards Board thing... see this weeks IOTG.

Anonymous said...

There is one Tory who claims he never reads his e-mails.

Michael Child said...

Thom it's getting better see this and this

Michael Child said...

The thing I find most appalling here is when I got the EA report on Pleasurama I emailed the leader and another prominent member of the cabinet in the hope we could resolve the issue without damaging Thanet publicity, they didn’t even deign to reply to me. I feel that I have voted paid my taxes but am not represented and have great sympathy for those local politicians of both parties who spend so much of there free time trying to resolve local peoples problems, only to receive abuse from those who don’t understand how impotent they are in the great machine of local government.

DrMoores said...

I have to agree with several other comments where the allegation of "lining one's own pockets" is concerned. In real terms, being a councillor is "a privilege", which is both time intensive and financially unrewarding.

Clinics may work in some areas but in others, people more readily use the telephone or email when they wish to contact their local councillor. My own experience after almost a year is that when someone wants to contact me about a matter, there's an urgency involved and they simply pick up the phone.

As for funds local projects, our own budgets for these are now very limited. £500 I think and so I need to think very carefully how I might apply such a small figure to the best local advantage.

Michael Child is right, in most cases, councillors are simply local people with a strong community spirit, who suddenly discover that understanding the often bizarre processes of local government makes Quantum theory appear almost simple by comparison!

And in a modern democracy, if councillors of any party consistently fail to acknowledge communications from their ward residents they represent, then there should be no place for them in local politics

Anonymous said...

in most cases, councillors are simply local people with a strong community spirit, who suddenly discover that understanding the often bizarre processes of local government makes Quantum theory appear almost simple by comparison!

I think that the "in most cases" is what needs to be considered. I have known a few that find their business prospers to quite a degree on becoming a councillor!