Friday, 13 June 2008


I have had the following e-mail concerning a rather unsavoury incident in Margate that has also been brought to the attention of ECR and Nick Evans of KM Extra. (Go to Thanet's Premier Blog at for more). Here is what I have been sent:

"Dear Bertie,

I was shopping in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Margate yesterday morning and thought I'd strolled into the Wild West when Cllr. Ezekiel accompanied by Deputy Leader, Roger Latchford, charged into the store berating Cllr. Iris Johnston who, apparently was there to collect a petition from the shop manager. I couldn't believe my eyes when Cllr. Latchford reached over, snatching the petition from Cllr. Johnston saying,'Let me see that', scattering the sheets containing the petition about the community wardens being redeployed.

It was clear everyone was quite shocked by this outrageous behaviour and Cllr. Johnston was very upset . I have heard that she has only recently got over a serious chest infection and think this is a disgraceful way for the Leader and Deputy Leader of my council to treat one of our hardest working councillors.

Yours visibly shocked"
What is it with 'Our Leader' and now 'Wodger'? Mrs Biggles reported to me yesterday that she had signed a petition asking for PCSOs and Wardens to be retained on normal duties in Northdown Rd, Cliftonville than being deployed by TDC to spend time on sandy beaches. What is so wrong with petitions and leaflets, that has got these two in such a fluster? I think it is called democracy in action.
Anyway, the Conservatives have been ignoring my pleas for weeks now to find themselves a New Leader, as Mr Ezekiel is clearly not capable of behaving in a manner that befits his office. We can presumably now wait for a complaint from Cllr Iris Johnston to be answered by The Standards Board for England in June 2009? What smoke screen of counter allegations will we see this time?
If 'Our Leader' has any sense, he would suddenly discover a passion for the nautical life and disappear for a few months to sail a yacht around the Greek Islands and come back in the Autumn when things have quietened down a bit.


Anonymous said...

None of us were there, so we have no right to make judement.

Peter S

( Green Party Supporter )

Anonymous said...

Roger Latchford is a gentleman, and a much loved member of the community. sandy is also a good man, and it appears that they have been set up again.


Tony said...

Dear dear Brian, what planet are you on?

Anonymous said...

No, Peter, you may not have been there but others were including the shop manager.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't surprise me in the least having been on the receiving end of Councillor Latchford's rudeness having approached him for help as one of his constituents. What a pair.

Anonymous said...

well I do not rate the red rose much, having been on the receiving end of her sharp tongue on a few occasions


Anonymous said...

Brian Peter you can’t have it both ways he is either so stupid as to allow himself to be set up in this way again, or he and Roger Latchford behaved like thugs in public and in this case in front of the media, either way they are unsuitable to be our senior representatives.

Anonymous said...

I do object to the use of the phrase 'Hard working' used in connection with Cllr Mrs Johnston. She would attend the opening of an envelope if she thought it had press potential. Sorry, she is strong on front weak on delivery.

In other words, a publicity seeking politician, the worst kind

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine had an art exhibition and invited local dignitaries to the opening. One, Mr. R. Gale arrived a bit late said 'Has the photographer been?' Was told he'd been and gone so Mr. Gale left without even taking a glass of wine.

Bertie Biggles said...

The apologists are commended for their loyalty but I fear it is misplaced.

How Mrs Johnston or Roger Gale behave in regard to photographic opportunities is not the issue.

What appears to be extraordinary behaviour on the part of our discredited Leader and his Deputy , who should really know better, is. They demean their office and themselves and it is indicative of their approach to democracy in Thanet.

Councillors represent the people and a petition is a way of collecting views on an issue that concerns people. It is perfectly valid and a sign of a healthy democracy at work. In their response to a petition being collected, Cllr Ezekiel and Cllr Latchford appear to have over-stepped the boundary of decent and appropriate behaviour. How this can be regarded as a 'set-up', Brian of 23.24, eludes me.

Rick said...

It seems strange that Sandy should grab a petition which seems to have been intended for his attention anyway ?

Was the CCTV working ?

I shall amend the quip I put on ECR.

We know that Sandy saw red when he came across a note describing Holocaust Remembrance as a "Jew Do"

This latest incident


COmmunity WARDden Deployment


Iris seems to have survived a poison pen campaign (I think police inquiries may have suspected an origin in Birchington) in which for example she was allagedly informed that We know how to deal with Irish round here.

She seems to have survived mail intercept by which on one occasion porno cartoons were placed into her confidential TDC mail circulation (A prank allegedly admitted to by tory Cllr Maison when Cllr Margaret Mortlock cautioned him about his boorish behaviour in front of a former Chief Executive)

And she appears to have survived a hiding dished out to her whilst out shopping a few years ago if my information is correct.

She does, it seems to me, sometimes fail to consider all explanations for a given situation.

For example the backup generator of the former Royal Sea Bathing.

It was sold at scrap value.

Iris assumed in isolation that it was asset stripping.

The more serious issue was whether an NHS emergency backup genny had deteriorated to scrap value in situ on a Thanet hospital.

That appears to have been the case as the explanation I obtained was that it had to be reconditioned completely before it was installed on an African hospital.

The concern naturally flowing from that locally (not taken up by Iris or Steve Ladyman busily grant aiding Petbow Cummins at the time) was whether the local A and E hospital had similar potentially disastrous levels of test and maintenance.

At a public meeting in Ramsgate Barry Coppock chaired and gave me plenty of time to ask my question. My GP was sat next to me lending moral support to the question. Well done Summerhill Surgery.

The answer by QEQM Chief Exec was that they had invested in a new emergency power facility.

After the meeting the local Socialist Worker Party people came up and said "Thank you, you appear to have got the area a new hospital generator installation"

Given that some time earlier I had one man gatecrashed one of their meetings to ask about a certain former Chief shop steward I accuse of sabotaging backups, I guess that was the SWP being gracious.

The lesson I extract from the history is that Iris is pretty clever at working to the one possible explanation for a given situation which is of most political benefit to herself.

And even when facts support a less convenient explanation .... you got it Iris adheres to the politically advantageous explanation even when it is discredited.

What I would ask you to consider is that at the time there had been a death of a child patient in post op ICU at Guys during failure of the hospital Petbow backup power system. Jonathan Aitken was seeking answers (and not letting HSE off the hook till they admitted they got it wrong)

A question was whether NHS hospitals folowed guidelines for regular testing and maintenance.

We had an example right here in Thanet that they did not.

When Iris's mate Ladyman became MP he wrote that the death of a child at Guys is not his concern.

Well when in TDC helping grant aid Petbow to the tune of seven million was his concern.

Jonathan Aitken wrote to the MD at my request including a technical argument how their quality control and test regime was inadequate in all cases and outwitted by a graduate saboteur
in some cases.

The death of a child in a hospital is not their concern. Yet they purport to be Labour politicians ?

Politically astute maybe. Watch out for magnanimous Iris to mitigate the situation re Sandy ?

Anonymous said...

rick, you go on too long and bore us all.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I get a strong impression that the leader and deputy didn't really have to be there and probably were not invited, so it was a matter of them gatecrashing the event.Not a wise thing to do in front of "independant" shoppers. So why are they acting in that manner afterall it is only a petition and they tend to ignore them anyway.
Their reactions are worrying because it does give an insight to how both of them think and come to make desicions. If they can "lose it" over an opposition councillor collecting a petition then what are they going to be like with a real crisis when real decisions are made.
After the Winter Gardens incident it is now becoming a issue whether there is competance within the leadership of TDC.

Anonymous said...

Dear Malcolm

A good try but barking up the wrong Tory tree?



Anonymous said...

i will do anything to defend Iris Johnson - she has intregity - sadly lacking in most of the conservatives. She will stand up for what is right whoever it upsets. In this case i understand she knew nothing about the petition until the previous night when she was asked to come and collect it.
We witnessed at the Asset disposal consultation our Wodger eavesdropping on all her conversations because she is standing up for what is right - ie not selling the family silver and it is not in line with his and his mates' formulae.
Keep on Iris don't be bullied - we love you - and i am not a paid up member of the Labour party - in case that is the quip which comes back! I support INTEGRITY SOMETHING LACKING IN LOCAL POLITICS AT THE MOMENT.You should enter local politics to be of service to your local community and not for any other reason.

Anonymous said...

Trouble is if you stand up in front of Ezekiel, you are likely to get - at least the threat of - his fist in your face...or at best a mouthful of foul language.

Thanet deserves better than this.

Bertie Biggles said...

Rick, you are probably correct in your battle for justice in the past but what this is about, albeit considered petty by you, is about now. I removed another long posting, please forgive me, and I show some of it below:


But do carry on treating the alleged snatching of a petition as if it is a red hot issue eh ?


Anonymous said...

we've heard Roger G always keeps a comb in his back pocket---and gives the greased back a quick comb before the piccy time!

Anonymous said...

And why not; most gentlemen, like Mr Gale, keep a comb handy as well as a clean handkerchief for ladies in distress.

Anonymous said...

Why dont we have a Tory fight again for the leadership of TDC, surely the young Euans and such like can't watch all this from the sidelines only. So far all they have done is repeat their elders patter ---come on and show your youthful spirit and condemn this yobbish behaviour - this time it wasnt coucillors who witnessed it but the general Margate shopping public!

Anonymous said...

Reading the comment from one of our Thanetonians,Ezekiel and Latchford are gentlemen this person really needs to attend a Council meeting and hear the disgusting way in which both these men speak to woman and Cllr's of the opposition. Wasn't it our leader of the Council who at a New years Eve dinner this year abused the Mayor of Margate in a public place? wasn't it the deputy leader of TDC who shouted and bullied an elderley Cllr in chambers this year giving the man a stroke/heart attack? wasn't it also this man who was on a charge of being racist and was under police investigations. I have personally written twice complaining of the behaviour of both these men , I can not force myself to call them gentlemen as they are not. The sooner BOTH are removed from the employ of TDC the better for all. They really are disgraceful not only towards their duties but to their fellows human beings who try to work beside them.
Iris Johnson has kept her temper under control many times, their rudeness to everyone is unacceptable. Iris is much respected by all, Blues and Reds, she didn't deserve to be treated with such violence and vicious verbal atttack. They acted like thugs and should be charged with an ASBO. Prison is too good for them. If they put as much effort into their Council work as they do abusing others, perhaps Thanet wouldn't be in the deplorable state it is. Employing leaders like these we don't stand a chance of ever improving Thanet.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone wondered how these two got wind of a petition being presented? They reputedly came in the back door of the shop storming through until they came upon the petition-presenting group.

They'd have got the petition eventually unless they planned to treat it with the disdain Ezekiel showed when the HOOT petition(Ramsgate tennis courts being sold off for housing)was presented to him. He threw it to one side in front of the residents who had come to see its reception (and that wasn't what they'd expected to see).

Anonymous said...


Bertie Biggles said...

No need to shout 22.17; we can all read lower case. What has commentary on poor behaviour of 'Our Leader' and his Deputy got to do with jealousy? I don't get the point you are trying to make. Can you elaborate?

Anonymous said...

Why do Bill and Ben have to go around and do everything together?

Usually you have a Deputy Leader to represent the Leader when he is otherwise engaged! These two seem to be becoming some sort of double act. Why is this I wonder?

Anonymous said...

what are we jealous for - the opportunity to swan around a yacht in the med ---- i prefer Thanet's golden beaches meself!
Why are we jealous of loutish behaviour? --- not us too sensible, boring maybe just like to critise it! It's not hoodies now its councillors who misbehave and need ASBOS!

Anonymous said...

Why do they go round in pairs? Either 1) to protect themselves from the irate voters of Thanet who have realised they have selected a council beyond a joke or 2) they don't trust each other and have to make sure they're both there at any event just in case one does something underhand.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bertie Biggles said...

23.44 please do not litter Thanetstrife with allegations about impropriety. By all means report facts but wild allegations against Councillors are potentially libellous. If you have evidence of any impropriety then present it to the appropriate authority to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Beware of the Mafia, Bertie!