As I listened to the BBC today and read about Russian tycoons, offers of political donations, parties in villas and tea aboard expensive yachts, I couldn't help thinking that the national level of British political sleaze seems to be replicated back in Thanet.
In Thanet we have become used to a complaint to Standards being countered with a rash of counter complaints and George Osborne seems to have been the victim of a 'counter move' by Mandleson.
At National level we have a Russian 'billionaire' but Thanet has its own local 'millionaire' dispensing largesse, hospitality and spins in helicopters whilst local dignatories have had trips to China hosted by CGP; TDC has received sponsorship; visits have been made with 'old friends' in villas and yachts moved from Piraeus down the Med. All good stuff and I am sure perfectly legitimate but not acceptable to the mass of the Thanet public.
I am sure that 'Our Leader' consoles himself with the thought that if its ok for Central Government then its ok for him. The problem of course is that it is not ok at all.
I believe the Tories when they say that a contribution from a rich Russian was declined as unacceptable because that was the view in Thanet when a similar offer was made to our local Tories by our local millionaire .The polite 'thanks, but no thanks' was, it is rumoured, down to Roger Gale and Laura Sandys, declining the offer brought to them by no other than 'Our Leader'. He didn't seem to grasp the embarrassing position that it would have created as it did for Steve Ladyman MP, because 'Our Leader' went on to accept £12,500 for TDC's Big Event from the same source!
'Our Leader' seems to have failed to grasp the necessity for a polite distance to be maintained between himself and those who could benefit from decisions taken by his own Council. Whether he likes it or not, his role as Leader requires this of him and if he is unable, like Mandleson, to see that its not just a question of being squeaky clean, but being perceived by the public to be squeaky clean, then he should resign. A 'Leader' needs to command respect and confidence and once that is lost he really has nowhere to hide.
A few local pictures, bit of sketching in Refectory Kitchen in Canterbury - Pictures should expand if you click on them a bit A quick watercolour sketch over a bacon sarni in Refectory Kitchen in Canterbury today Here is the ...
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