Saturday, 31 January 2009


If you do not recognise this TDC Councillor, I will not be surprised. Read on!
What madness is being proposed by this Government for local Councillors? For those who have not visited Thanetlife since last year's Blog Wars, can I urge you to do so.
Councillor Simon Moores has a perspective on his role as a Councillor that does him credit.
What our Central Labour Government is presently proposing through Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, is utter nonsense. Simply put, as part of their ideas on improving Local Democracy, they seem to be taking seriously the suggestion that Councillors can join in Council Meetings through the medium of their mobile phones or via the internet. The intention seems to try and help overcome the barriers of time , circumstance and distance that might discourage Councillors from participating in Council Meetings. The only rule proposed is that at least ONE Councillor must be present in The Town Hall Chamber and that others must be in 'audio' contact.
It does beg the question 'Why be a Councillor if you are not prepared to live locally and at least attend Council Meetings and talk to those in your Ward?'.
If you recognised, Cllr Broadhurst (Con) in the picture above, well done. He is one of my Dane Valley Councillors and is reputed to spend more time in the tropical climate of Panama than in Thanet. Has anyone been able to contact him to discuss issues about Dane Valley Ward? If he is unable to live locally and be contactable, then should he not resign from TDC?
Not according to Hazel Blears!
Let us imagine a Council Meeting at TDC in the future, if Blear's preposterous ideas are approved by Parliament. . . . . . ..
"Mauwice, Woger here. Can you hear me? I'm in the Council Chamber, on my tod, with Officers and a full public gallery and a whole load of mobile phone and internet connections and we have no other Councillors here and we have China Gateway Phases 2 & 3 Application to consider. What? You are on your yacht off Cannes? Hell, I have Broadhurst in Panama on the line .. wait, I'll get back to you!"
"Mauwice, are you there? Stephen says ' Why don't you point your yacht across the pond and join him in Panama for a week or two?... What?.... Don't worry, about the vote for Gateway Phases 2 & 3, true democracy is at work here. We have lost connections to all the dissidents and those troublesome Labour Councillors up at their Party Conference in Blackpool, but your vote and Stephen's from Panama are in OK. The result is 2 FOR, and 54 abstentions. So Gateway is approved. "
Is this really how we might improve local democracy?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems to be a case of putting a welcome idea into the wrong context.

In 1972 there was an inmate revolt at the Le Court Leonard Cheshire Home in Hampshire. This led to the Disabled Persons Human Rights movement as we know it today.

I think it is fair to sat that Disabled Rights Activists are against the so called "User Empowerment" schemes. In effect offering representation to people incarcerated in care homes but actually being little more than a works suggestion scheme. The one item never on the agenda being freedom (to leave the incarceration of charity home care)

I would ask you Bertie to extend that thought to the broader issue of democratic representation. What are the requirements ? To be able to attend meetings etc.

Considering standing for council(note the word ... presumably someone wheelchair bound would sit for office)

I don't doubt that we are excluding more talented people, with possibly greater time to apply to elected office, from presenting themselves to the electorate.

I think there is a case to consider for using the communication technology at our disposal. To open up democracy. But I think the use of the communication technology, other than for medical grounds, should on any other occasion be subject of a vote of other members.

In my view the consistent trend of New Labour has been to start off with a half right idea and end up with a wholly wrong response(like Part P Building Regs and all their other knee jerk regulation on the hoof).

I think that an incoming Tory govt may be so absorned with addressing the depression that they fail to set up a body to restore our constitution as a platform to extend democratic principle in the way I indicate. For sure there will be a battle for Britain on many fronts not just the economy. Has the David with the gravitas for the task of leadership got the surname Davies though ?

Best wishes Retired Richard