Thursday, 16 April 2009

Policy #3: End ChinaGate: the cost of failure

Isn't it time for greater reform of MP's and Councillor expenses?

Steve Ladyman has provided his expenses online and it's a pretty good summary of costs although without the ease of reporting and clarity of Word and Excel summaries.

As MP I will introduce an Annual MP Report that provides not just ongoing monthly and quarterly summaries of costs and expenses but also details of projects and activities.

I call on other candidates to do the same.

For too long MP's and Councillors simply do not provide clarity on what they are doing and what they cost.

With good reason in many instances: Thanet seems to be largely a system of councillor allowances as pension top-ups and extra committee fees.

For incompetence and failure.

While the practice of Councillors "double-charging" by holding Parish, District or County seats with further expenses is a gross abuse. And a reduction in democracy. Two seats are effectively held by the same person reducing local choice.

The Party machine seems desparate to cover over the public dissatisfaction and reluctance to vote for them by combining seats rather than leaving them empty.

As with MP's this murky system seems to be designed to keep the overall salaries down but then increase them with hidden costs.

The list of donations is worrying though in Steve's expenses.

A total of c.£50,000 in donations to South Thanet Labour party between 2001-09.

And £25,000 of that just last year from CGP's Ken Wills, the company and man behind the ChinaGate propsals and China trips for TDC's Gang of Four and our MP's.

50% of 8 years of donations at the time of Thanet's largest-ever Planning application by the Director of CGP.

And a bizarre situation where nobody in the 12 months that ChinaGate hurriedly appeared could explain exactly what it was.

Jobs of course. Jobs! Jobs!! Jobs!!! But no details. Just vote on it quick!

Then only two weeks before the Council vote we see outline plans for hundreds of acres of cargo warehouses around Manston Airport.

Both MP's urge Councillors to vote it though. And it does in the face of overwhelming public opposition.

Only the Thanet Ten opposed the destruction of Thanet by our sheep-councillors and the political nobbling that sees repeated Manston 106 breaches.

And nothing more is heard.

And where is the EKO quango with Rogers Latchford and Gough on the Board of the public's land managed by TDC and KCC?

Yet another foolish and failed regeneration plan and abuse of democracy in Thanet.

When Manston and Infratil collapses the record will be complete: decades of total failure.

Now we have the "Election Ferry" that pops up for the County and through to the National elections but so hurried is it that - it don't fit the harbour.

It must be time for Steve and South Thanet Labour to donate their £25,000 to a public charity: the Community Fund for Infratil pollution to top-up the DVD player and village hall chairs?

Mercury testing kits for the local population around the Thor factory?

As MP I will not only call on MP's to issue full Annual Reports, but also Councillors, available on the council websites and in their offices and library, and seek a Parliamentary Inquiry to end ChinaGate.

As MP expenses become FOI compliant the practice of recruiting your spouse into the office on bloated salaries will die out. Roger Gale's £50,000 for "Director of Office" will be lowered.

Thanet Conservative donations seem very low too: only a few thousand pounds over several years. it's as if local politics are simply reliant on national Party funding and policies and bussing in outside candidates from the Party Machine like Mark McGregor last time or Laura Sandys this time.

It could be Thanet or Thurrock or Broadstairs or Birmingham. A seat's a seat on the gravy train.

As the sleaze and incompetence at Thanet Council begins to die out it's time for the future.

Policy #1: Sack the Gang of Four.

Policy #2: Close Manston Airport.

Policy #3: End Chinagate

Time for Change.

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