Thursday, 28 May 2009

Voting for Change in Thanet

How to Vote?

An issue that affects us all with the new Town Council and County and European elections next week.

This is my view:

The new Town Council will be powerless unless it obtains funding from TDC or KCC: taking funding from TDC makes TDC even more ineffective and a burden on the taxpayer. With the Gang of Four sacked, TDC should be abolished with direct funding from KCC to the various Town Councils.

County elections have produced little in the way of manifestos for improvement of the County for Thanet as a deprived area and with one of the UK’s worst councils: the mix of District and County responsibilities ensures Councillors only represent their small patch.

The time is coming when a Conservative County Council in power since 1930 and Labour councillors around the relatively poorer coast is unsustainable and undemocratic.

European elections: it couldn’t be more confusing could it? I don’t understand the electoral process for candidates: Europe’s powers have reached their limit as “Nations within Europe” pooling their resources and systems across Europe.

Overall with MP’s “ManureGate” there is simply no reason now for all councillors – and MP’s - to fail to declare their costs every month and publish online.

Equally, there is no reason for each public department of RTC, TDC, KCC, Quangos, National agencies and Brussels to publish all their salary and expenses and running costs monthly.

And the organisation’s bank statements and investments.

The waste and cost is extraordinary for so much governance achieving so little.

In Kent, we have 58 councillors at TDC, plus a further 16 at RTC, plus 84 at KCC (plus the other 12 Kent Districts of presumably 58 each), plus 14 MP’s plus unfathomable Euroregion MEP’s.

And many of these positions and expenses are taken by the same person in “double or even triple seating” – the same person in 2 or 3 roles, simply because the main parties feel we need that many people for them to claim to be representative.

Every councillor and public agency is 100% funded by the taxpayer and 100% of that money should be transparent and accountable.

FOI and EIR only require the public to request information that should be automatically displayed.

But how to vote in Thanet?

My view is that the public should:

Boycott or spoil ballot papers: appalling to have to mention this in a democracy but the only message the main parties understand is people not voting for them.

If you must vote then vote for Independents or new faces: the control of the main parties simply cosying up to each other or the same old faces year after year is reflected in the failure of Thanet
If you must vote for national parties then ask for 100% transparency of policies and funding and pick your candidate carefully.

Kent and Thanet has been stagnant – and simply failed - for too long.

These are my suggestions for part of an ideal candidate list – I’m embarrassed to say that no other councillors have any polices or achievements detailed in their manifestos:


#Ralph Hoult – Independent: worked hard for the town and runs Granville Theatre
#Peter Landi – Conservative: worked hard for the town and Ramsgate Society and Conservative to offset the assumption that Ramsgate is always a “Labour council”
#Dave Green – Labour: worked hard for the town with Liz at County
#Pat Doyle – Conservative: worked hard for the town and Conservative to offset the assumption that Ramsgate is always a “Labour council”
#Gerry O’Donnell – Ramsgate First: sensible manifesto for town improvements
#Laura Probert – Independent: a new face
#Angela Cousins – Independent: a new face

Any of the first 3 would make good Mayors of the Town Council


Not applicable this election: Sack the Gang of Four and transfer funding to Town/Parish Councils

Most councillors seem only interested in either name-calling, irrelevant national party point-scoring or empty posturing.

The only purpose for councillors is to scrutinise the public servants and represent their area for improvements.


#Elizabeth Green – Labour: works hard with Dave at District for the towns
#Alan Poole – Labour: one of the Thanet Ten on China Gateway

Serious issues remain over the ChinaGate dodgy donation of £25k, Manston night flights and pollution and Thor mercury pollution


#Steve Dawe – Green: works hard for the County and a good team with Caroline Lucas MEP

If you must vote, vote wisely.

Thanet has failed because of our councillors and civil servants.

Time for Change.

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