Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year. New Cancer. New Corruption.

Well pretty much the same really in Kent.

Positive news from 2015 with the resignation/sacking of TDC CEO Sue Macgonigal in January and Planning Director Edwina Crowley in July and KCC Latchford of the TDC Gang of Four sent into irrelevance over KCC funding for Manston.

And the May election clearout of Farage and most of the Thanet Labour group.

But that’s about it in a year.

The weakness of Gale and LocalCraig as MP’s has been revealed after 6 months – empty guff merchants that don’t even live here.

Even the latest flawed Munday council election: just 6 days for candidates to register? Is that really a British election at its best? Albeit positive there are only 2 TDC/RTC doublehatters: simply refuse to vote for them.

Shonk is the perfect example of accumulating job tiles and little salaries and achieving nothing. How will he improve the towns?

A wall of silence and whitewash from Carter and his cronies the toxic Three at KCC over Infratil and Manston pollution and monitors and fines. And also under Gloag.

Silence at TDC over the role of Button, Berry and Sproates.

Silence form the Ukippers betraying the possibility of a new broom sweeps clean.

Mere stagnation.

Coming upto almost a year in the job CEO Homer needs to sort this mess out or resign.
And inexperienced councillors lead by the nose by the civil servants and drowned in meaningless bumf (14 opages! in this instance – more on the TDC constitution(!) and FOI rules rewrite below. Exactly what East Kent needs as it slides further down the mortality rate scale?

We need a clearout of the TDC Planning dept: I can speak from detailed experience of Messrs Abigail Rayment and Emma Fibbens and Simon Thomas over 100 Se Rd it’s mere bullshat and lies to cover up the failure.

There's not even the pretence of an explanation now as to why TDC@s own Local Plan forbids gardengrabbing yet specifies 11 flats at 1100 Se Rd - but 13 or more being built(!).

It can only be rampant incompetence or brown envelopes - either way reform through P45 is best.

In the Age of Climate Change we simply can’t have – as you will have seen over Xmas with the various floods – this sort of incompetence in town planning and pandering to the construction industry for squeezing in an extra few thousand houses whether they’re needed or not.

Or the Nemo Link canbles through UNESCO Pegwell Bay.

I doubt any of us have any trust in the Environment Agency or Southern Water in Kent beyond sandbagging their own paychecks.

Thanet can only improve through the P45.

Even RTC struggled to get a Xmas tree up that didn’t look like roadworks on a £500k budget.
Each of the towns pays around £17M in council tax – and that’s without extra government grants. The councillors are simply allowing it to be wasted in funding more civil servants to ride the decline through incompetence, high reserves (30% of the budget at RTC simply stored?), overstaffing (do we really need 750 council clerks?) and lavish pensions.

A few notable elections to look out for in 2016:

• Kent Police PCC – replacing Barnes. I’ve made no decision to stand as yet – but it seems the weird Fergus Wilson millionaire landlord is barred form beating up and estate agent(!) while UKIP Henry Bolton would be banned as a civil servant? All the more bizarre as his border experience of Macedonia, Libya., Afghanistan etc has to just been porous but resulted in the collapse of those countries. The Midas touch in reverse. I was at the Turner gallery for the musical display of Mexican drug cartel recycled weapons which is excellent and also noticed Kent Police HQ with the scruffiest flag imaginable - see Twitter @timg33 for photos. Aside from the value of a police flag on the rates along with all the Fashion Police Gucci kit of multiple trousers and gloves why have such a tatty display?

• London Mayor – Khan and Goldsmith an interesting mix

• UN Secretary-General: between June and September: vague as it’s the first time in 70 years there’s bene even a semblance of an open process to elect the UN SecGen rather than silly internal rotas such as it has to be an East European as they haven’t done the job. Quotas for such high-level roles are an irrelevance – it’s the best person. Where are the candidates and manifestos like any other election?

* USA election: Trump vs Clinton? Stranger things have happened - who would have foreseen a Cameron victory or Corbyn as Labour leader at the start of 2015? While Carson and Rubio and Bush have imploded or fizzled out

• Ramsgate Mayor – GRIT group calling for elected mayor reform not Buggins Turn

And new cancer?

What do you expect with Manston at 4x the EU safe emissions. And Thor mercury banned in 1988 but remaining open.
Bred in the blood and bone. For you and your kids and their kids and their kids and…

You may have seem the TV shows over Xmas of the real-lie incidents Erin Brockovich and the chemical contamination of a small town USA water supply. Or the Minamata scandal in Japan of dumping mercury into the sea.

It couldn’t happen here could it? The Police would investigate? The Environment Agency would jump into action? The council would review the cleanup? MP’s asking questions in Parliament?

That would happen in Kent in 2016 wouldn’t it? Or indeed the last 10 years since Infratil and TC removed the Manston monitors and pretended they were still monitoring.

Time for Change

Tim’s Titbits: misc points:

• Email to TDC's on a request of TDC’s FOI roles:

Thanks Nicholas and:

1. Can you advise on likely timescales for this process

2. I'm not sure you're correct that the various laws are completely different to the 14 pages of TDC items: the latter refers to FOI for example? They seem completely conflated albeit confused.

3. Similarly my point seems correct that the presumption of FOI is transparency - exemptions have to be sought and are not automatic: certainly under EIR. And it is correct that Council/Cabinet can reject/overrule any internal council attempt to withhold information - that's the basis of democratic governance.

4. Further on point 2 I'm unclear why 14 pages are required to say that TDC abides by FOI etc? This could be done within a sentence or so - and detail separately any TDC-produced policies to the laws? Which items in the 14 pages are originated by TDC rather than the existing laws?

5. Specifically on LGA 1972 it's transparency points are supersceded by FOI 2000 and Audit Commission Act that allows public attendance of council meetings/ filming etc and provision of any council document for public audit. The LGA 1972 simply establishes the council reforms of 1972 and is not about the specific activities of those then-new councils?

Please advise.


From: Nicholas Hughes
To: "''"
Cc: Emily Kennedy
Sent: Thursday, 24 December 2015, 14:48
Subject: RE: Tdc information rules 17th Dec

Dear Mr Garbutt,

The access to information rules are currently under review and are available in the agenda for the Constitutional Review Working Party agenda for the meeting of the 17th December, here: .

These will be further considered by the Standards Committee and then Full Council and then included in the Council’s constitution. I can confirm that the rules are correct and comply with the Local Government Act 1972, Local Government Act 2000 and The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012. All of these acts and regulations relate to how the Council deals with information it considers at its meetings and what it should do and what it should not do. Whereas the Freedom of Information regulations concern how the Council should deal with requests for information(which generally come from outside the Council). These are two fundamentally different areas and shouldn’t be conflated.

You say: “In brief my understanding is councillors and public are entitled to any Tdc information and can overrule any attempt to withold or declare information confidential”. This is a misapprehension, the Council does use sparingly the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 to allow it keep certain types of information confidential, such as legal advice, or commercial terms for example. In addition there are a number of exemptions that the Council can use when responding to Freedom of Information requests, so to say that the FOI regulations “can overrule any attempt to withhold or declare information confidential” would be incorrect.

I hope that this has clarified the matter for you.

Kind Regards

Nick Hughes

Committee Services Manager

01843 577208

• Terrific Sydney (perhaps an advantage being able to use the whole bay for displays) and London and Taipei New Year fireworks – but a bizarre and awful Jive Bunny megamix soundtrack for London and Bangkok Chaopraya lights weak this year
• Town cleanup beginning with ticketing of illegally parked cars in Ramsgate high St: pedestrian zone and kebab shop sparking on pavements – plenty of free parking behind Iceland and Barclays. Bizarre that G4S cash van seems to think it can drive through the High St when it feels like it
• Concern over Tonis Newsagent still blasting out music outside the shop. Anyone else doing that?
• Revamp of Summer and Winter lights and festivals
• Many more drug den arrests before Xmas: Drug Den Raid Every Day
• 2015 Kent Public Sector review to follow – with a new bottom placed service. Can you guess
• Little done for 2016 Somme anniversary in Kent given Richboro secret port etc
• Interesting Christopher Nolan – perhaps the greatest living British director -beginning a Dunkirk/Little Ships movie
• Pleasurama and Wetherspoons megaboozer ruled invalid and I’ve made no bones I want to take that on a as Community Asset previously with jiggery pokery from Edwina Crowley at TDC
• Overhaul of empty shops and houses needed – the decline picks up apace
• Silence from Kent Fire and FOI Finchy and the MillionQuid Fire station instead of a 2nd swimming pool – reassuring though the jack Straw Parliamnetary review into FOI made no recommendations at all other than FOI must be expanded
* KORA and 2LB coming soon

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