Saturday, 1 August 2015

Solidarity With Migrants Demo Folkestone Today


I was proud to attend to the demonstration at the Folkestone Channel Tunnel Terminal to show solidarity with migrants today. The turnout was disappointing, but having said that the demo was organised at short notice and the organisers did a great job. It was great to see Green Party colleagues at the demo standing up what for what is morally right  – defending  the migrants against the media and political onslaught. Don’t forget that the overwhelming majority of migrants have been forced to flee their countries because of the consequences of the foreign policy of the UK, Europe and the USA. We should therefore do the  honourable thing and take our fair share of the men, women and children fleeing  for their lives, instead of building more fences and deploying more security.We have a moral and humanitarian responsibility to help.
Although I am glad that I went my only disappointment was that  for the first time in a long time, the right wing counter demonstration was larger than the progressive gathering. I suspect that the nasty, bigoted anti-immigrant outcry being fuelled by the media and the Tories may have put a few people off attending.
Talking of  anti-immigrant rhetoric I was surprised to find myself agreeing with the acting Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman when she criticised Prime Minster, David Cameron, for describing immigrants travelling through Europe to the UK as  “swarms” .  Apparently she said that immigrants were people – not insects – and that to describe them in such a way is inflammatory.  She was right. But hang on wasn’t it Harriet  Harman who less than 12 weeks ago was quite happy to support the sale of Control Immigration mugs for £5.00 to raise money for Labour’s ill-fated general election campaign.  And talking about elections I’ve noticed, with the exception of Jeremy Corbyn, all of the Labour Leadership hopefuls are keeping quite about immigration. I suspect they fear that uttering anything remotely compassionate about the plight of these desperate and abused people might  undermine their self-serving ambition. This is especially true of  Yvette Cooper who in her role as  Shadow Foreign Secretary remained silent for an embarrassingly long time about the thousands of refugees who were drowning in the Mediterranean  following the withdrawal of EU funding to the Italian Navy for its humanitarian rescue patrols. In fact out  of
all the Labour Leadership hopefuls, only Jeremy Corbyn was honourable enough to sign a Parliamentary Early Day Motion condemning the cuts to EU funding for the Italian rescue mission. This pitiful hypocrisy makes me feel sick and even though I hope Corbyn wins  the Labour  leadership, I can’t ever imagine Labour  becoming a party of social progress as long as it allows unprincipled, careerist hypocrites to join its ranks.

 

 

Friday, 31 July 2015

I'm Proud to Support Migrants: Demo Saturday Folkestone


I’ve just been interviewed by BBC Radio Kent about the demonstration in solidarity with migrants at the Euro Tunnel Terminal Folkestone on Saturday. Listening to the programme I was astounded and sickened by the level of hostility and bigotry towards the migrants.  This is a humanitarian crisis. The migrants are some of the most desperate men, women and children  on our planet. They  are feeling war, torture, rape and famine to have a better safer life. They are taking incredible risks to make their journeys to safety and many die on the way. And don’t forget, that the situations these people are fleeing from are largely the result of foreign policy pursued by the UK, Europe and the USA. We have a moral responsibility to help these people as we are partly the cause of their suffering. And even if this was not true, we have a duty of compassion towards fellow human beings  in serious trouble to lend a helping hand. Yet far too many people are responding to the crisis with hatred and unbelievable nastiness. The fact is, our country is taking fewer migrants than most others in Europe and instead of demonising them I believe we should be welcoming them.  And finally instead of blaming  the immigrants for having the audacity to flee  from the terrors we have partly created, we
should be developing polices to allow the countries we have destabilised to rebuild and become prosperous. This is why I am proud to be attending the gathering in Folkestone  tomorrow. This is why I am  proud to demonstrate my solidarity with the migrants. If you want to show your solidarity assemble 11am at the Euro Tunnel Service station Ashford Road, Folkestone, CT18 8XX. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Me Retired? For Fox Sake No!!

Outside Margate Magistrates Court
Sorry for the absence.  I decided to take some time out after the elections to spend with my family. They were incredibly supportive and never complained about the hours I spent at meetings, leafleting, campaigning, drafting press releases, writing speeches and doing case work. So I owe them big time and have spent the past few weeks doing lots of family  things which has been brilliant. And now that the school holidays are almost here I intend to be relaxing (?) with Mrs D and the girls for the next 6 weeks. 

But I haven't retired from politics. Far from it. I'm slowly easing myself back into things. A couple of weeks ago I had an appointment with the District Judge at Margate Magistrates Court to answer charges of unlawful entry into the port of Ramsgate and assault on  a security office
 during an anti-live animal exports demo over a year. In my opinion the case should never have come to court. It was a waste of public money. I got the impression that the judge felt that too, because he awarded me the lowest possible penalty - a 12 month conditional discharge plus costs of £500.
Just last week I joined  friends old and new at a demo outside our new South Thanet MP, Craig McInlay's,  office in Broadstairs , to protest about his support for watering down anti-fox hunting laws.  Thankfully our new animal welfare friendly government decided to withdraw their plans when it became clear they would lose the vote.

Talking of live animal exports, next week sees a sailing of the ship of death Joline from Ramsgate which will be transporting thousands of hapless creatures to their deaths in Europe.  I will be down at the port  to protest and bear witness to this cruel and barbaric trade.

I'm also becoming very  angry about the Labour Party's response to the Governments massive cuts to welfare benefits. I am gobsmacked that 80% of their MPs abstained from voting on this massively important issue. What a bunch of spineless fuckers they are. But credit to the 48 Labour MPs who broke the whip and voted against these ghastly proposals. They are clearly in the wrong party and should join me in the Greens come on guys you know it makes it sense. More on this later.

 
Also some of you know I love my Freedom of Information requests. In fact,  I kid you not,  someone once submitted a freedom of information request to Thanet Council asking hoe many FOIs I had submitted and how much they cost. The request was rejected which is a shame because I would liked to have the had the answer too. But seriously though  I'm worried about Government plans to emasculate freedom of information. regulations and severely restrict what people can find out about the public bodies they pay for. This is serious stuff so expect more from me on that.

Finally swearing. Like tens of millions I've always sworn and I always will. I do mind my Ps and Qs in certain circumstances. But since leaving he council I have decided that in expressing my views about the world around me I will be more free in the use of expletives. Its part of the language  and culture I was brought up in. Most of the  people I socialise with swear. So from the time to expect the odd fucker, wanker, arsehole, bollox  and shit to appear on these pages and elsewhere.

best wishes Ian

Monday, 11 May 2015

Stand Down Thanet Stand Up To UKIP

Thanet’s  self-appointed UKIP opposition, the Stand Uppers, have made the astonishing  claim that it was they who “inflicted a magnificent defeat on Farage”. Maybe I’ve missed something, but I thought it was 2,812 Tory voters who “inflicted a magnificent defeat on Farage” not the Stand Uppers. Indeed I would argue that the Stand Uppers were partly responsible for inflicting “a magnificent defeat on Labour”. Their vociferous, persistently negative, anti-Farage focused campaigning is said, by many, to have alienated lots of electors and actually served to increase right of centre voting in Thanet, rather than reducing it.  Add to this Will Scobie’s “I’m from here” election slogan with its anti-immigrant, anti-from anywhere but Thanet, undertones;  Labour’s lacklustre national electioneering; its farcical tablets of stone;  and the grotesque  record of  Labour controlled Thanet  Council, then it’s clear to see why Labour’s share of the South Thanet Parliamentary vote plummeted  from 31% in 2010 election to 24%  this time around. And it’s not hard to understand  why UKIP secured a massive majority at Thanet Council.  To be brutally frank the Stand Uppers achieved nothing other than  “magnificent self-defeat”.

With a record like this, I would have packed up my trestle table and quietly gone home. But no! Not the Stand Uppers! Believing their own baseless propaganda to the truth the erstwhile Farage slayers now want to Stand Up To UKIP Thanet Councillors and presumably “inflict a magnificent defeat” on a council administration democratically elected, less than a week ago, by over 40% of those who voted.  Honestly this childish nonsense makes me feel like puking. Watching UKIP councillors “like a hawk and when they put a foot out place – step on it” is utter bollox!  This is the job of the Council’s Monitoring Officer; the  District Auditor, the Scrutiny Committee, the Standards Board; the democratically elected Labour and Conservative opposition groups; the Department of Communities and Local Government and

If you aim to challenge a UKIP council you do it by developing roots in the community and campaigning on issues like poverty, low pay; benefits sanctions; the shortage of social housing; poor education and health provision; which affect tens-of-thousands of people in Thanet.  You should also be campaigning about the threat to Thanet’s environment posed by Labour’s Local Plan; the  Parkway station;  the Airport CPO;  the threat to equality and human rights posed, not just by UKIP, but by Labour and the Tories as well and of course the desperate need for regeneration; job creation; and  proportional representation the absence of which  got us into this mess in the first place.

Playing the role of Thanet Council’s  self-appointed moral guardian just because  it’s a UKIP council is hardly likely to achieve anything, especially bearing mind that a UKIP council will be determined to prove  that it is  better managed; better behaved;  more open and transparent than its Labour-controlled predecessor. A task which to be honest will not be too difficult to achieve.

Most people know, but the Labour Party and its hangers-on on the left have forgotten, there is no shortcut to gaining electoral support, other than long and patient campaigning and practical support in the community. So Stand Down Stand Up say I.

 
 

 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Ramsgate: Labour Electoral Shenanigans?

On 1 May, Labour Councillor, Peter Campbell, posted on the Facebook page “We Love Ramsgate” about the controversial O’Regan proposals to locate a concrete block manufacturing facility at the port. He said  “I can inform all those who love Ramsgate that the potential O'Regan application has failed to meet TDC's stringent requirements and therefore any future application will be denied. This information has been confirmed by TDC leader Iris Johnson. Cllr Peter Campbell”   When I asked him for clarification he posted the following “My proof is a mail I have received from Iris Johnson who tells me of the outcome of TDC's diligence, which convinced TDC and the CE not to progress with this Application”.

These seemingly innocuous postings by Councillor Campbell’s on the We Love Ramsgate Facebook page have caused me some concern. For those of you who don’t know, the pronouncements of politicians and council officers during a local government election period are tightly regulated by what are called “purdah rules”. These rules aim to ensure that that the Council’s governing  political party, in this case  the Labour Party,  do not abuse their privileged access to council decision making  processes, publicity, or officer time etc. to gain an unfair   political advantage over their opponents . In other words Purdah rules try to control the advantages of incumbency allowing for a fairer election.


Councillors were issued with a briefing note about the Purdah rules on 10 April. Amongst other things the note said that councillors are prohibited from using council resources for political purposes, or “attempting to use their position to confer on any person as advantage or disadvantage”. The rules go on to say  that although normal council business (service delivery and decision making) will continue during the election period  these process should not be manipulated by anyone for party political or candidate purposes. To avoid this happening the rules say that items of business that are politically controversial, such as the O’Regan proposals, should be dealt with after the election.

As most people in Ramsgate know, the O’Regan proposals are very controversial. A public meeting held in January was attended by at least 300 people. A petition is circulating which has attracted over 1,500 signatures and there has been lots of comment in the newspapers and social media about this matter. By announcing that the Council has conducted a due diligence process and decided to reject the O’Regan proposals Councillor Campbell, appears to me, to have broken Purdah rules. First any decision about a controversial issues such as this should have been announced by a senior council officer who would be seen as being politically neutral. Instead the announcement was made be a well-known Ramsgate Labour Councillor which must surely confer a political advantage to Labour’s election candidates. Second Councillor Campbell says he learned of this decision from an e-mail from the Labour Leader of the Council. Iris Johnston. If this is true why didn’t Iris Johnston notify all councillors about the decision? I have double checked my e-mails and have received nothing from her. This suggests to me the possibility that Iris Johnston may have used “inside information” acquired in her role as council leader to tip off her Labour colleagues who could then spread the good news and gain electoral credit. I hasten to add that this is speculation on my part which could only be stood up by an investigation. Finally, if the Council has carried out some form of due diligence on a controversial matter close to an election then surely it has broken its own purdah rules which advise that sensitive decisions are left until after the election. Conversely, if the due diligence was conducted a while ago, why wasn’t the result communicated to all councillors at the time? Either way, if Councillor Campbell’s statement is true then someone somewhere has a lot of explaining to do.

But this is not the first time during this election we have
Ramsgate Green Party Candidates Support an Open  and Honest Council.
witnessed Ramsgate Labour Party engaging in what appear to be less than honest vote influencing shenanigans . Just last week I posted an article on my blog about the Ramsgate  Labour election leaflet which claimed that a £3million payment, to be made by builders Cardy,  for the purchase of the seafront Pleasurama site  will be ploughed back into Ramsgate. The publication of the alleged sale price figure is likely to have been a serious breach of confidentiality by the Ramsgate Labour Party. An investigation is now under way and the Ramsgate Labour Party has been ordered to stop distributing the controversial leaflet. I only hope and trust we do not  now see a  “last minute” leaflet proclaiming, in breach of the Purdah rules, that  it was the Council’s Labour  Leadership which gave O’Regan the bums rush from the port of Ramsgate. Either way one thing is for certain the Labour Party in Ramsgate  have a lot of questions to answer about what some people might believe to be their abuse of   power during an election period. This  situation has the whiff of an uncleansed public convenience about it.
 
If you want honesty, openness and transparency in public life Vote Green. We have zero tolerance of political corruption, secrecy and party political electoral manipulation. We ain to clean up Thanet Council's dysfunctional and toxic culture.

Here is an e-mail I have sent to the Council Monitoring Officer about the alleged Purdah rules breaches


Dear Mr Boyle

On 1st May Councillor Campbell made the following statments on the We Love Ramsgate facebook page

"I can inform all those who love Ramsgate that the potential O'Regan application has failed to meet TDC's stringent requirements and therefore any future application will be denied. This information has been confirmed by TDC leader Iris Johnson.
Cllr Peter Campbell" and "Ian, I have in previous posts referred to a potential application, this is the case. The details of that application were announced by the O'Regan Group at a local public meeting I called, at Chatham House School, in order to let the residents know of this potential horrendous industrial process. My proof is a mail I have received from Iris Johnson who tells me of the outcome of TDC's diligence, which convinced TDC and the CE not to progress with this Application."This statement appears to me be contrary to the written advice about  purdah which you provided to councillors a while ago. In particular  it would appear that Councillor Campbell is seeking to secure an advantage for himself or other labour candidates by making an announcement about an extremely controversial matter just days before the election.
If what councillor Campbell says is true then why  has the leader of the council failed to notify all councillors, irrespective of  party, of this important development  relating to a very controversial issue. By not alerting all councillors then the leader/ councillor Campbell  has used her/ his  position to confer advantage to Labour Councillors and candidates.
Further if Councillor Campbell's statements are  true why has the Chief Executive failed to inform councillors of the  due diligence process she has allegedly carried out in relation into the O'Regan proposal. Also  the guidance you issued on Purdah stated that the council should avoid taking decisions on controversial issues such as the O'Regan proposal which has prompted a major public outcry and much media/ social media  speculation . Could you confirm whether or not Councillor Campbell's statement that a due diligence has indeed be carried out by Council officers; when this process was carried out; and why councillors have not been advised  about the process and its outcome. Finally, I am reliably informed that the Labour Party are planning to produce a last minute election leaflet about the O'Regan proposal. If this is true the it would be a clear breach of Purdah rules as information obtained from the Council Leader or Chief Executive which has not been provided to other non-labour  councillors will be used to secure an advantage for Labour councillors / candidates. 

In my opinion what is happening here is a clear and improper abuse power for  Labour's electoral advantage. I attach copies of JPEG files which cover the conversations related to this issue on the We Love Thanet  facebook page.

Yours sincerely Ian Driver


 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Replace KCC with Unitary Council.

The Green Party is calling for the abolition of Kent County Council and its replacement by  six unitary councils based on the following groupings

  • Thanet and  Dover (population 245,500)
  • Canterbury and Swale (population 287,000)
  • Shepway and Ashford (population 226,000)
  • Maidstone Tonbridge and  Malling (population 289,000)
  • Dartford and Gravesham (population 199,000)
  • Sevenoaks, and Tunbridge Wells (population 230,000)

Existing Medway unitary council with a population 264,000 will remain unchanged. The new unitary authorities  would provide education, social care, highways, planning, housing, refuse collection and many other services to populations of between 200,000 – 300,000 people.

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Thanet, Ian Driver “the existing county council is too large and unwieldy. It lacks any real connection and accountability to the people it serves. Local government should, by definition, be based as close to its electors as possible, rather than being inaccessible to most of Kent’s residents.  Smaller unitary councils will bring together areas  of  Kent which are already closely  connected and share many common issues. They will also bring together residents, staff and politicians with an expert understanding of the areas covered by the new councils. This would place them in a stronger  position to develop  more effective policies and strategies than the current Maidstone based system”.
In  East Kent many of the District Councils are already working closely together. They have  successfully  shared Housing, Human Resources, IT,  Revenues, Benefits and  Audit services for several years, so why not include KCC services as well?
The new unitary councils should be elected by proportional representation so that smaller parties and independent candidates can  be represented giving a more balanced and inclusive approach to decision making. The new councils should be managed by committee systems to prevent power being concentrated into the hands of a tiny handful of cabinet members and they should be underpinned and supported by a strong system of parish and town councils which will ensure community accountability”.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Thanet Council Moonlighting & Property

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am stickler for probity and honesty in public life. Some would say too much of a stickler.  I have written several pieces about the less than transparent shenanigans of council politicians which have led to resignations, investigations and some red faces. So I was very intrigued to read the blogpost of my Green Party colleague Ed Targett, http://greentargett.com/2015/04/21/conflict-for-councils-property-boss/
 
Ed who  is standing as PPC for North Thanet and a TDC council candidate in Margate Central, wrote a most interesting post  about the Head of Regeneration and Property Services who is also a Director of a company called Proprisk.

Not that I am suggesting anything improper. To the best of my knowledge the Head of Regeneration and Property Services is a highly professional officer with an expertise in the property field. However, it would be fair comment to say that it is most unusual for a council officer to also be a company Director. Especially when  Thanet Council’s Officer Code of Conduct says that “Employees above Local Grade 6 shall normally be expected to devote their whole time service to the work of the Authority and shall not engage in any other additional employment without the express consent of the Authority”. As an elected councillor representing Ramsgate residents I personally expect senior officers on good salaries to serve only one master - TDC. I don't except them to the follow the example of  many of our Tory and Labour MPs who have  their pockets stuffed with cash from moonlighting as consultants, directors, columnists and after dinner speakers.
Also the fact that the officer concerned is the Director of a company which conducts its business in a similar area to  her paid post with Council raises potential questions of conflict of interest. Not that I am suggesting for a moment that there are such conflicts in this case. However, I believe that in the interests of openness and transparency the Council needs to explain what steps it has taken to ensure that all  possible risks  and conflicts associated with being the Council’s most senior property manager, whilst at the same time being a Director of a property related company , are being properly managed. This is why I have written to the Council’s Monitoring Officer.

 
Dear Mr Boyle
It has come to my attention that the Head of Regeneration and Property Services is a director of Proprisk Ltd. Company Number 08645044. Website link http://proprisk.co.uk/index.shtml  I believe that the company was set up roughly at the time that the Head of Regeneration and Property Services became employed by the Council.

The Council’s Officer Code of Conduct requires that

·        Employees' off-duty hours are their personal concern, but they should not subordinate their employment relationship with the Authority to their private interests or put themselves in a position where there is a conflict of interests

·        The Authority will not normally prevent an employee from undertaking additional employment or other commitments, but any such employment must demonstrably not conflict with, or in any way weaken public confidence in, the conduction of the Authority's business.

 
·        Employees above Local Grade 6 shall normally be expected to devote their whole time service to the work of the Authority and shall not engage in any other additional employment without the express consent of the Authority

 

·        Employees must give notice in writing of any financial or non-financial interests which are clear and substantial and which could bring about a conflict with the Authority's interests. Any change must be similarly notified

 
For the sake of clarity, pleased by advised that I am not suggesting that the Head of Regeneration and Property Services has contravened any Council policy nor am I suggesting that the Head of Regeneration and Property Services has in any way acted improperly. Indeed I believe  her to be a professional member of the officer team. However, in accordance with the Council’s policy of openness and transparency I would like to raise the following questions with you:
 

·        Did the Head of Regeneration and Property Services declare her position as Director of Proprisk to the Council? If so when? If not what action will be taken?

 
·        Has the Council evaluated the potential risks and conflict arising from the Head of Regeneration and Property Services also being the Director of a property related company? Please provide further details.
 

·        Has the Head of Regeneration and Property Services ever notified the Council of any conflicts of interest between her employment at TDC and her Directorship at Proprisk?

 
·        The Head of Regeneration and Property Services is employed on a salary scale above Grade 6. Does her position as Director of Proprisk place her in contravention of the requirement not to engage in other employment,  or has the Council given its express consent to allow the Head of Regeneration and Property Services to have what amounts to 2 jobs?

 

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely  Cllr Ian Driver

Monday, 27 April 2015

Thanet Stand Up To UKIP Labour Cheerleaders


I have marched against UKIP. I have attended several anti-UKIP demonstrations.  I have spoken out publically against UKIP on many occasions and I vehemently oppose most of UKIPs policy. I will continue to strongly oppose UKIP. But I have not joined and do not support the organisation Stand Up to UKIP, or at least its manifestation here in Thanet. Because Stand Up to UKIP , in my view, is an adjunct of the Thanet Labour Party which, in association with a group of revolutionary socialists, is trying its level best to use the UKIP demon to scare left of centre people into voting only for Labour at the general and council elections. Some of its members are happy to bully, pressure and intimidate those of us political progressives who will not fall into line with the vote Labour mantra. I myself was subject to such treatment at the hands of certain Stand Up to UKIP members in Thanet and several of my colleagues have been treated in the same way. I understand that members of Thanet Reality Party, also vehemently anti-UKIP,  may have had similar treatment meted out because they don’t chose to support Labour.

I was at the founding meeting of Thanet  Stand Up  to UKIP last. The meeting was well attended and included people from across the progressive political spectrum. But even at its first meeting it was evident that Labour was positioning itself to dominate the organisation. Labour’s South Thanet  PPC, Will Scobie,  was there and had a lot to say,  as were other  Labour councillors including Jenny Matteface, John Worrow, Michelle Fenner and serval newly selected  Labour council candidates including Kate Hamlyn and Karen Constantine . During the course of the meeting several  people argued that the Green Party should not be running candidates as it would split the left of centre vote and assist a UKIP victory. This incessant refrain has continued to be developed, reaching a foul mouthed hysterical crescendo at a recent public meeting in Ramsgate.

Now I have no problem with the way people vote.  We live in a democracy and its up to you how to vote. But I will not be bullied or intimidated into silence by a bizarre united front of right-wing austerity-lite Labour and so-called revolutionaries. Labour has an appalling track record in power at Thanet Council. It is utterly incompetent, secretive and in the words of an external peer review– dysfunctional and toxic.

As an elected councillor seeking another term I have a duty to the public to speak out about Labour’s disgraceful record in office and to campaign for change rather than becoming a cheerleader for a party with which I fundamentally disagree. A party which  through its policy of austerity  is making life much more difficult for the poor, the vulnerable, the disabled, the unemployed, the badly housed and who, sad to say, appears to be  trying to out-UKIP UKIP in its anti-immigration stance.

I have the greatest admiration and respect for many supporters of Stand Up to UKIP in Thanet. Some of them are my friends. But from where I am standing Stand Up to UKIP  appears to me to be nothing but a cynical effort to exploit fear of  the UKIP demon  in order to distract attention from Labour’s  appalling record in Thanet; silence its critics and cling on to votes it does not deserve. It could have so different. It could have been a genuine coalition of likeminded people but that potential was strangled at birth by Labour manipulation.

Despite my criticism of Thanet Stand Up to UKIP, it’s not for me to tell you how to use your vote. The only thing I would say is please, please vote on the basis of your conscience and genuine beliefs. Otherwise what’s the point in voting at all?

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Labour's Pleasurama Election Hypocrisy

Labour's false promises
In an election leaflet delivered to thousands of Ramsgate homes Thanet  Labour Party has cynically tried by 'buy' votes. In a headline story it promises that three million pounds will be raised from the sale of the Pleasurama site to developers Cardy, and will be “ploughed straight back into Ramsgate”.  Like many promises made by Thanet Labour this is rather less than the whole truth.
Last Thursday I met with senior council officers and was told that major repairs to the cliff face at the Pleasurama site, which must be carried out before building work begins, will cost up to £600,000. These works are the responsibility of the Council  and are likely to be funded from the money  received by the Council from Cardy. I was also told that the Council’s legal fees for the sale of the site will be around £100,000 and will be also be paid out of the proceeds of the sale.   So the Labour Party’s claimed three million pounds receipt to the Council may actually be reduced to 2.3million immediately. A big difference from the £3million claimed by Labour. And what guarantee is there  that the money would actually be spent in Ramsgate if Labour are returned to power on May 7? On the strength of their past record very little!  

Because Labour in Thanet have never let the truth get in the way of a good story. For example, in the run up to the last election they said they would protect our green fields, only to agree a local plan which allowed massive development on farmland. They also opposed Thanet Parkway station, but in office they have supported the building of a station with a huge car park on farmland just outside rural Cliffsend. So
when they now talk about ploughing £3million into Ramsgate  why should anyone believe them? And on this point it’s rumoured that the £3million sale price reported by the Labour Party is a lot less than an independent valuation of the site estimated  the council should get.

Confidentiality when it suits them
But it’s not just the misleading promises which concern me. It’s that certain Labour  councillors appear  to have abused their power and may have deliberately broken confidentiality in order to produce the leaflet's headline story about the Cardy cash.  Details of the Pleasurama  sale price are included in a legal agreement between the Council and  Cardy which was signed in March. The agreement contains a confidentiality clause which prohibits the revelation of its contents including the sale price. After several weeks of trying I was eventually allowed to inspect the document a few days ago. Before I could see the document I was warned by the Council’s Monitoring Officer that under no circumstances must I reveal its contents. I was also required to sign a confidentiality agreement.I can only conclude that Labour councillor(s) have  also seen the document and decided to  breach the confidentiality agreement themselves in order to produce the headline story in the leaflet.

Now it may seem strange that someone like me who has a reputation for leaking secret documents is complaining when someone else does the same thing. But there is big a difference.  I have only ever revealed confidential information when I thought it was in the public interest to do so. In this case Labour are revealing confidential information  purely out of cynical  political self-interest and in the hope of gaining votes in Ramsgate.
Jaw dropping hypocrisy
But it gets worse. When I tried to reveal confidential information about Pleasurama last year the Council took out a High Court Injunction to prevent me publishing certain documents. I must now pay the Council’s legal costs of £19,600. The decision to obtain the injunction was, I have been reliably informed, approved by members of the Council’s Labour Cabinet. Some of these cabinet members are likely to be  the same people who facilitated the publication of the confidential information about the Pleasurama  sale price in the Labour election  leaflet. Furthermore, several Labour Councillors also complained to the Council’s Standards Board about my efforts to reveal Pleasurama secrets last year. I now face an investigation into my actions. These complainants are likely to be  the same Labour councillors who facilitated the publication of the confidential information about the Pleasurama  sale price in the Labour election  leaflet. Finally since the injunction a number of Labour Councillors have verbally abused me for serving  the public interest by trying to reveal information about Pleasurama which should never have been confidential. Once again some of these councillors are likely to be among those who facilitated the publication of the confidential information about the Pleasurama sale price in the Labour election leaflet.

I have said it once and will say it again, the publication of the election leaflet story about the Pleasurama sale price was misleading and cynical electioneering. But worst of all the breach of confidentiality which was behind this story was an exercise in jaw dropping hypocrisy by The Labour Party. Less than a year ago the Thanet Labour Party was quick to condemn, attack and personally abuse me for trying to release secret documents in the public interest but, with an election in the air, they find it perfectly acceptable to breach confidentiality themselves, not in the  interest of the public they are supposed to serve, but  purely in the interest of the Labour Party .