Several, normally loyal, Labour Councillors have told me that they are unhappy with Clive's leadership and there have been strong rumours of a challenge against him in the past couple of weeks. There is also strong public discontent about Clive's management of the Manston Airport closure. I understand a petition is circulating around Thanet calling for a vote of no confidence in Clive and his cabinet colleagues.
I totally reject Clive's allegations that I have disrupted the operation of Thanet Council by making vexatious complaints, submitting excessive freedom of information requests and posting malicious articles on social media. The truth is that all of the issues I have complained and written about including -
· The failed Pleasurama development at Ramsgate
· The secret TransEuropa Ferries debt which cost taxpayers £3.4 million
· The East Kent Opportunities planning application scandal
· The demolition of the Little Oasis Skatepark in Margate
· The problems with the Dreamland restoration budget
· The secrecy surrounding plans to build 1000 houses on the Manston Airport site etc etc
have been found to be genuine matters of concern. Have been found to have substance and legitimacy and have resulted in the Council being forced, often against the strong opposition of Clive and his Cabinet colleagues, to take action.
I am a firm believer in open and honest local government and it pains me to say it but Thanet Council is a very secretive organisation which frequently takes decisions behind closed doors. This is why I am often forced to secure information from Thanet Council via Freedom of Information Requests. Contrary to Clive’s claims that I make excessive FOI request I have made less than 20 in the 3 years I have been a councillor. All of my appeals to the Information Commissioner have been successful which indicates that there is indeed a culture secrecy at Thanet Council.
I have, on rare occasions, published confidential council documents. I have done this openly and in full public view unlike other councillors who secretly leak documents. I have recorded and filmed meetings of the council. It is lawful to film and record such meetings and a majority of English and Welsh Councils now allow the public filming, recording and broadcasting of their meetings, but Clive and his cabinet colleagues opposed this. I have published many hard-hitting articles about Thanet council and its politicians on Facebook and my blogsite http://thanetgreencouncillor.blogspot.co.uk/. These articles are based on facts and real events and are not the vindictive, malicious, social media postings Clive would have people believe.
I firmly believe in open and transparent government and that secrecy must be kept to a minimum. I believe that the public has a right to know what is being done in their name and with their money. I therefore make no apology for my actions and will continue to record, film, publish documents and make social media comment whenever the public interest requires.
I must say I am flattered that Clive credits me with the power and influence to single handedly disrupt the operation of Thanet Council. I am but one of 56 councillors and do not possess the super-human powers he obviously thinks I have. As I said I am an convenient scapegoat for Clive’s resignation the real reasons are nothing to do with me.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to Clive. He has had an incredibly hard job of work to do as Leader of Thanet Council. Although I have undoubtedly been a thorn in his side on matters of openness and transparency there is no doubt he has given 100% to the job. I don’t take his comments about me personally and wish him the best of luck for the future.