Thanet Star

Yes, there was an earthquake last night

In case you were not one to jump on Twitter the moment it happened there was an earthquake in Thanet last night.

At this stage details are a big sketchy but it looks like a 4.2 magnitude quake which took place about 12km down and out to sea somewhere.

Did you feel the quake? tell us about it.

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Is the new TDC leader up to the job?

As Thanet comes to grips with the fact that it elected a UKIP council we take a closer look at UKIPs only non-novice councillor - Chris Wells.

Before joining UKIP Chris Wells was a conservative councillor in TDC, KCC and Broadstairs Town Council (BTC). He was a significant figure n a number of controversies that outraged the public and he was fond of casting unfounded insults in the direction of Thanet's grass roots news sources.

Cllr Wells was never what you might call a "hard working councillor". In 2013 Wells won the Thanet Star unaward for being the laziest councillor in TDC. He had failed to turn up to 50% of the meetings he had made a commitment to attending.

Not much has changed for Cllr Wells. This year Wells clocked in an impressive 100% absentee rate.

Overall Wells managed to attend 71% of his expected meetings. Or to put this in simple terms he missed more than 1 in 4 meetings. More so recently. Hardly doing a favour to reputation (however well deserved) that UKIP candidates are lazy once in office.

What could possibly be going on that would cause UKIP's only experienced councillor to be even more tardy than usual?

It would appear that UKIP Councillor Chris Wells was only last year (while he was still a Tory) declaired bankrupt for failing to pay his council tax. The news, which I understand was published in the Gazette, was that Cllr Wells had a large amount of unpaid council tax that had been outstanding for quite some time.

For more information on Cllr Wells and the bankruptcy: "Councillor Declared Bankrupt after Failing to Pay Council Tax." Isle of Thanet Gazette, 14th March 2014. (Via HighBeam Research).

While I have no doubt that this was a deeply unpleasant experience, the further details of which are not really any of our business, the nature of the debt and the impact of it raises several significant questions. Not least of which is that Cllr Wells's ability to serve as a councillor at this time.

  • What sort of example was Cllr Wells setting as a sitting Councillor?
  • Has the experience compromised Cllr Wells's ability to serve as a councillor?
  • Can a councillor that failed to show up to council meetings for five months be an effective councillor?
  • Can Wells manage the TDC budget if his own is such a mess?
  • Is this the profile of a suitable leader?

...

» Continue Reading: Is the new TDC leader up to the job?

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What can we expect from a UKIP TDC?

Now that UKIP control TDC what are they going to do with it?

In what, I cannot help but feel, was a “wrong turn at Albuquerque” for Thanet we have elected a UKIP council.

So what can we expect from a UKIP council?

This is actually quite difficult to predict as UKIP have never controlled a council before. This is their first, ever.

Thanet District Council is being run by novice councillors.

Further complicating matters is that, aside from one well known defector from the Tories, all the council members appear to have never done the job before.

Statistically speaking UKIP councillors in Thanet do not work very hard. This tend might continue but with the council in their control the UKIP councillors might have no choice but to work harder.

TDC Average Work per Party

Worth keeping an eye upon is the question of whether UKIP councillors will take advice from the far more seasoned opposition members?

...

» Continue Reading: What can we expect from a UKIP TDC?

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Who are the Hardest Working TDC Councillors?

The nominations for hardest working TDC councillor are in.

Using just the numbers I looked at which council members are the hardest working. By hard working I mean showing up to meetings where a lot of the work is done. These numbers do not track actual contributions nor do they show any work done in the home ward outside of meetings.

The "winners" are councillors that ranked as the topmost in number expected, percentage attendance and total attendance.

Councillor Peter Campbell of Labour was probably the hardest worked member there. He was expected at an eye watering 240 meetings and he made it to 99% of those too (missing only 3 meetings). In addition he went along to a further 15 meetings above and beyond. Campbell attended 252 meetings.

The only one to come close to Campell's record breaking meeting attendance was independent Councillor Thomas King who was scheduled to be at 154 (and made it to 138), He went along to another 59 extra meetings. The most extra meetings of any council member. King's hardest working status comes from the fact that he chose to commit extra time. King attended a total of 197 meetings.

For comparison Racist Rozanne (Duncan) who was so racist even UKIP did not want her was expected at 32 meetings and she was only seen at 26 of them.

The conservatives have a single nomination for a hard working councillor. Councillor Alasdair Bruce who picks up a nomination for the highest percentage of extra meetings relative to the number he was expected to attend. Bruce was expected at 42 meetings, showed up at 39 of those but also attended an extra 30 (71% extra).

The final hardest working nomination is shared by Labour's councillors Harry Scobie (54 total) and Sandra Hart (55 total) who missed the least amount of meetings (just one each in four years).

A few honourable mentions. Conservative Councillor Michael Tomlinson (162 total), Labour Councillor Mrs Iris Johnston (139 total) and Labour Councillor Alan Poole (128 total which included 44 extra)

Which nomination do you think was truly the hardest working?

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Have your council candidates even visited your ward?

If you want a functional local council - voting party political is not enough.

It is so very important to actually know who your local candidates are. Take for example Dane Valley Ward:

Of the candidates that are standing in Dane Valley half are from outside the area.

The local candidates are:

  • Matt Brown
  • Louise Mary Frances Drelaud
  • John Martin Edwards (Seeking re-election)
  • Gary James Taylor

To be fair on Paul Millis, the Conservative candidate, he only lives in St Peters which is very close to Dane Valley.

John Edwards was elected as district councillor for Dane Valley in 2011 by a wide margin and is seeking to be elected again.

Louise Drelaud previously stood in another ward.

I can find nothing out about Gary Taylor nor what he stands for personally.

Obviously I know Matt Brown very well as that is me. I know, for example, that I really care about Dane Valley but do the rest of Dane valley know this (one hopes they do now).

The candidates that are actually likely to do something worthwhile for you, to actually represent you, in that ward come from a number of parties.

How often do you think the candidates from Westbrook or Birchington even come to Dane Valley? How many of those candidates do you think even know what the Sure Start Centre does or that we are facing the loss of the King George Pub? How many of them have ever visited Windmill Community Allotments? Have any of the outsider candidates witnessed the problems we face in Dane Valley first hand?

In fact how do we know that those candidates have ever even been to Dane Valley?

On voting day the parliamentary elections are the best place to make Party Political votes whereas the District and Parish (Town Council) votes make the difference between a local council that does something worthwhile and a local council that remains corrupt, secretive and unfair.

You can choose.

Choose change.

Choose local.

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What could Matt Brown do for Thanet?

My Name is Matt Brown and I need your help.

Matt Brown

I need your help to make Dane Valley a place to be proud of. I need your help to make Dane Valley relevant to the powers that be. I need you help to get things fixed.

Dane Valley is my home. I am not always seen but I am frequently in the background getting things sorted out. I am standing for election because there is only so much I can do for the area from outside TDC.

Thanet could be a great place to live - all we need to do is work together to make it happen. Let us make it Thanet great for ourselves and our families. We can do it together.

...

» Continue Reading: What could Matt Brown do for Thanet?

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Like to write?

If you love to write then the Thanet Creative Writers blog might be the ideal place to connect with your nearest writer group.

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Hyper-localism

For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.

General
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Did you know?

Margate was the first seaside resort to introduce deck chairs way back in 1898.

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Did you know

MP Roger Gail (Thanet North) wanted to increase VAT

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Did you know

MP Roger Gale (Thanet North) has never voted on measures to reduce tax avoidance

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Too popular

On Wednesday 28th May the article The staggering truth about Gloag's Manston deal was so popular that it was briefly unreachable as the server could not supply pages fast enough.

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