Thanet Star

Should Mark Nottingham Stop Blogging?

Labour might be well advised to be very worried to have Mark Nottingham as a spokesperson. In fact sometimes I wonder if Mark is secretly a conservative but for his hate of a certain conservative blogger from Thanet.

Take for example two of his most recent posts one in which he says: Several Christians have suggested to me that it is inappropriate for Council premises to be used for events with links to the occult and Satanism. He goes on to add bluntly: I do not share their concerns. suggesting a scant disregard for the opinion of thousands of voters.

Yet just two days later Mark is talking about getting on the good side of the Chinese community (whose home nation are investing heavily in Thanet via the China Gateway project). Mark suggests that Labour need to chat up just 273 whose votes, it seems, matter more to him than 1,400 or more other people whose views Mark does not approve of.

Keep reading to learn why this could really hurt Labour

I say 1,400 but it could be far higher. As high as 9,000 votes could have been offended away from the Labour party by Marks words. Even if 1% change they're voting habit that's still a 90 swing against Labour while they are trying to win 300 or more in their favour.

It seems to me that the message Mark is conveying is that he is not interested in the opinions of others but in pushing his own agenda. That form of politics I could never vote for.

1,400 is not a number I have plucked out of the air but is abn approximation of the number of Evangelical Christians in Thanet. These Evangelicals have been known to have joint services in the large Winter Gardens Hall and fill it. That hall seats 1,400. I'm not sure how familiar Mark is with evangelicals as a whole but they have a tendency towards being vocal and communicative.

When the voting margins are in the low hundreds offending thousands of voters is a really stupid idea.

Equally foolish is to openly suggest that the time has come to start courting voters based on race. I am sure that this small community have some vital things to contribute to society. Yet so to do the people who live on housing estates and have long ago given up on a system that doesn't care about them. So too do the LGBT community, the art community, the goth community, the Asian community, the elderly and the newly of age voter.

Any political person anywhere in Thanet could win a life time of unshakable office holding by winning and keeping the hearts of not even 1% of those that have given up voting (say 650 people). However to do that the councillor would have to start taking views he disagrees with seriously. I doubt Mark is able to do this. Although frankly that is not saying much as I doubt most of our councillors are able to do this. They, like Mark, seem stuck in a prehistoric era of telling voters what to think.

This is 2009 gentleman and it is time to realise that voters have long been been the ones doing the telling. There is a by-election due in a ward where roughly 70% of the population see voting as futile. Blog posts like those Marks do nothing to help when both main political parties are so mud covered that voters see no real difference.

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Public Comments

This Normal comment was left by mark nottingham [score: 0]:

Matt my post stated that Thanet Conservative evangelical Christian Ted Watt Ruffell had invited those with satanic links into the town hall. I think that is open minded of him. As I wrote in the same post:

"I hope that other faith groups will have the same opportunities provided."

I do not agree with Wiccanism the worship of the devil but I recognise some people do it as does Ted. Are you suggesting that evangelical Christians are one homogenous group who would seek to ban other faiths from Council premises? I think if you talked to them you would find that like Ted this is not the case. Some would, many would not. Evangelical Christians are not one homogenous group as you suggest. Look at how many switched in America from Bush to Obama for example.

You ask about my experience of Evangelical Christians. I have supported consistently (and you can read about it on my blog) Lark in the Park which is run by Evangelical Christians. I find them open minded not the caricature you suggest. I also work with voluntary projects and churches in the Northwood ward I represent where the workers are evangelical christians, again supporting funding applications for their work.

With regard to the Chinese community I am keen that a group that pays taxes but proportionately does not vote as much as other parts of the community should turn out and vote more. They won't all vote Labour of course but surely we should be encouraging voting rather than discouraging it?

You oppose courting voters by race yet the Liberal democrats and Conservatives have similarly groupings working with various communities as Labour does. Indeed the only party I am aware of that does not have similar interest groups is the BNP! I know that's not your political view, but I think you should reconsider why you are uncomfortable with all political parties working with different ethnic groups.
Next week for example the Conservatives have the following groups meeting at their Conference
Conservative Arab Network
Conservative Muslim Forum
Why gay people Should Vote Conservative
Conservative Womens Organisation Muslim group
Conservative Friends of Turkey
Conservative Friends of israel
I could go on.
I welcome this diversity on their behalf, why are you uncomfortable with it?

I encourage all to vote but we have to look at different methods to reach different people, postal voting, telephone canvassing and even the internet.

I would be happy to introduce you to local evangelical Christians so you can represent their views more accurately.
01/10/2009 14:52:02

This Normal comment was left by Matt B [score: 0]:

You have not read my post correctly. I am suggesting only that your attitude exposed in one post is at odds with your desires expressed in another.

You know full well that attempting to set up a straw man attack backed up with you ad verecundiam reference to a single other councillor is fairly thin.

You also are smart enough to know that it is your dismissal of the opinion of a group based only on your strong considering that the opinion is wrong is what I am questioning here.

The issue of faith acceptance is no under question but your attitude to opinions that you disagree with is.

Your choice to type a long defence of your opinion rather than discuss the central theme of my post underscores this far better than I could have.
01/10/2009 18:50:40

This Normal comment was left by mark nottingham [score: 0]:

Matt
1. All Margate councillors approved this event not just Ted. I haven't found a single councillor who dissents with his decision, so not rather thin, rather fat actually! I'm unclear do you think the event should have been banned?

2.I do not have much time for views that are religously or politically intolerant and seek to ban or prohibit others activity, but then I think you would find that's the case for most people in public life.
Guilty as charged!
mark
02/10/2009 11:26:20

This Normal comment was left by Matt B [score: 0]:

I'm still only talking about the attitude you come across as presenting. The detail of the case are rather secondary and you will note that I've not chosen to dwell on them. This is because I have no established opinion on the subject. Your presentation of self and it's impact on voters has been and will always remain the topic of this post.

Secondary to that is the topic of the sensitive handling of views and opinions that differ to ones own because most do.

I'm not interested in who gets to use the council's property - that's the council's business and only becomes of interest to me if it hurts or helps Thanet in any significant way.

I'm not especially interested in if there can even be said to be a right or wrong in the debate(s) I picked up on.

What I am interested in is the net result of a display of disregard for a group of admitted swing voters when bean counting to win a slight margin.

If a political person is to win a p[lace they must be willing to accept the votes of the people they don't like as well as the ones they do and then have the humility to represent both sets of views.

If you want an easier or safer job try lion taming.
05/10/2009 10:00:19
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