Saturday, 14 March 2009


It appears there may be Conservatives planning for a future under a different Leadership. I have come across two stories in quick succession involving Thanet Council wasting money and making mistakes. If you expect regime change then you try and get as many bad news stories out as possible, so that the new team can say problems relate to the former leadership. This may be an encouraging sign or just a coincidence. I hope more Conservatives councillors are thinking about a brighter future for Thanet. The silence of public statements of support from local Conservatives for Sandy Ezekiel and Roger Latchford is deafening.

Here you go. "I think Richard Nicholson, Leader of the Labour Group is a hard working councillor who maintains the highest standards of conduct with officers and councillors". John Watkins says "There is not a more passionate elected representative in the UK for the town in which he was born than Cllr. Clive Hart. With him it is a seven day a week committment."

I have a stack more ready to match the Tory pledges of support to Roger and Sandy as they dribble in....

Why will no Conservative councillor publicly come out and support their leaders? Some positioning going on methinks.

There has been widespread concern about the Conservative administration’s poor management of Ramsgate Harbour. Repeated criticism of the dredging has not been addressed leading to grounding of vessels including ferries. Plans to asset strip and sell off land around the harbour threaten the maintenance facilities that attract so many people to use the harbour. A classic example of short term thinking, not understanding the strategic assets of an area.

I do not understand why Cllr. Mike Roberts is not given a more prominent role in looking after the Harbour. He has a genuine passion for it, and an immense amount of relevant knowledge. Read his biography

"For the last 30 years I have been involved in senior management of a power generation company, specialising in marine and industrial power generation. I have also had an active part in the design, construction, and in some cases closure, of shipyards, boatyards and marinas."

Can someone please explain to me why lesser qualified candidates have been selected ahead of him?

The only secret vice I’ve discovered on Mike is a love of fish and chips from the famous Newington Fish bar.

Perhaps he is just too personable to fit in with some current members of the Cabinet.

I doubt he would have overseen or allowed the current problems I hear have hit the port. I highlighted before the work over the past few weeks of a dredger from Wyre Marine services, but gave it the wrong location!

It has been operating at Ramsgate removing spoil from number one berth. This was in preparation for the arrival of a very large jackup platform in the very near future. This will be used for the installation of the enormous piles involved. So far the dredger has removed around 42,000 tons of spoil and it was due to finish soon.

However due to incorrect data that was supplied, they now find that there is still approximately 50,000 tons to be removed. In consequence the whole project will now have to be removed to Ijmuiden in Holland, for the next four to six weeks until Ramsgate Port number one berth is suitable for use, involving more time at sea for the jack up vessel.

This is not an ideal welcome to Thanet for the project. I hope there will be an open investigation and explanation of what went wrong and why. Ramsgate Harbour’s reputation is already jeopardised and we need to have a rapid clear explanation so mariners are not further disheartened.
I look forward to Sandy Ezekiel’s explanation as to why his administration cannot possibly have made an error and it is all the government’s fault. More about money being wasted tomorrow.


  1. Mark, you highlight the problem of the Ezekiel & Latchford approach. Other than Cllr Wise, the quality of The Cabinet is poor. Cllr Roberts (harbour expertise); Cllr Moores (IT expertise); Cllr Bruce( Environmental expertise) and all unused since 2007 in these key areas. What talent also lies un-used on The Labour benches? Rather than 'in-fighting' both within the main parties and between them, wouldn't it be more adult to take a 'cross party' approach to serious issues that need addressing?

    I can see the attraction of an elected mayor without a 'Party Political axe to grind' as a way to achieve that.

  2. Bertie the Labour Shadow cabinet is clearly superior. There is not the infighting you suggest in Labour's ranks. Many Labour cllrs like myself do not seek a "position" so there is not the competition on the other side so we are far more harmonious. It is easier with a smaller group, rather than a large majority.

    Better cross-party working is unlikely to happen until the Conservatives have a Truth and Reconciliation process.

    You would not believe the things I am told or sent, that I cannot use because they do not stand up, but yet I am sure are true.

  3. Seems someone is awake as there is now a third dredger down the port.