Saturday, 1 August 2009


Last week I wrote about the proposed regulation by Conservative controlled Thanet Council of councillor's blogs. Pictured is John Ward a former Conservative councillor in Medway. He blogged about his opposition to this unnecessary regulation. Today the main Conservative grassroots website Conservative Home has written about the proposed regulation. Writer Cllr Harry Phibbs from Hammersmith and Fulham opposes regulation.

Go through the comments and there are overwhelmingly Conservatives opposing Thanet Council's proposal. Here's a list of Conservative councillors opposing extra regulation:

Cllr. Stephen Ellis Cabinet Member Staffordshire Moorlands (that's the Council that successfully broadcasts Council meetings unlike Thanet, I've quoted him previously)

Former councillor Steve Foley.

Cllr. Liam Maxwell - Windsor and Maidenhead

Cllr. Steve Tierney - Cambridgeshire County Council

Cllr. Matt Dean - Southampton Council

and there's well known Labour blogger Cllr. Bob Piper too!

All Thanet Labour councillors are opposed to extra regulation. That leaves just Thanet Conservative Cllr. Simon Moores publicly supporting this proposal.

As commenter on the Conservative Home piece David Galea says

"Some people just don't get the net."

UPDATE 1.8.09
Another comment on Conservative Home from Woolfie:

"I attended a meeting with Roger Gale a couple of months ago. Who told him what the internet was, as when I met him he didn't have a clue. It's people like him that makes me never want to vote Tory."


  1. Absolute garbage, of course Roger Gale knows what the internet is, & uses it all the time! In fact 2 or 3 years back he wrote several e-mails on my behalf when he helped me greatly with some personal business.

    Why even copy a comment by someone who calls himself "Woolfie"? It's obviously just another person who likes stirring things behind a false identity!

  2. Peter Conservative Home regulate posters and I can see Woolfie may be a UKIP supporter from other comments he has made. Roger Gale can show he understands the internet can show he understands the internet by opposing this proposal. If it came form the Labour government he would and he should follow his right wing libertarian instints and oppose extra regulation.

  3. Chris wells wrote:
    Your manner of covering this issue does you little credit, having played politics with it from the very beginning. Selection of different and anonymous comments to 'prove' your case; but always down on anonymous comments when they criticise you on your blog; quoting lots of sources commenting on what has yet to be published (note, I have not seen it either, whatever exists); and, as ever, painting local labour as wounded knights of truth and honesty, when anyone with a little local political knowledge, reading any blog will know, and clearly observe, the bias in the writing, on both sides of the political fence.
    The question that remains unanswered is how much influence blogs may have in forming opinion; how it differs (or not) from, for example, the lines taken in political leaflets. and if any different controls are needed.
    I have stated personally I feel this to be broadly irrelevant compared to the issues facing politicians in the near future - the genuine affordability of the public sector as it stands, and the future of public sector pensions, to name but two.
    Your insistence on banging on about this minor issue tells its own story, as, presumably, your party does not want the real issues out there to be considered - as it sets their stewardship of our country in a somewhat poor light!

  4. Chris Wells said,

    " Your insistence on banging on about this minor issue tells its own story, as, presumably, your party does not want the real issues out there to be considered"

    And here was me thinking that it was the local TORIES that wanted to censor local blogs, as usual Chris twist the facts to suit his own arguement.
    Labour members are more than willing to debate the various merits of policy, assuming of course that the Tories had any coherent or cohesive policies other than cut public expenditure, they wont say where or by how much, or cut taxes for the rich.

  5. We get very little true political analysis in the local press unlike the nationals so blogs are one way for the voters to comment/question/argue with/set the agenda etc. with the various political groups.

    If councillors of any political persuasion keep within the libel laws of the country and I, a non-councillor, can come on and put my view, again within the law, what's the problem?

    It's ironic that the Conservative Party that bleats on about too much control from central government on our daily lives, would sign up to a form of censorship on what councillors can say on their own blogs.

  6. Mark, can't you some more local overcrowded roads / closed museums / delapidated buildings to write about? I'm sure that everyone (with the exception of other bickering councillors) find these subjects far more interesting & helpful. The same applies to Simon.

  7. I do wish you would read the comment before rushing to bang out the party line, I made it quite clear that personally I think this is a waste of time, whoever, in truth, or in your convenient myth, is deemed responsible for it.

    Chris Wells

  8. Would a blogless Thanet know about the Sericol aquifer contamination ?

    Ditto Thor aquifer contamination ?

    Ditto Butler £267,000 legacy to East Kent Maritime Trust ?

    Ditto The question of whether a laundry at Northwood had direct abstraction from aquifer (Steaming contaminated water stright to atmosphere esp in pressers. The Health Protection Agency epidemiology inquiry to assess whether mercury, mixed solvents and cyclohexonone in Thanet water over decades had an adverse health effect.

    Ditto Police would still be denying the live fire paramilitary training activity at 6th Thanet Gun Range. Police would still be claiming that they policed firearms and range law properly. (Now they are electing silence and referring all correspondence to their legal dept Paid for by public purse. At least their legal dept is electing the silence of the common criminal.

    Ditto Admiralty FOI answers re their Board of Inquiry report into the 1989 bombing of Deal Royal Marines Barracks. (And why three security complaints 1980, 81 and 88/89 were not listed in the report. IE More questions for Kent Police failing to protect the Royal Marines.

    Without blogging the fact is the chatter would only be about two fiasco incidents Winter Gardens and Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

  9. TDC don't want to stop blogging. They want to stop irresponsible blogging by members of the council. Such as has brought Councillors Green and Nottingham to the attention of the standards committee. As always councillor you manipulate the story to suit your own purposes. Be honest and get your facts right just for a change.

  10. Anon 9.13 how do you know this? publish and be open and your anonymity does you no credit. Yes 4 malicious referrals to Standards for me by Thanet Tories none of which stood up. You should look at training your fellow Conservatives on the concept of free speech. No the problem is the TDC Tories attack macine not those standing up to it like myself as you well know, but then you're part of the "machine" so you're not going to stop are you? hence you want to regulate the internet just like Iran and China.

  11. Your government is the "machine" councillor. There is no spin or manipulation of the facts by any Tory councillor or TDC officer that I know. You are so used to doing it, because it is embedded in your culture, that you don't even recognise when you are doing it. As evidenced by your "none of which stood up" statement.

  12. Anon 13.11 no wonder you stay anon with such nonsense. You ask for examples a TDC officer I would sadly refer you to the most unfortunate comments made by an officer in the Woollen Mills incident showing clear partisanship.

    No spin or manipulation of facts - well can you explain why you remain anonymous and spin facts? I stand by my comments and you lurk and make false statements.

    Finally you clearly do not read Simon Moores Conservative blog which regularly manipulates facts, here's a recent example
    Come on let us know who you are well informed TDC Conservative or remain the anonymous manipulator you are. I think we both know you'll take the "TDC Tory machine" road of cowardice in the light of public examination.

  13. Now Mark,

    Yourrecent posts illustrate both the beauty, and malice, of councillors blogging. You are suddenly concerned about anonymous posters - at least those who oppose your views. I do not recallyou indulging such niceties during the election campaign, when following John Watkins venemous personal attack on me there were a number of anonymous posts, all of which suggested a level of knowledge of those involved in local politics, and all, mysteriously anti-me. And yet you took none of them to task, as you do these recent ones.

    In one fell swoop you illustrate the free speech that makes blogging entertaining, and the lack of responsibility that can infect cllrs blogs.

    In my view there is little difference between blogs, letters, press articles, speeches etc etc The public may not be aware how often cllrs may be accused in anonymous letters, or have to sit and watch opponents blatantly encourage complaints through half truth and innuendo.

    If you are so sure that any policy in this area will be flawed, then why not wait and see if one appears at all. If no one else has managed to produce one, what makes you think that hwatever appears may have any validity at all? It can only re iterate current legality, or request agreement to a voluntary position beyond the legal position, which would be doomed to failure.

    TDC Tory machine? Cowardice in light of public examination? It would appear you, the labour group, are more afraid from where I observe things - as an opponent to such an attempted codification of the obvious!

    Chris Wells

  14. Westgate Old Lady4 August 2009 at 10:06

    My local councilor, Mr Moores, is doing a fine job and destined to be a rising star in the party - I think he's perfectly right to ban bad language on Labour blogs.

  15. Those like Westgate Old Lady who hold up local Tory blogs - especially that run by local Tory spin "doctor" Simon Moores - as paragons of virtue are seriously misguided. So much so they cannot be objective observers, but must be loyal Tory Party supporters.

    The political right in Thanet has long used blogs to deploy malicious, personal attacks on those who do not share their ideology. The language has at times been vile, with the social, mental, and employment status of their victims routinely questioned and surmised. And I am afraid to read yet more hypocritical bilge from Chris Wells is just about the last straw.

  16. I look forward to Mark haranging you for the cowardice of not using your name, anon of 1334.

    Chris Wells

  17. Councillor Wells, I strongly resent being called a coward by you. The blogging system allows anonymous comment. If it didn't, many blogs - including those run by your Tory colleagues, who also occasionally resort to comments such as yours - would be very thin indeed. I suspect that for all of them, the vanity of higher visitor numbers outweighs any dislike of anonymity - until occasionally they choose to make an issue out of it.

    You have repeatedly started debate on various subjects then walked away with some sort of supercilious parting comment when you have either tired of it, or are being pressed to tell the truth and share facts. Your "pleading of the fifth" and your frequent complaint that "I was not at the meeting" seem to be your hallmarks.

    That is not an "insidious anonymous" attack on you, as you may bleat; the evidence is there across many blogs for anyone to find. Perhaps every anonymous blogger should either pack up, or be barred. But you will have very, very few people to engage with then. Your craving for attention and publicity will suffer. Your choice.