Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel’s columns in the Isle of Thanet Gazette are a weekly selective view of the world. I have commented before that I think it is a weakness of the Gazette to only provide a platform to the local MPs and Council leader. I think on a proportionate basis it should allow occasional columns from Greens, Independents, Liberals and also Labour’s opposition Leader on Thanet Council. The smaller parties might only feature once or twice a year, but they still should have a chance to have their views expressed as long as they have elected representatives, be they councillors, MPs, or MEPs.
There were plans for the Leader’s column to go on the web but this did not happen for some reason, so I have photographed it above and you can click on it to enlarge last week's column.
It does not help that Sandy Ezekiel rarely cites sources to substantiate his "facts", and last week was a special nonsense edition.
In the first of what might become an occasional series, here’s what Sandy could and should have said if he was more accountable to the people of Thanet.
“I want to borrow as little money as possible, and ignore that there is a global financial problem caused by American banks. I want to cut services. I want as few people as possible working in the public sector. Contract it out, privatise it, or better still do not do it. My Council is leading the way by closing down public toilets. People should go before they leave home, or be able to hold it in. That is one level of discomfiture, let me move up to the next level, pain. I talk about some pain for employees, but please be clear, I want everybody in the community to share this pain. I have landed you all in it together. I am confident that as your Leader I am the man to inflict pain.
Indiscriminate pain is wrong, there are those in the community who should not suffer these cuts. I am pleased that my fellow Conservative councillors Hayton, Jarvis, Bayford, Kirby and Wells all had an 8% increase in the money they receive from Kent County Council this year. It is right and proper that your Conservatives protect key people. Trust Labour Cllr. Liz Green to complain about this and talk about morals.
Let me tell you how badly we are running the Council. Six years ago my Conservative administration took power in Thanet. Every one of those years at Thanet Council we have had an increase in money from the government. Not just to meet inflation, but every single year the Labour government has given me extra money on top of inflation to spend on you. That’s a great deal. And you know it gets even better. Most of you will not have had increases greater than inflation for the last six years, and you may be facing very uncertain times at present.
Thanet Council is sorted. The government has guaranteed an above inflation settlement for this year, and the next two years! That's a total of 9 years of increases greater than inflation. So as you can see I have no reason to complain about the money coming in from the government, and I can plan for the future knowing I am getting increases. Most of you can’t say that.
Sadly we have wasted that money, that’s why I can describe Thanet Council as being “on its knees.” I do not care what effect this has on the morale of Council staff. I just want to make it up as I go along, and every week that is what I intend to do. Lots and lots of extra money, and I have lead the Council to a situation where I tell you we are on our knees.
As a Conservative I am opposed to our local museums. These are havens of shared history and experiences across the whole of our community, that's almost socialist. I do not value this, it is not individualist enough. As your Leader I have closed the Maritime Museum in Ramsgate and Margate Museum. Let me tell you where we have reallocated the money. I think stripping is a far more important part of our heritage, and that's why I have spent £30,000 on promoting it. Some people say it stereotypes women, but that is just Labour bleating on about equalities, let’s get the burlesque on, or should I say ladies off!
Do we want to offer family attractions like museums or do we want to aim at stag parties? I think all you families out there know what my Cabinet think is the answer to that question."
Now here’s my challenge to Sandy Ezekiel, let’s have the references for the article you produced last week. Mine are linked above, and talking Thanet and Thanet District Council down is the wrong thing to do.