One of the main issues on the agenda was a petition about the Ramsgate Pleasurama development. Organised by local people who are worried about the lack progress with the development and the decade long blight of our seafront, the petition had gathered almost 2,000 signatures which by Thanet Council standards is a very big petition.
With the honourable exception of Councillors Jo Gideon, Julie Marson and Chris Wells and an intervention from yours truly, who all tried to steer the debate in a sensible practical direction of doing something about the problem. Everyone else who spoke was determined to score points and lay the blame for the Pleasurama debacle at the feet of the opposite party. Even though the truth is that Thanet's Labour and Tory Parties are equally as guilty of visiting the Pleasurama disaster upon the unsuspecting residents of Ramsgate.
Well as temperatures and tempers go hotter something had to give and it did. Councillor Rick Everitt suggest that gaoled ex-Tory leader Sandy Eziekiel was entirely responsible for the Pleasurama disaster. This outrageously ridiculous claim provoked howls of anger from the massed ranks of Tory Councillors, one of whom made a personal comment about Everitt.
At this point the meeting collapsed into pandemonium. Raised voices, insults and threats were rife. A journalists in the public gallery, Christine Tongue, got out her video camera and started recording the incredible scene which was unfolding before our eyes. I took out my camera and began to snap away . Cllr Everitt rushed across the chamber and appeared to square up to a seated Cllr Tomlinson. Cllr Mrs Tomlinson quickly placed herself between the two. I managed to snap what I thought was going to become a fist fight.
In the meantime Christine Tounge was ejected from the Council Chamber for having the temerity to try to record how Thanet's most senior politicians conduct themselves. Christine was absolutely right to film what went on. The people of Thanet have a democratic right to see how their elected representatives behave.
Once things had calmed down the meeting was resumed. I was asked by the Chairman of the meeting if I would give an undertaking not to take any more photos. I said in view of appalling behaviour of councillors I would not give such an undertaking and reserved the right to take more photos. Councillors then voted to have me have me removed from the meeting.
So good people of Ramsgate - there you have it. Instead of discussing an issue of major public interest - Pleasurama and the blight of our seafront like grown ups, your elected representatives decided instead to play a blame game with lots of name calling and almost a fight thrown in for good measure.
Not only was this horribly pathetic, but most importantly of all it was an insult to the people (of all political persuasions) who are so concerned about developments in their town that they got off their backsides to try to do something.
Yesterday evening any remaining vestiges of local democracy in Thanet were ground underfoot by senior politicians of both parties who arrogantly dismissed the very serious concerns of a large number of local people, in favour of arrogant political self-indulgence of jaw-dropping proportions.
If ever there was a good reason to vote Independent on 2 May surely this must be it!
If ever there was a reason to begin building an independent movement in Thanet which can restore serious democracy this must be it.
the words "public office" and "not fit for" come to mind.
Vote Ian Driver Ramsgate's Independent Voice
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