Wednesday, 7 August 2013


TDCs Labour Cabinet are slowly beginning to understand just how angry  the people of Thanet are about  the £3.3 million  "Ferrygate" debt scandal. Until very recently the Cabinet were quite happy to state that they had "done the  right thing" in allowing TransEuropa  and its 3 Cypriot based associated companies to run up this staggering debt. Now they seem to be backtracking.

They have now agreed to change the Council's financial rules so that any debt of over £150,000 is reported to a meeting of Full Council. Funny but this is precisely what the small group of Councillors  who forced an emergency meeting of Council last night were asking for, a long time before the Cabinet thought it was good idea.

This is called stealing your opponents clothes. Its one of the oldest political tricks in the book. It's a cynical manoeuvre taken by desperate out-of touch politicians who realise they are on sticky wicket and likely to lose shed loads of votes.

If the Labour Cabinet were genuinely concerned about financial openness and transparency why didn't they introduce this new financial rule when they took control from the Tories in 2012 and inherited the huge Transeuropa debt which was then £1.7 million. If the Labour Cabinet were genuinely concerned about being honest in their management of the public purse why didn't they introduce this  new financial rule and report the Transeuropa debt to Council before it doubled in size to an eye-watering £3.4 million.

The truth of the matter is that the Thanet Council's Labour Cabinet only took action when it was clear that public anger was growing about the Transeurpa debt mountain and as it became apparent that they are likely to lose votes over their gross mismanagement of this scandal.

Sounds familiar?  Yes they did precisely the same thing with Ramsgate Pleasurama. Only when it became apparent just how unpopular their support for developers SFP Ventures was becoming did they take decisive action. What did they do? They cynically adopted a motion of mine placing a deadline on SFP to secure funding - a motion they had previously voted against.

Mind you, although I welcome this change of direction, all was not sweetness and light last night. Every Labour and Conservative councillor at the meeting voted to oppose my motion to make available all the secret documents relating to the Transeuropa debt scandal. The leader of the Council misinformed the meeting that these documents were already available under the terms of the Audit Commission Act 1998. As readers of these pages will know my efforts to see these documents under the   1998 Act have been blocked by the Council time after time and I am now going to the Information Commissioner to ask that the Council be ordered to release the documents to me. I am sure that  the Leader of the Council's speech writer advised him of this fact but that he simply "forgot" to mention it to councillors last night. 

I wonder what might be in (or might not be in) these documents which the Council and senior politicians seem hell bent on keeping secret. When I eventually find out I will let you know.


  1. Nothing new there then. I am sure most people understand what Poole the fool Hart the tart are doing, but it doesn't hurt to identify the main issues. You have to understand that the Conservatives are having to back Labour, because Bayford was responsible for hiding the first £1.7M. He was also hiding the existence of Cypriot companies and claiming the cock and bull excuse of an Italian Company that was going to save the day. Idiots all of them.

  2. Ian

    I too have been astonished this week. Clive Hart is adhering to silence. But Iris Johnston has just sought advice from Harvey Patterson concerning what "Duty" she is under (as a cllr)

    To be fair I would expect all cllrs to understand duties in Money Laundering report obligation, and in Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

    And maybe the interlinking provision of Proceeds
    of Crime Act to Terrorism Act 2000 might be something cllrs would need to seek advice on. But surely BEFORE a related Standards process ends and not AFTER ?

    The position of Harvey Patterson, as I understand it, is that there are no Statute imposed duties on the council to report crime. On this basis he felt no duty to search TDC records as even if he found evidence of crime there he would be under no duty to make a crime complaint.

    I recently made a complaint against simon Moores blogging. I suspended complaint because to yield jurisdiction to Standards first required points of law and historical TDC process to be resolved by FULL COUNCIL.

    So I was a little surprised to see on Moores blog his claim that complaint against him had been thrown out. And me still not knowing which body trained him as an EMT, what his Royal Marines Service was and, as he is a shooting hobbyist, what ranges he used or belonged to.

    The history of TDC legal advice is worrying. In 1996 the TDC solicitor refused to circulate Searchlight magazine to members. The articles describing throughporting of mercenaries at Ramsgate Harbour. But the articles were about a South Africa Commission of Inquiry on Which Desmond Tutu had been a member. Those proceedings enjoy qualified immunity to circulate to members. So strange advice from the council solicitor back then. Keeping members in the dark.

    Then circa 2000 complaint against a Planning Officer and Cllr Hayton (The chap who proposed Sandy Ezekiel for leadership lest we forget) No check of TDC records to establish Hayton's witness status at High Court 1998. All legal advice based on an erroneous guess hayton had been a witness of fact. No duties under statute advised to Standards. Planning Officer given severance as TDC and he concealed the crime of possession and use of machine guns. (The Planning Officer had witnessed this at 6th Thanet Gun range but wanted to be silent poor little public sector coward)

    Although I retired from all Thanet cobblers on my 64th birthday I will, nonetheless be fascinated to read the legal advice Harvey comes up with this time. Should be a laugh. Is he a qualified solicitor ? I ask because as such he would not be entitled to a client privilege defence under Proceeds of Crime Act I think. And hence not under Terrorism Act 2000.

    Best wishes Richard

  3. I feel that a change in current practice is a great thing. Any change feels like it is plugging a gap. It does feel a shame this policy was not adopted earlier. It takes a big person to say they are sorry - we made a mistake. People understand when you explain. Its when you hide it they begin to question...

    But the mistakes made are on a MASSIVE corporate scale it just makes me think of the term 'fat cat councils' and even the term Cllr Johnson used in the Portas tv programe - "village idiots and country bumpkins".

    Serious, professional advice is needed. This is not a time for well meaning amateurs. If you are not up for the job, step aside. For the good of Thanet.