But hang about a minute, I understand that the South Thanet Labour Party, which covers the Ramsgate area, voted several weeks ago to oppose the re-opening of Manston Airport; supporting instead its redevelopment into a mixed use residential, leisure and commercial site. Whilst I agree 100% with this sensible decision I wonder why Johnston was able to stand up at last weeks Council meeting and espouse a policy which directly opposed the agreed position of her South Thanet comrades? Surely she must have known what her comrades decided a couple of months ago?
What confuses me even more is that three out of the five Thanet Labour councillors (Constantine, Fenner and Campbell) represent South Thanet wards and are all members of the South Thanet Labour Party. Why on earth didn’t they use their majority position to overrule Johnston and prevent her from putting forward a policy which conflicts with South Thanet Labour Party? Perhaps they also disagree with South Thanet Labour Party about the airport? Perhaps they don’t see the airport as an important issue? Perhaps they are scared of their Leader? Or perhaps they were simply asleep at the wheel like most other councillors tend to be?
Either way the failure of the 3 South Thanet Labour councillors to stop Johnston from committing them to a pro-airport policy is a disaster. The Council, which is already in a very difficult financial position will now have to spend massive amounts of public money continuing the pursuit of an expensive CPO which everyone knows is bound to fail. Plans to re-develop the site, create desperately needed jobs and attract major investment into Thanet will be delayed yet again due to the negative messages being sent out by the Council. Surely this was a major opportunity for Labour to have stood up against the futile CPO charade and made it clear it was on the side of regeneration and progress, rather than clinging to its discredited past.And I’m not the only one who sees things this way. I re-produce an extract from a facebook page about Manston Airport which gives a taster about just how angry some Labour Party members are with Iris Johnston. I reckon her days as Party Leader are numbered and that fairly soon she will be pushed , if she doesn’t jump first. This reminds me of Johnston’s predecessor,former Labour Council Leader Clive Hart, who despite the fact that the Labour Party in Thanet stood for election on a policy of protecting our green field sites from development, agreed in his capacity as a member of the East Kent Opportunities (EKO) management board to build 750 houses on a farmland next the New Haine Road. So, yet again history repeats itself. Despite election promises to protect Thanet’s environment successive Labour leaders have supported actions which despoil our green fields and increase atmospheric pollution. I hope that those Labour members who are undoubtedly plotting Johnston’s political demise act quickly and without mercy. Her utterances at last weeks Council meeting have let you down badly.