Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Labour Proposes Dreamland Cover Up

In  letters to the Thanet Gazette and Thanet Extra the Thanet Council  Labour Group (Iris Johnston, Jenny Matteface, Michelle Fenner, Karen Constantine and Peter Campbell)  call for the management of the £20million publically  funded Margate  Dreamland project to be investigated  by the council’s  Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

In what must rank, even by Thanet Labour’s appalling standards,   as one of the most hypocritical letters ever written by local politicians, the Labour Group has the bare faced cheek to claim that it is promoting good governance and accountability. What a joke!  2 of the signatories of the letter, Iris Johnston and Michelle Fenner were responsible in  November 2013  for verbally abusing and bullying, at a public meeting, the four independent, non-elected,  members of Thanet Council’s  Standards Committee

Why?  Because the Independent Standards Committee members had produced a report which criticised the governance of Thanet Council and the accountability of councillors – describing the organisation and its elected politicians as being out of touch, secretive, rude and abusive.  Johnston and Fenner’s behaviour at the meeting and that of former councillors Clive Hart and Allan Poole, caused the 4 Independent Standards members to immediately resign. Labour’s nodding donkeys on the Standards Committee then voted to reject a report which was all about the promotion of good governance and accountability at Thanet Council. I secretly recorded this appalling incident and blogged about it at the time. Here’s the link

But I digress. Let’s return to Labour’s proposal for an Overview and  Scrutiny investigation into Dreamland. Were it not such an important issue I’d be pissing myself laughing about their idea.  First, the Dreamland project is  a  massive, ongoing,  undertaking  and Thanet Council simply doesn’t have the money,  staffing levels and experience to conduct a thorough and proper investigation into a matter of this size and complexity. Labour knows this. Councillors from all the other parties know this and so do the council officers. This proposal is  nothing other than cynical political posturing -  giving the appearance of trying to do something  whilst knowing all along that your suggestion is unworkable bollocks.

Second and more importantly Asking TDCs Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which is made up of councillors from the Labour, Conservative and UKIP parties, to investigate this matter  amounts  to asking  those useless fuckers  responsible for the Dreamland mess-up,  to investigate themselves. Self-investigation means that misguided party loyalty, political self-preservation and reputational damage limitation will almost certainly get in the way of the truth being told. Any report resulting from such a process will not be worth the paper it is written on. It will  be tainted by the skid marks of corporate and political arse watching and will be an official whitewash.  Worse still, those senior politicians and council officers responsible for the Dreamland disaster, such as former council leader Iris Johnston and others will escape well deserved naming and shaming.

This is exactly what happened when politicians used the Overview and Scrutiny Panel to investigate themselves over the TransEuropa Ferries secret £3.4 million debt scandal in 2014. Despite the fact that the council’s constitutional  rules  had been deliberately broken and ignored by senior councillors and officers;  despite democratically elected back-bench councillors and the public been lied to and deceived for almost 3 years about the secret and rapidly growing debt, Tory and Labour politicians nobbled the so-called investigation to ensure that everyone got off Scott-free for serious abuse of process and bare faced lying.  Labour, like the rest of the political establishment, knows this is how  internal, self-investigations work and that’s precisely why these shameless scoundrels are asking for one – because they know damn well that an Overview and Scrutiny investigation will get them off the hook for their appalling mismanagement of the Dreamland Project.
I have always called for an independent public investigation of the Dreamland debacle perhaps by the National Audit Office who have considerable expertise and experience in this area. Although we may disagree on many other things, the two Thanet MPs Sir Roger Gale and Craig MacKinlay  both  support my  call for an independent and public Dreamland investigation.  If  Thanet Council Labour Group, ,  genuinely support  honest  and accountable government, then they  too should be calling for an independent  public investigation into Dreamland,  instead of a squalid conflicted self-investigation which, many people feel  will be nothing than a cover.
The people of Thanet have paid,  through their  council taxes,  over £10million toward Dreamland. The  same amount of public money has been invested via central Government Grants and the Heritage Lottery funding and much more public money will undoubtedly be invested into this project in forthcoming years. Its therefore essential that the catalogue of disastrous mistakes and mismanagement which have been a feature of what is supposed to be a  flagship regeneration projected  are investigated and lessons learned. The only way to do this is through an  independent inquiry


  1. thanet Labour are a disgrace

  2. If what has been reported in the press recently the payment that TDC have to make under the CPO has still not been settled with the council leader cllr Wells no longer holding takes with owners and the law will now resolve. With plans for up to 400 dwellings on the site TDC could have to cough up another £10 millions to complete the CPO. But at least then TDC will have a plot of land worth having although I am not sure where they will get the £10 millions from and havn't they given Sands a 99 year lease which in turn they have hocked to an overseas speculator?

  3. What happened with the GIAA report on the £500k Port fraud? The Police don't seem to bother investigating either... In fact the only person prosecuted for corruption at TDC is you...for exposing the secret Plkeasurama deals

  4. TDC are useless - Tim Howes and Colin White are the legal bods in charge of this mess?

  5. Wells is a disgrace keeping quiet on Dreamland and Brett. He;s had 18 months as Leader at TDC and done nothing