Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Press release from Chair of Thanet District Council's Overview & Scrutiny Panel

Cllr Jo Gideon
Chairman of the Transeuropa Debt Review Task & Finish Group
Chairman of Overview & Scrutiny, Thanet District Council

The meeting of the Transeuropa Debt Review Task & Finish Group had to be suspended and then postponed this evening due to the utterly unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour of Cllr Ian Driver. Chairman of the meeting and of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Cllr Jo Gideon, commented:
“Cllr Driver has had every opportunity to take an active part in scrutinising this issue. It was his decision to stand down from the Transeuropa Debt Review Task & Finish Group.  Tonight, he turned up with a clear aim of being thrown out for bad behaviour. He got his wish. However, he will not succeed in destroying democracy in Thanet. Cllr Driver succeeded in wasting everyone’s time, but the meeting has only been postponed not cancelled, because bad behaviour cannot dictate how we conduct our business. We are committed to act in the public interest and not be bullied by Cllr Driver whose sole purpose seems to be to disrupt and disrespect this council.”
Following the closure of the meeting, three of the Group Leaders who had been present, Cllr Clive Hart, Cllr Bob Bayford and Cllr Jack Cohen, all expressed their profound disappointment that Cllr Driver was yet again holding the democratic process to ransom and wasting enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money.

Contact: 07786 118881


  1. According to Driver he asked for permission to film the meeting and was refused so he began to film it in secret.
    So much for open and transparent local government which even the local tory group now support.

  2. Dave, you are crediting Cllr Driver with too much democratic intent. This was simply an exercise in self publicity at the expense of the democratic process and local tax payers money. Just count the posts on his own blog site and convince me all are necessary or are they simply to get his name in lights on a daily basis? Furthermore, can you tell me who exactly, apart from himself, he actually represents? He was elected by the Labour voters of Northwood ward in Ramsgate on whom he promptly turned his back. Another three parties or groups later he proclaims himself as Thanet's Green Councillor, but who pray tell, elected him as such?

    If, come 2015, he stands as a Green Party candidate, preferably in the ward in which he lives, and gets elected then I will respect his right, within the council rules, to represent that electorate as he sees fit. For the moment, however, he is just a lone chancer out to further his own political ambitions at the expense of the people who elected him under false pretences.

    Before you come back at me about others who have crossed the floor, I have always advocated and am on record for such, that people who get elected under one banner and then leave it, should immediately offer themselves up for re-election.

  3. Nice try at diversion tactics William, but the whole "crossing the floor" thing has absolutely nothing to do with filming council meetings, as you know full well. Last night would've been a perfect opportunity to start this new "openness" that Bob Bayford is supposedly in favour of; instead TDC have made the BBC news yet again.

    1. Peter, a committee meeting is not a perfect opportunity to change council rules because such would need a vote by the full council. Let us hope this issue is on the agenda for the next council meeting.

  4. The press release from Cllr Gideon is itself an example of certain council members not wanting to be open and transparent. Why oh why did the press release not spell out the actual reason. The chairperson and others were being rather petty to abandon the meeting. One again I will say look at the tory groups recent press release on this blog on the filming of council meetings, they are all for it but apparently not if its Cllr Driver doing the filming.

  5. It perhaps would have been clearer if said councillor had approached the chair the day before the meeting with a view to getting permission which would have given time for said chair to discuss the matter with her leader. As Michael has said one can go on ebay and purchase a hidden camera for under £20 so why didn't that happen?

    1. Probably, Barry, because a hidden camera would not be seen, there would be no call for the offending councillor to stop and, as a result, no scene resulting in the much craved publicity.

      Dave, I have already responded to your point in my answer to Peter above, councils have rules and procedures and change, currently only publicly supported by the opposition at TDC, does not happen overnight.

    2. William the point about biting the hand that feeds you has been made. I don't think you understand that the histrionics only work to a point then support drains away, however even you will agree that the Tories have only recently grown a backbone and are now in the process of taking a proper stand in opposition. My question would this of happened had Driver not started.

    3. Barry, thanks for pointing out my lack of understanding which presumably means you consider yours vastly superior to mine. To be honest I think I learnt the story of the shepherd boy who cried wolf too often at an early age so I am familiar with the possibility of over playing the histrionics, as you put it. Fact remains that someone else has failed to get that message and continues to seek publicity by any means, such coming from the good book on how to win votes in a democracy.

      Your question does not really have an answer because there is simply no way of knowing. My own view is that the spell in opposition, watching the antics of Labour in power and listening to the lectures of Iris on a regular basis have come to focus Conservative minds. Driver is largely an irrelevance.

    4. Very droll William. Do you have to be ironic as all I was saying is his antics only work so far before the message he is trying to convey is lost and the antics become the message.

      It has been apparent for a long time the Tories have been in shock and are only now waking up to the realisation that to win in 2015 they have to regain the initiative. It is a simple message with a very complicated answer. Being ironic doesn't work anymore you and your colleagues have to wake up to the threat of UKIP. And be seen to be waking up to it as I for one do not want to be led by such a narrow minded bigoted party.

    5. Ironic, quite where escapes me as I was simply replying to you. Seems, Barry, that it is OK in your book to question my understanding, but when I point out such is not the case I am both droll and ironic.

      It may be apparent to you that the Tories (a very Labour name for us Conservatives) are in shock, but I cannot say I have noticed it myself. As for the threat of UKIP, I actually do not think they are just taking Conservative votes for, as was demonstrated in Thanet in the county elections, they took seats in both Labour and Conservative areas. Indeed, their immigration message goes down well in traditional working class areas. Hence, if they are a wake up call, they are to both the main parties.

      I would be more concerned that as we see more splinter groups like UKIP and the Green Party emerging, the chance of strong decisive government recedes and, like most of Europe, we face the prospect of more coalitions, most of which do not work because they enable minorities to effectively hijack power or stifle the work of governance, as in Thanet at the moment.


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