Weeks ago I heard a very interesting comment about Nigel Farage the leader of the UK Independence Party. The comment went “The most annoying thing about Nigel Farage is that he is usually right!” This remark was made by a member of the EU parliament and it is on the strength of this that he has apparently had such a big impact.
UKIP actually threw at South Thanet everything they could to try and get Farage elected to parliament in the South Thanet Seat and as we all know he fell to Craig Mackinlay (himself a former Ukipper). UKIP did have one great triumph though and that was the fact they won a majority at Thanet District Council and took overall control as a result. All of us in Thanet breathed a huge sigh of relief as we felt real change was on the horizon but it proved to be very different indeed.
The largest problem with British Politics over at least the last 30 years or so is that the general perception is that politicians will say one thing and do something quite different when they get in. The Conservative party and Labour have been doing it for years in equal measure! You just have to take a look at the recent situation with Tax Credits to see an example of this.
I am on the whole completely disgruntled with the British political system because of years of false promises and I am not alone I’m sure. I freely admit to the fact that I voted UKIP for both parliament and Thanet District Council because I recognised and was given the impression that they could make things better and very quickly (who else fell for the same stunt?).
Farage is definitely a crowd pleaser and has an uncanny nack of tapping in to the crowd’s conscience that he is addressing and stirring them up. He achieved this in a series of public meetings all over the country with his entourage with him. I attended one of these meetings to hear what they had to say and I was captivated. The meeting I attended had Farage, The current leader of Thanet Council Chris Wells and various other candidates.
We were told within certain terms that the following points would be addressed within days of taking office:
A Compulsory purchase of Manston Airport (This seems to have overridden all other concerns)
The rubbish collections would be put back to weekly
The local plan would be revised so not so many houses are built in this area
Our streets would be cleared
On the spot fines would be introduced for litterers
This is just a small cross section of what we were told WOULD happen and we were informed this would happen in a short space of time some of it in the first month of office (bear in mind I am writing this in late October).
Some five to six months down the line I can tell you that the rubbish collections are still on this silly rotation between recycled goods and normal rubbish week by week (there was actually an advert in the KM Extra enforcing current policy). The local plan has actually been revised up (the last talk I heard was of some fifteen thousand new properties being built in the Thanet area and to top it all off there is still an awful lot of rubbish on our streets despite environmental wardens which were in fact introduced by the previous council.
As you can see from the above not one pledge has been kept and probably the biggest one of all is the situation with Manston.
Anyone who lives in Thanet will know and understand the passion involving the former RAF site and the desire to see it reopened. The fact of the matter is Chris Wells made some pretty bold claims again and again about the Airport and we are in a situation know where it is highly likely this whole affair is going to be kicked into the long grass in a cabinet meeting on the 29/10/15.
While Manston is a big issue itself it does pose a major problem for democracy in this area and how can we trust the people we elect if they are there under false pretences. Either UKIP were just plain stupid or like most opportunists they said and did whatever was needed to gain power. If this is the case they need to go and now. I can tell you that we have been lied to from the start.
As well as Chris Wells, does everyone remember Craig Mackinlays five point plan? Yes he completed that well step one and two at best and let’s not forget Sir Roger Gale’s undying support for the cause.
Because of my concerns I decided to write some emails to the key players and ask questions about our democracy and the situation in Thanet in general. Let’s see what happened.
I emailed Councillor Wells on the 15th October regarding ALL of my concerns about the political landscape in Thanet. To date I have had no reply at all. I did infact receive a reply from Derek Crow-Brown the following day directing me to an FAQ about Manston which was already in the public domain. This totally ignored everything else I asked.
I had another rather amusing contact from an elected UKIP councillor via one of my social media accounts. They challenged what I said, gave me some meaningless rubbish in reply and gave me a very tempting invite to take my best shot! I guess the best I can do is write this article on the UKIP fiasco and look forward to their downfall.
I emailed Nigel Farage on the 16th October and again had no response. All I would say to Nigel is that if you want people to trust in your word when it comes to the EU referendum you so wish for, a tighter rein is needed on your one and only council otherwise your party will implode. It is so obvious to me that his one and only agenda item is the EU and does not care about the rest!
Sir Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay
I wrote to both the MP’s for North and South Thanet on the 19th October. I have not received a reply from Sir Roger but did receive and email from a member of Craig’s office staff inviting me to a 15 minute surgery slot. When I challenged them to write to me I have had no further correspondence.
There is one vital thing that MP’s and councillors a like tend to forget and that is the fact that we elected them. That means in the grand scheme of things we are the boss! If we have a concern then they are duty bound to acknowledge that concern and not ignore it.
It occurs to me that the battle ground of Thanet was a real mess and these individuals were elected on false pretences. I do not believe UKIP are the only ones with egg on their face (although they have the lions share). If I had my way the Local Election would be called again but unfortunately I do not have that luxury. I would however implore everyone to thinks twice next time as to who they trust because it is self-evident that someone else is pulling the strings.
The Rise And Fall Of UKIP In Thanet