My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Monday, 20 January 2020

Labour’s Hypocritical Parkway Prats

I understand that Thanet Council’s ruling Labour Cabinet and the TDC Labour Group of councillors have agreed to support the  £34million Thanet Parkway Station scheme! This will be one of the most polluting and environmentally damaging infrastructure schemes to have been carried out in Thanet in over a decade, if not longer. 

It beggars belief that less than a year ago  Thanet Labour councillors, pushed a motion through the council declaring a climate emergency and setting a target of 2030 to make the district carbon neutral.

Just over one month ago the same councillors were, during the general election campaign,  knocking on doors across Thanet  promising that, if elected to office, the Labour Party, would out-green the Green Party by  launching  a Green Revolution which would help to roll back climate change and pollution across the world. 
How building a station which will massively increase traffic on our roads, destroy hundreds of acres of farmland,  lead to the felling of hundreds of trees,  can help to tackle climate change and make Thanet carbon neutral by 2030 defies credulity. 

There is no polite way of putting this, but Thanet’s  Labour councillors,  under the leadership of short-fused “Raging” Rick Everit,  have revealed themselves to be a bunch of hypocrites who despite their claims to be green, demonstrate by their actions that they  don’t give a fuck about the environment and climate change.

As much as it pains me to do so,  I must, however,  pay public tribute to  TDC and KCC Labour Councillor Karen @Lushgate Constantine and  Labour KCC councillor  Barry Lewis, both of whom have publicly opposed Parkway station on environmental grounds. If only their colleagues had as much spine as they, then Thanet Labour would have avoided being exposed as the party of liars and hypocrites. 

But it didn’t have to be like this. In the local council elections of 2011 Thanet Labour, quite rightly,  opposed the building of Parkway station on environmental grounds. It was only in 2015 that TDC’s  then ruling Labour Cabinet  decided to dump their objections to the station. Who was it who played a leading role in changing this policy? You guessed it! It was short-fused “Raging Rick “Everit” . The same “Raging” Rick who persuaded the current Labour Cabinet and the current TDC Labour councillors to support a project which will cause incalculable harm to Thanet’s environment.

I have said it before in numerous articles, but make no mistake, the building of Parkway station will hugely increase traffic congestion and air pollution in Thanet. Hundreds if not thousands of acres of high grade farm land and   wildlife habitat will be concreted over to build the station and car park and the thousands of new houses which will inevitably follow. Hundreds of trees will be felled and the village of Cliffsend will be absorbed into Ramsgate and cease to be a separate entity. 

In 2011 the Thanet Labour Party was right to argue that our existing Thanet railway stations should be improved and upgraded rather than building Parkway. The party was also right when it argued that any new housing needed in Thanet should be built on already developed brown field sites, of which they are plenty. Now, thanks in part to their Leader Everit Labour councillors  have jettisoned policies to protect Thanet’s environment whilst at the same having the brass neck to claim green credentials. 

Apart from keeping Boris Johnson out of power, one of the reasons why I voted Labour in last years general election was because the party had  for the first time made a serious and credible effort  to prioritise climate change. Now, as least as far as local Labour and its Leader Everit is concerned, I feel betrayed and stabbed in the back by a bunch of hypocrites and liars who will say just about anything to get elected. 

This is far from the last we shall hear about Parkway station. And if the planning application is, as fear it will be, approved then the  people of Thanet should consider taking direct action to stop this unneeded, unwanted and unnecessary monstrosity from ever being built.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Exclusive Fly Tipping Boss’ Fly Tipping Covered Up By Council

Cllr Game
According to Government statistics, out of the 65 local authorities in south east England, Thanet has the ninth highest rate of fly-tipping. In 2018-19 there were 963 reported incidents of fly tipping in Thanet: the equivalent of 18 incidents per week. For a small district council such as Thanet this is, by any standard, an extremely high rate of fly tipping.

One of those 963 fly tipping incidents has a very interesting and until now,  secret, back story. The story reveals, what I believe to be, an orchestrated  cover up by senior Thanet Council officers and politicians,  which is more in keeping with Stalinist North Korea than  a supposedly democratic   21st century local authority. The story also exposes the unbelievable hypocrisy of a very senior Conservative politician, who many might think is unfit to hold public office.

The story begins with a press release issued by Thanet Council on 26 March 2019

A Ramsgate resident has been successfully prosecuted by Thanet District Council for two incidences of fly-tipping in Thanet. The case which was heard at Folkestone Magistrate’s Court on Monday 25 March resulted in a very hefty fine for the 33 year old man from Ramsgate.

The District Judge found the defendant “guilty” on two counts of depositing waste, having heard evidence and witness statements. On each count the defendant was fined £2,640, a sum based on Band F of Environmental Sentencing guidelines.

In total, he was ordered to pay £7,203.51 within 28 days. This includes a fine of £5280, £855 in legal costs, £428.51 enforcement costs and £470 compensation to the landowner where the waste was dumped, as well as £170 victim surcharge.

The fly-tips were discovered on farmland on Chalk Hill, Ramsgate, and in an alleyway in St Lawrence last June, and consisted of household waste from a Thanet resident’s property. Included in the fly-tips were personal documentation and sentimental private paperwork linked to the family and property.

On this occasion, the defendant took waste away and rather than disposing of it properly, chose to dump it instead. It is not uncommon for the enforcement officers at Thanet District Council to find that acts of fly-tipping are committed by local people. A considerable amount of time and budget is invested in cleaning up fly-tipped waste in the District.

Gavin Waite, Director of Operational and Commercial Services at Thanet District Council said: “Fly-tipping is a crime and dumped waste is a blight on the local landscape. Anyone who offers to remove waste must be licensed to do so. People ought to be aware that they shouldn’t just hand their waste over to someone who is offering to take it away, unless they’ve checked their credentials. It might seem like a good deal at the time but the person whose waste it is could also face some serious consequences if it ends up being dumped illegally.”

Who was the nameless Thanet resident who had passed on, what is said to have been,  about 100 bags of household waste to the convicted fly tipper, Ben Taylor of Bush Avenue, Ramsgate? Well it didn’t take long for Thanet Council enforcement officers to find out.

Reliable sources tell me that personal documentation contained within the 100 bags of fly tipped waste belonged to  Thanet and Kent County Councillor Lesley Game, who, last year,  was elected as the Leader of the 24 strong group of Thanet Conservative councillors.

I understand that the fly tipped personal  documents which belonged to Councillor  Game included many confidential documents  from Thanet and Kent County Councils which are likely to have included highly sensitive personal and financial information which, under local government law, must not be disclosed an which when no longer needed are generally securely destroyed.

Unbelievably, in the very same week in which  Ben Taylor was convicted and fined for fly tipping Councillor  Game’s  100 bags of waste, she had had the bare-faced hypocrisy to say to the Isle of Thanet News and Thanet Extra/ Kent online

As a district we should not have to spend our limited resources picking up after a group of people who have no respect for the community and environment. We are using all the powers available to us to ensure that enforcement action is taken and that these acts of fly tipping are dealt with. We will pursue anyone who commits criminal offences.

Cllr Bayford
Even more astonishing is the fact that Councillor Game was,  at the time of the fly tipping incident, a member of Thanet Council’s all-powerful Cabinet where she held the post of portfolio holder for Housing and Community Services, which included  overall responsibility for councils fly tipping service!

Shortly after the fly tipped waste was discovered council officers invited Councillor Game to attend an interview under caution. She is said to have attended this meeting with her daughter.

During the under-caution  interview Councillor Game is said to have admitted passing  the waste on to Ben Taylor for disposal. Councillor Game is also claimed to have said that Ben Taylor had been working  for her for some time and that she paid him cash in hand, even though she knew he was unemployed and in receipt of benefits. I understand that during the interview Councillor Game admitted to the offence of breach of Duty of Care under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

According to  Government publication Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice an occupier of a domestic property  has a legal “duty to take all reasonable measures available to ensure you only transfer household waste produced on your property to an authorised person” An authorised person is defined by the Code as “someone who has a valid registration as a carrier, broker, or dealer of waste”. To breach the duty of care is a very serious matter. It is a criminal offence which can result in the imposition of an unlimited fine. 

Madeline Homer
In admitting that she had breached her Duty of Care Councillor Game was saying  that she had either passed on her waste to Ben Taylor for disposal knowing that he wasn’t a registered waste carrier, or that she had passed the waste on to Ben Taylor without making checks to ascertain whether, or not,  he was a registered waste carrier.

Either way, at the time of the offence  Councillor Game was a member of TDC’s ruling Cabinet and was in overall control of the Council’s fly tipping service. It’s virtually impossible for  anyone to seriously believe that as someone occupying  these extremely important and responsible positions , Councillor Game was ignorant of her duties under  section 43 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

I have been told that in virtually every cases where a householder has been found to have breached duty of care by passing  on their domestic  waste to an unlicensed person who has then fly tipped it – Thanet Council has invariably prosecuted the householder. But not so in the case of Councillor Game!

According to my sources, Director of Operational Services, Gavin Waite, refused to follow the Council’s normal procedures, and the advice of his enforcement staff,  to prosecute Councillor Game.
Instead, Waite decided to issue Councillor Game with an official caution/ warning letter,  providing that she pay the council somewhere in the region of £750 to cover TDC’s  costs for removing and disposing of the waste. Councillor Game is said to have accepted the warning and paid the money.

Bearing in mind the scale of the fly tipping – said to have been over 100 bags,  and taking account of the fact that the fly tipped waste included lots of confidential KCC and TDC  documents which should have been securely disposed of, it’s hard to believe why  Councillor Game was treated so leniently, when compared to other householders who had all been prosecuted, fined and given criminal records for the same or sometimes much  lesser offences.

Gavin Waite
It’s even more astonishing that an experienced and prominent Conservative politician who headed up TDC’s  fly-tipping service and who was widely quoted in the media about  fighting flying fly tipping in Thanet, was not prosecuted by TDC.

Such a prosecution would not have been difficult to have secured  in court. There was overwhelming evidence that the waste belonged to Councillor Game and she had also admitted in an under-caution intervie that she had passed the waste on to Ben Taylor an unlicensed waste carrier, to dispose of in breach of  her duty care.

There was also an overwhelming public interest in prosecuting Councillor Game. Here was a person who appears to have  broken a law which she  had been tasked with enforcing  in Thanet. She should therefore have been held to public account, in open court,  for her hypocrisy and dishonesty. Instead, and unlike many others who have been dragged by the Council  before a judge for  similar and lesser offences, Councillor Game was issued by Gavin Waite with a secret and confidential caution which, until today, nobody knew about.

I am forced to believe that this astonishing and preferential treatment of Councillor Game, is likely to have been the result of a high-level cover-up,  led by senior politicians with the support and cooperation of senior council officers.

When the fly tipping was discovered, the then Leader of the Council, Bob Bayford and his  closest Cabinet confidants, would almost certainly have been informed about  Councillor Game’s wrongdoing. 

The Council’s  Chief Executive Madeline Homer is extremely likely to  have also been informed, not least because the author of the official warning letter to Game was Homer’s live-in lover Gavin Waite. Last but not least the Council’s  Monitoring Officer, Tim Howes, who is in charge of Council’s Standards Board,  must surely have been advised about Game’s unethical behaviour.

This group of influential and  powerful people are likely to have felt  that a high-profile criminal prosecution of a senior councillor and Cabinet member could cause serious damage to their interests.

For the Tories the fear was probably that their prospects in the 2019 council elections would have been badly damaged by the public exposure of Cllr Game's bad behaviour, especially if the  court case was to be held, as it was, during the election campaign.

For senior  officers a high-profile criminal  trial would have further damaged their personal reputations, and the reputation of the  council,  which is known throughout local government circles for its corruption, secrecy, incompetence and alleged culture of bullying at the highest level.

Taken together these fears and worries created an environment in which a cover up was very likely to happen. And in my opinion that is why a decision  not to prosecute Councillor Game was made, and instead issue her with a caution/ warning which they knew   was most unlikely to become publicly known.

My belief that there was a such cover up is greatly strengthened and supported by the fact that Councillor Game was not reported to, or investigated by,  the  Council’s Standards Board for her actions.
There is no doubt in my mind that the  actions of Councillor Game meet the criteria for a Standards investigation. And there is no doubting that her actions would, if true, certainly have attracted very robust censure.

Tim Howes
The last place that the small cabal of powerful politicians and officers who run TDC,  wanted the case to go to  was the Standards Board. Just like the courts,  the Standards Board makes public its findings.
These findings would have attracted the same unwanted attention as would the criminal prosecution of Councillor Game by a court. So like the court case,  a Standards investigation also appears to have been suppressed so as to  cover-up Councillor Game’s wrongdoing and protect the interests and reputation of TDC's  powerful officer/ political elite.

Citizens of Thanet if my story is  true, which I strongly believe it to be, we have a rotten council led by a team of  rotten officers and politicians, who appear to believe that it is  acceptable to routinely manipulate processes,  supress information,  and cover up wrong-doing to protect their own selfish interests.

This is not the first time that openness, transparency and public accountability has been trampled on by the power that be at TDC. The recent, ongoing, bullying scandal which implicates Chief Executive Homer  and her lover Waite is also replete with such shenanigans.

I will continue, as ever,  to expose those  responsible for the profoundly undemocratic and immoral culture at TDC and hope that they will  have their comeuppance soon.

In the meantime if you want to share with me any information about TDC you think should be exposed or information about any wronging doings at other public or private  organisation please contact me. I never, ever, disclose my sources