I’m married with 3 children. I gave up work to become a full-time carer for my disabled daughter 3 years ago. I worked as a gardener for many years, spent time travelling and then moved into public sector and charity work, including being the manager of Thanet Citizens Advice Bureau for several years. I enjoy spending my time with my family and friends, gardening, cooking and music. I DJ occasionally and am learning to play the guitar badly.
I’m a former Thanet Councillor. I’m well-known and respected across Thanet for speaking my mind and fighting against cover-ups, secrecy and incompetence at Thanet Council. I publish a well-read blogsite about local politics Ian Driver’s Thanet http://iandriverthanet.blogspot.co.uk/ which has raised issues such as
· TransEuropa Ferries secret deal with Thanet Council which cost taxpayers £3.4million
· Ramsgate Pleasurama site which has blighted the seafront for over 10 years
· Mismanagement of Margate Dreamland costing taxpayers £millions· The future of Ramsgate Port
· Environmental issues including pollution and land use in Ramsgate and Thanet
· Allowing the public to film Thanet Council meetings.
I’m a socialist and a trade unionist. In my younger days I was a shop steward, a branch secretary and member of the national executive of my trade union. I am also a passionate environmentalist and supporter of animal welfare who helped to set up the campaign to ban live animal exports from the port of Ramsgate.I have been a member of the Labour Party and the Green Party, but have become very disillusioned with party politics. No matter how well intentioned, political parties always end up putting their own interests before the interests of the public they are supposed to serve. They silence dissent amongst their members by using the party whip, loyalty clauses, threats and arm twisting. Political parties, in my experience, are also dishonest and deceitful. This is why politicians and political parties are no longer respected by most people and this is why I am standing as an independent candidate. So that the people of Ramsgate can be properly represented without interference by party bosses. As an independent I will also be able to work across old fashioned tribalistic party divides and collaborate with politicians from all parties to get things done for the people of Ramsgate.
EnvironmentI am a passionate environmentalist who is determined to protect Ramsgate against the massive and unsustainable overdevelopment proposed in Thanet Council’s draft Local Plan. Agricultural land and open spaces must not be used for developments such as Parkway station and the vast housing developments earmarked to be built on farmland. Brownfield land must always be used first. I also oppose the wide spread use, by KCC and TDC, of potentially dangerous glyphosate weed-killers on our streets, open spaces and school grounds. I am opposed to TDCs plans to industrialise the port of Ramsgate with a massive expansion of aggregate processing activity at the site and the serious air pollution risk that this will bring.
HousingAlthough I oppose overdevelopment there is a desperate need in Ramsgate and Thanet for affordable, rented, social housing for the thousands of residents who cannot afford to buy a home. I support the building of many more council and housing association homes, on brownfield sites, to meet this growing and urgent need.
Social CareThe social care system is in crisis. Older people needing care at home or in residential units are being badly let down by third rate services which often deny basic human rights and dignity. Disabled people are also suffering in similar ways. As medical science advances and life expectancy increases, we must find sustainable tax-based ways to fund social care services fit for a modern 21st century democracy. Being a parent of disabled children who need lifelong care, this is something I am passionate about.
Poverty and Regeneration
Ramsgate is one the most deprived areas in England with benefit dependency, low wages, zero hours contracts, and child poverty being almost endemic. I will support the efforts of Discovery Park, the proposed Stonehill Park, on the former Manston Airport site, to create new, well paid, jobs, training and business opportunities for Ramsgate residents. I also support the transformation of Ramsgate port into a leisure focused facility including a modern 21st century marina which will kick start Ramsgate’s tourist economy providing many more jobs and opportunities for local people than the polluting industrialised port plans proposed by Thanet Council.
Fair EducationGrammar schools are massively unfair. Study after study has shown that selective education discriminates against children from less-well off backgrounds and prevents them achieving their full potential. I will oppose the further extension of grammar schools in Kent and campaign to have the existing grammars turned into non-selective schools.
Save the NHSThanet and Ramsgate are growing fast. We need a health service which will serve a larger community of people who are living much longer. I support a non-privatised, modern NHS which will provide the highest standards of care and which is properly funded by taxation. I support the QEQM hospital and oppose any efforts to downgrade or relocate its services elsewhere.
Abolition of KCC. Kent County Council is too big, too distant and too out of touch with the needs of Ramsgate people. I believe that Kent County Council should be abolished and its powers, services and budget devolved to smaller unitary councils comprising of no more than 2 to 3 district councils. Devolving power and decision making closer to the people makes for better, more effective, democracy. The new unitary council’s must also be elected on the basis proportional representation and voting at 16.
Many of our district and county councillors are lazy do-nothings. Once elected they sit back, don’t keep in touch with their constituents and fail to account for their actions, or in many cases, lack of actions. If elected I will be accountable. I will publish regular reports and videos on my blogsite and Facebook about my activities. I will publish my contact details so that it’s easy to get in touch with me to raise your problems and concerns. I will also attend meetings of community groups, town and parish councils and organise walkabouts and public meetings. I will also publish details of all of my expenses and allowances and any other benefits I may receive as a KCC councillor
Blogsite Ian Driver’s Thanet - regular articles about Thanet politics http://iandriverthanet.blogspot.co.uk/
My election video. More to come.
Published & Promoted by Ian Driver. 45 Sea View Road, CT101BX