Gales view 20th April 2011
What is Thanet Labour Party for?
It is, I think, a fair question to pose and one that, given this open goal, one that their Leader might wish to answer.
Thanet`s Conservatives have been accused of publishing a weighty election manifesto. War and Peace” it may not be but this substantial document does set out in some detail, for those that are prepared to slog through it, how the present Council intends to address the very real issues facing an Island that , like many other local authorities, is struggling in the wake of a n inherited financial situation that has left the cupboard bare.
In contrast, Thanet Labour have generated a flimsy motherhood and apple pie” wish list that promises a number of improvements” that they failed to implement when, during their last term in office, they squandered the inheritance of European Objective 2 and Assisted area status to no good advantage. On that occasion they lefty the legacy of a planned out-of-town shopping centre with no thought to road infrastructure or a replacement purpose for our town centres and with a neglected tourist industry in tatters.
To be fair, the Labour Leader and his team know that were the electorate to be unwise enough to once again trust them with the management of the Town Hall a Labour administration would face precisely the same financial situation, arising from the profligacy of a Labour government that left office less than twelve months ago, that currently faces the Conservative Group. Spending commitments are not, locally, the order of the day.
That does not, though, preclude Thanet`s Opposition from generating the fresh thought, new ideas and sense of vision that are so lacking from their sere- thin wish list.
We know what they are against. While paying lip service to the Manston airport that remains one significant pillar of potential employment creation they oppose the measures that might allow that airport to succeed. Most noticeably they oppose the County Council -backed proposal to create the Thanet Parkway station that, fed by a fast link from Ashford through to Thanet, would serve the airport and breathe new life into the redevelopment of the Sandwich industrial sites as well.
The Turner Contemporary has been brought to fruition in spite of a rocky start (which Margate Labour Councillor was it that, on the selection committee, voted for the first ill-fated design?) and the regenerative effects are already being felt. A Parkway Station will not, as has been ludicrously suggested, lead to the closure of Ramsgate: to the contrary, it will, supported by the enhanced Ashford-Thanet line that Central Government has got to compel Network Rail to invest in, help to generate the access to Thanet that visitors to Turner, and the developments that must follow in its wake, will be seeking.
So let me repeat: The Island needs, now, all of the help and enthusiasm and imagination and determination that it can get its hands on. Instead of telling us what they are against let Thanet`s socialists now tell us what they are for.