Kent TV? A load of rub­bish

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? -

WHAT do Con­ser­va­tive county coun­cil­lors re­ally think about Kent TV, the au­thor­ity’s broad­band chan­nel that is cost­ing £1.4 mil­lion? Not many stray out­side pub­lic dec­la­ra­tions of loy­alty to the project, quite prob­a­bly un­der strict in­struc­tions from the party’s leaders. But one did stray off mes­sage, al­beit in­ad­ver­tently, when the is­sue came up at Kent County Coun­cil’s re­cent bud­get meet­ing. Ash­ford Con­ser­va­tive county coun­cil­lor Richard King rose to say what a jolly good thing it was but rather got his lines mud­dled. “We should be ashamed of our­selves for say­ing Kent TV is rub­bish. It may be rub­bish to us but to young peo­ple who use the in­ter­net, it is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant…” Rub­bish? Cue gen­eral hi­lar­ity across the coun­cil cham­ber and hoots of de­ri­sion from the op­po­si­tion benches. Cllr King, in­ci­den­tally, is on the board of gov­er­nors for Kent TV.

NEWS from Brus­sels. Off The Record has been over to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to catch up with the re­gion’s MEPs (with an elec­tion im­mi­nent, great ef­forts are be­ing made to raise the pro­file of our rep­re­sen­ta­tives across the Chan­nel). Brus­sels and the Par­lia­ment is a pretty ster­ile place and ex­tremely easy to get lost in. One sea­soned re­porter based there told us that he’d been cov­er­ing af­fairs for 14 years and still couldn’t find his way around the place. Still, our MEPs do try to make things more homely in their offices. UKIP leader Nigel Farage, in a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect fash­ion, tells peo­ple try­ing to find his of­fice to “fol­low the smell of smoke” and has a large Union Jack con­spic­u­ously draped over his sofa. Mean­while, the of­fice of Con­ser­va­tive Daniel Han­nan has an equally con­spic­u­ous dis­play of a range of English teas on a win­dow ledge, along­side a tra­di­tional teapot – an es­sen­tial sur­vival aid, he says. He even takes his sup­plies to Stras­bourg when the Par­lia­ment is sit­ting there.

AF­TER some stub­born re­sis­tance, Kent County Coun­cil has fi­nally de­cided it has no op­tion but to drop its op­po­si­tion to de­mands to de­tail the earn­ings of its top of­fi­cers. Not that it has had much choice af­ter the gov­ern­ment an­nounced leg­is­la­tion forc­ing all au­thor­i­ties to do so. The de­tails of salaries of its top of­fi­cers will, we are told, be pub­lished on April 1. The coun­cil is also pre­par­ing to name the 14 in­di­vid­u­als at County Hall who earn more than £100,000 af­ter a rul­ing against it by the In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sioner. The pres­sure over pub­lic sec­tor “fat cats” has been steadily mount­ing for some time. We can’t help feel­ing, not for the first time, politi­cians have been be­hind, rather than ahead of, pub­lic opin­ion on this is­sue.

IS COUNTY coun­cil­lor Richard Parry the Con­ser­va­tive equiv­a­lent of Neil Kin­nock? We don’t mean he shares his po­lit­i­cal views, of course. But Cllr Parry tabled a ques­tion to a re­cent full coun­cil meet­ing that re­minded us of Mr Kin­nock’s propen­sity to­wards un­nec­es­sary ver­bosity. It was some­thing to do with health but it went on so long and was so com­plex, it might have been quicker to read out all of War and Peace.

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