Kent TV? A load of rubbish
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.