Andy McSmith's Diary: Nastiness among Thanet councillors has gone too far

What happened after a Tory councillor in Kent turned on his party reflects badly on his colleagues

Conservative councillors in Thanet, in Kent, were understandably annoyed when one of their number, John Worrow, left them to become an independent, and used his vote to help Labour to take over the council. However, that is hardly an adequate explanation for what the locals there have been saying about each other.

Under new leadership, Thanet council became the first in the country to declare its support for same-sex marriage, which is in line with government policy, but not with the gut feelings of much of the Tory party. Roger Gale, Conservative MP for Thanet North, has suggested on his blog that to remove the words "husband and wife" from official documents would be "almost Stalinist in its political correctness" and asked: "Will Shakespeare and Milton and the Holy Bible be re-written also?"

At least that comment was not offensive –unlike a remark that appeared on the Facebook page of Mike Harrison, a Thanet Labour councillor, describing Ian Driver, the independent who moved the resolution supporting same-sex marriage, as a "shirt-lifting gender-bender." Harrison denies writing it. He says that his account was hacked.

Meanwhile, over on a website run by John Worrow on behalf of the independents, a woman involved in a local residents' association was charmingly described as a "pig monster". Mr Worrow denied being the author of these words, but said they had been written by someone he trusts, but whom he refused to identify to the Thanet Times. He apologised and had the words removed.

Then Mr Worrow, who is bisexual, complained to the police after he had received a message on his voicemail, in a voice he thought he recognised, telling him "with any luck, you'll get Aids".

Ken Gregory, a senior Tory councillor, has been cautioned by police "for offences of malicious communication".

Meaningful gifts for Cameron

Prominent on the list of gifts David Cameron received during the last quarter of last year, recently posted on the Downing Street website, is a "collection of books" from the historian Sir Martin Gilbert. This is likely to be a deluxe edition of Gilbert's seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill, the same gift that Gordon Brown gave to Barack Obama when he visited the US three years ago. Cameron was obviously appreciative: it was one of only three items in the list that the Camerons decided to pay for and keep. The others were a set of coffee machines from Nestlé, and clothes donated by the Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, which caught Sam Cam's eye.

Volatile MP's sober advice

It is a shame that the MP Eric Joyce will be remembered only for the evening that he lashed out with his fists in one of Parliament's subsidised bars. When sober, he can be a source of sage advice. There was this message he sent yesterday to a fellow member of what is sometimes called the Twitter community: "You Follow all MPs? You must have THE most boring Timeline ever. Try to find time to live a little."

Afghanistan: the good old days

Former Doctor Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson slipped in a caustic comment about the use of drones in Afghanistan last week at the launch of his book, Looking Back at Me, published by Cadiz Music. Wilko followed the hippy trail through Afghanistan and India in the 1970s. On stage at Rough Trade East in London's East End, he remarked: "We were dirty hippies and stoned most of the time – but we never massacred any wedding parties! I think it will be a long time before an Englishman can go through Afghanistan again and get stoned with the locals."

Dull and Boring join forces

The Community Planning Organisation of Boring, a town of 12,000 inhabitants near Portland, Oregon, named after its founder William H. Boring, met yesterday to formalise a decision to link up with Dull, a village in Perthshire, with just 84 residents. The idea of linking the two came from Elizabeth Leighton, who knows Dull residents as she lives in a village nearby, and met Boring people during a cycling holiday.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker