Friday 20 August 2010

Strange Priorities In Kent

The Moose is reporting an interesting side issue to the 'ciggy busters' story. That being the role of the local council or, more specifically, their 'tobacco control' section.

Rachel Noxon, Medway's tobacco control strategic co-ordinator, said that the exchanges between students and smokers were "carefully stage-managed".

Support also came from A Better Medway – a joint initiative between the council and NHS Medway that encourages healthy living – which part-funded the project, paying for filming equipment.
Now, the job title 'strategic co-ordinator' would tend to suggest that there are staff and resources sizeable enough to require co-ordination. And their budget must be quite generous if they have spare cash lying around to dole out to sixth form art students.

All of which would seem to be luxuries in the current financial climate, no?

Yet Medway Council are under the same obligation to drastically cut costs as any other local authority, so what are they cutting if not 'tobacco control strategic co-ordinators'?

Deputy leader Alan Jarrett said: "We could cut back on our highways maintenance, we could close libraries, we could close leisure centres. There's a whole raft of options in front of us and we have to decide as politicians which of those unpalatable options is the most palatable."
Roads? Libraries? Leisure centres? They'll be telling us that schooling is less important than a robust tobacco police department next!

Err ...

Following government advice to make cuts to children’s services, there will be £450,000 less funding for a number of programmes in schools including before and after-school activities, holiday provision, and parenting support.
So, in essence, Medway Council are cutting services which one would fully expect to be within an authority's remit, whilst leaving untouched those which they really shouldn't be having anything to do with.

Services for all are being scrapped so that a service which precious few want or need can be protected. They do seem to have their priorities mightily skewed, doncha think?

Perhaps this is a Labour council, desperately playing politics with their budgets to enrage locals and turn them against the government. But then, if that were the case, local lefty bloggers wouldn't be directing ire at the local authority, now would they?

The cuts to Medway services are so severe and draconian that residents will be left with nothing but a rump of public services as budgets are slashed by Conservative & Liberal Democrats.
All I can say is that if that's what one calls a 'rump', it's a great big flabby one for Rachel Noxon to be allowed to continue strategically co-ordinating.

UPDATE: Hey, Medway! Here is another department your council tax payers could comfortably do without.


gruppenfuhrer maggie said...

You will go on the list!

Witterings from Witney said...

At the moment DP, WTF does it matter which of the three main parties is in control of our country or individual local authority?

They all have but one aim and that is to control us and if they can't do it by fair means they will do it by foul.

They will bring in laws, based on spurious 'data' (cutting grass, smoking in cars, selling your car) regardless of what we think, say or do.

"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws" - Ayn Rand

and therein lies the cause of our problems today - and mores the pity, we have tacitly allowed it to happen!

andy janes said...

As I live in Medway this is really depressing.

Anonymous said...

70 years ago,in the blue skiea above Kent,hundreds of young Britons and foreigners,turned and twisted in their Spitfires and Hurricanes in an aerial dance of death. The aim, to defend our isles
from tyranny,from dictators,to
protect our ancient freedoms,to
save our way of life,to
tell the world ,this land with all its faults,is our land.We need to tell the Medway parish pump Gestapo
in no uncertain terms,shut up,get out.before someone gets really upset.

The Free Corps

Leg-iron said...

Okay. If Ms. Noxious approves of the new junior Nazis, she can take responsibility for them. Full responsibility.

She can face the claims from those assaulted, because this is not going to end with snatching a cigarette. She can face the claims from small shops ransacked for selling cigarettes. She can face the claims from supermarkets whose tobacco counters are trashed by her hoodlums. She can face the claims from pubs and restaurants whose outside-smoking customers are driven away by her vicious little band of yobs.

If you live in Medway, let her know. This is her party. When it gets out of hand (and it will), she's the one to blame. When it spreads to other parts of the country, point the finger. She set it in motion.

She is, after all, the 'tobacco control co-ordinator'. She's in charge. And she has approved.

Bill Sticker said...


As 'Coordinator' she is legally responsible for the behaviour of her 'volunteers'. Should they commit a criminal act, or act of civil damage, or even one of her little Jugend gets hurt during one of theses stunts, she is fully, wholly liable from both a civil and criminal point of view.

Somebody should tell her she ain't protected by the fine print. Had a lawyer relative look it up. Should she look to her council for backup, I can tell you from experience they'll roll over and play loveable puppy in the event of a determined and well constructed lawsuit.

Dick Puddlecote said...

LI & BS: Good point. We shall remember. ;)

AJ: I feel for you. Really, I do.

Anon: The irony is thick, isn't it?

WfW: Couldn't agree more.

Peter Cook said...

Don't tell him Pike!

p.s. you may enjoy this

Peter Cook said...

Just posted this to a number of facebook sites - Jarrett is a plonker and was not dealt with when his son was caught dealing drugs - preumably they don't have a strategic cannabis controller at Medway

Anonymous said...

Clearly it makes no difference whether exchanges between students and smokers were stage managed or not. Making a video like this sends out the message that its ok to harrass and assault. Clearly it will be Rachel Noxons fault !