Keith House advises islanders on Democracy

Keith House Turks & caicos

Keith House (in white suit) with colleagues

Keith House, Eastleigh’s Lib Dem Council Leader, has visited the Turks and Caicos Islands in order to advise its’ politicians and public servants on how to hold democratic elections.

Cllr House – who is used to steamrollering policy through the council with the benefit of a 90% majority – was part of a four man group of politicos representing the tax payer funded ‘Westminster Foundation for Democracy’.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a Caribbean British Overseas Territory trying to re-adjust to democracy after a short period of direct rule.


Looking every inch the colonial civil servant (circa 1952) in his trade mark white suit – a look also described as  being akin to ‘the Man from Del Monte’ or ‘Boss Hogg’ by Eastleigh News readers – Cllr House posed for  a photo with colleagues under palm trees for the local Weekly News whom he told:

“When people can sit down and have consultations they usually come out of it finding the best way forward.”

A Borough wide consultation held last year on whether  to hold a referendum for a  directly elected Mayor drew just 13 responses from Eastleigh ‘s population of 120,000 – all them in favour of a referendum.

Mr House told the Echo at the time that the low response was an endorsement of the existing executive arrangements and had decided to stay on as Council Leader unopposed.

In addition to advising Turk and Caicos islanders on how to be democratic, Cllr House has, according to the paper, also assisted in:

“The development of political parties in Eastern Europe and as an international election observer in seven republics of the former Soviet Union from Belarus to Tajikistan.

He has also trained political parties and assisted in developing democracy projects in Kosovo, South Africa and DR Congo.”

Cllr House travelled to the Turks and Caicos in early April. The trip was also reported in the Liberal Democrat News’ (back page) who trilled about Cllr House enjoying :

“Rum punches on the palm fringed beaches”

See also:

Mochmuhl welcomes Hedge End Councillors


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  33 comments for “Keith House advises islanders on Democracy

  1. Andy
    May 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I wonder does he present the Lib Dem Consultation technique of presenting the solution they already want and then “consult” on how to implement it? Or the Executive Cabinet methodology of meeting 10 minutes before the publicised meeting time, wrap up the business and then close the meeting before the public have any chance to actually get there. House wouldn’t know democracy if Cleisthenes himself came to dinner.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 9, 2012 at 9:05 am

      From Wikikpedia:

      “Cleisthenes also may have introduced ostracism (first used in 487 BC), whereby a vote from more than 6,000 of the citizens would exile a citizen for 10 years. The initial trend was to vote for a citizen deemed a threat to the democracy e.g. by having ambitions to set himself up as tyrant. However, soon after, any citizen judged to have too much power in the city tended to be targeted for exile”

  2. May 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    The man in the white suit Keith House, has
    extensive experience supporting emerging
    democracies,assisting the development of political parties in Eastern Europe and as an international election observer in seven republics of the former Soviet Union from Belarus to Tajikstan.He also trained politcal Parties and assisted in developing democracy protects in Kosovo, South Africa and DR Congo.
    “They were able to articulate well their views
    on several issues and make constructive recommendations,”the MP said.


  3. Stuart Jebbitt
    May 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Nice work if you can get it and at the taxpayers expense – of course, all this advice could be given very easily via webcam, email etc. but then that wouldn’t be such a nice jolly for the boys.
    Meanwhile, many Eastleigh residents who can’t afford such luxuries as going abroad or even on any holiday, look on helplessly at the disappearance of green spaces back at home.
    Also how are all these unnecessary flights keeping in with the Eastleigh motto ‘Tackling Climate Change’.

    • Stephen Slominski
      May 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Last year Mr House flew to Scotland for a meeting. I could have sworn there is railway Station in Hedge End.

      • May 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

        I suspect the air fare might have been cheaper than the rail fare…

        • mm
          Eastleigh Xpress
          May 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm

          No it wasn’t ..cos I checked! – although travel time considerably longer.

  4. May 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Is the “Westminster Foundation for Democracy” another hat that Cllr House wears, besides all those listed here….?

    • Stephen Slominski
      May 8, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      Well spotted Ray. His membership of the WDF hasn’t been declared as membership of an outside body – as it should be.
      Well, so many of them I suppose it must be easy to lose track.
      I wonder if this jaunt caused our leader to miss any of his scheduled County/Borough/Town council meetings?

      • May 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

        I was more concerned with the total number of hats worn by Cllr House, rather than the omission of one of them in the register of interests, but I agree with you Stephen: if the register of interests is worth the paper it is written on it needs to be complete…

      • May 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        According to this item in The tcipost, the WFD visit took place from 26-30th March…

      • May 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm

        Lol. Keith House a member of the World Darts Federation (WDF)…?

        I’ve made that mistake too when Googling, typing WDF instead of WFD. It gave some interesting results…!

        • mm
          Eastleigh Xpress
          May 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

          :lol:I once typed ‘MFI’ instead of Mi5!

        • pianoman
          May 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

          When will it be his turn to hold the board?

  5. May 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Why does, His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Dr. Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, spring to my mind when reading this.??

  6. May 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I’ve just been reading the article in the Turks & Caicos Weekly News. Its a good read actually, a Carribean version of Eastleigh News…

    I enjoyed House noted that one can look forward with optimism because the local political stakeholders are engaging each other.
    He said, “They are talking to each other…when people can sit down and have consultations they usually come out of it finding the best way forward.”

    So why isn’t that happening on the Local plan, the Rose Bowl, etc, in Eastleigh Keith, engaging with the Conservatives and Independents…?

    And I chuckled at;
    House stressed that a major point coming across from the political parties was the need for regulations to reflect the Caribbean dynamic and take into consideration particularly that campaigns are run in a very different manner to the way they are in the United Kingdom.

    Good job too I reckon, given the outrageous campaign material we’ve seen recently…

    For anybody who wants to read the full article on the Turks & Caicos Weekly News, it can be seen here

    • Stephen Slominski
      May 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks for adding the link Ray – I forgot to put it in.

      • May 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        I found this too Stephen, an item in the Turks & Caicos Sun.

        It doesn’t mention Cllr House by name (though he seems to have been promoted to MP), but it does mention the WFD’s visit in passing and gives a broader picture of what’s going on in the Carribean at the moment.

  7. Charlie
    May 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Does this mean the good people of the Caribbean can marvel at a steady stream of ‘Campaigners’ putting their town first, admire pictures of would-be politicians crouching in front of certain venues, with their thumbs up and rest assured that Labour can’t win there, with a pithy little graphic to prove it?

    Oh, and not admitting their various failures.

    • May 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      You forgot shaking hands and kissing babies…!

  8. Graham Hunter
    May 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Seem to recall he went about the same time last year to Mauritius to see how they impliment Solar energy savings!!

    Seems nice jollys to me!

  9. Mike
    May 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    This is the man who has turned Eastleigh into some sort of social housing experiment for benefit wasters.

    The Town centre is appalling and its demise has conincided with the rise of this dictatorship. Shopping in Eastleigh is a wonderful experience if you enjoy boarded up shops, charity or letting agents.

    As for councillors keep on claiming those expenses….your worth it?

  10. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    May 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    That’s interesting. If anyone has details please post them here – it’s good to share!

    I notice that the govt of Mauritius does run regular 5 day courses on solar energy – must be nice earner for them.

    I should think they have plenty of solar energy down there, shame we can’t tow Eastleigh down to the equator.

  11. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    May 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Ahhh! You are right!!

    Now why would the leader of Eastleigh Borough Council have to fly Mauritius to learn about solar energy?

    It’s not as if he has to install the panels himself.

    I’m not surprised that he has a range of tropical suits hanging up in his wardrobe – there is not much point in getting changed into anything else.

  12. Keith House
    May 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Just for the record guys, amongst your fun, this was a holiday.

    • Andy
      May 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      How can I get the Westminster Foundation to pay for my holiday?

    • May 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      LoL. Thanks Keith.
      Where are you going this year…?

      • D Sneddon
        May 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm

        KH must be earning a lot of tax payers hard earned cash as this is just his first exotic holiday of the year. Others will follow. Most of us hard working, wage frozen employees can’t afford a holiday anywhere, let alone abroad.

    • May 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

      Of course he was..!! Next you will be telling us that Crispy C***’s fact finding, 6 month tour of the far east on a arts and crafts fact finding mission is a holiday as well. Just because you think we are total ****s, you don’t have to treat us like such.

  13. rory
    May 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I have never be happy with the cabinet sitting behind closed doors and the leader
    having a veto on all decisions.
    Thats not Democracy!!!!!!!!!

  14. Sam Snook
    May 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Keith should invite the Turks;&Caicos
    Weekly News to visit the town he RULES.
    Sam Snook

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