Saturday, December 30, 2006

Queen overlooks Joe public
and me in New year's honours!

Once again and with some bitter disappointment you and I have studied the New year's Honours list from knighthood to MBE and even QPM only to discover that once again we* have been ignored.

Tirelessly we* have grafted to raise funds, through taxation for the NHS, armed forces, local services fire brigade police education etc in addition we give money to the local authority towards subsidising cultural activities such as the Turner contemporary, keeping the M&S building in Margate derelict, TDC's Pulp Fiction Thanet Matters magazine, gifting money to holiday companies to fly to the obscure town of Norfolk Virginia, as well as employing consultants who otherwise might have to work for a living.

Anyway I suggested you take a good gander, at the list which is available on the BBC website, one thing that strikes me is that many of the recipients of these honours seem to be rewarded for just doing their jobs and since many are in the public sector and will receive very generous pensions unavailable to anyone in the private sector they are doubly rewarded. Obviously many awards are for exceptional people but loads are part of political patronage.

Still I am sure that many awards are deserved just take a look at poor Rod Stewart, at the age of 61 probably struggling to keep in the Sunday Times rich list, his CBE must come as a welcome boost in an otherwise quiet life and Zara Phillips (11th in a line to the throne) has managed to overcome her family background to triumph as BBC's Sports personality of the year this unexpected award of an MBE must be the icing on the cake.

It would seem to me that much of the rewards and honours system is tainted, you only have to look at the current interest concerning rewards from political parties, perhaps now would be a time for the public to consider whether we need the current honours system maybe it could be revised slightly so that those of us who have never worked for government or local government agencies automatically get an honour the GBE (Grafter for the British Empire) at the age of 50 for services to funding social security and government.

In fact why wait for the Queen to give you an honour, it will probably never happened, so award yourself the GBE now, why not? Did Gordon Brown even bother to send a Christmas card this year not bloody likely!

Tony Flaig (GBE)

* when I refer to we, I mean the those of us who work outside of the local and government sectors ( I'm not suggesting that people in the public sector don't work hard or even receive low pay but most do receive a handsome pension, so please no whingeing teachers etc)

Margate in crisis
as sales fever passes by

In common with many residents of Thanet and Margate in particular I dont often go into Margate high-street, today was one of those rare events since Mrs Me required dropping off for an appointment with the hairdressers (I am not sure whether this is a major refit or just a touch up but if I remember I will adjust my praise accordingly) any how I was shocked to see how bad things had got (high-street not Mrs Me she's always lovely).

The only improvement I have noted is the ability to get a parking spot, presumably due to the derelict ambience of the high-street, not helped by the building site look given to the Marks and Spencer building for which we as taxpayers have paid several million.

Woolies gets unwelcome visitor

Even the enticements (up to 70% off) from the remaining shops seem to have failed to drag in the punters with the exception of Woolworths where clearly at least one bargain hunter could not contain themselves till opening time. I believe that this shop will remain closed for most of the day (looks like merging Canterbury and Thanet police areas is paying dividends).

Thanet council leader Sandy Ezekiel seems to frequently refer to Thanet as beautiful which in parts it is but clearly Margate high-street is not one of them, and for all the expense and time spent on regeneration specialists somethings clearly wrong because the streets are empty, when if we believe the media every other retail area in the country is under siege from deranged consumers who still have space on their credit card to fill.

Hopefully local elections later in this next year will help concentrate the minds of our local council into some action. Perhaps at the very least the ruling group on the council could ask their consultants if they have come up with any ideas yet!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tory Kent council and Labour PM unite
and pick on the fat boy!

What do bullies do when they run out of ideas and things to do, well if it is Christmas and the season of over indulgence why not pick on the fat kid.

Let's face it both the Labour government and also our local Tory administration are bankrupt, in the ideas department, KCC have launched an inquiry into obesity and have appointed the "obesity joint select committee" whatever that maybe and this being Christmas why not ruin this celebration of over-indulgence by suggesting withdrawal of health services for the obese and smokers as the Labour Party are proposing which will apparently be decided by that favourite of Labour the new people's panel being set up by Tony Blair to consider tough choices (I thought that was what politicians were meant to do).

Well though I happen to be fairly big myself I just wonder why I should be denied the healthcare that I pay for or indeed why smokers should be denied health treatment just where does this sort of nonsense stop, how about old people, indecisive politicians,...

Here are my candidates for withdrawal of health services, KCC for wasting money on a health issue which should be left to the health services, Tony Blair since he has less than one year to run as Prime Minister, John Prescott who has probably lost most respect due to his personal conduct and maybe Gordon Brown for his apparent arrogance in assuming the British people wish him to be Prime Minister.

Anyway fat people are the last target for indiscriminate personal abuse, I do not understand how it is socially acceptable to even consider discrimination against obese people (which by definition is reference to a medical condition) particularly if such suggestions come from politicians in the twilight of their career who have to bludge their holiday accommodation from fading pop stars.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A post Christmas message!
There cannot be a person I know who does not celebrate Christmas, and yet I don't think I can recall a single regular churchgoer within my sphere of contacts.

Me I cannot remember a time when I was a believer in Christ, even as a child, now if you ever read me with any regularity you will realise that I am a bit of a cynic, but just for the record, I am not entirely without an illogical belief system, because believe it or not I do actually have faith in Father Christmas.

The only thing that I believe matters a damn, in this world, is how we treat our fellow human beings, therefore the custom of giving at Christmas is one of those things that I can support, although all the other baggage that goes with Christianity is just so much crap, from the Pope insisting that priests and nuns must be sexually frustrated throughout their life to various Protestant denominations who despise the Catholic Church and have their own loony rules.

Those aspects of Christmas such as generosity, being friendly etc are what make Christmas for me. Perhaps the only fly in the ointment on Christmas Day, is the insistence of the Queen on giving a speech to the nation at 3pm half way through many a Christmas dinner, now maybe I should not be so churlish in objecting to this gift, but I just wonder how the Queen would react were I to show up at Sandringham and give her family a speech half way through their dinner.

One of the weirdest things at this the time of year and perhaps best aspects is the desire to wish good things to anyone and everyone I even got a happy Christmas type e-mail from one rascal who earlier in the year not only placed libellous statements on their website but also contributed to some considerable ill informed and violent comments.

Any how I hope that the readers of this blog have had a good Christmas and hopefully some of the ambience of this time of year will last well into mid-year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Labour call time on open government

According to several newspapers, Jack Straw last week suggested that government departments publicised as much bad news as possible in order to bury it in all the hoo-hah and coverage of the inquiry into Lady Diana's death by Lord Stevens.

As it happened this was the same day that Tony Blair was helping old Bill with their inquiries and the Serious Fraud Office were dropping their inquiries concerning BAE "commission payments" to Saudi Arabia.

Rather more startling was the announcement that Lord Falconer is pressing ahead with plans to limit the freedom of the information Act by curtailing rights of access and increasing charges.

It looks like new Labour are going the same way as their predecessors, and appear to be sliding into a pool of sleaze and corruption so much for open government.

The sort of news management that new Labour seems to employ these days, appears to betray all that pious crap about open government during their first term in office, it looks to me that whilst Jack Straw maybe uncomfortable with a veil that covers the face, a veil of secrecy created by distraction or misdirection is OK.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Illegal Drugs are they worth it

The recent horrifying events in Ipswich, have highlighted the extent and damage caused by Britain's illegal drug industry. The fact that the victims were apparently all dependent on expensive illegal drugs and therefore trapped and compelled to work in the sex trade adds to their tragedy.

It's pretty obvious to most people that drug addicts have little or no control over their desire to consume Alcohol Tobacco or Heroin but for some reason not all abused drugs are equal for instance tobacco and alcohol can be obtained relatively cheaply with part of their sale price going to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in taxation, however for some hypocritical and frankly illogical reason governments prohibit the sale of cannabis cocaine and heroin etc resulting in an extortionate price far beyond the cost of production.

We are frequently told that most of burglary and sex crime is driven by the need of addicts to fund their habit, what a difference would be made if addictive drugs such as opiates were made available at retail outlets with a small mark up to cover production and a little bit of money for the Treasury.

It seems clear to me that our politicians do not have the balls to help the helpless by making drugs legal, addicts who were it not for the high price of their addiction would probably go to work and not commit crime.

Exactly who benefits from the rather simplistic idea that some drugs are OK such as alcohol and tobacco and that opiates are not? Well I believe the answer has to be the drug dealer obviously, pimps who make money from exploiting women and those who buy cheap goods from burglars.

Drugs unfortunately are a fact of life, and until such time as governments acknowledge this, men and women will continue to be forced into crime.

You may well consider what I have to say as complete nonsense, but how about this from Harriet Harman who apparently had this to say ''it would be better to target the men who paid for sex rather than criminalising women'' (maybe it's me but why criminalise anyone), adding this seemingly bland obvious statement "I think we should be saying we don't want this sort of organised crime in this country, "

Harriet Harman speaks out

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Urgent message for Chris Weston and Ian Peters of British Gas

For some reason staff at British Gas appear to have some urgent message for me back on Saturday 9th December, despite my reluctance to speak with the first caller from British Gas I was contacted again during the afternoon whilst I was sleeping this being prior to my Saturday night/Sunday morning shift, as I was about to ask for the bosses phone number the young lady calling abruptly terminated the call.

Despite being on British Telecom's telephone preference scheme whereby once a registered you should not receive unsolicited calls, I now realise that the bosses of British Gas obviously had some pretty damned important information to impart to me since one call sounded as if it was being made from Mumbai, therefore if anyone has the home telephone number of Chris Weston Managing Director, British Gas Services or Ian Peters Managing Director, British Gas Business, perhaps they could e-mail me I will be more than happy to return their call halfway through a night shift.
Local newspapers under threat

Trinity Mirror publishers of Thanets three main newspapers the Adscene, Times and Gazette announced last week that they would be selling their regional newspaper businesses in the Midlands, London and the South East (138 titles in all).

At present Thanet is very well served by local news organisations but information that Trinity Mirror is abandoning local news in the south-east, presumably means that their employees have uncertain futures and we as readers might well be less well served.

Hopefully Trinity Mirror will be able to flog off their regional newspapers to businesses who are prepared to invest in a healthy future for our local papers, of course the worst case scenario I feel would-be if these newspapers were to be sold to existing local media such as KM Group or KOS.

It is a worry that Trinity Mirror who are one of the country's biggest publishers of newspapers cannot make a go of local regional press in southern England.

Part of the reason that Trinity Mirror, are having difficulties is due to losing advertising revenue to the Internet but since they don't appear to have a presence with their regional newspapers perhaps this is an area that a new owner could exploit.

God forbid the day comes when we only have the K M Extra and a handful of opinionated bloggers (excluding myself of course).

Perhaps ECR could put together a bid himself or even our local council who must spend a small fortune on advertising.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Why I don't vote Tory

I realise that from time to time, governments have to cosy up with some fairly disagreeable people, and most countries have to be pragmatic in their relations and we as members of the public generally don't ask too many questions and why should we because politics is a dirty business.

Back in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falklands, we sought help from Pinochet's Chile in regaining British territory for which we paid handsomely by ending an arms ban with Chile.

Now Baroness Thatcher is "greatly saddened" by the death of the former dictator Pinochet, presumably despite the many murders he was responsible for including the probable murder of the democratically elected leader of Chile Salvador Allende.

I think Mrs Thatcher once stated that it was a "funny* old world", well I'm sure the relatives of Pinochet's victims (3000plus) will find her sentiments insensitive and incomprehensible.
Christmas is coming

You may or may not appreciate the fact that, in common with many middle-aged fat blokes I have great difficulty in motivating myself off the sofa or even out of bed at this time of year.

Now I am not sure whether this is it to do with seasonally affected disorder or just the fact that it is becoming cold and has been bloody dark outside for a couple of months now.

Anyway I have seen the light, and unfortunately it twinkles and glows around the mantelpiece, various picture frames, as well as down the banisters in the hallway accompanied with tasteful glittering stuff.

As you may know I am not a religious man or superstitious for that matter, but Christmas strikes the fear of God into me, an example, on seeing Mrs Me, as I staggered out of the shower Saturday, noting the bag of Christmas decorations in her hands I stupidly offered in a co-operative moment to get the rest of the decorations down from the loft, bad move, as my goodwill gesture was met with a withering criticism pointing out that I had never put them in the attic in the first place and they had remained the spare room all year.

Anyway I am sure that Christmas hostilities will start in earnest towards the end of next week, as I am not a Christian I trust that my suffering is kept to a minimum and hope to avoid Cliff Richard singing Mistletoe and Wine this year although I do much appreciate the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl's Fairy-tale of New York as this track seems to sum up a more accurate Christmas mood.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Margate blogger wakes up and yawns

For the last week or so I have been slumped on a sofa bathing in the warm glow of the television, except when I've been at work which frankly takes most of my time. Ignoring the urge to bitch about local and national news because I have been too F****??!, yes that's right fatigued.

A couple of things caught my eye, last week the in the local newspapers (Gazette 1st December ) one was local MP for Thanet South, Stephen Ladyman, giving advice on parenting which for some reason reminded me of Jack Straw* some years ago, wittering on about parental responsibility until the Daily Mirror reported on, some of his own family's shortcomings resulting in a sense of schadenfreude** for many.

Again in Thanet South if the Gazette of last week is to be believed, there appears to be something of a bloodbath for local Tory councillors, apparently Chris Wells one of the council's more competent members has been deselected for his current constituency and it is suggested is being offered a strong Labour ward instead, this must be quite disturbing for Conservative voters, particularly as they had recently sorted out a parliamentary candidate "just like Jonathan! "

Assuming Tories in Thanet South continue to have a petty vendettas then maybe Ladyman has a good chance of being re-elected.

Finally last time I referred to Ladyman in one of my postings I suggested that he was pandering to macho posturing, which resulted in much abuse this time I will not suggest he is indulging maternal instincts as God knows what that would result in !

Anyway I shall go back to my warm sofa.
* click here Family misfortunes
** The malicious glee experienced from someone else's misfortune