Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tony Blair returns home
oblivious to the national mood

I understand that Tony Blair, has just returned from his summer holidays at Cliff Richard's Villa.

A lot has happened during his holiday, and after three weeks it should be good to get home, and for Tony Blair it probably is. For me he is exhibiting the classic signs of having been in power for too long.

There seems to be any amount of discord in his own new Labour family, but he appears to be completely oblivious, to it, and the uncertainty created by his commitment, to retire from the leadership before the next election.

It seems incredible arrogance or indecision, that having given a clear indication that he will resign during this present session of government, that he does not think it fit, to give a timetable so that there can be an orderly transfers of power.

Ignoring his own political family problems, today he has pontificated on children who are a menace to society, these are children who presumably have no clear leadership or goals, maybe he should look at his own unruly Labour Party and give them some direction before wasting time, on yet another meaningless initiative.

To any observer, the Labour Party is falling apart as Blair dithers over his own future departure.

I can only speculate, but I imagine when he looks at himself in the mirror, he sees a world leader of great vision, when I see him on television I have a picture of David Cameron a weak leader, of no vision, taking over at number 10 after the next election.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Follow-up on hope to aspiring authors

You'll see my previous posting below, regarding, local Margate based firm, Medical Case Notes Assessment Ltd, who are offering a bursary of £18,000 to a novice or experienced writer. Now the prize apparently is directed at a writer of fiction, but I just wonder whether this might be of interest to a journalist who could get more publicity for this generous contributor to the arts.

As this company, is involved in the legal system, I would not, make any flippant remarks or give opinion, and nor will I.

One thing I will say is that in a Google search there appeared to be more references to the writers bursary, than to their apparent core business of supplying expert medical witnesses.

Remember that entry into a competition presumably involves some sort of contract, particularly if an administration fee is required therefore I would suggest seeking advice, good luck!

Again I am sure, that this company is deserving of some sort of publicity from the local media.
Margate firm offer hope to aspiring authors

Margate based company, Medical Case Notes Assessment Ltd, are offering a bursary of £18,000 to a novice or experienced writer so that they can dedicate up to 12 months writing a fiction novel or collection of short stories.

I personally would be happy with a new box of crayons, anyway details are available from this link.

Completing the application form, you are required to include a short summary, a brief plan on how you intend to spend your time, a sample of your creative writing and finally administration fee of £12.
Nice to see a local firm patronising the arts

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Boost for the performing arts in Margate

The stage, news source for the entertainment industry carries on its website , an announcement that the Theatre Royal Margate is to launch a company called the East Kent Professional Players, aims of which are to bring quality drama as well as offering worked to unemployed professional actors in the area.

The hope is in addition to producing drama with a wide appeal, they will also be able to run workshops for aspiring or out of work performers. (this may well be of interest to Eastcliff Richard, newspaper proprietor, media mogul, celebrity and if truth be told, it, has been, a long time since he's flashed his golf clubs in front of Parky, Tarby and Brucie * ). Well let's hope this is, further evidence of our increasing cultural health.

Click here for the real story the stage

* For legal reasons we can go no further!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Come on down,
the price is right, in the

Fresh initiative, from local government, yet another regeneration specialist has been appointed for three years to revitalise Margate, this time we are informed by the Gazette being paid £50,000 a year salary .

Quite frankly Renewal or Regeneration is a pretty much the same thing to me, but we have two local council departments, dealing with what I would imagine is the same territory.

Just out of curiosity, I thought I would ring both departments to find out, how many people were actually employed in these two departments by Thanet council, not surprisingly this was gone four on Friday, after all, both phones were answered with a recorded message I assume coincidentally that everyone was taking annual leave.

It is amazing, how much our council have to literally giveaway. The minimum any of us pay for council services, assuming we go out to work, is £25 a week, many for the minimum wage or just over, and yet we are supposed to meekly except that council employees are worth more than double in some cases the average Thanet wage.

Now it looks like the money comes in the main, from the South East England Development Agency,for the latest recruit, but even so, as taxpayers it's coming out of our pocket. Thanet District Council regularly advertises mediocre jobs in the plus £30,000 bracket, salaries that probably are fairly rare in the private sector, and without the amazing index-linked pensions.

Now if I had any say in a matter, I would save the money being paid for the new programmes director at Margate Renewal Partnership, and with the 50 grand salary I would then maybe twice during the week give out £250 to two genuine shoppers in the high-street and on Saturday's give a another £500 away again at two genuine shoppers. I am pretty sure that this would increase foot traffic in the high street Margate with the minimum of bull....

Wye Kent Tories are bad for us
embarrassment for David Cameron!
If you think Kent Tories have screwed up in Margate, with the Turner centre, just consider this David Cameron's main policy initiative appears to be targeted at what Tories call ''Labour's garden grab'', therefore it must be rather ironic that one of the key developments in Kent involves building a significant new town, slap bang in the middle of ''the garden of England'' backed by leader of KCC Paul Carter and his colleague Ashford council leader Paul Clokie.

Now the development I refer, is Imperial College's plans to build what they call a science park, the bulk of which just happens to involve building 4000 new houses, presumably the science involved is in part psychological (an experiment to gauge how stupid or gullible the public are) and economic (just how much money can you make when converting agricultural land into prime residential land).

It will be of some interest to those who treasure areas of outstanding natural beauty, whether Paul Carter's KCC Tories and Paul Clokie's Ashford Tories consider a change of heart and back their leader or continue to back the destruction of the garden of England.

I have yet to see an explanation, or a reason that a science park needs to have 4000 houses adjacent, I suggest the great minds of Imperial College take a look at Pfizer Sandwich which would probably be aptly describe as a science park and note the lack of housing estates.

Does Imperial College or any of its advisers, really think that the public are so stupid as to believe that Imperial College are only interested in building a science park, I would imagine that anyone with half a brain would assume that Imperial College are seeking to make vast amounts of money from agricultural land call me a cynic, I prefer to think of myself as a realist.

Kent we all know, is one of those bastions of Conservatism in England, where you can literally put up any candidate for election, even Cameron's A-list lightweights and be sure they'll be elected. Kent Conservatives have seen leaders come and go (quite a few in recent times), and they'll still be running Kent long after David Cameron has been forgotten, so what are the chances of Kent Conservatives having a rethink and backing their leader on the environment and protecting an area of outstanding natural beauty, I'd guess zero.
PS Get yourself a Garden of England T shirt or souvenirs, before its concreated from where else you got it KCC online shop
Before the construction or distruction starts Download this handy guide to Wye Pdf format guide
BBC says goodbye to free speech
as comedy show goes down the toilet

I am an old and git, being almost 50 I can remember a more enlightened time, when the BBC had the balls to shock and offend. During my lifetime there have been times, when political pressure particularly from the Tories has resulted in BBC's independence being stamped on. Perhaps one of the most controversial programmes was 'Till death do us part' featuring the character Alf Garnett this was funny shocking and abusive, but offensive as it was, it helped expose and ridicule racist bigotry (it also taught me how to swear), today this programme would probably, never be made, although without it, I believe we would be in a less tolerant society.

Inoffensive as he is Rolf Harris has inadvertently become the centre of controversy in the latest heavy-handed censorship from the BBC, they have decided not to broadcast a radio comedy because it contains jokes the subject of which is religion. I happen to believe we are witnessing an era of extreme bigotry where religion is concerned, and personally feel that offensive as it may be to various faiths groups, a little humour however vulgar might just dissipate dogmatism in our society. Still the time has passed, when freedom to express yourself was paramount.

Perhaps the BBC could look on me, an atheist, as someone who is equally offended when so-called blasphemy or whatever is a taboo subject for humour or even discussion.Why not shock me and offend someone else. Incidently I am worried that I may be slowly morphing into the charactor mentioned above,the more I read my own blog the more of a bigot I consider myself.

Strangely I could not find a reference to this from the BBC so click here for the Guardian's version

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Motoring News
Speed Testing

To save any unseemly court appearances, and in the light of the Case of PC Mark Milton (Speeding 159 mph found guilty, Absolute Discharge). I would like to point out, that, should I have missed any speed cameras, recently particularly, the M20, that I have been familiarising myself with the following vehicles (as a much maligned white van driver I though I would improve my skills).

The Astra very nippy but lacks anywhere suitable to put your coffee cup not really a problem until we get into winter no refinements on the one I had, also a bit tight on space for a fat boy.

Vauxhall Vivario quite fast for a larger van, six speed gearbox more than capable of losing your licence in one moment of madness, coffee cup holder up on top of dashboard, not enough room though for putting food, newspapers or ear defenders and hard hat. Seat quite uncomfortable and has quite dangerous feature, a lever that one of you co-workers can if in playful mood, release causing you to plummet about six inches.

The Ford Transit, in tests proved to be the slowest with slim chance of losing your license unless you can find a long road with a forty-five degree slope (I’ve been told 95mph tops on the flat). Where this scores is the driver comfort, big seat with armrest, adjusts about everywhere you want it to, handy electric windows, coffee cup holder, massive dashboard room enough to put all your maps paperwork gloves lunch and probably the weeks groceries. Only drawback in the past I used to drive with a co-worker who would like to test my cognitive abilities by placing his hands over my eyes usually at 80 to see if I could rememenber the layout of the road and positioning of other vehicles.

A final point, these vehicles are driven by people who work for a living, they may not be the best drivers in the world but they a probably some of the most experienced so don’t hog the centre or even outer lane. We drive on the left in this country so once you’ve overtaken get over into the lefthand lane because the Astra van, in your mirror (if you know how to use it) is probably approaching your car at 95mph.

How can you fail to sympathise with PC Mark Milton !

Read Mirrors report

Westwood Cross
Canterbury feels the pinch?

Canterbury looked somehow deserted yesterday, all right it was still difficult to park in the town but there just seemed to be fewer people, than I have noticed in recent years. May be car parking at £1.20 an hour, has had an effect, more likely though Thanet residents’ are staying away, as we now have a good selection of half decent shops in Westwood Cross.

I have often criticized the development at Westwood, with its almost universally accepted traffic problems, but traffic between Canterbury and Thanet is not what it used to be.

There seemed to be quite a few closed shops, some being revamped or demolished, I could not tell which, even Boots the Chemist has retreated from the corner of Mercery Lane, where they have been since I believe the Middle ages. I think Canterbury just has too much retail space, the Whitefriars Centre having recently expanded.

What with years of mugging motorist with outrageous parking charges, and convenience of shopping within Thanet I think Canterbury is having a bit of a recession.

Even Mrs Me, was moved to suggest, that it would be a while before she would shop in Canterbury again (we will see).

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ailing Ramsgate celebrity and media mogul launches
new title!

Eastcliff Richard reclusive millionaire, has launched a fresh new publication the Isle of Thanet Gazunder. This appears to be a reaction to declining interest in his own of personal column.

It is thought that the new publication will be environmentally friendly, being printed using recycled ideas, time will tell whether this revitalises Mr Richards career and fortune.

As you can see, I have been tinkering with the format of Bignews Margate, hoping for a spectacular relaunch this weekend, unfortunately I will now put this on the back burner, I had been hoping to offer free copies of my holiday photos to readers this weekend.
Oil discovered off Thanet beach?

Is this the start of a new economic boom for Thanet, or something to do with Southern Water's new toilet pipe, or construction on Turner contemporary Gallery.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Kingsgate the epitome of little England ?

Kingsgate Avenue traffic problems!

(Rush hour)
Page 4 of the Thanet Gazette, carries a report concerning a new housing development at Kingsgate. Thanet councils decision to approve a plan to build flats in Kingsgate Avenue despite 20 written objections has angered residents. The application for this particular project is in line with the local plan.

It seems to me that the ''local plan''is used as justification in practically every unpopular decision made by our council. But in this instance having made a site visit myself, I find it hard to see how residents can legitimately contest development in this road.

Retired RAF officer, Tom Hindmarsh is quoted as referring to car-parking, traffic congestion, road safety, lowering of the character and environment etc as aspects which should have been taken into consideration by the planning committee rather than just a planning officer with the local council.

Having grown up, in this particular road, little has changed except for the fact that no longer, do there appear to be the hotels and guest houses, that once belonged in Kingsgate Avenue or the old people's home, which is the now a block of flats.

Objections to this development, look like a classic case of ''not in my back yard '', objections concerning car-parking, road safety and traffic congestion look purely spurious (I would suggest the residents of Kingsgate Avenue take a gander down the average Thanet street and get some perspective) as to the character of the area as I mentioned before in the past, there were Hotels , guesthouses, and at least one old people's home, in addition there also used to be a Children's Home at the top of Kingsgate so maybe it is time to put some sort of social diversity back into Kingsgate.

Maybe residents of Kingsgate Avenue should take a look round Percy Avenue and get their traffic worries into perspective.

Percy Avenue

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ruth Kelly wades into divide

Today Ruth Kelly announced, the launch of a commission on integration and cohesion, urging an honest debate on diversity. This is encouraging that, the government appeared to recognise that the excepted policy of cultural diversity is not necessarily working.

For a variety of reasons, misunderstanding and tensions between different sections of the population are probably higher than they have ever been in my lifetime.

The strength of Britain, is the diverse make-up of our people, but it seems that mainstream British culture, if there is such a thing, has been put to one side in the last 10 to 20 years. Right or wrong there has been an overwhelming push from the establishment, to embrace minority cultures and to ignore British traditions, the sort of thing to which I refer is the banning of Christmas in some local authorities (Despite the fact that the majority population is still Christian).

If you read me at all, you will know that I'm an atheist and therefore not a great respecter of religion, however I do expect this country to have a bias towards the Church of England, and other Christian denominations not because of beliefs but tradition which I respect as a British national.

I think there has been a bias, towards minority groups, which is all well and good, and I think we should support every cultural group, that makes up this country but we should not forget our core history and values.

I hope that this commission will bring something positive towards our country, because there is a danger of tension between different ethnic groups.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Westwood Cross campaigners could learn from Wye!
Thanet is not the only area of Kent that is subject to unwanted housing development. For some reason and I can only assume that it is money driven, Imperial College wish to ruin an area of outstanding natural beauty, with their rather shabby science park.

As a focus for objectors to Imperial Colleges development plans, campaigners against this vandalism have set up a website

I had the opportunity recently to ask the leader of the Kent council Paul Carter whether he was still in favour of development at Wye, and unfortunately the answer was yes despite the fact that Ashford, Thanet have that land to spare. This science park stuff is I believe a misnomer, and just excuse as in the case of Wye to build thousands of houses for vast profits.

I understand there is a science park at Sittingbourne which has existed for several years, and as yet has failed to match the hype of any of these developments.

Still I understand that in addition to the Westwood Cabbage Patch Housing Estate, a new cinema and leisure complex is about to be built according to Thanet life blogsite (and this is something I would support having tried to watch a film at Christmas in freezing conditions).
Bar 26 Marine Terrace
This week's Thanet Times reports that our local police wish to close down bar 26, is this right. As far as I am concerned, the main role of our police is to gather evidence, arrest criminals, and prevent crime, none which is contentious.

However in this particular case, there appears to have been a history of police objection to the existence of bar 26, landlord Andy Gerrard is quoted as saying ''when I wanted to open the bar the police opposed it...''he later goes on to say ''.... in here People behave themselves. How can I be held responsible for things that happen after people leave my bar?''

Further in Thanet Times report Peter West area commander put forward this statement to Licensing chiefs
1) Prevention of crime and disorder -''The high number of incidents linked with drunkenness gives police grounds to believe management of the premises does not fulfil this objective''
2) Prevention of public nuisance.''This is a seafront venue and several incidents recorded in this document occurred within sight of members of the public using this leisure area.''
3) Protection of children from harm.''There is evidence under 16s have been drinking at the premises.''

Two differing views, assuming both are truthful accounts, I would hope that the licensing authority takes a balanced view.

The police objection is quite notable, in that it doesn't appear to have evidence of anti-social behaviour actually occurring within the premises, and by that I mean violence taking place within the premises. When I used to drink on Margate seafront some 30 years ago, fights within the pubs and clubs were commonplace, so if it's correct, as would appear from both sides of this argument that this is a pub where you can drink without being distracted, where is the problem.

The problem apparently, from the police's objection is mainly as a result of violence and disorder occurring away from these premises, what I find difficult to believe is that participants in these incidents all come from one public house, surprising really?, you would think that this type of disturbance would generally result, from groups emerging from several licensed premises along Margate seafront.

Obviously in 30 years, drunken yobs have modified their behaviour, according to the police, one can only presume that drunken yobs now have greater control, and rather than lash out in the heat of the moment, now arrange in a gentlemanly fashion, to take a stroll some distance from the pub, then kick the S*** out of each other, in the timeless way these morons, always have done.

One other theory might be, that bar 26, not being part of a large pub chain or brewery, lacks the muscle to defend itself, but its closure would probably lessen the disturbances on Marine Terrace, until such time as a another pub is open to replace this one.

Again it's 30 years, since I have experienced a good night out in Margate, but in my day there was usually a heavy police presence along Margate front, perhaps it would be better if Peter West, could deploy officers as they used to be.

Although I have never been, bar 26 is clearly a popular drinking house, or otherwise it would not have been able to obtain 800 signatures in support.

For the full story you'll have to purchase a copy of the Thanet Times.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tony Blair to guarantee Tory victory.

The Labour government has become so detached from reality that are about to guarantee victory in the next general election for David Cameron. And this maybe is Tony Blair's greatest achievement because quite frankly, David Cameron is a complete lightweight as far as I am concerned, highlighted by his touchy feely policies and the choice of A list candidates for the next election.

Whatever the rights and wrongs, of Tony Blair's foreign-policy in the Middle-East he seems to have elevated himself away from any contact with domestic issues. Probably the most damaging policy to Tony Blair's government, is the complete arrogance and indifference to their reckless and negligent policy concerning migration. I would imagine that these new Labour types are to politically correct, to distinguish between xenophobia, and a legitimate national and economic interests.

The British people, are tolerant and will put up with any amount of ball from the ruling classes about embracing cultures (that don't want to be embraced), but when the government concedes to having allowed a population explosion of 600,000 people without planning or the slightest care for the consequences then this Government's days are numbered.

Tony McNulty, Home Office minister (I hadn't heard of him either) said that migrants were helping the UK economy, for whatever reason the report I'm reading from the BBC fails to make the case or illustrate in what part of our economy migrants are helping. Presumably Tony McNulty has not heard reports from builders and other trades across the south-east, of earnings being cut by a half and a scarcity of work, neither has he heard of the safety implications of poorly trained non-English speakers in the construction industry.

Perhaps it is time, for National and regional government to recruit Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian staff into our civil service, the trend for cuts in pay by a half can be continued to the large bloated and feather-bedded, local and national government workers, thus bringing equality across the economy. Even on basic matters of prejudice our government has shown complete cowardice, in the face of construction firms and farming industries employing foreign nationals just so that they can screw down labour costs.

Construction companies are paying Polish workers less, not because they are less qualified but because they are Polish and vulnerable.

If Polish nationals were predominantly of a non European race, the discrimination would be plain even for our government.
*this blog was done by vouce dictation and may contain errors as per usual really (i need an editor)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Thanets largest employer

Last week's Isle of Thanet Gazette, reported Thorley taverns expansion, it was mentioned that Thorleys was Thanets second largest employer after Thanet District Council, shouldn't we have more pubs and less government.
Blogger in extreme diet breakthrough.

Since my recent health scare, a few days ago, I have embarked on an experiment.

Chicken has become my staple diet, morning, noon and night, I have since, getting out of hospital, eaten little else, but it seems to be working as I have lost 10 pounds in just over a week. Just to give you, an idea of the desperate state I am in this is what I ate tonight.

The recipe 2 slices of bacon cut into thin strips, one skinless chicken breast, 250 grams of mushrooms chopped up, fry this in a wok (5 ml cooking oil) until cooked and then add bread sauce mix with milk added in to the wok allow five minutes to bubble away and serve with microwaved Brussels sprouts (leftover from Christmas).

* Copyright Tony Flaig 2006
** any resulting death or injury from following the above recipe, is not my fault if you are stupid enough to attempt this

*** Yes it does taste as good as it looks

Changes to my blogsite

I am experimenting with a new or updated blogger programme from Google, this in combination with the fact that I did not sit down to my dinner until 8 o'clock will result in very little blogging tonight. To be honest it has been a S*** day which was topped by a rather large dog 'doings' at the gate to Flaig Mansions (4 full buckets of water to remove, thank God the drought is over).

Yesterday I also suspended all trading my website similarly named, for two reasons one is the advertising banner splashed across the top of the website, this on, web space which is meant to be free as part of my contract with my Internet provider, but somehow these people are determined to make money out of my creativity, the other reason of course is that it is a pain in the ass to use all that html stuff.

I believe that the Google blogsite, programme is as good as a conventional website, and one of the new features is that it allows you to apply a label or labels to each posting, so that you can sift through my blogs on specific topics by going to the label Link and it clicking on to labels such as 'Turner contemporary' get the whole damn lot in one hit home (this will take a day or two to fully implement).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

John Prescott again under attack

Once again the Sunday Times, has cause to write about John Prescott, this time it's about his relationship with his son. According to the Sunday Times his son Jonathan Prescott, and his ''regeneration'' company Estate Partnerships may represent a potential conflict of interest, since this companies business is to win planning permission, and up until May 5th this year following that rather messy affair with a subordinate, Mr Prescott Senior's, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was directly involved the decision-making process.

Regeneration is a big business, particularly here in Margate, and it is understood that monies have been forthcoming in the past as a result of decisions taken by John Prescott's Office and Seeda (South East of England Development Agency), fortunes can be made in property, so these are rather serious insinuations, let's just hope that everything in Thanets regeneration game is above-board.

John Prescott must be the most tenacious politician ever, I won't bore you with all the gaffes and innuendoes, but you have to admit he must have some balls and cheek not to have resigned on numerous occasions, I can only imagine that Tony Blair retains him as Deputy Dawg to make himself look good.

Thanet council does the right thing!
According to a BBC Kent news item, a house in Sweyn Road, Cliftonville, has been shut down after complaints about anti-social behaviour of tenants. Apparently the property was in an appalling state, and councillor Ingrid Spencer was quoted as saying ''we will not let rogue landlords drag the area down'' the "we", presumably being the local government.

This action was apparently taken under new legislation allowing councils to impose emergency prohibitions under the Housing Act 2004, the tenants have been rehoused.

The report however, does not go on to explain whether or not there will be any penalty for the landlord, it does however suggest that the owner may convert the property into flats or sell up.

It's important in Thanet to protect tenants as parts of this area such as Margate, have a large transient population, much of which is made up of a vulnerable migrant community, and whether or not we approve, of unrestricted migration, these people require protection from those who would exploit them either by providing poor accommodation or poor wages.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The big question ?

You know for most questions, I have the answer, one that has been troubling me today, yesterday and for as long, as I can remember, being asked in Tesco's store whether I can pack my own shopping? I must have answered yes, a thousand or more times, I've even tried varying my reply, with something like ''yes OK I can pack my shopping but I may have difficulty paying for it.''

I can work 12 hours, drive hundreds of miles a day, but Tesco's believe me, to be in need of help, every time I go in, which is most days. Why can't they just leave me alone!

I would like to throw down the gauntlet , and threaten to take my business to Sainsbury's, but I find, the quality not so good, prices too high, fresh food not so fresh, and checkout persons slower.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Margate blogger in health scare
after ignoring Ladyman's advice

Last Friday instead of my normal breakfast of either sausage rolls and Scotch eggs or alternatively two sausage egg Mcmuffins. I had what I considered a healthy option, a couple of cheese rolls. As I was chomping through this rather meagre breakfast, I was reading the usually irritating opinion of Ladyman's Thanet, which I felt was the usual old Labour tosh, telling me, that my health problems were all my fault and that I should do something about it, so that Gordon Brown can give my money to someone more deserving presumably.

This pious attitude, is typical of the nanny state, the attitude that we all should live blameless lives. I certainly admit to over indulgence where eating is concerned, but where does this advice cease, for instance should Mr Ladyman be driving in the manner described recently in our tabloids (for instance is he aware of the carnage possible should he lose control of his vehicle at 90 miles an hour). This argument that we should modify our lives, is acceptable when given by health professionals but coming from government ministers just annoying.

Anyway as these thoughts were milling around my head, I was aware as I had been the previous couple of days of slight indigestion, any how during the day I also got flu-like aches and pains, when I got home that night I went straight to bed only to wake up with a high temperature and mild chest pains around about nine pm. Anyway I sought medical advice, and ended up at Margate Hospital (also known as the Q E Q M by lovers of the Royal family), the upshot was that after X-rays, electrocardiogram, blood tests I emerged on a Saturday afternoon, having seen five doctors some nurses and technicians with advice I have since taken i e lose weight and the reassuring news that there was no sign of damage to my heart.

Medical advice, from doctors, I will take, but not from politicians. Since Saturday I have not consumed one sausage roll, despite the convenience of being able to eat one at 90 miles an hour, on my way to work.

Just as a side issue, can someone explain to me why Ginsters sausage rolls are so expensive, at the new service station at Monkton (Paid £1.75 I think, good as they are, it's enough to give you a heart attack).

These Labour types have a cheek, most people have their vices or bad habits we just have to live with it.

I would prefer not to use the NHS, but would just make the comment that it has improved out of all recognition under Labour since I last required their services breaking a metatarsal at Alton Towers some years ago. Did notice rather a lot of drunks being it admitted, should they be treated I think so.

A thought
On several occasions I have posted remarks about Islamic groups which may or may not be offensive to Muslim and non-Muslim. The Muslim community (assuming there is such a thing), is made up of ordinary people no better or worse than any of us.

The Sun newspaper, highlights this fact in today's edition, where they interview five young men and seek their opinion on proposed passenger profiling, this highlights to me that irrespective of religion, we all share normal lives, ideas, ambitions.

This whole subject of the war on terror, Israel and the Middle-East are highly emotive, but have to be discussed in the open and it should be remembered that these conflicts involve ordinary working people, which is most of us.
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Cat still miffed

Despite profuse apologies, following my recent accidental assault on cat, when I tripped over Mr Puss, he has become increasingly aloof and distant despite pleas to get over it, now he's adopted a belligerent attitude towards me, ignoring requests for moderation, he has taken it upon himself, to regularly sit on top of my wife's car (which I pay for), in the sun in an act of retribution.

The offer to sun himself on the older Renault 19 has been declined, it looks like Mr Puss is not about climbdown any time soon.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Liberals recruiting in Margate
are they aiming too high?

Recently I thought I would checkout the North Thanet Liberal Party, just to see what they had on offer. You know the sort of thing, I wondered what sort of interest they had concerning Margate, indeed whether they had any views on the Turner Gallery or Thanets local plan.

Well the best I could come up with was an entry on their website expressing the desire to recruit new members in Margate by having Ming Campbell, speak at the Winter Gardens, some ambition, just imagine the scene of the great orator lecturing the people of Margate, of course such a meeting would be more suited to a pub.

Ming Campbell or Minger as I've heard him referred to, seems to have contributed little, to the advancement of the liberal cause, unlike his predecessor Charles Kennedy, who despite his illness at least appeared to have some charisma and populist skills unlike Campbell. Frankly I think the Liberals could do worse than get Charles Kennedy back in charge. It was suggested at the time of Charles Kennedy's retirement as a leader of the Liberals that Mr Campbell had somehow been involved in his removal. It's a pity since that occasion apart from taking up the leadership he has yet to impress the public or advance the cause for liberals at all.

I think it is time that, the Liberal Party said goodbye to Mr Campbell. And if wishing to see their current leader speak, at the Winter Gardens, is the summit of the Thanet North liberals ambition, then it will be a long time before liberals recruit in this area.

What I gleaned, from their website is that their, attention is mainly on Herne Bay and the Canterbury, pity really it would be nice to have more choice.

Liberal web page

Monday, August 14, 2006

Government react to the Muslim letter

I thought it was just me, that found the letter telling the Prime Minister, what to do, from various Muslim worthies and organisations, irrational, irritating and irresponsible but it seems that government ministers, are also a little upset as well. My main concern is that the letter, sent at this time of heightened terrorist threat was wholly inappropriate as well as naive (see my posting from this Saturday).

I have the same respect for Muslims, as I have for Christians, Jews, Hindus Buddhists etc I'm sure you get the picture. The thing is that I however do not subscribe to any religion, organised or otherwise, therefore I have a healthy disrespect of religious leaders, with political views. In common with many people I really do not give a flying toss, what religion, race or nationality anyone is because it does not matter to me.

What I do care about, are people coming from a religious background who then in a sanctimonious, and superior manner, start lecturing me on politics etc.
The government should treat these people in the same way I would treat a Jehovah's witness, who came knocking at my door at an in appropriate time, that is tell them where to go and slam the door in their face.

At the risk of offending, I think it is time for religious groups to stop being paranoid, get on with their lives, stop trying to impose your values and realise that for the moment Britain is still a free democratic and liberal society, long may it continue.

Hopefully we will always live in a liberal society, but this could be put at risk, when religious groups show no respect for the society they live in, and seem to want to fundamentally change what is traditionally a humane and Christian society.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Police desert Thanet in favour of Canterbury

Kent police's decision as announced by Chief Superintendent Peter West to run down police services in Margate and consequently the whole of Thanet is almost as surprising as the answer phone approached to policing we have come to know and expect.

This is a case of complete arrogance on the part of our county police force, where would you put the heart of your local policing?

A/ Canterbury a cosy affluent town with a well-heeled predominantly middle-class population and easy access to Maidstone.

B/ Thanet with a massive transient population, high unemployment and low wage economy. Wrong the answers A

This isn't just about saving money it's also about social division despite the fact that Thanet has bigger crime problems Kent police have chosen to desert Thanet. Why would you want to remove your resources from the greatest need, it's beyond me, all I can think is that the police are pretty much unaccountable, in any meaningful way to the public, so what do they care once again we lose.

It says something about Kent polices attitude to the public that the Chief Constable Michael Fuller, has not apparently found it necessary to comment on the 16 per cent rise in violent crime, in Kent in the media, or this retreat announced by Peter West.

I can imagine, senior Kent police officers planning to gradually close all local police stations and have them replaced with Porter cabins, staffed by police community support officers (community wardens) in command of Boy Scouts and other publicly spirited citizens ready to attend incidents. This would then free up police officers to check their expenses and payslips at Maidstone headquarters and senior officers to hobnob with each other over a cup of tea and come up with the occasional press release or media opportunity.

This retreat from Thanet, is symptomatic of traditional bias in Kents services and infrastructure, being located predominantly in West Kent and Maidstone, perhaps Paul Carter as the democratically elected leader of the Kent council, could put some political pressure on Kent police, who are after all, are well paid employees of local tax payers.

I would like to send a copy of this posting, to Michael Fuller and Peter West but as with all good organisations, their website does not provide an e-mail address (another surprise).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Protect civilians wherever they are
This is the heading given to an open letter to the Prime Minister published in today's Times endorsed by leading Islamic organisations. This is clearly a sentiment that no one can challenge.

But I have some reservations as to the motives and timing behind this, the letter opens with this sentence

''As British Muslims we urge you to do more to fight against all those who target civilians with violence, whenever and wherever that happens.''

And continues :

''It is our view that current British government policy risks putting civilians at increased risk both in the UK and abroad.

To combat terror the government has focused extensively on domestic legislation. While some of this will have an impact, the government must not ignore the role of its foreign policy.

The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremist who threaten us all.

Attacking civilians is never justified. This message is a global one. We urged the Prime Minister to redouble his efforts to tackle terror and extremism and change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion.

Such a move would make us all safer.

So let me get this right, because of a handful of criminal terrorists, we as a nation have to change our our foreign policy, according to the signatories of this letter. How changing our foreign policy at this point in time would make us safer is beyond me and most rational people, as it is generally accepted that once you give in to one terrorist group you only encourage the next.

Along with many people I concur that our involvement and that of America has been a bloody disaster in Iraq, some how George Bush has managed to clutch disaster from the jaws of victory. The reality is that our forces are embroiled, in the middle of a nasty sectarian war, and to withdraw now, would more than likely increase the slaughter, carried out not by American or British forces but the indigenous Muslim population.

This letter to the Prime Minister, if nothing else seems to be naive in the extreme, and does little or nothing to censure extremist terrorist elements of our own nation by which I mean whatever race, religion or non-religion.

Finally unpalatable and offensive as it is to the Muslim community, the media has given much voice to concerns of Muslims that only Muslims are being targeted as suspects, in this war against terror and Al-Qaeda it's unlikely that any of the suspects will be Buddhists. Obviously the signatories to this letter are honest decent citizens of this country making a contribution to what is a sensitive and difficult period in our history but I think the timing of and emphasis of this letter are wrong, coming two days after an almost unimaginable plot to murder hundreds of fellow British citizens has been foiled.

Now the facts as I believe are that two days ago we were informed by the Metropolitan police deputy commissioner, Paul Stephenson, "This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale." talking about the plot to bomb nine planes and murder without compunction hundreds of innocent civilians. With this in mind I think we should support our security services and concentrating on education all sections of society that we are one nation and incorporate many faiths and cultural backgrounds but wont tolerate terrorism fullstop or make any allowances for bullies.

* * this letter was apparently endorsed by many leading Muslim organisations including Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Parliament, Muslim Women Society, Islamic Society of Britain etc
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Airliner terror plot
Our security services have done well and acted in a timely fashion to thwart an horrendous cowardly attack on civilian travellers. Already concerns have been expressed in media reports about the effects on neighbourhoods where suspects have been seized and whether any consultations have been held with security services and community leaders and it just makes me wonder what sort of world our politically correct journalists live in. I hope that consulting local communities about arrests of terrorists is the last thing on the mind of our security services.
Along with past terraced groups, members of Islamic fascist groups such as Al-Qaeda merge in with communities as part of their cowardly game and I'm fairly sure that they will never apologise to their community or their faith.

As one of their potential victims purely on the basis that I travel and like to visit America I frankly don't care what our security services do to stop these people. Should I be lucky enough to travel again to America, I will most likely choose an American airline and wont give a thought to deranged evil Al-Qaeda scum.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ashford does the impossible

Can Thanet council get Westwood Cross developers to pay for road improvements?

I've been to a couple of local meetings attended by councillors and one even with Roger Gale MP for North Thanet, apart from the consistent pleading from us, the public, for better roads, we are told they haven't got the money and that it is not the responsibility of developers to fund road improvements, to make their developments viable or workable.

Now according to a news story, on the BBC News website the housing developer, Taylor Woodrow is to improve Junction 10 on the M 20 at Ashford and approach roads at a cost of £4.9 million. Now whilst Ashford Borough Council has said the funding is ''unprecedented'', it proves that you can get a developer to pay for the transport infrastructure to support their profitable venture.
Maybe Sandy Ezekiel could get on to his counterpart at Ashford council and asked them how they did it and then see if they can get the developers of the Westwood 1000 housing estate at Westwood Cross to divvy up the money to make their project workable.

Where's Stephen Ladyman When you need him?
Despite being a transport minister, roads Minister and local MP Stephen Ladyman (Thanet South), he has remained fairly quiet on the appalling congestion we have suffered since Westwood Cross opened. Now he is quoted as saying ''"I welcome this project, which will improve traffic flows and safety on this important road." (referring to Ashford) , now wouldn't it be great if he were to make the same announcement on developments at Westwood Cross then we'd all be happy.

As a local taxpayer I do not see why, it is my responsibility to pay for infrastructure to enable developers to make vast profits, therefore I would suggest if Ashford can get a fair payment from a developer, then so should Thanet.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thanet news
I purchased my copy of the Thanet Times, this morning at around 6am, noting how light the paper was I checked the masthead (the bit at the top), to see if this was some special airmail edition, but no this was the genuine article all 48 pages, that works out at a penny a page with the last eight free.

The content of the paper is quite good, the stories are quite varied and unlike some of its rivals it is not packed out with advertising supplements, so really its good value.

I must say having seen some of our local hacks, at local meetings recently taking notes, I felt sorry for them, wondering how they would craft, something readable out of traffic flows, Margate renewal, local plan, Paul Carters vision for Kent. It put me in mind of one of the vilest abuses at school (not cross country running), this was the requirement on Mondays to write an essay entitled ''my weekend news'', after an hour the page would be as blank as my mind, most teachers I had, just accepted this but there was one particular teacher who would insist, that I stand up and read my essay, knowing the page was blank, if this person were alive today and maybe they are I would like them to give me an essay entitled memorable ''public meetings held this week'' and make them stand, read aloud in front of an audience consisting of local journalists, councillors, angry residents and middle-aged smart asses like myself.

My only disappointment, with our local press is that I have not seen a detailed in-depth report on any of these meetings.
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Monday, August 07, 2006

Home secretary opens migration debate.
John Reid, has opened the debate on migration by stating "We have to get away from this daft so-called politically correct notion that anybody who wants to talk about immigration is somehow a racist." I feel that this is a little overdue since government figures conclude that 374,555 from eight nations - including 228,235 Poles have registered for work between May 2004 and March this year.
Working people like myself are now competing with migrants who in the main are taking low-paid jobs, I can appreciate how the ruling classes in this country have chosen not to debate this situation, because they are the benefactors of easily exploited labour. In fact I was reading one of those columns by some prominent hack in the sun newspaper recently praising hard-working Polish builders whom acknowledged that he would be offending British builders as he considered them to be inferior (this coming from one of those normally pro-British Gotcha type journalists).

Having worked alongside Polish workers I could not in all honesty see any different work ethic or work rate but presumably sun journalists who most likely have never done a day's physical work know best. The only difference, that I found was an inability to communicate in clear English (I can just sense accusations of bigotry), in my industry you have to understand safety briefings, and be able to clearly communicate. This however does not stop companies employing migrants, why? because they are cheap and no other reason .
At the end of the day Mr Reid, is a little late in allowing us to have this debate, amongst working people the debate has raged for some time unbeknownst to the professional middle classes, politicians etc, and the conclusion is quite clear the sole effect of uncontrolled migration is resulting in exploitation of those migrants to the detriment of local people, as a result of living standards are being affected.
The ruling classes will have their debate but the unfortunate thing for those at the lower end of the food chain, is that our incomes are already affected, the professional classes can witter on about migrant workers having a better work ethic but this is an erroneous suggestion and is made to salve their conscience when they buy cheap labour.
One other aspect of unrestricted migration, is the severe distortion to local economies such as ours. Only now are the professional classes, considering the implications of housing, education, health and employment unfortunately working people have already, had to deal with lower pay, accommodation etc.
Still it's nice to see professionals and politicians beginning to patronise ordinary people by allowing debate on such a sensitive topic.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wild boar roam Britain once more
This isn't a report about me, but a story from Reuters about wild boar in the West Country click here, last week I had the pleasure of visiting the West country, camping behind a pub which my sister had recommended in order to join a birthday party. I had been told that the facilities were clean but basic, this was only partially true certainly the facilities were basic.

It had taken nearly 30 years to persuade me to go back to camping, now I see I could be sharing a rain soaked field with wild boar I shall look for a TraveLodge. Still camping remains a very reasonable economic proposition for seeing the country a four-man tent in Tesco's under 30 quid, it's suggested (my wife ) that we should go to France (don't they have rabies, and wild boar) for the weekend, wild rabid bore (now that could be me).

Red Lion at Draycott near Cheddar on the road to Wells v. good lunch week last Saturday

Cheddar Gorge
one of natures natural car parks
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As you know I can be controversial on occasion, well this time it appears that I have gone too far, and am subject to a blog entitled "A response to an Israel-basher" by fellow blogger Mortart. My crime is to suggest, with some feeling that Israel has used disproportionate force, in the Lebanon and also to suggest that Israel is the dominant military force in the Middle-East.

Anyhow normally I would not give this another thought but since the authors profile states that he is a retired journalist/editor for several well-known publications I consider this note worthy. The fact that the author is in his Eighties, does not impinge on his writing so if you're interested please visit his blog, which is quality stuff.

The following is my reply to his blog:

Firstly I am not an Israel basher, neither am I a supporter of terrorist cowards, I just happen to be an ordinary bloke who gets a little disturbed and emotional when I see an unequal fight taking place this does not make me an extremist or even an enemy of the state of Israel.

Terrorists will always hide behind civilians, as has been the case in many conflicts and sadly you can bomb these people and more often their neighbours, morning noon and night forever and when you've finished they will still be there. Consider this more than 3500 people were murdered in Northern Ireland, then consider the conduct of United Kingdom, not once did British military forces find it necessary to invade the Irish Republic, or even contemplate such action for this rather simple reason, citizens of the Republic of Ireland are our neighbours, this conflict is now being resolved by political inclusion and economic factors and as with any dispute both sides have their faults.

To say that Israel is not the dominant military force in the Middle-East, ignores the facts, Israel is the largest recipient of American aid, some of which comes in the form of a cutting edge military hardware, also it happens to be a nuclear power.

Israel has or is in the process of bombing the Lebanon back into the Stone Age for what purpose I don't know, but unfortunately the effect of this will be to increase hostility to itself. Perhaps Israel should have learnt from Americas recent military adventures, there were few critics of their intervention in Afghanistan as this was the country that trained Al-Qaeda, then they moved on to Iraq and again they had popular support (mine included which they still have) but learning nothing from history in that gung-ho way stayed too long.

Apologies if my opinions have offended, and must admit, I don't know all the facts, what I do know is that I am no basher of Israel, a critic with a sense of proportion.

Sorry for the length of my response. Just one final point if you were driving a friend down the road, and that friend perceived your driving to be reckless and they happened to pass comment would that make them a Mortart-basher or a friend.

This particular blog is moderated so therefore my comment in reply has yet to show up at the time of writing.
To get the context of my correspondence please read the following posts Israel, Iran & Iraq: A crisis point in the war on terrorism / A message from an Israeli cousin

Link to Octogenarian blogsite

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wrong to criticise Israel ?

I am frequently told, in chat rooms and various forums that I am anti-Semitic or the suggestion is made. Why you might ask, well, in line with many other people with the exception of our government, Israel has taken a disproportionate stand against the Lebanon, which at this point has resulted in hundreds of civilians being killed needlessly in the last few weeks.

My view is that Israel has a right to defend it itself, and without question has a right to exist, now this view, is frankly not good enough, for many Israelis for they will not allow Palestinians their right to exist as a nation, neither will they consider giving back to Palestinian families lands and homes that they have taken in the last few years.
My view of equality, does not sit well with the Israeli government or its supporters, so frequently one is slurred, and called anti-Semitic not for any religious opinion but for holding a modest sensible political view.

There is no question, that Israel has had to fight hard in the past to maintain itself, and frequently Israel as had the unequivocal support from Western nations and rightly so but times change and so should Israel.
I find it ironic, when supporters of Israel descend into cheap and offensive insults of the type I've already described, particularly as I consider why I am no Christian or any other religion for that matter and part of the reason is the knowledge of the Holocaust, and other war-crimes which unfortunately have recurred during my lifetime in Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.
There is no justification, for terrorism and I don't think that terrorism has ever resulted in winning an argument. It is a pity that neither party in the Middle-East have the will to pursue their aims in a strictly political way.
It is difficult to equate one situation with another but maybe Israel and the Palestinians should draw some inspiration from South Africa, here you had a minority government which eventually faced the inevitable and did a deal.

Turner MARGATE public consultation when where how

In last week's press release, from Kent council we were told that designs will be on display in due course and that Turner contemporary will fully engage with the public throughout the process.

This is good news assuming that you actually believe that there is any sincerity in that pledge, but I have to say so far things don't look that good. We're told that the master plan is to have our gallery built by the end of 2009, so really there isn't an awful lot of time. It would be reassuring if the Turner Gallery people were to make some sort of stab at consultation.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I received a telephone call from one of those honchos at KCC, involved with project and certainly they intimated the projects commitment to consultation, but I just got the impression that their heart was not in partaking of such an exercise.

This week's Gazette has reasonable coverage and one quotation from David Chipperfield director Victoria Jessen-Pike which I hope is not as revealing, as it sounds to me, ''How consultation will be carried out hasn't been decided. But in the past David Chipperfield has given a talk.''

That quotation gives me the impression, rather worryingly that once again opinion and views of Margate and Thanet in general, have a lesser value than perhaps a clique of art and design professionals, we only have to look back at the previous design which KCC have taken to calling euphemistically Turner offshore in their ludicrous attempt to sidestep criticism over their role in the previous unrealistic and out of control design.

I have no wish to criticise the chosen architect's, for a start they have yet to show their hand, lets hope they do a good job, so far all we have to go on is a couple of pictures in the local paper and a photograph of the architect looking enigmatic?

The main point is the Turner contemporary must be representative of Margate, and let's trust the clique responsible for the previous Turner debacle consult. As usual I may be talking bull, I get the impression that arty types live in a rarified environment resulting in an arrogance that only they have taste, of course the problem with this is that even in the art business you have to have patronage and in this case the patrons are taxpayers.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Public meetings

Until February of this year, I often wondered what sort of person goes to public meetings (now I know fat middleaged people and politicians). Since the start of this year I have attended three such functions, all of which have been different in their own way.
This being the first day this week, that I have not been either travelling to and from work or working in excess of 13 hours, I thought I would wind down by attending a public meeting at the Hoverspeed club at Manston, well I wish I hadn't bothered as it took more than twenty minutes to locate the Venue. The subject was the new housing estate to be built at Westwood.
Roger Gale and Sandy Ezekiel were in attendance fending off impertinent questions concerning the traffic situation around Westwood. Fortunately for them there appeared to be a senior officer from Thanet council fielding many questions with highly detailed and interesting replies on the technicalities of planning (this made my day).
I must say the public were pretty unanimous in apportioning the blame for our traffic woes, at the council, me included although I can see the economic benefit that we have derived from Westwood Cross and convenience of having major stores within Thanet. But the traffic is an intolerable problem, mainly because we are so lazy and cannot give up our cars, still we want the convenience so right or wrong I feel we need to maintain the pressure on our local politicians elected or otherwise until we get all we want.
Incidentally I may have been hallucinating, but it would appear that the closed road at Victoria traffic lights is now open again.
Margate Road Block likely till 9th August

Due to the fact that few from KCC live in Margate, we have an abismal road network as Mr Paul Carter ( KCC Leader) found out arriving late to his own meeting on Monday.

Lets face it the tories have ruled Kent since the dawn of time, and we live on the edge of that world and thats why closure of College road, just beyond Victoria traffic lights at Coffin corner is screwing up my day and possibly yours. The council say is should reopen on the 9th of August.

I think if KCC leaders lived and worked in Thanet we would have proper roads not backstreets to get out of town.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Thanet MP Roger Gale calls for Middle-East debate

Roger Gale once again, proves that being an MP, sometimes involves a little more than just following the party line, sometimes it is necessary for our politicians to show that they have ethics and compassion for their fellow human beings and once again Roger shows this, with his request that Tony Blair, returns from his American PR trip and for Parliament to discuss Israel and the Lebanon crisis.

It's reassuring to see that at least some of our politicians, still have a backbone. Even if the government doesn't.