Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Labour has a punt on Internet gambling

Sport Minister Richard Caborn, and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell have today hosted a summit on Internet gambling, with representatives from 33 other countries, who hope to agree regulatory principles by the end of their meeting.

It looks like, the usual old codswallop one expects from New Labour, Tessa Jowell is quoted as follows "The benefit to the economy is less important than our priority of protecting UK citizens", I think if you believe that, then you will believe anything.

Why don't these, members of the government, outlaw Internet gambling, most people, except for half-wits in government, assume that at best Internet gambling sites are looking to exploit feeble-minded punters, it's not as if, gambling is not catered for elswhere.

Personally I view operators and directors of these online gambling sites as low life exploiters of human frailty, government ministers who wish to somehow legitimises the exploitation of often vulnerable members of society I wouldn't like to say.

Believe all the nonsense about regulation, and protecting UK citizens if you wish, I think they're looking for new streams of tax revenue and vulnerable people with a credit card might just fit the bill.

I believe a couple of weeks ago, the United States outlawed Internet gambling by simply making it illegal for credit-card companies to give these parasites any more money, if New Labour had any ethics or morality they would at least put up abolition of this type of gambling as an option, clearly they are pretty close to bankruptcy where honesty and decency are concerned.
Switch off your lights and save energy

Just a reminder although probably too late, to not answer your door unless you are expecting visitors. That great American import Hallowe'en is with us once again. Over the years of various explanations such as we are not American, nor are we devil worshippers, etc to irritable teenagers, have failed to put them off, with their trick or treat nonsense.

According to some retail expert, Hallowe'en still has a massive growth potential in the UK, God help us. Below is a photograph I took, in New York, where it would appear Satan had come early this year.

By switching off lights, you may avoid those awkward situations with excitable youngsters at your door, as hopefully they'll assume, you're out. Anyway I cannot understand what parents are doing, letting children out at night, in this day and age, then expecting them to knock-on the door of some miserable old B@$!^&d who has been to work all day!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Town sergeant required for Margate Mayor

Is it any surprise that we pay so much in tax, for our local government. According to Friday's Gazette, Margate mayor Doug Brown, has been without a town sergeant since May.

Among the duties for Sergeant, are driving and making sure the mayor gets to his appointments, and wearing a frock coat with brass buttons and red cuffs, as required.

I haven't got the foggiest clue what a mayor does, in the 21st century other than visit other Mayors, I just wonder if this is something that should be consigned to the history books along with the Royal family and other fairy-tale nonsense in how otherwise modern world.

Not only do I have to wash and dress myself in the morning (Mrs Me refuses), I also have to drive myself, if only our representatives could be as businesslike.

Pictured below Margates Mace, as carried by past town sergeants, now only used for ceremonial purposes, although in the Middle Ages this would have been used to see off smart ass bloggers.
Revealed why the veil of secrecy concerning ECR
(my own theory )

Excuse me for my lack of postings, of late this has been due in the main, the shock of returning to work and also what is described as a severe case of man flu.

One thing that I have found a rather enthralling, is the heightened interest in Eastcliff Richard's identity, I even understand that Dr Moores is wondering whether he should offer a prize.

Well what I suggest, as this is a fictional character, again who really gives a toss so long as he or she continues to entertain us, whilst we look for some redeeming feature, talent or achievement from this author.

One theory I have, is that controversial as ECR appears to be, apart from making jokes about local sea gulls, etc just how contentious is he, not very, in fact I think he could be a Tory agent, look how he bigs up property prices, note his criticism of a BBC journalists (a familiar Tory trait), ruthless self promotion even going as far as to refer to the Isle of Thanets Gazettes, humungously funny Smudger column, which I rarely read for fear of straining my chuckle muscles.

For all we know, he may well be the alter ego of one of our obsessive local bloggers.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fair cop?

Kent Police Authority seeks new independent members

Four new independent members are being sought, to join the Kent Police Authority. The role of the Authority, is to oversee the effectiveness, efficiency of Kent Police, supply resources, appoint senior officers, hold the Chief Constable to account, making sure community views and priorities are reflected in policing Kent and Medway.

Ann Barnes, Chair of the Kent Police Authority is quoted as follows on the KPA website "We need members of the public to join and share their views. Police authorities are making every effort to reflect views of communities but this really is your chance to help make a difference. This is an interesting time to join as we continue to introduce neighbourhood policing. I urge anyone who cares about the policing of their community to contact us and apply.

"We are looking for applicants who have skills in management, business, and public service. We particularly want to hear from women, younger people and people from minority groups who will enable us to reflect the local diversity of Kent."

The make-up of the current Kent Police Authority includes nine elected councillors, three magistrates and five independent appointees. Having taken a look at the brief histories given for independent members one is a university lecturer, two have had extensive local government careers, and another holding senior posts within the pharmaceutical industry and a fifth whose background isn't disclosed.

Now certainly the Police Authority should reflect the views of communities in Kent, but given that few if any, of the current members, appear to be members of what you might term working people, or at the bottom of the socio-economic strata and the Authority is apparently looking for, applicants who have a skills in management business and public service, it would appear unlikely that the Police Authority will ever be representative, in any meaningful way.

This may well get me arrested, but from the current line-up of KPA members they only appear to represent the 'right sort', and by that I do not mean politically right, but those who are in the main comfortable professionals, for whom a life is good.

Wouldn't it be great, if the Police Authority, required applicants, who had skills in surviving, self-employment, working in factories, construction industry, trying to get by on the minimum wage, basically ordinary decent people who are not currently represented.

You would think of that new Labour, would open up Police authorities to ordinary people, but clearly this sort of role is slanted towards middle-class professionals (presumably because they won't be wanting to rock any boat's). If you think I am exaggerating, here's one simple exclusion, for most people with manual jobs, part of the time requirement, is the fact that most formal meetings are apparently held on Wednesdays in Maidstone, now this wouldn't occur to a middle-class professional, but for someone say, working as a temp for an Agency employer (which many do), they are unlikely to keep their job if they take one day off every week.

Anyway if you're still interested in being a member of the Police Authority click here.

If you are interested, and not one of the professional middle-classes amply represented already why not rattle some cages and apply, there is a drop in session, being held on Friday 10th November, for details click here, I might just take a look myself, just to see how committed they are to biodiversity.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Land reclamation scheme in Margate?

It appears as if Thanet District Council have been swift to react to remarks made by Dr Phyllis Starkey, chair of the communities and local government committee who is reported by Thanet Times as saying Margate people are ''wallowing in nostalgia'' , ''one issue is how Margate seafront can have a vision for the 21st century''.

A quick drive along the tatty and decaying 'Golden Mile' , assuming you can take your eyes away from some of the rather sleazy establishments and look seawards, you will notice that the municipal bulldozer has been in action, and you will now be able to make out, the outline of the New Margate, marked by large banks of sand.

Fortunately our council are full of good ideas, and it is hoped that the council will be able to use the many consultants reports its commissioned over the years as landfill including this latest one by Dr Phyllis Starkey and her committee.

The reclaimed land will be home to a new seafront, fit for the 21st century, along the all-new Marine Terrace, will be Palm trees, to shield visitors from old Margate, there will be cafes, where visitors may top up their bladder with more coffee, and enjoy cafe society ambience for the last time before boarding their train home having had a wonderful day at the Turner Contemporary.

Frankly I have problems with all these outsiders who have wonderful ideas for Margate, we are told that Dreamland is not viable as an amusement facility, it's just strange that Alton Towers, Chessington, Thorpe Park, Drayton Manor and Blackpool Pleasure Beach all manage to function in the 21st century.

Maybe the question Dr Phyllis Starkey should ask, is why the owners of Dreamland leisure park, may prefer a change of use rather than knuckle down and make Dreamland a success.

As for the consultation process, which we hear so much about why was half of Dreamland turned into a car-park, I just wonder who's kidding who?

If you would like to know who Dr Phyllis Starkey is click here, finally I'm not sure I need advice from someone who represents Milton Keynes south-west, where I imagine nostalgia is an abstract concept .

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Where was I

Mrs Me decided earlier in the year that she would remove me from Thanet temporarily whilst my 50th birthday was reached.

Fortunately she knows what I like, and unlike our county councillors, decided she would subsidise me with a week in New York, rather than Norfolk Virginia the choice of Kent County Council who along with other "Kent partners" are bunging £400,000 towards the set-up costs of a once-a-week charter flight from Manston.

If you happen to be a Kent county councillor, who would like to know why I would prefer to see flights to New York subsidised (if you have to spend my money) click here and see a selection of my recent holiday photographs (everything from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park, Grand Central Station to the naked cow girl in Time Square).

Monday, October 23, 2006

Quote of the week

South Thanet Conservatives, Chairman John Holmes apparently commenting on the appointment of Laura Sandy's ''We were looking for someone like Jonathan and we found one. She's a woman, but she's just like Jonathan!''*

The Tories should have an easy win, in South Thanet, with Laura Sandy's as their candidate at the general election assuming they think before speaking, and that the Labour Party don't sort themselves out.

Whenever I think of Jonathan Aitken, I always have a mental picture of him bleating about his trusty sword of truth, and we all know where that got him, let's just hope that the chairman of Thanet South Conservatives has got it wrong which I'm sure he has.

* Isle of Thanet Gazette 20th October, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Health bosses know best

As you known I have been away, for the last few days, so naturally, I am taking a gander at the local papers and one story which can only serve to confirm I am home, is one in the Thanet Gazette, where journalist Jennifer Wiley reports on health bosses refusal to reveal the location of new dental surgeries serving Thanet.

Now this is typical of the apparently unaccountable, nature of public employees, presumably our high and mighty Health Trust functionaries, are under some sort of delusion, that public funds that they administer are their own money, when in fact you and I, pay handsomely through the taxation system for our health-service.

Information that the Gazettes reporter did manage to glean, was there is a company called Associated Dental Practices who are offering patients an initial appointment so long as they are on the primary care trusts waiting list.

The plain and simple fact, is this, its public money, supplied for the benefit of the local population and just who the hell, do these people at the primary care Trust, think they are, that they are conducting public business in secrecy.

It's refreshing to see that civil servants are still quite capable of ignoring the freedom of information Act as if they are part of M I 5.

I suggest you write, to Colin Tomson , Chairman of Eastern and Coastal Kent NHS, Primary Care Trust and ask him what he thinks his role is serving the people of East Kent or preventing them from receiving health care for which they have paid for through the taxation system.
Lights out for Stephen Ladyman

Just prior to seeking refuge, from the stresses and strains of life in Thanet, I happened to hear, a report on the radio quoting Stephen Ladyman, which frankly pushed my tolerance of endangered Labour MPs to breaking-point, why you may ask? Well apparently transport minister Ladyman, is opposed to EU legislation to improve road safety, why?, because he thinks that legislation requiring motorists to switch their headlights on during the day will lead to greater risks to motorcyclists and could lead to more deaths.

According to the EU between 1200 and 2000 lives will be saved every year however Mr Ladyman opines that "Because motorcycles use daytime running lights, they have greater visibility than they would do if everyone used such lights.

Now I have yet to find connected, whether Mr Ladyman supplied any factual research to back up this claim, I would assume that the EU have researched this issue in some detail.

I just wonder whether, this recent opinion of Ladyman's is pandering, firstly to the macho culture of motorcyclists, who in my experience revel in tales of how fast they can travel just purely for fun (oblivious to increased risk to other road users), secondly, it seems that no politician, in this country, loses when criticising the EU (despite the fact that all the major political parties have representatives dipping their snouts into the Brussels trough).

Despite Ladyman, I for one will continue to drive with my headlights on, because I do not want a premature death, for the same reason I will never get on a motorcycle and in addition I like to give other road users a sporting chance!

It's easy for politicians to knock, EU legislation but along with the working time directive, this initiative to make drivers use their headlights (assuming they have working bulbs) saves lives, even on a clear sunny day in Italy (home to many a macho driver) where this law is enforced, even when this E-wit is about to step in the path traffic.

Finally if as Mr Ladyman contends, that using, headlights somehow endangers other road users then he ought to, produce evidence, otherwise his comments look like macho posturing, and populist EU bashing a favourite of many an MP with a slim majority.

PS I'm sure today, Mr Ladyman would find ideal conditions for his sort of driving, poor light, and several Thanetonians without the wit to put their headlights on. Fortunately for Mr Ladyman I live in a part of Thanet, where his name will not be likely to appear on a ballot paper.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cat liberated as Margate blogger returns to Thanet

Mid-life crisis almost over, as reported earlier in Bignews. Having been removed from Margate by Mrs Me, for rest and recuperation at a secret location for the last few days, I will shortly resume my regular snipe at things local and global.

I may be a day or two, as having rescued the cat Mr Puss, from a local cattery, he has, somehow got it into his head that he has in fact been a guest of George Bush, at some secret CIA location, or maybe even camp X-ray at Guantanamo Bay, he also appears to be miaowing something about Habeas corpus.

Whilst I debrief the cat, after his all-expenses paid holiday (ungrateful little swine), and check for illegal aliens, I will leave you with the photograph below, which my handler Mrs Me, insists, no one will guess the location of, the only prize for getting it right, will be the satisfaction of being smarter than anyone else, and aiding me in proving, Mrs Me wrong for once.
Where was I ?

PS Is it correct that the Gazunder ECR rag is to cease trading, this calls into question my own plans to launch 'Thanet Crimes' a popular midweek organ, stuffed with advertising, court reports and some hyped up scandal, also Thanet life's Dr Whatsit seems to be more prolific than ever in semi retirement, Ive got have a lie down somewhere.

Friday, October 13, 2006

david cameron changing colour

Is it me or is David Cameron slowly turning orange.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Meet the architect's

Just arrived back, from Margate media centre, having been the recipient of an enthralling and informative talk from representatives of Chipperfield partners.

To be honest there performance, was actually informative, and somewhat reassuring. As you know I'm a bit of a philistine, so I won't insult the architects with my critique in this instance.

The reassuring thing is, that they seem to give emphasis to controlling costs and building within budgets, let's hope that this doesn't impinge on the final design.

Anyway as I write this, no doubt there are a few, people still networking as the meeting wraps up, I would have hung around myself but I have to eat and get ready for work.

And yes, I am going to put Bignews on the back boiler for a day or to.
Bignews Margate to suspend activities!

Next week I shall be 50, therefore I think it is only right and proper that I have a mid-life crisis before I get any older.

For that reason, I am going to take time out and minimise time devoted, to this web blog, for a day or two.

If I am unable to, restrain myself in not commenting on cafe society, local politics, national politics etc I will of course let you to know.

And it just for a bit of a relaxation, I will be going to the ' Meet The Architects' event at Margate media centre, with the Chipperfield practice. I enjoyed Ben Stiller in 'Meet the Parents' found 'Meet the Fokkers' a little disappointing but I will let you know.

You can of course in the meantime plough through the archives.
Microsoft interfere with my e-mail again program!

As reported on more than one occasion, Microsoft regularly change my default e-mail program, which I can only assume now, is a blatant attempt to promote their over bloated and incomprehensible to most Office suite of programs.

If you happen to be Bill Gates, sort yourself out, I cannot believe, it is an accident, that Microsoft send out updates, which interfere with my computers running, by changing default programmes, and then try to get me to register a programme I never use.
see previous

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tesco's "Every little helps"
even for petty criminals ?

Enthusiasm for the shops good value, convenience and range of products makes Tesco's number-one for me and millions of other consumers. Shoppers at Tesco's Metro, in Northdown Road, will once again be pleased with the further convenience of self service tills, not only are they easy to use, but they don't ask that irritating question ''are you alright packing?

Tonight I thought I'd stretched the capabilities of this new service by purchasing loose vegetables which of course need to be weighed, again no problem, this time I thought I would pay with my cashcard, which once I took time to study the pictures was as easy as everything else.

Having presented my card, something seemed to be wrong with this process, the card was authorised immediately, no signature and no chip and pin. I checked with the member of staff, assisting at these tills and she pointed out to me, the little blanked off hole, where one day they'll be a key pad to validate your card.

I am sure that this will, prove a big hit with, petty criminals, who will now have the convenience of just popping down to Tesco's, every little helps once again.

I did think this was the Bignews exclusive, but seeing as I realised immediately, that I used my card, obviously anyone else would work this out particularly criminals in a millisecond, surprisingly it would appear Tesco's didn't realise the security issues.

There is a lot of information available if you Google (what an irritating word) click here
Fitness made easy @ Westwood Cross

As part of my Sunday workout regime, which as ever, revolves around the quest for something, generally a top urgent mission, to secure suppliers of gravy granules or stuffing etc. But this Sunday was different my combined retail and exercise programme concerned the acquisition of new trainers.

Encouraged by finding a new quicker route* to Westwood Cross, which bypasses a lot of the traffic, and avoiding many a confused housewife, whose driving abilities aren't as honed as their shopping skills. I parked up, heading briskly towards that oasis of affluence, in an otherwise down market Thanet.
The first couple of shoe shops, failed miserably in the trainer department but I was relieved to see the new JJB SPORTS and fitness club, and loved the irony, easy access to their first floor premises either a lift or escalators but no stairs thank god (my kind of exercise).

However finding a shop that may supply, what you want, is just the start of the quest, as in many a retail store, they appear to take sales prevention, very seriously, in order to prevent customers buying, shops will often employ staff, who have an ability either to give the impression, they are too busy to serve or they have, that look, that suggests they've had a lobotomy, which all too often, is sadly confirmed when they try to speak.

On this occasion staff appeared to be employing the camouflaged technique, whereby they wear casual clothes and you have to hunt the logo, before you can challenge them, which when combined with the simple ruse, of hiding in the stock room, presents a very formidable barrier to buying what you want.

Anyway having identified, the particular trainer, I could afford(not an easy choice for someone in full time employment), I eventually managed to challenge the sales staff, in an off-guard moment as they discussed, whose break it was, fortunately they were still able to prevent the sale, with that old shoe shop favourite ''we don't have that size''.

Some workout, it must have taken me, the best part of an hour, before TK Maxx sorted out the trainer requirements, for this blogger, retail at its best, stuff thrown out into shop, you find, you queue, you pay, you leave now.

Just out of curiosity what is this obsession with fitness centres, and why do they have such large car-parks.

*(coming from St Peter's cut through, Tesco's car-park, back onto the Margate Ramsgate Road, heading towards the roundabout, and park in that car-park where Wickes used to be, and from there is a path which takes you into Westwood Cross)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mad man gets bomb ?

So what's new, Kim Jong-il, North Korea's leader, who according to the BBC is said to wear platform shoes, has a bouffant hairstyle, in order to create impression of being taller than his 5 ft 3 inches and enjoys guzzling cognac, and now in a bid to impress the world further he also has nuclear weapons.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons, is unfortunately an inevitable by-product or a world that advances technologically everyday, giving tyrants such as Kim Jong-il the ability to develop these terrifying weapons, despite the fact that he is unable to run a sustainable economy, and has for many years been bailed out by neighbours China.

People of my age, were bought up with the implied threat, that one day the Soviet bloc as it was known, due to its relatively strong military economy, would one day, flex its muscles and advance into Western Europe, of course this never happened, because although not rich by Western standards the Soviet bloc did manage to feed its people, therefore never had the motivation .

North Korea is a different kettle of fish, the country itself is in a desperate state, where it is unable to feed itself and relies on handouts from China, a leader such as Jong-il, may not know how to run an economy, but frankly he has nothing to lose, and certainly knows how to threaten.

It's easy to think that, North Korea, it is no threat to those of us living in Western Europe, and it's a fair point however Kim Jong-il, is not the world's only delusional leader with a twisted and warped ideology, which brings us to a real threat, described as the 'war on terror' which of course many a woolly-minded liberal, talks about with derision as if it doesn't exist.

The fact is, there a very real terror threat, and a war on terror, which in the past couple of years, has been handled in a very poor gung-ho manner. Now, President Bush had no alternative but to go to Afghanistan and sort out the Taleban, what else could he do, Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda callously killed hundreds of Americans, but the invasion of Iraq whilst understandable to me, has been a grave error and for predictable reasons because Saddam Hussein being a another tyrant in the mould of Kim Jong-il, had little reason to be friends with Al-Qaeda as they could only be a threat to him.

I just hope, that President Bush, will get better advice on North Korea than he apparently had on Iraq.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

County councillor takes flight from Thanet

Do you get the feeling that Thanet, is so far down the road from Maidstone, that it is often forgotten by those who run the county council, well if proof were needed I would suggest that you take a look at press releases issued by KCC in their news archive.

Now I checked out, over 60 news items given in the last month, of the these only two seemed to specifically mentioned Thanet locations, one being about a hotelier being fined, and another about Kent batsman, Matthew Walker promoting an initiative for schools across the county. Obviously there are other references, to Thanet but these are non-specific county-wide announcements.

Anyway I shall as ever place a link to the Kent County Council news archive and you'll be able to see for yourself all the initiatives, KCC are making everywhere but Thanet.

One story, entitled 'flying high' concerns KCC Cabinet member Kevin Lynes, (who he? Click here), responsible for adult services, now this item of news from the archive 26th September, seems to raise far more questions than it actually answers. Basically Kevin Lynes, flew from Manston in a plane piloted by Lakshman Kahawatte who manages a day-care centre in Swalecliffe, with two colleagues from KCC adult services Janet Hughes (director of operations East Kent) and Michelle Vickery (East Kent finance manager).

What we do know about the flying high, story is that it took 75 minutes, to fly to Maidstone Lydd and then Margate, but no actual purpose of the trip is stated, so was this, an obscure fact finding trip, a council funded jolly, a private non-funded by council trip or what?.

Well whatever the purpose, there was an obvious benefit, Kevin Lynes is quoted thus,"It was a wonderful experience and it made me appreciate what a beautiful part of the world Kent is and what a long coastline it has.

Me I had the same experience, however mine was as a result of driving around the county and having access to a map. Still if we can educate, KCC Cabinet members as to where Thanet is, it's money well spent. The final quote from Mr Lynes "When you see the countryside from the air like this, you realise how diverse the area is and how important it is to get the support KCC provides right for all the people who live in East Kent."

Lets just hope that, this intrepid pioneer from County Hall is able to share the information he has gleaned from his aerial exploration, and explains to his colleagues, most of whom appear to come from West Kent, just what that little bit of land is in the South Eastern corner of England.

Update on flying high, KCC news, this was apparently a privately funded trip, apologies,it would have been handy to point this out on the news release see link below.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Faith to face

Whether or not to wear the veil, first and foremost I would not walk into a bank or building society, wearing a crash helmet, for the very good reason, that I don't actually own a motorcycle and would therefore look a bit of a twit, and for the same reason, would also be reluctant to wear a long black dress and a veil, as I don't think I'm known for cross-dressing, also I think black makes me look fat (anyway I leave matters of sartorial elegance, to Mrs Me who is the final arbiter in such things).

I think that Jack Straw is correct, in asking Muslim women, to remove their veils, as otherwise what is the point of a physical meeting, you might as well just use the phone. Having spent some time of my life as a salesman, I realise the value of a face to face meeting and frankly the whole point is being able to read someone's face, for nuances and indications that aren't necessarily spoken.

Women who insist on, wearing a veil in public, intentional or otherwise are showing no respect for the culture and society that we live in. For this reason, it suggests a complete distrust of society, the objective in wearing clothes to protect modesty, is one thing but the extreme of covering your face implies that you cannot trust people, and assume that everyone is in a such a state of sexual frenzy, that the sight of someone's face, might just cause them to explode.

I personally would not, visit a Muslim country such as Saudi Arabia, and expect to wear, normal Western clothing, as its not something which is culturally acceptable, what I question, is why Muslims living in this country, expect us, living in our democratic society, to change what we see as normal standards of decency. It's not as if some time this summer, Jack Straw or someone suggested that we, change the way we dress, sensible clothing has always been a feature of life in modern Britain, even for nuns.

It's about time all these organisations, the Muslim Parliament of Britain, Muslim Council of Britain, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, etc accept with dignity, that they live in a country, where people practise their religion freely without hindrance, but also accept that the British people in the main, don't want to be told how to live their lives by religious fanatics.

I have thought about creating the Atheist Parliament/Council of England etc to promote to the views of atheists which would be a healthy disrespect of religions, informal dress, compulsory wearing of shorts and Hawaiian T-shirts, women's rights and equality, the freedom to marry who you want to etc but I would probably offend the Church and Islam and who knows who else.

One thing I share in common with many believers of God, Jesus etc is the conviction that I am always right, and that my standards of morality and humanity are superior to those of other persuasions, so as ever I'll keep my opinions to myself.

Just don't get me started on hypocrisy or contradiction!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Britain's newspapers can we trust them?
Reading the front-page of the Daily Mail, I am struck by the accuracy of their front-page story, as reported by Kirsty Walker and Tim Shipman. Probably what throws me, from reports that I have heard in the broadcast media, is the tone of their report. Particularly worrying is the fact that the journalists, seem to have a slim grip on the meaning of words, their report says that Jack Straw is engulfed in a race row, presumably inferring that Mr Straw was somehow being racist when in actual fact he apparently appears to be challenging a religious custom, nothing to do with chromosomes, but culture and philosophy.

Just as yesterday's Sun newspaper, appeared to me to have a very distorted front-page, so has the Daily Mail in my opinion. First and foremost the headline claims that Jack Straw has told Muslim women to take off their veils, now I listened to several reports on the radio yesterday, and when Jack Straw was interviewed, the version he gave was that he asked if Muslim women would remove the veil.

It seems, remarkable that the Daily Mail employ two journalists, to write their lead story and still manage to come up with what appears to be crap, me on my own with limited resources, and a minimalist education from KCC (not even an O-level in English), manages to produce a steaming hot pile of fresh innovative inspiring informative S**! everyday.

I am thinking of starting a new Web blog solely devoted to lazy incompetent journalists whose skills seem mainly devoted to producing rewrites of press releases, with a sprinkling of cliches, slanted towards the political prejudices of their readers. Strangely I find that some of the best journalism, that is factually based stuff is to be found in the the local press.

You may well think, a lot to what I write is complete rubbish, and frankly it is, the differences is I suppose, I don't have to write it, and you don't have to read it.

Just for the benefit of the two journalists, I will provide a link to an online dictionary, so that they may get some insight into the difference between race and religion. Please click here

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Religious bigotry out of hand?

That bastion of liberal views and moderate opinion, The Sun, News International's comic for the masses, carries a typical hyped-up story on its front page, which will in no way, incite further religious intolerance, or underline the prejudices of Britain's intelligentsia.

The headline on the Sun exclusive, COP OUT, with the further explanation, Muslim PC is excused duty at Israeli embassy, is to my mind typical moronic nonsense, peddled by so-called professional journalists.

Now I think if you examined the facts, the PC in question Alexander Omar Basha, as I understand requested that he be removed from duties which involved the Israeli embassy, at the time of Israel's attack on the Lebanon, presumably due to fears for members of his family who live in the Lebanon, this to me, would show that this officer has acted with some honour and dignity for his post as a member of London's Metropolitan police force.

If one would like to cast their mind back, the few weeks during this, particular conflict, clearly this PC, acted in good faith, unlike perhaps our political masters, who seem to accept, Israel's aggression, even when Israel was dictating to the British Navy, when and how they could evacuate British citizens from Beirut.

As I say, with the basic facts, as I am aware neither the Metropolitan Police or Alexander Omar basher, have anything to apologise for, as to the journalist Mike Sullivan, I'm not sure whether he is up there on the moral high ground, or down there in the gutter (even with my diet I still can't always spot my feet).

Finally the fact that the PC in question happens to be a Muslim, is quite irrelevant, part of his family happen to be Lebanese, but then presumably Mr Sullivan, had to sex up, an otherwise non-story of someone, acting in a professional, and honourable manner. Something which presumably Mr Sullivan would not come across too often as the Sun's Crime editor. Surely the Sun have a religious affairs editor, who could distinguish between right and wrong.

Even big cheese, former editor, (I think) Kelvin Mackenzie, makes room for a joke, at the expense of the Muslim community on his page, at least that's what I assume it's meant to be.

There are, genuine concerns, between the various religious communities in Great Britain, but I think, the public deserve, better than the apparent schoolboy level of journalism, as practised by News International's Sun.
Strange e-mail retraction

Re previous story, it seems that I may have, over reacted to the Email I received, planning.services@thanet blah blah blah, according to some of the comments I had, what I got in my inbox was a blind carbon copy, the purpose of which is it to allow the sender to forward copies of their message without the recipients being aware, my apologies to Thanet council info.

Still whilst I am on the subject of Thanet council info, I appreciate the efforts of this website, in promoting my blogsite (thank you), I would just say, that some of my efforts actually require to be in their original context, with illustrations,

for one to make sense such as my ''out now! TOWARDS 2010'', also given the sometimes visual nature, of my postings and my name which I believe originates from Alsace-Lorraine, there is always a slim chance that befuddled members of the Arts council and or Turner contemporary, might just bung me a few quid as part of their patronage of foreign artists (or even perhaps instead of their "arrivals" exhibitions they could have a series exhibitions entitled "already bloody well here" (excuse the digression)) , I could be their blogger in residence.

With or without illustration ?

Anyway obviously, the Email I referred to was not what it seemed to be, my apologies to Matt or should I say Lord Matt.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Strange e-mail received

Today I received the Email detailed below, and I have a couple of comments to make, number-one is the source, which I assume is from the thanetcouncil.info website.

The irritation that I feel, is that this has arrived, in my e-mail account but the address shows as "planning.services@Thanet.gov.uk", clearly the author is a smart arse, and has the ability, to deliver to my inbox e-mails with a fake address, why the Email isn't addressed with my own name as provided on the side bar of this website I don't know, looks a tad weird if not sinister.

Presumably there is a straightforward explanation, and perhaps the author has no connection with the website I referred to thanetcouncil.info, which is apparently run by some character called Matt, who once asked my opinion of the site, and has neither had the courtesy to reply to that opinion, or thank me for the large slice of my material which pads out that site.

Now I have, little problem with anyone, using my material, so long as they don't make money from it (unlikely), and that it is attributed to me and my site.

Anyway have a read of the rather convoluted Email yourself.
----- Original Message -----
To: <
Sent: Wednesday, October 04, 2006 9:25 AM
Subject: please help clear up an issue

The aim of thanetcouncil.info is to be informed and to be able to give agood coverage of issues. We are community driven and allow all members toadd content.
Recently a story has been added quoting the Isle of Thanet Gazette fromthe end of September.In the newspaper article Cllr Ezekiel mentioned "cafe society".
No onehere has any real idea what he was talking about and our best guess so farhas been that he has embarrisingly misunderstood "Conservatives Against aFederal Europe" and applied it to real cafes.I am writting to yourself (and others) seeking a publicly suitableclarification of what the man is talking about.
The forum topic where the issue is raised can be found at this URL.http://thanetcouncil.info/node/42Best regardsStory Followup.
----thanetcouncil.info has a policy of anonymity and we are happy to keepsecret our sources on request. Additionally as such it is not suitable torequest further contact details from any user of an email address fromthis domain.We only address emails to publicly available addresses located at time ofwritting on blogs and official websites of a theme similar to the natureof our message. We have better things to do than store addresses onmailing lists and simply don't do this. Therefore if you don't want totalk with us you can safly ignore this message and probably never hearfrom us again.
PS I added some random letters into email part of address
PPS the emailers question is actually one that I was thinking of asking myself in some form

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Meet the architects
For anyone interested, in the future of Turner contemporary, they may glean, some idea of what we are about to receive in terms of architecture, from the architect's Chipperfield as chosen for us, by the great and good from the Arts Council, KCC, etc

This talk will be given at Margate media centre, King Street, Wednesday 11th October@18: 00 I suggest that if you are interested that you contact Turner Contemporary on 01843 294337 pronto as I understand there are only 80 seats available and one of them is mine, demand is expected to be high, as leading members of the Margate regeneration crew, will doubtless wish to be seen.

I believe that it is unlikely, that there will be any nibbles available, unlike the exclusive VIP meeting held at Droit House, (as reported by Arts and Elbows) where at least one ravenous council officer, was apparently spotted grazing at the exclusive buffet.

Its some measure of the town's deprivation, that Turner contemporary feel it necessary to feed starving big wigs, I did ring and ask what this was all about, apparently it had something to do with hospitality for the French artists involved in their current exhibition, and a team of French embassy officials, it would be nice to think that these people had a sample of traditional English food, perhaps they could have sent out, to Pete's fish factory, over the road for cod and chips, pickled onions and pea fritters, unfortunately the photograph in the Arts and Elbows story is not clear enough to determine what these visitors were offered? sausages on sticks, Scotch eggs, quiche or even the humble pork pie, lets just hope they didn't go native and offer Froggy food.
Ramsgate leaps ahead Margate
as best value seaside town

Ramsgate property is reported by haart estate agents on findaproperty.com, as being the best value seaside town in the south-east, with average house prices at £151,000 compared to a regional average of £207,000, this is in spite of a 73 percent increase in prices since the 2001.

Regeneration of the waterfront and town-centre, combined with marine heritage, future promised high-speed rail link, even Ramsgates grammar schools appeal to the middle-class professionals seeking either a house or second home.

Are there any lessons from Ramsgates improving popularity that can be learnt and applied to Margate, possibly not, Ramsgate harbour, is inherently picturesque and dominates the town, where as Margate has the tawdry Marine Terrace, Dreamland now more car park than amusement park , an as yet to be revealed Turner Gallery, which may well be as hideous as it is unpopular, but time will tell.

The margate regeneration game, where various agencies vie for influence, such as KCC, TDC, Arts Council, the list goes on forever, quite honestly an unco-ordinated leaderless scrum with no clear objective, for instance we have the company that owns Dreamland, which traditionally has been a place of entertainment, that the council (TDC) appear, to have conceded ground instead of making it clear, that this land should remain for the purpose of entertaining, for without it Margate has little to offer visitors.

Margate also has the Turner contemporary for which there is minimal local input, not only are the decision makers from out of town, but the artists supported by Turner, don't appear to be local either, in terms of region of or nationality.

What Margate needs is clear leadership, as it is, there's a diversity of interests, there are three major cultural projects at the moment, in development Dreamland which is in private hands, but presumably subject to local-authority planning, Turner contemporary apparently controlled by self-appointed elite, and the old Marks and Spencer building owned by Thanet council, but probably delegated to outside consultants.
It would be great if the leader of Thanet District Council, could tear himself away from the vision of the cafe society, and address a wider audience of Thanet people, who would like to see Margate as successful as Ramsgate.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Spotted new sign for Turner Contemporary Visitor Centre

Driving home Sunday morning, I spotted this sign, which I believe the council put up recently for the visitor centre at Droit House, and I wonder why.

Maybe the council, know something we don't because all season the centre has remained pretty much empty. Perhaps KCC are going to revitalise this building, with an exhibition or maybe even an explanation as to why there has been no public inquiry into the dismal mismanagement of this project so far.

Just for information further on is a sign also giving directions to Dreamland, I hope this isn't an omen.

It just shows how in touch, KCC Highways Department are, big signs, for phantom attractions.

Football bungs

It never ceases to amaze me, the seriousness with which our football industry takes itself, and the importance that our news media gives it.

Today we have Lord Stevens, former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police giving an interim report, on his inquiries into football corruption, a week or so back, we had the hard hitting prestigious BBC Panorama programme apparently expose corrupt practices in the football game.

But really where is football in the scheme of things, as far as I can tell, football is part of the entertainment industry with a slight interest in sport, the main purpose of professional football is to make money, and the Football Industry has never drawn back from extracting the very last penny from the fans, for instance when Sky came along I cannot remember too many directors of football clubs begging to keep the game free to air for the greater good of humanity.

The fact is if a football manager or agent acquire a bit of extra money so what, where's the harm its only show business.
Thanet District Council, Catch The Wedge

On Sunday I caught site of an advertisement, for Thanet District Council in one of the local papers, the advert itself was fairly bland, but what I found astonishing, was the admission in the advert, that the councils benefit service, employees more than 80 people.

Now this department deals with the assessment and payment of housing and council tax benefit. Given that Thanet has a population, of roughly 130,000 people and assuming that maybe 10 per cent of the population, require this type of benefit, this means that each member of staff is dealing with 160 people annually or weekly around three and-a-half claimants each week. This would seem to be excessive overmanning, if they could somehow boost productivity to maybe deal with seven cases a week, they could halve the work force and save the taxpayer a million quid.

Even better is the customer services department, this employees 160 staff assuming their average pay is around £22,000 this department in staff alone is costing us three-and-a- half million pounds, I know they are always helpful but do we need this many people?.

But for the potential employee, things get even better, if you can work out what a DIPS project manager is and convince the council to employ you, you can trouser a very handy £42,500 salary, I just wonder what would happen with only half of these people.

I notice, that the resources department, are a team of only 60, God knows that Thanet council, need resources, particularly money and lots of it.

And who pays for all this, well that would be me, and those of us who work in the private sector to provide very generous salaries and pensions, and why do we never hear any complaints from our local councillors, well I have a theory that they are too busy filling out expenses forms etc.

If you would like to fill your boots, from the public pocket. Click here and be my guest.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lightweight David Cameron slips in to centre-ground

David Cameron creator of the Tory 'A' list of parliamentary candidates, some of whom, appear to have had little experience of politics or even the Tory party, prior to the selection, as would appear in the case of Adam Ricketts, is facing this week's party conference with big ideas, but little substance.

Earlier this weekend, we have seen the launch of WebCameron, (this is a sort of video diary (not for the squeamish) ) in which David Cameron presumably is hoping to reach out to the British public, although clearly he and his advisers, are unaware of the public's aversion to home videos, this looks like a big mistake to me but make your own mind up and click here.

Mr Cameron is an optimist, and God knows he needs to be, and clutching at straws he is urging the party to 'let sunshine win the day' , all I have seen so far are clouds today, but when you've yet to come up with any policies, what else can you say.

And just like a motorist, with no idea of their route, with just the determination to get their destination, Mr Cameron is to park his party in the middle lane, er sorry centre ground.

I think it's one thing to occupy the centre ground of politics, because your convictions and aspirations, match those of the majority, but to operate in the centre ground of politics, for opportunistic reasons is not going to be a vote-winner.

Having looked at David Cameron, as leader of the Conservative Party, I feel that new Labour have little to lose sleep over.

It's certainly not, difficult to see why on the week of their conference, they are once again losing ground to the Labour Party, at least Labour seem to have a common passion to serve the people of this country, unlike the Tories who, if they get into power will only serve themselves (generously)!
Thanet life to continue

Thanet life, website has apparently reached 200,000 impressions, today and its author, is now looking for contributions, with reader's own stories and photographs, good idea and good to see that, this popular blog will be maintained in some form, albeit with fewer contributions from Dr Simon Moores.

Other blogging news, Eastcliff Richard has apparently rolled back into town, no doubt refreshed and revitalised after a month of hedonistic diversions in the South of France. Is this a coincidence or what?

As I sit here and contemplate, what to write, I myself feel that I should take a break, particularly since Mrs Me, has recently opined that she does not understand, what I am doing on the computer, but whatever is I ought to stop it. Anyway I will shortly be having a break when I leave for work around 10 o'clock tonight.