Thursday, May 31, 2007

In the grammar school debate
One cliche fits most Tories

It seems once again as if, the Conservatives are in self-destruct mode, this time over Grammar Schools, since the announcement the other week by Mr Willetts about his preference for Labour's Academy schools. This infighting must be welcome news to the Labour Party supporters, it will be interesting to see whether the Conservatives, allow this to get out of hand, in the same way that they allowed John Major's government to be destroyed by a simple-minded anti-European minority.

As you will know I personally, believe that grammar schools are divisive and harmful to education in general for two simple reasons. Firstly the selection process is not entirely fair since a significant number of parents either send their children to private schools, to be coached in passing the Kent Test (11 plus) or alternatively pay for additional tuition therefore creating a selection system that benefits the well heeled. Secondly the selection is clearly not ideal since it segregates children for six years offering no incentive for hard work and effort, since if you don't get selected for grammar-school you're given a second-rate education.

Anyway the thing I note is that quite a few Tories Paul Carter the KCC leader, Roger Gale MP, trot out the cliche of not having 'a one-size-fits-all' education system, instead of relying on cliched thinking, I feel it is about time that these great Tory geniuses sighted some significant evidence proving that Kents grammar-school system benefits the whole school population not just a middle-class minority.

What is it, that Conservatives fear, about having a proper comprehensive system which allows children, to be assessed on a yearly basis, rather than its odd system of assessing children at 11then forgetting for six years , to me it's brings to mind the cliche of the Tories being class-ridden, protectionist and selfish.

The stupidity of this debate, is twofold, it's been many years since the last grammar-school was created, and Mr Willetts made no suggestion of improving Kents segregated schools by closing grammar schools, still it's always amusing to see politicians fighting amongst themselves.

From what I can tell Mr Willetts preference for Academy type schools, was to give a fair opportunity, to those of less affluent backgrounds. Obviously such thinking proves that not all Tories fit a one type cliche, clearly an open minded individual for whom I might not have problem in voting for.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pragmatism and the Save Dreamland Campaign Group

I'm prompted to revisit the subject of Margates future, particularly in relation to the self proclaimed Margate Town Centre Regeneration company (Waterbridge) Reading-based firm. Now some seemingly long time ago, Waterbridge had their initial consultation with the great public at Margates Winter Gardens.

A reason for returning to the subject, is the fact that the Save Dreamland Campaign earlier this month, offered what appears to be a conditional offer of support to one of the least worse Waterbridge plan, irritatingly called the the ''Duke of York'' proposal, reasons for which I can only guess at, maybe the Reading based firm, thought by naming it after a Royal rank, it might lessen future protests, since even in the 21st century, how many of us would be inclined to tell Waterbridge where to stick the Duke of York.

As far as I am aware, it is still necessary for Waterbridge to prove that there is a case which substantiates their claims, that it is not possible to use the dreamland site for its historic purpose, so I really wonder whether, the Dreamland campaign group, should not, take a more confrontational stand against Waterbridge.

Going back to their earlier consultation at the Winter Gardens, if I remember correctly, in part relied on a presentation by the consultancy firm Tribal which appeared to rather exaggerate, changing attitudes and make favourable claims over improved transport links, which according to the facts in relation to train and journey times, and Margate in particular are questionable. In fact an article in last week's Thanet Gazette, suggested that a journey times from London to Margate will only improve by a rather meagre 11 minutes, leaving commuters a journey time of 1 hour 38 minutes.

I'm rather disappointed with the Reading based Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, because I understood that they would put details of their consultancy firms conclusions on their website which they haven't, I just wonder whether their case is not strong as they would wish to believe.

With our doubt, the save Dreamland campaign group, have done more, than most to maintain the heritage of Margate, however I personally think that the Waterbridge case for changing the nature of Margate is weak, and really the campaign group should put a lot of effort into countering Waterbridge's claims. Still the Dreamland campaign, have been a lone voice against the destruction of Dreamland, and as far as I can tell have received no support from Thanets Politicians particularly the Tory group, so maybe they're right to be pragmatic.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chinese Investment and London Margate Manston International Airport

I have been rather busy recently, so my apologies for belatedly, wading into the recent announcements and news items in our local media. Particularly concerning the recent agreement, apparently done with a group of Chinese companies involving local business, and as with all big deals around here it seems Seeda (South East England Development Agency) involvement is necessary.

First off is it me, but does anyone actually know any specific details, as to what all these high-tech Chinese companies have agreed to, could someone explain why it's necessary to involve Seeda, and does this mean huge taxpayer subsidies (as I suspect).

Now the hint or suggestion seems to be that many new high-tech jobs will be created, I just wonder since the details are so sketchy, even to the extent that no one is able to give details of the exact nature of businesses, being attracted, what if any provision, will be made in terms of giving local people the skills necessary to benefit. The reason I asked, is because I am acutely aware that currently, vocational training in Thanet is currently aimed at a very low skill levels.

Still I am confident, that local agencies particularly Seeda, will have given this a great deal of thought, reference to light assembly and distribution, always makes me think of low skills and even lower wages.

The Thanet Times last week seemed to hype this up a bit, we have reference to high-tech firms, for once I hope their right because it would be rather a tragic waste, of effort particularly by civil servants from Seeda travelling to China just to attract more low-paid low-skilled jobs.

Finally as with many other local people, I was rather worried to see that in BBC's report on Margate, Manston somehow appeared to have been merged with Margate, I hope it doesn't become London Margate Manston International Airport.
Am I an authority on Margate?

Odd question maybe, the reason I ask, is not for the first time in my life, I have got myself embroiled in a little, er dispute!

As you will no doubt realise, I am no academic, however I stumbled across the Wikipedia entry for Margate, where I had the temerity to place a link, to this very site.

Now I realise there are better writers, but I feel that my contribution, concerning local matters is as good if not better on occasion than more professional sources.

However someone decided, that they would edit my contribution out, that is my link, because according to Wikipedia rules, it's not normally done, to have links to a blogsite unless from an authority in a subject.

Anyway if you would like to follow discussion, Please click here Links to personal blogs.

PS whilst much of my writing is facetious, it does not mean that is incorrect or less valid and I genuinely believe that I have bought attention to some matters that would otherwise not see the light of day particularly in relation to regeneration.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dilemma where to go this weekend!

As ever with bank holidays, this weekend's is no exception, it was grim on Saturday, is grim today and likely to get grimmer for Monday's Bank Holiday. Unlike many parts of the country, your wet weather choices are at this time limited, however hopefully in the next few years will at least have the much promised Turner Gallery, and thankfully a new multi-screen cinema shortly.

Still this weekend sees the launch of Dickens's World up in Chatham, which I feel will have a tough time in making ends meet, and might well end up on the wrong side of the Mr Micawber principle "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.".

Now I personally admire the sheer audacity of the enterprise a whole ''experience'' attraction based on possibly Britain's most overrated author. God knows why but here is my guess, as to why he's so popular, basically it's because he's prolific and secondly out of copyright, myself I have never been able to read, past the first chapter of his books. I think one of his contemporaries Jack London was far greater.

If you have to build a themed world on any artist past or present, my first choice might well be Ian Fleming, maybe JK Rowling but for all round family appeal would have to be Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons, the greatest cartoon series ever. Just think of the potential you could have, a recreation of Springfield, with Moe's Tavern where you could buy a Duff beer, and maybe Crusty the clowns fast-food joint where you could enjoy a Crusty Burger.

Anyway I'll doubt I shall be tearing up the M 2, just to experience a Dickensian world, but might well take my chances at the new Country Park at Sholden near Deal, at least it's free.

Thanet councils crazy recruitment advertising

Glancing through this week's local papers, I note that Thanet District Council is seeking to recruit, new personnel to work at part of its tourism team, nothing wrong with that.

However what I do question is whether it is necessary to spend so much on advertising these four posts, for some reason Thanet District Council feel it necessary these days, to take full-page adverts or as near as they can get. I would take a guess that they have perhaps spent something in the region of a £1,000 on these. Now I appreciate that with the chief executive, on roughly a hundred grand a year, such a sum might seem petty but for the rest of us, who struggled to subsidise, large salaries, health benefits, free car-parking (which incidentally prevents people from shopping in Margate) for council employees and of course fat pensions which just don't exist in the commercial world this is a ridiculous sum of money to waste on recruitment.

Now of course I may be wrong perhaps the reason for these adverts, is part of some equal-opportunities, non-discriminatory initiative by the Council to make sure that myopic applicants are not left out. Now the Tories have just got themselves re-elected, why don't they start acting in an efficient manner, and save us some money or at the very least directed to things we as Council tax payers want.

It must be music to the ears, of advertising staff at Kent regional newspapers, when they pick up the phone from Thanet District Council. For the benefit for the geniuses that run their Council his how the commercial world do things, below is example where the business world has managed to squeeze at least 14 jobs on to one page not four, I only point this out, since often local-authoritys is delude themselves into thinking they are working in a businesslike manner, which they rarely do.

Friday, May 25, 2007

as Thanet District Council gain draconian new powers!

Residents of Broadstairs, will be able to sleep easy tonight, assuming they have no regard for civil rights, and a sense of proportion.

Unbeknownst to us Thanetonians who do not reside in Broadstairs, Broadstairs has become a lawless place, a town for which normal rules and laws do not apply. To be honest this has come, as somewhat a of surprise, that things have got so bad in Broadstairs.

Thanet District Council along with Kent police have applied and got extreme new powers, which to my mind would not be out of place in a South American dictatorship, from the 1st June, police will if the mood takes them, be able to demand that groups of people disperse, in addition they will be imposing a tough curfew on anyone under the age of 16, between 9pm and 6am.

Perhaps the truly disturbing, issue in all this, is the fact, that things have got so rough in Broadstairs, that the councils press release, dares not give any details of the hideous crimes, too horrific to mention that have motivated this action. Since murder, armed robbery, crimes of violence seem commonplace in Margate, Birchington and Ramsgate the mind boggles at what the residents of Broadstairs have been facing.

Councillor Chris Wells, Cabinet member for safer neighbourhoods, is quoted as follows "I am delighted to be making this early announcement of our continuing determination *to reduce anti-social behaviour in Thanet.'' Well I'm pleased that Chris Wells is delighted, however I personally feel that this is an over-the-top reaction, kids have always congregated on Broadstairs seafront, and they have always been noisy etc (me included almost 40 years ago).

On the subject of introducing curfews, again going back nearly 40 years, I was frequently out after 9pm for legitimate reasons but back then, I would not have faced arrest.

I can't wait to see what Chris Wells and his safer neighbourhoods colleagues have in-store for us rougher Margatonians, let alone Birchington's armed criminals, perhaps we will be shot on sight.

*I think this word (to) was ommited in the Thanet council press release
Thanet Council fails visitors for third time this year

As readers will note some time last month, Bignews pointed out that the municipal Palm Trees were being held back from the public, shortly afterwards the council relented and exposed them, now an even bigger scandal no flowers on the seafront at Margate.

This will be the third bank holiday weekend, when Margate has been bereft of Flowers. Perhaps someone important could give Sandy (Thanets Beautiful) Ezekiel a ring. How much can a few plants cost, probably a fraction of the money wasted on free car parking for the council.

What do visitors think when the council can't put a few plants out? Didn't that CllrLatchford chap gets some plastic ones last year, perhaps there in a cupboard with the Christmas decorations? Even Flaig Mansions has flowers on display.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bignews experiences technical problems

Thanet residents and the Global audience, have doubtless been wandering, aimlessly through the forest of dross, that is the internet since Monday, when Bignews last published, needless to say, there has been a damn good reason for this, er well not really. OK I did forget my log on details and had a minor panic attack last night but by the time I managed to sort out, was past caring.

Its not know whether 'Thanet Life' 'Eastcliff Matters' or even 'Eastcliff Richard' hits the same spot but I have been thwarted in my attempt today, to blog, firstly by the damn fine weather tonight, deciding to go cycling instead and then Mrs Me insisted I watch 'the Apprentice' held over from yesterday, due to Mrs Me watching some damn football match.

Blog or watch my favourite TV show (about the only thing I watch) no contest. I'm thinking of repeating some of my earlier posts and perhaps involving you the reader to point out my mannny errors.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ebbsfleets iconic image for A2

I see that a competition has been launched to design a massive erection, for ebbsfleet, this is apparently being backed by Eurostar, London and Continental Railways and Land Securities, just what you need as you crawl towards London on Kents clogged up A2.

The motivation behind this, is that some sort of iconic (I hate this word) structure or sculpture, will help the identity of an area with a new railway station and yet another humungously grubby new housing development. Hopefully it will take people's minds off new acres of concrete and tarmac.

Actually I was looking at that wind turbine near Richborough, the other day, and thinking of those smug northerners with their wretched 'Angel of the North' thinking maybe this wind turbine could be converted to a the similar function, since in are all the years, it's been there I've never seen it move.
Were someone to tack a head or something on, perhaps we could have a sort of Creature of the South, and maybe paint it up a bit.

Anyway briefly back on Ebbsfleets structure or sculpture, near the A 2 how about a stack of cars sweeping majestically up into the sky going nowhere, with motorcycles weaving in and out.

Sunday Morning in Margate

Me with nothing to do accept make a video post, easy enough to create about 40mins to edit and 5 hours working out how to convert the finished product into something You tube would accept.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Football Association short change fans
How disappointing, is the ticket allocation for the thousands of fans of Manchester United and Chelsea Football Club, who will due to the somewhat cranky, distribution of FA Cup final tickets, find themselves watching the FA Cup final on television rather than in the new £800 million football stadium.

I don't pretend to know Jack about football, but Mrs Me does, and I can well recall her language, when despite being a season-ticket holder, she learnt that she only had an 85 per cent chance of obtaining a ticket to see her beloved Chelsea, play in first the FA Cup final at the new Wembley.

As an outside observer, the Football Association, looks like any other monopoly business, ignorant of their customers (fans) opinion, and uncaring. To me it seems ridiculous that those who actually finance the game, get treated as an afterthought.

I've always held the view that at best, the people in the football business are talented amateurs, and the 23,000 tickets going to what the FA calls ''the football family'' is just plain old-fashioned patronage i e often these tickets end up with people who have no interest in football.

Anyway at the time of writing I understand that, Mrs Me is inside the stadium and very impressed toilets all clean and no queue! I just hope Chelsea win, I can't afford new furniture again.

Labours Timeless Mirage !

Reading yesterday's column from Stephen Ladyman MP, you realise that, it's not just the photograph of Stephen Ladyman, that varies from reality (but still I suppose we're all a little older), it also happens to be his opinions, that seem not quite in touch.

Now Ladyman's Thanet, differs from my Thanet, firstly Mr Ladyman found Blair's resignation announcement moving, I found it tedious and pitiful, particularly the part about Blair doing his best, frankly if after 10 years in government Tony Blair, has to lean on people's innate ability to empathise with failure, then that says more about the man than any other criticism.

Mr Ladyman's reference to the national minimum wage, could only come from someone in my opinion, who hasn't had to face the prospect of trying to live on £5.35 an-hour, which to make this personal, is something I have had to consider, unfortunately many people in Thanet have no choice.

The Labour Party had significant support of the people in 1997, it would have been quite easy, to start the minimum wage at that level (£4.50) and raise the minimum wage by say 35p every year to now, the workforce in this country could now be earning a living wage, without the need for all these Mickey Mouse tax credits, which people have to claim for, in order to live and which those of us who pay tax make substantial contributions, just to subsidise exploitative employers. For a Labour minister to promote his Government's progress on this matter as some sort of achievement is as insulting as it is ridiculous.

Since both Tories and New Labour have difficulty with the minimum wage, here is my simple argument why it should be set at a reasonable level of say £8 an hour, firstly by allowing people to earn a living, fewer need to be assisted with tax credits, the taxpayer no longer subsidises bad employers, who exploit their staff, businesses are encouraged to work more efficiently and boost productivity, civil-service numbers could be cut dramatically by ending the nonsense of taxing wages and then handing money back, through tax credits, rate rebates etc. The argument employers often cite, is that they can't afford higher wages, again it's simple, tough it's like saying you can't afford the raw materials.

As a realist, I understand that, New Labour had a mandate from the people, to be bold and do brave things, for the poorest in society, just as Margaret Thatcher had, the backing to save us from a socialist nightmare, which in her case meant curbing the political aspirations of trade unions, the differences is Margaret Thatcher, had the guts to do what she believed and was successful. Tony Blair it seems had neither the guts, the vision, or even the discipline to improve things for those who voted for him.

At the end of Ladyman's column, he finishes with his promise ''the UK and thanet will continue to get stronger in the years ahead'' , well with more than 10 years of spin. This is my prediction of the future, Gordon Brown will become prime minister, and will just about scrape in at the next election, however he will not benefit from the unconditional goodwill that Tony Blair had from the British people back in 1997, and anything he does to improve life for working people will be minimal.

Finally if anyone from Thanet South Labour, including your MP, thinks they can justify Labour's record on the minimum wage, or explain how £5.35 an hour, can provide a decent living standard then please comment. Winston Churchill was involved with introducing the first minimum wage legislation back in 1909, almost a hundred years ago, it's time for society to treat people fairly.
PS along with Labour I looked a damn site better 10 years ago!( not to much abuse please!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thanet District Council the new season

Have done a little video blog on tonights first council meeting since the election. Not got the time for a full post. Must say that I noticed one new councilor, who seems full of advice, and kept going on about the last council he was elected to. I'm sure that he will prove very popular with Tories and the Labour members and was in no way irritating.

Noticed Simon Moores kept very quiet!



Any personal remarks made anonymously will be likely to be removed


Driving to work yesterday, I had difficulty understanding the news, I thought I'd heard that David Willetts, Tory education spokesman, would along with the Tory party, no longer back grammar school education, all day I worried whether I had gone barking bonkers mad, with some stress-related disease or at the very least gone deaf.

But a quick glance of the Internet later, confirms what I thought I'd heard. This being confirmed, with an outburst from Roger Gale, MP for Thanet North, who has apparently launched a campaign to oppose David Willetts plans to halt any new grammar schools.

I can just imagine quite a few of them Conservatives, choking on their toast and marmalade, Hooray! But how long will this policy survive?

To my mind, there are two main kinds of Tories, these are Congenital Tories who were born with blue blood in their veins of which, there are two subcategories 'County Tories' these are from upper-class families whose wealth is derived from land or the professions and then there's the 'Basic Tory' whose background is small business and small-minded. Then we have the other main type 'Conditioned Conservative' again two subcategories 'Brainwashed Tory' this being the person who's read the Daily Mail once too often and the 'Self-made Tory' this last type being the only one who has through hard work, luck and ambition managed to climb up to the top, easy to spot since they display signs of intelligent life, assuming you fail to notice they will generally make you feel inferior. Only one of these types is able to understand the waste of talent resulting from the grammar-school system and they are in a minority.

Now as much as I mistrust the Tories, when they to go further and abolish the appalling socially divisive and evidently unfair grammar-school system, then I think they would get my vote. However I think such a policy will be unlikely, to form any part of a future Tory manifesto since, for most Conservatives only a few of the 'Self-made' kind actually have the intelligence and sense of fairness, to realise that selection of ability at the age of 10 favours middle-class children, condemning poorer children to an inferior education, as in Kent.

It's ironic that Roger Gale, feels a Conservative policy favouring a more equitable education policy is a move towards socialist policies. Roger Gale seems totally oblivious to the fact that for six years of secondary education, under the Kent grammar-school system, all competitive instincts are artificially removed from children with 80 per cent roughly condemned to Kents inferior second rate school system.

Roger Gale ought to think again, simply put for all Tories, who are meant to understand the competitive system and incentives, selection at the age of 11 removes incentives and motivation from children during their most important years.

Finally as with most political parties, most of the members of the Conservative Party are made up of unquestioning conformists, and really the Tories have not actively promoted grammar schools for some time, so really Roger Gale, unlike his constituents, ought not to get to fretful over this one, because by the time we get round to a general election, there'll be no mention of removing, what many consider a corrupt and divisive education system.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Unwanted God complex RE comment moderation!

This post is really, for the consumption of anonymous 10:50am, now last week I switched on the comment moderation facility on this blog and now find myself with a dilemma.

This blog site has been till now, pretty much anything-goes but it seems that many contributors often wish to make reference to individuals, without actually having the balls to use their own name. Now last week I clearly had someone, who wished to make mischief with one of our political organisations in Kent, and I spent some considerable time, checking whether the comment I had on my website was genuine or not which apparently wasn't, not that any official from that party had the courtesy to reply to my e-mail or telephone calls and eventually I had to take the word of an employee.

Anyway right now, I am considering this particular comment, what they say may well be factually correct, and I have actually attempted to check it. However since this blog is primarily for my amusement and yours hopefully, despite the responsibility of censoring people's comments, I have decided in God like fashion, not to publish this particular comment for the moment.

I won't bore you any further with my stance, other than to say if I take a critical view on someone, since they know who I am they can always reply directly to me, either on my website or alternatively by my e-mail address.

I will probably get rid of comment moderation in the next day or two, since Judging whether to publish on not is a heavy burden.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thanet council poor rewards for essential workers

Interesting to see the hype about how wonderful Thanet’s refuse & street cleaning service is, being challenged, according to local Conservatives, since its been run directly by Thanet council it’s the best thing since er stale bread. However this is contrasted by a report in todays Thanet times, its worrying how the illusion of a perfect service, is marred by the fact that at least one street cleaner has found himself earning less money and doing more work.

Details of the cleaners work, a man who diligently does his job clearing up the mess left on our streets, should give us all something to think about, what amazes me is the pride in doing a good job despite earning less since T.D.C. took over, with the management apparently expecting staff to take on more work than ever for less pay

This tale typifies what’s wrong in our society, someone quietly doing a good & essential job having their pay cut, since TDC took over, whilst those who sit behind desks at the council offices continue to get their annual pay increases whether their more productive our not.

Is it right that someone doing an essential job, keeping or streets clean, safely disposing of needles left over from drug abusers gets paid £200 a week when many clerical workers get paid so much better for so much less and get free town centre parking.

I wonder whether the leader of the council ( I believe is entitled to £17,000 a year for part time appearance more than the cleaner earns ) or even the chief executive who’s salary is above £100,000 have considered whether those who keep are streets clean are fairy rewarded, I think not.

I regularly see posts at Thanet council for what appear to be made up jobs, around £30,000 why not pay people who actually do a worthwhile job a fair wage.

Finally which would you notice first, no chief executive or no cleaners?

Sunday, May 13, 2007


News that the serving prisoners, are taking away work from experienced track workers, comes as little surprise after 10 years of Tony Blair, which has seen ever increasing exploitation of working people.

First off new Labour, encourage desperate unskilled workers from Eastern Europe, to come to Britain to be exploited shamelessly by the agricultural industry and professional classes who want cheap builders and plumbers.

Now on the face of it woolly minded half-witted middle-class do-gooders, will have no problem, with exploiting convicted criminals in tough harsh and frequently dangerous working conditions on Britain's railways, and neither would I, if I thought for a moment that convicted criminals would also be offered jobs, in senior management posts within network rail. I am sure there are plenty of talented managerial types, who could take the place of the directors of network rail.

Of course it's unlikely to happen, it's one thing to deprive a working man of a job being replaced by some convict on poverty pay, but for some reason I can't see the directors of Network Rail standing aside for someone probably as competent but earning just £5.35 an hour, particularly since four directors managed to trouser their share of £1.1 million bonus on top for their wages, despite losses of £232 million.

This is a scandal, there are hundreds of experienced trackman, seeking work, and probably a few thousand who are only able to get part-time work. It wouldn't be so bad, if those employed in Network Rails chain-gang were paid properly.

I'm sure there are many, involved in track maintenance who would like a chat with chief executive, John Armitt before he leaves to join Olympic Delivery Authority.

Be assured I am as ever, completely unbiased just like a proper writer, its just that I lack that empathy management types seem to have for criminals, maybe its that work ethic thing. Its probably unreasonable for ordinary working people to expect to be offered a job before some thief, rapist or thug?

Daily Mail Story

Nothing to report

Reading through this week's Isle Thanet Gazette, looking for a morsel of entertainment, assuming there's no story concerning one of our councillors, reprehensible behaviour, I generally read the column written by Jane Wenham - Jones, this week she asks ''Why would you want to write?''.

Well after some consideration, my opinion is why wouldn't you, and for the answer you probably wouldn't need to look any further than the previous week's Isle Thanet Gazette. Now last week's Isle of Thanet Gazette contained a report, concerning Dreamland, which even suggested it was a full report, which I take to mean it covered the two pages that the story was given.

Now in my opinion, the Gazette seems to have failed to report, on the very real opposition, to the Reading developer's plans to plonk as many houses as possible on to this site, also neglecting to mention that the firm Waterbridge may not get planning permission for anything other than a amusement park since they have to prove, with evidence from an independent source, that an amusement park would not be viable on this site.

Without wishing to be too pompous, there are matters and issues that local news media, prefer not to mention since much of their revenue is derived from advertising. Now I have certainly been harsher, in my comments concerning some of our local issues because my motivation is a wish offer something different to the endless tame reports by local media.

Anyway I don't attempt to compete with professional writers, since I believe myself to be dyslexic, and left school with no English language qualification but with the aid of new technology, it's easy to write even if it's crap as I'm sure both my readers would agree.

Just coming back briefly, to plain Jane, amusing as her article was, shouldn't the article have been headed advertisement since it appeared to be a fairly focused on her new book ' Wannabe a writer?'. Anyway details of her new book are available on her website, click here as if it's as good as her regular column, then it will be worth the purchase price of £7.99.

Finally the Internet has allowed just about anyone a voice, I would advise anyone who has something to say, to just do it, till now the publishers of newspapers have used their power to influence people, now for the first time ordinary people have that same power. That is until such time those to controller lives, decide to regulate the Internet.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bignews Margate’s Пиршество Семьи *

Its seems incredible, but KFC have apparently trade marked the phrase “family feast”, no big deal you might think, until you find a lawyer for some big, all powerful global company writing you letters, telling you that they can no longer use, the English language to express yourself.

According to several reports licensees of the Tan Hill Inn, in Yorkshire have had to put up with a bit of advice from KFC lawyers on the use of the phrase “family feast”. The fact that the Tan Hills ‘Family Feast’ refers to a traditional Christmas dinner and KFC’s ‘feast’ is something that comes fried in oil in a bucket, which in my case I try to forget as soon as I’ve got the grease off my hands. It seems that lawyers were worried that Joe public might somehow confuse the two things.

There are principles involved here, KFC the fast food chain formally known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, before we got too lazy to use whole words (and cook) or was it some marketing re-branding. Once we concede this sort of nonsense where does it stop.

Most consumers are fairly sophisticated, I think we can tell the difference between pubs which these days are generally clean, cosy, comfortable and provide good food to fast food joints which often have all the stark ambience of a supermarket but longer queues, primitive staff and greasy surfaces.

I occasionally arrange a family feast here at Flaig Mansions, will I in future have to consult a lawyer rather than a cookery book, if so I have this two word phrase I’m considering getting trade marked one word is OFF, I can’t tell you the other until the lawyers have sorted it.

How did we ever get to a situation where foreign corporations can highjack or rather trade mark the English language. I know I frequently abuse the privilege but I’m British, so I feel entitled.

Finally a restaurant that mentions on its website “a computer controlled process ensures thorough cooking” is always a consideration when eating out.

One I made earlier My own unique recipe for Chicken

BBC Story

The Publican Story

KFC site "Quality Chicken".

* I think its Russian for family feast, I had enough legal threats this week.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

comment moderation
I don't wish to sound too pompous, but references in my previous post, to an implied threat of legal action coming from a political party, which after some investigation appears, not have been official or connected, but mischief making.

I try to be fair and honest, but I have no wish to allow, for misrepresentation, libel, or even offensive remarks, and therefore I shall, be moderating comments for a day or two.

I think I have a fairly liberal policy to the comments that I receive, as you know I rarely delete any comments, even personally abusive ones, unless they contain graphic death threats.

Even more pompously, since I do not seek anonymity, except when placing rude comments on ECR's website, I expect comments be truthful, even if they are biased and rude.
Without prejudice

This morning sorting through my inbox, I came across a comment added to one of my previous postings. Now this claims to come from a political party association, however I have my doubts since the comment is headed with the phrase 'without prejudice' which I understand, is often used in correspondence between lawyer's when negotiating contracts, meaning information referred to is not binding and worthless until agreed otherwise.

So just to recap 'without prejudice' means that although you have stated something, you're not prepared to back it up. Any how I have contacted, this political party to seek clarification, as to whether the comment posted on my blogsite, is indeed from them and since their phone was not answered at 9 o'clock this morning, I rang their local MP who surprisingly wasn't available.

I also spoke with someone at the Daily Mirror, who originally published the story, to which I had earlier referred, who pointed out to me that they have good legal advice.

I don't wish to sound to pious, but in general I try not to distort facts, although clearly I have an opinion, also I will withdraw or delete comments which are libellous as and when that situation arises.

However I won't be bullied, into withdrawing comments based on an article, in the Daily Mirror, which itself was a report on the tribunal ruling in a case for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

I have now contacted the political association, in question, to verify whether the comment received, is as it says on their behalf or merely from some mischief maker, additionally I have asked them to be specific, if this is from the organisation in question.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bignews Margate temporary diversion!

Classics not dog pooh!

My apologies for not contributing to the blogosphere, these last few days, due to family commitments, and more importantly a pitiful attempt by myself, to appease Mrs Me. Also I remain rather depressed from last week's election outcome, not that I'm a staunch supporter of the Labour Party by any means, what really bothers me, is the roughly 70 out of every hundred Thanetonians, who can't lever their backsides off the sofa and take part in our democracy.

During the last few days I have been tasked, with tidying-up, the great library of Flaig Mansions, otherwise known as the spare bedroom. This room has become the depository of the Flaig family archives, and in particular my personal papers. Mrs Me believes me to be a hoarder of rubbish and has opined that, were someone to attach, a packet of dog pooh, to our weekend newspapers, then the chances are, that I would retain this, just in case it came in handy.

I really haven't a clue what she means, I would admit to keeping CDs and DVD's, but as far as I can tell, everyone is a classic. She may well have a point, with the occasional item, such as my blank driver log sheets, from a previous employer, manuals for gadgets than have either been lost or broken, I may even have to hide some essentials like my collection of mobile phones, some of which actually still work, however my favourite the Nokia N70, never did survive that dunk in the toilet.

Occasionally there are letters and notes, amongst my collection of rare begging letters from utility companies, which bring back memories, like the one from a past employer who stated that they would be obliged if I could pay a parking fine, since I'd been 3000 miles away at the time, I had drafted a reply, something to the effect that they would be ****ing lucky, I regret not having sent that letter.

Anyhow must crack on now! There is so much interesting stuff to sort through.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dream quote of the week

Amidst all the propaganda and claptrap concerning Dreamland in our local newspapers this week, I was drawn to a couple of quotations in the Gazette, firstly in the runner up position must be this from Liss Werner who said referring to the plans on show ''it has been fascinating. We have kept a lot of the park's heritage in the names of some of the roads.'' ignoring the fact that both designs will bury Dreamland heritage, forever under a grisley housing development, ignoring the national importance of this site.

Despite the stiff competition however the clear winner has to be architect Chris Levett, who apparently came up with this gem ''I think my client has to be given credit in the efforts he has gone to in keeping the scenic railway in the designs'' , now I might well be mistaken, but I have been under the misapprehension, that the scenic railway has a preservation order, making it a tad difficult for Reading-based owners to do anything else but keep the scenic railway, I know there was a little misunderstanding, concerning the massive steel fence erected by developers without planning permission.

Finally it seems a bit strange that the Gazette, has yet to find any residents who are critical, of both these schemes, on my brief visit to the exhibition, it seemed that no one was that impressed with the Reading firm's plans. Really if this is part of a genuine consultation process, why is there no third alternative, restoration of the theme park, and that I think, is a question that if our local news media were doing their job properly they would be asking.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Labour lose local election.
Hours after the Polling Station opens this arrives

It's my personal opinion that the last four years, has witnessed a period of lost opportunities, such as the incompetence from our Conservative local government, district and county, particularly over the Turner contemporary Debacle, which so far has cost £8 million and wasted 10 years, Dreamland an asset of national importance, set to become a characterless housing development, because local Tories don't have the vision or imagination to save it.

When you put all the, disasters and bad decisions together, they are a compelling case, for not voting Tory, however when you look at Labour nationally, having drawn us into an unwinnable war in Iraq, having morally bankrupt ideas such as super casinos is it any wonder that people show their disapproval.

Those of us who bother to vote, are not muppets, and if the Labour government wish to continue to insult our intelligence, over Iraq then we will see David Cameron, despite being bereft of any of policies or ideas becoming Prime Minister at the next general election.

A couple of the local results were interesting, firstly in my own ward, where it is notable that the turnout was the lowest in Thanet, and an area which traditionally returns Labour councillors this time elected Conservatives, the reason I think for this is simple, I don't think that the Labour Party bothered, to canvass this area, however they did drop a card in 10 hours or so, after the polling station had opened for business, on one side it said 'if you stay at home or don't vote you will get a failing Tory council for another four years' , here's my reply if you don't canvas you won't get elected!, finally had they been 'working hard' as they claimed on their literature for my ward, they should have been elected today.

The other interesting result, is that of the current leader of the Conservative group, Sandy Ezekiel its interesting to note, that his own personal vote, has declined from 1531 in 2003, Today receiving a noticeable drop down to 1225, 20 per cent fewer votes. This might well reflect, recent bad publicity and the high standards some of the electorate like to see, from their representatives. It will be interesting to see, whether he remains the leader of the Tory group.
Clueless in Washington
The rising cost of Kents American Dream

Following up on my recent reference to Kent council's involvement in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, I have recently received a fact file, which reveals, some of the further cost in Kents continuing relationship with the Commonwealth of Virginia, as you will recall earlier in the year it was announced that Kent council had lost £300,000 or more on the Manston to Norfolk Virginia flights fiasco.

A few days ago Kent council put out a press item to the effect that there would be a 40 strong group of people taking part in the Folklife Festival in Washington, not surprisingly they made little reference to the fact that this would be costing in the region of £225,000 which even by my appalling maths works out at around an astonishing £5,625 per participant, now I doubt any the bright sparks at Kent have ever heard of Expedia, Travelocity or have the remotest clue what online booking might be.

Having checked out the cost of a reasonably good Hotel in central Washington (Capitol Hill), a decent flight with Virgin Airways, the most expensive I could see was £2,950. Even if you include the cost of taxis to and from the airport, this still leaves you with approximately £2,500 which would work out at around £160 a day for meals and expenses, having never been to Washington, I might be wrong, but elsewhere in America, you can eat very well for around £30-40 a day.

The more I study Kent County Council, the more inept and profligate they seem by the day. But in addition there is also an additional £100,000 that has been made available to maximise Kents impact, to be spent in promotional activities.

It will be interesting if, at some time in the future Kent council will be able to justify this by producing evidence of a mass invasion by camera wielding Yanks, I will believe it when I see it.

The cost of Kents American adventure, so far this year looks to be around £650,000, what a waste, just think of the services that could be provided with that sort of money, that's more than the cost of running Kent TV channel for a year, or the price of two chief executives!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sign of the times

In the next few days, we will be at last given the date and manner of Tony Blair’s departure, which frankly cannot come quick enough for most Labour supporters because it seems that for the last year he has lingered like a bad smell.

Probably we shall see a good deal of sycophancy from Labour Party hacks, in the next week or two but I’m fairly sure that most of the Labour party wont miss him. Its difficult to praise a man of his ilk who came to power with genuine good will from the public to have completely wasted his time in office, and even worse sent out British service personnel to fight a war based on bogus information with no objective other than to await instructions from Washington.

In this time we could have expected to see some real benefit to working people, but no, the minimum wage perhaps the biggest waste, over ten years this could have been gradually bought up to a level were employees could expect to receive a living wage, without filling out forms to get benefits from the government, the very least might have been protection for the countries workforce, from uncontrolled migration, as is the case in other mature economies like France and Germany.

Well unfortunately Blair ignored those who put him in office, and as an example of todays Britain, nothing could be more indicative, than the young kid, in Northdown Road, selling the ‘Big Issue’, whose accent would suggest they travelled many miles to Britain just flog a magazine.

Well done Blair.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Who to vote for

Like anything in life not every thing is black and white, this week, we get the chance to make our own personal selection. There are various factors which should influence our choice, policy has to be one, but its not all, sometimes you have to go with gut feelings.

Now I’ve only so far, had the one visit from any candidate, which as it happens was from the Conservatives, now last time round in my ward, I had a similar experience and that instance, I believe I did what I’m going to do this time round and that is to vote for the Tory, who at least took the trouble to canvas my opinion, however my reason this time is slightly different..

Now in the last local elections my reasons for voting for the Tory candidate who bothered to call was based purely on that fact that they had at least bothered, this time despite the fact I would recommend, people vote Labour after studying some of the planning issues and poor management of the Conservatives over the last 4 years my reasons are personal.

A while back one of the labour candidates, made some inaccurate statement, which I don’t recall they apologised for then or subsequently, to be honest I had almost forgotten it until today, when I was reminded of it.

Obviously we all have our own standards, if I make an error, I’m inclined to admit it and apologise as I did with Roger Gale back in February in public (this website) and by email. Had this candidate, had the grace or manners to apologise either discreetly by email or publicly they would have received my vote.

Frankly in the wild chance that labour lost by my one vote, although I wish to see them win, I would not lose any sleep over it. I’d rather a Tory who shows some respect than an arrogant Labour candidate who would'nt.

I try to be as accurate as I can, so, should any errors occur please report them and if necessary I’m sure I can say sorry. Still I'm no politician, yet.
Ratings shock !

Mr Puss Collapses

Mr Puss collapsed earlier today , after receiving a spot of bad news, having to be revived with a tin of tuna.

Management at Bignews Margate discovered after checking their Google Pagerank, that despite more than doubling the numbers of visitors to the site since the beginning of the year, the site has witnessed, a humiliating decline in their rating, as far as Google are concerned.

Having earlier in the year, acknowledged scoring 4 out of 10, in Google's Pagerank rating system, news that Bignews has dropped to only 3 out of 10, is seen as a major setback, although other leading Thanet Blogs receive a similar ranking.

After Mr Puss, overcame his initial shocked reaction, he has suggested that Google's measure of website importance, had been adversely affected, by what he considers to be a cheap populist downward spiral in editorial standards here at Bignews Margate. He particularly cited the recent experiment in no-budget TV.

I personally don't think he understands the medium, you may judge for yourself by seeing his recent, screen test, where he fails to communicate making no attempt to relate to the audience being sidetracked by his obsession with personal hygiene, and nervous twitch.