Saturday, March 31, 2007

Enjoy a Fun day out at Kent International Manston

Holiday Company Kent Escapes and Infratil will be hosting a Fun Day event, @ KIA Manston, tomorrow Sunday April 1st between 11am and 4pm. On offer will be distraction for children including a magician, balloons, face painting and James Hemming (Invicta), and for adults the chance to see what’s on offer win a holiday or other prizes and take advantage of generous discounts for families and couples.

If you are looking to go away this summer what could be better, 10 minutes from your front door (Thanet), easy parking right next door (which is free tomorrow), save yourself money on the holiday and when you go, you wont have the hassle of ruining your holiday with a long car journey or the crush at check-in.

Seguro Holidays who own Kent Escapes are a thriving company, who know what their doing, as Wendy Pollock, Sales Manger recently said “We held two similar events at Kent International last year and they were both hugely successful.” This year they have added Palma (my favourite Mediterranean). Having flown a couple of times from Manston and often from Gatwick or Heathrow, I know which is best and that is Manston.

Airport operator and owner Infratil are also a successful company, that has despite all the recent meddling by local authorities, their experts and lack lustre local quangos, with its steady, sustainable approach been building up its business. Its easy for us locals to be diverted, particularly when our local councils, believe that they can interfere in the business world, with good intentions and some naïve business plans our money and still they screw up.

The future is good for Manston, Infratil is a company that is expert in its business, operates several successful airports around the world and is seeing growth in its freight business at KIA having more than doubled its freight handling this January 07 2,823 tonnes compared with 1,336 tonnes last January 06 as well as seeing an increase in freight services over the busy December period.

The location is good its easy to get to by road (there are 1.4 million who live in Kent most less than an hour away) and it will be even better once the new faster trains are running from Ramsgate to St Pancras in North London.

Anyway if you want a good holiday flying from Manston, it means most of us wont need to worry about M25 hold ups, instead you can worry if you’ve got you Passport, which if you, haven’t and its on the kitchen table, you might just have time to nip home, particularly if you live in Thanet.

This year Kent Escapes Brochure in PDF Format

Friday, March 30, 2007


The sale has now apparently gone through on the Theatre Royal yesterday, and many years of hard work are about to be wasted by that same dead hand of municipal inactivity that spent millions on the Marks & Spencer building last year and despite vague mumbles about some indeterminate purpose for the building a year on nothing; just like the Tories who came back to rule Thanet council with the big ideas, what they never told us was the big ideas, would be coming from consultants’ and we would be footing the bill.

So what do we know of the future, well first things first, we know by experience that the councils, top priority is to appoint a consultant because just like there counterparts at Kent council in Maidstone they seem clueless, second now that they are in the driving seat they need to apply the handbrake, switch the engine off, lock up and walk away to return in six months.

Now in plain language, this is for the hard of thinking, in the ruling Tory group, what would a business man normally do, with an enterprise they have just purchased do they A/ build on the goodwill of the business by keeping it running as they seek to capitalise on the investment or do they B/ close the business immediately and cease trading for 6 months thus not only eroding the customer base but also kissing goodbye to revenue, that will never be recovered.

This is yet another example of what is often thought as the Tory party the party of business and enterprise, showing how in practice the couldn’t sell water in a desert, during a heat wave, least not without a consultant.

We read how much the council are putting into this enterprise but just how much is going to the consultants and how much revenue is being lost to the Theatre by closing now rather than continue opening.

Theatre should be subsidised, I understand that the Marlowe in Canterbury gets somewhere in the region £600,000. This the second oldest theatre in the country and to date has had the best part of damn all. The council can always find money for security cameras to protect business premises and waste money on complete nonsense like Manston Virginia (£40,000 down the toilet).

Please whoever gets to run the council in May, spend money on people who live here, not on consultants. Its tragic that people are losing their jobs and Thanet is losing an asset which through hard work and dedication has steadily improved these last few years despite miserly support from the council.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Time was when you could park a vehicle outside you favourite fast food joint safely.

We all know that fast food is bad for you, now they've added the uncertainty of whether your favourite chicken outlet will add insult to indigestion by clamping your car as you eat your meal.

A source close to Bignews Margate was sitting in a friends car, at the fast food chicken restaurant in Broadstairs, when they noticed a bloke taking photos of their car. When the guy was challenged, he said he was taking a picture of the wheels before clamping, after they explained they were the owner, and were eating a meal purchased there the guy moved on.

Now I never use this particular franchise not since one of their staff insulted me, just for suggesting that they had given the wrong order, in there Margate High St. Shop.

I cannot think of a more hostile way to treat your customers, we’ve all had bad service but immobilising your wheels takes things it to a new level. Its one thing to clamp customers of the adjacent pub (low enough), as mentioned recently in the local papers, but your own customers ????
New Labour gambles
Tessa loses
we win!

Tessa Jowell has not for the first time, had a bit of a problem with figures this time it appears that she was unable to keep an accurate count of her chickens in the House of Lords, over the Government's wish to build a super casino and 16 others.

She also seems to have had similar problems, with figures such as the Olympic Games which is now increasingly out of control, with a few extra billions being added with alarming regularity every few months.

Now I wonder whether her estranged husband Mr Mills may have been cognisant of some possible flaw in her fiscal understanding since we were informed a year or so ago, that her husband had not thought to discuss financial arrangements with Silvio Berlusconi.

Of course Tessa Jowell is not the only Labour minister who's having problems with her figures, Margaret Beckett today has been in the frame for her performance in administering agricultural funds to farmers.

Tessa Jowell is quoted as having no plan B, which although the government seemed to be totally uncaring, means that at least hundreds of thousands of people would not be encouraged to flush the housekeeping down the drain and into the pockets of greedy parasitic gambling businesses.

The Government's whole policy towards gambling is frankly sickening, for a party that was once proud, to stand for social justice. There are at least two bookies and one casino within less than a mile of where I live, if I don't fancy the exercise I can of course, play bingo or poker via the Internet or purchase a lottery scratchcard, in most shops. So I wonder what sort of people Tessa Jowell and her Labour colleagues are actually mixing with that they think, there are any shortages of gambling opportunities.

As you realise, I'm not the most educated person, I know that culture also encompasses slightly more uplifting pursuits music drama sport literature sculpture and visual Arts. It seems that where there are super casinos, in the rest of the world, prostitution and drug abuse increased dramatically maybe New Labour should go that one step further and incorporate brothels and drug dens into their plans.

In the next few weeks, when Blair finally retires, we will no doubt see a lot of sycophantic crap, telling us how wonderful his reign has been, but this will be one of those items, part of his legacy, along with unquestioning support of Bush that will quickly erode any good he may have done in his ten-years.

Finally don't get me wrong, I've been known to have a flutter myself, on the lottery when it was one simple game once a week, and a dollar in a Las Vegas slot machine on route to breakfast, just to prove to myself that I know how to have a good time. However there is something deeply disturbing about a government, that has amongst its major policy initiatives a scheme to encourage ordinary people, to give large amounts of money, to what are greedy parasitic gambling companies.
PS What are the odds of Ms Jowells chances of future promotion or Labour serving another term with these ill judge policies?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

If you can't beat them, join them
as Kent council take on the world

This is one story I was hoping to keep, to myself, but unfortunately, the political editor of Kent Messenger Group, Paul Francis must have spotted the discreet ad, placed in this week's Sunday Times appointments section advertising the position of managing director of environment and regeneration for Kent council see Kent Online.

I was rather hoping, that few would spot the quarter page advertisement, on the back page, and that I might have a clear run for the position. I'd even started to memorise some bullshot phrases such as ''commitment to excellence'' ''outcomes-orientated individual'' ''we are on a journey of continual improvement'' ''gateway to Europe''.

Well life's his full of disappointments, and I assume that every man and his dog is now chasing, this opportunity despite the rather modest potential £170,000 pay package.

I find it rather surprising that Kent council, which is after all a four-star organisation, has to rely on the executive resourcing company VEREDUS to recruit staff, given the calibre of the already highly paid management.

Of course I would imagine that executive resourcing companies don't come cheap and would guess that your Kent council, will probably wave goodbye to the better part of 20 grand on this exercise.

Finally I worry about organisations that claim or aspire to be world class, a couple that spring to mind are British Telecom, who frequently have difficulty answering their own telephones, and British Airways who've always struck me as just too damned superior to have to deal with the general public (still I speak from the economy class end of the world).

PS Had I been in charge of regeneration at the time Kent council came up with the idea of flying Manston to Virginia, my response would have been something like, "are you !=*?ing mad'' that alone would have been worth £300,000. Still I doubt that sort of commonsense approach is quite what they're looking for.

If you think you can do the job click here

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The smell of failure in Margate

New Labour have been in power for 10 years, they came to power with slogans “Education, education………”, and “Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime”, and what have they achieved.

Education parents dread the thought of increasingly expensive university tuition ( except Scotland subsidised as ever). Despite being tough on crime Mr Blair still finds it necessary to visit the subject in a speech today he will announce fresh reforms, new targets makes you wonder, what if anything Blair’s has achieved in his ten years.

All we can judge any governments performance on, is our own experience and how we are effected. Judging by the amount of youffs smoking cannabis, openly in the street Northdown Road and the Parade Margate opposite the harbour in the last week, then I’d say Labour isn’t working.

I would contact the police but which ones, the real ones the PCSO’s on what phone number ? would they respond?

Monday, March 26, 2007

BBC News is it objective

Today (news Programme) (26/3/07) on Radio 4 which I listen to most mornings had a report concern NHS maternity services being under considerable pressure due to migration from eastern Europe mainly Poland , later I noticed Radio 5 also mentioned cuts in antenatal services, however this report did not mention the strain place on the NHS by unplanned migration.

I might be mistaken but I get the impression that BBC news, feed us what they think is suitable, based on the audience a channel is targeted at, so Radio 4 listeners can digest the news as it comes, like adults and Radio 5 a bit more down market has all the nasty bits cut as if the audience were made up of children.

Or maybe they are just censoring news, in some lefty we know best, sort of way, ignoring the likely million+ strong migration, from East Europe as if it has no social or economic impact.

Now migration is an emotive subject which mainstream politicians and the media ignore, although I cannot help thinking that those who control debate in this country are storing up fuel for extreme political parties. Absorbing a million people into this countries economy, has very costly consequences on the nations health, education, housing, benefits system and is not something that can be ignored forever.

When will the Media give us an adult debate with the facts and not the fiction.

BBC NHS cuts 'hit antenatal classes'
BBC Immigrant pregnanices stretch NHS

Sunday, March 25, 2007

How about tomorrow ?

Mr Puss takes a Keen interest

This weekend Tories have been out and about in my road delivering the first political pamphlet before Mays council elections.

The first page extols their green credentials and has a nice picture of what I think might just be, one of councillor Latchford's famous displays of plastic flowers. They mention how they’ve introduced wheelie bins, they don’t mention their probably the last council to do so, or that flaig mansions is still waiting and despite the public satisfaction record of 83% was a tad hacked off, that the bins weren’t emptied this last week as was promised and required a telephone call to sort.

“Building our Future; based on our past” is the heading on page 3, their not too specific here, I assume this means they will be putting back on sale those items they’ve taken off for the election; also if we let them they will be only too helpful, in assisting the owners dreamland to cash in big time and convert a local asset into grim housing development.

The back page has a panel headed COMING SOON
•New Swimming Facilities (I though they having a public consultation on that)
•More Public Conveniences (why not open those you’ve closed)
•New Leisure Facilities (these were planned ages ago)
•More Haine Road improvements (I have not noticed any)

No mention is made of where local Tories stand on Westwood Cross Housing, Dreamland, Turner, or even the Marks & Spencer building that has cost millions and after one year they can’t say what their going to do with it.

To those of you who vote conservative because you believe they will be careful with your money think again, instead of having ideas they have consultants. Where is the strong master plan for Thanet. WHERE IS THE VISION FOR THANET

Still it remains to be seen whether New Labour can come up with a strategic plan for Thanet.

News of whose world?

This Sundays News of the world, sometimes referred to as News of the Screws, for it obsession in reporting celebrity sex scandals, has as it s front page, the usual muck raking this time involving Prince Harry.

The paper carries the usual “Exclusive” tag but maybe Editor Colin Myler ought to consider why its exclusive maybe nobody is that interested.

I’m no supporter of this countries Royal family but even I find this report completely unnecessary for this reason Prince Harry is, due to an accident of birth a member of the royal family. So he has never sought celebrity, secondly he volunteered to serve his country in Afghanistan and thirdly who hasn’t stumbled drunkenly out into the street after an evenings drinking (probably 20years since I have, mores the pity).

I just wonder what piss poor dull lives the journalists James Weatherup, Rav Singh and editor Colin Myler lead, also if they have ever offered to risk their necks in the same fashion as the Prince.

I buy the News of the World for scandal, targeting celebraties and politicians who seek publicity is fair game and always enjoyable but picking on someone because of family connections is unreasonable particularly when they are serving the country.
Clocks go forward

Why can’t we just have our time kept to standard, twice every year the flaig brain has to wrap itself round the concept of time changes without the excitement of a plane journey to some less mundane location than the planet Thanet.

Apart from the impossible mathematics of whether adding or subtracting an hour to the time means I win or lose an hour.

It generally takes an hour or two for me to become acquainted, that there’s been some mystical shift in chronology, for a while Mr Microsoft would pop up when I switched on the old computer and discreetly announce the situation, and offer to quietly deal with it whilst I guzzled my mug of Tea.

Seems more often than not, now, the first I hear of the change is as I’m scanning the papers. Mrs Me alerts me in the same serious manner, that occurs in those American spy movies, the scene where president is informed of a threat to the nation, pauses for a moment to look serious, then orders increased military alert level to Defcon 2, just short of launching the nukes.

The clocks have to be put right, NOW. No time to read the papers!

Why do we do this, apart from the minor irritation of having to correct clocks, and worse still those digital devices? Why not as some safety campaigners’ wish keep things at British Summer Time, as this extends hours of daylight long enough during the winter evenings for most of our kids to complete there journey home safely reducing fatalities. I would also benefit by being able to read the Sunday paper uninterrupted.

Friday, March 23, 2007

I haven’t posted much for the last few days mainly due to my severe allergy to the mind-numbing budget, not just the chancellors but the one’s that accompanied my council tax bill and yes the Kent council’s budget for the Manston Virginia gamble.

Is there anything more depressing than the annual attempt by government to meddle with and ration things we want to do or consume?

Every year the first reaction is for hacks, to tell us how the chancellor, has produce a better budget than expected. Minutes later the cracks appear as everyone wishes to grind their particular political axe.

A day or two later a consensus is reached that we’ve witnessed the treasury move the furniture about and that there are winners and losers.

Why can’t we just have some massive once off, painful simplification of the tax system, and a minor adjustment each year? Why does it have to be so complex get rid of all those regulations, that keep legions of accounts and thousands of civil servants employed in superfluous jobs, who take with one hand and grudgingly give back with the other.

I realise that such a mass cull of these blighters, in the tax industry would be considered inhumane but I think it would be for the best in the long run.

Even more confusing than “the budget” is the little snippets of info sent with the council’s annual begging letters (council tax bills), these include figures that are simplified for the simple-minded taxpayer.

Now a little info is a dangerous thing and looking on page 20 of “Your Thanet Your Council” Document is a row entitled “Chief Executive” in the first Column headed Gross Expenditure is a figure £381,000. Hopefully this doesn’t refer to the Chief. Exec’s salary, good as he is, I would assume this also includes his PA, clerical staff, office expenses but the mind could run riot and imagine maybe a chauffeur, personal trainer, and life style counsellor. The reality is I’m sure, more mundane the point is that these details are too vague to have any meaning.

Finally I’ll hold forth at a later time, on the subject of the Kent council’s recent scrutiny committee, which raised the topic of Manston/ Virginia flights project, I’m not against the council taking a punt, but I think there are several issues raised by this matter. I don’t doubt for a minute that this venture was taken on with the best intention but I think it needs some thought.

PS I see that Kent police are taking 258 million pounds from the residents of Kent, why can’t we just pay for the one in 58 police officers, whose actually out on patrol (see Telegraph) thus saving 253 million pounds.

The Pride of Thanet Staff Awards

Thanet District councils unsung Hero Award has concluded, and the winners have been announced. Details are available on Thanet Councils Web site as well as in this week's Adscene front page and inside the Gazette.

I just like to say well done to those winners and runners up, who clearly deserve their awards for their contributions to the local community.

Now I often criticise the council for its profligate and frankly reckless spending but who could object to the modest amount spent on this. Which in this case was somewhere in the region of £4 per employee maybe totalling approximately £3000.00 and if you look at the councils spending in other areas really quite modest.

So what’s the point of this post, well, I think its important that those who put themselves out, for the public should be rewarded and from the reports I’ve seen they have, with a certificate. Perhaps the winners should have received something more substantial like a weekend away with their partners (maybe they have in which case forget the preceding and the following).

Obviously, the council spent a lot of money publicising this award, in local papers but I think they could have saved money, by promoting this award in there own journal Thanet Matters (winter edition cost inc. delivery £6800 approx) and getting free promotion from local news outlets.

Three thousand pounds spent wisely could have been used to greater effect, imagine the boost to staff moral if say, the money had been given to 20 deserving members of staff £150 each enough, for a weekend away maybe. I guess that those who organise these things are closer to the “Fat Cat” world and would not necessarily understand.

Anyway, thanks to all those at the council who do a good job which is most of you.

Finally this seems to me to be a perfect example of Thanet council having a good idea and flushing the money down the drain. Back in January I made some fairly negative comments about this award and this is probably what motivated me to do so, the certainty that the council would as ever, pour a good proportion of the money in the wrong direction, in this case advertising, rather than staff what a waste.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Theatre Royal

Just noticed a web site where you can register your opinion re the councils takeover.

Turner site

Posted by PicasaCould not think of anything to write but took this picture whilst taking a walk tonite. New water feature maybe for turner gallery.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What’s the difference between the Public & Private Sector?

Its not just local government administration that upsets me, its most public spending bodies, take the NHS according to this weekends Observer out £19bn put in directly to hospitals and community health £6.6bn went on increased pay.

Its seems that everyone involved in the public sector ignores the fact that they work in a safe, mainly secure job, paying themselves generally more than they would receive in the private sector, assuming that their job has a viable purpose.

I think its time for politicians to stop spoon-feeding public employees, and get real. how often do you hear, that this public authority or service has to pay high salaries in order to attract, the right quality of staff. What I would like to see is public services impose a pay freeze and then see how long they have to wait before private business starts snapping up all these inspirational managers, I personally think Hell would freeze over sooner.

This criticism is aimed at the top nobs, obliviously a few probably are worth their salaries, but those for instance who do the much of the essential work in hospitals for example the cleaners and porters are the most poorly paid (why cant Chief Execs pay a living wage to essential staff).

In local government, perhaps the most surprising thing is how some councils like Kent apparently have money to burn for crazy schemes, example rumours abound that the Tory led council is planning to have its own TV station cost £800,000.00.

The worlds gone crazy in the past Civil Servants knew they had safe jobs, accepting reasonable pay levels, Tories promised efficient local government, and the Labour party wasn’t run by conservatives.

In answer to the headline question, difference is the Public sector erodes wealth, whilst the Private sector creates it something even our Tory friends have forgotten.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


According to Kent on Sunday leading lights of Kent’s regeneration industry made the great personal sacrifice by heading off to Cannes including Deputy Leader Alex King his trip paid for by Locate in Kent* a privately funded company, other’s travelling at taxpayers expense for KCC Medway Ashford etc.

Just what anyone actually achieved remains a to be seen, champagne anyone!

*Might take a look at Locate in Kent company, odd that this is a privately funded company, but has so many backers that are actually publicly funded bodies, such as Kent County Council, South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), East Kent Partnership, Kent’s local councils maybe this has a connection with Kent’s “MAGIC MONEY”

Ladyman may have more time for constituents

Looks like Sunday Times are cooking up a scandal involving Prisons minister, Gerry Sutcliffe and Stephen Ladyman Transport Minister, South Thanet MP. What it all boils down to in Mr Ladyman’s case if anything, is that he may have been slightly too helpful with friends who were also political consultants, a similar sort of relationship that many politicians have with journalist.

As an occasional critic of Ladyman myself, I think this is just so much Bull; particularly when you consider that they had an one reporter working inside the consultants firm, Golden Arrrow and this is the best they can come up with simply put I suggest that reporters Claire Newell and Robert Winnett wasted 2 months on this (unless their saving something for next week).

Sunday Times story

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Margates Regeneration must be more than Housing

You only have to walk round Thanet and particularly Margate notice the amount of building and renovation work that’s occurring, great as it is, to see craftsmen drafted in from across Europe I just wonder who is going to pay for all this. I realise that just at the moment developers with or without assistance are bankrolling this work but long term where is the money to come from.

A few weeks ago, I heard a little of what, weighbridge or whatever their called, might have planned for Dreamland, some new sort of overnight accommodation for city types, so that they may enjoy, the new fast links to London. Although as far as I can tell, new train services will actually be from Ramsgate, not Margate still they must be right, they have one of those independent consultant firms working for them.

How will Thanet sustain itself, where are the jobs locally. I've little choice but to place, a bloody great big carbon Bootprint, up on the Thanet Way, if I’m going to earn a living. There so much attention on housing it looks like those who control our life, have accepted that Thanet will increasingly become an area for commuters.

To illustrate the perspective I come from I have to take issue with Richard Samuel, Thanet’s own Chief Exec, his comments are used in an article “Beached Progress" found on the InsideHousing website, one such quote “a lot of worthwhile work has been done, particularly around improving local people’s skills” now I would disagree for the average person who may well want to be retrained there is nothing locally available of any meaning.
Up until two or three years ago the local Jobcentre used to offer worthwhile training schemes now if they offer anything, it must be under the table, Labour’s New Deal for instance doesn’t actually offer any training, least not in Thanet.

Developers want to develop, local authorities want to regenerate but no one is coordinating this. Assume in five years time every property is in pristine condition how is this to be maintained in Thanet’s low-skill no-skill economy.

Finally Kate Allen in her article “Beached Progress” suggests “locals like Mr Flaig might end up feeling even more disenfranchised” don’t worry, I’ve never been included.
Honour and Dignity

This is way off my normal topic, but I’d just like to note the honour and dignity shown by Susan Hull the widow of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, at the press conference after the inquest in to her husbands death.

The contrast in conduct and demeanour of L/Cpl Hull’s family and our “allies” is breathtaking. I hope that the family will now be able to quietly draw a line on this tragedy, as is there wish. Their example is one that the whole nation can be quietly proud of.

Press Conference BBC news

Friday, March 16, 2007

Manston Kent Council’s Mystery Money

I’ve bought up the subject of Kent councils apparent involvement in Manston more than once but earlier this week; I thought I would have one last attempt to get clarification from Kent Council as to how much money, if any was actually spent on the aborted Flights from Manston to Virginia scheme.

I rang the councils press office, the guy I spoke with, confirmed once again that no money from Kent taxpayers or owned on their behalf had been spent, now it maybe me maybe I’ve gone doolally because I just could not believe what I was being told and here is my recollection.

The spokesperson would not concede that money, belonging or held in any sort of trust for council taxpayer, had in anyway been used for this project. What he did say was this and it sounds like complete nonsense or bollix to me, money had been spent, however the wonga came from a development project.

Now at this point I went into responsible parent mode and wanted a detailed explanation as to where the money had originated (you know how young children find money lying about the house and just naturally assume its there for the taking (like the house keeping)).

It seems that at some time in the past KCC had invested money, which we both seemed to agree was Taxpayers money in West Malling. Since that land has been developed, and money generated from the profits, has now apparently mutated, having no link with the people of Kent it’s no longer our money, its “regeneration money”.

Now the economic theory behind this is probably beyond me, and I guess the spokesperson sensed this, looked at the clock and realised there weren’t enough hours in the day to explain and the conversation wound up.

I’ve had time to consider this and this is what I think, KCC are being reticent because they have created some breakthrough economic theory, simply put they have created what I call “Magic” money, they have the ability to take money from one source and through some secret process make new money which they don’t need to account for.

Maybe I’m a just muggle and perhaps KCC is populated with wizards and magicians but even so, its sad that politicians and local authority employees, can’t be more open, if as most people seem to suspect an expensive cock up, has taken place why not admit all in one go.

Finally refusal to be open about this business, just looks arrogant, admittedly there is little the voter can do, you could try the audit commission or is it the district auditor I contacted them over the Turner thing, I think as every drop of money was accounted for, as is slipped into the sea there was nothing to worry about.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thanet Council’s Big Plan for Theatre

Thanet Council have moved quickly after their acquisition of the Theatre Royal, now its been saved for the nation, the council have shown there commitment and determination to succeed.

If proof were needed, the council have announced their programme, first things first, a consultant has been appointed, second its been announced that it will close as soon as possible (April 10), so if you were looking forward to being entertained then think again.

In future strict controls will be in place, entertainment will be allowed to take place in September and the first two weeks in October.

After that nothing! Hurray for Mr Ezekiel well done!!!!!

When are those local elections, not a moment to soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ramsgate Ready for Easter Weekend !

Having read Eastcliff Richard's sometimes disparaging remarks about Margate I thought I would take a low profile tour of Ramsgate and was surprised to see its already for Easter weekend, which for my fellow heathens, starts on 14th April Good Friday (Please check I’m crap at dates). **** Update I was wrong and have been corrected by Adem of the Big Blog IT's the 6th April****

It looks like preventative measures, have been taken to address, the increasing numbers of senile delinquents, coming into Ramsgate, special measures have been taken, these include boarded up toilets, as well as fencing off the bandstand, up on the eastcliff, to stop old people congregating in large numbers in the hope of spotting famous local celebrities.

Global Warming/Warning!

I understand that Britain contributes a minimal amount of carbon to the world atmosphere but yet our government steps up to the challenge with the Climate Change Bill, were going to save the world with a 60% cut in carbon emissions by 2050 .

How did this come about, this is my theory, Tony Blair's sitting in his office worried about his legacy, pondering as to whether anything could distract the British public, from the Iraqi debacle, the countries last attempt so save the world. In walks his parsimonious successor Gordon, mumbling about global warming, carbon emissions, footprints etc. Blair quickly realizes if its possible to sort out the climate its brilliant and he can claim the Climate Change Bill came about on his watch, if fails it will cost the tax payer a packet and he can blame Gordon who'll be PM when it becomes law. Either way the debate will help take some of the heat off Blair’s toadying to the yanks in the Middle East.

Nobody else looks like their about to make similar efforts to curtail global warming so why should we, if our attempts work it wont help because we’ll just choke on pollution from the rest of the world and how much will it cost.

Monday, March 12, 2007

KCC 4 star council? ****

This last few days Paul Carter has taken the trouble to justify the salary of his council's chief executive Peter Gilroy by referring to the Audit Commission's award of four stars to Kent council for value and service.

What I want to know is how many stars would Paul Carter require to respond to my e-mail request for him to elucidate what money went into the Manston/Virginia flight project.

When failure of this project was first announce I contacted someone at KCC and asked how much of taxpayers money had been spent. Now I understood the answer I received was ''no taxpayer money was involved'' (perhaps I misheard), since this person had the word communication in their job description I assumed they knew what they were talking about.

Several local newspapers now report a figure of £90,000 having been spent on this project, this being the case shouldn't KCC's own news pages reflect and acknowledge this. I have made several phone calls, trying to get an answer including one to Peter Gilroy (surprisingly he was unavailable, even before the hoo-hah over his pay), perhaps I'll just have to wait until council get a 5th star.

In the meantime here is a copy of my rambling e-mail to Paul Carter including the original misspellings and grammatical errors.

From: "Bignews margate" My email address
To: Paul Carter's email address
Cc: Press office email address
Subject: Manston Airpor flights to Virginia
Date: 02 March 2007 16:35

Dear Mr Carter

I have a fairly keen interest in matters concerning Manston Airport, and reading KCC's report on the almost inevitable failure of flights to Virginia; I got the strong impression that KCC had not invested in this enterprise.

However I hear on last nights news that money has been supplied from some "Regeneration Fund".

From what I can make out, at some point KCC has disposed of assets (owned on behalf of Kent people), and has put this in a fund which presumably is held in some sort of account administered by KCC.

Could you elucidate whether money, originating from local taxpayers or public assets, has been used in promoting this venture.

It is nice that Kent Council appears to grudgingly, accept that there is a world outside of the cosy affluent towns of Maidstone, Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells, and although its nice to have money sent to east kent a little local involvement wouldn't go amiss.

Finally I would like to know what the obsession is with Virginia, and have you ever considered running these ideas past normal people rather than I'm guessing in this instance "travel consultants".

Manston I'm sure will one day have more traffic, but it will take time, in my opnion spending money on EU Jet was a worth while risk and at least many taxpayers did get a nice uncrowded weekend away including me so thanks for that.

Best regards tony flaig - Bignews Margate

Other background from this site "Mr Puss calls for calm
in local authority Fat Cats row!
Fresh new Margate website

Happened to spot this new website, not sure, if its of the Blog variety or a proper site any how its looking at redevelopment of Margate, the author is hoping to encourage discussion and debate for Thanet arts community (that cuts me out then).

Good luck, looks like it could benefit my readers, both of them, who must be getting a little jaded with the solid diet of ranting and raving at Bignews.

I've probably got all that wrong but anyway it certainly looks a bit more uplifting than my stuff, even Mr Puss is getting fan mail these days.

Form your own opinion, get involved and click here

Sunday, March 11, 2007

David Cameron's green flight tax

This weekend's papers are full of David Cameron's green agenda, as with all issues Green for some reason it involves paying more tax, although to be fair to him in a some sort of patronising way, the effect will be minimal on us proles, since allowance will be made for the once-a-year package tour traveller.

Now David Cameron is being a bit more conciliatory to the great British public, than the likes of Gordon Brown, however why is it that the green solution, involves the public dipping into their pocket to pay more tax.

Many people who have worked all her life and are now enjoying the freedom to travel that budget airlines have bought, I suggest David Cameron and Gordon Brown keep their hands out of our pockets.

Who are politicians, to restrict the general public from the freedom to travel by taxation. If any of these politicians were genuinely concerned about the environment, there would naturally be other suggestions coming forth apart from fuelling the Treasury.

Here's my solution for greener air travel, outlaw first class/business class cabins allowing more passengers per plane and less fuel wasted and shake-up the system that allows airlines like British Airways, to hog routes at our major airports, allowing more open competition for budget airlines.

Access to our roads should be regarded as a right and also a privilege (one that has been earned). Road congestion could be tackled by more stringent enforcement of speed limits and other traffic regulations, thus forcing bad drivers off the road also resulting in greater safety, this would be as effective and would not involve extra taxation.

Our politicians are lacking imagination, put simply we could have a greener planet, without more taxation, it's possible but unfortunately our politicians are addicted to taxation.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Mr Puss calls for calm
in local authority Fat Cats row!

Although Mr Puss works in the private sector he is becoming increasingly alarmed at the criticism of local government Fat Cats.

In a rare and exclusive interview with BIGNEWS MARGATE Mr Puss has decided to speak out.

During our interview Mr Puss at first miaowed and then after some provocative questioning he growled his displeasure at public disapproval of council Fat Cats, abruptly leaving the room for the garden. Some minutes later he returned more reserved, and refusing to add to his earlier comments, clearly Mr Puss is a cat under pressure.

We discussed his early career, how as a young cat, he had been forced onto the streets, a life of crime beckoned until the day he broke into Flaig Mansions.

The owner took pity, Mr Puss was offered the position of Cat, in the Flaig household, however, in those early days not everything went smoothly, keen to show his all-round ability he decided to add the finishing touches to a spreadsheet on the computer, unfortunately his keyboard skills were not up to the task, a birth defect had left him with four paws, a lot of fur and no brains.

Mr Puss had learned his lesson, after this he concentrated on traditional skills, sleeping, killing things, and his own speciality torturing bumble bees.

Things now run smoothly, there have been occasional setbacks, like the time the vet removed his testicles (Ouch!) and that scandal when a family of 15 mice or more, moved in.

Overall life has been good to Mr Puss, now in semi-retirement he can reflect on how he earned his position as a 'Fat Cat'.

Sometimes he ruminates on what life would have been, as a Public Sector Fat Cat, but never having courted publicity, preferring Tuna fish to Smoked Salmon, not relishing the idea of the public baying for his blood (along with the dog next door). In common with Edith Piaf ( " Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien") he has no regrets.

Never mind the quality feel the width
as Local bloggers reach new heights

Proof that Thanet has become Kent's blogging hot spot, as Thanet life announced Friday that its hit counter would shortly pass the quarter million mark, this news was then followed by a further announcement that Eastcliff Richard's own counterstaterometer would soon exceed a rather incredible 2 million hits.

Here at Bignews Margate, figures are closely guarded, so as not to unsettle and discourage other talent, however it is impossible to suppress information concerning Google's Pagerank the measure given by Google as to the importance and relevance of any given webpage.

Therefore I would like to point out, that this page frequently scores 4 out of 10 (including Friday) on checking today I note that Thanet life scored 3 out of 10 as did Eastcliff Richard, Eastcliff Matters. ( to be fair this does fluctuate day-to-day time to time) Check your ranking or some else's at
Still as Homer Simpson would put it, IN YOUR FACE!, not bad for someone educated in one of Kents second rate secondary schools.

Apologies for that, I don't know what came over me.

On a more serious note Mr Puss has expressed considerable concern, over the fate of the cat illustrated in Thanet Life's Hooray! post, and is expected to seek assurances that the cat in question has not been flattened artificially.

Well done Simon Moores and please note that this blog would not exist had it not been for Thanet Life but please no more flat cats.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Stephen Ladyman addresses employment

Looks as if local Labour MP (South Thanet) may actually be canvassing some of his potential voters', for in this week's Thanet extra, in his "in my view column", he has broached the subject of agency workers.

Now there will be many of us, who will be familiar with agency work, particularly from my position in the food chain. For many workers skilled or otherwise temporary agencies, have grown and taken the place of traditional employers.

Excluding the higher skilled temporary workers, many now find that it is no longer possible, to have any job protection, since by its very nature it's impossible for agencies to offer employees long-term contracts.

It's great that Stephen Ladyman, should deign to consider such matters but as ever he seems to have missed some of the more pressing issues involved.

The emphasis of his view is concerning the rogue end of the market but I think it's time the government looked at the multinationals, who use temporary workers, purely to avoid their responsibilities as employees.

Mr Ladyman MP for once it looks as if, he is considering real people good, keep it up but I suggest he needs to be acquainted with more of the issues involved.

Many MPs appear to have a superficial touch on real problems, one such area which Mr Ladyman might consider, whilst pontificating about employment, is the assistance available to jobseekers. If as I suspect he finds himself in receipt of a P 45 in the not-too-distant future once Gordon calls his first election (and last), it will be too late to influence such matters.

Here is a typical example of nonsense, concocted by civil servants and New Labour , the Government's JobCentre New Deal, which is more No Deal than Deal because potential beneficiaries have to be in receipt of benefits for 18 months (often an indication that you are not interested in work), quite honestly you might as well take your chances with Noel Edmonds, unless of course, you're 50 plus in which case you only have to be unemployed for six months. Those who live outside of the benefit culture, end up taking poorly-paid agency work because they, rarely receive help and all the Government's doing is creating a propaganda tool, giving the impression they care, when clearly they don't.

Now I'm sure that Mr Ladyman is a perfectly decent bloke, as are many representatives of the Labour Party, however, most working people's priorities are simple they wish themselves and their families to have a decent standard of living and if Labour wish to continue in office, they need to concentrate on this as everything else including Iraqi adventures are secondary.

Labour Party members may consider me harsh, but frankly, their government has done little, for ordinary people and the unfortunate thing will be the prospect of a Tory government looking after their own.

Turner bonus

Looks like Turner contemporary is now delivering additional benefits, judging by the latest artwork commission, which is part of their arrivals series.

Not only is the new art work pleasing on the eye, but large sections of Margate's Stone Pier, have received a much needed a lick of paint as part of the new work by Norbert Francis Attard.

I just wonder whilst he is in the area, whether he might consider a commission at Flaig Mansions.

Details of this and other work are available at Turner contemporary's website click here.

I'm not sure, but I have found since I started at this blogging business, that my blood-pressure has risen, now I don't think that this is necessarily due to blogging, but more likely my age, perhaps a case of acute "grumpy old man" syndrome. Having started this blog I now feel somehow obligated, to serve up fresh insight into our world every day, even thinking maybe I ought to offer an excuse, on those days when I don't blog, as if to return to my teenage years, when improbable events occurred almost on a daily basis, preventing delivery of my school homework. Still sod it, I write these posts to relax .

What is it that makes me grumpy, is it the passing of the years, lack of achievement or the realisation that I as an individual can't influence anything more significant than whether I have tea or coffee for breakfast. Any how perhaps once in a while I should try to be positive.

This in mind I have been fairly mean to politicians of the Tory variety. So just to redress this, I would like to applaud David Cameron's, swift sacking of his colleague, who's ill judged comments on racism in the military , were out of keeping with acceptable standards.

Roger Gale's "view" in the Thanet extra is concerned as he is, unlike Tony Blair, with the high demands placed on Britain's men and women serving in the armed forces and the lack of support with materials to do their job. Additionally I see that Mr Gale has tabled a question with the Secretary of State for the Department of International Development, concerning the welfare of livestock belonging to refugees from Darfur, in Chad. This commendable indication of concern for all living creatures would certainly get the vote of many including, Mr Puss the Flaig family cat whose not easily influenced, except with a tin of tuna.

I hope it to report more positive items soon.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Thanet tops league

Thanet is not the worst at everything, this week it's been revealed that Thanet tops the league, for teenage pregnancy, Hurrah but as ever, even this triumph seems to have attracted a downside, it seems that the government wish to crush this little achievement by insisting that single mothers will now be expected to contribute to society by getting a job once their child has reached the age of 11.

What sort of priorities do we have in this country.

Surely mum knows best, what society are our children are to inherit, if they see their mums, going out to work at such a tender age.

Imagine the shame of couples, who have to admit to choosing work over benefits. Just exactly what sort of effect, do working parents have on children, imagine the shame at school. Is it any wonder that so many children, disappoint their parents by not gaining an ASBO, or even a police caution by the time they leave school.

Lets hope our local schools, don't try and teach any nonsense about contraception or social responsibility.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Tony Blair 'uncertainty'

In today’s Observer, Tony Blair says that he has created uncertainty, over his announcement not to fight the next election, for me this seems one of the least uncertain items for him to worry about.

I find the most disturbing aspect, of Tony Blair, is how when he gained power, he gave the impression of someone who cared, about those who helped put him in office, back in 1997 he couldn't be inclusive enough every thing was the 'peoples' this, that and the other, even including the 'peoples princess' Diana Spencer. How many of us were genuinely tricked into believing that Blair and his government gave a toss for the ordinary working people of this country.

Well ten years on almost, I honestly cannot think of much that Blair has done for us mere mortals, it seems he cannot brown nose, the top knobs enough. In the Sunday Times, we read that Tony Blair is shortly to be hob-nobbing with rich America billionaires, at some function at Downing Street (I just hope I'm not paying for the food as well as the venue).

It looks to me like Blair, is sorting out his future, I wonder if having helped the Bush's family & mates in their Iraqi adventure, whether he will be looking for one of those jobs as a "consultant" with the American defence industry. He’s shown an uncritical attitude to America, which has diminished this countries standing in World and America.

I feel, Blair and his aides have used spin, for so long, that they, no longer, have the same handle on reality that we the ‘people’ have. Even if Blair is uncertain about things, I'm convinced that the British public are certain that much of Blair's reign has been more about promotion of Blair, than the 'people'.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Quote of the Week

As regulars will appreciate, I'm not very smart and right now I’m a little confused. On Wednesday KCC issued this quote from Paul Carter in its report on Manston "In the absence of any other organization prepared to share the financial risk of continuing with the project, it would not be prudent or viable to invest public money in the venture."

To me as a simple-minded blogger this gives me the impression that no public money has been spent. Yet on further questioning, I now understand that money may have come from some regeneration fund to do with the development of Kings Hill, the site formally know as West Malling.

I will of course update you later.

Click on the Label at the bottom of this posting MANSTON for the thread

And thanks to Cllr D. Green

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Labour want to know who I would vote for?
(so do I)

Minding my own business tonight, cooking dinner, I get a telephone call from some lady working for Labour, asking me who, I generally vote for, bit of a thought provoking question.

I used to vote instinctively for any Liberal candidate, and if that wasn’t possible I would vote Labour. In recent years I would seriously consider the Tories, on the basis that they always claim to be efficient mangers of local government (actually I only voted Tory just the once and that was really because I knew one of the Labour candidates to be a complete er tosser).

Studying the casual way that Tories seem to waste vast sums as if it where nothing, has made me see the error of my ways. New labour, though have become just like the Tories, the thing that gave Labour such a landslide back in 1997 was the sleaze, the feeling Tories where completely arrogant and immoral. 10 years on and Labour have us fighting a war without public support, offering unlimited gambling opportunities for everyone, ministers having casual affairs and the possible crime, of selling Honours.

Here’s another question just what have the Labour party done for us in the last ten years, about as much as the Romans, in that period, bugger all, apart from minimum wage nothing for the working person at all. Labour have worked hard, to pour money into the health service, most of it, is wasted, example GP’s get more money and now only open 8 hours a day mon-fri. Consider the negligence over the migration issue, anyone in the construction industry, will be acutely aware of the exploitation of foreign workers, who are paid peanuts by construction companies, yet the Labour government did nothing to anticipate the problem, or protect peoples living standards.

In England under New Labour our children if they wish to attend higher education, have to pay, our pensioners have to sell their homes to pay for treatment in care homes, whilst in Scotland this is all free. I find this nothing less than contemptible, why should one part of Britain sub the other and Labour expect us to sit back in England and support Gordon Brown just because it’s his turn.

I might vote for a party that offers me an English Parliament; I have had enough of Taxation without representation. I used to know who to vote for, 10 years of Blair all I can think is, what a waste.

Coming back briefly to the lady on the phone (who unfortunately got full benefit of my opinion), there is no political party that I would feel comfortable voting for anymore, not even the Liberals since they dumped Charles Kennedy for old Minger. I honestly don’t know whom to vote for anymore.