Thursday, August 30, 2007

Holding steady on 27

Following my blog the other day, re Manston and daring to mention the rather low interest shown in the petition set up by Ramsgates foremost fictional & homeless (temporarily) celebrity ECR, I have just checked out this petition.

I am happy to report that this is holding steady with a paltry 27 signatures.

On a personal note the anonymous reference to Me (in the comments) being egocentric is an outrageous slur, as to "cosied up" to a local MP, the facts in this case, are that unlike others I can admit my mistakes. Uncomfortable as it might be, the MP in question was right and I was wrong, end of .

Right I'm off to sulk!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

KCC Face off

KCC have blocked access to the the social network site FACEBOOK, what next, well presumably since many KCC blighters like nothing better than to scan through this blog site and others to find out whats going on in the world, you can expect Blogger etc to follow shortly.

So if you happen to be in the employ of KCC click away now, and send someone an email or whatever you do.



The BBC Story
East Kent's patients happy with their G P's

The NHS eastern and coastal primary Care Trust, have apparently concluded after a survey of patients in the East Kent area, that everything is wonderful as far as GP provision is concerned.

Details are available from the kentnews website, part of KOS Media, briefly the NHS are basing their assumptions of our happiness as patients on the following 87 per cent were satisfied with the access to their GP via the phone, 88 percent were able to see a doctor in 48 hours.

I'm convinced that what the NHS does best, is public relations and the fact that respondents to their survey were satisfied with the access to there doctor or able to see the doctor within 48 hours doesn't necessarily mean that people are happy.

Certainly many things have improved, within the Health Service in the last 10 years, even to the point where frequently Health Service receptionists treat patients as if they were paying customers, which most of us are, however I doubt that most patients will be truly happy until they can choose their own doctor and roughly the time they see them.

Doctors have in recent times seen a humongous increase in their salaries, whilst patients have seen a drop in the surgery opening times, of course you cannot blame the doctors for an incompetent labour administration, which increased their salaries at the same time it decreasing productivity.
Goodnight Dreamland

News that Dreamland cinema is to close in November should come as no shock to anyone, particularly those who have been to both the Dreamland cinema in Margate and any modern multiplex cinema.

I'm fairly sure that the last film I saw, at the Dreamland cinema was saving Private Ryan, during which I pondered whether Tom Hanks was less comfortable, fighting his way off the beach than me sitting in front of the big screen.

At the risk of offending local cinema operators, people's expectations have changed since the 1930s which I think is more then can be said for the decor of the dreamland the cinema, although butchered sometime in the late seventies, I for one have never felt any effort was put into customer comfort.

Although to be fair, there are worst cinemas in Thanet, like the one I saw King Kong at, which not only was tatty and grubby but unbelievably cold, fortunately I was saved from exposure by discovery of a woolly hat in my coat pocket.

Operating cinemas is a business, and the public expect a quality product, which is why the last time I went to the cinema, I travelled to Ashford so that I could enjoy the film, rather than endure the discomfort.

I don't suppose for 1 minute that the announcement of the closure, will change Thanet districts council's plans for Dreamland, the site. All that remains to be seen, is whether the building remains once it's been vacated, I personally think it will disappear before you can say art deco and listed building.

I doubt whether any cinema management teams, can operate 1930s buildings successfully as cinemas, in competition with multiplex venue's that have convenient parking, clean facilities, air conditioning and maybe heating in the winter months.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Manston flight misery?

Looking through my local newspapers this week, it would appear that some of our local councilors have gone plane crazy in their attempts to stir up, controversy over Manston Airport.

For whatever reason it seems that labour councilors, have little constructive to say on local issues at the moment so, they appear to have alighted on the subject of training flights at Manston Airport.

I would imagine that Infratil the owners of Manston Airport, are having a tough enough job in promoting the Airport, and need whatever revenue they can obtain.

The vast majority of Thanet population welcome Infratil's efforts to promote Manston Airport as a viable business, it seems rather petty that Thanet labour group, are attempting to score minor political points over such a sensitive economic asset.

Still since most senior labour politicians at national level are oblivious to the real issues in this country, is it any wonder that labour politicians further down the food chain here in Thanet conveniently forget that in the past Manston has been busier and noisier.

Reading one letter from councilor Clive Hart, in this weekend's Kent on Sunday, which described how a very large and noisy passenger jet had repeatedly flown a very low flight path, over Cliftonville, I was rather disappointed that he wasn't able to go on, and described how chimney pots had been knocked off roofs and tyre marks left on the bowling greens at Cliftonville.

Instead of concerning themselves with a few tiresome flights over Manston, Thanet's local labour party ought to have bigger fish to fry, maybe they could take a look at how the Tories appear to be assisting in the destruction of dreamland as a leisure facility and creating a new traffic bottleneck into Margate.

And if labour, would like to see just how agitated the people of Thanet are, over Manston I suggest they take a gander at Eastcliff Richards online petition, whingeing about training flights and note that to date only 27 people have bothered to sign it (since the 6th of July).

PS I wonder if oasis airlines have considered, having passengers on their training flights, since take off and landing are the most exciting parts of any flight

"Ladyman's Thanet"
Like all MP's and Steve Ladyman is no exception, they all have their message or agenda to propagate to their electorate, and editors of local newspapers are only too happy to oblige by offering space in their journals it saves wages on journalists.

On the odd occasions I can force my way through these seemingly turgid opinions, it generally strikes me how far from reality politicians are, now I might be accused of picking on Mr. Ladyman but I make no apology since, he has held ministerial responsibility with the labour government and currently has some sort remit to connect the labour party back with Joe public.

This week we had a riveting read, in the Gazette from him, on plans for the elderly, starting with pension poverty, now surprisingly no mention is made of Gordon Brown's, stealth tax on pension funds which have severely eroded their value or when talking about measures to help people in the future, the incredible burdens of the general public in funding massive pension payouts for public sector employees.

Slightly more upbeat, technology is mentioned as a way elderly can be helped in the future, and how health services need to be developed so that people can receive care at home rather than hospitals and clinics, all well and good but one can often measure the value of a politician's words by what they don't say, and one thing Ladyman's not offering to us here in England, is free Health Care for pensioners, unlike Scotland, despite the fact English taxpayers are subsidising Scotland.

If you happen to be Steve Ladyman, maybe you could comment tell us why taxpayers in Thanet rich and poor aren't entitled to that which, Scottish taxpayers are, i.e. free care for the elderly.

Now some subjects that perhaps Ladyman and his labour colleagues ought to consider are, raising the minimum wage to a living level, restricting uncontrolled immigration and consequent exploitation, treating British citizens equally (offering free university education and care for the elderly to all), and maybe not least, withdrawing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan countries, which clearly are not ready for either western democracy or basic civil rights.
Wantsum jazz festival etc.

Having nothing better to do this weekend, this being a rare event, since most weekends I am working, I thought I would go and rub shoulders with Ramsgate's millionaire classes.

A very pleasant experience this proved to be, on offer up on the eastcliff, was the Wantsum jazz festival, not really my cup of tea, particularly since I can never tell when the musicians have finished their tuning up and doing their sound checks and commenced playing, anyhow this event at least looked busy and crowded which is how things should be on a bank holiday weekend at the seaside.

Ramsgate also offers, some first class views around the Harbour for those who like to have a drink and maybe a meal, Me and Mrs. me, decided to stop and have a meal, very pleasant, a chance to stop and stare at the rich and famous of Ramsgate, earwig on conversations from people far more interesting than I and when that ceases to amuse, attempt to calculate the profit margin on your main course (I estimate the ingredients for my meal, cost around 75 pence, although I was charged almost £8.00) but since my usual choice of eatery in Margate apparently serves prime cuts of wildebeest or was it Zebu according to the ITV earlier this week I cannot complain (click for facts from Independant) also may I recomend the hunt the cow pie @

Anyway yesterday was really good weather, so after the summer we've had this year, you can't complain, although I for one, would have been pleased to see Ramsgate's very own jumbo jet flying around.

To me Ramsgate is roughly how a seaside town should be, and shows how far Margate needs to travel.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Your news

Kent's Media explosion

Next month sees the launch of Kos media's (publishers of Kent on Sunday newspaper), eight new local newspapers throughout Kent along with local websites and their own brand of Kent TV.

Also expected sometime in September, is the launch of Kent council's broadband Kent TV, it will be interesting to see what effect these developments have on established media companies such as the KM group and Kent regional newspapers.

I wonder whether in a year's time, we will have more in depth news coverage on local issues, or whether existing media, will find it a struggle to survive. Surely there has to be a finite amount of advertising business to sustain Kent's media.

Just as a side issue, a short while and go I received, an e-mail from Kos Media, requesting permission to use video from my you tube channel, curiosity and wishful thinking eventually motivated me into picking up the phone and ringing the author, needless to say dreams of a sudden wealth were quickly disposed of.

It will be interesting to see just what sort of content, our local media will provide in the future, because I for one feel they may be, spreading themselves a bit thin. Still perhaps I will yet get an offer from Ten Alps, the producers of Kent County council's TV, surely they wouldn't have spent £600,000 already. Can a quality product like Bignews Margate & Tony Flaig's Kent TV survive!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Update on Kent's American adventure

Having a minute or two of spare time today, I thought I would ring up KCC, and check what was actually occurring as a result of Kent councils marketing efforts in Virginia and Washington this year. As you will appreciate significant amounts of time and money had been spent on marketing Kent, my estimate somewhere in the region of £350,000 this year.

A quick call to, KCC resulted in me being put through to an information line, operated by Kent Tourism Alliance who in turn put me through to one of the top bods, who although were unable at this point, to give any hard evidence of results obtained were able to reassure me that research was being done, as we speak.

Hopefully the fruits of that research will be, placed in the public domain when it becomes available, with a bit of luck sceptics such as myself will be proved wrong and hotels and restaurants will be knee deep in our American friends.

So far Kent's strategy of marketing the county almost exclusively to the state of Virginia, has yet to show any significant results, since the many hundreds of thousands of pounds spent over the last 2 to 3 years, has become increasingly embarrassing to the conservative administration in Kent, had there been any good news to report, I think we would have all heard of it by now.

Anyway this is a topic frequently covered, but if this is new to you, may I suggest you use the search blog facility.
£200M wiped from Kent pension funds should we worry?

This week's frontpage story in the 'Kent on Sunday' newspaper, concerns itself with worries over stock market falls, which have temporarily reduced the value of the Kent county's pension funds.

Another frequent story that is regularly, in our newspapers is how many people do not make provision for their future, I just wonder whether the two are related. Most public employees are well paid and in addition they have secure jobs with pension benefits which are unobtainable in the normal commercial world.

I honestly wonder, whether it isn't time that the conservative party, reviewed this nonsense whereby those employed in the commercial sector, have to pay a disproportionate amount of their taxes to featherbed vast numbers of public employees, who have unparalleled job security, surely it cannot be right for someone like me, whose job is with an employment agency (meaning your employed on a daily basis), to subsidise vast pensions for fat cats in Kent's bureaucracy or even for that matter those on good pay such as police.

Perhaps the labour party could bring up the level of basic state pension, for those like me who paid considerable amounts of taxation and therefore are being gradually impoverished, by those in undemanding public sector employment.

Anyway maybe we should worry about the value of Kent's pension funds being eroded since who's gonna be making up the shortfall, I'm fairly sure it won't be Kent's employees, I'll just have to dig deeper I suppose into my own income.

Perhaps one day, politicians will wake up to the fact that the public sector is becoming unsustainable, I think if the public delve into where their money's going, they would find that perhaps upwards of a third of their tax is paying for someone else's pension.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pickings for all at the Rendezvous site

News was quietly released last week, concerning the future development of the Rendezvous site, which in case you're unfamiliar is the large chunk of land, on Margate's seafront, between Margate Harbour and the Winter Gardens just beyond the lifeboat station.

As we all know, nothing can happen in local government, without the aid of consultants, sale and development of a parcel of land is no exception, Rodger Gogh KCC Cabinet member has announced that the county's property consultants Donaldson's have a shortlisted four developers.

Now I will not bore you too much with the details, suffice it to say, rather vague and ambiguous details are available from Kent council's website, if you wish to click here.

There are of course the usual stock phrases, " things are really starting to happen" Sandy Ezekiel, " We are extremely pleased to be able to select a shortlist of developers of this calibre for this key mixed - use regeneration opportunity" Duncan Thomas for property consultant Donaldson's, all very informative stuff and in no way meaningless waffle.

Thanet Council, gave this land two Kent County council, so don't forget that effectively, this land belongs to the people of Thanet. So a few of things that need asking, assuming this land will eventually be sold to a commercial developer, what will happen to the money, secondly why is Thanet Council not competent enough to handle the sale of what is or was a local asset.

What should really worry us all, is what happens to the proceeds from the sale of this land, since Kent County council's handling of a previous transactions seems a tad odd, when they sold the West Malling airfield site proceeds rather than being returned to the taxpayer, were sidetracked into something called a regeneration fund, which according to top nobs meant this money was no longer the taxpayers (part of which I believe was squandered on badly thought out promotional activities in America this summer). See previous posting re Manston debacle.

Of course if you or I had land to sell, we would probably check out the competence and commission rates of appropriate property agents, clearly nothing is as simple in the world of local government and certainly Sandy Ezekiel's Thanet District council once again fails to show any leadership in this matter.

I would like to thank David one of my readers for drawing this to my attention. One final word, why is this site, larger than the one given to the Turner contemporary! I don't suppose a money has anything to do with it.

Monday, August 13, 2007


A weeks or so back I attended the of Thanet District council cabinet meeting, as ever this was a fairly tedious gathering, myself being 1/3 of the public audience. Looking around the room, I considered what sort of democracy we actually have in this country, and felt deeply disillusioned.

I'm no expert in council meetings, and cabinet meetings appeared to be even less democratic than the full council. Basically my interpretation of a cabinet meeting, is a public announcement of policies that have already been decided by the top nobs of the ruling group, allowing opposition members to beg for leniency, and the ruling group to make derisory comments or be magnanimous where applicable.

Even more unsettling, are the ranks of council officers, who appear to sit behind, you're elected representatives, apart from I think the chief executive, Richard Samuel who if my memory serves me correct, sits next to the leader Sandy Ezekiel. Now why do I say unsettling, well the fact is again going from memory, these paid " professionals" are occasionally requested to chip in with advice or their opinion, which makes you wonder, why every four years we go through the process of electing representatives, surely there must be more to local elections, than providing an opportunity for council employees to earn an extra quid or two by sitting in a draughty church hall handing out ballot papers.

Anyway as you will appreciate, I have not been blogging much recently, this may be because I'm either bored, disillusioned or have better things to do. As it happens, this weekend I had a chance to get out into the countryside, and wound up on the downs above the village of Wye, from the top of these hills there are some magnificent views, but looking towards Wye I was reminded of how not long ago, big business, Ashford borough council, and Kent County council, had plans drawn up to encircle the village with a a vast new housing estate, on some apparent flimsy excuse that Imperial college were building a high tech science park. Fortunately due to tenacious public spirited locals, an embarrassed Imperial college were forced to back down on their outrageous plans to destroy an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Now coming back to my reason for attending, the recent cabinet meeting, my concerns are with Thanet District councils, plans for Dreamland amusement site, as well as proposals to block traffic along Marine Terrace, and send it into the back streets of Margate. Now without consultation with the locals, the council's brilliant planning office, have apparently decided to ignore their previous plans for Dreamland, and just to put the icing on the cake will create traffic chaos of a far greater magnitude than when the county council put traffic lights at the clock tower.

Now there will be a public consultation over this, but if you're anything like me, you will realise that a public consultation, is a process whereby councilors and local bureaucrats put forward an idea then proceed to ignore any criticism and do, what they were going to do anyway, just so that they can wallow in their own self righteousness.

The council in arriving at their plan, have not consulted with any member the public, they have spoken with interested parties, the developers, various government departments and quangos, even the campaign for Dreamland (a group which seems to be interested in prehistoric fairground rides) whose leader according to Eastcliff Richard is not even local.

My personal judgment of local democracy, is that it doesn't actually exist, at least not in any meaningful way. Still when you consider the handful of people, who actually are involved in the democratic process, it's no surprise that, things are as they are.

For further information, firstly I suggest you, have a nice walk in the countryside out at Wye click here for details, to clear your mind, then maybe look at the " save" website to get an insight into how local government really works. I would particularly recommend this posting which refers to "corruption".

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sir Elton John thinks outside the box!

Genius Sir Elton John has come to the brilliant conclusion, that it would be an incredible experiment to close the Internet for five years, just to see what art might be produced in that timeframe, for the full story and words of wisdom click here for the Sun article.

Apparently the great man believes that the Internet has stopped people creating stuff, as someone has created well over one hundred thousand words of middle aged ranting, some of which may be readable, I'm sure he knows what he's talking about. Unfortunately the article does not mention, how business and commerce would survive.