Friday, August 29, 2008

China Gateway What no minutes no agenda?

Sometimes I think we are all bogged down in to much detail, and sometimes we dont have enough, take China Gate on the one hand, we are told the development will concrete vast areas of farmland, and then possibly cause immense damage as the developers are looking for the cheapest drainage solution on offer, rather than spend a few hundred grand on mains drainage, when they confidently expect to trouser millions, what nobody has explained to anyone in Thanet, is just what are we getting, apart from a handful of flights to China for the chosen few.

Now I for one happen to be pragmatic, if China Gateway can provide well paid jobs for Thanet residents, unlike that other multi million development, which it now appears will be mainly for foreigners initially and supplied by labour agencies that aren't local.

Its right and proper for our local council, to make themselves available for discussion with chinese business, and of course there's a "but" coming and its this should anyone from Thanet be accepting hospitality from the Chinese government, and for this reason, they continue to abuse their own citizens and as witnessed recently simply ignored their agreements to improve human rights which was a condition for them to host the olympics.

Perhaps contact with the repressive Chinese regime has made them paranoid about what they put on paper, as I recently requested details of meetings they'd had with CGP, astonishing as it seems, TDC don't have any agendas or minutes from such meetings.

I cannot confirm or deny whether I received this from John Bunnett's PA,


I refer to your e-mail dated 19th August 2008 in which you requested copies of agendas and or minutes of meetings held between Mr. John Bunnett Deputy Chief Executive and CGP. I can confirm that no agendas and or minutes were prepared or taken at any of the meetings.
If I can be of any further assistance in this matter please do not hesitate to contact me."

For this reason, many organisations and Thanet council are no exception attaching (ladys, gents please look away! ) Bullshit conditions* to their communications, even replies to FOI requests but since, unlike china we don't have labour camps in this country, what can the do, well probably place me under surveillance.

And whats my interest, well nothing other than a desire to see Thanet conduct business in a business like manner, meetings with developers should be recorded properly, this project has massive implications for our health, wealth and future and I've seen nothing so far that gives me confidence, don't forget Sandy's administration bought a building worth about £2million for close to £5million, just imagine how out of their depth they are on this.

Wouldn't you just love to be a fly on the wall when Sandy & Roger discuss business especially, chinese business.
*This email and any attachments are confidential and intended solely for the addressee and may also be privileged or exempt from disclosure under applicable law.If you are not the addressee, or have received this email in error, please notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system and do not copy, disclose or otherwise act upon any part of this email or its attachments.
Any views expressed in this email are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifies and with authority, states them to be the views of Thanet District Council.
Whilst all reasonable care has been taken to avoid the transmission of viruses, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that the onward transmission, opening or use of this email and any attachments will not adversely affect its systems or data.No responsibility is accepted by Thanet District Council in this regard and the recipient should carry out such virus and other checks as it considers appropriate.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Rumours have been rife today over whether or not, one of Kent councils most accomplished and if I may say so conscientious, county councillors, Chris Wells is about too leave his position as Kent Council Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Educational Achievement.

From what I can glean an announcement in the press is most likely tomorrow.

Assuming this is the case, Chris Wells as I have said, is a respected politician and competent, therefore I feel this news will certainly give Sandy Ezekiel a reason to look over his shoulder, because quite frankly, right now he seems rudderless and lost at sea, sorry I went a bit nautical there.

Casual readers of this column often get the impression that I follow a particular political doctrine not true but I do back integrity and honesty. I'm not going to get to verbose on this since I've an early morning , any way that's something to sleep on, or if reading this tomorrow chew on, over breakfast.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What do local authority Chief Executives do

Thanet council seems to be attracting more bad publicity every week. Many residents are concerned with the haste, that the normally slothful council are attaching to the China Gateway Project, which would seem to suit, the commercial interest of Developers rather than measured consideration for the benefit of local residents.

Today's yourthanet , covers the rather (for me) disturbing story of Cllr Simon Day and retrospective planning which has been granted, on what I consider a rather incongruous building previously mentioned in great detail by Bertie Biggles click here.

Incidentally prior to Bertie Biggles mention I for one along with I guess most of Thanet had never heard of Simon Day, so maybe if anyone knows who he is, and what if anything he has contributed to Thanet do let us know for balance (and make sure its accurate).

The loss of several million pounds on the extraordinary over spend on the Marks & Spencer Building in Margate is another cause for concern that someone ought to address.

Oh yes I mentioned what do Chief Executives do, well no doubt they are a neutral non party political administrative boss of the council, in office to do what democratically elected councillors bid within the constraints of the law.

I recall a Chief Executive apparently suggesting or was it telling elected representatives not to conduct debate in the local press and media, maybe someone could confirm that for me, anyhow right now Thanet Councils reputation must be at the lowest its ever been (which is some low).

For me perhaps, the most comic and outrageous thing, the council has ever been alleged, to have done, is to apparently agree with developers to have signs welcoming people to Thanet home of Chinese globalisation. For this reason, the Chinese government despite all the billions of pounds spent Olympic propaganda, still routinely send people to labour camps, on my drive home last week from a night shift listening BBC world service, they covered the story of a 79 year old lady who's home had been demolished, who on requesting permission to demonstrate, was threatened with being sent to a labour camp. All you need to know about the barbaric Chinese government.

Still fortunately, we live in a slightly more democratic world, so I'm just thinking maybe its time for the Chief Executive of Thanet as an impartial public servant, to make public what if anything he might do to intervene in what some see as poor performance and serious error by Thanet District Council.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Britishness Explored

Panorama the BBC's once great current affairs program, which has in recent times been reduced to a populist load of old tosh hosted by Jeremy Vine, whom I suspect spends some time (probably hours) in front of the mirror but can't do a tie up, last night posed the question what is Britishness, followed by the suggestion that maybe one day we'll all have to pass a Britishness test.

Now already I will have lost, many of those whose attitude to being British, is either hostile, or so sensitive to such discussion, that for them, the mere mention of British anything, indicates neo nazi tendency's. Still with or without prompting I was about bring up the subject for another reason.

A few weeks ago I received a misdirected email from author Iain Aitch (who grow up in Margate), I wont go into detail, since its too tedious, however the correspondence was such, that at the end, I thought shall I try and blag a copy of his new book "WE'RE BRITISH, Innit", I did and it worked, a copy arrived a day later! I have since justified my request, on the basis that I churn this stuff out for free so why not, and proper writers probably leave this site feeling er competent.

This book is as the cover informs an irreverent A-Z of all things British, which is a correct summation of its contents, subjects covered include things like, Net Curtains, Understatement, Leaving the Country, all of which made me laugh as did most topics. Surprisingly for such a funny book given the subject, I doubt it would offend the most sensitive of the politically correct.

This book concludes with the real citizenship test which unlike Norman Tebbits, would offend few but would be as good as any official test. That's enough , still this book evokes many of the things that make us British, it cant and doesn't set out to define what a Brit is, which neither could anyone, not even BBC's, shallow half hour Panorama programme.

Anyway this book is published on 1st of September, if you'd like a flavour click here for Ian Aitchs own blog site We're British, Innit. Which I noticed has picked up on the Panorama thing as well.

PS I'm just thinking that asking authors, for a copy of their latest book could be a lucrative sideline, well it could certainly cut down on Christmas shopping, oops, its still August.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Broadstairs No Tutti Fruitti

Forced from the Keyboard by Mrs Me, yesterday, with rather unkind comments about fitness levels and wasting another weekend, I was obliged to come up with something to do, which is bad enough, but since even here at Bignews Towers, we aren't immune from credit crunch, cheap was upper most in my mind. Bikes yes bikes, we'll go for a cycle.

Target Broadstairs, its only a couple of miles, easy especially with a chance to visit relatives on the way. Any how a nice easy ride into Broadstairs, with the shortest route taken through Reading Street and then down toward the cliff along Lanthorne Rd avoiding the more scenic coastal route along from Palm bay, Kingsgate and then two hills the first short and sharp the second up to the lighthouse long and painful.

Even on bikes, getting into Broadstairs becomes a pain for some reason motorist with "clarkson mentality" seem to think Albion St. is some sort of passage, to and from the east of Broadstairs well, it isn't, its just an obstacle course (enhanced with plucky but stupid pedestrians who will insist on using pavements or trying to cross) that leads to the Albion street car park, which is permanently full anytime. I'm sure I've never attempted to access or egress Broadstairs this way in my motor.

Naturally we gravitate to the front, and sit down on one of the benches, provided not by the council, but the dearly departed, where I consume a couple of saveloys, and a cheese and bacon puff from Rooks (along with Petes fish factory, a great purveyor of proper food in this case pies meat, sandwiches and the like). During our meal me and Mrs me had a brief discussion on ethics and pragmatism, earlier while shopping I was offered change for a tenner, instead of the 3 quid I'd actually given, which naturally I pointed out, I'm sure she would have done the same.

Coming back to benches on the cliff top, these apart from being memorials often mark the favourite view of the departed, and that got me thinking, just where would I wish to sit and stare for an eternity, and with all respect Broadstairs is not on my list, its just too boring. Still there's something about staring out towards sea or any water which is always fascinating, if moneys no object, I'd go for somewhere busy like Venice or New York.

After sitting for an hour or so we moved on, after I suggest that we might become senile sitting any longer. Still coming back to the land of the living, Broadstairs is unique amongst Thanet towns in as much, as the core of the town is complete, the sea front is as good as nature & man allows.It must be a long time since I've been that way, because I did notice a couple of things I don't remember, one a lift close to the bandstand, and the area around the bandstand has been altered considerably.

Although a thoroughly pleasant afternoon, I was disappointed, I have to say, by the choice of Ice Cream available at Morrellis, no Tutti Fruiti or even a reasonable substitute like Rum and Raisin, instead all I can seem to recall, were rather monotonous offerings of lemon, mango, mint and that sort of thing.

I've spent much of my life living in Broadstairs, its seems to have changed, or maybe its just that whilst much of Thanet has been allowed to decay, Broadstairs has been looked after, probably because many of Thanet's well healed live there, still maybe I'm just morose and getting closer to that park bench, than I thought.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Criminal Loss

The latest scandal concerning data loss, leaves me thinking, so what?

I couldn't give a toss for the loss of personal data of convicted criminals, whats the worst that could happen, some one finds this personal information, and what, sends them a birthday card?

Its quite clear that computers and government don't fit, to well, since just about every major computer project the government embarks on doubles and triples in price, rarely works or gets finished.

It remains a mystery why computer company bosses, don't end up in nick themselves, for fraud, particularly since there crimes end up costing us billions.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nothing to say really

As you know I'm not in the least self indulgent, rarely do I mention myself however after all the excitement of China Gate, I cannot get myself motivated to look for a subject to roll on about. Apart from anything else I was on a night shift, somewhere up in London last night, which I haven't done for a time, but generally I find, unless its winter my brain tends to turn, fuzzy.

I think I've mentioned before, some time ago, that musing and or rambling (well yes I do anyway) really aren't my cup of tea, so that's all folks, instead I shall be working on my novel, the central character being a rail worker, whose spare time is devoted to offending incompetent bureaucrats and politicians, by spending hours in front of a computer bashing together a weblog.

Doesn't look like a winner, anyway help may be at hand since jane wenham-jones (plain jane Gazette) has been kind enough to respond to my thinly disguised attempts to bludge a copy of her book "wanmnabe a writer?". I shall be engrossed for the next day or two. Thank you!

PS Mr Puss appears to be growing in popularity, since a request has been made by one journalist for a Hi res photo of Mr Puss at work, whether it gets published is another matter, hopefully not ,since he's likely to get even more self important, than he is now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thought for the Day - China Gate to much to swallow

We are, all aware that tonight is the big planning meeting, which will no doubt accept, Thanets planning "officers" suggestions to go ahead and allow Chinagate. Couple of things worry me, firstly the possible contamination of our water supply, which can no doubt be dealt with by proper drainage, which I'm sure developers will pay for, since they stand to make shed loads of money, assuming the finance side holds together.

The biggest worry is the shear scale of the development, Thanet council were never considered capable of building the Turner Gallery(MK1), hence KCC had to oversee that cockup. Since this project is far larger, do they really have the expertise to decide on a development of this scale, and just where are the roads to support this.

Still public opinion and common-sense rarely triumphs over money, and I sure tonight will be no exception, how sad! Incidentally I'm convinced the water supply has really been a bit of a red herring. Imagine if we had been discussing acres of concrete and more gridlock instead, doesn't bare thinking about! which we haven't.

The picture, that's just an ornamental carrot from another Chinese meal, that was to big swallow.
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Net freedoms offers a view of China Gate but for how long?

Much of the publicity and informed comment concerning China Gate has come from bloggers, rather than developers and council representatives, who've despite their fact finding trips, to China have seemed rather reticent to discuss the issue in public, apparently preferring to publish snaps of the "look at me, I'm on the Great Wall of China" variety, oh and photo ops with Chinese businessmen in Mayoral regalia.

For those of us that care, about such things, the present, maybe as good as it gets, for Internet freedoms. Little is heard in this part of the world, on the subject of Net Neutrality, and your thinking so what, and that's far comment since Virgin Media boss Neil Berkett stated rather eloquently "this net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks" according to Internet sources click here.

What is network neutrality, currently, when you click on your a link, to a webpage or video you would expect it to load at roughly the time same as any other page using the internet, however if internet service providers were to decide to slow down your connection to say a snails pace when you try to connect to the BBC, because they have deal with Sky TV, there's nothing you could do as currently their is no legislation to protect your freedom to access a website in this country.

How does this affect you, well at the moment probably not, but maybe some time in the future media companies will pay your Internet service providers, to load their pages fast and delay access to other sites like blogs. As far as I can tell no one in government or regulator authorites in this country, are even thinking of problem let alone doing anything.

Cannot happen? Still I never thought that a local authority contractor, running a taxpayer funded information organisation, would send me letters, suggesting I shut up or they might sue, for expressing a political point of view, so yes of coarse it could and will happen.

If you would like to know more I suggest you might like to visit this US campaign website, where some serious attempts are being made to defend a basic freedom, as in the case of Comcast a US ISP that has been blocking and delaying internet traffic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Thom Morris also known as Gardfahl, has returned to breath fresh life into his Hetromorphic Horsefeathers Blog, but not I guess before a good swill with mouthwash (see blog post).

Also in a blogging exclusive he reveals news of a freshly invigorated "" website which apparently became live at 8pm click here with caution (if of nervous disposition) since unlike the previous one no expense has been spared and new improved graphics are in use, even colour photography.

Seems that Thom is now all powerful I have carefully extracted this quote from his blog "Despite emails literally pouring in from across the globe demanding to know why certain stories don't appear on the web I can now appease all the critics by informing you that I now control the internets."

Presumably the critics referred to are those rather snooty journalists etc who were rather critical of the Gazette's digital presence and reporting of China Gate which to Thom's & Rebecca Smith credit was somewhat better than yourthanet and thanet extra.

Anyway its good to see that Kent Regional Newspapers are responding to readers raised expectations!

Are we stupid?

I often wonder what local conservatives make of us residents, whether they think we're stupid or what. Now most people associate the Tory party, as the party of the business, which it may well be anywhere but here in Thanet, a case in point, recent news that Thanet council paid three million pounds more than was necessary for the old Marks and Spencer building, just goes to prove that local conservatives, haven't got a clue.

Quite rightly Cllr David Green, has been critical of the amateur performance of Thanet district council under the leadership of Sandy Ezekiel, who recently admitted the massive losses over the purchase two years ago, of this strategic building.

I can remember vividly, Mr. Ezekiel announcing purchase of the old M & S building, at the same public meeting where Paul Carter (Leader Kent Tories), tried to put on some positive gloss, on Kent councils, abysmal mishandling of the Turner contemporary debacle (cost eight million pounds). This being the point at which I started my blog, I can also recall, attempting to get more detail on this purchase from various council dibdobs, since none of our local newspapers bothered to report this acquisition.

Not uncommon with the local council "officer" class, it took some time (in meetings) and probing before any of these highly import people, would confirm the acquisition details, and even then they seemed quite evasive. Which with hindsight is perfectly understandable, since no clear plan or idea was ever in place, on how to use the site, with the council eventually sending out about a year later a vague brief to developers, in the wild hope that, somehow a profit could be turned after they'd paid nearly twice what it is probably worth.

Rather incredibly in last week's yourthanet, councilor Ezekiel is quoted as saying that when council Green criticised, the conservatives administration's purchase, " he is referring to the buildings book value", (book value being a realistic sale price, which it might make at an auction). Councilor Ezekiel clings to the belief that the Marks and Spencer site was worth more than the council paid for it, its just a pity that no developer appeared to share Sandys view.

To sum up, in my opinion, Thanet council are guilty of acting in haste, purchasing this building only a few months after it had been vacated, having no clear vision of what to do with the site, not paying the book value, instead agreeing to some fantasy figure. I notice that Sandy Ezekiel makes some reference to the current banking crisis, which he blames on the labour party, conveniently forgetting that the banks problems are due to reckless lending whereas Thanet council's are due to reckless spending.

Just what sort of Muppets do local Tories think we are?

Monday, August 18, 2008

NICE and Mean Labour

I have been trying hard to think of any thing Labour has done in recent times to improve the lot of people in this country apart from MPs and I must say I'm having great difficulty, now I know that a few die-hard Labour dinosaurs, would point to things like the welfare state which I feel imprisons more than its helped, the minimum wage set at poverty levels, and NHS which consumes ever increasing amounts of money, although you still cannot find a dentist, and doctors have surgerys to suit themselves, the old and welfare dependant.

Something that I was going to touch on a while back but I forgot about, and please in this case I'm not attempting to be facetious, was highlighted by author Terry Pratchet, in Sundays News Of The World, he gives a rather serious example of what's wrong, please click here or alternatively turn to page 6 in yesterday's edition.

That said it seems that the health service under Labour are more than happy to give us prescriptions for drugs for recreational purposes like Viagra on the NHS, in preference to treatment for more serious disorders. So what could be more important, well frankly not a lot, except maybe brain function, since we are engaged in more cerebral matters, most of the time, even if its just think of er having fun. So where is this leading, well the government set up, some "independent" quango type organisation, called NICE to advise on what is and isn't effective treatment, and despite its proven benefits NICE, decided to not recommend Aricept for patients with early Alzheimer's.

Still no need to panic if your Scottish, don't forget the Labour party "Scotland first" policy, so you'll be able to get a prescription for Aricept, if you need it, without even having to pay charges at the chemists, as Terry Pratchet mentions in his article "There is a two-tier NHS, in fact —the Scottish one and the English one"

NICE stands for National Institute for Clinical Excellence of course to give a clearer indication of their purpose, the last word in title needs to be swopped for Excuses rather than excellence.

It comes as no surprise to me that a health service run by a flawed Labour Government, would see recreational drugs like Viagra, on prescription rather than treat an illness such as Alzheimer's which attacks the core of who and what we are. Fortunately for me at this point in time I know who I am and what Labour are, and unlike some of Labour smug leadership I realise that some of the UK's citizens are more equal than others.

The NHS has always promised more than it could offer, of course old dears and the like will always see the positive, in those that work in caring professions and their right, but the simple truth is that our health service is not as good many think and who hasn't had either first hand experience or is aware NHS GP's offering a long wait to see an NHS specialist or that same NHS consultant next week, for a bung, sorry private appointment and this will continue to be the case if you need Aricept since the NHS are spiteful enough to disapprove of patients spending their own money on life enhancing medication.

Why is that Labour can be so nice in Scotland and frankly so mean if you happen to be in England? Still that's a question, you might ask Steve Ladyman, or maybe why can't the health service in England spend £2.50 a day to help delay the onset of Alzheimer's. And if you feel uncomfortable about confronting members of Parliament, or think it rude, just think how much their trousering from the Taxpayer and don't imagine they'll hesitate for a second to ask for your vote when the time comes.

You may think that I'm being unkind to Labour, just chew this over 400,000 people currently suffer from Alzheimer's and assuming that, all could benefit from Aricept, the total cost might be £400,000,000.00, which is a big number, until you remember that the Government had 67 times as much when it found £27,000,000,000.00 in petty cash to save a handful of directors backsides at Northern Rock.

PS The web version of the NOTW appears to wrongly attribute the photograph, at the top of the article

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quote of the week on A levels

Spotted this as I was chomping my way through toast and papers this morning, from Rod Liddle's excellent comment column in the Sunday Times, discussing the high pass rate of those A levels (only 2.8% failed) results Mr Liddle looks forward to the day when a 100% pass rate is achieved "and every abject cretin can go on to read applied concrete, or maybe media studies, at the University of Central Thanet. One wonders quite what level of imbecility is required to gain entry to that exclusive 2.8%. But I daresay we will find out when the next edition of Big Brother comes to our screens."

If nothing else its proof of planet Thanet's growing fame!

Click here for Rod Liddles comment column (halfway down)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Plain Speaking from local author jane

Its not often that I get riled and today's not one of those days either, I note that we (bignews margate) have had the a bit of publicity and a slight side swipe, from top columnist "plain jane" in her column in the Gazette. Thanks for the publicity!

Still as a result senior partner in Bignews Margate, MR Puss has called an emergency meeting to review this publications future, apparently he doesn't like bad publicity, is not entirely happy with changes being made to the blog, that is, introduction of a third column. More importantly he is rather irritated to have yet another reference to poor English.

I suggested that since at the end of the day this is only a blog, maybe we shouldn't be too precious, and that criticism of dodgy grammar was rather a er... a cheek since we don't charge for this and I find myself often out in all weathers with a shovel in my hand or some other tool, earning money to subsidies production.

Mr Puss was singularly unimpressed when I quoted this comment from Justin Williams Assistant editor to Telegraph media "you are doing an incredibly important thing." Click Here to read in context, I think he was about to point out that we took the Sun most days and if we had the money The Times but yawned instead.

Anyway Mr Puss would like readers to keep in mind that comments such as from "jax mellor" can be hurtful even a year later, still he's quite impressed that plain jane is one of this journals regular "proper writers" who take a gander, and wishes all local journo's well!

Things ended on quite an acrimonious note, Mr Puss is quite a conservative (See Mr Puss defends Fat Cats) he wasnt happy when I suggested that the comment quoted in the article, which had offend plain jane, was from one of our many contributors, and that we had a free speech policy even when unpalatable or offensive as that might have been. The meeting ended with me suggesting that Mr Puss could do the Typing and I'd do the thinking, apparently he's going to sleep on it.

PS whist we're on the blimin english (correct use of) This is Bignews Margate not Big News Margate

Click here for this and previous mentions of plain jane Wenham-Jones

Visit janes website here were you can find out more about jane and purchase a book, perhaps after all this publicity and in the interests of good english, jane might just bung me a free copy of wannabe a writer. Anyway keep up the good work.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Engineering Works

As I mentioned yesterday, I am tinkering with my website and in doing so, seem to have lost a few features on the way. I thought I would make myself look busy by adding an additional column, and as is the fashion the almost obligatory news feed from elsewhere.

Still it probably takes an age to load my blog, and already I can see a problem, in that it appears a tad laggardly in refreshing the blogsite news feed, and I don't doubt, some will believe that I'm holding them back.

I've temporarily or permantly removed essential links in favour a newsfeed. Right now I image eyes glazing and ................

Yes I know its boring, one other thing, if there isn't a feed to a local blog that should feature because its local or good or whatever let me know, or if like some who are uncomfortable with Bignews Margate's style and you own a blog but feel a little tainted by inclusion, I will also remove.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Just been fooling around this afternoon with headline feeds from other blogs it seems its now expected, in fact one of my rivals seemed a tad huffy that I hadn't.
Any how I shall experiment further, but one idea I had was just nicking the feed from ThanetBlogList, anyway I note that I'm apparently persona non grata, since I've had no mention for several days (@17:34 13/8/08).
Thanet Blog List Independent yes complete no. No doubt a hideous error which will be rectified
For some mysterious reason @ 18:59 13/8/08 I've reappeared after a three day absence.

Ramsgate just another week

No wish to cause outrage amongst the people of Ramsgate but yesterday I thought I'd pop over to experience the buzz and spectacle that is Ramsgate week. I parked up above the harbour assuming it would allow me to survey the crowds as they enjoyed action. Admittedly it was probably gone three, but all I could see was, bugger all.

Admittedly the wind was strong (I assume maybe too windy) but it wasn't raining, in fact a fairly pleasant bright afternoon. Now some one will point out how ill informed I am etc. but having seen and heard that this event was second only to Cowes or something I thought there might be a tad more happening maybe a few exhibition stands from boat related business, a few stalls, perhaps the odd fairground attraction?.

The only evidence that this was any different from an other week in Ramsgate was a sign strapped to the fence near the bus stop at the harbour, a marquee hidden at the back of the harbour, a bit of bunting at the Royal Temple Yacht Club, and maybe a handful supping on G&T's on the terrace.

This week is one of those peak weeks when people are on holiday and those of us who've had the misfortune to holiday at home, are often clutching at any opportunity to spend what the credit crunch has left us with. So I just wonder why the organisers perhaps in conjunction local businesses and the council can't make a bit more of this event than they do.

No doubt at this point members of the yacht club, will be pretty damn hacked off with these comments and they have some justification but since its "Ramsgate Week" I reckon their under some implied obligation, to make more of this event than is the case. Ramsgate is without a doubt one of the finest towns on the south coast, surely its in the interest of local business and the yacht club to make this an event with a broader appeal. Still you shouldn't need an excuse to visit the place even with nothing going on its quite pleasant.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bin it

I received last week correspondence from Cllr Shirley Tomlinson in her capacity as cabinet member for bins amongst other things , telling me that I shall shortly be receiving wheeled bins, which I assume are the same as wheelie bins, but a bit more Classy.

As with much correspondence from local government, came a whole list of do's and don'ts and on the back was a picture of the bins giving dimensions, and tagged with more TDC authoritarian cods wallop about bin size apparently they'll be demanding all kinds of justification for a large bin, doctors notes and a letter from your mum most likely.

Part of the leaflet gives those sort of condescending answers to posed questions, well here are a selection of the questions and rather than just be a copy cat, I thought I'd have a go at seeing if I could get the answers right, without cheating.

Will the wheeled bins be big enough?
Yes because we say so

Why can't I put glass in my blue lidded recycling Bin?
Because that would be too easy, and were only doing the bare minimum recycling so as to conform with government regulations.

Will the council still provide recycling sites in car parks?
Yes we recognise the need for Thanet's binge drinkers to have somewhere to dispose of vast numbers of wine & beer bottles, also giving them the chance to acknowledge that they have a problem to passing motorists.

How can bulky waste (eg. Fridges, Cookers, Furniture) be disposed of?
Well you could take them to the dump at Manston Road, but as you will be driving a van you've borrowed from your brother in law, which we won't allow on the site, just dump your waste in a nearby country lane ( and just remember you'd be bloody unlucky if Bill Bryson* was spying on you).

What about smells and pests?
Don't worry because those who come up with these schemes, generally live in big houses out in the country or on the cliff tops, far enough from local oiks so as not to be a problem.

At no point do they seem to acknowledge or mention that they have legal duty to collect waste, as in this Sunday Times report, that details victory against local authority arrogance in which the local authority ombudsman for Congleton council, found them to be guilty of maladministration for not collecting all waste from local resident Roger Houlker.

*Instead of being head of CPRE Mr Bryson couldn't you bash out another of your excellent books!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kent Police see off Damn Tree Huggers

Driving home Friday afternoon I was quite preoccupied, with the thought of Safety Cameras, having been possibly mugged by some rather sneaky ones in a village called Hampton, alongside the Thames , I say sneaky which doesn't do justice, I drove through these at a sedate 30mph earlier in the day, but coming home I noticed some bloody 20mph speed signs just before and after, which till now I've only associated with roads that have speed bumps and chicanes, sorry I'm still preoccupied (B*ST*RDS!).

Anyhow back near civilisation on the M2 about a dozen coppers on motorcycles come rolling down the outside lane, in formation and naturally I tuck in behind, once they've passed, thinking this will stop anyone pulling out on me, only to find that its not just their motorcycles that are synchronised but also their bladders, as they all pull into the service station together a minute later.

Next close encounter with the law is a blooming convoy coming up towards London, about a dozen motorbikes straddling both lanes, a sprinkling of police cars, about a dozen (Thames Valley) police vans, now my first theory was blimey, someones sorted out Thanets gangsters & wannabees, but as there had been no mention on the radio, maybe Bin Laden had been found living in East Kent. I would have taken a photo but my camera phone also doubles as an mp3 player.

Still then I thought, why don't the police, instead of swanning about on the motorways, concentrate on those irritating dangerous lefties I'd seen earlier in the week deliberately walking into riot shields and truncheons, which had been causing me some loss of sleep particularly since police had found out that some of those camping at Hoo were tooled up with er tools, and what, were they doing with those knives, making sandwiches? (not blooming likely).

An hour or so later all is revealed, Kent police are taking no chances, when I watch the Meridian news that night, Kent police have introduced some sort of emergency powers, allowing them to harass these damn leftie blighters, stop and search, a bit disappointed that they couldn't have just arrested the whole damn lot.

The police were taking no chances, they were doing a very thorough job indeed, as they appeared to even check meridian journalist Ian Axtons wallet, well, we will never know if they were just looking for weapons or maybe just something for the weekend.

I'm embarrassed and worried that the police in this county, might presumably think that such heavy handed tactics are supported by the community, if it were case that these climate change protesters (who don't have my support), were to seriously endanger production of electricity, then yes be heavy handed, particularly if I'm in mid blog.

Still a nice bit of overtime! and why did that protester hurl himself on to that coppers boot?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

China Gateway gate and press freedom

First off well done to Rebecca Smith, editor of the Gazette, and Thom Morris for focusing on these bags of documents, which keep turning up all over, and having the balls to pick up on a story and give us a straight balanced report of an issue, which has all kinds of Machiavellian overtones.

Probably no point in dwelling too much on all the innuendo, allegations concerning China Gateway even if its often said that rarely is there smoke without fire (or at least some heat), anyway whose fault is this, is it the parties directly involved in China gateway, activists seeking to prevent China gate taking place, us bloggers, politicians or even her majesty's press.

Just going back to the smoke analogy, perhaps this whole episode, would be seen in a different light if the parties directly involved were a little more open. Just as a suggestion maybe when council "officers" are involved in negotiations of any sort, they should log these meetings, in some sort of open diary, that the public has access to.

Anyway whatever the true facts, one thing is certain, without us bloggers, you the reading public, would probably be unaware of the potential controversy. Still the Isle Of Thanet Gazette, has to my mind given this issue, a fair and proper examination, so well done to Rebecca Smith, and Thom Morris for their balanced and enlightening work.

Rebecca Smith's, comment on page 15, is a classic, fence sitter though (in my opinion) with something for everyone. I think I speak for most bloggers, when I say that we take great care, in what we say, and that none of us are mindless scandal mongers. I will admit to poor grammar, unpalatable opinions etc., I frequently spend two or more hours a day, producing my blog, much of which is spent, checking what I've written is correct, or if it's just my conjecture, that readers are left in no doubt that what I'm offering them is an opinion.

Just in passing, mention is made of the recent News Of The World, case, in which after barging into someones life, obnoxious as it might be, the News Of The World rightly got a bloody nose. As someone who recently, received a threat of legal action, from some media company, simply for voicing my opinion about an unrelated issue, I don't think there is much freedom.

Still if any hack would like to publicise, this fairly high profile, media companies hard line on freedom of expression, then please feel free to contact me, consider this a world class celebrity & company director, who thanks this country for allowing him free speech, whilst one of his colleagues is sending out letters threatening legal action , with controversial political implications, an ironic situation which if I explained would identify, still hypocrisy from multinational media company, celebrity director it would hardly be news, would it.

Finally coming back to China Gateway there are two outcomes from all this, planning authorities insist on proper environmental safeguards and we get a hand full of jobs or planning authorities don't insist on proper mains drainage and we'll end up with "a smell that will outlast religion"*.

*a quote from the 2006 film Kenny a cracking Australian film

Friday, August 08, 2008


Ramsgate, Blogger Eastcliffe Richard has in a pitiful bid to gain publicity for his Weblog of the same name, besmirched myself author of Bignews Margate suggesting that I have attempted to manipulate entries on to his "Recent natter" feature.

All I can say is that things, must be fairly desperate at Eastcliffe Mansions, Sunset Boulevard, Ramsgate for ECR to be making these sensational claims.

I wouldn't normally not have commented, but in an earlier posting, Eastcliffe not content to climb on the Thanet big cat story, oh no, to mundane for the likes of him. No he claims that the heavy weight newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman has been spotted grazing in Pete's Fish Factory. Well I've got bigger fish to fry, I think, well maybe not.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

All Blogged out

Ive had a long day

Police at sea

Sometimes news items pass me by, and since not a lot is going on in your Thanet, apart from yet another open letter from the Labour Party to I think Richard Samuel, I just remembered a little piece about Kent Police acquiring a Marine (are there others) Boat, their first since 1995.

Now don't panic to much apparently they got it on the cheap, a hundred grand or so, and no not off the back of er bigger boat. No doubt they've considered the running costs, and what they'll use it for?

I suppose that Mike Fuller Chief Constable and Ann Barnes Chair of Kent police Authority, have, come across Her Majesty's Royal Navy, Customs and Excise, the SBS of even the coast guard. Seems like a bit of an over lap?

Anyway click to see BBC report at the time

Must go and check on the cat, the last I saw him, he had dark sunglasses on and was trying to avoid Thanets media, hunting leopards, I see Nick Evans of KM Extra is the latest to don a pith helmet and go looking for a story, click here for details

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Is it me or are our newspapers bereft of news these days, I just chanced upon a couple of copies, as a "for instance" of our oldest journal the Gazette. Now I concede that rarely has this paper held the same interest or newsyness as the national papers but come on, Front Page, Donkey's followed the next week by Moose the St Bernard, who for his crimes, has had his nuts chopped off!

Admittedly the Donkey Story (Thom Morris), a week or so later, turned up last night, on BBC South East News and might yet get the Newsnight treatment, but the following week we were offered, not one animal story but pretty much a whole menagerie, with a three page spread, on pages one, two and three, not just Moose the St Bernard, but references to Kestrels, Sparrow Hawks, Donkeys and not least Panthers or Black Leopards roaming around Kingsgate.

But hold on that's not all, as the shopping channels like to remind us, further in we got more dickie birds, PETS FACTOR competition and finally plain jane, who for once is, barking up the right blimin tree, with her article on dog control, which had a bit more bite than usual.

Now I know animal welfare is a big issue to some, including my MP but really, the only saving grace in my opinion was that Rebecca Smith (editor) who earlier failed to corral last weeks animal stories into a less prominent position, at least managed to confine her comment column to the more important issues ie Mr Ezekiel's support for tourism, as his administration takes away support from local museums.

PS Mr Puss, has indicated that he will not be entering the Pets Factor competition, as he is convinced, that such competitions are exploitative and in the worse case scenario contestants can be portrayed in a rather humiliating fashion. Still he got rather miffed when I suggested it was nothing to do with the fact he might knocking on a bit.

PPS Mr Puss also thought it best if we didn't mention Bob the leopard, rescued from a market in Majorca, Still I think he might be right on that one! Imagine all that damn press interest and that crowd from Kent Big Cat Research

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


How come I don't get invited!

Just following on from my comments concerning Aigo President Mr Feng Jun's visit to Thanet the thought occurred, that how come its only certain sections of the Press, that seem to get invited, now obviously I don't, expect myself to be included in that category since I'm only a E-wit or maybe F-wit blogger, but I thought it remarkable that since the great and the good from Thanet council were apparently present for Mr Jun's visit, why wasn't this visit reported by a wider pool from the media.

With this in mind I though I'd provide Thanet councils media department with the task of enlightening me. After a few rings I got through, what no meetings? apparently not. So I first asked why their was no story on their news page, well it wasn't organised by them(TDC) and they hadn't written it up.

Next when news items and events are organised, why is that some of the press get preference, well apparently reporters like exclusives, and sea lions like herring (I added that last bit). I reckon that if the council have something to say it should be open to all including bloggers who's readership increases every week not just hand feeding titbits to papers that might be inclined or trained to tow the right line.

So anyway it appears that this event which was mainly made up of Thanet council representatives, including the likes of Richard Samuel Chief Exec, the highly regarded (in some circles) Sandy Ezekiel, but despite this Thanet council don't feel it necessary to publicise this.

I feel since at least one senior council officer Richard Samuel Chief Executive was present at least, that since these people are there to represent the local community, it should be a matter of course that meetings and events attended by senior officers should be published automatically.

Since local bigwigs from the Thanet council appear to be available to local developers and inward investors which is part of their role, I finished up my conversation by asking what if anything the council had to do with China Gateway, did it have any agreements for instance, well apparently nothing apart from the planning process so I must admit I was quite taken aback to see suggestions that Thanet council had apparently agreed to some rather silly actions as per this extract fromECR

"three TDC officers and a representative of CGP, the people who want to plonk a Chinese business park on top of our lovely aquifer here on the island. The discussion appears to have turned to future visits by Chinese dignitaries, and the provision of 'branded gifts' such as: - TDC cufflinks - Embossed pens - Glass paperweights with Thanet scene at bottom - Turner picture enlarged as a scroll of Margate seafront The meeting then appears to have gone on to discuss DVDs and Powerpoint presentations (yawn) in both English and Chinese, before turning to this little gem: Signs as you enter Thanet (saying): Welcome to Thanet, the home of Chinese Globalisation in English and Chinese."

Perhaps its time Richard Samuel, arranged for Thanet councils media department to clarify the position, and were the council more open, we might not be looking such a serious situation.

Also from suggestions made on the Thanetonline website it looks if someone might have to explain some apparent confusion over travel expenses, perhaps Commercial Group Properties PLC would be best placed to elucidate a response.

That's all on Carry on ChinaGatewayGate for now!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thanet strife in bags

I just wonder, with all these bags of documents, turning up, how come the mysterious bertie biggles has disappeared? Still personally I reckon this mystery, would have been one for James Bigglesworth, the original and more credible "Biggles".

Unfortunately for us Bertie

And doesn't

Is unable to

Im sure original would be able to

Lets see if Bertie

Im off for an oveltine, and a good book! If your thinking what the hells that all about visit Thanetonline or ECR

Surprisinly bertie biggles who always seems so well connected appears to be out of the loop on this one and gone fishing?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Planning just a formality

Blimey to be honest, I've not been following China Gateway that closely but I thought their were still some bits and pieces needed sorting out, like planning consent. Thanks to my eagle eyed contributor for sending this photo , note that Chinese firm Aigo look fairly confident that its all been sorted? Oh see earlier post below for a bit more or just click here!.

China's new cultural revolution

I spot in this weeks Isle of Thanet Extra news of Mr Feng Jun's (of electronics company AIGO) visit to the isle of Thanet, and my immediate attention is drawn to the picture attaching to the article.

It shows Mr Feng Jun, in what at first appears to be fancy dress and then the after reading the caption is revealed as mayoral regalia, unfortunately it doesn't state whether it was his own or lent to him by fawning representatives of Thanet council.

Just going off at quick tangent, this all got the nuerons in my brain sparking, well glowing and for some reason, memories flooded back to a time, and I don't remember detail but I recall a local councillor in a moment of er .... decided to dress up in Arab garb and drive round Ramsgate Harbour as part of some ill thought out hoax. Of course I could be suffering from false memory syndrome and it was something I think that occurred back in the Eighties, when we were all a little less dignified than today. Anyway since many of my readers, weren't born then you'll have to ask your parents.

Right getting back to our more dignified present, lets just hope that Thanet council keep things in perspective, and show a bit more integrity than the Olympic organisation in Beijing, who seem to have surrendered as far as press freedom is concerned. For more details and balanced view I offer you The Independent view click here ""Beijing doesn't like to give the world's press an inch or the home grown China View article click here "Press freedom shall not go above laws".

Anyway just getting back to Mr Feng Juns visit, I see that various dignitaries attended although I am a little surprised that Thanet council website , make no mention on their own news pages despite one presumes close involvement with the parties concerned.

Perhaps Sandy Ezekiel and company could be a little more open in whats going on, this sort of report also sets my mind on questions of how much is this going to cost us, just briefly coming back to past events in Thanet I believe that previous enterprises have left us the public exposed to financial penalties like Ramsgate harbour, when the Sally Line disappeared, this weekend Eastcliffe Matters reports another cracker, the old M&S building in Margate looks like a new TDC financial burden of 3 million, Christ no wonder their selling our assets?

On the plus side Mr Jun's company believes you'll be reassured to know in "Freedom in technology" and "Freedom in life" , no mention about thought or speech. On the plus side, investors from China will probably not be able to prejudge us since their most likely blocked from putting a search in to google like er....england thanet councillor sandy ezekiel who knows what that would turn up.

Let just hope that before anyone gets rich quick here, that time is taken, to stop chinese business from taking a leak into our water supply, that we don't all end up looking silly, or end up bank rolling this whole scheme, just so that a handful of " business men" can make loads of money at our expense.

What is missing in all this, is what if any benefit will accrue to the local community from all this nonsense about China Gateway. A few months ago one our esteemed tory leaders had the cheek to interupt me at public meeting, and announce that this project would create 3500 jobs well perhaps someone would like to justifiy that claim.

Right now all this looks like, is a plot from a movie, its just a pity the likes of Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Charles Hawtrey, Kenneth Conner and their ilk are no longer with us, what a carry on! Lets have the facts now how much is this going to cost us? What jobs? For whom? Will we benefit?

Finally if the China Gateway is to succeed it has to be benifical to all concerned, clearly Mr Jun is an accomplished business man, head of a successful company AIGO who will I don't doubt be aware that doing business in europe is not the same as in China, so lets hope our local leaders also appreciate that and start opening up. I hope this enterprise succeeds, and it should, I don't doubt that Mr Jun and his countrymen will recognise the strategic benefits of the Manston location but lets hope reasonable precautions are in place to protect the local environment.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Thanet District Council offers cash back to minority group


Thanet council not generally known for its caring attitude has come up with a cash back scheme to a much beleaguered minority, according to that well known website

Before you get any notion or fanciful ideas of a beneficent local authority, drop it, because as many other non commercial organisations and Thanet council is no different, in that, whatever else its role, the one that they are best at, is looking after no.1.

Council Staff can now shop on line at 1500 retailers (tough titties local shops) and receive cash back into their bank accounts. I just wonder how many of our bureaucrats will now have even less time to work once they've updated their facebook, bebo or myspace, read BignewsMargate and done the shopping online.

This is apparently being run in conjunction KCC and according to the report rather than just send a letter out with employees payslips, this would be too easy for TDC, so just to make sure no one misses out they've apparently spared no expense. The scheme has been advertised with a mixture of road shows, presentations and coasters on desks and in lorry cabs?

And if your thinking blimey! what the hell do Kent County Council know about employee rewards well, fear not according, to another report in they have a Reward Advisor and team ! if you would like to know more click here. Apparently their task is to inform employees, who are unaware of the perks available to them as public sector employees, of course it wouldn't occur to anyone at the council, that some employees are already on to a good thing with job protection, free parking and pensions that just don't exist in the private sector.

Surprisingly there is no mention of when this cash back shopping scheme will be rolled out to those of us who have fund this by earning money in the private sector.

Local Internet Sites Blocked

Just a quick note for users and creators of blogs if like me you have experienced problems accessing your favourite local blogs like er... Bignews etc DONT PANIC as far as I can tell this isn't the result of internet providers extending their top Chinease service feature which is basically blunt censorship, no I think its probably a technical issue rather than a brutal extension of a corrupt totalitarian state.

It appears that using Internet Explorer Version 7 combined with a site that uses Sitemeter monitoring causes a error message to appear telling you basically that your not invited see above photog.

Using Firefox browser seems not to cause the problem, although I have temporarily removed the sitemeter doo dah as a precaution and to alleviate the suffering of my loyal readers

PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT AN EXPERT, Thanet is awash with computer boffins who will no doubt be able to explain whats occurring.