Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kent TV What's Going On? SHOCK! as contract extension revealed! No Press Release on this one! or public consultation!

I recently wrote to Tanya Oliver the KCC “Officer”, who as “Head of Strategic Development Unit KCC” is tasked with matters relating to Kent TV and some of Kent’s other more er …. unusual services like film?

Not stuff normally associated with local authorities, core services but under the enlightened administration, headed up by Peter Gilroy Chief Exec and directed by the charismatic Tory leader Paul Carter, we in Kent, are blessed with more media, than we probably care for.

Any how to cut to the chase, I asked Tanya Olivier, if there was a future for Kent TV in my email of 18th June       “I recently contacted your office, initially as no minutes were available for Kent TV's Board meeting for March. I now understand that this was cancelled as I understand nobody could be bothered, which poses the questions is there a future for Kent TV since clearly optimistic and some would say unrealistic ambitions of substantial sponsorship have not materialised as far as one can see.”

The reply (same day!, thank you, other KCC officers, please note) included this, in answer to my inquisition, “The Kent TV Board met last week and the minutes for that meeting will be available online shortly.” which didn’t really answer my question “is there a future for Kent TV”. I checked yesterday and the minutes for Kent TV were still not available (meeting held 2 weeks earlier), however it appears they have been placed on KCC’s website sometime after five in the afternoon.

For me I cannot understand why Tanya Oliver did not think it worth mentioning that the contract for Kent TV was to be extended, still just as astonishing, no mention of costing is included in the minutes, why not, one wonders? Kent TV now extended till March 2010 ! (I’d like to say by popular demand)

An excerpt from the minutes worth mentioning “John McGhie said that there had been an issue with morale among some of his staff who had felt unfairly victimised by some publicity and press releases”

I know John McGhie is an occasional reader of Bignews Margate, so I would like to empathise with him and his staff, having been on the rough end of a less than complimentary letter from Ten Alps myself. I also consider myself to have had been unfairly treated uncomfortable as it is I still  have sympathy for his colleagues.

thanks bob Its also noted that Geoff Miles will be sending a thank you letter to staff, its a pity that such courtesy, doesn’t also extend to sending to apologies to offended Kent taxpayers, something which I am sure the Board of Kent TV are aware and yet according to their collective minutes have seemingly ignored. See ECR’s concise report

As you may know I alerted KCC and the Electoral Commission to a serious error in Kent TV’s first time voting video, this features as Item 5 of the minutes, there version reports that they withdrew the film within four minutes of being alerted, however what they do not mention is that I informed KCC around mid-day who did nothing despite, my pointing out that they were responsible for Kent TV’s output(as confirmed previously by KCC legal expert).

When KCC refused to act I contacted Chris Wells , Peter Gilroy (Board Member) should have been aware of all this since I had emailed him on the matter, still no mention I wonder why. Before anyone unleashes their legal dogs, Kent TV acted professionally in this matter and withdraw the video immediately, however KCC’s refusal to even discuss the matter is questionable.

My post are a commentary and should be taken as such but it would be handy if KCC were more efficient in publishing information perhaps KCC could get their corporate a*se into gear and let us know what’s going on in more detail more often.

As you know KCC are ruthless where image is concerned and recently threatened the Audit Commission with heavy handed legal moves over their use of the word “negligent” to describe its role in the Icelandic banking debacle, according to KOS Michael O’Higgins chairman of the Audit Commission stated “It would be an inexplicable waste of public money to seek a judicial review of a dispute about the meaning of a single word” (but not I guess for Paul Carter or Peter Gilroy who demanded the removal, presumably at any cost)

Anyway I will be adding I hope a bit more to the debate on Kent’s unique media experiments, with or without a response from KCC’s press office.

Quote of the day KCC press office “someone will ring you back”  Yeah Righto!  last Thursday, Friday and Monday!

Having briefly read through the minutes, I feel there is much to worry about in terms of what’s hinted at and what’s not stated.

It would be nice KCC actually put some meat on to the bone of their sometimes vague assertions like this one “Whilst you may not support Kent TV, it is contributing to savings on publications of £1 million in the current year” yes but precisely how much is that “contributing to” how about seeing the calculations!

This has been a long winded post but “finally” (thank god) may I invite you to take the “pepsi taste test” as far as community TV is concerned firstly click on a low budget model (which didn’t require 1.2 million pounds) Your Thurrock and then Kent TV I think you will agree both look professional.

KCC Kent TV minutes, six months since the last Click Here

I always think it prudent to remind KCC and others that postings on this blog are subject to Human rights laws to protect the freedom of speech something which took KCC a while to acknowledge in relation to KCC’s Kent TV.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Manston NO SHOW

Phew what a weekend, though for me the weekend was a bit of a disappointment, since most of it was spent at work, however as a treat on Friday, I thought I would go hear what Conservative county councillor leader Paul Carter had to say about Manston, at the Kent International Airport consultative committee meeting.

Arriving a tad late for the meeting I managed to bag a seat in range of the world's noisiest air conditioning, fortunately I was able to catch the only bit of excitement of the evening which came at the start proceedings.

The chairman's preamble to the meeting, indicated from the outset, that this meeting would be nowhere near as stimulating as the last one, as the chairman started to speak, the audience predominantly made up of what Americans would call seniors, started to complain about the inability to hear the chairman which pretty much set the tone for the gathering (and later made me suspicious of their complaints re aircraft noise)

Any how to those that could hear, there was a certain amount of indignation, on the news that Paul Carter would not be in attendance, due to some family arrangement or something to that effect, I understand that it was put up to a vote, whether Mr. Carter should be reported to the standards board, and despite cllr Roger Latchford loyally speaking in defence of his fellow Tory I believe that motion was carried. (Lets just hope that it wasn’t just a case of your dinner will be ready at 7pm )

Second on the bill was Matt Clarke, Infratil's man in Manston, who I frankly feel sorry for, when faced with a bunch of belligerent elderly residents, anyway he gave a reasonable and honest assessment of the way things are, details of the massive investments they had made, and then faced questions.

As you can imagine since the room was full of people who have little more to concern themselves with other than the Manston flight path and why planes shouldn't just tiptoe around towns and villages etc then question were of a boring repetitive nature.

To be honest I felt my life forces draining, particularly listening to the well rehearsed questions from one local blogger, with the accompanying and looks round the room presumably seeking approval, which as mostly this crowd were passed working age was readily available.

I was formulating a question to ask Matt Clarke, which would have been, “are you ever tempted at meetings to say, stuff this!, instead we'll apply for planning permission for a housing estate”, however I never got to ask my question, as I was a overwhelmed with the urge to live, and decided to escape early.

It strikes me that pretty much everyone at meeting including myself was a self opinionated busy body to varying degrees, I just wonder if many have considered Manston without the Airport, what are we left with, a lost chance of economic stimulus to the area, and just a massive grisly housing estate in its place.

Coming back to Paul Carter, not attending the meeting might well be one of the smartest things he's ever done, and I for one can't blame him, basically you have a small committee, which seems to thrive on the minutest detail, latching onto any opportunity to moan about the airport's existence an audience who appear to have nothing else to worry about in life other than the occasional aircraft a few thousand feet above their heads.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thought for the Day – The easy ride may be over for Sky TV

I’ve always had this theory that Sky TV plus News International represent the sort of dominant media group which should have been subject to strong regulation a long long time ago.

Sky TV has pretty much had a monopoly in supplying premium TV content outside of major cities since satellite Television began.

It seems things are about to change Ofcom the TV regulator are belatedly worried about fair competition.

I believe that Tony Blair had an arrangement with the Australian media wallah, in exchange for a pro-Labour SUN newspaper and other newspapers, a Labour government would ignore a dominant provider of telly so long as the Sun stuck with them.

Gordon Brown realistically hasn’t got a cat in hells chance of winning a general election but would still want the Sun etc on side so I just wonder if this a warning for the Murdoch lot to stay on side.

Still that’s a glib view and politics is the profession of gentlemen as we all know.

See BBC Story click here

Thanet's streets made safe once more

Residents of Cliftonville can once again thank hartmild mannered councilor Clive Hart for making Thanet’s Streets safe to walk again. Pedestrians have had to dice with death, since the recent fire in Northdown Road as no safe walkway has been provided around the fire damaged building.

Incredibly Kent Highways did not arrange for a safe walk route around the burnt out building, to separate pedestrians from road traffic, it seemed that little or no thought was given for pedestrian safety, this has now been rectified, after Thanet's Labour supremo applied pressure to Kent highways.

I understand that Kent highways department will now get off their backsides and arrange for a pedestrian walkway around the obstruction.


Kent Highways, fearing further wroth from Clive Hart, have now put in the walkway.

On my daily cycle around Cliftonville I spotted the walkway being inspected by the Great Man himself, and Pam Pople – Community  Development Support Worker who is involved CllrHart with new walkwayhelping the local community and business.


Michael Jackson has been around for what 40 years as a professional entertainer, news that he has passed on at 50 sends a shiver down my spine.

I can remember hearing of Elvis’s death on Radio Luxembourg, John Lennon on BBC’s Nationwide and Now Jacko on Sky News.

Only 50, its reminder life’s short I’m 53, one of the best performers I ever saw.

Jacko on Wikepedia

If you have spotify here’s a few tracks chosen for no particular reason click here

Thursday, June 25, 2009

“modest, sensible and fair" says Paul Carter as Kent Tories take your money!

cartertalkstobbcweathergirl Kent Conservative politicians are tonight justifying the whopping big increase of 8% they voted themselves, claiming that the last time there “allowances” were increased was four years ago.

And of course Paul Carter's right to make that suggestion, since he lives in a world of public sector excess and of course he himself has been a prime suspect in squeezing the taxpayer, by condoning massive pay for senior council officers, frequently stepping up to justify fat cat salaries in Kent's local authority, recently going as far to justify bonuses paid to senior officers for just doing their job.

You'll note that Paul Carter as leader of the Conservatives, didn't insist that his superior highly efficient senior officers take a pay cut when they lost £50,000,000 of our money in some shaky Icelandic banks.

Paul Carter is probably blissfully unaware, that many in the private sector have seen pay levels remained fairly static in the last few years, in my industry, most are receiving about the same money or less than they did five years ago and in the construction industry wages have been cut dramatically.

It's no surprise that greedy Tory County councillors, were in no mood to welcome the suggestion from liberal democrat leader, Trudy Dean to allow the public to be consulted. Paul Carter apparently said "That would be a total waste of time and effort" so clearly Paul Carter's not stupid, since we all know what the public reaction is.

I used to believe that politics was about the service, when in reality it's about serving yourself with a few notable exceptions such as Trudy Dean and her colleagues.

One aspect perhaps even more disturbing than Tory councillors taking a stonking big pay rise, is this, when I rang BBC Kent this afternoon they were blissfully unaware.

I later rang again, when theire was still no mention of this and it was suggested, that the fact, that KM Paul Francis had a full report, was just a question of the competitive nature of journalism, still it makes you think, Kent’s full council meetings, only occur every once every few months, surely as KCC is the lead authority for Kent, that they (BBC Kent) would actually cover their meetings or at least look the agenda available on the internet.

Not surprisingly if you watched BBC South East today and had blinked you would have missed mention of this, it must be the new journalistic approach to news since some women trying to cycle underwater was more interesting to dumbed down BBC reporters.

BBC Kent obviously don’t consider politicians, voting themselves big increases as anything out of the ordinary and clearly its not, but how sad they can’t at least report it.

Still as the bloke at the BBC said Paul Francis is a good journalist which is why I have a link to his political commentary in my sidebar, also I suggest you click here for his report and video which is superior to anything on the BBC website.

On the waters edge Margate Volleyball

Preparations are well underway for this weekend's Volleyball event, this apparently is one of only five venues to host the Volleyball England Beach Tour Open.

I'm not too sure but it appears to be in a different location to last year, and I just wonder whether they have taken, all factors into consideration, such as the tide, looking at it, this morning, it appears, that at least part of the fenced off compound, will be underwater at high tide. follyball

Of course I'm probably wrong! This is being organised by Thanet District Council's sports matters team.

Anyway it seems Councillor Shirley Tomlinson cabinet member for environmental services is unperturbed, and is "looking forward to welcoming both players and spectators to the beautiful Main Sands" let's hope the weekend isn't a washout.

The action will consist of a local schools tournament on Friday, with the proper stuff on Saturday& Sunday between 9am & 5pm and finals starting at 2pm Sunday 28th June.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kerching! Kent Tories, will they celebrate their recent victory, with your money!

Apparently the first meeting of KCC’s full council is going to be a bit of a toughie for Kent Conservatives as they wrestle with the moral dilemma of accepting recommendations, made by an “independent panel” (probably a bunch of similar fat cats) who have suggested that they should help themselves to an 8% increase in allowances.

You can just imagine the arguments in favour “we have to listen to Paul Carter rolling on about how marvellous things are at KCC” “Crikey we pay officers more than their worth” “and give em bonuses on top” “sod it we’ve four years before the next election and anyway with all that money we spend on advertising in Kent, it will be kept to the back pages”

Gin and tonics all round I think.

Click here for Kentonline story

Question to ask of Thanet District Council Airport Working Party

Since that Smug bloke on the “Stop Manston and the Twenty First Century” blog and the new “8 hours droning about Manston” blog from Herne blimin Bay, seem to be relentless in their quest to derail a potential source of employment here in East Kent, I think we ought to examine just what support they have.

The author of Stop Manston Expansion Group blog is so relentless in his quest to stifle business at Manston Airport that he has been offering sample questions to raise at this Fridays meeting of the Thanet council airport working party.

My big question - Do we need to waste any more time and public money on consultations with minority interests, who are hell bent on screwing up Manston Airport?

Just to gauge how much support, these entirely rational and in no way obsessive luddites, have actually got, I suggest you check out this online petition, which as I understand has been gathering free news coverage for the last couple of weeks and has even been advertising in local papers, page 5 Kent on Sunday (Quarter Page).

When I checked last night despite all this effort @ 9 PM there had only been 84 signatures, now almost a day later its up to 95, a significant number of which were anonymous contributors, objecting to night flights.

I think its worth pointing out at this point in time Infratil has not requested any additional operating hours. So God knows what these enviro-bloggers are on about.

It is a fact that when the public have a petition presented to them, there is a temptation to sign. Considering that East Kent must comprise maybe a quarter million residents 95 after a week or so does seem incredibly trivial.

The chances are that since this latest petition was posted on the internet probably more than 95 have lost their jobs in East Kent and I’m sure all of them would like to keep the possibility of economic growth alive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

POLICING TODAY - shame on Kent police


Policing at the Kingsnorth climate change protest last year, has already been subject of much public criticism.

The latest scandal concerns two women arrested for merely observing the conduct of officers at the climate change camp.

It is difficult having seen the film available on the Guardian website, of the arrests of Val Swain and Emily Apple, how policing here in Kent, appears to differ, little from many tin pot regimes around the world.

I can well understand how irritating it must be for police officers to have their work, scrutinised by activists who in this case are members of a protest group called Fit Watch, who, whether we like it or not have a reasonable and legitimate concern over police forward intelligence teams.

Police forward intelligence teams, are officers who are tasked with monitoring demonstrations and meetings and taking photographs and film of activists, on the off chance, one presumes that they might be terrorists or have some similar criminal intent.

Like me, you are probably, reassured that our police force are checking up on dangerous, animal rights protesters, religious extremists, fascists and Marxists.

Clearly Kent police leave no stone unturned, in their search for dangerous citizens, just how far they'll go to intrude in people's lives was highlighted earlier in the year by the BBC a radio four documentary, which told the story of magistrate Richard Knox-Johnson. Click here for BBC story

Mr. Knox-Johnston who also happens to be Chairman of Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, had attended a public discussion prior to the Kingsnorth climate change protest and spoken about climate change throughout the world, for his troubles, his photograph was taken and number plate noted.

Allyn Thomas Assistant Chief Constable of Kent police excused intrusive surveillance as per this quotation from the BBC "Because we know people feel very strongly about these environmental concerns, there is the possibility that there will be some outburst, whether it's just unpleasantness or criminality.

"So to be on the prudent side, we do collect information in a discreet way so if there is some problem we know who to investigate," he added.

The women I mentioned earlier as being arrested at last years climate change protest have made a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, after being held in custody for four days released with no court case.

No doubt after many months the IPCC will reach a conclusion about this complaint, and maybe they'll also at some time reach a conclusion over that other extraordinary bit of policing when a police officer hit Ian Tomlinson from behind which may well have resulted in his death a minute or two later.

As we are aware, it's not possible for the Chief Constable Mr. Fuller, to comment on specific cases which is probably also true of Ann Barnes the chair of the Kent Police Authority but wouldn't it be nice if they could both make a general statement condemning police officers from abusing their authority, as might well be the case, in this instance.

Police officers are highly paid public servants, who in my experience are always professional as one would expect, however this doesn't seem to be the case at Kingsnorth, and given some of the evidence about surveillance, the chances are that some Kent copper is wasting his time, keeping tabs on me, because I happen to think I live in a democracy and write about it, its a worry!

Chief Constable Fuller, is reported as saying that the majority of residents of Kent " have been very supportive of our actions" in preventing climate protesters from interrupting power supplies, a sentiment that I wouldn't disagree with, except of course where it involves roughing up irritating protesters a couple of miles from the actual power station.

Kent police can be as tought as they like and use as much reasonable force as is necessary to protect life and property but beating up citizens is just not on, in a democracy. I feel sorry for the majority of Kent Police Officers who I'm sure are embarrassed at such events.

Guardian Story includes video of arrest

Kent police give their side of the Kingsnorth story

BBC report click here

Monday, June 22, 2009

Margate's big event, how was it for you?

I'm sure for most of those of us, who visited Margate's big event, it was as good as it had been in previous years.

And it certainly seems to have proved popular with the cllr Roger Latchford, cabinet member for the economy and culture. Thanet council's latest press release informs us that 90,000 people visited the event at Palm Bay.

Councillor Latchford seems full of superlatives "90,000 people coming to Palm Bay is just wonderful" " Margate’s Big Event really puts of Thanet on the map" " a huge success" " it's fantastic to see so many new people" although not surprisingly, not a great deal of insight into the effect on the local economy, which you might have expected, as that's part of his council portfolio.

Personally I couldn't agree more with councillor Latchford, on the quality of the event, but then I'm in easily pleased, also more importantly not being part of Thanet's business community (and I don’t mean spiv developers), it would be interesting to know, whether businesses and traders in Margate felt the benefit, which having heard some comments, might not have been as good as visitor numbers suggest.

Some comments about Margate being quiet are a worry, notably from Eastcliff Richard "Margate's Big Event has had the presumably unintended consequence of dragging most of the people who would have been spending dosh on the island's towns and beaches to a windswept, roped off area of clifftop grassland" and Mark Nottingham "I suspect that the real cost of the event to the Council is well over £100,000 if properly costed" also of course Michael Child pointed out on Saturday Morning a classic in TDC communications blunder. "Quote from Thanet District Council website this morning: “Preview of two days of thrilling free entertainment - Full programme available soon.”"

As I have already mentioned, I found the event Blooming Marvellous, however local businesses, (and I don’t mean developers who seem to be looked after) particularly in Margate have suffered appallingly from the effects of Westwood Cross the failure to build the Turner Contemporary on time, and of course the derelict Dreamland site. So was there any uplift over the weekend for local traders?

Chance to sort your choppers out, maybe?

News has arrived from Thanet's Labour party bunker, courtesy of Councillor Clive Hart, that the NHS Eastern and coastal PCT have announced extra funding for dental services in Thanet.

This of course will be a relief, to I imagine the lucky few, since the sums involved are relatively pitiful, Broadstairs will receive an extra £300,000 and Cliftonville £649, 000.

Myself being 50 plus, and obviously with an increasingly dodgy memory, recall back in the nineteen sixty's that NHS dentists, were pretty commonplace until Mrs. Thatcher's reign saw many disappear, a trend which has continued during much of the labour party's recent time in office.

Apparently the money is aimed at making sure, residents in the most need are helped, what I would like to know, is what ever happened to universal healthcare? Something Labour used to promote.

Clearly senior Labour politicians have had more important things to worry about than providing health care, like MPs who still believe that we should feed them, despite damn good salaries and in several cases second jobs.

Anyway to take your mind off dentistry, the photograph above is similar (but not the same) to the view, I had from the chair of my childhood dentist, which I would concentrate on, intently, whilst, I had tried to believe that dentist's usual bollix statement, "this won't hurt you" was true and of course it bloody well wasn't.

Thanet's good communications?

In a recent press release from Cheryl Pendry TDC's press and media manager, we are informed that Thanet Council has been shortlisted in two categories of this year's good communications awards.

This of course might come as a bit of a surprise, to anyone who has tried to elicit information from Thanet Council, I recently inquired about the Coach House at Northdown Park, and if memory serves me correctly, I was informed that the communications department would get back to me with the info I required.

Fortunately after week or so, I was able to find and contact the relevant officer myself, who could give me the information I was after. Hardly indicative of TDC's good communication skills.

Not surprisingly, we are not informed in the press release, just exactly what authority these good communications awards might actually have, since the press release negates to mention just exactly who or what organisation is dishing these awards out.

Does it really matter, not really I suppose, although it would be nice to have the opportunity to nominate the council, in these two categories,

MISDIRECTION for the press release which told us that the council's management team were to receive no pay increase, failing to clearly point out that they didn't need one, since by changing their pay scale was tantamount to having a big fat hefty increase anyway.

DUAL STANDARDS for press releases which have named and shamed members of the public for trivial offences such as dropping litter, (which some have alleged the council are guilty of themselves (Click for ECR’s Name & Shame post) but anyhow for some curious reason they ignored the transgressions and condemnation levelled against members of the council for other matters, I wonder why?.

Still I'm sure professional hacks get the top notch service from Thanet District Council, as a member of Thanet's bloggerati, then I don't expect much and find myself rarely disappointed.

Any how if you'd like to read this press release, it's available on their website by clicking here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Big Event more popular than ever

Its my impression but I think this years Big Event in Margate has been far more popular than previously. Unfortunately I adjourned to the hungry horse before the evenings entertainment but I assume that it would have been as good as last years.

be6 be1 be2 be3 be4 be5

Saturday, June 20, 2009

For once Gordon’s got something right

Gordonpleasedo Gordon Browns quoted in the Guardian as saying "To be honest, you could walk away from all of this tomorrow," referring to himself.

Please do, Labour's clearly stuffed whilst you continue in office and so is democracy. In the past eleven years the Conservative party have had a succession of lightweight losers and I suspect the current incumbent will fall into that category but  so far they’ve all had the decency to step aside for the next also ran. 

Gordon Brown has without a doubt has been an immense influence in British politics but leader?  I don’t think so.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Margate’s Big Event

Margate’s Big Event is almost upon us, I just wonder whether this will be the last, since as I understand some of the funding has in the past come from CGP.

CGP will have had their fate, determined by next summer, one assumes, since by then KCC & Thanet council will have either sold the additional land they require, for the China Gateway site or not and additional planning permissions will have been determined.

Still this weekend we should enjoy The Big Event, lets be honest when did Thanet council do anything that improved the lot of us proles, its like having a bone thrown from the top table by Thanet’s top knobs just to distract us.

So look to the sky this weekend and ignore some of the big deals, hideous planning decisions and practices of recent times, like that development in Ramsgate which overlooks nearby residents, TDC forgot to tell residents the plans have changed, scan back through the excellent Thanet Strife for more anomalies.

Thanet has little to recommend itself to the visitor, remember those crocodile tears when the Scenic Railway burnt down, well times a great healer and most of us have forgotten. Still if you happen to be a developer Thanet is the place where your dreams can come true.

Anyway enjoy the Big Event and just one final point why is it held in the commercial wilderness of Palm Bay, why not hold the event around the harbour so that local business could benefit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Upset at BBC as Oldies are culled

Shock and horror, sums up the reaction, to news that Geoff Clark and Beverley Thompson are to be retired from presenting BBC’s South East News according to Kentnews.co.uk.

This occurred last Wednesday, and frankly I didn’t spot this till Monday, as far as I’m concerned they do a good job, although the content of the programme is pretty much “cats up a tree” sort of journalism, and whilst they say, they (BBC) now wish to be more journalistic, I wonder why they don’t dump the editor first (presumably he is younger) as he would be the main reason for the programmes content currently not being too journalistic?

As someone who is getting on and apparently dull boring etc this is of great interest………

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just me the fish and a Damien Hirst moment

I’d forgotten how quiet and impressive our beaches can be, till I took a stroll yesterday, I spent much of my time as a kid down on this beach and have to be honest and admit that I’ve not been on the beach at Kingsgate for years.ontherocks

Brilliant even with a handful of dead fish which I found between Botany Bay and Southern Water’s big toilet flushing establishment. There were four in total, dog fish, I think, I had the thought, that they looked as though they were in pretty good condition, apart from the not swimming bit, also it reminded me of the last time I looked at a fish not in batter was one of Damien Hirst’s bigger sharks which looked a lot worse off, despite being sold for a million or so.southernwaterflush Apart from the fish, I note how clean the beach was although the effect of raking through the sand makes it look very flat and artificial similar to a construction site, an observation that also applies to the beach at Margate.flatbeach

Step Back in Time as Feudal Kent Appoints – Top Notch Royal Servants

newboysand girlI was tempted to say something like flunkeys, lackeys or toadies but that would be entirely inappropriate and wrong.

The Kent on Sunday carried the joyous news that if and when the Queen of England, should by chance happen to land up in Kent, there will be no shortage of Deputy Lieutenants of Kent, since 5 new ones have been appointed.

Lord Lieutenant Allan Willet is quoted in Kent on Sunday, saying “They are joining a network of fine men and women to support the monarchy, celebrate Kent and contribute to its future.”

What I find astonishing in the 21St Century, is that these appointees are Chairman of this and that,  an Oh!  one founder member of Government Advisory Group blah blah blah and none of us lower orders.

I wont bore you with the details but suffice to say there are no Bob the Builders, Jones the Butcher, Patel the Convenience shop not even Tony the Trackman, equipped to represent Kent, just the usual top knobs.

Clearly the Royal family don’t live in the same Britain the rest of us do, but do serve the purpose of highlighting that Britain is not entirely the democracy or egalitarian society some would have us believe.

In particular Prince Charles has recently done much work to derail plans to build a luxury development in London on the site the old Chelsea Barracks, the result will please the Prince since he has such delicate taste, however I just wonder how the 5000 odd construction workers who might have been working on the site feel about this particular initiative.

At the risk of doing time in the tower as far as I’m concerned the Royals are an anomaly in a democracy, but when they remain neutral as is the case with Queen who could have a problem, but when the next in the queue for head of State starts interfering political questions then its a worrying departure from this countries limp and loose constitution.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day Trip - Two Wheels Good, Four Wheels Better

Having the benefit of the Sunday off, Mrs Me decided we would get out on our bikes after I’d finished offending some blimin politician, whoever it was, I was blogging about.

What a perfect day, no wind, calm sea. Although the beaches seemed emptier than they should be and I noticed quite a few of the chalets along the coast are still vacant.

Most of my cycling is solitary, a chance to think without distraction other than the moving scenery. Something I always find amusing, cycling along the Esplanade toward Westgate, are the extensive territorial claims that various chalet occupants make also the thinly veiled hostility toward cyclists and audible comments about cyclists who’ve failed to dismount as per the councils fatwah “cyclist dismount 10am to 6pm 1 May 30 September”.

I understand that cycling faster than a walking pace, is potentially dangerous but since those who ignore these rules inevitably fly past the beach hut residents, I personally think that cycling restrictions are pointless, since those of us who act responsibly will and those who don’t, wont.

Being a middle aged git myself, I suppose if I were renting one of these beach sheds, I'd probably relax with one eye on the paper and the other just waiting for some cyclist to dare break the law.

Still I think someone from the council should give consideration, to the residents who sprawl across from hut to railings with deckchairs, loungers, grannies and usually a barbecue leaving a three foot walkway in which the rest of the family are playing either tennis or cricket.

Occasionally I might have ignored these rulings but not with Mrs Me in tow, still it struck me, that for some reason if you have a vehicle, with four wheels and an engine for some reason, your immune from restrictions, particularly if it sports a Thanet District Council logo, like the one photographed which had for some reason driven along the Esplanade and then tiptoed passed the cafe presumably the driver stopping to chat with customers, why?twobumpsorone

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thought for the week - anything else to declare?

workingforyou Amongst all the upset over MP’s expenses one area which is still worth a bit of consideration, is the area of outside interests. Should MP’s have second jobs.

My own MP Roger Gale seems upfront with this from his website “He holds office with a number of local and national charities and served for three years as a warrant-holding Special Constable with British Transport Police.”

Stephen Ladyman as far as I can see makes similar reference to outside commitments, which of course naturally include charitable work and some considerable work in the field of autism.

Such outside experiences, represent a sort of “added value” to local MPs and an acceptable if not almost obligatory part of an MPs life, however I’m not too keen on the thought of MPs working in the commercial world.

Anyhow having asked the question before, I thought I’d check out Stephen Ladyman’s website since publically he’s been so upfront about expenses, but surprisingly I can find no reference to his work for ITIS holdings mentioned previously on these pages.

Reassuringly its not just me who feels a little concerned with outside jobs, listening to Harriet Harmon this morning she mentioned she “would want to know” about second jobs of MPs and that from the 1st of July, MPs will have to register time spent and money earned from outside jobs.

So no doubt in a flourish of openness, Stephen Ladyman will publish details on his website but I cannot understand why he doesn’t already appear to do so, particularly given earlier publicity in the press.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Somewhere quiet

contemplate Assuming this weekend is going to be a nice hot sunny one, how about a bit of quiet contemplation in Thanet’s parks.

My favourite is naturally Northdown Park, since I’ve lived within half a mile of it, most of my life.

Whilst its great to find, a bit of peace and quiet for some reason, parks don’t seem as popular as they were when I was a kid, I suppose everyone goes shopping now rather than taking relaxing walk, pity.

Friday, June 12, 2009

China Gateway a lost opportunity

Did anyone else notice the timing of the visit by the delegation from China at the proposed site of China Gateway, 5th June, rather than the 4th June which would have been an ideal day to visit.(link here for Thanet Times Story)

Had Ken Wills, whipped out his helicopter on the Thursday 4th, instead of Friday, he would have been able to fly over Isle with his guests and shown the joyous crowds of Thanetonians exercising that quant British tradition of voting or not, for a rag bag of politicians selfless, selfish, mainstream and bonkers.

At the same time perhaps, Ken Wills (CGP) or Roger Latchford (the acceptable face of Thanet’s Tories) could have made polite conversation about Tiananmen Square where twenty years earlier 2500 men and women, were murdered and up to 30,000 injured by the Chinese authorities, still these figures from the Red Cross were hastily corrected after a visit from the management.

You might feel, that reference to China’s human rights violations are as welcome as a tank in a town square, or indeed a bullet flying through the air at an unarmed democrat. Still you have a choice.

Since we live in a community influenced largely by a Christian heritage its in our nature to be tolerant and in a pragmatic business world if we can screw some advantage from Chinese business, lets do it.

Still I’m just a little worried by a few things, our drinking water, whether we the taxpayer are putting money into this scheme through Seeda (South East England Development Agency), CGP require land owned by the Taxpayer and I’m not sure KCC or Thanet are up to the job (Iceland Banks) of getting a fair price, one in ten Jobs are to be Chinese nationals, and finally once CGP have acquired all the planning consents and the land, will we see an end to the largess of local developers apparently happy to assist Thanet South Labour (£25000), and I understand more importantly some wonger to help with TDC’s Big Event in Margate.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Look under a rock or see the film

fromtheundergrowthStuck for something to do this Saturday* CORRECTION THIS IS SHOWING ON THE SAT 27TH JULY, limited budget, fancy a film, how about a horror flick well no worries, just get yourself and take your partner over to Broadstairs for 7:30 the Red Hall, 11 Grosvenor Road, Broadstairs for a free showing of “Are Refugees The Problem”.

Now I’ve probably oversold this, but anyhow its not really a horror flick in the traditional sense, its actually a documentary film produced by the Independent Media Society, showing a bit of argybargy by a handful of Thanet’s neo-nazi followers.

Apparently it was filmed back in 2000 when the National Front were the fascist party of choice, so if you want a evening of retro thuggery before Nick Griffin bought a suit and led the BNP to Brussels, then you know where to go.

Still rather than wallow in misery, watching a handful of racists, you could just look under a rock and find something equally nasty, myself I’ll probably be elsewhere either contemplating a night shift or having a beer in front of the telly.

Anyway if you would like more info contact Norman Thomas on 01843 604253


No Sandy hasn’t gone barking bonkers mad and decided to pay senior Thanet council “officers” what their worth, despite the fact his leader David Cameron, according to the Telegraph, in a future Conservative Government "will "out" quangocrats and mandarins who have been "getting rich at the taxpayer's expense" by publishing details of all public sector salaries over £150,000."

No Thanet Tories have no problems in rewarding senior council officers, even if they have to resort to slick PR tactics to try and keep it quiet, like this misleading line from a press release in April, “This saw an agreement to a pay award of 0% for the Corporate Management Team….” on a quick glance it looked as if senior officers had done the decent thing and accepted they were already on a good wage but no it later transpired the clue was in the proceeding waffle “senior staffing structure”, “excellent value for money” and the crucial “changes to basic salary scales”

Cllr. Simon Moores who chaired the General Purposes Committee that agreed the new pay scale which of course had the consequence of giving top bods as I understand inflation busting increases is now a trusted member of Sandy’s cabinet.

Back to business as an example of how to treat, fat cats, inspired by Conservative Leader, David Cameron, us here at Flaig Mansions in the private sector, have imposed a pay cut on our own Mr Puss.

Its fair to say Mr Puss is less than happy despite careful explaining that his basic pay package will remain the same “Go Cat” Duck & Rabbit instead of Tesco’s own brand(up rated last year), private medical cover “More Than” (your worth), but the bonus weekly tin of tuna is out (also Mrs has seen something on telly about tuna).

I know its harsh and unkind but as I pointed out to Mr Puss, who else would employ you! a question that our politicians ought to ask their own fat cats!

PS Is it true that one senior council officer is so efficient, that despite we’re told “taking on more responsibility” to justify a fat increase, now has a part time job with the local NHS ?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Shame all round

labourlosers I chanced upon Alastair Campbell’s Blog yesterday as a result of visiting the generally prolific Mark Nottingham’s site and following a link.

Now before I go further this bit is necessary background, 90% of the population do not follow politics in any depth myself included and its likely that most of the population get their political insights from life and popular media the Star, Sport, Sun, Emmerdale or Corrie.

Its a fact that most of us don’t write blogs, ask local bureaucrats to explain themselves or attend local meetings.

Most of us just have a blind faith, that those who make the big decisions or control our lives, actually know what their doing, give a damn and will act in a vaguely benign manner.

At this moment in time, we’ve come to one of those points in history when us the public, have, had a rude awakening, the economy is shot to pieces, were losing our jobs, the banks are as bankrupt as are our politicians.

The credit crunch has divided country between those who are trying to hold on to what they’ve got and those who haven’t got a clue.

Much of our economy is made up of the public sector, I understand in Scotland half the workforce are paid courtesy of taxpayer, so far no one in the public sector has been effected by the economic downturn least of all Gordon Brown.

Gordon Brown lost his grip on the economy, reality, and public opinion sometime ago, unfortunately his grip on to office is stronger, in what is to me, a spiteful and belligerent attempt to prove that he is capable Prime Minister which clearly he isn’t.

Alistair Campbell probably typifies Labour thinking in a posting on his blog referring to the Euro elections “those who say it was a day of shame for Britain, and for Labour, that the BNP one these seats, are right” his solution is to engage with those “stayaway voters” you wonder why they wouldn’t do this anyway.

I just wonder whether senior Labour figures are just so aloof that they haven’t thought of the blooming obvious, coming back to the fact most people don’t do politics, Labour might consider that the majority do not take kindly to losing their jobs to recent migrants and their schools and medical facilities being stretched which could explain why so many voted BNP.

Labour have drawn some comfort in the fact that in real terms BNP didn’t get more votes carefully ignoring the fact that UKIP have also made gains.

Its certainly a shame that anyone should consider voting for BNP, its a bigger shame that Labour are so aloof that they would no longer understand why ordinary people voted for a fascist party, even more a shame since as the party of government for the last eleven years, they actually engineered the situation where ordinary people felt more comfortable voting for nazi apologists than Labour.

Last nights pitiful display of loyalty by craven Labour MP’s to Gordon Brown who is trying to prove the point he’s not as bad as he clearly is, serves to confirm that Labour are finished.

Brown’s happy to take his colleagues into the wilderness and we’re going to pay the price, us the electorate delivered gift wrapped to a bunch of lightweight Tories lead by David Cameron and the BNP picking up more disillusioned voters.

Labour have yet to explain the benefits of mass migration, to British workers, until they do so they’ll lose support, I consider myself to be reasonably informed and I don’t know why a Labour Government cannot protect their own people.

Its easy for Labour MP’s to criticise those who voted BNP, as I mentioned earlier most of the population don’t get too deep in to political subtleties, they see jobs going and wages being cut and BNP fascists are offering what they want British jobs for British workers.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Ramsgate First come er ..? last, in Ramsgate Toytown council

I see in an ironic twist to the creation of the new Ramsgate Town Council, that the Ramsgate First lot, have only won a single seat, not that I’m sure, what Ramsgate Parish council is going to achieve, apart from filling a few lines of the local papers with trivia and bitching.

As no expert in these matters, I understand that the Ramsgate Parish council replaces the “Charter Trustees” who I guess are chosen on the basis of party loyalty and recommendation from the funny hand shake crowd. So that the “Trustees” could attend the odd meeting and network at various receptions.

Still its one rare high spot for local Labour politicians, since they’ve secured parity with Conservatives, both parties holding seven seats on the council.

Cllr Mike Harrison, touches on the subject with this comment “I wont even mention the Ramsgate Town Council election results other than to say that already the manoeuvring and skulduggery to be appointed Mayor has started.”

Well I’d just like suggest since Tories and Labour together have 14 councillors elected to this new council and now have something else, to keep themselves busy, on a cold winters night, it might be a mark of gratitude to offer Gerry O’Donnell the position of Mayor to the metropolis of Ramsgate, since I understand he was campaigned for this for some long time.

Still politicians are nothing if not er … selfless.


Thought for the day - BBC Radio Kent are they up to covering politics?

cooked breakfast Is this the way to cover the European Elections BBC Radio Kent’s John & Jules Breakfast programme posed the question did you vote tactically? referring to the European Elections.

It seems rather a shallow question to me, with a tendency to devalue the democratic process, perhaps a more balanced question might have been “why did you vote the way you did?”

I voted for what I believed in at the time of placing my cross as I imagine was the case for most of us.

I have been rebuked! apparently as the show progressed throughout the morning, the question I heard had gradually evolved, so what I eventually heard “Did you vote tactically?” had somehow mutated from “How did you vote and why?” both questions were open and would no doubt have elicited a more general response.

My apologies, although in mitigation I came to John & Jules BBC Radio Kent show, as a traumatised refugee from BBC Radio 4’s Today programme having been listening to John Humphrys ruthless interrogations of weak and feeble politicians.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sorry someone has to win

I was sorry to see that Clive Hart and Iris Johnson were unsuccessful in last weeks county elections but pleased to see Michael Jarvis and Chris Wells elected.

Had the vote been the other way round my sentiments would have been the same. As you might guess or not my politics are middle of the road, so its a pity that KCC will be unfettered by a strong opposition, still perhaps with a greater representation of Conservatives from the East Kent in Maidstone, perhaps we could hope to see our money  spent in the east of the county.

In local politics those who take the trouble to get involved are generally thoroughly decent people as is certainly the case for the those mentioned at top of this piece.

As an indicator I’m taking the liberty of publishing Clive Harts email (a regular reader of Bignews Margate, least that what he tells me, whenever we meet) sent to friends and colleagues, now I’m probably not fit for public office since if I’d just lost my seat my email would probably start something along the lines of “You ungrateful B……..”



Dear friend & colleague

I'm no longer a County Councillor but our election in Margate & Cliftonville Division at KCC was quite a close thing, which, given the events of last week, was quite an achievement in itself.  It's not a nice feeling at all being made to pay for others mistakes, especially when many of the MP's expense excesses were cross party and all from outside of our area.  As I told people on the doorstep throughout the elections, any of those that have taken advantage are absolutely despicable and no-one is more angry than me about their behaviour.

A big, big thank you to all who sent me good wishes before and after the event.  My wife tells me that for some time on Saturday work at her hairdressing salon was held up through a constant stream of messages arriving from concerned residents by phone and in person.  One customer, an elderly and lifelong Conservative who also turned out to vote for me, actually cried.

I was also heartened by the 2000+ voters who turned out to support both Cllr. Iris Johnston and myself in Margate & Cliftonville and if you were one of them - bless you!

However, it was business as usual on Saturday morning when I joined Linda & Doug (Cllrs. Aldred & Clark) at St. Paul's Community Centre in Cliftonville for our regular ward surgery.  It was 'straight back in the saddle' in my District role helping local residents along with my wonderful Cliftonville West team - we just love it!

Believe it or not, my own life has been made much easier and a huge load has been lifted from my shoulders.  I'm a big strong lad and I'll carry on regardless but I truly do fear for the town I love which is sadly not in such a strong position.  Margate & Cliftonville is certainly not the thriving place it should be and it really does need local people who are passionate about the place to argue it's case at every given opportunity.

Ironically 'localism' has become the new buzzword at KCC and despite our residents electing two councillors last Thursday, for the next four years, Margate & Cliftonville will not have one representative at County Hall who actually lives in our town - that truly breaks my heart.  Even the third member representing the Westbrook area (Margate West) lives in Ramsgate.

On Ramsgate, at least they got a Town Council out of the crazy events of last week.  Once again Margate & Cliftonville is the looser!

On a brighter note, I now have time for a thoroughly detailed focus on two of my other major roles:  As a ward councillor for Cliftonville West, one of the most challenging areas of Kent, and in my new position as the recently elected Thanet Labour Group Leader.  On Saturday we had our ward surgery and continued our work supporting local residents and during the coming week, after a manic month of campaigning, I will finally get to move in to my new Opposition Leaders office at TDC.


Very best wishes