Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Labour and Stephen Ladyman’s great acheivements

If you’ve not had chance yet, those of you in Thanet South, which is in my case north of where I live, will no doubt be much interested to know what Stephen Ladyman has been doing for you in recent years, well the answer is plenty, to find the detail click below and you will be able to see, the not very pretty sight of a Labour candidate, clutching at straws.

Much is made of the spending on schools and medical services new and improved, but no mention of the much increased population it has to serve.

Transport is another one of those items claimed achievements, the loopy bus, roads pfizer traffic improved and one day a dual carriage way all the way into the planet Thanet assuming the money doesn’t go to pay huge government debt after Labour lose the election.

One item mentioned by the great man was the highspeed rail link, which has improved journey times a tad, although much of the infrastructure relies on the channel tunnel rail link, and it occurs to me that currently those who help build the railway are under threat.

A press release from the RMT union from last month shows, one example that workers face an uncertain future this from March 4th talking about Balfour Beatty’s plans to slash jobs

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, said:

“The plan to slash 160 track team leaders and track workers at Balfour Beatty Rail is a massive kick in the teeth for staff who accepted a job security package from the company as part of a new national agreement on terms and conditions just three months ago.

“This attack on track workers is the latest in an on-going assault on rail jobs that make a nonsense of the government’s stated commitments to expand and upgrade the rail network and to maintain safety standards.

Its seems that one of Labours achievements, as far as I’m concerned, is how rail workers are treated as commodities, rather than the dedicated hardworking people which they are. The rail network is effectively a nationalised industry since Network Rail is state owned and initiates contract and investment so why allow contractors to treat staff like er

Anyway this will no doubt, seem like a remote issue to Ladyman and his cohorts in local Labour, however as I understand many of those effected live in Thanet and East Kent are waiting the outcome.

What to do on a day off – take a walk

I did the blog thing first yesterday, then surfed the internet, the rest of the morning, going out in the afternoon for a stroll.

I must say that since that big fire last year, Northdown Road looks about as depressing as is possible, without an earthquake or other catastrophe, not even the odd specialist food shops that open from time to time seem to improve the look of the road.

Its almost unimaginable how Cliftonville has changed since my childhood or even the last twenty years.

Taking a gander at Margate Sea front, the Turner Contemporary now dominates the area and looks quite impressive shrouded in black with scaffolding all round, I have a suspicion that the finished article may not look anywhere near as impressive once the cladding is fitted.margate gallery

This blog was born in 2006 as a result of the original Turner debacle and all the machinations of the arts wallahs, Kent council etc, its astonishing to think that this will not now open until sometime in 2011.

I took a wander into Droit House, which despite the door being open was not er open, still I did briefly get to say hello to Victoria Pomeroy, Turner Contemporary Director and I’m assuming soon to be occupier of the most expensive office in East Kent once the buildings complete, since a big chunk of the building is office space at the top of the gallery building.

Anyhow Victoria was kind enough to remind me that the Great Tracy Emin will be in town later this week to unveil her latest work, which will be a neon sign saying something like er “I’m from Margate, I never forgot I had choice and got the first train outta here” or something like that.

Still as understand the great lady will be in town on Friday if I heard Victoria correctly, taking a quick gander of her bio on Wikipedia it seems this will not be the first neon work by the esteemed artist. Just out of curiosity I wonder whether Tracy actually makes the signs herself or whether manufacture is subcontracted like that Damien Hirst bloke.

Still after that thought, on looking at twitters from Tom Betts of yourfannit, twittering about our council bunging 4 mill I think in the direction of Jimmy Godden who has done so much in this area, to buy up Dreamland land so Margate may yet revive its tacky but prosperous neon lit sea front, more work for our Tracy if the art business takes a dive.

Back to business in the next post. Finally I wonder when Turner Contemporary will get around to announcing details of its opening and please god, they have stuff that will appeal to normal people and not just arts council crazies.

PS A final finally, I just noticed I’ve been at this blogging malarkey for more than 4 years, I wonder if I make to 5 probably not.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What exactly are we apologising for?

A big kerfuffle this weekend about the Pope, with the rather juvenile suggestions made by junior Foreign Office wallahs, as to what the Pope might do, on his visit to Britain, amongst the suggestions he should launch a brand of condoms, bless a gay couple etc.

Now for me, in the world I live, this sort of suggestion would be amusing in a refreshing non-politically correct sort of way, that would make most laugh, so exactly what is the British government saying sorry for?

Yes now, the comments are in the public domain, the government has to apologise, since the Pope leads a community of mainly law abiding decent people, but here is a list of things that also need addressing, firstly how did a presumably confidential document get in the public domain?

More importantly the “humour” was based on the rather challenging assertions of the Catholic Church which clashes with the majority non religious less prejudiced attitude of your average Brit.

A sense of proportion is needed, setting aside child abusing priests, I think when worrying about the sensibilities of the Catholic Church and or the British government, both along with other “christians” have a history of mistreating children during the 1940’s, 50’s and well into the 1960’s children were removed from this country to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa & Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) without the knowledge of parents, a total of 130,000 in a reckless social policy aimed at populating the former Empire with “good, white British stock”

It took more than over 50 years for a British Prime Minster to apologise to 130,000 British citizens, many having been sent as cheap labour or to be used and abused in institutions run by “christians”.

Anyhow an apology is certainly due to the Pope but what the hell, what’s the rush, if you can wait 50 years to apologise to citizens forcibly removed from family and sent half around the world I think a priest even the Pope can hang fire for a day or two.

British hypocrisy is nothing, if not grotesque, still if you couldn’t have a laugh, you’d only cry.

The Child Migrant Trust

P.S. no apology from Bignews Margate for thinking the F.O. officials ought to be congratulated for their sense of humour, pity they don’t represent public opinion more often.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life after the election and Harmony in Europe

Hopefully the general election will see both David Cameron and Gordon Browns sidelined to History of great failures with Nick Clegg victorious but anyhow life will go on whatever the outcome, as will hopefully “Harmony in Europe”  a concert being organised by Thanet Male Voice Choir.

Details belowharmony in europe

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Introducing Lib Dem Candidate Laura Murphy

Not having the time to write my own blog tonight I have taken the liberty of lifting this posting from North Thanet Liberal Democrats candidate which is, exactly what it says it is, an Introduction of Laura Murphy and good luck to her and all other candidates in the forthcoming election.

PS I was going to detail an extraordinary conversation with a KCC functionary which was indicative of the exclusive anti-democratic attitude the main parties, anyway enough of that later.

Copied from Liberal Democrats North Thanet 1.24.24pm BST (GMT +0100) Tue 13th Apr 2010

Laura became a community campaigner when she first started as a volunteer advocate for families with special needs when her children were young. That eventually led to work with a local authority supporting families, then to running projects for the disabled to support them in finding work or training. Following that, Laura was trained to teach in an FE College before she set up her own business 6 years ago. Laura has been a trustee of a hospice charity for the last 3 years.

Laura's experience of real life, of raising a family through redundancies, fighting for education, for decent health provision, for work, ensuring elderly parents get the right support, is sorely needed in Parliament today.

She also knows what it's like trying to run a small business through difficult economic times. Laura knows that we need a vibrant local community to regenerate our town centres, provide training and employment for local residents, community support and security for our young and old.

Laura believes that it's about time the ordinary person is heard. What she's been through as a wife, mother and businesswoman has made her strong and unafraid to stand up for what is right. She wants to take that strength and use it to help other ordinary people so their voices can be heard.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Politics – should we be so cynical

Mentioning that I intend to vote Lib Dem in the General Election brings with it the inevitable, what’s the point type comments generally from I assume the jaded dinosaurs from Labservatives.

Whilst it would be totally naive, to dismiss such sentiments, it’s also dangerous and stupid to make such comments unless of coarse you happen to be happy to live in a world that never changes.

In Kent a couple of years ago, Labour was the opposition party in Kent council, last year Labour were wiped out in the county elections with the Liberal Democrats maintaining and building on their support.

Lib Dems in Kent are now the opposition at county level, challenging Tories on nonsense like Kent TV, recently putting pressure on Conservative led KCC to be more open in how they spend our money, no surprise then that when Lib Dems wanted to discuss expenses during a council meeting Tories decided to have a 90 minute lunch break instead, lets hope spendaholic Tories didn’t have to put their hands in their own pocket.

Conservatives in Kent do not like us the public knowing too much about how they govern, which is why information on the failed Kent TV the wasteful Kent Health Watch is so difficult to get hold of.

My advice to anyone is vote for what you believe or for ever you’ll end up with lame deadbeat opportunist Labour and Conservatives for ever.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kent Conservatives how can you trust them?

At a time of severe economic restraint it’s almost reassuring that Kent Council have got money to burn, on pointless PR exercises.

Some time ago I asked KCC’s press or PR department, to tell me how the council had managed to spend around £600 per enquiry on the pointless, needless and utterly wasteful Kent Health Watch advice line.

No surprise that the KCC PR wallahs took forever to reply and even less surprising that the answer was little more than the drivel that I had expected.

The NHS have in place procedures to deal with and consult on issues, that the public might have, anyway in the absence of a proper answer, I now realise that much of the money must be wasted on radio advertising as listening to Heart FM this weekend all I seem to hear is some women rattling on about blimin Kent Health Watch and in an attempt to get callers the health advice line now includes enquiries re. social care.

Maybe Paul Carter Kent Tory Leader, ought to give Health Watch a go himself, and ask whether its just him that thinks this is a proper use of public money.notmorepropoganda

Still Kent councils megabucks PR budget is never ending as the KCC Magazine has Paul Carter filling almost a page waffling on about this and that the bottom of the page is then devoted to the retiring Chief Executive as if this matters to anyone in Kent except himself and a few colleagues.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

South Thanet moves North

I was surprised to see, driving up Northdown Road, Stephen Ladyman, glaring from Labours office, I knew that the boundary had changed but now find myself surrounded by South Thanet.

Fortunately I’m in an enclave which is still North Thanet. Anyhow I’ll vote Liberal Democrat since I believe they represent traditional of values of equality, decency and fair play unlike Labour and the Conservatives who look after their own, which these days happens to be bankers businessmen and public sector.

For more information Michael Child has a map of the new Thanet South click here.

Conservaties Big Campaign idea “Mrs Cameron’s day out”

Blimey, I always viewed the current crop of Tories as a lightweight bunch of chancers, and a quick visit to the Conservatives website does nothing to change that idea, as the front page is dominated by Mrs Cameron who as far as I know is no more a politician than my own Mrs Me.

Also heavy weight Michael Caine is featured on the site’s front page, whom appeared to be somewhat  less than clear with his political endorsement earlier this last week.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Southeasten offer High speed trains with traditional service

Southeastern railways high speed service is seen as a great benefit to the local area, which I'm sure it is, fans include local blogger and professional taxpayer funded Labour politician Mark Nottingham and Conservative Cllr. Chris Wells, so a few weeks ago I thought I'd give it a go, unfortunately when I checked, there happened to be a bus replacement service from Ramsgate to Ashford thus making the journey, the typical weekend train journey we all know and detest but no problem I just travelled at a later date.

Subsequently I have travelled on a weekend, when Network Rail and South eastern railways have managed to run a normal on time service, which though not perfect is an improvement on existing routes. Still it's unfortunate that money was not spent on new track allowing high speeds on the entire route.

Southeastern railways, appear have improved standards of service despite charging a premium, to travel on the high speed Train. I understand that passengers were today treated to the usual railway levels of service, this morning, when high speed trains were canceled and replaced with smelly old buses as Southeastern railways were terminating trains at Ebbsfleet but decided not to inform their customers until they were stuck.

Had Southeastern informed customers at Ashford for instance high-speed trains would become no-speed trains at Ebbsfleet, customers could have changed trains been got into London earlier, apparently an announcement to passengers that there would be a 10 minute delay at Ebbsfleet was followed sometime later by the conductor/ticket collector walking up the train and advising customers they would have to get off and on to a bus.

It seems to me that rail operators etc have no idea of how to treat customers, had Southeastern any customer skills, they would have informed travellers at the start of the journey, who could have made alternative arrangements, but no, even in 2010 with the private business sector rail companies couldn’t careless since they still get paid fat subsidies just like the state owned establishments of the past.

You would think that Southeastern having failed to deliver passengers on time or anything like it would instantly refund customers, a check with the “Customer Services” call centre (Tonbridge) reveals what I refer to as the “far queue mentality” in which the customer is always wrong or at least has to jump through hoops to get any recompense, so those who have been short-changed will apparently have to write to the company.

Finally the trains built by Japanese firm Hitachi are brilliant unfortunately British managed rail companies are not.