Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crisis in Local Democracy?

Just thought I'd copy you in to this interesting event at Canterbury Christ Church University, since many readers of Thanet blogs have an interest in local politics, as you might be aware I have some passionate views on local news media, particularly where politics is concerned.

Surprisingly I've been asked to speak, I'd tell you more but I'm hastily cobbling together a few words to say, I think I may have to delve deep into the Bignews archives, other bods invited see details below:

'Crisis in Local Democracy?' Click for details

The media and public opinion in Kent politics

Public debate with a panel of local politicians and journalists. Part of the 'Making Politics Matter' series jointly organised by the Department of Applied Social Sciences and Department of Media.

The event will explore a number of themes relating to the relationship between local democracy, local politics and local media.

At the moment the running programme is:

- 6:30-7:00pm - arrival, refreshments
- Welcome, background to debate, introductions - Agnes Gulyas (10 min)

- Graham Gibbens (10min)
- Leo Whitlock (10min)
- Maureen Tomison (10min)

- Short questions break (max 2 questions)

- Paul Stannard (10min)
- Guy Voizey (10min)
- Tony Flaig (10min)
- Mike Eddy (10 min)
- short break for drinks/coffee
- Debate

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is it just me? – what a squalid world of news

I’m probably one of the few who feels a little uneasy having glanced at the News of the Worlds big story “Fergie ‘sells’ Andy for £500K”

As I say, I glanced, not wishing to read the gory details, I work weekends, so have limited time to scan the papers but I assume if this story goes to News of the World’s usual format, journalist of the highest integrity, using fake identities, will have stuffed video cameras’ in some plush hotel room, whilst waving loads of wonger and encouraging the victim, sorry wrongdoer, to agree to some ludicrous proposal.

I’m no apologist for royals, ex or otherwise but Sarah Ferguson, has never struck me, as the most shrewd, or for that matter sharpest, just a sort of upper class gung ho lady trying to get by, like the rest of us. Perhaps a cheap shot, an easy target and no doubt a nice story for New of the World journalist Mazher Mahmood who in the past I understand has reported on proper bad scoundrels.

Still we can trust the News of the World’s integrity can’t we? still it’s extraordinary what outrageous porkies their rivals come up with. Honest press

More power to KCC could harm Margate regeneration

This new world of political realism may not be all good, clearly the note left by one departing minister making a swift exit from government shows the depth of the continuing crisis which went something like "the moneys all been ****ed up the wall, enjoy !"

Apparently one of the new governments ideas is to give more power down to local authorities like our very own Kent council, and if the Kent on Sundays report is anything to go by Paul Carter KCC's Tory leader is looking forward to the prospect.

One method by which KCC will gain more power will be the winding up of organisations like the South East Development Agency and this is where it might effect us in Margate.

Kent council over the years has done little to benefit East Kent, preferring to spend most of it's money in and around Maidstone, much of the regeneration money coming from SEDA and I for one get the impression that our "County Tories" feel that they are doing us a favour when they spend our money in Thanet.

Maybe Paul Carters Tories will have been inspired by efforts of David Cameron and given up on the harebrained schemes of recent years, and maybe not.

Test post

Just playing with the technology of my new gizmo phone

Friday, May 21, 2010

Phew it's hot !

Just ignore this particular posting, thought I'd test my new gizmo phone,still it is hot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Coalition should we be so cynical?

Probably if you come from that majority whom connect or feel they belong to either Labour or Conservative clans.

Still for that not inconsiderable minority of Liberal Democratic sympathisers a quick scan through the Government's plans, gives some hope that Cameron and Clegg might be the real deal and have come up with a new kind of politics.

Anyhow if you feel the need to scrutinise the Governments Plans do click here, I’d waffle on a bit more, however rather than have Murdoch, and all those media muppets interpret the programme for government I might wade through the document myself and form my own opinion.

At least I have sorted my bed time reading for a day or two, however one striking impression I have gained is how journalists seem completely p*ssed off with consensus type politics and appear to be trying to worry up more descent than actually exists.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Support your local beach

As requested I’m passing on this simple message from Margate Renewal Partnership.

Hello all

Cadbury Flake 99 Great British Beach Awards

Please click on the link below and vote for Margate as the Best Beach in Britain. It only takes a minute and we need your votes. We would be grateful if you could please forward this to as many people as you can, especially those that share our aspirations for Margate. Thanks.

Many thanks again.

Best wishes

To the vote you have to follow an animated Link on the Cadbury website(kite).

Suggested reading for the coalition confused

It seems to me that many out in the real world are a tad er unsettled and confused by the Lib-Conservative government to me its simple, two party leaders have found mutual advantage in doing a deal and we the people are the beneficiaries.

Anyway I recommend that you take a gander at this article by Charlie Brooker in Guardian, it may not help but will articulate what many probably feel. Anyway enjoy!thats it

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Graffiti is not what it used to be

Spotted this image on the way home tonight, well actually I have seen it quite a few times, thought I’d share it. The wonders of picture phones.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thought for the day - Labour didn't notice the world move on

Just a quick reflection on our new political landscape.

It seems to me that the public have moved on from swallowing wholesale lies foisted upon them by politicians and well orchestrated media campaigns particularly that of Murdoch’s journalists.

Despite most of the British press backing David Cameron, using it's influence, to persuade us that nothing else would save us but  an overwhelming conservative majority in the house of commons, its clear the public weren't buying it.

Nick Clegg took the high moral ground standing firmly on a platform of reality and consensus announcing before the election that he would be giving first dibs to the party with the largest in the event of a hung or balanced outcome.

David Cameron have Nick Clegg, have agreed what to me, is a solid deal, interestingly the nations journalist seem a tad miffed at events and seem to be sparring no effort to dig up some discord, however the reality seems that both Cameron & Clegg are making the most of what the electorate has allowed, and seem to be doing a good job.

Labour people don’t get it, be it, the state of the economy, the fact they lost, the fact that Tory and Lib Dems have combined to give us stability based on consensus. Maybe 13 years of pure arrogance, ignoring your core voters, the utter contempt for grass roots, illustrated by the leader Gordon Brown.

I suspect at the end of the day senior Labour party wallahs just don’t have the stomach to face the wreckage of New Labour preferring to snipe from the sidelines .

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Something for the weekend – Good Food

Its not often I go out to eat and when I do as a rule, I confine myself to pubs and to be honest most offer reasonably fare but standardised quality, however having the time to enjoy a meal, when Mrs Me suggested mundane pub grub, I balked.

Being out of the habit of dinning out, I suggested that we headed toward Ramsgate, after drifting up from the Harbour, we then drifted back and up the hill, settling on the Bon Appetit.

I have to say that the food was superb, at the Bon Appetit and the service efficient, unobtrusive and welcoming, the ever present “is everything OK” type question, was for once genuine, timely and welcome (not something I ever thought I’d say) and the answer an effusive “excellent”.

Ramsgate’s future as a leisure destination is certainly enhanced by eateries like this, Ramsgate is establishing itself as a desirable destination, and with the faster train connections underpinning Ramsgate's growing popularity, hopefully this trend will be maintained.smugblogger

Still as I pondered the Harbour view I also thought about the report in the Isle of Thanet Gazette, suggesting the Harbour is about to be enhanced (with a sort of latter-day Crystal Palace type construction) more on this sometime later (still it seems that the council have already shmoozed a few local worthies), anyway enjoy the view before TDC flog off the Harbour, in order to fix something which isn’t broken Sandy’s last great initiative maybe.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Cameron stakes his claim-and change in Thanet South

Cameron this afternoon, staked his claim as a leader of a minority government, claiming the authority of a larger share of the vote, offering not a lot, to Lib Dems but mentioning tackling things together fixing a broken political system not sure whether that comes after sorting broken Britain.

Its clearly that not surprisingly that David Cameron expects to be Prime Minister some time soon, despite Gordon Brown’s selflessly running Britain in the mean time.

ready to compromise In Thanet Tom Betts of Yourthanet has posted up his interviews (from earlier this morning) with Thanet South winner Laura Sandys

and Stephen Ladyman former MP

On his own and cluching at Straws

Gordon Brown a makes dramatic entrance, outside No. 10 earlier at 1:40 this afternoon, acting in a Prime Ministerly fashion as you will imagine totally selflessly with a brief mention of his sudden conversion, over proportional representation. In no way is Brown clutching a straws and desparate.cluching at straws

A rather shabby performance when measured, against Nick Clegg’s more statesman like reiteration of his intention of respecting the morality of dealing, as a preference with the Party with the most MP’s and votes.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Britain the emerging banana republic

Watching the BBC coverage of the election it seems that early reports are showing that many people have been unable to register their vote with reports of voters being turned away.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that voters are regularly disregarded with the less than democratic first past the post system.

Still its reassuring that the beeb have been able to draw on political heavy weights like Bruce Forsythe,Mariella Frostrup and Ester Rantzen

Apparently Nick Clegg has gone to apologise to voters in Sheffield about the voting problems, bit like the south African election some years ago,

BBC voting story

When Blogging gets ugly

I suggest those of a nervous disposition turn away now. It seems that fellow blogger ECR is only too happy to take the occasional side swipe, has now responded to comments I placed on his site, in following manner, after removing them.whenblogginturnsuglyagain No threat implied I take it. Does he mean me?

I have emailed the great man and made it clear that in future when he makes derogatory comments using my name I will respond in an equally courteous manner.

ECR sideswipe

Good Luck to Liberal Democrats in Thanet Peter Bucklitsch & Laura Murphy

The election campaign is now over, all that remains, is for us punters to go (if you haven't already) and register our votes, in my case after many years weighting up the political parties, what they offer in terms of policy and more importantly treat the electorate, I've settled with Liberal Democrats.
As with most elections, the subject of just what your vote is worth, is up for discussion and the cynical suggestion, is often made and true up to a point, that in most constituencies, if you don't vote for the incumbent, your vote is wasted.

Still that is view perpetuated by I suspect Labour and Tories, whom have done quite well over the years taking turns at governing.
Still the idea that Conservatives and Labour have the answers to governing this country, in perpetuity is clearly nonsense and one reason as to whether you should vote Liberal Democrat might be the steady growth in MP's in the last few years, which is process likely to continue with this election.

Before Stephen Ladyman got himself elected South Thanet, it would have been viewed as an impenetrable Conservative seat, although the fact that Jonathan Aitken was under a bit of a cloud and eventually being done for telling porkies (perjury and perverting the course of justice) might have helped, cynics would have said it was impossible.
It's strange that nobody every criticises the loyalty of Football fans, Mrs Me has been a life long supporter of Chelsea, and from what I can tell, they've had a few crap years, so I say don't be put off voting for an ideal rather than being pragmatic things can improve.

Anyway enjoy the outcome, probably the best outcome will be a "balanced" Parliament or "hung" as Tories and Labour like to call both Tory and Labour alike have no scruples about governing the country with about a third of the electorate voting for them.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Some positives for Thanet

Obviously the economic forecast is not the best and the weather outside is cooler than you like, but life goes on, even after P45’s have been dished out in the election tomorrow to some much deserving MP’s.

Here in Margate Tracy Emin unveiled here latest work, that neon sign, which could have been er …. but which complements Droit House and I’ve been listening to the recently launched local radio station Academy FM (107.8), which plays good music with not as many interruptions as other stations.

academy FM Click here for the internet link

My thoughts on the election campaign so far? Who is forming your opinion?

murdoch This election campaign, has for me highlighted the way in which the media in this country operates when reporting news, on the one hand radio and TV tend to report facts in a largely unbiased way, whereas most of the popular British press is nothing if not biased in the way it reports political issues.

Because the broadcast media, is regulated, the elections leadership debates, have given the British people, a fair chance to assess, what our politicians actually stand for, which not surprisingly has given the Liberal Democrats a big boost as both Cameron and Brown did what they always do, which was to come out with meaningless platitudes, delivered with the high-handedness, which both Tory and Labour politicians display, as if, they have a god given right to rule this country in perpetuity, Nick Clegg answered the questions put to him with authority and clarity without the arrogance of his rivals.

Reading the "Murdoch Press" in particular the Sun, News of the world, objectivity, fairness and facts seem to fly out the window, back in 1997 or even prior Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch met and thereafter until recent times the Sun, News of the world has backed the Labour party, and it is worth noting during that time, Sky TV appears to have continued, to have a monopoly on “paid for” satellite broadcasts in this country. Anyhow currently Murdoch papers are pushing David Cameron for all he's worth, its almost amusing to read some Murdoch journalists, as they "sing for their supper" as are the Tory promoting celebrity political analysts, like Lord Lloyd Webber (currently doing all right with your BBC promoting his musicals) and this morning Simon Cowell, along with 16 page three girls who should the conservatives not win on Thursday, will immediately be outlawed.

Labour are certainly nothing if not desperate at the moment, with current ministers promoting the idea of tactical voting, which in these parts means not voting for Stephen Ladyman who hasn't got a chance anyway and swapping to the liberal democrats, and not voting for veteran Rodger Gale.

Anyway I suggest you vote with your gut feeling, personally if I vote conservative I would be voting for rich tax dodging businessman, in Labour's case to vote for them, means you are supporting a bloated privileged public sector and perpetuating a welfare culture, I'll certainly prefer to keep to my principles for this reason "The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

Do please vote.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Overheard conversations - Its only rock and roll

Sitting in some cafe on Sunday up in London alone on lunch, chewing on apple pie and slurping on coffee, I listened into the conversations around me, its clear that the election isn’t the preoccupation of everybody, although outside on the Caledonian road there is a rash of “Lib Dem Winning here” posters and briefly a rather cute crayoned version “my mums winning here” in the same style.

I tune in on one conversation, some middle-aged bloke wittering on about where are today's rock giants and note that the younger companions meet this thought with apathy.

Still this thought sort of resonates with me, although I generally listen to a bit of everything, I always come back to the Stones, Kinks, the Who.

My perception is clouded by age and changing priorities and of coarse there are no definitive answers, as to who’s best, greatest and in 30 years time some 50 year old will no doubt making similar statements about musicians of today who have not been topped.

Still much of yesterday I spent listening to the Who and came up with this thought are there any characters as remarkable as say Keith Moon the Who’s drummer until his death in 1978, I looked up his Wikipedia entry and have to say its one of the more entertain biographies, how many of todays rock stars would feel the need to return to a hotel room because they forgot to throw the TV out the window or blow up the toilet.

Anyhow I’ve a few days off, so I’ll post a bit more. My contact with this current election has been superficial, I’ve caught the Leadership debate, Cameron appearing smarmy (in my view) with meaningless vote for change claptrap, similarly the wretched (my view) Mandelson, and the joy of his presentation being interrupted by a car crash with the likes of Brown, Harman & Darling no doubt thinking can there campaign get any worse lets hope so.

Gordon Brown was a treat showing exactly how they (Labour) think of us proles, and well done to the Lady involved in bigot gate for not playing the game and endorsing Brown himself who seems to me bigoted and not afraid to manipulate the immigration question himself as in the last Leadership debate.

I will vote Liberal, because they are the only party that believe in equality and fairness.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Tracy how tasteful

Have to say I was pleasantly surprised, at Tracy Emin's neon creation, still this the view of a white van man, as I pulled up in the Transit for a quick gander on the way home after building railways in North London.

I didn't actually get out the van since after a days work, I don't have the time, I'm surprised to say that this actually fits quite well, and find the girly pink colour, subtlety complements Droit House.