Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grim picture as Margate's dependency is highlighted

Yesterday The Sun made a big issue of the countries hotspots of welfare dependency, a grim league table with Margate rolling in at Number 7, obviously I'm not placed to comment with any authority as my Labour buddies will be only to happy to remind you.

With no wish to be kind to either Labour or Tories I'll give you my highly inaccurate thoughts and background, firstly the "welfare state" as a concept first explained to me, when I was a kid,  was set up as a safety net for those who through no fault lost their jobs or were incapable and in need of help along with a health service, social services and education for all.

That was the ideal sold in the 60's and 70's, since then both the Tories and Labour have succeeded in twisting purpose, for their own ideological reasons, Mrs Thatcher's regime succeeded, when it set out to destroy manufacturing, along with mining industry and with no regard to society, happy to discard whole communities.  Part of the price for destroying industry, was feeding just enough money, to those set aside to keep them inline, so the welfare system was re-engineered so that money was diverted to sick benefits rather than unemployment benefits, the safety net idea started to disappeared whereby benefits had been a temporary measure for those in need between jobs for example. The damage done by Thatcher was of such scale that many communities have never recovered.

Labour came back to power in 1997, they had a mandate, they had good will, they seemed to have, a commonsense approach, they would reform, well bollix!  One of the first measures was to take the brakes off the banks and with in the first two weeks Labour took away perhaps the most important of universal benefits that of a right to a free education,  David Blunkett couldn't sign up to quick enough to the abolition of free university education, which is why kids with talent could well face milestones around their necks of a hundred grand, well done Labour!. In fact Labours recent time in office was characterised by MP's filling their boots at your expense, reforms were the last thing on their minds and that of their leaders, remember they're still doing alright and for some with speaking engagements and book deals, happy days!.

Apologies for the last couple of paragraphs not really relevant, but a general background, right how did Margate get in such a state, well no doubt a change in social habits and peoples expectations, tourism certainly is big factor in Margate's decline but so possibly is the lack of manufacturing a significant amount being transferred to china, as even the miserly minimum wage is too much for some business.

Still the biggest blows to Margate economy have been the creation of the Westwood retail parks and the uncontested destruction of Dreamland Amusement park of which Labour and Conservative council administrations are to blame.

Now the present, in a few months the Turner Contemporary is due to open, whether this is a success, depends much on what is shown there and in all honesty what we've seen so far at the M&S building has been dire, so fingers crossed they don't choose a load of old **** , still this time next year, we will know if comparisons with Bilbao, and St. Ives stand up. Dreamland Museum Theme park ( a world first) might just open in two years time. Whether this will result in jobs and money sloshing around town is debatable.

So what of Margate's dependency culture, what realistic chances, are there of people moving from dependency, just where are jobs to come from short term, last year looking to work closer to home, I found that unlike ten years ago, you cannot just ring up an agency and find yourself working the next day.  Labour having expanded the workforce, rather than tackle welfare dependency, which has created local circumstances, where the working population has increased dragging down wages and excluding local people at the same time.

I am sure that the legacy of both Labour and the Conservatives will haunt Margate and Thanet for many a year, and while the conservatives are right to tackle those who've bludged off taxpayers for years, I wonder what can be achieved and at what cost to those, who are now trapped in the dependency culture, still the worst aspect of this is the immoral bleatings of the Labour party who have a "nothing to do with us" attitude. Still no surprise for a party lead by a man who can't commit to marry his partner or having his name on his sons birth certificate.

Its my belief that local politicians are both weak and negligent in representing this area, this area contributes millions to Kent County Council and yet only the minimum spend is made back here in Margate and Thanet its about time money spent in the West of the county Maidstone, West Malling etc got spread over to these parts, it is our money.


  1. Social evils, whatever the original cause, require goodwill all round to resolve and too many people I feel are too content to let the present system drag on.

    Today, at a Thanet cash point, I was approached by a young man having two Staffordshire bull terrier type dogs on a lead, each with heavily studded collars and I was given some story about needing £2 more to buy fish and chips. He was casually but not poorly dressed and neither he or his dogs looked malnourished. I declined to assist.

    After coming out of the bank, I saw an elderly man handing out some money to him and then a little while later I saw chummy again now approaching a couple at a bus stop.

    When I was young, beggars were almost unheard of in UK and those few that were around really looked like they needed help. Now we have the apparently well heeled, complete with dogs in smart collars, scrounging despite, or maybe because of, the welfare state.

    Would seem we have created a class of people without either pride or shame who are more than happy to live of the rest of us in anyway they can. Solutions are beyond me and, I suspect, most politicians at all levels.

  2. Well Said!! Margate is 7th in the country for state dependance. And the population is transient.If the current Gov't reduces benefit, then the town will be alot poorer! Tdc has alot to answer for letting properties being converted to bedsits etc lack of vision for the High street, Art gallery...waste of money. A thorpe park at Dreamland would put the town back on the map and create a future for the town for torism and local people. Buiding a new Tesco is so negative for the High Street. Middle class people shun Margate, except for Primark and Specsavers, we need to encourage them back. Morrisons has failed to do this as is the only supermarket in Thanet to impose parking charges...due to Council lease. Mill lane c/park just full of free Council ticket holders restricting access to the High St.

  3. Tony, if you think that KCC spends an unfair amount of our cash in West Kent then the scrapping of SEEDA by this government could have a detrimental affect on East Kent. If KCC gets its way it will gets its hand on the SEEDA cash and guess where it will be spent?

    You could advcoate that two unitary councils are set up for Kent and then East Kent would get its fair share of the cash. But this government has just scrapped plans for such councils to be set up in Exeter, Norwich and Suffolk.
    Seems like the coalition is working against East Kent residents.

  4. It's all by design "smoke and mirrors" run by the the 'rolled-up trouserleg brigade'

    It really doesnt matter which overpaid mp/councillor gets in
    it just happens to be the CON-DEM party's turn to muck things up.

  5. I guess you are unaware of the Margate Task Force or the Margate Renewal Partnership.

    The Margate Task Force is developing radical new ways for public agencies and the community to work together to tackle the difficult issues facing Margate Central and Cliftonville West. It is one strand of the Kent Total Place pilot, a government initiative and one of 13 Total Place pilot areas nationwide.

    Kent has many areas of deprivation Tony - not just in EK. Infact West Malling (as you specifically mentioned it) may have one of the richest population areas but it also has one of THE poorest in Kent / UK.
    Thought you might just like to be better informed.

  6. Much of Margate's welfare problems have been imported. I can remember the "dole by the Sea" and a fast buck being made by some people turning our failing holiday trade into bedsit land. Admitedly we always had a seasonal problem with unemployment but not the present economic and social problems. My big concern is that it will be made considerably worse by the policy of capping benefits (which include housing benefit). This will prevent people on benefits being able to afford to live in London and other Cities. So where do they go? To places like Thanet where affordable accommodation is available. Politicians should realise that their actions always have consequences.

  7. Tony, the Liberal Demcrat lot have to take their fair share of the blame, when in joint control of KCC with Labour they made a right 'pigs ear' of the job!!!

  8. Ken I am told you're an ex Labour man yourself so I would presume you would know and perhaps have been part of that pigs ear, prior to joining the mishmash and dogs breakfast that is the Thanet Conservative group. ;-)

  9. Tony,
    the Labour group at the time were on a par with the lib dems...useless.... I was an FBU official at the time,, it was so much easier dealing with a conservative group... at least they spoke realism!!!

  10. Did the KCC under Lab/Lib loose £50,000,000, spend £6,000,000 on self publicity, spend £2,000,000 on an Internet project that nobody watched, wasted £17,000,000 on reorganising the highways depots with no road improvements, spent £600,000 on duplicting existing heath phone lines at a cost of £600 per call? And finally overpaid top managers at a level that some front line staff would take ten years to earn.

  11. A fairly topsy turvy history then Ken a one time Labour bod now Tory, Union Activist to Conservative er functionary.

    I suppose the FBU has never held back on doing what's necessary to get its way, and as I suspect dealing with Conservatives would have been easy, as here in Kent they role over at every opportunity, just look at the incompetence of your current party, losing 50 mil, paying needless fat bonuses to KCC top nobs, Kent TV, Jollies to USA, luxury dinners, the waste just keeps going.