Wednesday, February 24, 2010

YOU DID WHAT - another Kent Police Embarassment

Kent Police just like so much of the Kent public sector seems more concerned about PR than offering a proper service.

Kent Police is an occasional source of embarrassment to the people of Kent, which this time around is due to news that an Assistant Chief Constable (I believe there is more than one) has got round to apologising to DJ Alioune Haynes, four long years since colleagues had presumably decided to rough up the advisor who’d been helping the police having given several diversity talks to Kent police the month before.bouttime

Kent police are currently running a rather slick marketing programme, “you said, we did”, well I asked if Chief Constable Mike Fuller could apologise over the illegal activities of Kent police, at the Climate Change camp protest, as far as I know he didn’t and I assume he’s unlikely to.

Perhaps Kent Police authority could apologise instead or at least ask Mike Fuller assuming he hasn’t yet left for his new job at the CPS.

Anyway a fresh question, could Kent police explain why the two police officers involved in the incident looks to have been a racially motivated have not been disciplined or preferably sacked.

Most police in Kent are professional, and perhaps their job would be easier if the top management were quicker to resolve embarrassing mistakes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thanks but no thanks Gordan

Gordon Brown’s suggestion that us punters take a second look at Labour, isn’t, necessarily the best idea, frankly I’d rather not, having read about accusations of bullying etc.

I already felt that this week’s slogan from Gordon Brown rang hollow, “a future fair for all”, since the past few years have been nothing of the sort.

I and co-workers have seen during Labours rule a massive slide in earnings, jobs routinely taken over by essential workers from Lithuania to Albania whilst experienced people sit at home.

For some reason Labour have sold out manual workers having done nothing to protect employment, unlike France or Germany, so does this mean that the trend will be extended to the public sector workers so that they can either lose their jobs or see income slashed as in the construction industry typically by anything from 30 to 50 %.

Labour in the main represent the educated middle class so its no surprise that they haven’t a clue of just how appalling they’ve been, just imagine how quickly Labour would have reacted if it were their own, local government functionaries, teachers etc were losing jobs en masse to migrants.

Anyway things are looking blimin grim for all of us right now, whether anyone has the balls to sort out public finances certainly not Labour and since it looks as if Gordon Brown lacks the social skills with his own staff see this story which claims his own staff have had to contact an anti-bullying helpline its clear that he’s not going to be taking any second look at his own performance so why should we.

Its strange but I never thought I’d hold the same contempt that I had for Mrs Thatchers government but maybe power really does corrupt and Labour seems every bit as contemptible having more than its fair share of liars, fraudsters and law breakers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kent Chief Exec – In the papers once again

Peter Gilroy Kent’s Chief Exec once again gets a mention in the national press (todays Telegraph 20/2/10), unfortunately not for his prowess as an administrator or manager but as you might expect for the thumping great big pay off of £200,000 arranged by Conservatives at Kent council.

For my money and your money, I cannot see the point of local authorities paying out fat bonuses for retiring executives, the idea is often put to us taxpayers that people like Peter Gilroy are constantly being offered large sums to go elsewhere, if this is the case its quite simple to deal with, when top bods are taken on just make it part of the contract that a long notice period has to be given or compensation for the employer which ultimately is the taxpayer.

Recently Leader of Kent council Paul Carter (Cons)was upset that this information had been put in the public domain, it will be interesting if he will indulge in yet another outburst against a free press, I do hope so, it shows just what sort of people are running Kent council.

Its my feeling that Kent’s Tories are very much against free speech and I have yet to be convinced otherwise, it really is time that Cameron’s team sorted out Paul Carters cronies.

I think it unlikely that Paul Carter will embarrass Kent residents with an attack on the Telegraph but you never know! I do wish Paul Carter and his mates would get it into their heads that Kent Council is here to serve the people of Kent, and realise that it is not a bloody business or a private Tory play thing but a provider of public services.

For Background on Paul Carters support of the local press or rather lack of it click here, also note that his outburst was apparently later withdrawn

Thursday, February 18, 2010

History rewritten by the Hart’s or is Mark Nottingham’s no longer Labour party member

Just taking a gander at some Labour propaganda stuffed through the door earlier today, in the Dane Valley area, a couple things struck me first the rather self important style, not quite sure where Cllr Sandra Hart would get that from, perhaps Cllr. Clive Hart, could help on that, secondly the apparent rewriting of history.

Take this from Sandra “I’m delighted to see that (as per my request) the former eyesore site at the lower end of Millmead Road has now been cleared.” no mention that residents and other candidates including Bill Furness Libdem in the recent by election also made strong representations and probably well before Sandra.

Sandra also gives the impression that Cllr Iris Johnson was the only one to campaign to save Northdown House from Thanet council’s asset disposal, (if Sandra’s on the case she might like to consider that the adjacent coach house appears to be at risk), I and others also campaigned in our own way not something Sandra seems aware of, no surprise there. Click here for the posts on Northdown House

Clive Hart has this to my mind, rather questionable assertion, referring to the Dane Valley by-election “We fought a very clean fight with no mud-slinging whatsoever… Yeah righto Clive. just what was this posting on Mark Nottinghams blog Cat got your tongue, or has Mark Nottingham resigned the Labour whip? (see also my earlier posting)what this then

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A dignified cross party consensus on Mayor Ted (Ex Conservative) unlikely

Sometimes all a politician has is his dignity, when faced with adversity, it seemed that last week Ted Watt-Ruffel had faced up to his culpability in negligent treatment of a family pet, since then I’m not entirely sure that he’s is going do what many would expect, yes we know he’s stepping down from his post as Margate Mayor and no longer part of the Tory group on Thanet District council, but shouldn’t he also resign from the district council, I for one object to being represented Cllr convicted of neglecting animals.

Someone who is always dignified is Labour TDC leader Clive Hart who I think alludes to the Ted situation with this comment “Trustees are in 'something of a pickle' following recent developments” in a message sent to Margate Charter Trustees.

The full message rather emotional and histrionic if you ask me, would indicate it’s unlikely for a meeting  of minds with Labour or Tory bods, anyway for your reference and enlightenment do engross yourself in the full text:

Dear Charter Trustees

I'm afraid I can't make tonight's meeting - I have an important TDC Planning Committee to prepare for and then attend.

However, I understand Margate Charter Trustees are in 'something of a pickle' following recent developments.  I would argue strongly that what has happened recently is only the latest in a long line of appalling events that I have consistantly warned you all of, time and time again.

All was reasonably OK at the Margate Charter Trustees until my good friend and colleague Cllr. Doug Clark was democratically chosen as Mayor by the members.  Despite winning the vote at the Mayor's request meeting and receiving well deserved praise, from the moment he was elected, some of those who didn't really agree with the majority decision made his year as Mayor an absolute misery for him presonally.  Doug being the absolute gentleman he is, tried extremely hard to ignore the vendetta against him but all of us witnessed the seriously detramental effect it had on his health (at one point even collapsing at full council).  Indeed, the nasty and spiteful vendetta has continued to this very day and consequently Doug has sadly not fully recovered even now.

I further warned Trustees not to go ahead with a 'Kangaroo court' where the vendetta mentioned was taken to new heights of absurdity, but the vendetta continued and the 'Kangaroo court' went ahead confirming my worst concerns about the organisation and selfish, nasty, motives of several Trustees.

Fact is, though I regularly attend civic events, dress smartly and respectfully and behave decently and respectfully, I'm afraid I cannot say that all other Trustees have always done the same.  I have witnessed a Trustee, in full robes, so 'leglessly intoxicated' that they were hardly able to stand.

I stopped attending your formal (and I must say - over-secretive) meetings after I was personally and disgustingly verbally abused, goaded and threatened at one of the Charter Trustees own civic events at the Winter Gardens a couple of years ago.  The Trustee who behaved so badly also threatened the elderly Mayor and used appalling language in front of my wife (who now finds herself as a Trustee*) for which he has never apologised.

I simply turned and walked away in disgust, but in a desperate attempt to cover up his own appalling behaviour the Trustee concerned then made outrageous allegations to the Police about those of us who were the victims of his disgusting outburst - all later proved to be utterly spureous.

Even worse, when another upstanding Charter Trustee informed the offending Trustee that his outburst was totally unacceptable and that he was therefore going to report him, that very brave Trustee was called a 'gutless bastard' and a series of attempts were made to also make him appear a liar.

Now the Trustees find themselves in one hell of a mess because of further repeatedly poor judgements.  I believe your chosen Mayor, who has now pleaded guilty to two charges of animal cruelty, actually oversaw the 'Knagaroo court' I refered to earlier.  I know he, like some others, was simply a puppet, but what goes around comes around.

I'm sorry I can't be there today - but I do sicerely hope you can start to clear up this whole appalling mess!

Kind regards


(Cllr Clive Hart)  *incidently, when my wife became a Charter Trustee just a few weeks ago, she received a very rude welcome from another Trustee for which he has never apologised either.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cameron’s Election Liability - Kent’s PR Health Watch snow job

As many of my readers will be aware from time to time, here at Bignews Margate we like to spotlight some of Kent Tories more er superfluous money wasting schemes, one such is KCC’s Health Watch which has hit all the buttons as far as Tory members and officers are concerned.

Most will agree its pointless, little known, incredibly expensive, overlaps professional run services, has no popular public backing and of course just like the recently debunked and now thankfully defunct Kent TV is rarely known of outside of KCC’s establishment.

By a snow job I mean of coarse, the way KCC press bods package info, here is a perfect example, I asked Kent council’s press wallahs first by phone and then emailed “I wonder if you could please either get me information or point me in the right direction as to how Kent council can a spend a budget of £300,000 pounds to process around 500 calls made to its Healthwatch help line. (excuse the typo I’m sure they knew what I meant).

Anyway a week rolled away and a few more reminders, then I got sent this bit of PR or maybe waffle, that didn’t answer the question how did they spend (or even waste the money) 300 grand on the Health Watch scheme.

KCC Cabinet Member for Public Health Alan Marsh said: "Kent Health Watch is our safety net and was set up to cost 1p per family per week and we have worked well within the allocated budget.
"I believe it is a small price to pay for the reassurance that any time of the day or night, every day of the year you can call and speak to a real person about any worries you have about health or social care.
"Kent Health Watch was set up after the c.difficile outbreak in Maidstone Hospital to stop tragic headlines like that appearing in our county again.
"Is there an equivalent to Kent Health Watch and are they open 24/7, 365 days of the year? There is no other scheme like it and that is why we've attracted national recognition. In its entirety, Kent Health Watch has been adopted by the shadow minister for health as the Conservative Party will roll out the scheme country-wide should they win the election.
"The battle to improve patient care for the people of Kent is what drives us and Kent Health Watch is a powerful weapon in our armoury. "

(Nice reference to Conservative party just what you like to see on publically funded press releases)

Kent Council spends millions of pounds on pointless PR, advertising and for little while longer “TV” lets hope David Cameron sorts out this ego massaging waste.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Brilliant news for Kent

Flybe has announced a new daily service connecting Kent International (Manston), to Edinburgh brilliant.

“Tickets are on sale now at from £24.99 one way including taxes and charges for travel effective May 27th through to 30th October. The new route, with a flight time of just 80 minutes, will be operated by Flybe’s fuel efficient 78- seat Bombardier Q-400 turboprop aircraft.”

This is great news for East Kent, and adds to the benefits of those who are already considering this part of the world as somewhere worth living in, adding to our recently improved high speed rail services to London St Pancras.

A comment on comments

The best thing about blogging is feedback and I believe myself to be as liberal as anyone in what I accept but occasionally I find some contributions to be off topic and unsubstantiated.

I take the view that comments made on this site are the responsibility of those who make them and accept no liability, I sometimes take the view that some comments are so fantastical or malign that the its reasonable to delete them, some are just plain boring, off topic, abuse or links designed to promote special interest.

From time to time I enable comment moderation just to put the breaks on anonymous nutters etc., probably once or twice a year, unlike others who monitor everything.

How difficult is it Cllr Chard

Last week I emailed Kent County Councillor Nick Chard to ask why roads in these parts were in such a bad state after experiencing perhaps the worst driving conditions (wednesday evening around 8.00)  I’ve ever encountered thick ice, from Brooksend through to Margate, despite claiming that Kent Highways keep logs of their gritting lorries I am surprised that Nick has not got back to me, since Kent claims to be a 4 star council you’d think they’d be able to get straight back.

KCC did issue I understand and rather partial press release but didn’t acknowledge how poorly they’d performed in reality. The press release made great mention of how gritting crews worked all night (Shutting the Barn door) but made no mention of sheet ice  covering much if not all of east Kent roads? One local Tory Councillor with a sense of humour referred to a Blizzard?

Anyway here’s my email correspondence so far

11 February 2010 12:24

Hi Cllr. Chard
I am writing to you as, having heard your comments this morning on BBC Radio Kent, about Kent Highways treating roads, I find what you had to say astonishing I've been driving for many years, and I have to say that last nights weather conditions were in no way exceptional for the time of year, but the road surface leading into Birchingtion and Margate was without a doubt the worst I've ever encountered.
Could you please explain why there was no evidence of gritting the roads including the main roads which were thick with ice.
Regards tony flaig
PS for more information see my blog postings Snow worries <>
or Police contact KCC <>

11 February 2010 14:35

Thank you for your email.
We log all of our gritting lorries so that we know where and when gritting has taken place.
I shall enquire and respond when I have the detail.
Nick Chard

11 February 2010 14:56



tony flaig

If I get a reply I’ll do my best to let you know.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blair Justice

How irritating are the Blairs I was going to comment on this astonishing story, in the Times and all good news media concerning Mrs Blair letting off some bod because he was religious click here I was also going to post about the cold unemotional performance of Mr Blair giving evidence in the Iraq inquiry, however never got around to it till now I find them both tedious …………………..

Better not I suppose they are both honest lawyers.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Margate Mayor - Margate Charter Trustees reputation is it worth anything

With the Mayor of Margate’s conviction for animal cruelty, its the case that once again the reputation of local political institutions is called into question.

Apparently at this point in time Conservative cllr.Ted Watt-Ruffell has resigned from the Tory group on Thanet council but retains his post as Mayor of Margate.

I know little of the Charter Trustees and believe that the membership is made up of District councillors for Margate.

You would think in the 21st century such nonsense as “Mayoralty” would have disappeared but clearly not, it would seem that Thanet and one presumes much of English politics, is brimming with people who wish to dress up in funny clothes and stick lumpy chains round their necks.

What’s next, will Ted do the next decent thing and resign from the council on Monday?, probably not, if you recall the Tory group seemed uninterested in seeing a by-election in Dane Valley previously when Cllr Broadhurst had upped sticks to Panama, the ruling Tory group appeared none to keen to do anything hasty, although belatedly after Bignews Margate exclusively revealed the bogus entry in the register of members attendance, there was talk of a letter of resignation which as I understand it was thrown out as Mr Broadhurst had not signed it. The election resulted automatically as a result of non-attendance not as reported in this weeks Isle of Thanet Gazette after he resigned.

It might be handy if, Thanet council reported on just how Cllr Broadhurst was “signed in” just to clear the air, was it fraud or a clerical errror we should be told, perhaps the Isle of Thanet Gazette should pursue that, rather than perpetuate the conservative resignation line.

Its my view that the Mayoralty, is an anachronism having as much to do with representing the town as a pantomime horse, still this country is obsessed with pomposity and feudal society hence the Royal family presumably descended from god knows what.

Coming back briefly to Cllr Ted, I hope he does the decent thing and we can have by-election, at the earliest opportunity, you will notice no comment from either Clive “Photo-op” Hart or even Sandy “Carpets” Ezekiel, seems both Labour and Conservative don’t want to be judged by the electorate.

Finally according to the Gazette Mr Goldspring ( representing Ted) “rounded on Thanet’s blogs for what he called the “character assassination” of his client, I’d like to point out that this blog and many of Thanet’s blogs have not mentioned the issue, so far even when pressured by family members!Mr Puss not happy

Friday, February 12, 2010

Points - Opps! Cllr Paul Carters (Con) blog post disappears

You’ll remember last week Bignews Margate covered Cllr. Paul Carters rather passionate condemnation of a reporter er reporting on council business or how taxpayers money gets redistributed to deserving officers like Chief Executive Peter Gilroy.

I’m not sure why but it seems that his blog posting on the subject has now disappeared from KCC’s website, perhaps Camerons boy’s are smoothing things out before the election.

Anyway my posting still exists as does KM ONLINE’s report but the link to Paul Carters blog is dead.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

BBC South East Today is this how to report the weather ?

Listening this morning to various reports of the snow in the East of Kent, one recurring theme from everyone outside of the county establishment was, where were the gritting lorries yesterday afternoon and early evening?

BBC’s South East Today, programme tonight showed us plenty of pretty pictures of snow, they even had a reporter hire a helicopter, to take a gander at this strange rarely seen phenomena (It must be two or three weeks since we last saw snow) at the end of the programme we had two presenters smile in what looked to me similar to, the affected, self conscious silly style of children's TV presenters, they even had what I thought a few rather patronising glances at photos sent in by viewers.bbcsimpervision

Nothing wrong with any of that surely, but the one thing that does matter is that the BBC had several East Kent residents claim the roads had not been treated but choose to allow KCC’s Jim Hills of Kent Highways get away without being asked to explain why the roads were in such a bad state with a fairly mild snow fall early last night.

I was so concerned last night that I contacted KCC who told me the police had contacted them to get the roads treated?

I just wonder whether its the management or arrogance or bias that produces such bland unquestioning reportage from the BBC and of course some will think I’m being trivial except those who commented on accidents that occurred last night, I had one car just miss me unable to stop and today I have lost a days wages. Trivial if you happen to be one of Kent’s state funded journalist not so for the rest of us.

I’ve asked Nick Chard KCC Cabinet member to qualify the comments he gave this morning on Radio Kent suggesting Kent Highways were doing what their supposed to since I’m sure most in Thanet and I suspect East Kent remain unconvinced.

Snow worries, the roads have been treated say Kent bods!

Here in Thanet we are apparently experiencing a mass hallucination, those like myself who thought they were driving on ice, must be delusional since if you happened to listen to BBC Radio Kent this morning County Councillor Nick Chard seemed to be claiming that all major roads had been treated, which had that been the case, would have helped keep our roads safe for driving on last night.

John Warnett (BBC Radio) could have just clarified the issue by asking Cllr Chard, exactly when did you grit these roads?

Anyway if anyone actually saw one of Kent’s gritting lorries yesterday afternoon or even early this morning (before 6am) please do tell.

I heard recently that Kent council has had to pay out for pothole damage to cars, if there are any lawyers reading this, maybe you could tell me and my readers whether we could successfully sue Kent Council for not treating the roads, I know of about ten people who couldn’t get to work this morning including me.

Still in all honesty some are made of tougher stuff including Mrs Me, who trudged to work, through the snow instead of the usual drive, taking 1 hour. Pictured above

Still these questions need answering

When were the roads in east Kent and Thanet gritted yesterday?

And why are BBC radio Kent so easy on Kent Council?

More importantly is Kent Council going to stop wasting money on big pay offs/bonuses to officers and vast PR spending, and compensate us when they cock up?

Once again Kent council have shown that here in East Kent we continue to be second class citizens

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Urgent warning driving conditions - Police contact KCC

I’ve just come in from work, and would warn anyone about to go out that Thanet’s roads have not been salted despite snow from mid-day.

I just contacted KCC (20:300 and been informed that Kent Police have contacted them requesting they salt the roads.

The road surface right now on the main roads in Margate are potentially Lethal.

No doubt KCC Highways will if challenged tomorrow come up with some BS that they couldn’t have predicted road conditions which is clearly a nonsense.

I was going to post on Kent’s Health Watch which is very similar in character to Kent TV in as much as its utterly superfluous.

I’ll save that for another day in the meantime, if you’ve had a difficult journey through Thanet tonight, KCC Highways having allowed nature to turn our roads network into an ice rink and Brooksend Hill into a ski jump, then why not, when you have time call up your local county councillor (generally tory in these parts) and give them something else to think about, other than the fat allowance they recently awarded themselves £13,000, just to nip over to Maidstone once every few months, where they no doubt consider weightier matters, like big bonuses for fat cat officers or how else the can turn your money to little more than waste on witless schemes.

Just spotted this on KCC’s website looks like Paul Carters cronies in West Kent have been looked after.NOTinTHANET

Good luck to anyone driving to work in the morning! you’ll probably need it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Kent TV what went wrong? From a Kent Dissident

It seems that Kent’s establishment is finally waking up to public opinion, which in the case of Kent TV is almost certainly un-measurable, but there’s a feeling in the public at large that British society has split into two, the public sector in which members live a charmed life of job security, good pay and fat pensions and the rest of us look on from a harsher world where our jobs are constantly under threat, income under attack and pension non-existent.

So its no surprise that Kent council’s public sector establishment, think it perfectly reasonable to fritter away the odd million or two on some ego boosting project like Kent TV, or indeed Kent Health Watch which is totally superfluous to traditional provision of council services.

Still we have a general election in the next month or so and even Paul Carter’s Kent Tories have to be objective and think, how do things look from the world outside Kent’s bloated authority in which top bods get bonuses of 10’s of thousands pounds for just doing the job their paid for.

I was going to list this week, some of the non achievements of Kent TV but that’s history, although its probably a sobering thought even for blinkered functionaries of Kent Council that a Kent Dissident (at least that’s how I see myself faced with Kent’s establishment) can produce videos on a nokia phone and plonk them on Youtube and which have some cases, have been far more popular than Kent TV’s product.

Tonight I had intended to write about Kent Press office which I estimate, must cost upwards of £250,000 and from my point of view seems pretty ineffectual, since I am still waiting for a response to a question about Kent Health Watch from Monday last week, as far as I can see KCC need to get their act together.

It would be fair to say that Kent are right to look toward improving communication in the digital age but they could learn from amateurs like me and millions of others who have used low cost or no cost media like Youtube an Blogger to get our thoughts out to a greater world.

I hope KCC officers salvage something from the wreckage and perhaps move content already created to cheaper platforms like Youtube instead and maybe retain a couple of Kent TV personnel to advise schools and local organisation for instance how to produce content.

Kent council should review its media policy across the board like press, internet, lavish advertising budgets and stop treating the public like half wits or dissidents for wanting to know how our moneys spent and services run.

Contrary to allegations by one of Kent’s contractors who objected to me discussing Kent TV, I am sure that Kent TV staff are professionals who have done a good job.

I’d like to thank KCC officers and Cabinet members who supported me in my quest to comment on Kent council, unfettered but I can’t, so instead a big thank you to Thanet’s Blogging community and in particular Eastcliff Richard.

P S Finally why have I campaigned so hard against Kent TV, its simple really my money is hard earned and I’d prefer that Kent conservatives don’t throw it away like confetti on hare brained schemes.


I just received news that KCC's bold and ill considered project Kent
TV has been cancelled .

As Im travelling home from north London it will be a while before I
comment further .

Try this link

Sent from my mobile device

tony flaig - Bignews Margate Thanet's unparalled and unmissable blog

Monday, February 08, 2010

Ramsgate – Boulogne and wannabe experts – And what’s the fuss about

I know pretty much damn all, about the recent controversy concerning Euroferries, proposed ferry service from Ramsgate Port to Boulogne.

I’m vaguely aware that two local bloggers Adem Djemil (The Big Blog) and ECR were sent correspondence from legal firms acting on behalf of the ferry company, I’m also aware that this country has rather draconian laws of defamation which have created a new bread of customer for Britain’s specialist law firms which deal with Libel.

Please note before more avaricious lawyers get briefed, I’m not referring to specifics cases, but it seems the custom in this country that if you don’t like what somebody says about you and you’ve deep enough pockets, you can bully and threaten people into silence by merely suggesting taking legal action.

As many will know I had my own run in with a contractor working for Kent Council who made suggestions, that should I continue to comment on the project I was referring too they might well involve me in expensive legal actions, fortunately I had the support of the blogging community.

Tonight BBC 1’s “Inside Story” will I’m told by the Big Blog & Eastcliff Richard site report on Euroferries association with Ramsgate port and the long awaited and often delayed service to Boulogne. I see in the trailer for that show that multi talented local author Jane Wenham-Jones, sometime columnist and critic of this blog, has been dragged into comment, quite what she knows about maritime affairs etc I don’t know, I suspect its a case that the BBC have used her before and have chosen her for that reason rather than expertise.

Anyway programme is about to start but its a feature of English life, that people can pontificate on matters they little knowledge just like this blog and hopefully without being sued by big interests and greedy lawyers.


As I said at the top of this I knew little before and perhaps even less, after watching the story of Euroferries proposed ferry service, which was covered BBC1 SE Inside Story, the report was filmed, in what I’d term, sub Roger Cook style and had everything broken promises, mildly miffed interviewees Plain Blimin Jane a bit upset that she hadn’t been able to sail on the Bonanza Express, Paul Wells (Bertie Biggles) worried about heavy handed legal threats, the only thing, missing of course was any victims, alright if Euroferries is not about to go into administration they have every right to protect their image, if customers have had refunds to cancelled sailings, strange as all of this seems, where is the beef?

A storm in a teacup would just about some up the episode, a couple of bloggers may have been treated harshly I don’t know the background if so, this is wrong and maybe that is the story, lawyers pressuring this new blogging media a bit like TDC’s over the top response to freedom of expression by elected representatives.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Mark Barnard, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Thanet has boosted his team with Local activists.

Mark says;

“I want to ensure that the LibDem message is heard throughout North Thanet, to that end I have appointed area co-ordinators to the Campaign Team. I am delighted that three very experience LibDems have agreed to take up the challenge.

Bill Furness has responsibility for co-ordinating the campaign in Margate

June Raybaud will co-ordinate the campaign in Herne Bay

Ken Hando will use his local knowledge to co-ordinate the work in the Villages.

There is no doubt that local people are disillusioned with the government and neither do they feel that the long-serving MP has been representing their interests and those of North Thanet generally. There is a real appetite for change in North Thanet and the Liberal Democrats are offering that change breathing fresh energy into the area.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Cameron’s Kent Tories - Leader Paul Carter “upset” by local press report.

I find it rather shocking that Conservative Leader of Kent Paul Carter, is so upset about a report referred, to on this blog Wednesday, which focused on an astonishing pay deal, done with Peter Gilroy Kent Chief executive.

Indeed so upset is he, that he has sent an open letter, to the Kent Messenger which I understand is reproduced on KCC’s website (taxpayer funded) as well as that of the KM group. His open letter starts thus “I feel very strongly and I am extremely upset by the way the Kent Messenger has orchestrated their story regarding KCC Chief Executive Peter Gilroy’s contract renewal that was agreed in November 2006.

As one, who is only too aware of Kent Councils attitude to freedom of speech, finding it necessary to insist KCC’s legal department confirm my rights to freely express myself having been pressured after writing about a Kent council project.

Its quite clear to me that Paul Francis (multi award winning journalist) and the KM Group have done absolutely nothing wrong in a free society, the public have a right to open government and being made aware how their hard earned cash(tax) is spent, which if Paul Carter’s Kent Council made the right decision in deciding to offer Peter Gilroy chief executive a whopping retirement bonus of £200,000 and feel it justified, where the beef, Cllr Carter?

KM group have published Paul Carters letter on their website with a reply which mentions that the paper had contacted KCC’s press office several times “The KM Group approached the county council well in advance of the publication of our story. We did this through the council's press office as we judged this to be the appropriate channel.

“The council press office was contacted on several occasions before publication, reminding it of our deadlines.

Just to give some context I, as a responsible blogger also contacted KCC’s media department, this week query one was on Monday asking how KCC spent £300,000 on the new pointless Health Watch project to handle just 500 enquiries, one phone call two emails (in case KCC media bods either had a memory problem and or no pen to take notes) little surprise that they never got back also Tuesday one of the media wallahs confidently confirmed he would ring within the hour, with the name of someone I could contact re KCC extra staff holiday (he didn’t either).

I suggest two things if Paul Carter cannot bare to have open government and prefers a cosy world of secrecy then he should just put up with honest reporting, if as it seems he finds it “too hot in the Kitchen” then find the door, secondly maybe he could give KCC’s press department a kick up the backside (metaphorically) then we would not have these silly misunderstandings would we Cllr Carter.

I just hope that this matter is reported more widely in Kent’s Media although I have strong doubts particularly BBC Radio Kent, who seem to me to have a cosy, unquestioning relationship with KCC’s establishment or have no interest in reporting the local democratic process (which I wrote on in this long winded blog last year but still has relevance).

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just a quick thought on expenses

Roger Gale MP has, as mentioned in the press, been successful in sorting out, a misunderstanding over parliamentary expenses claims for telephone calls and I can say that I’m genuine pleased, since I doubt Roger Gale is going to risk his reputation for a few quid.

I’m also sure that Thanet’s other MP Ladyman, is similarly honest, but one thing that still bugs me, is that I believe both have claimed for food expenses, which I feel is wrong.

Why is it wrong, simply because both earn considerably more money than most of their constituents, and are able to dine at Westminster at a heavily subsidised cost and ought like the rest of pay our way from wages or salary.

Maybe MPs’ salaries ought to be paid on the basis of average earnings of constituents plus maybe 50% so that they had an incentive to create prosperity for the electorate.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Award winning Kent Journalist shows once again why he is the best

paul francis Not knowing or interested by the machinations of regional politics in other parts country, I am however keen, on what goes on in Kent.

The reason I post on Kent Council, so often, is with one exception, my view is that Kent news organisations, steer clear of Kent politics, other than bland, non analytical reporting, strangely the BBC (Radio Kent) seems reluctant to cover county politics in any consistent way, Kent on Sunday, this weekend, had rare but rather sycophantic comment referring to KCC’s vision of Kent in 2030 “…actually it is an inspirational masterplan…”, Kent Regional Newspapers like the Isle of Thanet Gazette belatedly have started to cover Kent wide issues, probably as a result of the recent overhaul of a rather stale product.

The exception to rather bland reporting comes from the Kent Messenger Group, and in particular, the KM Group political editor Paul Francis, who has been named Kent’s Best Newspaper Journalist of the Year, for the third time in Shepherd Neame’s annual awards.qualityjourno

An example of why Paul Francis is ahead of the competition, is this report on the rather generous pay out for retiring Kent chief exec Peter Gilroy (click here) enjoy!


Hidden News Tory KCC – Introduce “Kent Day” for a mere £1.5 million

Kent day, what the hell is Kent day, you might well ask well that’s what the telephone operator at KCC called the authorities latest give away.

Let me explain trawling through my email inbox for things I’d missed, ignored, etc. a regular source had pointed out that their child’s school would be closed for an additional day this summer.

The reason apparently all Staff employed by KCC will be given an additional day off, the reasons are none too clear, since no surprise Kent press office were unable or unwilling to expand on this day off which I calculate will cost around £1,500,000.

Now in fairness eventually a helpful staff member was kind enough to assist in giving information, suggesting additional costs will not be that great, except in the case of those that actually do something, since who would notice if someone sat at a desk has taken the day off, like I’d imagine would be the case for KCC’s press wallahs.

Its a pity that Paul Carters Tory led council couldn’t save tax payers money as easily as they give it away. Its also sad that Kent School children will miss out on a days education, still Kent Tory councillors are never troubled by the underperformance of KCC education.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


be2 (Press Release)
North Thanet Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Mark Barnard is backing the campaign to save the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from being axed in any defence cuts.
Mark commented,
“The flight was a crucial link to the most glorious episode in the RAF's history and was particularly important to North Thanet. Manston Airport was the hub for the Battle of Britain
I urge people to sign the 10 Downing Street petition to make clear the strength of feeling on this issue.
There are five airworthy Spitfires in the memorial flight and costs less than 0.1 per cent of the defence budget but the pleasure and pride to the many thousands who are thankful for its achievements at this crucial period in the defence of our freedoms is impossible to quantify.  It would be a terribly short-sighted move if the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight were to be axed.”
The 10 Downing Street petition is here:

Monday, February 01, 2010

Cameron’s Election Liability – Kent Conservatives Health issues and the £600 phone calls

Crikey, you’d think David Cameron has all the advantages facing up to the election with a discredited Gordon Brown in government but you just wonder what might happen to David Cameron’s chances, if the press got there teeth in to Kent Conservatives bloated “Health Watch” project.

It seems to me that Conservatives in Kent just can’t add up, a bit like our incumbent Prime Minister, who’s continuing to spend, when the countries on the verge of Bankruptcy.

Here in Kent, the county council led by the Conservatives who have a history of big money, er incidents like Icelandic Banking, commissioning art galleries in the North Sea, Kent TV, non-existent flights to America and now Kent Health Watch costing £300,000 in a year for no apparent benefit.Kent Wealth watch

Just ask Paul Carter how much does it cost to answer a phone? Well if its for KCC’s pointless Health Watch Advice line the cost of dealing with each call is an astonishing £600 pounds and what do they do precisely, well it seems they jot down your details and pass them on to the NHS and er themselves.

You might just think this is just an aberration on the part of Kent’s “County Tories” but no, it seems according too the influential “Local Government Chronicle”* that David Cameron is going to use this as a model, to set a new tier of national bureaucracy to rule over that other crazy expensive bureaucratic nightmare the NHS.

Its easy to blame weak and feeble politicians for wasting huge amounts of money but at the end of the day many, like I guess our Kent Tories, are bereft of ideas, and take the advice from advisors or “officers” who earn their money often from inventing pointless tasks for themselves and public sector colleagues.

What’s the solution, this country has an unsustainable raft of public sector workers, and its time politicians like Paul Carter (KCC Leader) and David Cameron, started to distinguish between those we need like refuse collectors, medics, police, frontline staff and bloated overpaid council bosses who seem obsessed with finding new ways to spend money. How about politicians say to their Chief Execs cut costs by say 10% for the next five years or find a new job.

PS Just for a laugh I thought I’d ask how KCC spends £300,000 on dealing with 500 odd calls to their Health Line, I’ll update you if KCC press office ever get back to me.howmuch

Suggested reading from Kent on Sundays report which I missed back in December which includes some fine quotes from Cllr. Trudy Dean Leader of the Liberal Democratic group on Kent County Council.

*(a magazine I think, for local government bods seeking either new jobs or some BS phrase or idea to justify their current job)

A quick reminder – KENT TV’s future

As many of you will know, I have never been a fan of Kent TV in the same way KCC bods officers and members (Cons) have, never criticising Kent TV as if it were some sacred cow (except of course, for that scrutiny meeting which was later er re-scrutinised, after Tory Back benchers were challenged or given new info)

By there own admission, viewing numbers have at times been difficult to get at, two and half million visits as its mentioned on the agenda or what we bloggers call hits, seems a big number but does not reflect regular viewers, ask yourself this, has anyone come up to you and said I watch Kent TV, or try asking anyone who does not read about or follow Kent Politics if they have heard of Kent TV.

Anyway give yourself a chortle, today if you have the day off as I do maybe you’d like to watch KCC’s cabinet webcast today from 10am click here (webcasting of democracy is something worthwhile) were no doubt KCC’s bods will speak highly of what many consider a huge waste of time and remember despite not having agreed to continue they have er just in case decided to start the bidding process to continue on the off chance also don’t forget that an extensive totally unbiased report has been generated by asking 36 people some of whom are directly involved in Kent TV work for the council and or have very strong connections with KCC for funding and the like.

Anyway click here for KCC webcast follow the links and if you’ve missed the start I understand that it will be available for viewing after the meeting.

As always when referring to Kent TV I like to remind interested parties that I am entitled to comment (freedom of speech) without receiving intimidating advice.