Saturday, December 31, 2011

Feudal Britian - Whats that for? Doing his job?

Twice a year we have the blunt reminder, that despite all that rhetoric from established politicians about democracy and equality(, often deployed to justify questionable foreign policy), that Briton is less of a democracy and more of feudal society than we are supposed to believe (yes we are talking about the "homours system" of establishment patronage).

"What's that for? Doing his job? (Mrs Me) is a sentiment that will have been replicated in many millions of households this morning applicable to many of the new year's honours , as once the bulk, again appear in the main to go to those on the public pay roll just doing the job for which in most cases, have attached to them generous pay and fat pensions that money can't buy (except with taxpayers money).

Locally comes the news that Roger Gale MP has been awarded a knighthood, and for those who find these things important, it will be necessary for prefix "Sir" when speaking of Thanet North MP.

Frankly it would be mean, to apply the sentiment referred to earlier, in the case of our esteemed representative in the House of Common's, despite the likelihood, that unkind critics, might point out that his constituency has and probably always will have, a big fat conservative majority or that apart from dealing efficiently with local constituency business, that Roger Gale MP has rarely come to national attention.

Still perhaps we should take comfort that Gale has been awarded a knighthood, I'd be surprised how many of us lower orders such as in my own industry has ever received any recognition, none I suspect. Despite my selfless commitment to highlighting some to the rights and wrong in our society mostly created by politicians, its unlikely Mrs Windsor will be tapping me on the shoulder with a sword anytime soon.

Previously I have awarded myself the GBE a self created honour (Grafter for the British Empire), which I suggest you award yourself and tag after your name on correspondence, since this is a self assessed award there are few criteria but I suggest, you should be taxpayer outside but funding the self serving public sector.

Since we at Bignews Margate believe in democracy, equality and don't happen to have any affiliations with free masonry or the Windsors, we are happy to allow you to bestow the GBE for whatever reason. 

Anyway have yourself a good New Year and lets hope it's a flipping better one than last year.

Tony Flaig GBE

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all my readers, have a good one, will be back in a day or two or even earlier, in the meantime I have a gammon to cook and a Turkey to stuff.

I would particularly like to thank all contributors for their comments over the years (all 10,883), some I agree with, some I dont, but it's a free country so keep them coming, and lets hope next year is better than the last.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Top Execs - Crisis at Christmas

Emergency Appeal !

A chief executive is not just for Christmas but for life or in the case of Kent County Council er ... at least 18 months (on a four year contract).

Still reeling from recent news of the departure of Kent council boss Katherine Kerswell, from KCC, Bignews Margate is appealing for help.

We here at Bignews Margate believe that execs, even local authority bods, deserve better, how cruel and insensitive was it for top boss Katherine Kerswell to have found herself made redundant just before Christmas, despite having been more than competent,  according to Kent Councils press wallahs and with little more than a few months memories of Kent and a few hundred grand to get by until the next job turns up.

I'm not entirely sure what can be done to save other public sector execs in similar circumstances, but it seems up and down the UK, hard working essential top bods are being disappeared and forced from their jobs with alarming frequency, and the methods used are brutal as they are crude, rarely spoken about in public, the technique, is referred to as the "golden goodbye", basically the victim is approached, by trusted colleagues or political masters, its made clear they've got to go, ever increasing bags of taxpayers money placed in front of the victim until they crack, and before you can say "lovely jubbly" lawyers have whipped out a confidentiality agreement and the victim adds a fresh paragraph to an ever increasing list of achievements.

Examples of big payouts to the upper echelons of local authorities are numerous in Southampton a couple of officers trousered £432,000  or Chief Exec of City Building Glasgow a quango stashing £615,000.

Meanwhile coming back to the extraordinary events in Kent, in which apparently a highly competent chief officer, was got rid of, for reasons which I guess have been hidden, at taxpayer expense by the Conservative  administration employing lawyers to draw up confidentiality or gagging agreements, it seems that Cllr Paul Carter,who has already offended staff with the big money sunk into the Kerswell matter,  has stirred up further controversy asking staff, some of whom will be losing jobs, for sponsorship, as he heads off to take part in month long motor rally see the Gazette page 2.

Anyway if you happen to be Paul Carter or one of Kent's Tory county councillors, maybe you could tell us how Kent council is going to operate with neither a leader or chief officer in charge of the two billion pound turnover organisation. Also could someone explain why so much taxpayer money is wasted not just by Kent's Tories but across the country in other local authorities and quango's on senior managers when lower orders are walked over?

Guest Blog from Cllr Chris Wells

As you can imagine, I get side tracked like anyone particularly at this time of year and despite being on holiday, events tend to derail, plans to do things like, a bit more blogging and lounging about, such an event was a call Monday requesting I attend a briefing on some new procedure for work, this took up much of Wednesday, and of course Mrs Me has a list of things I need to do, not that I feel the need but .... naturally the pressure of all this has taken its toll, resulting in me falling asleep around 7 this evening, I had hoped to give a rich and fulsome report on Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder's visit to support the campaign against live exports and promise to do so first thing tomorrow morning.

Anyhow in the meantime Cllr Chris Wells agreed to be a guest blogger, and my apologies for not publishing earlier but blame channel four news, anyhow belatedly Chris continues the parking discussion, commenting on Labours recent press release. (PS If anyone from Labour or indeed elsewhere would like to do us the honour

Understanding the Politics of Press Releases

If you are in power within the local council, your policy normally comes out as a press release from the council channels, which means it must be not overtly political.  If you are in opposition the only channel you have available is your group release.

When a governing group issues releases under it’s political group channels, that means what follows should be checked carefully for the bias and politics banned from the council releases.

So it is with the Labour Group press release on parking, ( which contains so many political tricks it is positively educational in the care which must be taken in the reading of such releases.

Firstly, it rebuts something not actually said by the opponents – an old, but gold trick – in claiming the Conservative release said things it did not.  I never claimed the parking review and policy as a solely Conservative idea; merely what we had left for consultation when in charge.

Secondly, it uses seeming authoritative knowledge of dates and procedure to try and prove Conservative members had no part in the policy formulation; and then has to concede formal discussion with appropriate Cabinet members in formulating the policy paper.

Thirdly, it then evidences that Cllr Wells did not write the report to Senior Management Team; something again I did not claim.  And then concedes it would have been inappropriate if I had.

Fourthly, it claims evidence of parking fee rises in the budget papers, but misses the vital point that the fees and charges are held till at least June; so that they can go before full council rather than being part of the standard fees and charges review, which was all I asserted.

The final claim, that this was all part of a normal annual review is shown to be farcical by this being out of step with the annual budget cycle, and was consciously withdrawn for thorough review.  This changed timing was openly discussed at the November Joint Transportation meeting, which Cllr Mrs Johnston attended.

It would appear that in the interests of transparency and cross party working Cllr Mrs Johnston dare not concede any good work done before her holding office.

I hope you have found this necessary deconstruction of some political press releases useful and informative.

Have a Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How stupid is Ed Balls?

Just a quick point, I see in this story carried in several papers over the last couple of days, in which Ed Balls is suggesting Liberal Democrats should join Labour and I just wonder what goes on in his tiny brain.

Why after more than a year and a half in government as a coalition partner, would any Liberal Democrats wish to join Labour now, if they hadn't already, clearly loyalty and honesty are something Labour has had much difficulty with in the last few years.

Labour in the late nineties, started a campaign of cosying up to bankers and big business, seeing Blair cutting apparently a deal with Rupert Murdoch (doing nothing to regulate the press, no surprise the resulting scandals now), and developing polices culminating in the complete abandonment of working people.

It's only since losing office, that Labour have suddenly shown any interest whatsoever us lower orders, why you might wonder?

I cannot recall one senior Labour party member giving a toss for the poor during their time in office, they were all too busy living the highlife and brown nosing bankers and big business, did any one of Labours devious ex ministers stand up for low paid while they were carrying out policy which has resulted in low paid being worse off than ever.

Ed Balls must be a bigger idiot than he looks, if he thinks he's going to get many takers of his offer to join the ranks of Labour who have little offer in the way honesty or integrity. So no thanks Ed.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Festive Market in Margate Old Town

I chanced upon this small festive market in Margate old town tonight although I was vaguely aware I have not seen a lot of promotion for this enterprise .

I understand that the market will be open till seven o'clock tonight and the same again tomorrow Thursday, 22 December 2011 , if I get chance later today I will write a few more words around with the photographs , I will say that the christmas tree and decoration add a subtle glitter and charm to the old town if that is not pushing the bounds of credulity .

I suggest if you have time it's worth a gander tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Information for Cllr Worrow

The Conservative group, have just released the following Press Release ( Text below) from a quick glance it would seem that the new coalition government in Thanet consisting of Labour and  group of Independent's will be expensive if Cllr Worrow and Cllr Cohen are to see their demands for free parking in Birchington, since to give free parking for thirty minutes will cost the council around forty grand.

CAR PARKING REVIEW – Conservative Group Statement

Amid all the recent angst and comment regarding parking charges across the island, it seems pertinent to remind all of the nature of the parking review which was underway when the Conservative administration left office on 8 December.

Parking had been withdrawn from the annual fees and charges review, and a changed parking regime was to be consulted with members and others across the island in January 2012; for public consultation after presentation to Cabinet in March, for implementation in June.

The highlights of this review were:

# parking to be more demand led

# free parking to be available to help traders every Saturday of the year in one car park in each of the towns: Alpha Road, Birchington; Harold Road, for Northdown Road; Mill Lane, Margate; Cannon Road Ramsgate; Vere Road Broadstairs

# this represents an affordable model at a time of restricted budgets, costing £12,000 approx to the parking budget

Chris Wells, Shadow Cabinet Member for Communities added:

‘We left in place a simple, affordable model for parking, ready to be consulted upon for implementation next year. In addition the parking review was set to investigate what could be additionally done to assist lives of residents near and around the QEQM Hospital, many of whose lives have been reduced to misery by the hospital’s poor management of their own parking facilities. I hope the
incoming administration has the common sense to adopt these simple proposals, and not skew them in favour of particular areas of the island for political reasons.’


For information:

# the cost of implementing 30 minutes free parking in Birchington car parks would be a little under £10,000

# the cost of implementing 30 minutes free parking for Birchington High Street as well would be more than £40,000

# the cost of implementing 30 minutes initial free car parking across the island would be £233,000; more than 43% of car parking income

# these sums would have to be made up from council tax increases, or reduced budgets elsewhere

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Last night I was in reflective mood and was thinking I'll blog on the past year, its a cliche I know, still it is with some regret, that I announce the death of Mr Puss (the family cat),  and will reflect on a significant presence at Flaig Mansions.

Now I have to acknowledge, that it's easy being sentimental about a cat, certainly he is the only pet our family has had discounting Tom, Dick and Harry (goldfish), it had never been my intention to have a pet, but the cat sort of subtlety ingratiated himself, and despite already having a home, moved in, still he has never had any reservations in helping himself and has regularly invited himself to meals with neighbours for years.

Until this morning, he has always been reliable, turning up for meals on time, demanding a share of any open tin of tuna, when I'm on nights he's generally sort of greeted me by walking up to where I've managed to park.

Not being at the back door this morning, I whistled which generally gets him flying from the shed, next doors garden or from upstairs in the house.

Admittedly losing a pet is not the same as losing a person, but even so he will be missed.

Anyway I mention him on these pages perhaps for the last time although he has frequently featured and here is a sort of retrospective selection.

Mr Puss calls for calm in fat cats row

Mr Puss Hacked off by Media

Mr Puss Issues a Statement

Mr Puss Disappears in Snow - Feared eaten by Foxes

Kent's big Cat danger 

Cat trivia is the BBC dumbing down

Plain Speaking from local author jane

End of the road for Bignews Margate?

Still at the center of family life captured for the last time this Saturday morning with the youngest member of the family.

Time on my side

It's that time of year for me, a rare treat to be awake and at home at this time (00:50 Sunday), normally at the weekend if I`m up at this time it's because I've just started a 12hr shift on the railway, with all that entails.

However that's not the case this weekend, so its interesting to sometime step back a bit, one subject in the news of recent that still intrigues me is the slow way in which our society is dealing with the newspaper scandal centering on the defunct News of the World,  I have to say that recently listening to snippets of evidence given by former investigative NOTW journalist Mazher Mahmood to the leveson inquiry I just wonder, whether he was ever curious about his colleagues skills to delve deep into the lives of the rich and famous.

For a long time I've been skeptical about the ethics of our press and whether they're as er  honest as you and I might wish, in the past five and half years of blogging I've mentioned the murdoch press more than once, and find it amazing its taken the "establishment" to so long to question things.

Myself I just wonder when or if the handcuffs will be placed on the wrists of management?

You'll most likely be reading this Sunday and for some of you, myself included, you'll still be missing the News of the World, although I had long ago become bored witless by the affairs of celebrities and footballers I'd never heard of, I liked the inventiveness of journalists, sexing up or embellishing stories, and  I note that a previous posting (from last year) on this same subject has received a lot of hits, hence me dragging up this long running scandal.

Still if your stuck for a scandal fix, what with demise of the disgraceful News of the World, you could entertain yourself reading all about Britain's purveyors of  "news", this page on the Leveson Inquiry,  you'll find it a bit more sleazy than anything footballers, politicians or celebrities could come up with. 

Anyway I've a few days off for Christmas and although I've been reminded why I write a blog, because I don't trust the press, the lights are twinkling on the christmas tree so I shall get on with chilling, if I  cant be asked to blog again  before Christmas (unlikely) have a good one. Cheers

Monday, December 12, 2011

KENT WATCH - The Disappeared Officers and the cost

What is it with Kent Conservative Council lead by Cllr Paul Carter, and Senior Officers who manage the council day to day. It's not just the latest announcement that Katherine Kerswell has now left the council with an alleged payoff circa half a million, it's those others that have disappeared in recent times, the director of regeneration and transport paid off after a year with £365,000, last year another director "agreed" to take leave and has since left (in that case the details never became public), controversially former Chief Executive Peter Gilroy cost the council around an additional £200,000 (bonus) in his final year.

I guess Cllr Paul Carter and his administration has wasted well over a million pounds with it's handling of senior staff in the last three years.

My view of the last few days, is that Paul Carter's cabinet have not been as open as they could have been which is disgraceful in my opinion the press release issued on the 16th November seems like a master class in mis-information.

We like to think we live in a democracy, and we like to think, general principles like equality, honesty, and transparency exist, and also in a democracy we don't like to see, nor do we expect resources paid for by taxpayers to be used in a political manner.

I'm taking a guess that the new slim line management at KCC in which no "officer" has overall charge of management, has more to do with justifying and side stepping, this latest embarrassing debacle than any concept of management.

I understand a number of Conservative county councillors are annoyed at Paul Carters handling of the latest departure, a feeling shared I would guess by most of us taxpayers. Lets hope Paul Carter's the next to disappear from KCC.

Katherine Kerswell in Three KCC Press Release's confusing and meaningless to me but that's my view.

1 April 2010

Kent County Council today formally agreed the appointment of Katherine Kerswell as the authority’s new Group Managing Director.  The decision was made at today’s full council meeting.
Katherine is currently Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council and is the President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE). She has had a successful and varied career at the cutting edge of local government spanning more than 20 years.
Paul Carter, Leader of KCC and Chairman of the Personnel Committee, said:
“We were all enormously impressed by Katherine’s breadth of vision and energy and her absolute commitment to placing Kent citizens at the heart of the services we deliver. She will be a worthy successor to our outstanding Chief Executive Peter Gilroy who leaves in May.”

16 November 2011
Since joining Kent County Council in May 2010, Katherine Kerswell has been an outstanding Managing Director. In a very tough financial climate and against a background of severe budget cuts, she has done a great deal to relieve the financial burden on Kent council tax payers and has implemented Paul Carter and the Cabinet’s strategy for reshaping the council. Significant savings have been made possible through the continuing restructuring process and the new operational framework presided over by Katherine Kerswell and the Corporate Management team so far.

We would like to make it clear that Katherine Kerswell is and remains the Managing Director of Kent County Council. It is completely untrue to suggest that she has been dismissed or put on garden leave.

Neither the council nor Katherine Kerswell will be making any further public statement.

8 December 2011

Katherine Kerswell has done an exceptional job at Kent reshaping our approach to service delivery and recasting our overall management arrangements.  She is a first-rate public servant with tremendous skills at making large organisations work well.  Her management direction has helped produce very significant savings to the council and confirmed Kent’s position as a leading authority. In just 18 months we have shifted from an approach that was highly departmental to one based on the whole organisation working together for the people of Kent. We now expect our Cabinet and Chief Officers to work more collaboratively together. This way of working has already resulted in improved services to Kent’s residents and lower costs to Kent’s taxpayers.
Now that these arrangements have begun to bed in, Katherine has discussed with the Leader, Paul Carter, the next phase for Kent and for her.  She is very keen to continue working at the leading edge of organisational and service change through investigating new models of service delivery.  Katherine will therefore be leaving the council by the end of the calendar year to pursue these new interests.
KCC now has the chance to review its management and governance arrangements and these will be considered at the County Council meeting on 15 December.  The decision will also enable Katherine to have the chance of taking a further bold step in her distinguished managerial career.

Coalition Break Up - Top of wish list for Journalists

I can't help feeling that most, journalist are little more than sheep, irrespective of their particular status, exampled by Nick Robinson, who like many of his ilk can stand outside the front door of No.10 and exude an air of authority and gravitas at any hour of the day or night, but often when you read of listen to what they have to say, it all adds up to so much bollix.

If you'd like take a gander, at this piece by Nick Robinson, it stresses Nick Clegg's upset and argument around the Prime Ministers use of the veto at the recent EU summit, however for some reason, like most every other journalist, he either didn't watch or decided not to report this part of Andrew Marr's interview with Nick Clegg.

Obviously I'm no journalist so you might like to check the following by playing back the full interview on the Andrew Marr show, on Iplayer I watched this last night on skyplus but replaying this I noted this part of the inteview as follows:-

Andrew Marr asks "Is this going to break up the coalition in any circumstances? " referring to the EU summit outcome.

Nick Clegg replies  "No ..It would be even more damaging if for us, as a country, if the Coalition Government were now to fall apart, that would create economic disaster for the country..."

I cannot help thinking that journalist are using this crisis, in rather a lazy, provocative manner, of course Nick Clegg is a tad hacked off, but presumably David Cameron was acting within the authority that the Liberal Party has given in whatever arrangements exist withing the coalition.

My view of the coalition government is this simple, Labour lost the last election, directly as a result of their negligence and general incompetence in managing the economy, Nick Clegg and David Cameron agreed to work together in the national interest accepting the inevitable compromises necessary, even after this I cannot see anything changing and why would it being honest neither party is particularly strong not least the Liberals and certainly if Labour was under the spotlight in an election any authority of Milliband's  would melt away revealing a fairly lightweight nobody.

What journalist are up to in not balancing their reports, is a question we should be asking ourselves particularly, senior bods at the tax payer funded BBC, it's my view that Nick Robinson should have reported Nick Clegg's reply to Andrew Marr, if he was questioning the stability of the coalition government it would have made his more report objective rather than subjective, but of course it would have made his assertion of shakyness in the coalition a little less plausible.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Unreliable Notes from the night Labour gained control of Thanet Council

This is my personal view of the night Labour gained control of Thanet Council, made more unreliable, in that my smartphone didn't save the notes, from the first half of the meeting, so I'll go big on atmosphere and er backdrop.

I left early for last night's council meeting thinking everyone knew that Labour would be taking the reigns of power, that is except for Cllr. Clive Hart who apparently didn't, and claimed he didn't think he would be getting the support of Cllr Worrow toward the end of the meeting, even though its likely everyone else thought he would be doing the dirty, to his former colleagues, that is voting against his former Leader Cllr Bob Bayford, anyhow as I parked the car , the Harts strolled past, I'm not sure they saw me, because I'm sure Clive & Sandra would have given me a smile and a wave.

Shared the lift up to the council chamber with Cllr Driver, didn't seem he was in any mood for chit chat particularly not since my conversation with him over that publicity stunt at the Turner Contemporary, when his Labour membership was not clear, still it good to see that he still has a home with Labour particularly after all that independent talk earlier in the year.

I must say things were crowded in the public gallery, good to see, fellow bloggers James Maskell, and Luke Edwards, taking an interest, in addition to a couple of proper bods from the Gazette.

Still although change was obviously on the way, the atmosphere was fairly muted, I guess the Tory group dreading losing and the Labour lot dreading winning, since they'll have to put their money where their mouth is.

Mention was made of Conservative Cllr Simon Moores being on his way back from Amsterdam or somewhere similar, a quick metal image formed of Thanet's most qualified, strapping himself into a cessna and battling the elements in what would have been a futile effort to save the day.

In my view it didn't take long for Labour gloom to pervade the atmosphere of the Chamber, particularly , with our new leader quickly adopting the victim role for Thanet with mentions of the area being badly treated and injustice, lets hope things lighten up.

Still I can't help thinking that, the next few years will be dominated by political minows, chopping and changing, I still have difficulty with councillors who jump ship, I'm fairly sure I could ingratiate myself with either Labour or the Tories, and get elected but having always been a Liberal it would be just like asking Mrs Me to swap her Chelsea season ticket for blimin Arsenal, it aint going to happen.

Not sure how little old ladies of Birchington South will take to the news that two councillors Worrow and Cohen are voting with Labour, or indeed just how shallow Cllr Worrows allegiance to his colleagues in the conservative party.
Still Worrow has got support for his free parking in Birchington, campaign, which I dare say his constituents will need once Labour start jacking up council tax.

Anyway Good Luck to Cllr Clive Hart lets hope he can do a better job running the council than has done with Labour, who might well of won the district elections, had it not been for that unseemly business of removing Mark Nottingham, or fighting against social housing and lets not forget jobs.

Finally it was good to see that the temperamental sound system was working, although the timer isn't however, a lashed up system was created courtesy of a laptop and projector.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Labour takes Control of Thanet Council

Iris Johnson proposed Clive Hart as new leader of council after Cllr Bayford loses vote of confidence.

It will be interesting to see if Clive Hart is up to the job, I'd like to think he is but I'm afraid. ....

Anywayh the vote in favour was confirmed at 20:29 twenty eight for Hart twenty six votes for Bayford.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Unison is this a true picture


No wish to offend Unison members but having witnessed the distressing news that otherwise tough union bods couldn’t take a poorly constructed joke from Jeremy Clarkson in his usual bad taste style about last weeks public sector strike, I feel I should go easy.

Still having seen last week a never ending line up of, as I’ve mentioned before selfless nurses, teachers and other generally heroic public sector workers presented to the media by unquestioning reporters, I find it difficult to not comment. Taking a gander at the Gazette’s coverage, I was reassured to find them following the mainstream.

I was much surprised, by the claim of local Unison branch secretary Steve Albion, stating  that many low paid women could not afford to take time off before Christmas, as far as I’m aware, employed workers are entitled to 28 days a year holiday, admittedly employers can dictate when holidays can be taken but really that statement is in my view completely misleading as of course is much of the propaganda by the Unions.

I can’t help also wondering how people are being manipulated in all this, taking a quick reference to the Thanet Trades Council and Anti Cuts Thanet campaign next meeting the Red Hall, Broadstairs, I wonder if it would be worth nipping over to their next gathering December 7th, 8pm and asking what, if any, relationship exists between themselves and the Marxist Socialist Workers Party?

Don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest sympathy with the low paid getting a fair deal and a living wage, and if you trawl back through this weblog you’ll find plenty examples, over the last few years, much of it criticism of Labour’s cynical betrayal of just such people in favour of cutting deals with big business such as the Murdochs.

The problem I have is that I don’t see why, the very lowest paid, working in the commercial sector, should be expected to pay tax to provide for pensions for say head teacher’s on seventy grand or council chief execs on hundreds of thousands or indeed middle ranking employees on say thirty grand plus.

It’s about time, that public sector workers stopped believing they’re special, at the end of the day, how cretinous do say teachers sound when bleating about having to work to sixty five, hardly a tough physical job, pity they give no consideration, to those doing manual jobs, creating the wealth so that thy can have three months holiday a year and an easy life.

Don’t you just wish Christmas started later!


Is there anything more irritating than that first Christmas reference, the inappropriate advert in September, “seasonal merchandise” in shops in October and flipping mince pies in early November, or worse still cynical mentions by er…..;-) well anyway its out there I see Simon Moores, is worried that he might overlook someone, me (Billy no mates) I have no such concerns I just hope, I manage to navigate my way through Christmas and out the other side without offending more than usual although it’s a policy of mine, not to ingratiate myself with anyone just, my honest views, some get it some don’t.

Not being a christian, other than by birth, schooling and perhaps in a future deathbed, born again sort of scenario, I have to say that I don’t think you can beat mainstream Christianity for laying on a good excuse for the British population, to eat drink and lounge about for two weeks each winter, more exotic religions seem to have a contempt for fun and humanity in general.

So far, Christmas has yet to manifest itself here at Flaig Mansions, although no doubt any day now, Mrs Me will either be ordering me into the loft to retrieve tinsel tat, untangle lights, assemble Christmas Trees a particular favourite of mine, especially last years Marks & Sparks one, which after I checked the price, provoked a brisk conversation along the lines of how flippin much, creating an atmosphere almost as chilly as last years rather arctic blast.

Anyhow there should be no further upsets over trees, as apparently last years will last years, I’m semi convinced although the attic contains a forest of trees from the last thirty years or so.

Enjoy Christmas, it’s one of those defining things, that makes us British, I’m sure whether you’re a christian or not, the legacy of freedom, decency, justice, humanity and honesty is worth celebrating, certainly preferable those alternatives with dubious attitudes to women and humanity in general.

Still as glib as I might seem I always look forward to being able to listen to Kirsty Macoll and the Pogues, Fairytale of New York, and it’s one piece of music I mentioned before (2007), I hate being mucked about with as I think Tesco’s current TV ads have done, anyway enjoy Christmas.


Mrs Me having just read this post would like me to correct “This load of B*ll*cks!” pointing out that last years Decs “have yet to reach the Flipping attic!” adding something like “is this the sort of Sh…………………………….” you write, Ouch! and er yes as it happens,

Before things turn too ugly I’m off to Tesco’s for veg!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shock horror! - Labour to take control of Thanet Council?

Not sure how true this is but I understand that Labour are most likely to take over the council next week presumably with the help of the unforeseen principled stand made by John Worrow, whose resignation from the conservative group has further depleted the somewhat tenuous grip the Tories had on power.

Anyway more on this later for the time being I'm working to top up public sector pensions, while the ungrateful blighters take the day off and consider how flipping marvellous they are.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day of action?

Brace yourself for a lot of misinformation over the next few days, as public sector workers, attempt to use all the black arts of the propagandist.

So far in all the preamble to the strike action we've been knee deep in selfless nurses, dedicated teachers, heroic border agency bods, references to school dinner ladies, etc, much play of the low wage public sector workers, I noted that even the BBC's entertainment programme the one show managed to line some prime examples last night (Monday).

For some reason its unlikely that BBC journalists or mainstream media will be spending to much time interviewing inland revenue staff, Ministry of defence bods, or indeed low paid workers outside the public sector, who although they contribute with every pay packet. towards public sector pensions, will not of course be able to fund a decent pension themselves.

Certainly everybody ought to be able to retire at a reasonable age, with a decent income, but lets face, when I hear teachers bleating about having to work till 65, I just wonder if they give a toss for those in say construction, agriculture or manufacturing who have heavy manaul jobs who the government expect to work till 67.

Of course once you get to the higher salaried civil servants pension funds for individuals frequently equate to many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Well tomorrow, I shall whether I like it or not, be paying into pensions for people who in many cases earn more than I, quite why I don't understand.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Resignation big deal? - No Worrows as councillor deserts Tories

News that Thanet Cllr. John Worrow has resigned the conservative whip on a point of principle concerning the banning of live animals exports, sounds like a humongous event but is it such a big deal.

I myself cannot quite understand what Cllr. Worrow is worried about, rather than showing disdain as John says, it would appear to me that Thanet district Council, has done a lot more than most elected bodies would do in similar circumstances, in representing and promoting the concerns of animal welfare activists.

I'm sure that some cynics might think that John Worrow by resigning the conservative whip is attempting to make himself more important as an independent (than was previously the  case) who now has to be placated either by the ruling Conservative group or won over by the Labour opposition.

Still having spoken to John in the past, I'm sure that he is above all that sort of malarkey and such notions are completely way off the mark, I myself don't doubt that neither he or Labour activist Cllr Ian Driver would use such an emotive issue as animal welfare, to manipulate the public, just to make themselves more important.

Just on Cllr Ian Driver, it seems that although it was unclear whether he was in or out of the Labour party earlier in the year, he has not been resigned or been removed from the Labour group as he is still listed on their website, presumably Cllr Clive Hart still has ambitions to lead Thanet to the promised land.

It's inevitable that petty squabbles will erupt from now until, the next local elections, maybe I should have commented earlier but frankly I had bigger fish to fry this weekend, including wading through a box set of "Mad Men" which is infinitely more entertaining than this event.

To be honest reading the first para of John's resignation address, despite criticising his former colleagues, he neither explains specifics of just how "there has been a concerted effort to undermine those campaigning to ban live animal exports" speaking of These campaigners are good respectable people goes on with this" I will not have their efforts undermined and ridiculed by an administration....... and so it goes on.

Here's my suggestion to John Worrow, try being a bit more explicit? I consider myself a supporter of animal welfare I signed the petition promoted by himself and all the other councillors and the council website, what more can we do? perhaps Cllr Worrow could elucidate?

At the end of the day of course we elect politicians to represent us, how exactly John Worrow is doing this, is frankly obscure, what does he expect of his colleagues, perhaps instead of Cllr Bob Bayford using his position as leader of the council, to influence law makers, perhaps John expects Bob Bayford and his tory colleagues to hold a vigil at Ramsgate port 24/7 and if necessary throw themselves in front of lorries.

Try coming up with a clear message John otherwise the public might just take a cynical view and assume your talking...

KENT WATCH - Launch of Regional Growth Fund - Ironic choice of venue?

I see news reported in the local papers including Kent on Sunday, that "county hall chiefs" and local MP's have had an official launch, of a scheme to offer grants to local businesses in East Kent to encourage up to 5000 jobs in the area, 40 million is on the table from the billion pounds national Regional Growth Fund.

I think its fair to say that KCC have done well getting this money, however its going to be even tougher I think to realise anything like the "up to" 5000 jobs figure quoted by Kent on Sunday, and I can't help think near impossible that jobs created will be solid, if you know what I mean.

This intiative is against a backdrop of the governments attempt to face up and deal with the very real instability in the economy in which half the population live courtesy of the taxpayer in a non productive or wealth creating world supported by the remaining generative industries.

Manufacturing appears to be one of those areas of the economy that no longer employs the numbers it once did either due to improved productivity or manufacturing having moved abroad, which as I understand has been the case with Hornby Hobbies in Margate who moved production to Guangdong Province, China in the latter half of 1990's.

This week will highlight the division in our economy and society between the " haves", public sector workers go on strike, and the rest of us who create the wealth are held to ransom. And yes of course some are getting a raw deal, but without those of us in wealth creation, the public sector wouldn't exist particularly those made up jobs.   

Clearly Hornby Hobbies, like other businesses has prospered having exported manufacturing jobs, particularly those which are labour intensive, hence the suggestion of irony, in launching this scheme where KCC did, still presumably since Council Leader Paul Carter, and  Kent Cllr Kevin Lynes, (regeneration and economic development) both represent divisions in prosperous West Kent, they would be unaware of local history.

Digressing slightly, in previous times, Kent Councils top officer would turn up for such events, however I see no mention Katherine Kerswell, the current Chief of KCC, and am reassured having rung KCC's press office that everything is still hunky dory, although they didn't comment on the suggestions that Katherine Kerswell has not been seen for a while, the Kent press bod could have allayed fears of another expensive high profile departure but didn't or rather couldn't, still if the worse comes to the worse, that's another job vacancy.

Its a pity few and certainly no one in the public sector, realises how important it is to have genuine wealth creating jobs, particularly with the countrie's gas and oil running out, although it's often been suggested that the UK is in terminal decline, maybe it really is, now that this country is more reliant every day on importing energy, and earnings from intangible services such as banking, insurance look every more shaky.

Finally if the top job at KCC has suddenly become vacant, then surely Paul Carter's position as leader of the Council will be untenable and no amount of shilly shallying from the councils press/PR department can save Carter, crikey that could be another job vacancy, blimey maybe the jobs market is looking better  already.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Would you trust Murdoch's Sun on Press Freedom?

I guess you probably wouldn't, however reading this report on the Sun's website, it appears that Sun journalist who just like their former colleagues at the News of the World have bills to pay, have struck lucky finding someone who seems to hold an honest belief that celebrities have hijacked the Leveson Inquiry into the press which focuses in part on some of the criminality of the popular press.

Certainly casual observers like myself of the inquiry, so far, would have noted the appearance of celebrities, but then equally powerful images, have been those of the mother of Milly Dowler, the McCanns, or Mary-Ellen Field personal adviser of Elle Macpherson sacked from her job because nobody realised that newspapers publishers were routinely involved in criminal activities to get stories.

Celebrities perhaps are fair game for newspapers but phone hacking, stalking etc are unreasonable, clearly the Sun is looking after, what it sees as its interests, although its difficult to view the story I mentioned as anything else other than an attempt to sway opinion.

As for celebrities what are we actually talking about, normal people who've got a talent, done something extraordinary or worked hard, maybe people like author J K Rowling, who's had protect her children from "journalist" who've stalked her and her children, a clear of abuse.

For myself I'd like to know when if ever the police will be interviewing senior executives of News International such as the Murdoch's I know its difficult to imagine major shareholder holders would show any interest in how their flagship business the now defunct News of the World beat the competition to some many stories. but who knows.

It's no surprise that a business that has show such a blatant disregard for decency and respect for individuals will cluch at an angle it can to support what I guess most of us see as a sleazy and dirty business.

Just what the answer is to dealing with the slimy rascals who pervert normal standards of decency in the pursuit of titillating the public with stories of human frailty, is something I don't know but if recent history is anythng is to go by cetainly, publishers and journalists are the last people to be trusted or regulate bent news media.

Finally when are we to see politicians in the dock over their relationships with newspaper owners, perhaps Blair, Cameron, Brown have some explaining to do, I understand that John Major was one of the few senior political figures not to jump when Rupert was in town, still look what happened to him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LABOUR SHOCK- As Clive Hart finds something positive to say

How pleasing to find local Labour actually has something positive to say, god knows we've heard enough doom and gloom from leader Cllr Clive Hart over the last few years, it sounds to me, as if, when he's not moaning about Cliftonville, he's done pretty much as is possible to dampen expectations in Thanet.

So far during his leadership, local Labour has fought against affordable social housing, (someone ought to tell Cllr Matterface who seemed unaware in last weeks Gazette), fighting jobs in a shabby U turn on Manston, fighting inward investment for new upgraded rail infrastructure, including a new "Parkway" Station which could help cut journey times to around an hour from London, simply I suspect because they don't have the nous to understand the psychological or marketing boast that it would give the area.

Well anyway Clive has made an rare and upbeat comment of sorts concerning lottery funding for the Dreamland site, starting with "good news" in the first sentence, a tad negative in the second half " empty for far to long" followed by "Dreamland has blighted the town since......."

It's a start.

Anyway its good not to hear of down and outs living in Cliftonville, dumping grounds, references to pedophiles or indeed smelly seaweed. Well done to Clive for trying.

Monday, November 21, 2011

KENT WATCH - What goes on behind closed doors

KCC have a remarkable record as far as it's relationships with senior management are concerned, as several high profile controversial events show a somewhat worrying aspect of an organisation, that used to promote itself as being excellent, although in fairness, some time after the dreadful state of affairs in childrens services became apparent, they eventually realised that the excellent tag was no longer tenable.

Anyhow as someone reported recently on my previous "Kent Watch" posting, rumours were rife as to the future of the current Chief Exective Officer Katherine Kerswell of the council or in Kent council orwellian newspeak Managing Director (Kent Conservative appear to view the council as if it were their own business), KCC have issued this Press Release 

Since joining Kent County Council in May 2010, Katherine Kerswell has been an outstanding Managing Director. In a very tough financial climate and against a background of severe budget cuts, she has done a great deal to relieve the financial burden on Kent council tax payers and has implemented Paul Carter and the Cabinet’s strategy for reshaping the council. Significant savings have been made possible through the continuing restructuring process and the new operational framework presided over by Katherine Kerswell and the Corporate Management team so far.
We would like to make it clear that Katherine Kerswell is and remains the Managing Director of Kent County Council. It is completely untrue to suggest that she has been dismissed or put on garden leave.
Neither the council nor Katherine Kerswell will be making any further public statement.
Now when KCC say they wont make any further public statements and you can believe them, as has been the case in other instances of their extraordinary personnel relationships, and even when they do promise more information, they conviniently brush aside further comment, such as how they ran child services down in to a perilous state, yes you'll get bluster and a lot of effort from Kent Council's multimillion pound public relations machine but whether we ever get  honest information is debatable in that case.
Anyway according to Local Government News website " Speculation grew this week that council leader Paul Carter was seeking to follow the recent move by Wiltshire Council  by axing Ms Kerswell and assuming the managing director’s role himself.  Wiltshire County Council has no chief officer as such, assuming that was true and of course its not, just what would, Kent possibly gain surely Kent Conservatives would not wish to blur the lines between politically neutral officers and partisan politicians. 
It is outrageous to suggest that Paul Carter ( Leader of Kent Tories) would compromise the traditional division between politcians and officers which marks British governmental organisations out from all those bent tinpot countries from South America to Middle East and beyond. What could he possibly gain?
Well I must conclude by saying that I am shocked, just as I was when, a company working for Kent's conservative council threatened me for commenting on Kent Councils Media, manipulation, credit card spending, big payouts for departing managers , or found evermore ways to burn your money like KCC's Healthwatch. I get the strong impression that Conservative Councillors would prefer us not to know how good they are at running things in Kent, so the truth is likely to remain behind closed doors(even though you as a taxpayer are funding them)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Out of the gloom

out ot the gloom

I wonder if I’m the only person, who isn’t feeling that the world is about to end under an avalanche of worthless euro’s. Never the most thoughtful after a long nightshift, I couldn’t help noticing that after several hundreds of years, people are still building in London, despite all the gloom of lefty media types, the fantastic shard development, still under construction inspired the following thought.

Yes the economy is being rejigged, its only natural when more than half the population are either employed by the state, or bleeding it dry, an illusion that cannot continue, however  the Shard emerging out of the early morning mist is no illusion, capitalism works, the state just drains you.

Well that’s my thought for the day, and now I shall get some sleep, Cranes over London

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oxford City Council - Jobsworths gone crazy?

I know people think I have downer on local authorities, and local government "officers" and God knows we've seen some extremes locally at both district and county level but blimey, it's looks like Oxford city council have elevated themselves to a new high in terms of well, either righteous regulation, stupidity or contempt for privacy and civil liberties. 

In the unlikely event that this hasn't cropped up on your news radar, Oxford's city council, has decided to insist that all taxis must be fitted with CCTV or what most of us would view as spy cameras recording, what would otherwise be private conversations, read this report in the Mirror, if your unfamiliar.

Still it seems that Oxford City council publicrats are, defiant in the face of mix of astonishment, incredulity,  and outrage at the casual way the Oxford City council presumably advised by "officers" have decided to treat this invasion of privacy which what appears that contemptible "we know best attitude" common in the public sector.

Here's some excerpts from their recent statement on the matter ""Most licensed vehicles will only require one camera positioned above the rear view mirror, however larger vehicles (such as people carriers) may require an additional camera to ensure that the whole of the vehicle interior is viewable. Only one?

Oxford City Council considers that so long as clear notices are provided in vehicles which inform passengers that video and audio recording may be taking place, the risk of intrusion is acceptable  I suppose the like Stazi in the old East Germany.

Anyway of if you'd like to read Oxford City's view and make you mind up as to whether they are bonkers or what?

My advice is simple this, if you value your privacy and freedom Keep away from Oxford City, if you know whats good for you.

Thanet Crematorium to be Solar Powered

Please look away now if your a sensitive soul who has "conservative" views on the pomp and circumstance surrounding the tricky etiquette of death, for myself I have a view that the whole business of leaving this world and entering the next, is all a bit fussy and flippin expensive.

Myself I'd be quite happy to be collected up on bin day and carted off with the rest of the household waste, then recycled by the council, however they see fit, still that's not going to happen, and when viewing the subject from the point of view of a grieving relative or friend, such a send off would be inadequate in the case of anyone else.

I see Thanet Council's Cabinet meeting tonight will be consdering sticking solar panals discretely at the back of the Crematorium in Margate, I assume that the actual process of cremation, will not be solar powered and the panels will be feeding the conveyor belt, curtains, lighting etc and pressumably the national grid.

Still it makes me think that, during the old incineration process there must be a lot of energy waste, I just wonder if maybe we couldn't have a regional crematorium, perhaps one in East and West Kent and recover some energy,  generate a bit of electricity, maybe power those street lights which the county council are turning off, perhaps saving death and injury.

Also on the agenda tonight is the subject of expansion of the Crematorium, which has for some reason, they never adequately explain been labelled as "eyes only" restricted to jobsworth "officers" and our talented councillors ( who will not doubt disclose the details at some future point down the pub) meaning that the public and press are turfed out, unusually a welcome relief, assuming the security guard hasn't wandered off, again leaving the door locked for no good reason.