Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Labour going nowhere

One of the very few positives, to come from Kent Conservatives, is the recent announcement that they are actively seeking to promote a new rail station Thanet  Parkway south of Kent International Airport.

An idiot could see the potential for both the airport and Thanet, unfortunately councillor Richard Nicholson, is no idiot, instead he is part of the fractured, Labour party which, it looks as if, when not enmeshed in personal vendettas, is now against traditional values like personal freedom, locally social housing and perhaps even jobs and hope.

According to Richard Nicholson, as per quotes in this weeks KM extra "I can't see the remotest economic justification for this.

Well of course he couldn't, however for Cllr Nicholson's education, one remote possibility, would be work on construction of such a project, I know at least six people (in Ramsgate)  involved in renewals and rail maintenance who last time I spoke to them were actively seeking work. If you include those like me who are currently working on projects elsewhere, who will be looking in the not to distant future, the figure would be considerable.

On a more imaginative level (probably well beyond the thinking of Labour), a new fast connection to the airport could and hopefully will, vastly improve the airports business, leading perhaps to justifying an extension to the high speed track, from Ashford, resulting in more employment, faster journey times, less traffic on the roads, better property prices and god forbid a bit of prosperity.

Admittedly such a thought takes a bit of vision, which I'm afraid Labour are incapable I always think if you can imagine something, you can make it happen, or as this quote from George Bernard Shaw had it “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” *

Perhaps Cllr Nicholson, is a realist, pity, Labour could do with some dreamers. In the mean time I'll keep dreaming, and the councillor his post as Shadow Cabinet - Regeneration & Economic Development.

Depressed, you should be.

* Used extensively by US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy


  1. But the labour government did pour large sums of money into the railways including HS1 Ramsgate to London at a cost of £5 billions. And you seem to be againt Labour spending money on public works. Its this government that have pulled the plug on any rail projects south of Watford.

  2. 8 14 you seem to be in Labour robot mode, I'm actually in favour of investment in sustainable transport projects, and your prejudice has resulted in scoreing an own goal for Labour sympathisers since labour bod cllr. Nicholson is the one against

  3. Kent County Council's have a bid to the Regional Growth Fund in support of Manston Airport. The bid is in three parts.

    Work to the railway line to London to bring the journey time to under 1hour.

    Subsidy to an airline to run daily flights to a European hub airport,

    A Parkway station off the new road near to Cliffsend.

    I fully support the first. I have no problem with the second if someone is willing to fund it.

    I complement the interest KCC are showing in Ramsgate, though I wish they had spoken to us first.

    I have serious problems with the Parkway Station.

    The plan is bonkers - the new station will have journey time of 8 minutes to the airport but Ramsgate Station could easily be rebuilt at a much lower price to allow access in the same time. In fact I suspect, a shuttle bus could do it in 8 minutes when traffic is clear now.

    64 minutes Ramsgate to St Pancras could be easily achieved at the existing Ramsgate station.

    The second issue is a station that could be marketed as improving access to the airport. This is a multi million pound exercise that would deliver only marginal benefits compared to the current situation. They are trying to justify it by arguing it is necessary to allow the faster journey time to London but that is a fallacy.

    Thanet people are fortunate that 80% can walk to a station. Why would they want to use their cars a drive to a 'parkway' unless they are forced to? The plan would simply lead to people from Broadstairs and Margate starting their journeys by driving to Ramsgate - and going through Westwood in the process!!!

    Of course, Infratil will offer to throw in £500k. Wouldn't you in return for a £20m investment in your private, for-profit enterprise? If they put that investment into improvements at Ramsgate station and a shuttle bus service they would save the tax payer from making any further investments.

    I believe they should make the line improvements talked about in the paper and invest in ramsgate station (which they can call Ramsgate-Manston Station if they need to market the airport connection) by allowing passengers to exit on the Warre Rec side of the line where a shuttle bus terminal would operate and then use a new service road to allow the buses to exit via the swimming pool car park onto Newington Road and then Manston Road. I suggest you drive it and see how close this would come to 8 minutes - I expect swimming pool car park to the terminal would even beat that time.

    Also if they want to increase car parking at Ramsgate Station they could then use the swimming pool car park - especially if they are still intending to move the swimming pool.

    Last but not least, Network Rail had plans on their books to rebuild Ramsgate Station at very modest price by comparison to a new station. It would be modern, comfortable and give access to an airport shuttle bus in the way I suggest and then the existing station building could be converted to a 'business centre' making a contribution to local employment. The tax payer would save money, the airport would be just as well served, local people would keep their station and it would create new jobs.

  4. Parkway Station. Now let me get this clear in my head. The proposal is to build a railway station on the existing Ramsgate to Canterbury line, somewhere to the west of Cliffsend. This means to the south of the airport. The terminal is on the north side of the airport and reached via a windy little country lane. So the shuttle buses will either run through Manston village, about 3 miles, or via Spitfire Way, about 4 miles. Alternatively they could run from the existing Ramsgate Station, which coincidentally is exactly the same distance from the airport as the first example above. Google Maps, give it a go Tony.
    One other thought. Once again everyone is assuming that turning Manston into the Stansted of Kent is both a good idea and commercially viable. And once again, most of those who think that it is don't live in Ramsgate. Of course it'll bring in lots of jobs for locals; just like Thanet Earth has done.
    To paraphrase Cllr Wells.
    I fully support the first, I have no problem with the second as long as the schedule is arranged in a sensible business-friendly way and doesn't involve night flights and I see no point whatsoever in the third.

  5. Ramsgate must be full of 12,000 idiots then Tony and half of them will be conservative and libdem supporters. This issue is not just a labour one and if it was in your backyard you would be the idiot.
    No doubt about it, all those KCC councillors in Maidstone, North and West Kent will be for an airport in Manston rather than in their own back yard off the Isle of Sheppy.

  6. Tony, you have, understandably, picked up on Mark Nottingham's post about the troubles in the Labour Party locally and referred to them here. It clearly reinforces your opinion of Labour's ability to run Thanet. You are also often critical of the Conservative record and performance, at both District and County levels.

    I wonder, what is your vision, and, if it differs, the Liberal Democrat vision for Thanet? What is the Party's view, and offering on:

    Manston Airport
    Turner Centre
    Wider economic regeneration
    Housing strategy

    for example?

    With, as you allege, a lack of vision in the other two Parties, it would be good to know if there is a "third way".

  7. LibDems vision is irrelevant. After May they will have ceased to be a force in anyone's politics

  8. I notice that one of the advantages of this project would be work for six of Tony's mates. Well thats all right then, of course it must go ahead.

  9. Pity that Tony hasn't risen to the opportunity to showcase his and the Lib Dem vision and policies. It would be so much more constructive than this pre-occupation with what is wrong in others' back yards.

  10. As the Labour party has done nothing since May but slag off the Liberal Democrats, it does not seem unreasonable to me that a Liberal Democrat blogger should take his revenge. As to policies, well the Lib Dems are clearly stated in the Coalition agenda whereas, according to Red Ed, the Labour party do not have any.

    Think you lose the argument 3:22.

  11. There is no argument, Anon, just an invitation to rise above and beyond current spats between the two main Parties and set out what the Lib Dems have to offer. And my point - if you care to read it - was to present the vision and policies relating to Thanet. I don't think the local dimension is covered in national Coalition statements.

  12. Tony is not the spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats who, I am quite sure, will spell out their vision for Thanet when campaigning starts shortly for the May local government elections.

    The debate here seems to be about the proposal for a station to serve Manston and, on that issue, the present council seem to be keen to look at the possibilities whilst the Labour group have come out against. If that is a spat them so be it but I would imagine the fors and againsts on this issue are more divided on where exactly they live than party lines.

  13. Bluenote, you and the other Anonymous (pursuing a similar theme) seem incapable of reading. I invited Tony to set out either HIS OWN and/or the Liberal Democrats vision and policies for Thanet. It seems not unreasonable to invite a positive contribution against the backdrop of this infighting within the Labour Party and negative campaigning from the Tories. It will "raise the tone".

    You profess to hate negative campaigning, yet you oppose this sort of invitation. You really do have questionable (and, as I have said before, for most of us utterly see-through) motives for blogging.

  14. I blog because I enjoy it. If I didn't I would stop. If I have any other motive it is simply to express my own views on issues and if those are not in accord with yours then, so be it, we cannot expect to agree on everything (or much it would seem).

    Returning to your invitation to Tony it did not, if you refer back to it, define LibDem policies exclusively for Thanet, in fact Thanet does not even get a mention in your original challenge. Furthermore, as Tony points out, these posts are his views and not those of the official LibDem party. He just happens to be a LibDem supporter.

    Perhaps, if you do not enjoy his anti-Labour comments you should go elsewhere. After all, I live with his frequent anti-Tory remarks, indeed, I sometimes agree with them. Left to me we would still have Nimrods, Harriers, Ark Royal, battleships, tanks and no unions which is not, I'm afraid, official Tory policy.

  15. I owe an apology for where one of the comments calling on Tony to state LibDem policy does not mention Thanet, I see an earlier one, I had missed before, does. This does not, of course, change my view that Tony cannot be expected to be a spokesperson for anyone, or party, other than himself. He gives his own views.

    Notice also my Anonymous friend refers to 'most of us' seeing through my motives. How do you know that. Have you spoken to and confirmed the opinions of everyone else? In the same way you call on Tony to give details on policies which are not of his making, you then claim to speak for others when simply giving your own view. In truth we are all individuals.

  16. Bluenote, you are in no position to challenge anyone over inconsistency, hypocrisy or over-claiming the authority for comments. The proposition/invitation here was simple - to move away from Labour's in-fighting and the Tory negative campaigning to consider positive vision and policies.

    Despite, when it suits you, supposedly favouring that, you oppose it now. Tony ignores it. Fine.

    At least you have now read the relevant posts. A pity that your attitude is "even when I'm wrong, my view remains unchanged".

  17. Did I mention inconsistency or hypocrisy in these exchanges for I cannot find it. I did question your right to claim to speak for 'most of us' for there is no way you can prove that. It is not something I would do unless qualified like 'most of the people I know' agree with me and I cannot ever recall even doing that.

    Also, the fact I found your comment specifying Thanet, in your call to Tony to state LibDem policies, does not mean I was wrong. I said he is not the spokesperson for that party but for himself. In the same way you and I offer our views not those necessarily of the Labour or Tory parties.

  18. I am glad you enjoy blogging, Bluenote.

  19. Glad...but disappointed that you have made such an issue out of an invitation to set out a positive vision and policy rather than persist with a more negative strand. You like to challenge over where you might have said something - where did I make any reference to anti-Labour comments by Tony? I did not. You are mistaken - again.

    But hey, many jobs are going at Pfizers. That is the real issue that should be occupying minds, not pointless spats. Perhaps you will consign to the dustbin your attempt to create another one (spat) with your anti-union rhetoric. Whether led by dinosaurs or not, they are more help than your comments and "contribution" will ever be.

  20. Historically perhaps unions had a role to play but in the post WWII era they have probably done more damage to this country than any other contributory factor to our decline.

    On the job losses I would dearly love to make a valid contribution but, other than calling on our politicians to work together for a change, what can one do. We can but hope that the facilities at Sandwich and the presence still of a skilled work force will be attractive to some newcomer firms.