Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Guest Blog by Bill Furness

As some of you appreciate, although I happen to be a Liberal Democrat, I don't set out to overtly promote Liberal Democrats, for the simple reason this blog was started as a personal take on what goes on in these parts and certainly I don't stifle comment either, although I have to say, I feel more than a little guilty, for not mentioning some of the parties achievements, particularly dumping ID cards, giving schools additional funds to focus on disadvantaged children, increasing tax threshold so 880,000 low paid workers don't pay income tax.

Bill Furness a fellow Liberal Democrat has kindly taken up my offer contribute to this blog, for which I am grateful. 


BY Bill Furness Executive member of Thanet Liberal Democrats

With the start of a new year with Xmas over and the credit card payments yet to be made, those that are fortunate to have a job look in trepidation at the way that the economy is going here at home and in Europe and how it may affect the labour market here in Thanet.

At least we can all look forward this year to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Olympic Games and, importantly for all the people of pensionable age who are set to benefit after Liberal Democrats in Government delivered the biggest pension rise in history.

From this April the basic state pension will rise by £5.30 per week, this is more than it has ever increased before, making the new rate £107.45 per week for a single person. a stark contrast to the last Labour government which insulted pensioners with a miserly 75p increase!

Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb MP said:

“I hope this pension increase demonstrates our commitment of fairness to people who have worked hard all their lives.

From April 2012 the basic state pension is forecast to be 17.1% of average earnings, a higher share of average earnings than in any year since 1997.

At a time when the nation’s finances are under severe pressure, this government will be spending an extra £6.6 billion in 2012-13 to ensure that people are protected against cost of living increases.

No less than £4.5 billion extra on state pensions, over a billion pounds extra on disabled people and their carers and over a billion pounds extra on people who are unable to work through sickness or unemployment.”

Under the Lib Dems’ triple lock pensions guarantee, the basic state pension will rise every year in line with either earnings, prices or by 2.5% - whichever is highest.”

It’s a step in the right direction and shows that despite being the smaller part of the coalition, Lib Dems are more than just about sound bites, as we discovered New Labour and the previous government to be by up-rating the pension credit as well, the poorest pensioners benefit in full from the triple lock, and they have also up-rated working age benefits by 5.2% protecting the real incomes of the poorest.

That said, I still believe that the basic state pension needs further improvement, as local people of pensionable age often spend their money in the local area and many are involved in a variety of roles in the local community.
This is just one of the Liberal Democrat policies that are being put into place, we may be a junior partner in the coalition but our policies are gradually being introduced and acted on.

Implementing reforms and legislation is one thing but the Liberal Democrat “Voice” is being heard on many issues and hopefully brought into fruition this year, it is unlikely that 2012 will bring much cheer, with so many people struggling in this extraordinarily difficult time but the Liberal Democrat party can be proud in alleviating the situation for millions of families and look forward to similar achievements during this year.


  1. "...And that was a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of The Liberal Democrats"

  2. Nothing to say about Thanet?

  3. Peter if you notice, I recently made an open offer to anyone to be a guest blogger " If anyone from Labour or indeed elsewhere would like to do us the honour tonyflaig@gmail.com" Quite a few times I've reproduce Clive Hart's communications in the last five & a half years, so get up to speed.

    8 55 yes I've got a couple of items, Thanet focused, but even us islanders live in a bigger world.

  4. Bless my soul, the government has been forced to give a pension rise equal to the rate of inflation. Something that all recent governments have done even though it may have been only 75p per week. The difference now is that older people pay a lot more than the rate of inflaton for their food, electricity and gas and if they need any of the paid for KCC social services, they will be hit by much higher charges.

  5. Careful Tony, John Worrow might apply!

  6. My criticism (& presumably 8:55's) is that Bill seemingly has nothing to say about Thanet in his post, unlike Hart, Wells, etc. Would be nice to know their stance on local issues (Tesco, Airport, Parking) instead of the usual sitting on the fence.

  7. Crikey Peter just what have you got to say outside of your abrupt little comments

    Are you Ricky in disguise?

  8. I'm not that fat & old! You & him do look very similar though...

  9. Peter is a pain, but for once I agree with him. Why so defensive Tony, don't you want to know where your party stands on local issues?

  10. 10 43 and even Peter, why not try and be a little grown up or even aware of political reality, Liberal Dems currently are thin on the ground, in these parts is questionable.

    A bit like asking conservatives what their policy is in Scotland, irrelevant.

    Or taking seriously the Labour nationally or even locally.

    Why not instead ask Clive Hart or one those independants, what Thanet coalitions plans are?

    And what does Peter stand for noxious bitchy comments?

  11. OK, is too much to ask what Bill's personal thoughts are on some local issues? Or doesn't he even have an opinion?

  12. Bill and Tony are the same person!!!

  13. Blimey boys and girls, what did you expect? As Tony says, the LibDems are hardly a force in Thanet right now - tho I would have to add Tony, Bill has only himself to blame, as we have all lost count of the number of times he has used the soubriquet 'local campaigner'! Perhaps he feels he has lost that to another Birchington loner.......

    At the last election the Libdems did not even field a manifesto, rather a statement of principles.

    That said, Bill is perfectly entitled to field the opinons handed down to him from Libdem hq, it often happens. Listen to how the local labour lot echo the party line on bankers, Ed Balls balderdash, and in their recently revealed attitude to burying bad news.

    Remember, in Alan Poole and Michelle Fenner you have two Broadstairs residents who clearly are more worried about the press than the town - although perhaps Ms Fenner may have something to worry about with the press now.

    Bill is perfectly entitled to his view; Tony to publish it; and you all to comment; but we do seem to be starting the New Year a touch tetchy all round.

    Off to polish the Kalshnikov now - I wish, washing up and writing reports for paundrun reality of life in this part of Thanet.id work, such is the

  14. Ooops. Last paragraph should read:

    Off to polish the Kalshnikov now - I wish, washing up and writing reports for paid work, such is the reality of life in this part of Thanet.

  15. 'Tories act like they are born to rule'

    British coalition partners' rift widens as a Liberal Democrat MP has hit out at ruling Conservatives, criticising them for behaving “as if they were born to rule.”


    Its the people who are born to rule and the present Tories etc serve us you would think with all their private indoctrination they would be able to get at least something right .

  16. 2:26 Are not Tories also people? In this day and age nobody is born to rule, but some get elected. Sometimes they are Tories and at other times Labour or Liberal. Strangely enough they are also all people.

    Actually, I forgot, your people are those ones that are just going to wake up and overthrow Goldman Sachs, German poets, people with funny handshakes and politicians in general. However, will they sort out the people from the non-people.

  17. So Bill and his Libdems seem to be proud of their national record but have nothing to say about local issues.
    So tell us Bill and Tony what have the coallition actually done for the people of Thanet and East Kent.
    Fine, we dont have to carry id cards and there is a bit more cash for SN children but for example tell us where all the new Free schools are in the area and where are the enterprise zones and new infrastructure projects?

  18. Well, for starters, there are bursaries to help kids from poorer homes to stay on in the sixth form, Thanet is well served for schools so do we need new ones, the enterprise zone at Sandwich will help the area and the new road down the side of the airport looks like an infrastructure project.

    For a country left nigh bankrupt by Labour, that is not too bad for starters, but perhaps 3:31 would have preferred more of the same until we finished up like Greece.

  19. I see Wells has crawled out of the woodwork yet again with one of his occasional "contributions", parroting the jibes at Worrow that are flowing freely from the Westgate Warbler. The Nasty Party just cannot resist.

    While I can understand their savage disappointment at the power change - and Worrow should have resigned to fight a by-election - their dirty campaign is becoming really disgraceful. They will soon be making the area the same laughing stock it was when run by Ezekiel and Latchford - with their particular brand of political "leadership".

    One can only imagine what tactics and antics they will employ next.

  20. I wonder what the LIB-DEMs views are on disabled people. From looking at Councillor SIMON MOORES' blog today he seems to think that judging and discriminating against disabled people is fair game... at this rate he will be running out of minority groups to persecute

    (and all this because he his lost his cabinet income)

  21. Can anyone tell me why Moores has not yet picked on the fat middle aged men with beards community?

  22. Moores is hardly likely to pick on Councillor Wells, Anon of 4.24.

  23. Or perhaps this is another of the dangled NP threats and "suggestions". I am wondering to whom Moores's latest little jibe - about disability pension - is aimed at? The tantalising "I may write more later...".

  24. Tom Clarke: The payments to a very very few 6th form children is just a shadow of the previous scheme. It exists so that the coallition can claim they have a scheme but it helps very few.
    Thanet is not exactly the top end of education in this country or even county and funding of the coallition's Free schools program in other parts of the country means that tax payers here are subsidising education elsewhere.
    If Free schools are such an advantage why not in Thanet?

    The enterprise zone in Sandwich is such a narrow band that it will have a detrimental effect on other parts of East Kent. Why would you set up a business in Margate when there are incentives to be had in Sandwich.
    When was the road you speak of started and completed.
    Where are the plans to help Manston become a decent airport?
    Other parts of the country north of Watford can look forward to rail extensions and new roads.

  25. I'll call myself Tom ClarkeTuesday, 3 January 2012 at 17:26:00 GMT

    The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against or harass a disabled person....
    Simon really is showing his true red white and blue colours.................................Col Angry must be so proud of the way Simon treats people... before you know it Col Angry will be demanding that Simon be made the president of the nastiest in the north!

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. I'll call myself unwise clarke martinTuesday, 3 January 2012 at 17:35:00 GMT

    Giv us back our allowance or i'll kick ya stick away!

  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  29. Since you raised the point, the bursary scheme is better targetted and gives higher busaries to those of greatest need.

    Thanet has an excellent selection of schools giving parents real choice. One of the reasons I moved back to Thanet myself some years ago so perhaps we do not need Free schools.

    Sandwich area and beyond, has long been the work zone for many living in Thanet from the East Kent mines to Pfizer. Where else do you think any businesses opening up there are going to draw their work force. I could have also mentioned the growing off shore wind farms.

    On the airport the biggest opponents have been Labour with their total opposition to nights flights so please don't pin that one on the Coalition.

    As to your north of Watford comment, surely you must be having a laugh. We had thirteen years of Labour when all their efforts were concentrated north of Watford including the creation of public sector non-jobs and the relocating of other departments from the south east. That included the unnecessary relocation of the army from Dover to South Wales.

    The Coalition could hardly be expected to sort out in a little over a nineteen months, the thirteen years of mismanagement they inherited.

  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  31. Tony, at one point my last comment appeared just once. Now suddenly it is there three times so you may wish to delete a couple.

    Apologies if it was anything to do with me but I do not think so.

  32. I fear my caption competition is far too subtle for the troll. Absolutely nothing to do with disability discrimination of course and simply a modern play on miracles from a favourite scene from Monty Python's 'Life of Brian'

    Hands-up all those who hate 'Life of Brin' trolls excepted!

  33. But you felt the need to explain yourself Doc. Get leaned on?

  34. I have a disability and I like the 'Life of Brian' but I can tell that Simon is using that to make those with a disablility feel like 3rd rate citizens.... Simon must think we are all thick

  35. This post has been removed by a blog administrator because you are conservative councillor using a false name

  36. Politics is a fraud posing as a democracy does matter what Nasty Party is running it.

    “HER MAJESTY’S GOVERNMENT “is also a corporation listed on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the government is actually a corporation. The CIK (central index key) is0001452617.

    I believe the fact is that we are living under corporate policy by fraud and deception, and that from the facts that there is no reference being made to the actual Queen “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of the House of Windsor sworn to uphold God’s Law”.

    Hence I believe the Government/Crown is disguised as a corporation to perpetrate fraud and deception to gain jurisdiction by creating the fictional legal person/corporation, ens legis, to enslave and claim liability when there is none under a fictional created corporation by fraud and deceit which is constructive fraud.

  37. Perhaps Councillor Moores, instead of pointing out again how superior he believes he is in intellect and ability to everyone around him, would explain to whom he is referring when he asks:

    "can you think of anyone who might fill the part"

    against his caption

    "That's right, sir, 16 years on a disability pension and proud of it".

    That is the point and question people have raised, and he should answer, instead of presenting another of his insidious hints and suggestions. No-one seems to be misunderstanding him or having his "high-brow humour" go over their heads, as he condescendingly suggests.

    Just say what you mean.

  38. Bizarre for I see a comment alledgedly made by me at 11:17 PM has been removed. There is mischief afoot here for, at 11:17 PM I was in bed asleep and had been for a good hour, prior to which I had been watching a DVD. The last time I had been at my computer was about 6 PM.

    If this is to become standard practice with people pretending to be other regular users, chaos will ensue. Alternatively we all become anonymous.

  39. Anon 6:30

    See your hatred of Cllr Moores eats away at your very soul or at least your judgement.

    This post by him on Thanet Life uses a clip from Life of Brian, a film he has drawn from in the past. It is intended as humour which the first comment posted picks up on.

    The Labour trolls on the other hand leap on the benefits reference as indicative of an attack on disabled people. What stuff and nonsense.

    He has nothing to explain and he would be daft to even try with you lot. Labour remains the party of class warfare, hatred and jealousy.

    To hell with the state of the nation. Let us all champion the cause of disability benefit scroungers who, muuch as it hurts you poor souls, exist in abundance. Oh, doctor, my back hurts so sign my chitty.

    Nobody is attacking the genuinely disabled but you serve not their cause by turning humour into something more sinister. If we could get rid of the scroungers there would be more cash for the needy. Think about it if you are capable.

  40. Re comments from Tom Clarke, I'll call myself Tom Clarke,etc. may I suggest you get a google account and sign in, it would save us all the tedious confusion.

    You don't have to use your real name either but would make things a little clearer

  41. Thanks, Tony, have tried so hope it works. Not really that PC literate, but fumbled my way around the strange world of Google.

  42. Even more bizarre for I have not tried anything!!

  43. This post has been removed by a blog administrator because you are a self-righteousness person, with the moral value system of Enoch Powell.

  44. I'm the Real Tom Clarke not a Tory Councillor pretending, thats the other Tom Clarke!

  45. Any chance of Bill Furness replying to some of the questions on here, as Chris Wells did?

  46. Peter, would seem that sundry trolls, or perhaps just one, are too busy attacking or pretending to be me for anyone else to have a chance to answer questions.

    To think, they call the Tories the nasty party.

  47. There was nothing wrong with Enoch Powell's morals, he simply recognised the potential problems that could arise from multi-racial immigration. He was right and now neither Labour of the Coalition can bring our spiralling immigation under control.

  48. Anon of 09.44, if you can stop being offensive for a moment and read what I said...

    I have NOT criticised Moores for referring to the disabled. I have made no comment whatsoever on whether it is right or wrong for him to do so. I have merely asked that, instead of making silly little hints about and allusions to someone - I presume a local politician? - who has been on a disability pension for many years, he should spell out precisely what he means.

    His snide style is always to drop hints and make waspish little references - rather like a schoolboy whispering behind the bike sheds - inviting people to share in what he then describes as an "open secret". He should spell it out, in just the same way that Worrow has been urged to do - and now has.

  49. Anon 6:43

    Since you have not responded to anything I wrote there is not much point in trying to continue this debate.

  50. Anon 6:50

    Bill Furness hasn't responded to anything either.

  51. Having been busy with relatives visiting us from Europe over the past few days I have just read the comments to my "blog" whilst the majority are of good hearted general banter others seem to be hitting below the belt at other commentators.
    Peter Checklsfield wants to know my opinions on matters relating to Thanet,well Peter thes are some of my personal opinions(not official LibDem policy)
    this supermarket is far too greedy
    wanting to build a new store at Arlington house,this would decimate some of the local shops in Westgate and the surrounding areas i have fought the construction of supermarkets before
    and lost, unfortunately they are backed by £millions of pounds and hard nosed solicitors all I could gain was extra benefits for the local community.
    Tesco should have looked at Margates dying town centre and taken up one of the larger empty shops and built a smaller unit, at least it would have brought more footfall into the town and helped
    non food outlets.
    I will respond on Airport and parking later.

  52. Thanks Bill, & I'm inclined to agree that Tesco should use a smaller shop in the town centre (Woolworths?)... except that doesn't help change the run down & decaying Arlington area.

  53. Anon of 6.50, your retort is astonishing, but as I do not wish to exchange views with someone as rude as you - indeed as unpleasant as the blogger for whom you are acting as a mouth-piece and apologist - your disengagement is fine by me.

  54. There, take that, duckie, and don't speak to me again or I'll spit. Stamps his little foot and saunters off into the sunset.

  55. Peter Checksfield.
    Re: MANSTON AIRPORT, (my personal views not Lib Dem policies) as you know this airfield first started being used nearly a hundred years ago,so anyone moving into the area were aware of the nuisance of noise levels and the benefits of protecting this country whilst at war and possible wars,during the cold war period US.Airforfoce jets were more frequent and much noisier then todays jet aircraft Manston with its ease of use to fly to other parts of this country and other countries without having to go to Gatwick,Heathrow and other airports,The opportunity for the creation of more jobs can be lost to Thanet if a balanced decision is not made to allow night flights by the new TDC administration this should include tighter control where possible on flight paths, noise and fume emmisions
    With plans being bounced around the media about the construction of new airports in the Thames estuary,if any one of these came into fruition then surely that would be the demise of Manston and the loss of jobs,If even the people
    of the village of Manston have no objections to controlled night flights so those even further away should consider the wider picture.
    I look forward to a financially viable Local Airport which be benficial to everyone.
    in this area.
    Further comments on Thanet to follow later today.

  56. Thanks again Bill. Again I'm inclined to agree, though not living under the flight path I'm probably biased anyway. Both our airport & Ramsgate harbour have lots of untapped potential.

  57. Anon 09.21, you're pathetic. Too pathetic even to be really offensive.

  58. Seems like I'm the only person actually interested in what Bill has to say, despite Tony's claim that I "stand for noxious bitchy comments"...

  59. Still got you rattled though, 11:44, otherwise why not just ignore such pathetic comment.

  60. Peter Checksfield,
    you wanted to know my personal views on carpark fees : with Westwood Cross shopping centre offering free car parking,Thanet Council are slow to introduce parking disks which would allow shoppers into the main shopping areas to be able to purchase goods in their local shops without incurring additional
    costs to them,the demise of many shops in our shopping areas may not have happened if the freedom to shop without payment and the concern of having to rush back to the meter before some jobsworth slapped a ticket on their cars because they overstayed by a few minutes for supporting local business's.
    It is disengeneous of the Council to fine people who have parked their vehicle overnight/ evening in car parks which hold 80 -100 with only 6 or 7 cars actually parked in it .
    I fully support any new free car parking incentive which would assist our local shops and keep people employed.
    It is absolutely barmy to build another 1200 homes in WESTWOOD CROSS with roads there at breaking point which can take 10 to 20 minutes to drive through it.
    TDC should look at every empty home/house/flat and brownfield site
    throughout the area before even contemplating building on even more of our depleting green fields
    and covering the area with concrete.
    Yes we need houses, but not at any cost.

  61. Peter Checksfield,

    you mentioned Ramsgate Harbour as having untapped potential, I agree it is under used with the new link roads now open it will be much easier to use these facilities,but I am opposed to it being used to ship live animals through without due consideration for the animals welfare.
    That's why I successfully invited Liberal Democrat MEP. Catherine Beader to visit Ramsgate and support the local campaign against it.
    With full cross party support I hope that this horrendous way of trafficking animals is stopped.

  62. Thanks again for your answers Bill, I appreciate it.

  63. Very interesting responses Bill. I can't say that I agree with everything you've mentioned but I'll echo you on most part.