Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sick Sniper on loose stalks Ramsgate pets

Item on Thanet Life Blog also covered by Extra (the free paper that cost 45P)

I have briefed MR Puss, who is maintaining a stoic attitude, but he seems maybe a tad edgy

Seriously what sort of sickos are we breeding in ramsgate.

Ramsgate Grammar school shock!

In this week's Adscene, Chatham House headmaster John Matthews has this shock admission(to me anyway), and I quote ''About eight years ago we started our first vocational course in the 6th form for children who were not especially academic. The leisure and recreational course is a dual award equal to two A-levels and pupils will take a third academic A-level. He then goes on to state ''children who would have failed at doing three A-levels have been doing well on this course.
I was actually on my way to bed when I got a call from work, and then , read Mr Matthews frankly astonishing comment.
As some of you will know I am an opponent, of the educational system in Kent, and made the following comment on the East Cliff matters blogsite when the author posted a similar article from the Extra suggesting how marvelous Chatham House was. Please note that this was originally written, in response to that ( click here to see in context)

I just wonder at what cost, does Chatham House achieve its results. Our grammar schools cream off roughly 20 per cent of the school population with its 11 plus Kent Test nonsense.

This system is somehow supposed to take those most able, I would just ask whether the 20 per cent comes, equally from all social classes, I don't think so. If it doesn't then we have what I would suggest is a de facto system of eugenics whereby middle-classes are nurtured at the expense of the majority.

As you don't seem to nail your colours to the mast, i e whether you agree with educational apartheid or not, ask yourself this why do parents who can afford it, send their children to private schools is it , a) because they like the ridiculous 1950s style uniforms, or b) because they're pretty damn sure that there darlings will be coached rigorously in how to pass the Kent Test.

If Mr Matthews gets the chance to read my blog, I hope he realises that I have not had the benefit of a grammar education, but if the likes he could give this to his English department as an example of bad gramar.

To summarise I always understood, that the reason we have grammar schools, was that KCC in its wisdom had an infallible system, of selection quaintly called the Kent Test which resulted in academically gifted children going to grammar schools. What are we to think!
Postscript In using the word shock this is the definition which I feel is applicable in my view "Something that jars the mind or emotions as if with a violent unexpected blow. Well it did jar after years of listening to backers of grammer schools, and I do get emotional when I know something to be wrong!
Margates Cecil Square M&S Regeneration a little closer

After my somewhat unreliable report yesterday concerning the future of the M&S site, Thanet District Council officers have been kind enough to forward a copy of their statement concerning the future of this site, as you know I generally don't allow facts to interfere with what I have to say.

First things first as earlier reported, by the well-connected Arts and Elbows blogsite, Thanet council have released a brief statement, stating that in the next few months a planning application will be prepared setting out the future use of the site, the plan being to create modern retail space, that may include office and workshop space as well as residential units. They are also looking for short-term uses for the site to increase the amount of people in the high-street.

I understand that there is a desire on the part of those who know about regeneration, to put Cecil Square at the heart of the town, part of this plan is more Cafe culture, but more importantly is the objective to create a passage from the old M&S site, giving access the to the old town, and help open it up, as part of the regeneration.
Fortunately the part of the Marks and Spencer building which faces on to Cecil Square has a preservation order so there is little danger of any new hideous modern building to complement the red-brick civic buildings across the square.

I think I need to make an apology to those involved in the Regeneration business, whilst it is easy to criticise, we clearly have had some considerable benefit to Thanet as a whole from the developments that have taken place over the last few years.

If anyone cares to wander around Ramsgate for instance, and this weekend with the powerboat racing taking place, it will be an ideal time to do so, you cannot fail but appreciate how good the town looks particularly from the harbour.

Much criticism is made of the traffic at the centre of Thanet, and this clearly is a problem whether it is convenient to mention or not, but this has not all been negative, because I think a large a part of spending which previously would have gone to Canterbury, is now kept within Thanet.

Thanet probably has two major problems, the traffic, unfortunately this is something that is the responsibility of KCC, the regeneration of Margate, this is something within local control hopefully within a year or two will see some action and even better if KCC gets they move on, with the Turner contemporary, which Paul Carter promised for 2009 (keep a note in your diary).

Hopefully the council will be holding some sort of discussion or consultation with the local traders in July to get their views on how this plan will be developed further.

My estimate of how much was paid for the Marks and Spencer site, is apparently way off the beam and still subject to commercial confidentiality unless you got the time to query with the Land Registry.

It is still my understanding that Seeda has made available to Thanet District Council something in excess of £8 million, with which to help regenerate Margate, and since the officer I spoke to mentioned, that the immediate problem, was to stimulate foot traffic in the high street, I made the suggestion, that with the interest from this £8 million, maybe they ought to give a £1,000 away every weekend to passers-by in order to stimulate traffic well I no expert but it did raise a laugh.

It is easy for us not involved directly to criticise, but to be honest, the task to regenerate Margate is vast and in some degree, has not been helped by the handling of the Turner contemporary project, but this sort of redevelopment requires a strong will, a clear objective, and a lot of expertise. I hope they do well, and earn their money, because if they don't someone will only criticise which as we all know is easy.

Who pays the price for media monopoly.

Rupert Murdoch in an interview with the Australian newspaper would like 18 months to consider which candidate in the next British election he wishes to back.
I think it would be great for British politics, if Rupert Murdoch kept his opinions to himself. The media mogul, and latterly American citizen, clearly holds vast power owning as he does large chunks of our newspaper Industry the Times and the Sun, the two most influential newspapers in the country. As far as his newspaper ownership is concerned, these businesses work in a competitive environment but his holdings in BSkyB are a different matter which in my household represent a monopoly supplier of Premium subscription television.
The apparent broadcast media monopoly, is something that strangely has gone unchallenged during the current Labour administration. Prior to the 1997 election I believe that Tony Blair met with Mr Murdoch which was followed by the Times and the Sun backing the Labour Party to win the general election. Presumably only these two would no whether deals were done or not, but the fact remains the Sky TV business operates pretty much as a monopoly in this part of the country as we have no cable service to compete.
If it were not for the vast influence that is within Mr Murdoch's grasp in the print media in this country, might there be some questioning of Sky TV. After all politics is a competitive business and who would like to upset a key influential component in that business, not many, not if they wish to have power themselves.
As to who Mr Murdoch chooses, to back in the next general election, I personally give that very little interest, what I would like to see, is a politician who refuses to toady to interfering Australians sorry Americans.
Incidentally much to the indignation of the Flaig household I cancelled my Sky subscription, a couple of weeks ago nearly £600 a year is too much for old films that are now available for a fiver to own, particularly when one of the shareholders is going to tell me who to vote for and there not even British. Opinions from ageing foreign media moguls is another price I'd rather not pay for.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thanet Council news management, are they about to announce uninspiring plans for M&S building?

This is my hypothesis (I think it means clueless, in Greek) , after many weeks and an estimated £6 million of taxpayers' money it looks as if Thanet council is about to make an announcement concerning the Marks and Spencer site.

After months of inactivity, and no news, Thanet council has, at last come up with the big idea. According to the blogsite Arts and elbows yesterday, months of apathy have paid off, dozens of Thanet council regeneration officers and other ranks, have been slaving night and day, I tried to speak with someone in the Regeneration Department but no one was able to respond possibly due to sheer exhaustion, except briefly to take my number claiming they would ring back pronto sadly they didn't have the strength.

I believe the big idea is to, have what I would describe, as an indoor and flea market (subsidised), with workshops and offices well worth the wait.

I assume this story will turn up in one of Trinity mirrors excellent rags (Gazette most likely) with perhaps a big picture of our glorious leader Sandy Ezekiel making a informal announcement.

I am a tad miffed on 27th April I received an e-mail from the council, telling me there would shortly be a press release, I did not realise this would be via the Arts and Elbows blogsite exclusive!.

For those of you who have not seen this article please click here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What were we thinking.

It's not often, that you are able to remember exactly where you were and what you were thinking and doing 25 years ago. This is one of those days for me, fortunately, due to my in-laws placing an advert, I am able to remember.

Generally this particular anniversary, announces itself, with breakfast in bed, served up by my wonderful wife, but with that ''you're dead meat'' look on her face, which alerts me to the fact I may have forgotten something, this is confirmed by door slamming and an inability to respond normal conversation.

Anyway what was I thinking, apart from the bad taste suit, I was thinking how lucky I was, which I still think today, my wife I never quite know. Still I don't think we've done to bad, as a month later, the Royal family had a similar if not slightly more brash affair which didn't last half the time but then that Family seems quite dysfunctional.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A couple of wrong uns, how many more?

Is it right that the News of the world is the only organisation prepared to expose dangerous paedophiles in our midst.

Claire Phillips, director of policy at the Office of the Children's Commissioner, was recently quoted as saying "Introducing a version of 'Megan's Law' in the UK would do nothing to help parents keep their children safe from sex offenders. Oh really.

What you might ask yourself is the Office of the Children's Commissioner, good question what it looks like is one of those wretched outposts of government more concerned with PR than purpose, on their website it states that it's the voice for all children and young people in England.

Now seems that another one of those know-it-all Government departments is going to fail to give protection, to another minority this time our children. It seems that a law similar to Megan's Law in the United States, could drive offenders underground, of course in might also just save lives.
As far as a child protection is concerned, this is one issue where I am prepared to side with the mob. In my opinion paedophiles, along with the other violent offenders really ought to be sentenced to prison, just the once. Would anyone care, do they care for their victims of course not. The thing is that there are many who would say, that we should try and rehabilitate offenders, I say it's not worth the risk. The victims are the only ones that count in this crime.
Fox-hunting in Kent

I have recently spotted some urban foxes, which I haven't seen for some time, and the thought occurred to me that maybe this was a by-product of legislation to outlaw fox-hunting. Coincidentally a news search engine throw up a reference to hunting in East Kent.

Although I haven't had my dustbins attacked by foxes recently myself, I did at one time think of forming the Dane Valley hunt (many years ago) then rejected the idea, not that I own a horse or even have a red jacket. Probably a good decision, as HorseandHound.Co.UK, in an article on their website repeat the old saying ''Never hunt south of the Thames'' in a report on hunting in Kent although I'm more familiar with “The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible” Oscar Wilde.

Still I think that it is great, that a countryside practice has survived for hundreds of years, despite massive changes in the Law has even survived attempts to emasculate it, by middle-classes whose countryside experiences are limited to their postage stamp sized gardens.

It's remarkable, given the prognosis of the Countryside Alliance, how the laws on fox-hunting would result in the end of hunting, how they manage it to adapt and survive.
Still whats the law regarding sea gulls.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


With all this talk of the delegations from the local council, going north and having discussions with amusement park operators elsewhere, why can't Thanet council, just suggest to the current owners, Margate Town Centre Regeneration company, that the only change of use they will ever receive, for the Dreamland site would be to turn it into a agricultural land. This way they might concentrate the business minds, behind this company, who appear to want to cash in, and increase the value of their land by building on it.

Thanet council is a facilitator in this matter, if they made it clear that they weren't about to give any favourable decisions as far as building was concerned, it would soon facilitate the Dreamland owners into using their asset as originally planned.

Apart from a putting a bulldozer through the site I'm not sure how you could make Dreamland look any worse than it does today.

I seem to remember when the Tories regained control of Thanet council, that they made statements suggesting that they had clear plans for Thanet, well so far I have seen nothing of that as far as it concerns Margate, the Turner centre appears to be nothing to do with them, they have purchased the Marks and Spencer's building and still apparently have no firm plans.

This administration seems clueless only able to mumble about regeneration, without actually completing anything.

The council have the money to do things is just ideas are in short supply.

Will Thanets traffic problems guarantee retirement for Stephen Ladyman at the next election?

Traffic has got to be the biggest problem faced by Thanet, and you would imagine that having one of our local MPs holding the post Minister of Sate for Transport would be rather handy in solving the transport crisis.

Unfortunately Dr Stephen Ladyman, looks likely to only make matters worse. Have a read of today's Kent on Sunday here are some quotes to frighten anyone who wishes to travel across the Thanet to get to work or go shopping or just to live '' The reality is we are a small island and we have not got enough space to build more'' (Britain), ''Road pricing is needed to make better use of the capacity we have got''and the best quote of all ''we want a few more to join (congestion charge) and I'd welcome an application from Kent ''.

There are two ways to look at this, the first is not only are the queues around Westwood and elsewhere going to get worse but Mr Ladyman presumably would be over the Moon if not only do you add 30 odd minutes to your day but also pay for the privilege, the other conclusion that I reach is that Mr Ladyman wishes to retire at the next election, in some style, and he is not entirely convinced that Tony Blair's, appalling and blundering behaviour is sufficient for him to lose the next election, to guarantee defeat, he will help keep Thanets traffic at a standstill whilst getting residents to pay a congestion charge.

Thanet is one of the most inaccessible parts of Kent, as witnessed last Friday when a tanker tripped up and resulted in chaos on Friday last week. Most people in Thanet, want to be able to travel within the area and also to be able to get in and out with ease.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Frustrating Day

If you have had a long and frustrating day, you might enjoy some distraction, as my problems were vehicle related, you may just like to click here and take passive enjoyment from this commercial for a trunk monkey, this is in bad taste, contains scenes of violence and confronts motoring in a uncompromising way (you most likely need broadband) you have been warned.

My twelve hour day, has been extended to a 14 hour day an accident on the M20 involving two HGV's, fortunately for me it has only been a minor inconvenience, I hope the same can be said of those involved in the accident.

According to Kent Online the traffic was flowing freely by 4pm this will be news to those arriving home late like me, proof if needed that you cannot really on everything on the Internet me included.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Margate Air show heavy-handed restrictions

Are Thanet council getting pettier, can any one explain why the council thought it necessary to cordon off large sections to Thanet outside of the air show arena. Also have the organisers got a section 106 agreement load of old nonsense as Manston airport does. I should think the council created more nuisance than Manston airport has in the last ten years.

Was it legal for the council to block areas outside of the showground or just arrogance please comment?

Margate Cat in ASBO Shock

The Sunday times has a long tedious article about pampered pets with calls for pet asbos, Mr Puss seen here, relaxing on top of daddies car declined to comment (no bloody Fathers day card either), is I believe to be against such drastic action, despite being subject to a humiliating bullying campaign of terror, which has recently escalated into his lunch being stolen, by a beige cat known as, the beige cat. This cat is also wanted in connection with the theft, of a quarter pounder back in May, approach with caution.

Mr Puss is believed to favour dialogue and counselling rather than the heavy hand of an ASBO, me I’m investing in a water pistol in my own get tough policy.

Saturday, June 17, 2006



Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth
Cook from Kent gets OBE in honours list
I'll be damned if I send the Queen any more birthday cards, it's not cheap you know, she has two of them every year.
Then there's the money for the stamps, to consider as well.
Seems like I may have to get myself, a career on the television, still do they have fat middle-aged blokes with no talent on telly.
Perhaps I could consider a career in politics, maybe join the Tory party move to a more affluent part of Kent and run things here in Thanet, alternatively get on David Cameron's preferred list of candidates, for safe Tory seats, whilst having no charisma, I have even less knowledge of Tory policies so this should make be an ideal candidate.
I suppose I could always do something for charity, but then I would only be in the running for what Michael winner suggested were honours (OBE) for toilet cleaners, it looks like this honour is also offered to cooks as well as film directors, can't see why he was so snooty.
Well done, to Gary Rhodes though, Kent boy made good after training at Thanet Technical College in Broadstairs.

Have I to wait 30 years, for services to blogging, I can fry an egg you know.

Friday, June 16, 2006

How much for NHS Computers?
After nearly £7 billion spent on the NHS computer system, which is, to enable us to book an appointment and costing a further £12 billion, to complete, couldn't they just send someone down to Staples to get some old fashioned stationery.
More importantly when will employees at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother of Queen Elizabeth the Second etc Margate Hospital be able to download Ipod tunes again.

Just for your entertainment and apropos to nothing, Please click here to see a funny advert produced by a company called EDS who used to supply its systems to the NHS

The Isle of Thanet Gazette, this week claims that KCC rates its progress as "excellent” in a report written by Rebecca Smith. I had seen this reported somewhere else, but assumed that I was hallucinating.

Seems that it is correct, I just wonder who is deluding whom, in this Turner Contemptible project.
Real flowers found in Margates Cecil Square

I have spotted that rare commodity in a corner of Cecil Square, real flowers as opposed to the artificial ones that dominate the square.
I'm not entirely sure which I prefer.
Woman seized in Dover by Home Office, deported tomorrow.

Last week the Home Office issued a press release, suggesting it would continue to work for victims of forced marriage, this week that same Home Office, is to deport a victim of that very crime.

Ms Begum, seized earlier in the week by Home Office officials is apparently to be sent it back to India despite fears for her life from Heathrow tomorrow according to Indymedia UK.

The Home Office seems to be duplicitous in this matter, we are told the Home Office, is in chaos, and if you need further evidence , this is it.

If you would like to read more click here

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Woman victim taken from Kent home, despite last weeks Home Office pledge on Forced Marriage

Whilst the Home Office seem to have no ability whatsoever, to deport murderers, rapists, child molesters, and criminals they are able to track down and deport women like, Ms Begum who claims she fled her home country after she was raped and forced into a marriage and believes her life to be in danger if she returns home. In a country, that has accommodated roughly half-a-million new residents, in the last two years, from Europe and elsewhere on extended visas, what harm would it do to allow this woman to stay indefinitely.

I think she is being deported, because she is a woman and therefore an easy target, unlike the many criminals that the Home Office haven't got a clue about.

Now last week we were assured by the Home Office that there was no reason to bring in legislation to protect victims of forced marriage, as they would increase training of professionals, share best practice, insure existing legislation was fully implemented etc. To sum up in my opinion basically do nothing.

In just over a week after the Home Office announced that it was not about to introduce legislation to protect victims of forced marriage, it would seem that they are actively assisting in the repatriation of a probable victim of this crime despite reassurances and I quote Home Office, Minister for justice, Baroness Scotland here "In the future, we will continue to provide information and assistance both to potential victims and to concerned professionals who are confronted by this abuse."

Well it looks as if the Home Office are complying with that statement Ms Begum says she is a victim, they've given her the information that she's going home in the next few days or hours to possibly face death on her return and the assistance to go for a journey that for obvious reasons she shouldn't have to.
Big decision for Thanet

With the promise of sunshine, on Saturday and Sunday and the temperatures reaching around 22 C, the choice must be either beach or airshow. Preparations are well under way at Palm Bay, with marquees, fairground attractions, and displays already being set up.

If you notice, in the photograph a fence has been erected, on the edge of the green, I'm told its part of some safety arrangement, I am not sure whether this means that the existing fence that runs along the cliff edge is not substantial enough, or whether it is being put their to stop despondent English football fans doing something desperate, not having been entirely convinced with today's match performance with Trinidad and Tobago. Perhaps if you know you could leave a comment.

Not knowing an awful lot about football, I sent my wife a text message at half-time (I'd already been told not to ring), with some inane comment like "come on you Tobagoans", this sounded vaguely like something she would shout at the telly, and as it wasn't the beloved Chelsea playing I thought, I was entering into the spirit of the thing. Apparently not, a reply text came " something off", fortunately England improved by the time she arrived home. I am hoping I'll be allowed to go to the air show.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Kent in Manston land grab

According to Kent on Sunday website, the county council have just spent £5.35 million on purchasing Kent International Business Park at Manston.

The justification for the purchase according to Graham Gibbens, KCC Cabinet Member for Regeneration, as quoted is "There was a real threat that the Kent International Business Park could have been bought by a speculative investor, who would land bank it for a number of years.

Graham Gibbons is county council member for Canterbury City North East that almost makes him a local. At times I wonder why we have Thanet District Council with the growing influence or interference from Maidstone with might as well send all our money, straight to Maidstone.

The report does not mention, whether they bothered to consult with Thanet District Council or Sandy Ezekiel still I suppose they will do what they want and consult us later.

Story on Kent on Sunday Website click

Towards 2010 KCC announce a four-year plan, sorry Goals

Wasn't it Russia that used to have all those five-year plans, I can just imagine the consequences for anyone who fails kents' four year plan (towards 2010), instead of Siberia they will be sent to Birchington or worse Cliftonville to suffer in the harsh summer's.
Paul Carter made his announcement from County Hall, apparently he's going to do something to improve traffic, get ex army personnel sort out our kids, hard-hitting health campaigns (I hope he's not going to suggest that I'm a fat middle-aged bloke sat on a computer who should be getting some exercise), housing apparently is a big issue (certainly at Westwood and the soon to be destroyed village of Wye), regenerate Kent's deprived areas, more community wardens, finally the council will be setting up its own Kent TV station (I hope I can find the off switch), as well as launching a new website what's on in Kent (not what's left in Kent).

I personally would like a four-year plan, which allowed for free flowing traffic around Thanet, Margate regenerated, the Turner contemporary built, housing estates such as the proposed Westwood development not built until we have better transport infrastructure.
British human rights denied if it means upsetting Saudi Arabia officials

The Law Lords have ruled against the three Britons and a Canadian who have been denied the right to sue Saudi Arabian officials who allegedly tortured them.
Saudi Arabia supported by the British government, argues that its officials are protected by state immunity, I can't help thinking that quite a few criminals could use that excuse. I wonder what Saddam Hussein is using as his defence?
So much for all the talk of human-rights, that we hear coming from sanctimonious Labour ministers, where money is concerned we know where their interests lie. The whole point of our human rights legislation, is surely to protect our citizens and it should give protection even if it doesn't suit the Foreign Office.
Tony Blair, can send as many service personnel as he wishes to Iraq and Afghanistan who support democracy but for some reason his government cannot allow three British citizens and one Canadian to seek redress for appalling treatment received in Saudi Arabia. It seems Blairs government can only tolerate democracy, when it suits them.
Can anyone else smell oil.

Link to BBC story
Does the Sun newspaper speak for the nation?
In typical tabloid fashion, the Sun asked yesterday, how dare the Germans (I think they mean Bild newspaper, not a whole nation) attack Becks' birds accompanied by a photograph of the Beaut and Das Boot. This question seems rather ironic to me, since the Sun delivered a 7500 square foot beach towel to a Berlin football stadium last week, the thing is clearly Germans and English tabloid writers are cut from the same cloth, or should I say beach towel.

I would guess that Germanys' Bild, and the Sun both indulge in simplistic Nationalistic stereotypes irrespective of the consequences.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thanet council completes tough major project.

Viewers of Meridian's tonight programme, will have been reassured, that Thanet council is, on the case. The culmination of a significant policy change, is here for all to see. Whilst other councils dither Thanet council has shown that it has what it takes, were major issues need action.

Yes Thanet council in a brave move, have cracked that age old problem, what plants to use in a drought, yes artificial ones, now all they have got to do, is come up with a plan for the Marks and Spencer building, and regenerating, the lower high-street and the old town. Let's hope any plans or ideas they do have are real and not artificial.

I must say these flowers looked really rather good, as I cycled through Cecil Square yesterday afternoon.

Oh can you sort out the traffic, before you allow any more development, around Westwood.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Police should ignore public opinion
I see over the weekend that the backlash over the Forest Gate terrorist raid has started as it now becomes clear that intelligence in this matter was clearly wrong.
I have no doubt that we will see endless criticism of the police and security services, over the next few weeks. I feel that police and security services are in a difficult situation, they are dealing with a ruthless enemy, who hide amongst the community they claim to be part of.
This time last year who would have thought that there was anyone within our British community sick and twisted enough, masquerading as pious religious men to feel they were justified to murder 52 fellow countrymen and women with 700 injured.
The plain and simple fact, is that there is a global war initiated by so-called fundamentalists, who have no humanity about them whatsoever they masquerade as followers of whatever, their hatred for the West knows no boundary, how did Madrid ever become one of their targets, last week police intervened in Toronto foiling two large cells of these maniacs.
If people think our police and security forces are over-zealous, just ask yourself this what has Canada ever done to offend anyone.
Clearly the police and the security services owe the two brothers concerned in this raid firstly an apology and, secondly compensation in proportion to their injury. But let's hope that the police never give a second thought to public opinion, some of which is generated by apologists for extreme views. I think at the end of the day, the only place to lay blame is the sick deranged cowardly perpetrators of this global terrorism.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Turner Contemporary who is running the show?

According to the Isle of Thanet Gazette, project boss Mike Hill, is quoted as saying "we will be involving residents in the design process for the Turner contemporary and the whole regeneration process", I personally would just like to say Thank You, but I won't for this reason, most of the money for this project will not come from KCC, the project is to be built in Margate, and yet the whole thing is being led from Maidstone.

Clearly Mike Hill has an affinity with Margate, seeing as he represents that other run-down economically deprived coastal town of Tenterden, so for many he's a natural choice.

Given that most of the money is not KCCs , what I'd like to know is why are we allowing ourselves to hand this project to KCC. Why can't Thanet Council stamp its authority on this project, I know both councils are Tory run but why can't our local council have the balls to stand up for local people.

I think it is even more the case, now than in the past that we should run our own affairs, given that the debacle of what Paul Carter referred to as to "Turner offshore". Just remember that KCC played a leading role, in having apparently chosen the only design which did not make use of the Rendezvous site, as was originally intended, and then when it became apparent that costs were escalating out of all proportion seemed to take forever to terminate the project.

Perhaps the best news, is that I can find no reference to the word iconic in the gazettes report, which I believe is a term given to something being representative of a style or object, not as appears to have been the case locally, iconic meaning a hideous, expensive, ugly, possibly unstable building in the sea.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tax credits sorted

I think the work Roger Gale has been doing on tax credits, is beginning to pay dividends. The HM Revenue and Customs are clearly doing their best to make sure that there is no overpayment in the Flaig household.

I'm fairly sure that we haven't claimed a penny of tax credit in the last two years, but just in case I have been sent a letter confirming that I have been awarded £0.00. Just as they did last year how long before they except that I don't want their money, and just in case I forget to inform my wife they have the sent her a copy as well.

Personally I would rather that HM Revenue and Customs would stop chopping down trees, sending me and my partner 36 page booklets, that I will never read accompanied by incomprehensible and pointless letters.

KM Thanet Extra reducing distribution?

Is the Kent Messengers, Thanet Extra, now Thanets dearest free newspaper. For maybe 10 to 15 years the Thanet Extra has been delivered free to my home, and when that wasn't the case you could always go in to the office, and get a free copy. There appears to be a change of policy and now when you go into the office you have to pay 45p.

Now I pay a similar amount for a very thin Thanet Times on Tuesday, and the price therefore is not extortionate. But I think there is a principle involved here the Thanet Extra, is presumably promoted to its advertisers as a free issue newspaper, now I have no problem if they wish to change their policy and charge for every edition because clearly it is comparable with Trinity Mirrors newspaper the Thanet Times.

So if I were an advertiser, I might just think if, I have a choice of whether to advertise in the Adscene or the Extra, and I wish to flog some houses, I would go for the Adscene since they only charge a nominal 10p. Given that most revenue for these newspapers clearly comes from advertisers asking 45p for a paper which in the main is free seems to be a little penny pinching.

I understand from staff in their Northdown Road office, that they are under no obligation to supply free copies, as they deliver 57,000 (although I checked the figure in the paper which was lower at 55,873) which is fair enough, its their business, but if your an estate agent, wishing to sell me a new property, or entice me to sell, or a business wishing to sell new kitchens or windows you might well consider the Adscene.

I rang Kent Messenger groups distribution on 01622794620, and was informed that my road would no longer receive copies of the Extra as would be the case for others in the adjacent area. So if you live in Dane Valley area the chances are that you will no longer receive a copy of the Extra.

Tough choice, free or 45p.

Student attacked in Margate, the ugly side of football hysteria

Is it any wonder, with the disproportionate significance given to England playing in the World Cup, and tabloid journalists dipping into their bag of cliches, that BBC News report an attack on a young German student, in Dane Park, Margate.

Roger Gale, rightly states that this has "brought shame on the town", and refers to xenophobia. Clearly this is something that could and probably does happen in other towns, however I wonder if it's about time that our tabloid newspapers started to act responsibly. A typical example of nationalistic reporting, was to be found in the Wednesday edition of the Sun newspaper.

Sun journalist Harry Macadam, is the scribe who takes a double page in the middle of the paper, to describe how the sun places a 7500 square foot beached towel, thus indulging in a typical caricature of the German behaviour we have come to expect from the Sun.

The thing is there are plenty of simple-minded yobs who read, this type of story and thus have their xenophobic views of Germans reinforced by this sort of ostensibly manufactured story.

There is no problem with being proud to be English, but stories such as Mr Macadams, make me feel embarrassed to be English, still presumably that's what the Sun pay him for, it's just a pity that visitors to this country have another price to pay for English xenophobia.

The words of the victim "I think the reason they attacked me is because we were German and the World Cup starts in a few days." .

I feel that the Sun is more entertainment than news, but really isn't it about time they got some fresh ideas.

Happy Birthday Westwood Cross

Westwood Cross is one year-old, I suggested if you wish to celebrate, by visiting the centre you leave early or you could always walk.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Home Office cowardice
One of the reasons we have members of Parliament, in our democracy is because we vote these people into power to make decision on our behalf. The reason for this is that we trust them to use their judgment, run of the country, and create new laws where necessary. Another important reason is that it frees us from mob rule, and allows our politicians to make tough decisions. Due to the complexity of government it is necessary that the some of this work is done by unelected people such as Baroness Scotland.

Now yesterday the Home Office, announced in their press release that they would not be pursuing legislation to outlaw forced marriage. I make no apology for returning to this topic. Home Office minister the Right Honourable Baroness Scotland QC, is quoted as follows "Forced marriage is an abuse of human rights and a form of domestic violence which cannot be justified on religious or cultural grounds. This consultation has been very useful in stimulating debate and generating recommendations from those with expertise in the field.
"Before we consider the possibility of introducing specific legislation, we need to be convinced that it would definitely benefit the victims of forced marriage. Many respondents feared that the creation of a specific offence could isolate victims, prevent reconciliation and drive forced marriage further underground.
"In the future, we will continue to provide information and assistance both to potential victims and to concerned professionals who are confronted by this abuse."

According to the Baroness forced marriage is an abuse of human rights, domestic violence I would suggest that it is also kidnap, rape and sexual abuse. She argues that we need to be convinced that it would definitely benefit the victims, I think we should deter the bullying perpetrators of this crime. She finishes by saying, in the future we will continue to provide information and assistance, I would ask her to consider what sort of future, victims of this appalling crime might expect, now that the Home Office appear to have abandoned them.
Sometimes it is the responsibility of the government to take tough decisions, such as Tony Blair's insistence that we oust Saddam Hussein (this may be right but not popular), I feel this is another one of those decisions, certainly would be very unpopular with some sections of society and by that I mean those the loud bullying religious fundamentalists who have no respect for humanity, society, or the British way of life.
I think it is appalling, that the Home Office, and their political masters seem to cower, before loud non representative special interest groups, at the expense of mainly young defenceless British citizens, presumably these people don't count as much as some of our extreme religious organisations in this country.
The Home Office press release acknowledges that between 175 and 200 people a year are repatriated from abroad, clearly they haven't got a clue of how many never escape from this abhorrent practice.
Anyway I will provide links so that if you're interested you can form your own opinion, personally I feel ashamed that our government is no longer confident in protecting our citizens purely on the basis that they may be first generation British citizens whose parents aren't as familiar with civil rights as their children.
PS I thought I would write to Baroness Scotland, but when I contacted the Home Office, they were unable to give the contact details, and this is the era of open government, just how did they consult if you cannot give contact details. I apologise if I have a bored you, but I believe regardless of race or religious bigotry, British citizens have a right to be defended by their government, however awkward in might seem.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Plans with Council for New Westwood Housing Estate

Plans for the Westwood Bland cabbage patch development, are now with the local council. These were registered with the council on 24th May, with a decision by the council on or after 23rd August.

Clearly this is the only consultation that matters, if you attended the well publicised consultation that was held at Westwood Cross this was possibly little more than a public relations exercise. You may well have had, a copy of the leaflet that was handed out asking for comment, on the development, this was to be returned to The Development Planning Partnership (DPP), naive as I am I checked out their website as I invariably do, and discovered to my disappointment, that the role of DPP was not quite as impartial as I thought.

DPP make the following observations on their website, "We can help you obtain that valuable planning permission" "help you secure a favourable land allocation in the relevant local plan" "it pays to use an expert to maximise the chances of success"

So if you're happy to be stuck in traffic around Westwood, then don't go to the planning office and asked to see the application TH 060650, or write into the planning office with your objections to this plan.

The developers seemed so proud of the planned development, you would have thought that they would have publicised with as much effort there submission for outline planning on this project as they did with the consultation.

Now finally the developers plans are in line with the local master plan, but pause for thought, wasn't there a plan for an offshore art gallery once.

Home Office to offer no protection for minority victims

The Home Office is to back away from legislation to protect victims of forced marriage according to the BBC. The victims are mainly, South Asian, or from the Middle-East, the Balkans and Africa apparently they don't matter.

And why is this the case, presumably kidnapping, raping, and even murder associated with this crime is an irrelevance. This is the New Age, of racial and cultural prejudice. People's lives don't matter because to legislate might just offend some skewed Liberal opinion formers, where ironically they are happy to allow minority groups to suffer with minimal legal protection, because to act might be misinterpreted in some circles.
Pragna Patel, chair of the Southall Black Sisters, is quoted as saying"We don't see the need for criminalisation of forced marriage, which is yet another way of stereotyping and criminalising entire communities at a time when there is heightened racism in this country."
Also we are told that this has been subject to consultation, well I don't remember being questioned nor would I imagine were the victims those who've been subject to kidnap, rape, and violence and in extremes murder.
As I missed out on the original consultation procedure, I thought that I would contact Home Office minister Baroness Scotland whom is apparently responsible for this discussion, naturally I went to the Home Office website, read the glowing biography, but would you believe it in the these days of mass communication, there is no e-mail address or even a physical address to enable one to contact her. Surprisingly this open government, isn't as open as the government would like to think is it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What year is this and why haven't I been invited?

Another one of those stories, which make you think, where are we, and what century are we in. Amanda Cottrell we are told on the Kent Online website, is the High Sheriff presumably of Kent, who was elected to this ancient office after years of charitable and community services.

According to the report, the great and good from across the county were in attendance at a garden party held at her home on Friday, the guests including Judges, Lords and Ladies, Mayors from across the county etc I'm sure you get the picture.
I have no problem with a good party, although sadly on this occasion no invitation came my way, all I'm surprised at, is I cannot remember the election taking place, I think I'm getting Alzheimer's.
Still if you remember taking part in the election of the High Sheriff, could you remind me what date and where the polling station was.
I trust I haven't offended anyone, but if I hear horse's hooves coming up my road and the clink of swords I may just have a panic attack. What a quaint country we live in.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Thanet council fun day for all?

Last week we read about Thanet councils fun day, for staff giving them an opportunity during adult learners week to develop new skills etc, and I got the distinct impression that this was possibly exclusive to what council employees like to refer to as officers.
Now back in April Thanet District Council, took back in house the refuse collections and street cleaning for our towns, what I would like to know, what rank do our bin men and street cleaners hold, clearly Council clerical wallahs are of the officer class, but what of the men and women who keep our town clean and tidy are they officers or just NCO's and other ranks. Also were they invited to the Council fun day sorry adult learning week. I think we should be told.

What sort of country are we!

I see that the story in Kent on Sunday, OAPs suffer TV red card, has been picked up by the local broadcast media. This is the story of how a 81 year-old man, staying for a short period in a residential home will be unable to watch football in his own room without purchasing a full TV licence due to draconian regulations of the TV Licensing Authority.
Now I personally, would not watch a football game if you paid me, but being British and English I feel that if one wishes to support our national football team they should be allowed to do so, clearly if you're watching at home you would have to purchase a TV licence, in this case we have a petty regulation, which even unfortunately petty little bureaucrats are more than happy to enforce.
This small-minded bureaucracy is typical of our society, I would imagine the regulation itself brings in a miserable amount of money so why doesn't the TV Licensing Authority just change the regulations.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Turner Contemporary short summer season or new commitment (read notice)

Any day now that mishmash of worthies who decide such things will make a fresh announcement re. The Turner Contemporary.

One things for sure according to AA Gill in todays Sunday Times mag, J M W Turner was a working class boy his father being in trade, I feel were he alive today, being working class, would probably exclude him from any decisions, involving art galleries.

Do you think this time; these worthies might have the sphericals, to offer us the choice from a shortlist not blinking likely. I meant to say F*"&!^g likely but I now how sensitive these types are.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

More fun at Thanet council
Gone are the days when our local councils were austere organisations dealing only with provision of basic amenities.
You only have to look at the front cover of this week's Isle of Thanet Gazette, to realise that our local council is more about fun and culture than the more mundane things in life.
If you need further confirmation then you only have to look at today's Saturday Observer, on page 33 public sector appointments they have no less than five jobs for cultural, sport's, art's, and leisure officers. I just wonder how we have done without them all these years. The salaries range from nearly £40,000 to £21,000 I just wonder whether any of these appointees will be responsible for keeping the chocolate fountains going.
Cracking new blog
Suggest you take a look at this new site The Angina Monologues, assuming the batteries don't give up in this old boys pacemaker, this site is well worth a read.

Civil servants not to blame
According to BBC report Jonathan Baume, general-secretary of the first Division Association (civil servants) ministers are trying to shift the blame for failing policies.
He then goes on to state, referring to comments that ministers have made, that they are cowardly "because civil servants are not allowed to fightback", this is all well and good, but where is the proof that civil servants for instance in the Home Office, complain to their ministers that they are unable to do their job. I think the truth lies somewhere between politicians sidestepping blame, and lack lustre civil servants who when the going gets tough, er.
The truth is Britain fortunately is a tolerant and liberal society, and the majority of us take the easy route.
Mr Baume goes on to state that it is absolute nonsense to suggest officials were not accountable for their actions, assuming he is correct where are the mass resignations from the Home Office. He frankly fails to convince me but I'm sure his mum would agree.
Perhaps were we to look at Amnesty International's website, we would find evidence of dissident Home Office officials, who have after a lifetime of service,been dealt with, imagine the terror, the mid-afternoon knock on the door, being pulled kicking and screaming from their desks, leaving just a warm cup of tea and a half eaten hobnob and forced to retire in Birchington or somewhere on the south coast on full pension. It's inhumane, no wonder they don't speak out.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Local Blogger present during HSBC Bank robbery in Northdown Road

This afternoon about 2:30pm, a robbery occurred whilst customers queued waiting to be served.

I was standing at the end of the queue in HSBC's branch in Northdown Road, contemplating in the length of queue and whether I would get out before a traffic warden gave me a ticket, when all the sudden some scumbag rushed towards the door falling to the floor as a security guard grabbed him, realising that this was a thief I tried to get hold of him but just at this point the criminal shouted to his friend get the shooter, at this point the villain on the floor managed to run out of the Bank, and he and his colleagues, then made their getaway in a red car, very much like a Renault scenic.

After the robbery had finished, we were told that we had to wait until the police arrived and the door was then locked.

I had hoped to take some photographs but was advised by a police officer, that were I to do so, this would then be considered evidence and he would have to confiscate my phone. So no pictures of the torn money bag or the open case which was meant to transport the money securely, but on this occasion clearly didn't, I thought they were meant to lock these things.
I often thought what would I do, in these circumstances, and frankly it was pathetic. I have sustained a minor bruise to my little finger as illustrated in the photo below showing me running it under a cold tap.

For a probably more accurate and professional version read Kent online

Random Drug Testing

KCC has recently announced that it is set to pilot a pioneering random drug testing programme in a number of our secondary schools. Presumably KCC have carefully considered the implications of invasion of privacy ignoring people's human rights and forgetting that children are individual human beings who may well object to forced testing.

In the light of some decisions and policies, that KCC, our own local Council have, such as the aborted Turner contemporary centre debacle, backing plans to vandalise the village of Wye and surrounding countryside, and more recently TDC deciding to give employees what appears to be a fun day (see today's Gazette) maybe it is about time that the public started clamouring for random drug testing of our elected representatives and local authority employees.

Drug-testing is routine in many industries, perhaps it is time for our bureaucrats and functionaries submit to this indignity particularly as they are so keen to inflict it upon innocent children.

Family tax credit who should pay.

Roger Gale once again shows why he is such a good local MP, in this week's Gales View, he brings up the problem over payments with the family tax credit system and shows genuine concern for those constituents subject to this nightmare. The idea as I understand initially with the family tax credit system, was to give additional incentives to those people on low incomes and get some benefit from working. As Roger Gale points out, for many this has become a nightmare with, in his experience the average overpayment being something in the order of £2,000.

Presumably to government ministers this is a small problem, to those who have experienced low-pay, £2,000 is still a lot of money.

Apparently Revenue and Customs, take the view that people should have known about the errors, and should have put the money aside to repay the tax authorities. I myself know from speaking to people, that there have been errors with this system, from the start.

Clearly if anyone is to blame, given the fact that government must have known of the problems, from day one, maybe a more radical solution could be applied, instead of harassing threatening and generally frightening people on low pay, perhaps we could have a new system of civil service accountability, whereby cock-ups of it this magnitude, are paid for by taking money from they're generous pension funds or alternatively cutting their salaries, such action might actually concentrate the minds of these smug bureaucrats.

In many cases these hard-pressed families reported overpayments and were told to set the money aside, this is good advice if you are a well paid civil servant ticking off the day's until you receive your generous pension, but for someone who is just getting by it's not so easy to set hundreds of pounds aside, just because some government employee can't be bothered to sort the problem out.

I feel that our country, would be a better place, if people in the public sector, were more accountable and certainly they would be less smug if their salaries and pension benefits were determined on the basis of performance.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wye not support Kent

Nice to see Paul Carter leader of the county council leaping to the defence of Kents status as Garden of England.

Reassuringly Mr Carter is quoted as saying "70% of the county is still agricultural land and we have outstanding gardens like Sissinghurst and the 'most beautiful castle in the world' at Leeds." (pity he didn't or couldn't give Wye a glowing reference)

It's unfortunate to he is unable to give reassurances concerning the future of Wye. Perhaps he has not yet read, my blog of yesterday, still it's nice to see his defence of the county, even if he supports Imperial Colleges plans to dig up a large section of the beautiful countryside around Wye.

Click here for KCC news

Click here for BBC news

News and Comment on Threat to Wye