Friday, June 29, 2007

Sky stop me blogging

Today you will be without a thoughtful commentary on local events etc, due to my attempt to sort out a service call, with SKY for an aged relative, time approx 2 hours 30 minutes, 4 phone calls, drive over to Broastairs, several words I almost regret including the F word.

I might elaborate if I get time.

In the meantime, I believe there are other blogs, including I assume one freshly returned ECR.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shock-horror on the domestic front!

Yesterday's problems with the PC have now been resolved, and Mr Puss seems to have calmed down a bit.

So today I thought I would, have a quick comment on Sandy Ezekiels, reaction to news that the Nayland Rock hotel is about to become a detention centre for asylum seekers. According to yesterday's Thanet Times, our Sandy is quite passionate on this subject, but since I have little time, to analyse the great man's opinions fully as reported in the Thanet Times, I'll get straight to the heart of the matter.

It's suggested that councillor Ezekiel, will use every lawful means at the Council's disposal, to oppose the Nayland Rock becoming Britain's first seaside prison. Sandy is quoted as saying 'this is a change of use and will fight this through planning and use every enforcement tool available to us to ensure this does not go ahead' . Now if nothing else that shows a clear commitment, to defending Margates traditional role as a seaside town.

The motivation for this tough line, is apparently the effect it will have on regeneration of Margate and I for one fully agree with him on this. Now the only problem I have, is the unequal treatment, given to two of Margates assets, on the one hand we want to keep traditional hotels in Margate but seemingly on the other hand Dreamland, again a traditional asset vital to the future and character of the town, has been abandoned by Sandy Ezekiels administration.

On exactly the same question, that of the change of use, the Tory lead council, could not capitulate quick enough, to the rather strangely named, Margate Town Centre Regeneration company based in Reading, whose owners Waterbridge, took a punt on Dreamland and hit pay dirt, when the council cleared the way for a change of use on this site.

Had Thanet council had the balls, to also stand up to Waterbridge, in the same way they appear to be about to do with the Nayland Rock hotel, then I reckon the owners of the site, would have by now sold the site to an operator in the entertainment industry.

It's a pity that the Tories could not be consistent on maintaining the character of Margate. Now for some reason best known to our local Conservative Party, they frequently have a problem in understanding regeneration, their interpretation seems to be, that regeneration involves tinpot developers making a packet by building endless granny flat developments etc. Personally my interpretation of regeneration means breathing new life into the town, with such things as the Turner Contemporary Gallery but also development of other enterprises which will generate money for the town, one of these which used to be Dreamland.

The net effect of confusing, endless housing developments, retirement homes, commuter homes, granny blocks etc with regeneration is that it offers minimal, economic activity. It's unfortunate that simple minded Tories don't understand that towns need industry as much as they need housing, until they do this area is finished.

Assuming that Thanet council will allow developers to wangle their way into destroying the heart of Margate, then this area will rightly remain, the first choice, dumping ground for the Home Office rather than the last resort.

Anyway I can't discuss this much more, I have bigger concerns than Margate front, on the domestic front Mrs Me, has a better memory than I, judging by the anniversary card left ostentatiously by the kettle this morning and that slightly frosty look as I escaped out the door. Must write out that card and cook dinner before Mrs Me returns from work.(might tidy this one up later no time just now)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

PC gone sick

My PC has been acting strangely, as has the flaig cat Mr Puss, therefore I have nothing much to report.

Mr Puss who has adopted a fairly low profile of late, seems to have developed, outside interests, this weekend he brought home a cat collar belonging to “Kitty”. I wonder if this is some sort of Trophy.

For past news of Mr Puss click the Label below

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bignews ratings improve.

I mentioned a week or so back, my placing in the Technoranki top 300 blogs I note tonight that my position has improved by forty places or so since then. Ironic really, as I cant think of anything to write about, I’ll have to have an early night and see if I can’t think of something to grind my axe on tomorrow.

How reliable this list is, is difficult to ascertain, but I do note I dropped off the list over the weekend.

Big mistake for Bignews

Saturday I made one of my rare outrageous statements and suggested that maybe the BBC, were holding back a bit, on sensitive news item concerning the Nayland Rock. I also sent them an email asking why their news on demand was not available for Friday.

Not having received a reply, I rang up in my usual indignant manner, only to have it explained to me that person responsible for making their news features available had been involved in a road accident. Fortunately the person in question is on the mend.

I understand that news on demand will be fully back “on demand” around Wednesday.
This is still Britain ?

From The Times
Bashir Maan, Scottish representative on the Muslim Council of Britain, said that the award had been unwise and risked alienating the country’s Muslims.
“Honouring a man who has been so antiIslam is not a good idea . . . It is bad for the honours system in general. The feeling among people is that it should be taken back,” Mr Maan said, adding that those British Muslims not already alienated by the Iraq war and Britain’s other Middle East policies were now likely to desert the Labour Party.

Quoted in the Sun Labour Lord Ahmed “Honouring a man who has blood on his hands goes too far.” “This man not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people who were killed around the world.”

From the Telegraph
Protesters attacked photographers and one shouted: "Salman Rushdie is a devil. He should be attacked. We as Muslims should never forget how he insulted the prophet.
"We have a responsibility to hold the Queen accountable for standing with the people who insult Islam."

In a letter to more than 500 mosques, the Muslim Council of Britain accused Mr Blair personally of rewarding an author who had "vilified" Islam. "Muslims can only see this action as an attempt to create deep offence to Muslims and divert their attention from contributing to community cohesion in these challenging times," said Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary-general.

What can you say except this country has the luxury of Free speech, which some may consider a high price, me disturbing as it is, I feel its better than the alternative you find in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc.

As we have free speech, the Muslim council of Britain are free to insult the country they have made their home, (and been welcomed by the British for decades). Maybe the very principled Lord Ahmed might consider, renouncing his peerage(slim chance?) perhaps the Labour party could enquire if he’s comfortable as a member of a democratic non sectarian party?

Anything between one and two million Muslims live in this country, they live as we all do in a free society, make the same contributions to our wealth and culture, a handful are uncomfortable with our freedom, since this country is liable to remain predominantly Christian. I just wonder why the critics don’t just move to a less tolerant but more Islamic country where they would share a common hatred of our liberty.

I cannot help but feel, that had a Christian, Jew or atheists made similarly insulting remarks about the Islamic community they would no doubt be in discussions with the old bill. Incidentally isn’t threatening the Queen as head of State treason?

As someone who has always accepted, that we are all equal, I'm getting more than sick of extremists, who use and abuse their faith as a political weapon to batter decent people. Britain has nothing to apologise for, and has been a safe haven for Muslims, Jews, Christan's etc for decades.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blair’s last stand
Ends with meaningless twaddle

Well its here at last, Blair’s finale, and wouldn’t it be good if the last ten years had lived up to the expectations which I think even those who generally voted Tory shared on the night of his election to government. To be honest it’s only in the last year or so that you realise the enormity of the Blair deception, it started with all that nonsense from the Tory press of government by spin, which most people ascribed to sour grapes, but ever since the scandal over that bogus weapons of mass destruction report, only his die hard supporter seem to believe him.

Well life's full of disappointments and for most that’s how is been. Here’s some of Blair’s failures, ending free education, and introducing the lead weight of debt to students of middle & low income families (free in Scotland), minimum wage just a pathetic PR stunt (from someone who will no doubt be fully immersed in the trough out of office), sending Britain’s forces into an ill thought out conflict on the basis of bogus information.

In fairness, there have been improvements, to the health service but at vast cost, as an example your GP is earning more than ever, working less and you can’t see them at the weekend. The economy has improved, but we see mismanagement, family tax credits out of control (I’ve just received a statement informing me of my entitlement 4 years after last claiming (£0.00)).

So how’s it end up, on his last weekend of power, apart from a slightly stale smell of something that’s been in fridge to long, we have Blair taking a firm stand in Brussels with his four now famous red lines but totally meaningless since I’ve yet to see any report in the Media that gives an adequate explanation. I suspect that as ever, that whatever advantage he’s secured, it will be something like our opt out on the working time directive, where British citizens are 2nd class and have less protection than the rest of Europe.

Artists impression of Blair's four red lines (not as clear as they should be)

As with any contract such as this Treaty, unless there’s a clear simple explanation of their purpose, then these things are bound to cause dispute, example most people have a contract of employment, this tells you what you want to know pay, holidays, etc the rest is small print, all we’ve got is waffle.

Will it get any better with Gordon Brown, I think not, this is what he has to say "Thanks to the negotiating skill of Tony, the four red lines have been achieved and I think people, when they look at the small print, will see that we did what we set out to do, and that was to make sure that in these areas we were properly protected as a country to make our own decisions when we want to do so."

One major change to add to the Blair legacy, which has set us on the road to break up of the United Kingdom, as Scotland heads toward separation, Blair is the allowing an unelected monolithic EC to negotiate international agreements.

Finally being the showman to the last, with his look at me approach, even something as simple as choice of faith, appears to involve the taxpayer, funding his visit to see the pope, since he has as I understand been a practicing catholic for some time, was it really necessary to head off to Rome.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

TV news turn up for a Margate cliché
And BBC censor the news?

Meridian and the BBC have been motivated, into sending their intrepid reporters, to the far edges of their regions by news that the Nayland Rock Hotel is to possibly become a gulag for asylum seekers prior to forced repatriation. The Home Office ought to consult the public before changing the Nayland into a prison (open or otherwise) and Roger Gale is right in bring this to public attention.

Home Office asylum wallahs, who have been fairly negligent for years, in allowing migration to go unmonitored and unregulated, are in talks with the charity Migrant Watch over the future use, of the Hotel since numbers of asylum seeker have dropped.

It would be fair to say that, the use of the Nayland has to some extent changed the character of Margate, but this all seems to be an attempt to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted. It makes a nice story for the political right, and it can be easy for journalist go into cliché mode but fortunately for us, the public, I think both Meridians Ian McClaren and the BBC reporter whose name I cannot remember steered clear.

Just a quick point this story was handled with some caution, in Meridian’s case they failed to mention it at the start of the show, but BBC as ever, is even more er cautious and have decided not to allow the public, a second sight of their report despite recently promoting South East Today: On Demand; a de facto case of censorship I think.

Returning to the story it looks as if the charity Migrant Watch is changing its role, since were informed that the Nayland Rock is no longer needed, to accommodate refugees then surely the charity does not need to be involved with the Nayland unless their about to do a 180 degree turn in purpose from assisting asylum seekers escaping tyranny to now sending those same people back to danger.

If its true that the numbers of those seeking asylum , no longer need temporary accommodation then the Nayland should revert to use as a Hotel and those who’ve been deemed, to have no right to remain here, should be deported. Still this really is a tricky subject, since I believe that our government, regularly send people back to countries like Zimbabwe and Iraq where political violence is ongoing.

To be honest I would rather see Nayland Rock used as a Hostel for refugees than to have someone sent back to an uncertain future. Since we have allowed unrestricted and unplanned migration from safe European countries why not just accept those who want to live here. The only condition I would like to see, is that refugees are fully aware of that this is a tolerant society and be educated in British social customs.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Meridian Local to you ?
I’ve probably bored you witless by now with accusations that our local county government, are looking after Maidstone and the west of the county, ignoring east & coastal Kent.

Not for the first time, I have realised this is a trait, shared by our broadcast media, the BBC decided a long time ago, to hide themselves in the rather complacent and sleepy town of Tunbridge Wells, which to be honest suits the temperament of their often middle aged and mellow staff.

Radio Kent, occasionally speaks with Sandy Ezekiel (leader Thanet council) although this week I did catch local author, Jane Wenham-Jones flogging her book, but as far local issues are concerned coverage is patchy and ill informed as their recent piece on Margate airport showed.

This feeling of living off the map, was reiterated by the Meridian Tonight programme, who’ve introduced a new feature “Local to You” which according to the graphics for the feature shows no significant population centre east of Canterbury.

The new feature entitled “Local to You?” in fairness is probably some cost cutting venture, in which the viewer is encouraged to send in news but even better than that, the production team, can put their feet up and nip down the pub early because the viewer is encouraged to film and edit the bloody thing themselves.

Well I’ve got news for Meridian I have evidence of intelligent life to the east of Maidstone, here in Thanet, and further I suspect that Meridian news service is poor as you can get without some regulator stepping in. If nothing else it looks like Meridian desperately need news for their evening programme, so give generously. I’m not sure whether or not to submit this for the “Local to You?” feature or not. One thing I would suggest is that they get a new map of Kent.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Eggstream views

I suggest you have a read, of this report on the Ban on 1950’s egg adverts click here. There is a link on the page to these highly contentious adverts enjoy.
Quote of the week

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett speaking about the recent Knighthood Salmon Rushdie is quoted as follows "Obviously, we are sorry if there are people who have taken very much to heart this honour, which is after all for a life-long body of literary work."

Now presumably as Margaret Beckett is speaking on behalf of the British government, it just makes you think how cowardly, the Labour administration has become, this country prides itself or a least used to on our freedom of speech and now the Foreign Secretary has kiss goodbye to that illusion.

Whether you agree or disagree with any point of view, thought and creativity are what make us human, so to have a government minister grovel to extremists who would with their bigotry deny basic humanity is beyond belief.

I say what I think and anyone is entitled to challenge it, lets face the facts the vast majority of British people from whatever their backgrounds are heartily sick of politicians bending over backwards to please or be polite to barbaric extremists.

If nothing else this half arsed apology which presumably is intended to appease foreign governments like Iran and Pakistan is an insult to Sir Salmon Rushdie (suggesting a mistake has been made) , an insult to the British people (inferring that we come second to foreign politicians), and finally an insult to the Queen(whose birthday honours are to be devalued, just to keep some foreign governments happy).

I think it would be a little more dignified if British ministers didn’t comment on this matter. Plain and simple Salmon Rushdie is a British citizen end of story!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blog News

I ‘m not bothered where I take my inspiration, and trawling through the interweb I always seem to return to Thanet bloglist for something to read or just to check out the competition.

Often you will stumble across new blogs which are as surprising, as they might be informative one such is Mrs Tara Plumbing, now to be honest I have not read this in any detail before, well that’s bull, till tonight I’ve avoided it, must be some primeval throwback male ego type thing, to ignore women.

I confess, I have, like a lot of men, a fear of women who know what their about, in short I’m pretty much a male chauvinist. Anyhow when the pickings on this site are thin, I would heartily recommend this site, it is what a blog should be, entertaining, thought provoking, amusing and part of the increasingly competitive bloggerati community. Finally I note that on this site there are some nice touches, such as email subscription, recent comments, which I might just er borrow.

To be honest before I started reading the above, I was just about to have a bitch about another blog, the occasional “Observing Thanet” which has now become “Observers big red blog” (is it me or is everything becoming big), anyhow I’ll give it miss, except to say, that it seems to have erupted in a rather venomous and bitter way, maybe a modern day poison pen letter (I realise that I may well be, a little bit abrasive).


Before Mondays big Turner meeting, I was pondering whether Alex King, Deputy leader of Kent council had ever visited Margate. As he was once again subject of an article in this weekends Kent on Sunday newspaper as it returned to the rising cost of his visits to America.

Since I was sitting only a few feet away from him, in the Winter Gardens, I suppose could have asked him, what he thought we might achieve? as Kent’s investment of your money is now probably well beyond a half million pounds. This would have been particularly handy since for the last week I have been trying to establish from KCC whether they actually have any method of measuring, their effectiveness in attracting business to this county.

The Kent on Sunday, is focusing on the Deputy council leader Alex King, apparently, spending £3657 of our money for a fortnights stay on business as part Kent American adventure.

Of course we all know of the £300,000 wasted on Flights to Manston but the costs are continuing to mount, and it seems that the local press have missed out on what I think will prove a bigger controversy the £300,000 being spent on sending forty odd off to Washington for a week or so to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

It seems that Kent council are very naïve, if they think that American business is going to invest in this county, just because Alex King or anyone else for that matter visits on behalf of the county.

I would like to know if Alex King, could point to any benefit this county has so far had with a very narrow focused marketing campaign. Since Alex King has Kent county responsibility for performance management as part of his cabinet brief maybe he ought weigh up his own performance so far.

Kent council have been working on this project for some considerable time and not once have the been able to announce any positive news all we get is hot air. I understand that Alex King will be shortly making another trip to America, were he working for a commercial organisation, in a sales capacity questions would have been asked long ago, and maybe he would have been sent on a trip elsewhere by now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Local News

As you might expect occasionally I take a gander at our local media particularly written, Kent Regional Papers titles Gazette Times & Adscene are quite prominent, so I was surprised to see that last nights pivotal meeting was being covered by their most recent recruit Thom Morris.

Alex McNally senior reporter (one of three), finished last week apparently leaving to take up a new job abroad, I hope that he is replaced as without proper professional journalist, me and other bloggers would probably have little to write about and the public less to debate.

It must be some pressure for eight journalists to churn out, three newspapers a week and even harder for seven.

Turner Penultimate

not the final design but gives idea of scale

As ever, this is a highly subjective account of a public meeting and may well be a complete travesty of the truth.

Despite being advertised as a public meeting, tonight’s Turner contemporary was not entirely as egalitarian as you would first imagine.

Big irritation, at the door you were asked, if you had been invited or not (this had been billed as a first come first serve event) as with much of life, I realised at the entrance, that as ever, there are those who travel business class and those like me, who travel economy, I was lucky I suppose I wasn’t dispatched, out the back of the fire exit.

As you can expect I made a mild protest but I know my place. Still things got a bit more egalitarian as I stumbled into the reserve seating by accident, social systems can be so difficult, thing was, having been told that reserve seating was dotted about, I misunderstood I think rows two and three had reserved at either end indicating a no go area for the likes of me. Still only the front row had individual names, I thought it a bit strange, when Sandy Ezekiel and Roger Latchford seemed to be networking either side of me.

Once all the bigwigs were seated the show got going introduced by Amanda Honey (KCC), first up, a well practiced reprise of how we got here, from Mike Hill the usual Parallels’ to Bilbao and Tate St Ivel – Ives (what do I know), how before the gallery arrived, there had been no demand for Café Society and now post gallery everything was hunky dory (probably true).

Victoria Pomeroy gave us an enthralling talk about the multiple wonders, which await us, sadly, this is somewhat wasted on the inferior Flaig brain and was interpreted in my head as so much waffle about art (in a Homer Simpson sort of way). Once this magnificent building is a reality and I’ve been exposed to culture I shall be a better more considerate person. Any way thus far, Victoria Pomeroy I believe has reached out to the local community and that’s presumably the biggest part of her job.

A quick digression, mention was at some stage made of local artist, Tracy Emin now her name came up recently, with some toffs complaining in the media about Tracy representing Britain in Venice at some show, since a lot of modern art is er, a mystery, I say good luck to her, I don’t know whether she’s talented or not but its good to see local people succeed. Having heard her speak about that exhibition, I think she is a genuine.

Now for those of you who were not present, next up was David Chipperfield who prefaced his remarks with his conviction that Turner was the best British artist ever, he spoke with quiet authority of someone, who actually knows what he was talking about, which is quiet refreshing.

Now despite the trails for this event in the local media, we still haven’t as David was careful to point out got the final plans, also he mention that the consultation element to the design process was “uncomfortable” and said they would be back sometime in the autumn with a more finished product.

David Chipperfield after the presentation

At the end of the show there was a question and answer session, this was a lot better than some and for the most, intelligent and unusually well mannered. Amongst the crowd were the usual participants, Iris Johnson asked a question referring to her earlier involvement, Clive Hart also piped up adding his praise for the project.

I must admit that after sitting in the “Reserved Seating” and doing a bit of hob –nobbing, with Thanet’s great and the good it seems a bit ordinary sitting here cranking this stuff out.

Some of those also in attendance Roger Gale, who spoke, Alex King KCC deputy who appears not to be in America this week, Richard Samuel chief exec, Derrick Harding Margate regeneration Supremo (had a quick chat) even noted that the Gazette had dispatched one of their whippersnappers to cover the event, so for the fact you’ll probably have to await the Gazette or maybe the Extra later in the week.

Finally I had a quick word with Mr Chipperfield and got the impression that he seems a fairly straightforward no bull sort of person, afterwards I was struck by the thought that my comments were probably complete bollix but he was kind enough not mention it. I have to face facts sometime, tomorrow I shall probably being doing something creative, with a shovel, he with a pen.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Turner Update shortly

The last post may look negative but that wasn't the intention, update on the actual presentation. When I've composed it.

Turner's last stand

After years wasted, the Turner Contemporary Gallery's final design should be revealed tonight by Chipperfield Architects. With one abortive attempt to build a gallery, which look something like a squashed marshmallow, and saw the best part of £8 million wasted, expectations will be high for the latest gallery design.

It will be interesting to see, how far the relatively meagre budget of £17,500,000, goes these days. Anyway it seems a long time since, February when the David Chipperfield firm of architect's gave a presentation highlighting the constraints and technical issues involved in the design process.

It would be nice, to think that the final design, will be something unique, to Margate. Hopefully it would reflect the brash, course and less than the genteel atmosphere of Margate which after all is a seaside town, that owes its heritage to day-trippers and holidaymakers.

Unfortunately during their last visit, I made a criticism of the Hepworth building in Wakefield, which I likened to a nuclear bunker, that unbeknownst to me happened to be one of theirs, oops, tonight I shall keep my mouth shut and see what they have to offer.

At the end of the day, whatever they have to offer, is as good, as it will get, for us here in Margate, particularly since weak local government, has allowed the town's main asset Dreamland, to be destroyed. For recent past history click on label below for Turner Contemporary.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

a small side show

My apologies for raising just one small concern, for what was an otherwise great event at Palm Bay this weekend.

A big part of any event, is the marketing, the stalls, hot dog stands etc. and strolling through the craft tent, I stumbled across one little stall, which amongst craft jewellery and that sort of thing, stood out for this reason it did not clearly state what it was about.

The stall in question offered a free ‘stress test’ but for some reason despite having large piles of books by L Ron Hubbard founder of the church of Scientology, failed to make clear if they were representatives of Scientology.

Curious just to confirm whether I was correct, so I asked if they were in fact from the same outfit as those recently subject to BBC’s Panorama programme. The answer was yes and although they hadn’t prepared a sign stating who they were, the gent I spoke to immediately handed me a DVD entitled “Panorama Exposed”(I’ll let you know if its any good).

As you may or may not be aware I’m no friend, to organised religion, cults or that sort of thing since the blood bath from many religious groups and factions is endless, and I question whether any group should be entitled to take space at this sort of event, particularly if they are not clear as to what their about.

Now all I’ve heard about this group is fairly negative but that’s not to say their right or wrong but I do worry about organisations that aren’t up front, I regard all religions as complete tosh, which is the safest view to have.

Finally, why would you hide your link with your church? I’ll go no further I understand some groups have rather ferocious lawyers.

Suggested reading Wikipedia entry

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fat bloke being entertained (me)

Looks like the decision to organise the 'big event' has worked out well with large crowds attending. Since this continues tonight and Sunday I suggest, if you haven't been already, do take the trouble.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Margate’s big event
Thanet thinks big and gets it right

How often do I praise our local council, not often, but I must admit walking round Palm Bay, this evening as last minute preparations are made to stage this years, big event I have to say that it looks better and more professional than last years Kent Air Show.

This is proof that the council can get things right, now I pay roughly £120 a month in rates for which I get my bins emptied each week, and that’s about it, this month will however represent good value since for that same money I get an air display, live music, arena displays a variety of entertainers walking about various attractions around Palm Bay, a fair ground, firework display and its only a ten minute walk from home.

It’s a pity the council can’t put this sort of entertainment on more often, and I’m sure it will be many times more entertaining than occasional performances held in the council chamber.

The big event is free so you have no excuse to miss out
Chauffeur anyone!

Since I started this blog, you will have seen, frequent reference, to Seeda (South East England Development Agency), as I have suggested, this government agency is out of touch, with the realities of the people and now it seems the regions geography aswell.

According to Kent Online, Jim Braithwaite chairman of Seeda has found it necessary to fork out, the best part of £50,000 for a chauffeur driven car, apparently this was 'essential'.

Now in common with Jim Braithwaite, I too have difficulty, travelling round the region, unfortunately for me, although my work is probably as essential in its own sort of way, I have to drive myself and then still do a full day's work.

Anyway read the facts for yourself, click here, all I can say is the doings of unelected civil servants, never ceases to amaze me especially where money concerned.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Democracy is it real or just an illusion!

A continuing theme, in my blog is about those who govern our lives, and once again flicking through Kent County Council's propaganda sheet 'Around Kent' , I wonder how much of a democracy, we live in. I get the impression, that our local and county council are less important, as significant amounts of local issues are dealt with by apparently independent organisations, which although funded in the main from your local tax, are unelected and I think less accountable.

Certainly I have in the past mentioned, those organisations, that seemingly spring up from nowhere, with little or no democratic influence, locally we have the Turner contemporary, which is run by people often with limited connection to Margate, across Kent we have all kinds of regional agencies and quangos, like the East Kent partnership, or locate in Kent, whose directors, officers, participants, whatever seem to acquire their positions away from the glare of public scrutiny, in what looks like good old fashioned, back scratching patronage.

Another concern, which I find similarly disturbing, is the reliance which the Conservatives seem to have, in regard to chief executives, at county level, for instance, Peter Gilroy Kent council chief executive is credited with having the vision and drive to introduce a credit card of sorts in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland, now I have two problems with this, the first naturally being the fact that banks are not charities and neither is Kent County Council judging by their inflation-busting increased charges to the disabled.

The real problem I have, and this is not meant as a criticism of Peter Gilroy, is the impression that policy occaisionally emanates from a local authority official, rather than the elected leader of the council, Paul Carter. Now I don't suggest anything sinister or untoward, but I would feel more comfortable if policy was more attributable to the ruling party.

The way I see it, the chief-executive of Kent council, or locally Thanet council overriding role should be independent advice and management enabling our elected representatives to implement their policy. Obviously when you're paying someone, a quarter million pounds a year or thereabouts, you might expect them to come up with a few brilliant ideas, however these shouldn't really, have any more validity than anything you or I might come up with.

Finally for the average person, it looks bad or at least confusing when, as in the case of the Theatre Royal issue, here in Margate, it appeared that Richard Samuel (chief executive Thanet District Council), took a lead in explaining the intervention, something which really, I felt Sandy Ezekiel the Conservatives great orator, ought to have elaborated on at greater length (particularly since this remains a confusing situation).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

First and Second Class Kent

Sometimes as I drive through Kent I am struck by what I see as special treatment for West Kent, and a clear example of discrimination seems to be the roads system.

Take this as an example, on the one hand perhaps one of the busiest roads in the county, the A256 between Ramsgate and Sandwich continues to be a complete pigs breakfast; whilst at the same time you will find driving heaven, on the A228 between the M20 and Kings Hill, luck of the draw you think.
Well I think whilst we pay the same tax as everyone else in Kent, towards the counties roads, it so happens that much of our money is spent in Maidstone, and Kent council, has a fairly large presence at Kings Hill, so surely it cannot just be a coincidence that they have better roads, despite less traffic?
Bliss on A288 @ Kings Hill

I wonder if our county councillors (Tories) in Thanet and East Kent, actually have a clue as to where are moneys going, particularly since one of them, once explained to me coincidently, how Kent council had purchased West Malling airfield, with public money, but now this has been redeveloped into “Kings Hill” money earned from developers, is no-longer ours but “regeneration money” or what I prefer to call Magic money.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Act in haste!

Yes, that’s right repent at leisure. As you can imagine I churn this stuff out not for public adulation, recognition or aggrandisement (look it up you lazy reader!) but simply for the pleasure of writing in my own primitive style (and don’t blame me, blame Kent’s second rate education system).

Yes if I can broaden peoples understanding and knowledge of the world, whilst having a little fun, that will do. Still I must admit I am beginning to feel left out, with some local bloggers becoming minor celebrities, there are even stories of local cab drivers, bragging that they’ve had that Simon Moores, in the back of their cab and if that’s not bad enough their he is in today’s ‘Times’ still grinning after some dog has taken a second bite out him. As for that ECR blighter, who reneged on the offer a bun and a cup of tea, for help on his ECR TV project, words fail me.

I have used several blog listing sites to broaden my readership the results of which have been patchy so far, also I had that recent run in, with some anonymous authoritarian, who decided this blog wasn’t a good enough reference for Wikepedia.

Anyway feeling ignored, bitter and twisted, etc, particularly since my Google rating reverted to also-ran, my mood lightened when I noticed that I’d obtained a ranking with (who) and found myself at position 277, only 274 places behind the countries most famous blogger Iain Dale, even better no mention of any of my Thanet competition.

Still it’s a pity I deleted my Technoranki logo recently, particularly as I believe this might affect my future placement damn.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hooray for Kent

How often have I written about the short comings of Kent, well you cannot imagine how repentant I now feel, having had the good fortune to receive my copy of "Around Kent" (KCC free newspaper for the people of Kent) just the thing after a hard days fund raising, for our profligate local & county authority.

I feel a deep sense of shame for ever being so mean to the likes of Paul Carter (Conservative Leader of Kent Council) or Peter Gilroy Chief Exec.

Seeing how good they are to our children, by giving them free travel, in three pilot schemes, correction how good they are to kids of the richer parts of Kent. Cost is one & half million a year for each pilot, since this is being trialled in three of the most prosperous towns, I assume this means, that it will cost in the region of four & half million this year. Maybe that explains why Kent is gong to increase the cost of carers for the county’s disabled.

This little publication is packed with useful info and publicity. It even has Kent council’s favourite weather girl Kaddy Lee Preston (Star of Kent’s big DVD production Towards 2010) (page three no-less).

Kent is also going into the cash card business with a little arrangement with Royal Bank of Scotland, apparently this is aimed at the elderly and disabled presumably because this is the group, who will be suffering an increased burden from Kent’s increased charges, for carers, so they will need all the help they can get.

Whilst all this self-congratulatory nonsense is expected from local authorities; I have a personal wish list, of things I think KCC could explain. What if anything have the many expensive visits by Kent officials to America achieved. Why we have seen £300000 spent on the promotion of tourism to the state of Virginia USA, and will see another a similar amount of money flushed away as money is being spent a hopelessly expensive and more than likely doomed tourist promotional event in Washington.

Other items in my wish list include how Kent, managed to loose eight million on the Turner Contemporary, why are road links are so poor in East Kent and how much was wasted on the publication in question, I could go on.

Still the unanswerable question is, how the blighters who run our lives get away with it all.
What did you do last Weekend

Above is a view of where I spent my Sunday afternoon, which was pretty much the peak of my weekend experience, particularly since I spent Saturday at work.

Despite the grim overcast look outside Flaig mansions, I managed to pursued Mrs Me that the sun would be shining just a few minutes from Thanet, sadly I was mistaken and ended up in Deal.

Being fifty, naturally I was drawn to the Bandstand, we have one here in Margate in Cliftonville but never having seen any activity I was curious to find out what you could expect. Which in this case was what you might expect, a brass band (Whitstable Brass)

Had it been warmer we would have stayed for the whole performance, for one I like brass bands and another we must have been the youngest couple there.

The Deal Memorial Bandstand, has a free concert every Sunday afternoon @ 2pm until September 23rd. Not sure about the Broadstairs, Eastcliff or Cliftonville Bandstand.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Go and check how dinners progressing.

As with everything, you tend to get what you pay for, particularly with your Sunday papers, of course the main choice is whether to buy down, middle or up market. However whether your reading the Times or the People, you’ll find that the term ‘story’ is very appropriate to most of what we read.

Last Sunday in common with many people, I stumbled across Nick Dorman’s piece about Margate, which I’m sure was factually correct, where fact occurred, but in my opinion, it was selective and constructed to be a sensational piece. Just what you expect in a ‘popular’ Sunday paper.

Now I see that according to the authoritative and much respected EASTCLIFF RICHARD blogsite, that former local journo Nick Dorman has felt it necessary to communicate his offence at remarks, which he believes have crossed the line of fair comment.

Well he might be right, it seems that its not only residents of Margate, that have feelings, meaning we don’t like being rubbished by some down market Sunday paper, seems that journalists don’t like those they offend biting back.

Obviously, no one can condone libel but maybe a sense of proportion is called for I’ve had threats and libels by some of my readers and find it best just to ignore them.

Still its refreshing news, for those journalists, who write unfair inaccurate reports, that the worlds changed and just about anyone can legitimately challenge sloppily written stories, I have on more than one occasion.

Any way good luck to Mr N. Dorman, I hope he finds something positive to write about Margate and soon.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Early morning disruption was caused by a loose rabbit on Thursday morning during rush hour. At least one vehicle is known to have stopped as this rabbit ran riot in Minsters normally quiet village streets.

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mysterious Minster

Nothing ever happens in Minster or so I thought until yesterday. For some inexplicable reason the Somerfield store at Minster was closed, deserted and cordoned off; a modern day Marie Celeste of a convenience store.

No explanation was given for the closure, which surely must have inconvenienced many of Thanet’s commuters on their way to work.

It would have at least been some courtesy, to their customers to have a sign in place, stating why it was so necessary to close. The mind boggles as to the reason perhaps they had to move the biscuits from one shelf to another who knows; maybe they were checking the sell by dates.

This store hasn’t been open many months, so surely it doesn’t need a refit already.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Danger Blogger at Work

Amnesty International has reported that the number of countries that now restrict access to the Internet is on the increase; as is the cooperation from the likes of Cisco Google Yahoo & Microsoft with corrupt regimes such as China with poor human rights records.

What’s this got to do with you well, not a lot if you don’t value your freedom, but if you do, perhaps is time that we all start to register our distaste with Google Yahoo and Microsoft etc as Amnesty suggest that they have been complicit in suppressing freedom.

One example quoted in the Telegraph is that of Shi Tao a Chinese, reporter whose now serving ten years in prison after Yahoo were kind enough to pass on his details to police.

According to Amnesty, sophisticated filtering systems are used to restrict free speech and thought in 25 countries including India, Iran, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.

I realise sometimes business has to be pragmatic but just how much business do these internet companies do, that they cannot just say no. If all these companies agreed to not offer assistance, in online repression, then maybe some of these countries would think again.

Fortunately here in Thanet we are current able to enjoy spouting great ideas and nonsense. It’s pleasing to see Kevin and Adem of Thanet Blog list being credited for their work in this weeks Thanet Times. Maybe we should just occasionally stop and think for a moment, about the millions around the world, who are threatened, punished and criminalised for doing what I’m doing (writing Bolix) or like you for reading it or maybe the Thanet Blog list for promoting it.

Still I don't think we should take our freedom for granted, even with a Labour government we've seen one attempt to outlaw free speech, in relation to discussing religion and one that actually is in place and quite effective is the one which gags local councillors from freely discussing local issues. If you don't believe me check out the Standards Board of England.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You are what you listen to, as I find myself agreeing with Sandy Ezekiel

I'm one of these people, who will never get used to breakfast tele, except when in a hotel room and even then, I prefer radio. Its convenient, something that you can transport throughout the house, as you stumble and crash around getting ready for work.

Now one constant throughout my life, has been the today programme, on Radio 4, this is what wakes me up, when I was kid it was in the background, until I drowned it out with Radio 1, now 40 years later, John Humphries blasts from my alarm clock assuming I have a late start after six.

The tendency to listen to Radio 1 on the way to work, ceased at the time that, the ginger bloke, turned up at breakfast, no coincidence, since then I have wavered from the bland Invicta, KMFM to the irritatingly comfortable Radio 2, and Sarah Kennedy whose twee, gentle humour and middleclass anecdotes, push one of my younger co-workers to the edge of sanity, fortunately for him, my breaking point is about the same as his.

Disturbingly, I have found myself listening in recent times, to Radio Kent which till now, I’ve always assumed was for those in their late twilight years. However, I find John Warnett discussing local news, although seemingly unchallenging vaguely reassuring and informative when compared to the inquisition, provided by John Humphries and co on the Today programme.

I had come to the conclusion, that either I’m going soft or getting old or both, which sadly was confirmed this morning, when Sandy Ezekiel piped up in defence of Margate, after the Peoples rather skewed story (see 3rd June) I had to agree with much that he said including I think “Absolute disgrace”.

That whippersnapper Nick Dorman formally of Thanet Times & Gazette now elevated to one of Britain’s less popular “gutter press”* titles has a lot to answer for!

*Press that engages in sensational journalism (especially concerning the private lives of public figures).

Still your only as old as the radio you listen to, and to prove this see my latest personal radio.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Theatre Royal continues to baffle

Does the situation concerning Margates Theatre Royal confuse and baffle you. I have listened to several, explanations over Margates Theatre Royal status. I've read and listened to people telling me, that the Theatre Royal, continues as an independent entity separate from Thanet District Council. But then I read in the local paper, how Heather Sawney, Thanet councils very own arts development officer, has stepped into the breach caused by the departure of interim manager Robert Sanderson.

I realise I'm stupid, but just what the hell is Thanet council doing, providing staff to the Independent Theatre Royal.

Still maybe things are about to become clearer, because someone has appointed Will Wollen as the new artistic director of the Theatre Royal, included in the list of things in Mr Wollens C V are his appearances in plays by the author Kafka.

To many the explanations given by all and sundry at Thanet District Council, are as incredible, as they are incomprehensible but maybe this new guy before he gets his teeth into artistic matters, could himself be seconded to the council, and maybe able to explain the Kafkaesque machinations behind the councils interference in the Theatre Royal.

In all honesty, I'm not quite sure I understood that last paragraph myself, I ask that young children now look away, here's what I meant to say, could someone please explain all this bullshit we've had from Thanet District Council, how they're not actually running the Theatre Royal when clearly they are the de facto management.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The people report from the local

Today's people website carries a rather descriptive if not necessarily accurate appraisal of Margate. I'm not sure whether this also appears in their print edition, since its many a-year when I last purchased a copy. Basically the story is what some might regard as a cliche ''scroungers on sea'' type of thing. The story itself is given the exclusive label, which in journalistic terms generally means its exclusive or as is likely in this case a nothing sort of story, just sexed up a bit, that no other papers interested in.

Here's fact number one, referring to Margate the journalists (it apparently takes two of them) described Margate thus ''the town they called ''Sicknote on Sea'' '', well I have travelled fairly extensively and have yet to hear, Margate called anything but Margate.

Now they report on dole cheats, who apparently flock from all over Britain to sign on in Margate, which probably is true, and the chances are there are 5000 people, claiming benefits in Margate. However I would be surprised if more than 10 per cent of those, were actually making benefit fraud, their main career choice.

Judging from the report, it looks as if a lot of research was carried out in the bars of local pubs the Doggett Coat and Badge and Bulls Head. Presumably the quotes, in the article are genuine. But assuming you're only interviewing benefit claimants you've found in a pub, then the chances are, that they will be on the fiddle.

Much of this article seems to be based on exaggeration, references to empty Jobcentres varies considerably from my experience, referring to an event to encourage people back into work at the local SureStart, the journalists tell us that claimants '', were TOO DRUNK to attend'' , I believe that the event they referred to, was to encourage single parents back into work, assuming that was correct, they could have had a more sensational story of child neglect.

I realise that the people newspaper, is more magazine than serious newspaper, but it's quite sad that it seems no serious journalistic attempt is made at balance. For instance there must be many people who are only eligible, for the basic jobseeker's allowance of £57, who will not be found in pubs, but will rather be concentrating on getting a job that pays something approaching a living wage. Also the local Jobcentre no longer offers any serious, training opportunities the best you are likely to find round here, are elementary computer courses, catering and that sort of thing.

The article is written by Jessica Boulton and Nick Dorman, I must say that the last name seems familiar, I wonder if that would be the same Nick Dorman who worked for Kent regional newspapers and wrote a rather sensational piece about local MP Roger Gale last year, which resulted in the Isle of Thanet Gazette, losing Roger Gale as one of their regular contributors.

Finally as with many 'news stories' you have to accept that the journalists will enhance stories, particularly when there is space to fill, and we continue to read it, unquestioningly until it's about us, had the story been about Ramsgate I would have accepted it.

The People's uncomplimentary report on Margate click here