Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thanet Councils Rubbish Christmas

In the spirit of Thanet Councils "Drop it or Cop it" campaign  may I suggest a special nomination and award to Sandy Ezekiel (leader of the council) and or perhaps Richard Samuel (chief executive) since I note a massive pile of rubbish is over-flowing at the top of Northumberland Avenue in Cliftonville with apparently little activity from the councils environment people.

"Drop it and Cop it" is a rather irritating slogan attached to Thanet District Council's campaign which involves "officers" leaping out at unsuspecting litter louts and levying humongous fines which are out of all proportion to the crime ( a fag butt might well lead to a fine of a couple of hundred quid). Still the money received is probably needed to patch some of Thanet Council's gaping financial holes like the one created by purchase of the M& S building around 4.5 million for something worth more likely below 2 mill.

A New Year's Message to Kent's Politicians

Clearly I cannot thank everyone in local government district and county, but I'd just like to highlight some of those things we should be thanking politicians for this year. 

Thank you for emptying our dustbins, except when you don't, like this last week.

Thank you for wasting money(£2 million approx) on pointless services like Kent TV .

Thank you for losing £50 mill in Iceland.

Thank you for wasting money on advertising, as with Kent Highways.

Thank you for setting aside £300,000 of public money for the KCC Healthwatch advice line.

Thank you for Transforming Margate's Library into an all singing all dancing Thanet Council customer services area for paying fines, community charge and claiming benefits with minimal privacy.

Thank you for admitting to spending £4.5 mill on the old M&S building millions over its current value.

Thank you for doing nothing to save Margate Museum.

Thank you for doing nothing to save Ramsgate Maritime Museum.

Thank you for putting the future of Northdown House at risk.

Thank you for the hasty consultation Northdown House and the inadequate figures available on which to make any judgement.

Thank you for bending over backwards when dealing with property developers, just look at how Sea Bathing Hospital has ended as a pigs breakfast.

Thank you for all those politicians who've been justifying development plans whilst being rather reticent to mention some of the benefits they already had.

A genuine Thank you to Thanet North MP Roger Gale who has retained some dignity and who's a genuinely free thinker as far as China Gateway was concerned without the "twenty five thousand crisp reasons" that may have cast a cloud over some others.

Finally Thank you for two of Thanet senior politicians, who may well provide something to look forward too, when they have the chance explaining their conduct to the Standards Board.

Monday, December 29, 2008


As you know I've no axe to grind as far as Manston Airport or as some know it Kent International is concerned, but a recent out burst from Kents Green Party over the future of our local airport, to me looks indicative of some rather woolly thinking.

Now some have argued that Manston that will never attract business due to the population of Thanet, which would be a valid point if airports didn't have regular customers who have to travel some many miles and even hours to reach, as in the case of Heathrow and Gatwick both of which I currently consider to be local airports.

Both the Green Party and CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) have criticised Infratil's master plan for the Airport which would if they were correct result in up to 6 million passengers using the airport by 2033, a "flight of fantasy" say the greens and the CPRE chip in with "unrealistic".

Assuming these parties are correct, where's the beef, if their so convinced Manston will fail why don't they direct themselves to more pressing environment issues and leave Manston alone. After a Grim year the thought that one local business is considering growth is a little ray of sunshine and since their business would indeed, if successful bring in good quality jobs rather than the likely warehouse jobs @ Chinagate,I know which I would prefer.

A sustainable expansion of the airport which Infratile are working toward is infinitely more, environmentally friendly than the concrete vision that CGP has.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Turkey in the oven. Its Christmas

Crikey it's not just me then with nothing better to do on Christmas morning than surf the net and worse the blogs.

Well the Flaig Turkey has been stuffed, late last night, the gammon boiled and now all that remains having fired up the turkey @ 8am is to tend the blooming thing until around 1 ish, when no doubt it will be devoured by starving relatives.

Not sure what time the obligatory family row will occur but hopefully it'll will be trivial and quick.
Have yourself a damn good Christmas!

Mr Puss seen here barely able to contain his joy, at receiving a new collar for Chelsea F.C., he would like to point out that he doesn't usually do product endorsement but if it keeps Mrs Me happy and he also gets a salmon starter for lunch then he's willing to oblige!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Dilemma

With hours to go I have like many (men that is) yet to embark on gift purchases for my nearest and dearest, unlike Mrs Me who has informed me that she has done her buying for this Christmas and hinted that I need not get too excited as she hasn't spent alot on me this year.

Since its better to give than receive, that doesn't bother me too much, and as usual for Christmas I rather selfishly, purchase either a book or some magazines, so that I have something to look forward to at Christmas (my choice this year a copy of Private Eye and Viz).  

Anyhow with giving I always reckon that its the thought that counts, irrespective of price, although to be honest, I rarely get things right, perfume has over the years been a big problem, invariably I miss hear the brand name and spend fifty quid or thereabouts on something that apparent is too sickly and generally results in a severe allergic reaction.

Jewellery is a particularly tricky item, although it also happens to be my top tip for any man who wishes to look generous at zero cost, a few years back being flush I decided to buy an expensive necklace or was it earrings on my credit card (it still had room), anyhow unbeknown to me the item was hideous, not a problem I gave Mrs Me the receipt unfortunatly the shop could not give her the refund as they needed the card holder present, a few days past, I get my card credited and things sort of drifted. Please note I'm usually not that mean and I think I paid for our holiday that year so don't be too judgemental also I reckon this tip may not be fullproof and result in all sorts of unpleasantness.

Anyway I shall continue to reflect on Christmas as I listen to my favourite christmas record "Fairytale of New York" which in better times (when the pound had some value), I've listened to walking around that city prior to Christmas.

I suggest everyone make the most of Christmas this year particularly if Gordon Brown continues to throw caution to the wind as far as the economy. Still on a lighter note Clive Hart, has sent a link for an animation It's the STRICTLY CLIFTONVILLE WEST 
Cllrs. Aldred, Clark, Hart, Johnston & Watkins wish all in Margate & Cliftonville
 a very merry Christmas!
(it takes a few seconds to load but it's worth the wait)

Mrs Me has informed me she doesn't expect a lot this year, I just wonder if I'd get away with copying this animation onto a DVD.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Christmas to all the Staff at KCC

Just a quick one, as you'll appreciate I've been away from the keyboard for a day or two and who knows when I will next vent my opinions, but anyhow I've spent the morning following up bits and pieces from earlier in the year with the odd phone call and email.

Just trying to motivate myself looking for something to get my teeth into, one of my contacts mentioned a joint Christmas Message from both Politician Paul Carter (Tory) Leader of Kent Council and Peter Gilroy Chief Executive who have apparently sent a joint email to KCC staff thanking them for their efforts, this year (no doubt to save on printing cost since staff will no doubt wish to take a copy home for the family).

I wonder if they'll be sending hard pressed local taxpayers a similar message for once again digging deep into their pockets to fund essential services like Kent TV, Kent councils own transport business and various other enterprises, not forgetting the completely pointless Health Watch scheme or those large pensions which I and many like me, will never be able to afford for ourselves.

Happy Christmas KCC.

PS One of my contacts thought that maybe Paul Carter and Peter Gilroy should really send their greetings individually, still not having seen the email myself I cannot comment, particularly since KCC were not to keen on sending me a copy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Northdown Consultation where are the facts ?

Despite my ongoing request for financial information TDC have yet to produce figures as the to cost if any to taxpayers, makes you wonder how they decided to dispose of the property in the first place.

As Im unable to go to the hasty consultation maybe some kind soul could let us know whats going on.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BBC South East's special report on Kent TV*

The following remarks should be considered as being "Without Prejudice" and also protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights

I'll admit not the usual preamble to a TV review but then Kent TV* as a subject is something unique.

As you can imagine, being interview by the BBC is a bit of an ego massage, especially for what most people see as an overbearing opinionated middle-aged whinger like myself (and yes that would probably sum me up).

Still you might ask apart from getting your face on the telly, what's the motive, well in my case I believe that there are two main negative aspects to Kent TV* which ought to be exposed, first of course is the incredible cost of this "Kent project"( that's the best description of one of Kent councils lawyers could come up with) a million visits at a cost of not far off a pound each.

A second and perhaps more unsettling aspect came to light in a letter, I received from a contractor for Kent council, now since the major part of the interview I had with Paul Siegert concerned this, I assume that this subject is too sensitive for the BBC, then I myself had better be careful.

Now if that last bit, interests you, I suggest that you contact Paul Carter KCC leader, and ask him questions or Peter Gilroy Chief Exec. KCC since both of these gents had a copy of the letter which caused me so much concern earlier, and I doubt any contractor would suggest defamation proceedings with these gentlemen.

I believe that this post, as all of my posts, is fair comment and to date the only correction I've had to make was a remark, I made about Roger Gale MP, which I was happy to acknowledge and apologise for, however having your right to fair comment impinged upon is something else for which I'm not guilty.


*Please note when referring to Kent TV I am specifically referring to the "Kent Project" and not to any third parties or individual staff members and comments are made in a political context.

** Please note Mrs Me is a bit miffed that I didn't make more of an effort to tidy up the house.

*** More background to Kent TV click here

Kent TV on BBC

I understand that I appeared on BBC local news tonight more when I get home

Monday, December 08, 2008

Northdown House

I hope to give you more information shortly when Thanet District Council reply to my freedom of information request for figures that would give us some indication as to what exactly profit or loss TDC has made in regard to Northdown House.

In the meantime I have received this letter refering Hannah Thorpe recent communication. This echoes some of my own concerns particularly the new haste involed, that is a consultation just a week after Latchford and co seem to have changed their mind.

Response to “News release” “The future of Northdown House” from Hannah Thorpe 1/12/08

Dear Sir,

Unfortunately I shall be out of the country on 10/12/08 and wish my views to be recorded.

In this short bulletin you use the cliché “AGREED SURPLUS TO THE COUNCIL’S REQUIREMENTS/NEEDS” twice. Agreed by whom? The council have a plethiora of highly paid officers who have to be supplemented by even more expensive consultants costing millions because they themselves lack the required expertise. Is it these officers who have recommended and the council who have accepted vicariously on behalf of local residents? Certainly the Council holds no mandate from the Thanet residents to categorise Northdown house as surplus to their requirements.

Permission for Thanet Leisureforce to let Northdown house for an additional 3 months is derisory. No potential customer would entertain such deliberately contrived uncertainty.

The “Open day” is a small step forward. However extremely short notice means difficulty “in spreading the gospel” exacerbated by a time of year when pre-christmas arrangements and preparations are paramount to individuals. No doubt the council would be highly disappointed if the turnout (in common with local elections) was low!!

Two options are postulated. That for “public use” includes social housing, Northdown house is completely unsuitable for such a provision. The second option envisages passing the yoke of moral and legal responsibilities presently on the council to a private organisation/individual. This is interesting but the council would need to spell out what assistance, financial and otherwise might be expected.

Name and address supplied

Ouch that's got to hurt!

Surely this is some mistake, the photograph above apparently, so I'm told, shows work carried out on behalf CGP the company currently hoping to build China Gateway. Now I'm no expert but as a cyclist or pedestrian the fence as show with barbed wire to me constitutes a real hazard on what is at times a very busy road with fast moving traffic.

Now as some of us are aware those associated with the China Gateway project are known for their generosity and helpfulness as local politicians etc. will no doubt testify, whether it happens to be assisting with travel arrangements or helping out with political donations, so lets hope that if CGP are equally helpful to the traveling public and local residents.

As we know CGP are hoping to improve things here in Thanet by pouring concrete and tarmac across acres of fields and I assume this fence is either a blunder or nothing to do with them. I have rung CGP'S local number as well speaking to their PR company who will clarify the situation later.

Hopefully CGP will recognize the potential harm that this fence could cause passers by, as well as the inconvenience to residents of Pouces Cottages, and will quickly remove, which will not only improve road safety but also clear suggestions that residents have been penalized for objecting to plans for CGP's China Gateway

For more detailed reporting see Bertie Biggles Thanet Strife Blog

Feel free to contribute but please no barbed comments or I'll have to spike them!

UPDATE FROM CGP. Rob from CGP has been kind enought to update me on the fence, pointing out that they are entitled to erect a fence on their boundary and pointing out that his company have issued a statement which appears on Bertie Biggles "Thanet Strife" which I shall paste in here ""We are simply following good practise by establishing the correct boundary. No one had written in or contacted us to request permission to park in the entrance to the gate or on the verge. We are merely establishing the boundary correctly since our purchase in 2007. The original fencing line was established by a previous tenant who was keeping livestock in the field adjacent to Pouces Cottages. This fence was originally constructed to keep live-stock safe and not to demonstrate the boundary of the land. With the agricultural tenancy coming to an end, CGP felt it important to erect a fence reflecting our ownership. We will be re-fencing the whole boundary line in due course with appropriate fencing material and not with barbed wire."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Westwood Cross the documentary

Previously only obtainable, on an exclusive basis, Sparkin productions have made their documentary "Westwood: Land of 1,000 Houses" available via Youtube.

This is a documentary made by Nick & Lisa of Canterbury College explores some of the issues surrounding, what I consider to be that hideous development which will be taking place once builders developers bankers and the like stop going bust.

The film contains contributions from Brian White, Damien Cooke, Tony Flaig (Bignews Margate Fame) and Steven Ladyman although in a rare show of bias, I have to say I think I'm a lot more charismatic and funny than some of the other contributors.

Anyway if you'd like to see this well crafted local documentary, it is in, two parts Click here for the first part and for the second part which contains myself can be found just here.

I honestly don't have much time currently to comment on the front page story of this weeks yourthanet other than to say just what the hell is a" monitoring officer" and do we need one in these hard times, I think not.

I would just like to thank Tom Betts and other journalists for showing an interest in this story because you can bet your bottom, if cretinous tin pot local dib dobs can censor amatuer commentators like us bloggers then you will be next.

Finally I'm still waiting for Thanet council to give details on Northdown House running cost, which is become quite urgent since next week a consultation is taking place on the houses future, it certainly would be nothing less than shameful, if the council cannot provide figures since it would be a strong indication, that their earlier plans to sell the house off, were more a whim than a plan. So chop chop !

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

NORTHDOWN HOUSE TDC get round to reading the small print?

Its nice to make a contribution in a world of sleaze which is not a reference to our esteemed Thanet District council but a genuine thought provoked by two things, a "thank you" email informing me that the council had reconsidered their stance on Northdown House, the reference to sleaze refers to the attack on liberty by the Metropolitan Police and the Labour Home Secretary, who seem to be acting like Nazis, who ever thought an MP would subject to arrest for publishing facts, I don't think even Mrs T's crew ever went that far, not with MP's anyway.

It seems that the council have listened to the public, and or maybe they've got the lawyers to take a butchers, at covenants that were attached to the property when it was originally transferred in public ownership, either way concerns must remain for one, we still don't know what precipitated the proposed sale, at this point Richard Samuel Chief Executive TDC has yet to reply to my request for financial information as to any income or loss made on the property, secondly another worry is the rather hasty consultation which will apparently take place next week on the 10th of December (just how do you consult the public when they don't have the facts).

Thanet council should give more time for public consultation on the future of the House and in the mean time, it would make sense if TDC would ask Thanet Leisure Force to take bookings for a more sensible interim period maybe to the end of 2009, since we've already seen the confusion when act in haste and repent at leisure.

Whilst I'm typing away I note that a couple of emails have referred, to TDC's concerns over bloggers, I don't have any facts other than as I say some emails, suggesting that in TDC are not happy, just what they intend to do I don't know, still if you have any info generally does the trick, go on you know you want to, maybe Richard Samuel could give his views?

We do live in a democracy, don't we?

I'll have to go someone's knocking on the door!