Friday, May 29, 2009

KCC misleading video now removed

I see that after several telephone calls from Bignews Margate to the Electoral Commission, KCC etc that video "Guide for First Time Voters" has now been withdrawn from KCC Kent TV.

The point at issue, was the fact that the video was suggesting that in up coming elections, there was only one vote per ballot paper, which is true for many but not in some electoral divisions if there are two candidates not one. I understand that in the euro election you do only have one vote but please check I'm no expert and neither its seems is 4 star KCC.


KCC Candidates in Kent TV vote loser? No Kidding!

vote loser No this is not a take a pop at the council run Kent TV, but a serious point to both candidates and electors in Kent.

In an attempt to educate us the electorate, on how to vote, Kent TV have put up some guides on the electoral process for us voters, which is one of those roles Kent TV should if it exists, carry out, it would be handy if they checked their facts though.

In the film “Guide for First Time Voters” whilst discussing what to do if you make a mistake on your ballot paper “Ian Bigwood” gives this advice 'If you’ve made a mistake in the polling booth, you simply go back to the polling staff and speak to them and they can issue you with a replacement, but in this instance because you only have one vote on each ballot paper; it’s a very simple process.'

Now since Mr Bigwood is the deputy returning officer of Sevenoaks District Council that might be true for his area but since the advice is for a Kent wide audience, get this clear in some wards like Margate & Cliftonville you have two votes on the ballot paper so the statement is WRONG.

Should this concern you, yes if you are a candidate in the case of my area for the Tories Chris Wells could lose out to colleague Michael Jarvis, Clive Hart for Labour might come second to Iris Johnson, I’m basing this on alphabetical placing on the ballot paper.


Click to view Kent TV’s election advice but it might be worth checking!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

KCC meaningless consultations

I suspect that many of you, while away the odd hour sauntering through the pages of KCC's website in the quest to find some meaning, in your otherwise drab lives?

No, so it is just me then, is it, anyway whilst researching another topic I stumbled upon some rather meaningless consultations. Like Learning From Experience Consultation, Spatial Strategy Consultation the and the Web Jam Survey?

image I must say I’m rather intrigued so I have left an a message asking what the hell it means, I’ll update you as soon as I know.

One consultation which did interest me was re Kent TV no surprise that the contact number was not answered by the contact Tanya Olivier blimin meetings.

Anyway more on Kent TV shortly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

KCC Election Snippet – Tories stroke of luck

How handy and timely that the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), were able to announce recently that Kent Council might just get back some of the money they’d invested in Iceland.

As some of you will remember senior Tories not to long ago throw their toys out the pram when the Audit commission accused Kent Council of negligence, fortunately that little misunderstanding was cleared up when Cllr Paul Carter Kent Tory head honcho and neutral KCC chief executive Peter Gilroy penned a letter demanding both a retraction and apology. See KOS report.

Its seems strange perhaps even a case of duel standards that neither the of above could bring themselves to apologise or retract claims made against me by contactors working directly for Kent council. See Daily Express report

Any how good news that Kent Council are likely to get back 90% of £50 million thought lost, wonder when it will actually turn up, still a cynic might also point out and maybe KCC Press Office could have presented the facts differently maybe something like this KENT COUNCIL LOSE £5,000,000 FOREVER, still its not that much money, about 20 years salary for one highly paid chief executive! and less than Kent Councils annual media spend for them to tell us how blooming marvellous their doing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My lost weekend

Pretty much all my weekend was taken up and I had no chance to get out other than for work, I just wonder how the bike weekend went and that Dreamland production at the Theatre Royal, Margate.

Have a few fish to fry today, just had a quick glance at Kent on Sunday, on page 10 Kent top police bod Mike Fuller is interviewed don’t see an awful lot about our surveillance society or that bad behaviour by his officers at Climate Change Camp.CropperCapture[15]

Anyhow if I’ll not doubt post a load of more considered waffle on some subject later in the day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

MP expenses its a worry

Its a worryIts worth saying before I go any further in this post, that I believe most politicians, go into politics for all the best reasons ie they have an idea of what is best for us, whether its the Tories helping people to look after themselves or Labours we know best and we’ll sort you out.

Now believe it or not, I have some feelings for politicians and even have some sympathy with the rather extreme sentiments expressed by Nadine Dorries MP that those in Westminster were walking around "with terror in their eyes" and since the topic of suicide was mentioned, firstly don’t do it and secondly if your about to do it contact the Samaritans first.

She also mentions that the Daily Telegraph revelations are “a from of torture”, “that the Mps side of the story is not being put”, and “MPs are all human beings who do not deserve to be treated like this.”

Now all I can think, is that MP’s have bought much of this upon themselves, unlike the millions who are now facing hardship, who don’t deserve this, who might well find the lack of jobs, cut in wages, increase in taxes, a form of Torture.

Only last week I was talking to a friend who’s had his money cut without notice and by a Multinational blue chip company for no other reason, I would think other than their run by ruthless heartless B*******, since the contract their working on was awarded before the current downturn.

Its only my impression but if you care to click here, you too might get the distinct impression, that this MP Nadine Dorries is out of step with public opinion, which is probably how MP’s got themselves in this mess.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More Curious Goings on at Northdown

coachhouse I’m reliably informed that yet a new mystery is unfolding at Northdown Park, regulars know that Sandy Ezekiel's TDC administration, probably wasted thousands of pounds, recently when the council, tried to ignore covenants' protecting Northdown House from well, councils like his that appeared to be trying make a fast buck and depriving this beautiful house from the public to whom it had been gifted.

NOrthdown park

Last bank holiday weekend they closed the walled garden on what seemed to me to be the spurious grounds of health and safety, particularly since the problem was an uneven paving slab and similar tripping hazards in Margate old town never resulted in that being closed off.

Any way apparently the Coach house, at Northdown Park has been is about to be boarded up, does anyone no what’s going on? I seem to recall at one time this part of the estate was going to a museum.

My top tip for this weekend is visit Thanet’s parks before some politician mucks them up.

KCC Election snippet

Whilst we’re all pondering just how greedy our politicians are in Westminster, spare a thought for County Councillors who’s allowances are modest in comparison.

And the party leaders in reverse order of amount received, 2008-9 Cllr Trudy Dean, the Liberal Democrat Leader just on the basic £12,000 and a modest £133 mileage, Cllr Mike Eddy Labour Leader on a trifling £42,895, no surprise for guessing that Tory Leader Cllr Paul Carter is on the most at £54,450.

Well if value for money was a consideration I would have to give my vote to the Liberal Dems, only problem is that they are quite thin on the ground in these parts.

If you’d like to read more click here for Paul Francis Blog and here KCC for the figures

Something for the Weekend

I hope to be busy doing stuff this weekend but I just thought it might be worth mentioning a couple of highlights firstly The Theatre Royal has a visit from the Net Curtains theatre company, who will be putting on three short plays connected to the Dreamland on Sunday night, not sure if their are tickets left see my earlier post for details.

On the Harbour Arm there’s the new bar at the end, which I believe will be playing music on Sunday, also that art exhibition I mentioned recently, plus on Monday the car park  will be accommodating classic motorbikes from the Ace Cafe Margate Meltdown click for details.

Hopefully Margate’s magnificent beach will be popular as well, myself I’d like to go cycling and soak up the ambience of it all and maybe visit our local parks which are a haven of tranquillity. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vote for Change (An Inconvenient Truth)

So says David Cameron, as he stares out of the conservatives European Election Campaign leaflet, which although not addressed to me, I thought I best take a butchers at.

At first I didn’t realise he was referring to the Euro elections and assumed he had come to the conclusion that he got a right load of wrong uns running things in Kent but clearly not, I doubt Kent Tories wasting millions of your money on crazy failing schemes and lavish advertising would even touch the sides up at the Westminster palace of sleaze.

Still on that subject, Cameron has as many of us know been calling for an early election, as if his own crowd haven’t been up to their ankles in the trough or as in some cases the moat or lake.

Now I believe if you just take our dire economic circumstances and the extraordinary social changes that have occurred in the last five years, then the conservative party could afford to hang fire but for the fact that most of us take a superficial view of politics.

Cameron would have to go some, to not to lead the Tories into power at this point in time but how about, Labour wake up and dump Brown (which I think they might) and we get, maybe Alan Johnson or someone who at least can manage a smile rather than the Brown grimace.

Again on purely a superficial level as I type this I’m looking at the leaflet and there’s Cameron looking in control, making a decisive gesticulation with his hand but hang on a minute, has his Barnet moved north.

Blimey I reckon David’s hairline is receding faster than the polar ice sheet in Al Gore’s documentary now I’m no climatologist but I’d take a guess that by this time next year, we could be looking at a full blown comb over.

Harold Wilson I think, gave us the “Weeks a long time in politics” Labour could still their rewrite the political landscape they have a year left and with some help from the Tory leader, things could still turn chilly for the conservatives who knows.

Superficial? Yes but most of us more influenced by headlines and hairlines, than facts and detail, so I would image there is a sense of urgency in the Cameron camp before Vote for Change is effected by “ A Wind of Change” and David’s sporting a comb-over.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Think of your worst departure lounge nightmare now double it

Till yesterday, my worst departure lounge experience, was @ Gatwick an 8 hour delay on a flight to Majorca topped off by resort accommodation with mismatched twin beds resulting in myself and Mrs. Me sleeping at different altitudes, the resort staffed by Mancunians with fixed grins like Jack Nicholson playing the joker, who prefaced every conversation with a robotic and moronic "Hi Ya".

Admittedly I wasn't planning to go anywhere yesterday, but as you can imagine I was curious to hear KIACC comments concerning Manston Airport being given to Thanet District Council's Airport working party at the Airport, particularly after some of the more hysterical reporting on local blogs ECR & SMUG etc.

Any how having read the agenda on TDC's website it was pretty clear from the outset that this meeting would be a fairly quiet affair, and would not be needing any input from excitable members of the public, although a couple did try, that said the chairman of TDC's working group thanked those members of the public who turned up for showing an interest in democracy.

Now I'm not entirely sure just who KIACC is, but the acronym is pronounced like kayak the Eskimo canoe and not surprisingly the members of this committee all seemed to have their own paddle, as they all represented various parts of East Kent.

The evidence being given to TDC's Airport working group, soon had a soporific effect as terms, some of which I understood and some I didn't, wafted over my head like CAA, notams QC 4, naturally my mind wandered, I felt sorry for a couple of journalists, who despite taking acres of notes, I know will struggle to find a story to justify 2 hours of their lives lost forever.

It was surreal, sitting in a Airport departure lounge with the gate blocked by not one but two committees, and something I've never seen before two clerks taking notes on flip charts (like some game show assistants) as if anyone's ever likely to challenge their accounts of the meeting or care, I also began to question whether in better times I'd sat in the same room waiting to fly out from the planet Thanet to somewhere different.

As you can imagine much of the meeting was taken up with obsessions and trivia, the reporting systems not working, some flights divert over the garden shed, some of those giving evidence were clearly experienced complainers and all the time I’m thinking, if you live at the end of a runway, what do you expect.Acol Metropolis The first hour and half was taken up with gripes although I did myself, learn something and it is this, Acol must be the most democratic place in the world, since despite only having a handfull of houses and a pub, they own a parish council because one of the members of KIACC is I understand a member of parish council.

Anyway the thing that concerns most of us here in Thanet is the local economy and jobs and no surprise after an hour & half, they finally got round to what matters, looking around at the members I had the strong impression that Thanet’s low wage economy was something, most of this crowd were blissfully unaware.

Just prior to the meeting turning its attention to the local economy, I noticed the activity beyond the departure lounge, the Tarmac burst in to life to accommodate the arrival of a cargo jet and I thought those people working outside probably had more to contribute to the discussion than anyone inside.

Its just the way things are but life seems to be run by people who have 9-5 existences, ignorant that there’s a whole world of people, delivering goods, maintaining roads, caring in hospitals, maintaining the law, and building railways etc whilst they sleep.

I’ve been mean to those that populate our local committees and political institutions but its true that someone has to monitor life and legislate but with the way things are for Manston and Infratil and Thanet I wish someone would give them five or ten years without trying to regulate, them so that they can build a business to regulate.

Finally its was no shock that nobody for this KIACC group had any suggestion that would make life easier for Infratil.

PS an earlier version of this posting contained some draft notes and squiggles apologies to my reader if you read anything er worse than usual!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Evidence emerges that Manston existed before Infratil

plane myths A casual glance at Google Earth leads me to suspect that air transport has existed longer than local cranks, environmentalist, SMEG (the one man environmental group) would have us believe, since looking at the countryside near Challock I spotted this seemingly ancient image which appears to replicate the silhouette of a modern airliner.

Even more convincing are references to Manston going back to the 1940’s and beyond in histories of the Battle of Britain but they also mention Hawkinge, which is a surely just a new housing estate so its probably just a myth.Hawkinge Environment Heaven Buildingsite Put the mental in back environmental, join the cranks and create Manston houseing estate.

A clear majority of Thanetians support Infratil at Manston and are more than happy, that our local council are doing their best to support the airport.

Northdown Road a bleak future

northdown gap2

Not sure if Northdown road will reopen today but wouldn’t it be marvellous if Northdown road’s, problems could be resolved as quickly as the new scaffold is going up on the buildings facade.

Just on the opposite side of the road is the grim reminded of the state of Britain's economy, Martell Press who’ve been a feature in Northdown Road for many years are holding a closing down Sale.northdown gap

Northdown Road has probably been as lively as Margate High Street in recent times till Woolies closed still its difficult to imagine this thriving again, I remember Northdown Road shops in the sixities and seventies were probably better than Margate High Street, Bobbys Departmant Store, Moylers, W H Smithes, Munro Cobb, Albion Bookshop with Boots being one of the few survivors from that time.

Northdown Road’s heyday is long over, and the hotels that helped fuel Cliftonville have mostly been replaced with “luxury” flats, filled with Margate’s transient population. 

Since Northdown Road is never likely to regain the prosperity it once had it would be interesting to know what planners have in mind for this area of town if anything.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Since its a rarity I’ll make an exception

Ladyman explains all As you might expect, the opinion of Bignews Margate is highly influential in the corridors of power, but rarely acknowledged.

Still in rare break with normal protocol, Stephen Ladyman MP for Thanet South has taken the unusual step of dipping his browser into the the murky waters of Thanet’s Bloggerati and honoured Bignews with his reply to my earlier blog “Subject best avoided” no points for guessing the subject.

So unusually I shall reprint his comment in this post, unfortunately he doesn’t address the second job issue.


I'm not going to make a habit of responding on your blog - but I'll make an exception just this once as people are so angry about, and interested in, MPs expenses and I think that total openness and full disclosure now is the only way we can reassure them.

First my website has had details of my expenses for two years now and has always gone a lot further than most MPs. Your readers can do a comparison of my website with that of other local MPs if they doubt me.

It's interesting is it not, that the Conservative MPs mentioned in the KM article calling for 'transparancy' and saying we should be 'accountable' have not put any information on their own expenses in the public domain? A case of do as I say, not as I do, perhaps?

What I have done now is extend my website even further to include the claims and receipts themselves and some, so far unaudited, details of my expenses for 2008/9. So everything that is available on me is now in the open - when those Tory MPs quoted as believing in 'transparancy' have gone as far then they can talk again.

The KM article quoted puts the issue being discussed at that time in a rather strange context - what I was supporting was not a plan to block publication - but a plan to publish the data on expenses in a way that gave the public the information they needed to form judgements about their own MP (including how much they spent on alterations and furnishings etc) whilst not publishing information on addresses and bank account details. It was an arrangement that was negotiated with the Conservatives and when it was proposed had been agreed by them - they changed their minds about 48hrs before it was put to Parliament and so the Leader of the House had to withdraw it - so in the end I never had to decide which way to vote.

The food allowance that MPs can claim is generous as you say - but keep in mind my working day starts at 8am and finishes when the House goes down (about 11pm on Mondays and Tuesdays, at about 7.45pm on Wednesdays and 6.45pm on Thursdays with sitting Fridays finishing late afternoon) and most of the time you have to be in Parliament or the surrounding area which is why we have to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between in the canteens and restaurants of the House or 'the division bell area'. In the last 12 years the number of times I have cooked in my London accomodation kitchen can be counted on the fingers of one hand - so the cost involved is far greater than if we could buy food at the supermarket and cook it like everyone else.

The system has now been changed so rather than allowing MPs to claim £400 per month for food we claim £25 per night spent away from home for food (which would come to about £400 if you are in Parliament every sitting day). Of course, £25 is still generous and will no doubt be one of the things that Sir Christopher Kelly reviews as part of his inquiry - but if you have to buy all your days meals in Parliament and Central London then £25 is probably round about what most workers, working away from home in London, would expect.
Last but not least, the PM has called for a complete independent audit of all MPs expenses since the last election and I support that call. MPs who've made mistakes should repay the money and MPs who have cheated should answer in the courts like anyone else. When the Kelly report comes out we should accept it without any messing about and from then on all MP salary and expense decisions should be made by an independent body and not interfered with either by MPs or Prime Ministers and all claims should be independently audited.

Commenting for the first and possibly the last time on this site ...

Steve Ladyman

Next week I hope to have a similar communication, from Kent’s Tory Leader explaining why he needs Kent council to waste 6 million on advertising, 2 mill ? on KTV, Kent Health-watch and all that Malarkey.

Conservatives promote closed minds

In what I consider a rather unsporting move, I see that my local Tory candidates for Margate & Cliftonville, Michael Jarvis & Chris Wells have this strap line “DON’T CALL ON ME, I’M VOTING FOR” (Their names inserted below), no doubt this, has the effect of deterring the opposition and at the same time lowering their morale.

Still such tactics, will not influence me, since I like to look a bit deeper, and it will take more than a rather superficial load of old waffle from Paul Carter (Kent Tory Leader) who if he had more about him, could have enhanced his personal standing by dealing with my complaint about a certain threatening council contractor in a more timely fashion.

One rather laughable, suggestion is how Tories are keeping Kent moving, it looks like, Paul Carter, Chris Wells and Michael Jarvis have never driven around Westwood Cross, also they wont have noticed the poor connections that Thanet has to major roads, will any of us, live to see Ramsgate or Margate connected by dual carriageway to the rest of the world. I think not, at least not, whilst West Kent & Maidstone Tories are looking after their own part of Kent.Tory Propoganda I find Paul Carter aloof and remote which is probably not an issue in West Kent & Maidstone, since things in that part of Kent aren’t too bad and in part because much of our local tax goes to support, grossly overpaid pen pushers around Maidstone and West Malling, I guess that pretty much anyone with a Tory rosette can get themselves elected but here in East Kent I hope that we could be a little more demanding particularly as we get a very poor return on our money.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The last word

nottingham Just strolling through the internet, thought I’d check out the twitter traffic, caught up with this gem from Cllr. Mark Nottingham, I’m sure he’s right but as Mrs Me says, why are we paying for his food.


Perhaps you should get out more Cllr, maybe have a chin wag with normal people, you know those of us who may or may not actually expect some sort of acknowledgement that our politicians actually give a toss for those who might support them.

PS I’ve been rather mean to Labour this last few days, might turn my attention on Conservative waste in Kent.

Subject best avoided

This last week or two we’ve pretty much heard it all, on the expenses issue, and for me I would think the best policy for any MP, is to condemn the excesses and just keep a low profile on the subject.

Still Thanet South’s MP has taken the position of publishing, his expenses warts and all, at the earliest opportunity. Now clearly Stephen Ladyman has nothing to hide, so just out of curiosity I thought I ‘d take a quick glance.CropperCapture[7]

Now I accept that MP’s do need additional accommodation just like say a sales rep or engineer working on the road, so claiming for additional expenses is right and proper, that said though, on inspection, its interesting that the claim form ACA2 has various little headings maintenance, council tax, cleaning (fair enough who wants their MP in a pinny dusting and hovering 2 hours a week when theirs governing to be done) but hang on, how about this item for “Food”, for which Stephen Ladyman claims a monthly £340-00, now I’m willing to accept that figure is inline with the appetites of other MP’s. But can someone tell me why MP’s should be eating at my expense, excluding meals etc. taken in restaurants on business.

Before anyone’s tempted, to give some indignant response I’d like to just point this out, since even professional local Labour politician Cllr Mark Nottingham seemed a bit cloudy on the issue, the minimum wage is currently £5.73 so for a million or so they’d need to work a few minutes short of 60 hours to pay for that lot, accept of course they’d be paying tax.

Thankfully Labour has made sure that British workers can afford food, albeit by working, dangerously long hours, allowing opt outs from the European working time directive, sorry for the diversion but I doubt your average, Labour party dib dob has worked on sites where safety is eroded by the long hours culture.

Still if you look on the local blog sites of David Green and Mark Nottingham you’ll be able to read Stephen Ladyman’s statement amongst which you’ll see that it noted that 440 MPs’ claimed more than he, which presumably means 219 claimed less.

Fortunately the Sunday Times didn’t include Stephen Ladyman in its front page story concerning the 150 MPs’ who despite their busy Westminster lives manage to moonlight with second jobs, one Tory Tony Baldry having 10 jobs, still maybe Ladyman has given up his job as “adviser” to ITIS Holdings featured in an earlier Times story ”Labour MP Stephen Ladyman uses inside track to strike deals” click here for details.

You’ll find it difficult, I’m sure, not to believe I’m on some sort of witch hunt, but there is no point in pussy footing around the issues, its clear to me that politicians have strayed from what most perceive as acceptable conduct.

My solution is this, that we accept MPs are only human, ask them all to make clear, as Stephen Ladyman has done, and from now on, claim out of pocket expenses (the sort acceptable in business) which doesn’t include hundreds on food you’d buy anyway  or kit-kats or even eight grand televisions.

It’ll be interesting to see how Roger Gale compares when we get to see details of his expenses, still hopefully some day soon MPs will get back to the honourable business of governing us citizens.

Finally should we be too harsh, lets be honest if I was given the opportunity of helping myself to the odd DVD Television or gadget on the taxpayer would I say no, yes …. NO COMMENT !

Firemen douse Northdown Road Fire


CropperCapture[10] CropperCapture[12] CropperCapture[11] CropperCapture[13]

Saturday, May 16, 2009

made in margate

As a public service and also just to make a further point that despite the effects of years of neglect the Margate is still alive and well.

I’ve drawn your attention in the past to work, to improve Margate’s Harbour arm, and this weekend is notable since there is a new exhibition.

I was lucky enough to be alerted to this new exhibition of work by local artists. Adrian Day who has a picture in the show and was kind enough to send me an Email invite.made in margate I often wonder whether I’m impartial, or not but since I sensed their might be a free drink at last night’s informal opening, I thought it important to take a stroll.

Any how there is a variety of work on display, as I understand this is a sort of collaborative effort and for what I know it was impressive.

Also worth noting is the new cafe “Be Beached” open on the Harbour arm, which you can read about here on the Margate Architecture weblog, also I had a quick tour of work on the bar at the end which will open shortly with a new raised floor so that those sitting inside, can have an improve view, across to the harbour and to the centre of the town.

I’m not sure whether it opens this weekend or next* but anyhow there will be music on Sundays for the benefit of punters with some excellent views thrown in for free.

*I was told but I’m probably having a senior moment, If you know, do please comment and also go along and take a gander.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Theatre Royal Dreamland

freedreamland I mentioned this a while back, but its worth reminding you particularly if you watched the apprentice, which presented our town in fairly stark detail since you may well feel Margate has nothing to offer which isn’t strictly true.

A theatre production company will be performing at that remaining Margate gem the Theatre Royal, three plays which connect to the Dreamland theme and Margate itself.

The best news is that tickets are free and at the end of the evening the audience will be asked to give their view as to which of the short plays is worthy of further development.

The performance is Sunday 24 May @ 7:30pm and tickets are FREE ! 0845 130 1786

Net Curtains Website

Tagged by Labour

labtag As you do, from time to time, last night I thought I’d type my name into a search engine, out of pure nostalgia for a time before Google existed, I thought I’d give yahoo ago see if still worked.

Anyhow, trawling through and after passing an ancient reference to me and what I think Catholics call self abuse, I find that I’m tagged on Bloggers4Labour website.

Quite what this means I’m not sure, I hope its not similar to the practice of Mormons who I understand go through lists of the departed, from ancient church records and somehow acquire into their own organisation.

So let me take the opportunity to point out that, I am not a member of the Labour Party or whilst on the subject a Tory, its true I have in my time I’ve voted for both and probably will in the future, I’d describe myself as something far more dangerous, an independent Liberal thinker.

Right now I’m inclined to take Norman Tebbits advice and vote for anything but Tory and I included New Labour Tories, I’m not sure quite why he’s taken against David Cameron, myself its a factor of rude local politicians and waste not least at county level where money is being poured away on a succession of crazy projects.

As for Labour its not even the defrauding of the public by MPs’ claiming bogus expenses (their all at it), its a bit deeper, the accumulated waste of their time in office, encroachment of Liberty, Tony Blair sending men & women to war on bogus intelligence, the perpetuation of crazy lax financial regulation created by Thatcher’s loony economists, allowed mass immigration to destroy the living standards of the working people who’ve built and invested in this country.tagged

PS I think one day Tony Blair will be reassessed by historians as the biggest charlatan to have held the office of Prime Minister, apart from walking away from Ten Downing street to take up lucrative business opportunities what did he actually do?


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Apprentice effect - Holiday bookings up

Least that is probably the likely effect for those who endured last nights Apprentice and before anything else I reckon Mona was robbed.

Just imagine you’ve not been to Margate for while or ever, looking at last nights episode of the Apprentice, the chances are, you’d rather consider selling a kidney and having in a week in Magaluf, than a day trip to Margate as portrayed last night.

Still its not easy to promote Margate at the moment for reasons we all know Turner Contemporary would have been opened this summer but for Kent Council’s crazy choice to build a gallery in the north sea, Sandy “culture” Ezekiel council’s condemning the local museums to the pages of history.

I foolishly rang BBC Radio Kent’s, John Warnett & Julia George, to give my opinions on the Margate makeover, as you might expect I managed to come up with some hardcore waffle, and was getting pretty pleased with myself with some easy questioning from John Warnett and had a near panic attack when put on the spot by Julia George with her question about selling Margate to her and suggesting what is there for a couple in their mid thirties with a toddler.

Lets be honest what is there for a young family after the beaches, I suppose theirs the a couple of above average parks Northdown and Dane Park plus the new quarter million play area on the Cliff probably about as much entertainment as a toddler needs.

Anyhow if you still feel strong enough to endure another cringe making opinion, listen to my earlier radio effort.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Crikey! How would “the Apprentice” promote Margate

Well we’ve already had the story in the papers and every other blog telling us about the BBC’s Apprentice show, which focuses on Margate tonight, and since I have Margate in the title of my blog I ought to comment. amarg6

In common others, I’m prepared to cringe at whatever comes our way, surely they couldn't do worse than our Sandy, his cohorts, the bankrupt Waterbridge company (Dreamland), the arts council, Seeda and not least KCC who managed to **** up the Turner Contemporary by choosing to build a gallery in the sea (a worlds first) rather than on the land which was how the other hundred odd architects' read the brief.amarg5

This week’s Thanet Times, itself in need of a bit of promotion, judging by the shrinking size, gives us a fairly comprehensive report from Thom Morris, apparently the two teams are assessed by some local worthies including Derek Harding who has some good ideas himself, Victoria Pomery who seems to know a bit about “Selling culture to Margate” click here also Phil Thorley (pubs), Sarah Vickery (Grotto), Jayne Bishop Hotel/Museum, Brian Sullivan Mayor, Thomas Reeves (flowers).

Still as an avid fan of the Apprentice shows, I think it unlikely there will be any inspirational ideas, from the pre-publicity, the best you might hope for is a well worked cliché one option I understand is pretty much the bulk standard bucket and spade family angle, the other slightly more inventive, is to market Margate as a niche product for gays, a sort of weird retro idea which would have been brilliant in the 1970’s when mainstream society was adjusting to the fact that being gay wasn’t actually anything other than something you are or aren’t.amarg2

Still more interesting than anything to do with Margate will be how the BBC edit the row which we were told was quite heated when idea of a gay resort was originally by Howard Ebison mooted, click here for earlier post.amarg3

The way I see Margate is that although spiv developers and arsonists have done their best to drag Margate down, there are still assets and things to promote Margate, not least its historic assets the Old Town, the Theatre Royal, Tudor House, Harbour Arm shortly the Turner Contemporary and even another worlds first, Dreamland, reincarnated as a theme park Museum (probably run by office wallahs who will put on a cloth cap and a boiler suit at the weekends to restore ancient fair ground rides)amarg1

Just how bad can it get!

Whilst “Honourable Members”, are rushing to put the money back in the till, they can at least comfort themselves with this thought, a couple of less than brilliant pieces have news have been buried as we the public bay for their blood, the p*ss poor minimum wage rise which I rambled on about yesterday, even worse, the news that in the last three months an astonishing quarter of a million people have lost their jobs.

So if nothing else politicians were sparred the “what are you going to do about it” type questions  which journalist should have been asking but were clearly they enjoying politicians trying to wriggle out of Sh*t creek with or without a paddle.

Almost worth the grief was the Prime Minister trying to convince us on the BBC 10 oclock news that his solution, MPs paying their ill gotten gains back hadn’t just been nicked from David Cameron's suggestions earlier in the day.

clickbrownAnyhow coming back to the “how bad can it get” reference in the title, as you may or may not know I work on the railways and I’m employed by agencies and from time to time as contracts finish etc. I register with other more general employment agencies, and yesterday I got a telephone call from one, asking whether I was currently looking and then the conversation switched and this person was asking me whether I knew of any vacancies in rail industry for a relative, you’d think an employment consultant would know who to contact.

As far as I’m concerned MPs can keep the bloody money so long as they see that British workers get preference in employment and or fix the economy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Labour MP’s sell workers short as they look toward their next career

Its the sort of thing you would expect of a Tory Government as they come to the end of their innings, many Labour MPs are remote from those who put then into power in 1997, as confirmed over the last few days, with a stream of brazen cabinet ministers and other Labour senior figures, blustering over the obscene expenses, telling us how they’ve apparently been filling their boots with our money, “in good faith” when really they mean in the “blind hope”, that they’d have been able to pervert the freedom of information act, and hide their corrupt practices.

Anyhow given the same opportunity who wouldn’t have had a punt on the property market, when financed by the Tax Payer or obtain luxury goods for free. Judging by some of the items claimed, it could be that some, were so greedy, that they’d go around, hovering up, any old receipt that came to hand, how else can you explain an MP claiming for a blimin Kit-Kat.

Still what’s a Kit-Kat worth, these days, well probably around 50-55p or roughly the same as the government is intending to increase a days pay for those unfortunate to earn the minimum wage, news much welcomed by the CBI although some of the more repulsive in the business community think £5.80 is too much.

Its a fact that many businesses are quite happy to have there staff costs, subsidised by taxpayers, without whom I doubt many employees could afford the basics of a home, food and fuel. Incredible as it seems, you wouldn’t have too go far, to find a recent prestige high tech, multi-million pound project, based on poverty pay and an exploitable foreign labour force, a key part of the business and for some reason not mentioned by the companies PR machine.

So where’s this leading, just to the conclusion, that Labour MPs’ and Ministers will be looking for jobs in the next year, and its clear that their only going to help those, who might help them, in the future with company directorships and the like.

You me and all the other worker ants will continue to subsidise bent bankers, industrialists, etc …. Oh and the extra pay those on minimum pay will be getting, around about 56p might just be taxed to pay for MPs Kit-Kats.

Its my opinion that many MPs haven’t been mistaken or acting in “good faith” but fraudulently filling their pockets at the expense of those who can least afford it. As far as I’m concerned this is biggest scandal I’ve heard in my fifty-two years.

Monday, May 11, 2009

oink! oink! picture quiz? and quotes offered “In good faith”

I’m not to sure about the above picture are these chaps common or garden porkers or more lard-di-dah exotic hogs?

As for the fellows quoted below I’m convinced that their not porkers but honourable members of parliament!

Extracts taken from BBC news pages

Immigration minister Phil Woolas has also threatened legal action over "disgusting" allegations he claimed for women's clothing, nappies and comics.

Margaret Moran, Labour's Luton South MP, told the BBC the paper's report was "inaccurate" and "probably actionable".

Ms Blears said the claims were "entirely in accordance with the rules" adding: "I have only ever had one small, one-bedroom flat at any time in London."

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said he had repaid £1,500 which he claimed to cover the full rate of council tax on his constituency home - when he was getting a 50% discount. He told the BBC he had acted "in complete good faith and within the rules" but regretted the "error" on council tax.

More than £2,000 received by Conservative policy chief Oliver Letwin to replace a leaking pipe under a tennis court. He responded: "I was served a statutory notice by the water company to repair the leaking pipe, which runs underneath the tennis court and garden. No improvements were made to the tennis court or garden."

Shadow universities secretary David Willetts' claim of more than £100 for workmen to replace 25 light bulbs at his home. "We had problems with our lighting system which had caused many lights to fuse and needed the attention of an electrician," he said.

Thousands of pounds for renovations claimed by shadow home secretary Chris Grayling at a London flat 17 miles from his family home. He said: "In addition to serving my constituents, I have spent several years serving in the shadow cabinet, currently as the shadow home secretary. A second home enables me to meet those commitments." In response to an allegation that he delayed claims to maximise what he received, he said all claims had been submitted "at the point which I received the invoices".

The above are quotes from BBC News pages, click here and follow the trail

A walk amongst Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Having driven past them a couple of times last week at dawn, as I returned from work, I thought it would be nice to come back during full day light a take a proper look at the carpet of flowers in the woods along the A251 (between Challock and Ashford) which @ 5 in the morning look like a blue mist.

On Saturday morning I picked a van, and had the chance to stop and take some photos on the way back, in the woods around Challock.Blue road

I was going to do a quick post on Saturday, but didn’t have time, still its best to see these things without crowds anyhow I’d imagine these are worth a trip, although I suspect the next time the suns out they’ll have flagged.

Still I hope you all had a good weekend, I spent Saturday night working somewhere up in East Anglia, still brilliant drive home, the sun coming up and just a few on the road, unfortunately when your on you way home from work, you’ve no time to stop for photos.

Anyway hope you enjoy photos of Bluebells.bluebell woods PS Back to politics, MP’s on the take, Police abusing the law, not so civil servants and all that malarkey after a moment of quiet contemplation!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Thought for the day – Can you trust the police

I’ll make this simple, here is an interesting report from the BBC concerning a magistrate who has been under surveillance by Kent Police, for going to a climate change meeting?

It’s more that a month since Ian Tomlinson was attacked by a policeman from behind at a G20 protest, have the metropolitan police force charged anyone yet? Are they expecting us to just forget if so here’s my previous post to remind those who care.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sandy fights off Challenge


Gluttons for punishment is my view, of the majority of local Conservatives, since yourthanet informs us that Sandy Ezekiel has withstood a leadership challenge despite the recurring bad publicity, from his recent censure, which as I recall, was mitigated by the fact that toward the end of the enquiry into Sandy’s behaviour toward Iris Johnson, he had the instinct to send an apology to members of the council.gideon


Jo Gideon & Chris Wells stood against the twice censured Sandy Ezekiel and apparently as I understand, it from my source, it all got a excitable when the Winter Gardens was mentioned.

Anyhow the upshot, is that despite this assault on his position Sandy,  can be quite magnanimous in victory saying this earlier in morning "It was a very honourable event and I really can't blame either of them for wanting to lead the council because they are both excellent candidates and extremely good politicians – and, after all, it's a great job.

A leader, a man at ease with life and a gentleman, not one to take it personally, still I understand sometime after the “honourable” statement he er …. sacked Jo Gideon from her Cabinet post!


Still just so we don’t forget Sandy Triumphs here’s his last apology (although it seems qualified)Imsosorrysandy

And this extract from the summation of his earlier Standards Board round “The ethical standards officer concluded, based to a significant extent on Councillor Ezekiel’s own evidence, that Councillor Ezekiel had been offensive and discourteous towards the retiring mayor and another councillor. The available evidence was not sufficient for her to reach a conclusion about the allegation of threatening behaviour towards the town sergeant. Click here for the whole thing 

All credit to the following, for having stood up to Sandy and his clique, Jo Gideon, Chris Wells, Simon Moores, Bill Hayton, Alasdair Bruce and Jason Savage.

Still for balance if anyone has anything positive to say about Sandy feel free to do so.