Monday, August 31, 2009

Education, Education for Stephen Ladyman

This weeks “In my view” from Steve Ladyman in the Thanet Extra, contains the usual Labour tosh, Ladyman is wittering on about the “tough decisions” concentrating on university education.

I reckon Ladyman could do with a bit of education himself, reading this latest propaganda it’s clear that the member for Thanet South seems to be under the impression that a Labour government wrestled for some long time before introducing tuition fees, “in the end” the government grasped the nettle.

For your education Ladyman as early as the 15th of May 1997 it was clear that your colleague Blunkett* was on his way to ending free education some few short days of Labour taking office, done and dusted about a year later.

Apart from candyfloss spending on rebuilding of schools in Kent, our secondary education still actively discriminate against poorer children, the system of grammar education is corrupted by the fact some parents can afford to coach their children to pass the the Kent Test a scandal that Labour has done nothing it rectify.

Perhaps Labour MP’s like Ladyman, could forego their “free dinners” (taxpayer funded MP food allowance for those struggling on 60 grand plus) and help the poorest kids.

*See Independent from 15th May 1997

Moving on and some new talent

I may be spending less time blogging for a while, in fact I have, this last week, nothing to do some rather excitable malarkey hitting the fan from a southerly direction.

Anyway mentioning last weeks side show, which I’m sure will rumble on from the Eastcliff bunker, ECR now deserted by facts and truth seemingly devotes his energies into marshaling his diminishing empty flawed and vacant accusations and crafted slurs to what end I don’t know.

Make no mistake, I’m happy to accept my limitations, some see me as an Oaf, a blundering idiot, bereft of talent and grammar, who cares, references to me being partial to pies, sausages what, however what I won’t do is swallow “porkies” from ECR or anyone.

Sorry, yes moving on I’d like to praise newcomer to the Thanet’s bloggerati Luke Edwards and his Thanet Waves blog, I like his style and his first few posting are good, I see from his profile he’s already an experienced blogger. Assuming Luke is as prolific, as some of Thanet’s old farts, then I think we (local bloggers) might all be put in the shade.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Eastcliff Richard Why I’ve cut my links

Trust, earlier this week a comment was placed 15 minutes after he finished a critical post of me.

The comment was bogus, a complete deception from whom I do not know.

Yesterday he refused to delete the comment, today, you will find an elaborate prevarication at the bottom of that same posting.

I’ve gone out of my way to help protect the anonymity of author of ECR on more than one occasion and would do so right now.

The author of ECR is a likable person and its with more than a little regret I have cut the link and ironically not for the last time, I acknowledge the great help he gave me over Ten Alps and the KCC TV affair.

ECR’s abusive comments, physical intellectual blah blah blah the difference is I’m comfortable with my mediocrity, clearly I shall never have the same talent as he however when fact turns to fiction, forget about it.

PS Its only from Tony Flaig if its got my name tag, although clearly some try to imitate.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Depths from Eastcliff?

passing offThe Eastcliff Richard website has (at the time of writing) in the comments section, of one of his recent postings, a comment purporting to come from “Bignews Margate”.

I’m sure that the creator of ECR would be aware that I do not post comments as “Bignews Margate” so why hasn’t he deleted it?.

Why was this elaborate hoax comment, added to his post just 15 minutes after it was published.

Just what the authors intentions are apart from dropping to a new low standard I don’t know.

Maybe the “Premier” blogger has some reason or agenda for not removing it.

I respect the authors anonymity and wonder what delusional games are in play here. If the author wishes to increase notoriety might I suggest they they do it without defaming me and betraying private conversations.

Anyway this is boring but since the author of Eastcliff Richard has the ability to defame me without the personal responsibility, what can I do?

Still mustn’t grumble, will now go and have a good old chortle at the almost funny “East of the Wantsum” (more attention) carton strip from that dangerous outsider (ECR)who’s now apparently established himself, as a bit of a lackey, over at the hard hitting no compromises Isle of Thanet Gazette , still wonder why I couldn’t find any coverage in Gazette over the Broadhurst attendance mix-up last week or anything else worth reading.

What a muppet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dilemmas – How to respond to public abuse from “Thanet’s Premier Blogger”

I found it, a bit rich that Ramsgate’s self proclaimed “Premier Blogger” had the cheek to accuse me recently of being a two faced pillock.

Two faced indeed, in order to substantiate, the slur, a private conversation was quoted accurately or not, I could care less its the principle.

Clearly Thanet’s Premier blogger seems to have his own ethical standards, something along the lines of having his cake and eating it.

Should I respond by similarly breaking confidences, its not like me but since its less than a year since the last insinuation.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thought for the day - “I’d rather lose you than Sky”

sky Mrs Me speaking on the news that our Sky plus box was back in working order.

Seeking clarification Mrs Me then responded “If push comes to shove.”

I must say on the plus side, things must have changed at Sky since I managed to get through to a person in under two minutes still it was eight this morning.

Still words will not do justice, to the sense of loss I’m experiencing as resetting the box to get it working again resulted in the loss of my “politics show” appearance but worst still, the last episode of series four of “the wire” and the first of series five (showing on BBC2).

Mrs Me was a bit miffed at losing some of Chelsea’s highs and lows but I’m sure I can live with that “ the greatest game Chelsea Liverpool”,  “Barcelona” I haven’t a clue what she’s on about.wire

PS The Wire is a much hyped up American TV drama but really is as good as critics say it is. Damn, when I’m rich again I shall invest in the DVD’s.

PPS Despite my recent attack on BBC regional programming I’ve not become an apologist for sky which for me, represents a monopoly allowed to flourish for favours done for the Labour party.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Indifferent of Tunbridge Wells or BBC South East & Radio Kent a threat to local Democracy?

It sounds pompous but I’ve thought longer and harder before posting this blog than the previous 1090 odd and in writing it, I might well have sidelined myself to the community of cranks and nutters of which the blogosphere is known but the following is my subjective view of the BBC in Kent and South East, based on my impressions and recollection which might well be faulty.

All my life till now, I’ve shared the notion that the BBC’s output on balance is benign, over the years its been accused of bias particularly during the Thatcher years when Mrs T (the friend of democracy) claimed “I have fought three elections against the BBC and don’t want to fight another against it.

Excuse the preamble, the point is the BBC have a strong record nationally of reporting on the political system, in the face of strong critics and because of its depth and volume of reportage it remains neutral overall a good thing for a democracy.

In the last few months its dawned on me that regionally the BBC actually don’t cover local politics in any depth, I accept that most people are bored witless by the national news being dominated by Labour windbags and Tory toffs but the lack of news covering local politics is I feel a scandal.

Nationally the BBC has obsessive coverage of politics, however regional news output is limited mainly to reporting crime, traffic and cats up trees.tobereplacedbyyounguns

Tune in any night to BBC 1’s South East Today, there might just be a “hard news story”, almost certainly there will be mind numbing banality, in the last ten minutes of the show, five will probably be devoted to some someone cycling underwater, living in a cave or maybe a bit of animal magic with giant rabbits, loud peacocks etc. then another five minutes spent on inane conversation, between the presenters of the show and one of the three weather girls or the occasionally stand in Fish.

One local source of news and comment should be BBC Radio Kent, every weekday morning it has a three hour, talk based show, (Breakfast with) presented by John Warnett & Julie George, these two are clearly competent professionals, as are the backroom staff and manage to make the banal subjects almost bearable.

I assume that senior BBC management does not to allow these professionals to do anything dangerous, such as discussing the news. And by senior management I mean those who I assume must set policy for BBC regional services as a whole.

The point I would like to make is that this programme in particular is talk based, and you might expect as well as reflecting life in Kent, that some of its output would include perhaps just a modicum of local politics but on more than one occasion big issues, have just seemed to have been buried and certainly not referred to when I’ve tuned in around eight which is generally after I’ve had my fill of Radio 4’s today programme.

Here’s some items I didn’t hear discussed on “breakfast with” in the last month or so, Conservative councillors helping themselves to a large pay increase, Kent council extending Kent TV contract, the resulting row over scrutiny, the report by Yorkshire police in to Kent constabularies policing of last years climate camp, Kent council cancelling Septembers full council meeting.

What you are most likely to hear discussed is inane trivia such as “does your cat do something remarkable?”, “tell us about your funny naked experience”, “what’s your biggest fear?”

One subject that could have had a local dimension, Arlene Phillips getting sacked for being to old for come dancing, this could have been expanded to include colleagues Beverly Thompsett and Geoff Clark from South East Today, also down the river to be replaced by some young uns (the story put out was they wanted a more journalistic approach, I suppose this means that next performing animal on the show will have a microphone thrust in its direction) .

It seems that BBC regional output consists of nothing that would offend or cause a moments thought, even the Taleban could listen unperturbed.

Particularly astonishing to me is the failure to cover the democratic process, I spoke with editor Alex Bish a few weeks ago, who as I understand suggested that Paul Francis of the Kent Messenger group, covering the recent pay hike for Kent councillors had a journalistic coup, in reporting the Tory councillor backed pay hike, of course had any BBC hack bothered or even cared what was going on in this counties principal authority KCC they would have, like Mr Francis spotted the item in the agenda for the first full meeting of the council, which at the time of the MP expenses scandal, would have given a local perspective to national debate.

Some time later I had a conversation with the “management” at BBC radio Kent, it was desultory and I soon lost the urge to penetrate through management waffle and that politicians trick of addressing a question that’s not been asked.

What I glean, from those BBC managers that I have spoken with, in the last year or so, is that the public aren’t interested in politics and maybe not, myself I’m not too interested in endless animal stories on South East Tonight I’m not too keen on vegetables but realise if I avoid them completely I’ll end up dead, just like democracy carried out of sight of public scrutiny, it will wither.

Its my feeling that BBC regional news is no better than Meridian, so the recent suggestion that part of the license fee goes elsewhere although an alien idea is for me is justified and not unreasonable.

In a democracy the process of government should be reported especially local government since this effects us directly, clearly this in not happening with BBC radio Kent or BBC South East. In recent weeks I’ve listened to Breakfast with John Warnett and Julia George and thought what am I hearing that’s unique to Kent, very little.

Last week I emailed this comment to the breakfast programme (they were discussing the citizenship test) “The point of a citizenship test is proving that a candidate is committed, in the same way BBC Radio Kent could make your show cover Kent issues once in a while to justify your public funding” the presenter Julia George thought I was “taking a Pop” or similar and yes I was, as this show most days could be broadcast pretty much anywhere in the world on any station without public funding.

Take my last posting (Cllr Broadhurst) here on Bignews Margate about a councillor who has apparently emigrated to Panama, no contact with local electorate, but managed some how to be marked as present in the council chamber when he wasn’t, surely even a BBC hack could sex up a disappearing Tory councillor, well maybe not although it seemed to have been newsworthy here in Thanet.

Last year one BBC journalist interviewed me about Ten Alps, KCC and Kent TV, broadcasting a fairly innocuous remark I made, the more important issues of my freedom to speak was brushed aside, at the time I was told the public would not be interested in member of the public being pressured not to write about Kent TV by a taxpayer funded contractor, still local blogger Eastcliff Richard managed to rustle up a readable story as did the Sunday Express.

To me the democratic process in Kent is hidden by a state a funded broadcaster who rarely reports.

BBC Radio Kent, seem to pussy foot around Kent’s political structure rarely reporting on it, frankly it makes me feel that locally the BBC have nothing unique to offer the taxpayer, so why are we funding local radio.

Its a shocking reflection on the quality of news output from the BBC that your more likely to find a political story about Kent Council on Bignews Margate than the taxpayer funded BBC, written by someone who shovels ballast for a living, struggles with dyslexia, than a professional journalist.

Anyway unlike the BBC, local politics is not a taboo subject here at Bignews Margate as appears to be the case with our friends “Indifferent of Tunbridge Wells” BBC South East & Radio Kent, feel free to comment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cllr Broadhurst almost the invisible man

As you might expect I like to check things before I post up one of these rant’s and in the course of things I felt it necessary to check on whether or not or on what grounds it would be possible to report one of my councillors to the standards board for possibly, bringing the council in to disrepute.

During the course of my conversation with TDC’s deputy monitoring chap, the subject of Cllr Broadhurst came up, and it was mentioned that his last attendance, was on 23rd July, now this was news to me, and recalling that I had also attended the meeting, I felt sure that had Cllr. Broadhurst been present, he would have most likely introduced himself.

The monitoring chap said he would check, after I pointed out that Sandy Ezekiel had not mentioned his recent attendance at council either when he email me on the 29 July.

I rang round a few councillors eventually finding one in who confirmed that they had not seen Cllr Broadhurst in July, not for the first time I had been proved right, this incidentally makes Simon Moores suggestion that Cllr Broadhurst has an attendance record of 40% also incorrect and is 33% as I previously stated.

On ringing back the council bod, confirmed that having checked the attendance record and video of the meeting they had amended their records and the website although I see still no apology for his absence in the minutes of that meeting, tut tut.No apology

This means Cllr Broadhurst will still have to attend council some time before or during October if he is to keep his seat, lucky I spotted it really otherwise he could have waited till just before Christmas to come back.

I see Moores and Nottingham are slugging it out on this issue and must say I'm much enjoying it.

PS How this "phantom attendance" came about is something the monitoring officer or chief exec needs to explain pronto, it might well be he was "signed in" by a mate, or an error on the part of an "officer".

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thought for the Day – Peter Madelson “one of the best Number Twos”

Lord Mandelson is one of those politicians I find, instantly irritating in a Cecil Parkinson sort of way, none more so than this weekend when it was suggested that he’s (again) easily influenced by wealthy businessmen.

I really don’t get too interested in national politics, not since David Blunkett in 1997, ended free adult education, trampling on social mobility and effectively saying goodbye to Labour claims to support working people.

Peter Mandelson at that time, struck me as the sort of Tory Toff, one would expect, in Blair’s conservative New Labour, an opinion not changed, when he jacked his job, after a bit of misunderstanding in 1998 on a £373,000 interest free loan, then in 2001 again had to make an unscheduled exit from government after a misunderstood attempt to sort out a passport for a foreign businessman.

Since then Peter Mandelson has had more than a few more misinterpreted situations, as European commissioner for trade being a guest on Paul Allen’s (co-founder of Microsoft) yacht at the time the EU were investigating Microsoft, a relationship with Russian Oligarch, Oleg Deripaska whose company Rusal is the worlds largest aluminium producer, made difficult by the fact Mandelson, promoted a plan to cut tariffs saving Rusal upto £117 million a year according to Times newspapers.

Yesterdays Sunday Times, carried news that Lord Mandelson, as he is known these days, met recently with David Geffen co-founder of Dreamworks studio and Asylum records, who is not unnaturally critical of file sharing and piracy, according to their report Mandelson has got back from holiday and has issued instructions that proposed new regulations on internet piracy need to be tougher.

Myself I’m thinking of maybe inviting Lord Mandelson down to Flaig Mansions for the weekend to be entertained by myself and a few of my millionaire pals admittedly I don’t think I’ll be able to rustle up any Rothschilds or Russian Oligarchs unless Mrs Me could ask Roman Abramovich next Chelsea home game, anyhow I could just see Mandelson arriving back in Whitehall refreshed after a weekend of me not talking about work or the plight of us proles and transforming the Labour party into a popular movement for the advancement of the ordinary citizen.

Now coming back to the No 2 issue, this was a reference made by Denis Macshane MP for Rotherham on Saturday's Radio 4 Today programme suggesting that Madelson was brilliant at supporting a leader but not suited to leadership “one of the best number two’s anywhere in the political world”.

I’ve always thought of Mandelson, as a number two but not in quiet the same way. It’s my opinion but I think Mandelson spends too much time with rich people maybe if Labour politicians were to hobnob with the masses once in a while we might live in a more equitable society, as it is we live in a country in which Labour MP’s are at ease with selling its own people short and happy to bludge every last penny they can from paying their food bills to lavish pensions.

Radio 4’s Today five minute discussion on Mandelson

PS Since writing this I see that Mandelson is not just one for hobnobbing with the rich it also seems is happy to chit chat with Colonel Gaddafi son.

Images of Broadstairs Folk week

Though I’d bung these images up of Friday night in Broadstairs, whilst I think of something to bitch about.fn3




Friday, August 14, 2009

Turner Contemporary construction site open to all

I noticed back in July that the constructions site for the Turner Contemporary, had the rear access gate open, today I see that not much had changed from my last cycle past.open2

Once again the rear gate on the Winter Gardens side was left open and unattended as were the front gates.

You may think I’m being picky and maybe I am, but since children will remain on holiday for a while, leaving gates open is not a good idea, given the inquisitive nature of teenagers.

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous, over the last 25 years according to HSE over 2800 were killed, most of which were probably preventable.open3

I understand that the one of the gates opens automatically on the Harbour Arm side of the site, given the multi millions this project is costing how much would it cost to have a security guard on the gate.

No ifs no butts as Thanet Council plum new depths in resident harassment.

I see just glancing at TDC’s website that council jobsworths are waging are rather sanctimonious campaign against smokers, in two months of an apparently obsessive surveillance operation 17 smokers, have been convicted of missing the conveniently placed ashtrays and presumably doing what I use to do as smoker, throwing in your exhausted fag into the gutter or drain.

The cost to the hapless smoker is £100 cost (to subsidise lawyers) a £15 surcharge ( not sure on that one) and £100-175 for the offence which I assume just about covers the cost of tea & biscuits for ever increasing private army of council snoops.

Over the same period not far from Flaig mansions a roofer dumped a bucket load of crap on the pavement, clearly along with all the rubbish in the street TDC have adopted a wait and see approach and it appears to be working, over the last few weeks heavy downpours have washed away much of the crap leaving only a small residue (do I complain?).

If anything discarded cigarettes enable street cleaners assuming they have any, to see where they need to sweep and if left will probably wash down a convenient drain during the next rain shower unlike the dog S*** along my road.

Life’s to short to be hounding residents for tiny misdemeanours, get a life council jobsworths.

TDC news item

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

BBC rewards the right sort of License dodger

Its quite clear that the average dib dob, man or women, will on answering the door to the TV Licensing authorities, find themselves with a hefty fine, if they can’t produce a TV License and even if they don’t own a television, more than likely they will be endlessly harassed by the authorities.

But if your the right sort of License evader, perhaps a pompous media figure or someone who attended a good public school, went to Cambridge, the chances are you’ll get a slightly different reaction to not paying the license fee, than the average outlaw, who might be trying to feed a family make ends meet that sort of thing.

Of course this special treatment, would have to be coupled with a really strong principled morally righteous cause like wishing to see Jonathan Ross sacked from the BBC.

So it is the case with Charles Moore former editor of the Telegraph, who gave the citizens of Margate, the privilege of his presence here in Margate last Friday (Radio four Any Questions)(fees paid by BBC no doubt) , who has the background, of a rough tough start in life, first at Eton then spending time at Trinity College, Cambridge and is so worried about Jonathan Ross, that he has taken the principled step of refusing to pay the license fee, giving money to charity instead.

Now there are hundreds of thousands who are being bled dry by crooked bankers, bent politicians and greedy public service workers, who also like me and him share a dislike for Jonathan Ross’s, sleazy behaviour in regard to Andrew Sachs etc. unfortunately if we’re to take maybe a more principled stand, such as feeding children keeping a roof over our head, rather than subsidise rich presenters, opinionated hacks, and cretinous BBC executives.

Incidentally according to Broadcastnow the BBC has had to shell out £45,000 in damages to the head of the muslim council of Britain after Charles Moore claimed the MCB had been reluctant to condemn Killing and Kidnapping of British soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan.

I think next time Charles Moores ventures in to Margate it would not be unreasonable for us license payers to make a citizens arrest since we also have principles but have to abide by the law.

PS I mentioned on my twitter that I shall be writing about BBC regional output I’ll probably get to later.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thought for the Day - Have Labour been genetically modified

As I looked at Hilary Benn (minister for food or something) holding forth up at Thanet Earth, on the BBC today, I was struck by the similarity of his mannerisms, to that of his father Tony Benn.

I had the thought of just how things have changed in the Labour party, when I was growing up, its fair to say that Tony Benn was amongst those consider by many to be a dangerous lefty.Many years later its impossible to see just how the likes of Tony Benn can fit in with current Labour party, things have changed almost beyond belief.

Labour has abandoned the working people of this country and the betrayal goes a little further than just restricting university education to the rich, just to ally themselves with the affluent, Labour have gone out of the way to assist a handful of big businesses notably in the construction trade and agriculture by allowing them to ruthlessly exploit immigrant labour.

Labour has created a sort of master and servant society, you’ve only got to see some of the company senior Labour politicians keep. During Labours time in office the divide between rich and poor has increased, delusional Labour MP’s are up there with their Tory colleagues in claiming bogus expenses.

Still that said certainly Hilary Benn appears every bit as principled and honest, as his father, being 15th in list of lowest claimants of expenses. I just have this thought and that’s all it is, that Labour’s somehow been modified to look like the party for working people on the outside but empty on the inside of that original flavour that created them.

Labour have made people commodities, so as Hilary Benn pontificated at the technological marvel that Thanet Earth is, producing Peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, I wonder if he had chance to consider or even got to talk to the workforce.

Thanet Earth is a multi million pound investment, I just wonder what the workers think, I remember the much reported queues as locals registered for “agency”* jobs up at Thanet Earth, just wonder how its worked out for them.

*Whatever happend to real jobs?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

More controversy over KCC’s business activities

Its clearly not just me, who has qualms about the sometime almost delusional attitude which seems to pervade county hall when it dabbles in the commercial world.

According to Kent online a report is due to be delivered to KCC from the Audit Commission into their controversial business activities.

I myself wonder, having requested details on the supposed savings made by Kent TV, only to find that although a projected figure is easily found, it might take a few weeks for them to actually give details, as to how these figures were arrived at, my own theory is that one of the top knobs, thought one million sounds good and so now council officers are I guess reverse engineering to substantiate that number.

Despite the councils “Backing Kent Business” campaign it seems some businesses are yet to be convinced like HR-GO who are furious that they have to compete with KCC.

One rather telling comment from the article, pointing to the counties relationship with the Audit Commission, referring to Jack Parkinson, Chairman of HR-GO this comment “He is concerned that KCC appear to have advance knowledge of the findings. “Why do they know all about it before it’s been issued?”.

Indeed some long time ago why when I wished to complain about KCC multi-million cock up over Turner gallery mark 1 why did I get referred to TDC auditor, makes you think.

Anyway if you’d like to know more click here for KM Report

Friday, August 07, 2009

A poignant moment before “Any Questions”

I attended the live broadcast of Radio 4’s any questions tonight. In the half hour prior to the programme being broadcast the mood was light, as the process was explained we were told that after a warm up question, there would be a pause for the news and then the show would be live.

During the pause, the tragic news that three more Paras had been killed in Afghanistan, on our behalf was relayed through speakers, putting into perspective, the somewhat superficial lives most of us lead.

In writing this I’ve no wish to trivialise the moment but mention how clearly the sense of loss, was reflected in the faces of the audience and participants of whom, some, I’m sure, like me, were hearing it for the first time.

Whatever else might divide society one thing that unifies us is the concern and respect for work done and the sacrifices made on our behalf by British soldiers.

Three Major Shops to go in Ramsgate?

I heard that both Dorothy Perkins and Burtons part of the Arcadia group are to leave Ramsgate after this month, with staff being relocated to the new BHS store @ Westwood Cross.

Also understand that River Island will also disappear soon when the lease runs out on their store in Ramsgate. I hope this doesn’t lead to a Margate type decline and I’m sure it wont as Ramsgate has more to offer in terms of convenient parking, the Harbour and places to eat.

Your chance to bag a unique postcard by Emin, Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn and more…..

Just a reminder of the charity Art auction in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust on Saturday 8th '@ 4pm at the Margate Harbour Arm Gallery.

With more postcards than you can point a bucket and spade at, it will be tough to choose which of the 100 cards individually created especially for this charity event to bid on.

The auction will also notable since it will be the first time that Tracy Emin will have had work on show in Margate.

Click here to see the postcards

Click here to visit WWW.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ronald Biggs Out

I see Ronnie Biggs has been released from prison on compassionate grounds by Jack Straw, although doctors have said there is not much hope as he is severely ill with pneumonia.

It would seem that Ronnie Biggs's wish to "walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter", will be unlikely.

Kevin Crace owner of the Westgate Pavilion a friend of Ronald Biggs who helped arrange his return to Britain was quoted earlier in the year by thisiskent website as saying "Ronnie was stationed in Margate during the war and that’s one of the reasons he wants to come back down. He is now an old man and just wants to live the remainder of his life in peace with his son. He is very keen to get down to Margate as soon as he is released."

I'm not attempting to mitigate the seriousness of Ronald Biggs crime but it does seem to have been cruel to have kept in prison despite his poor condition, I hope he recovers and hope he gets to have that pint. I’m sure there are far worse criminals than him who have serve considerably less time.

BBC story click here

Kent TV more dual standards? and councillors groan at mention of Bignews

The webcast of yesterdays meeting is now available, the reason it was called, seems trivial to me but clearly important to those for whom it was requested. Having had chance to see the thing from the beginning I'm not much wiser.

Firstly much of the meeting was devoted to the fact the earlier scrutiny cabinet meeting, had discussed the process of giving Ten Alps a fresh contract for Kent TV and the role of council officers, who had not been present at the prior meeting.

It was felt that it was not entirely correct to have done so, which leads me to the apparent dual standards, in discussing this the Chair of the original Committee was not present, but this didn’t stop mention of her role in the previous meeting.

So in the haste to accommodate Peter Gilroy & fellow officer Tanya Olivier Leader Paul Carter presumably a further discourtesy? has occurred by mentioning Trudy Dean in her absence, which I believe Paul Carter did on more than one occasion. This meeting clearly could have waited till September.

Anyhow if you’d like to assess just how pointless this meeting was, I suggest that you listen to how upset acting chairman Roger Manning is about the previous meeting.

Still one light point was a reference to an earlier Bignews Margate Headline (Kent TV - If at first you don’t succeed or best out of three) clearly pretty influential, in the corridors of Sessions House, still I’m not sure quite what those sounds that accompanied the mention, were adulation! derision! joy! you decide they occur around the end (around 1:17) laughing, groaning, crying, braying Tories? I just can’t tell, if you know for sure, such disrespect might result in a complaint by Bignews Margate to the Standards Board of England except I don’t believe in such nonsense.

Admittedly this webcast is not your best TV but if you’ve nothing else to do give it a go. At a complete tangent totally unconnected mentioning TV I suggest if you ever have chance that to watch “the wire” which is currently showing on BBC 2 a great mix of life, dirty dealings and politics, which is without a doubt the best television ever.

Cabinet Scrutiny Special click here

Green Monster in Northdown Road

Along with nutty Stop Manston crazies not everything green is wonderful, I spotted this monster loitering near my favourite supermarket in Northdown Road.

I was going to get salad stuff but after seeing this leaf chewing monstrosity, I decided against.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Kent TV another day another result

coming to a PC soon The Kent TV controversy will continue for some time, today it seemed to be another little victory for executive power over commonsense was outcome of today’s new improved scrutiny committee.

Now I unfortunately missed much of the meeting (live webcast) due in part to a long cue at Rooks for a couple of their finest saveloys and attending a brief training course on the “bleeding obvious” (2nd in a week) as is prevalent and mandatory, in much of our working life.

Paul Carter, Tory boss and his Chief Executive Gilroy had demanded their day in committee as it were, also present was Kent Director of Strategic Development and Public Access, Tanya Oliver.

Paul Carter and his colleagues Peter Gilroy and Tanya Oliver were it transpires not happy, to have had the previous scrutiny committee discuss the new contract for Kent TV, without them present although as far as I can recall no disparaging comments were made about either.

Today’s meeting pretty much came to the same conclusion, although the atmosphere had changed as had the chair and several of the previous committee members, the flavour I got from the last meeting was that ordinary members of the council, were a bit put out, at the lack of referral to backbenchers, still I understand that KCC TV is off the schedule for a long time after today’s, occurrences.

It seemed to me, that having the bosses present quelled any rebellious inclinations, like members asking to be at least consulted on policy. Sill it would be wrong to draw an analogy with rebellious school boys confronted by the headmaster and chairman of governors asking if they had any grievances.

I’m sure if there were any genuine concerns, Kent councils Tory backbenchers (mainly substitutes for the regular committee members) have as much backbone as you might expect. I just wonder why this matter could not have waited till September and whether 5 of the original 8 committee members being absent skewed things a tad, probably not eh.

Still something that has troubled me over the Kent TV contract is that despite Peter Gilroy’s mention of chronology of events, you would have thought that, given the council had more than two years, to anticipate the end of the current contract, they appear to have waited till rather late in the game to do something about it.

Kent TV is hardly a big hit, with the public, with funding stretching toward two million pounds of public money, it would be nice if the county, had some method in place already monitor benefits but it appears not, so far no credible figures appear to have been published, on any real or more likely imagined savings that Kent TV has delivered.

How often have the chief executive and leader of the council, told us that Kent is an excellent authority, if its true, why given more than two years, were they not better prepared to handle the end of the original contract.

If Paul Carter and his colleagues, expect us to believe that Kent TV is anything more than an affectation, lets see some figures that justify its existence. So often I’ve heard the business analogy, that KCC is a big business, if this is the case I suggest they start using proper business methods not just thinking that something's a good idea and not prove it.

Still I see that the influential Bignews Margate got a mention during the discussion, proving that the best things in life are free unlike Kent council or its media obsession. If I had the same money as Kent TV, having invested maybe 5 or 10 quid in electricity, pro rata, Bignews Margate would be blog of choice for every man women and child on the planet.

A question for Cllr Paul Carter whom I understand is a businessman would you invest the best part of two million pounds of your own money and wait more that two years to assess the effectiveness of you investment? I think not and nor should taxpayers!

The bosses have a weird relationship with Kent TV if you dare criticise they go bananas I just wonder why? Yet you ask them to take responsibility for it and they run a mile it took months for me to get KCC to accept they were responsible for Kent TV.

Its a pity KCC could not have convened a similar meeting when one of their own contractors made an extraordinary attack on me for publishing honest opinion about KCC media, still mustn't grumble.

I’ll let you know or maybe you can let me and the readers when this meeting is available to view on KCC’s WebPages.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Kent TV more wasted time & money? Will KCC Chief Executive & Council Leader, convince public everything's OK!

A week or so back, Kent councils cabinet scrutiny committee met and one of the items as I recall, was whether the renewal of the Kent TV contract was handled properly.

An extraordinary meeting has been called which will take place at 1pm Wednesday 5th August click here for a link to the live webcast or hopefully later recording of said event.

Its suggested that the Chief Executive Peter Gilroy, Paul Carter Tory boss and others didn’t like the outcome of the previous meeting, hence I assume the emergency meeting.

Now here’s the situation again as I understand it, Kent TV was set up to run for two years, the contract was awarded to Ten Alps, the council has had a long time to consider whether to continue the project.

However for some reason between council officers Peter Gilroy Chief Exec & Tanya Oliver (director of strategic development and public access), Paul Carter Tory Leader and Mr M Banks KCC’s Barrister the need to make a long term decision on Kent TV appears to have been put off.

The situation means that Ten Alps have apparently had their contract to supply Kent TV renewed for another seven months without the tiresome worries of competition.

As I can see, no suggestion was made at the previous scrutiny meeting, that council officers had acted in any improper way or for that matter Paul Carter, although naturally questions of public perception were raised as well as lack of member involvement.

My view is this Paul Carter, who is after all the elected leader of the council, appears to me, to be lead by the officers, rather than the more usual way of doing things in a democracy. Why else are we wasting money with further meetings

The following are views expressed by members as per the summary of the scrutiny meeting.

• Mr Manning raised concerns about the sensitivity of the issue and the public perception of Mr Gilroy being both the Chief Executive and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Kent TV.

• Mr Christie raised concerns whether, perception wise, it was a reasonable decision for the Chief Executive to take, his views were that public perception might be that somehow there was a conflicting interest.

• Mr Hotson suggested that for the future, the Chief Executive should not be in a position to take such decisions and it should be another officer or a Member level decision because there could be the perception of a conflict of interest.

• Mr Hotson stated that it was unforgiveable that there was a period of four of five months when there was no Member involvement of knowledge, and that should not happen in the future.

• Mr Kite stated that this situation failed the public perception test

• Mr Christie remarked that the decision to extend the contract was taken during April, but the contract was only signed on 15 July, the same day as the informal meeting.

• The Chairman explained that neither she nor the spokespersons had exercised an official call in of this issue firstly because they were satisfied that the Chief Executive had the authority to exercise this decision. The issue was whether it was an appropriate decision for him to take and that was a matter of judgement.

• Mr Parry raised concerns about the period of time in which there was no Member involvement. In future Members should be notified at the earliest opportunity of what was going on.

• Mr R King explained that it was a matter of Member involvement and which decisions should be made by the Cabinet.

As regulars will know I have had a fair amount of grief over Kent TV the council run TV station, a year back or so I feel that an attempt was made, to restrict what I could or could not say about Kent TV. I don’t recall Carter or Gilroy demanding meetings to discuss that matter, wonder why?

After some months a grudging acceptance was made by one legal officer that I did have the right to comment freely, also more importantly was the acceptance the KCC was ultimately responsible for the output Kent TV.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Thought for the day – RBS Stephen Hester Group Chief Executive THANKS FOR NOTHING

Just a quick one, I saw yesterday as I glanced through the papers one of those part advert, part P R devices that big companies employ, a large full page ad, consisting of a letter to customers, toward the back of the news section of my paper.

The letter addressed to “Dear Customer” waffles on about the amount of loans their making and all that positive nonsense you might expect, it concludes with a thank you to continuing to bank with RBS and the suggestion you speak to your “Relationship Manager”.

All very nice of Stephen Hester RBS Group Chief Exec but hang on a minute what about a big thank you, to all your reluctant investors, irrespective of earnings who will, for the foreseeable future be bailing out RBS and others through higher taxation and declining public services.

Of course not every one will be contributing to recovery in Britain’s banking sector, since the fall out from, the Banks reckless management has led to hundreds of thousands losing their jobs.

Thanks for nothing Stephen Hester RBS Group boss, maybe next time you stick a letter in the paper you’ll have the good grace and decency to thank the British Taxpayer with particular attention to those who’ve lost their jobs, had their wages cut etc.

Today I understand several Banks will be announcing big profits it would be nice if they gave the lions share to charity to show some gratitude.