Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wow what a Christmas and Noel Hell!

It was a rare event at Flaig Mansions, Christmas dinner was cooked to perfection (almost) a joint effort with me and Mrs Me which mainly involves me, in claiming all the credit and Mrs Me doing the veg, laying the table and tidying up. Unusually I had cooked the gammon and stuffed the turkey without the usual melodrama and was by nine Christmas evening in front of the telly with everything prepared including wrapping Mrs Me presents and writing a card.

As a non Christian I celebrate the event with as much good will as most (I lost my religion about the age of nine watching documentaries on the first war and the holocaust), its the one time of year I find the hypocrisy of the church tolerable, if not welcome as listening to Christmas carols brings back warm nostalgic feelings of past Christmases and those no longer here.santaoncoke

I’m not entirely without a belief, since I do believe in the spirit embodied in the Hollywood image of Santa Claus, the beneficent well meaning old git, who does what’s necessary to deliver the goods on Christmas Eve. Illogical I know and proof that I may not be entirely rational but here’s my reasoning in a nutshell unlike deities like god who lays down loads of rules and regulations, Father Christmas always delivers so long as you’ve been good and not naughty.

Anyway moving a long, Christmas is all about having a good time and so far I’ve had a pretty good break, Christmas dinner went well for the second year running we had smoked salmon and prawns as a starter, missed the Queens speech as per usual and no er intense moments.

I tend to spend as much time in doors as possible this time of year, a reaction to being out in all weathers most of the working day, I no longer seem to be able to concentrate on reading books, so television and mucking about on the computer are my main preoccupations currently I’m trying to find a simple way to transfer movies from disc to portable devices.

Television this Christmas seems to have reached an all-time low, items that failed to hit the spot, have been Catherine Tate, the Royle family, Gavin & Stacey, even Eastenders failed to lift my spirits despite the seasonal joy which centred on the murder of Archie Mitchell and will now drag out in to a long winded who done it, me I couldn’t give a toss.

Some highlights for me have been the result of watching DVD’s Slumdog Millionaire brilliant! Series 1 of the Wire best ever TV serial, one disappointment amongst the gems “Inglorious Bastards” I always watch Quentin Tarrentino films in the expectation that one day he’ll repeat the magic of Pulp Fiction, its not going to happen.

Some unexpected moments on the box were Harry Hill’s TV burp I rarely watch his regular take on TV but find myself enjoying the show its relatively undemanding unlike Charile Brooker’s rather bitter Screenwipe still maybe I’m in a weakened state but at one point I found myself watching Ant and Dec’s Christmas show and quite enjoying it till I had the thought, that the set they were using, was not dissimilar, to that which used to appear on Noel Edmond’s House Party.

It may be me but I’ve always found Noel Edmond’s persona irritating in the extreme, but none more so than in his role as presenter of Deal or no deal whether its the format of the show, mind numbing and for me about the worst thing on tele even with the Christmas make over Noel Hell! and happy new year.noelhell

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas to almost every one!

In common with most years, my distribution of Christmas cards will be fairly exclusive, anyhow I’d like to thank all those who’ve taken the trouble look in from time to time on these pages, my only regret this year is not having the time to contribute in recent months.

Hopefully I will remember to get a card for Mrs Me and with luck, will not make the same mistake as in a previous year when I bought and gave a Birthday card, instead of the more traditional Christmas card, confirming Mrs Me’s belief that I don’t read the words.

Also I’d like to spare a thought for those in my industry (Railway) who will be spending much of the Christmas period out on track, whatever the weather, working long hours, day and night, who like many other essential workers are unlikely to get any public recognition unless some lazy journalists repeats the seasonal “rail chaos story” which has been a favourite page filler in newspapers at Christmas in recent years.

We live in a world of clich├ęs and it would nice if all those working over the break got some public recognition whether its health workers or someone working in a take away, anyway Happy Christmas, me I’ll mainly be working the remote this Christmas after I’ve cooked the gammon and the Turkey.

I’d also like to thank Thanet Council for their Christmas greetings which this year includes the news they will be wanting payment a month earlier (council tax), this will no-doubt help fund the generous pay increase awarded to senior bods at the council (I was told by one cabinet member it was necessary to keep hold of them, I pondered on who else would actually want to employ them?) also better news was that Thanet council will be making no effort to empty my bin during the first week of the New Year ( presumably starting the year as they intend to go on).

Seasons Greetings to all with the exception of senior TDC officers and councillors (who don’t need any good will since I’m sure they can look after themselves.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stuck in traffic

Its a while since I last posted and might well be some considerable time in the future when I summon up enough motivation and or time.

Still one of those subjects which I would have liked to give vent previously is the management of highways here in the south east, which I imagine is controlled by imbeciles who unlike me don’t actually have to use them.

Some examples of disruptions in recent months include the tunnel closed between Herne Bay and Whitstable on the Thanet Way, this is closed every three months so that light bulbs and the like, can be maintained, and since bureaucrats don’t get up too early, its no problem that its not reopened till well after five, the M2 closed at Rainham turn off for litter picking at 5:40am.

Still the worst delays are those caused by “police incidents”, these seem to occur on alternate days, a couple of weeks back there was a lorry fire on the A2 which resulted in not just the coast bound carriage way out of London closed but the London bound for good measure, during the additional hours it took to get home by turning back through the Blackwell tunnel and crawling along the A13 to Dartford crossing I heard on the radio that the London bound side might just open later in the evening.

The following day I was relieved and surprised to see no evidence of this incident at the Danson interchange, I had half expected a blooming great big crater, absolutely no evidence of the catastrophe which the previous evening had caused misery for hundreds of thousands of commuters across south east London, Kent and Essex.

Last weekend, on the journey home, I noted that the London bound Thanet way was closed, for what I’m not sure although I did see some activity around a puddle? and of course coming up to yesterdays road closures, what the hell was that all about, I’d like to thank Kent Highways for gritting the roads but despite well advertised snow fall, it didn’t appear that any attempt had been made to grit the M2.

As a result of Kent Highways failure to keep the roads open I along with my co workers lost a days pay, no doubt the person responsible for the keeping the roads open sits in a nice office, on a nice fat salary with no effect on his or her salary (probably due one of those performance bonuses).

Still my hours stuck in a preventable jam, resulted in me returning home early, I thought I’d take the chance to see BBC south east’s report which might ask some of the questions us residents would ask, well its rare that BBC’s south east regional news outpost, hits the spot and last night’s performance was no different, as is often the case outside broadcasts are a feature of the show and one intrepid reporter was in “Tunbridge Wells” which since they (BBC SE) have their studios there means filming a reporter from the doorway probably between fag breaks.

Anyway just flying off at a tangent, as I say its rare that I see BBC southeast output and last mentioned it probably back in October, having raised with various bods like David Holdswoth BBC’s Controller of English Regions, also I spoke with Quentin Smith Television Editor BBC South East whom I recall suggested I should take a fresh look well I did yesterday and one word comes to mind “simpering” why I don’t know.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thought for the day – MP Cleared of wrong doing

I caught this wonderful news, in this weeks Thanet Times “Ladyman is in the clear” apparently Sir Thomas Legg has concluded that there were “no issues” with Ladyman’s expenses including his mortgage etc.

Stephen Ladyman is quoted in the Thanet Times “It has been a worrying time because even when you are confident you did nothing wrong there is always the worry some unintentional fault could be found. Now I can breathe a sigh of relief”

Phew! isn’t that a relief, who ever thought anything different? lets not forget how tough life can be for MP’s struggling to get by, thankfully the taxpayer is only too willing to help these, low income professionals, with subsidised canteens and monthly food expenses etc.

I’m thankful that we still live in time when a Labour parliament is able to look after the vulnerable in society even MPs, trousering nearly 65 grand a year…. pity they can’t also look out for working people whose incomes and prospects are bleaker than they’ve been for many a year.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dane Valley – The result – lost in translation by the political establishment

Before I go any further, well done! Sandra Hart (the local girl) for the “thanet Local Labour” party, for winning last weeks Dane Valley By election, an incredible result against given the Labour Parties calamitous, handling of the economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, immigration, health, welfare, education and even curbs on freedom of speech.

Clearly Sandra Hart is one of the minority in society who actually cares enough about the community to take an active part and I expect she will do her best, which will be without a doubt a better job than her predecessor.

The result of the election has certainly been interesting although Labour’s win is not particularly remarkable since Labour have an existing base in the area, no surprise that the conservatives took a hammering, as well they should for the inept handling of the absentee councillor situation.

Mark Nottingham makes much of Sandra Hart’s win and is even honest enough to touch on Bill Furness Liberal Democrat candidates impressive second place, Tory exile Bertie Biggles concentrates on the conservatives infighting plus a hint of irregularity by council officers, Michael Child ignores the Liberals and witters on about the Labour victory waffling on about ”a very large” Labour swing, which had he read the figures below that statement would have realised was simply not the case as their share of the vote had been effected by the general disillusion of Labours national shenanigans, it appears to me that Matt of Thanet Star fame is the only blogger to have got things in perspective with “Labour have very little to crow about”.

Anyway I’d like to add to the congratulations to Sandra Hart and thank all those who took part, particularly well done to Wendy Allen and Bill Furness who both made significant advances.

The fact remains Labour’s swing was negative and despite the simplistic approach made by the Hart team of “local girl” for “local elections” its clear that local Labour party members make up, Labour nationally and are every bit as culpable for Labours stewardship as their in some cases less than respectable parliamentary colleagues.

Just to keep Ramsgate’s Taxpayer funded Labour Eurocrat (Nottingham) happy I am a Liberal Democrat something I probably wont mention again, as my views on this blog represent my own.

Finally I trust that Thanet District council will correct this error in their press release “The by-election was held following the resignation of Stephen Broadhurst.” as I understand it Stephen Broadhurst did not send a valid resignation, and was automatically removed from the council after he failed to appear at the council.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

By Election Special - Dane Valley the final stretch and whatever happened to Labour

Just a quick posting before I head off to cast my vote, this election is, when all is taken into consideration only remarkable for its origins and background.

The resignation of absentee, Cllr Broadhurst I recall never really occurred, since his letter of resigning, was found not to be acceptable by council officials, eventually he was automatically removed from the council, the handling by the local Conservative party of the situation was typically of the light, sloppy and weak managerial approach shown by their administration of Thanet council.

Anyway we, that is us voters, have in the last few weeks had more than a few leaflets, on the blog sites’ there has been the usual insight, from middle-aged gits like myself, some with an axe to grind like I think a rather cheeky Cllr Nottingham who comes out with this tosh “I note that Tony Flaig rejoined the Liberal Democrats recently and think with his frequent comments on the by-election campaign it would be best if readers saw writing or an image or clear writing so that they knew they were reading a yellowtinted opinion. In what looks like typical sanctimonious Labour style, we then read, that he, puts his party membership at the top of his blog, as well he might being employed as a Eurocrat Labour functionary (and has for some time). Please note my joining the Liberal Democrats (about three weeks ago) does not make me a zombie.

Down to the nitty-gritty, this election was eventually triggered for no other reason, than we have had an absentee representative in Dane Valley and the law at least requires our representative to show their face at council, but the electorate prefer more than some party member, who’s been given a seat by the local hierarchy what we want is someone who will actively represent us.

Therefore it would be nonsense to pick a candidate because they happen to be more local than the next which seems to be the thinking of some of our lightweight contenders, also we need to ignore emotive nonsense like this from one candidate “ I will simply not get into the mud-slinging " blah blah blah…. presumably that’s down to somebody else then.

Here’s what my choice is based on, knowing that the candidate I’m voting for has done much hard work for this constituency has already shown a willingness to do a bit of hard graft.

So I’ll be voting for Bill Furness (Lib Dem) today, because this is a local election, not a referendum on how Labour has impoverished the ordinary people of Dane Valley (which they have), or whether the Conservative Party should take over from Labours onslaught on working people.

Finally I see Clive Hart’s crew, seems too embarrassed to be associated with Labour, maybe upfront Cllr Mark Nottingham could explain that one ? instead they have in the most recent communication put the logo “thanet Local Labour” rather than remind the electorate of just who they represent.