Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Leading academic? Gives Tips on "How to politicise fatherhood"?

Given that it was such an awful weekend weather wise, I spent much of my time this weekend reading and lounging about in the house, particularly on Sunday which is no hardship, since reading the papers is one of the joys of any weekend.

A favourite of mine being Kent on Sunday, which this weekend has a story (page 5) concerning Dr. Ellie Lee a lecturer in social policy, at the University of Kent, not entirely sure what err social policy is as an academic subject but assume that it is some woolly minded, vaguely political sort of stuff, that conditions and trains young students to become one of those irritating bland politicians or bureaucrats, like the Millibland brothers or any of the half wit local authority bosses we're so familiar with.

According to Dr. Ellie Lee, assuming, I'm reading this article correctly, politicians, as ordinary fathers and by that I mean, a father who has what many would consider, a normal relationship with his family is somehow politicising that fairly basic role.

Presumably Dr. Lee would prefer British prime ministers, to be so cold and self important and disown their own children, leaving them as damaged goods, as is the case in so much of broken Britain.

Ignoring her own opinions apparently at one point in the story she is quoted as saying " people should be able to bring their children up in any way, they see fit" and " we are always being told there is someone else who knows best and we have to see some guru" maybe Dr. Lee ought to take her own advice.

Anyhow such " stories" are provocative space fillers for newspapers, which both entertain and irritate, still I'd love to know how Kent on Sunday journalist Chris Murphy, comes up with a story like this, how would you approach it, just ring up an academic randomly, and asked if they could come up with some provocative tosh for next Sunday's newspaper.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BBC's breakfast expedition to Margate

Till last week I often wondered where do they get these people from, when listening to radio discussions, someone apparently stumbled across this blog and I was invited to take part in a discussion about Margate, on BBC radio Kent's breakfast programme.

Anyhow having wasted many an hour lecturing to and infuriating readers with my views on local issues I suppose I have as much validity as anyone, I don't pretend to represent anyone or any organisation not even the Lib Dems of whom I happen to be a member, although a few fail to accept my independence of thought.bbctourbus2
Finding myself sitting out on the Harbour Arm in Margate at 9:00 chatting about Margate regeneration is a bit of a surreal experience, the apparent casual relaxed manner of those professionals making the programme made participating relaxed and easy.

Still whether I had anything worth saying or even made sense is up to those who listened, the chances are the you had better things to be doing between 9 and 10 yesterday still if you'd like to listen to the programme it will be available for a day or two here (my bit is in the final hour).  bbctourbus3
Finally the presenters John Warnett and Clare McDonnell are approachable holding on after the broadcast to chat individually with the small crowd who turned up to witness this broadcast.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hoops it is then

News that will probably make "Local" Labour supremo Clive Hart glow with, err indignation, rather than civic pride, is the decision that the somewhat drab lighthouse type thing on the end of the Harbour Arm is to be painted.

martin wiseThis was raised a few months ago, to howls of sour grapes from the councils Labour benches, probably because they hadn't thought of it, anyhow as I understand it, having this morning bumped into the TDC deputy leader Martin Wise, Hoops it is and although not noted for aesthetics I feel it will be a cheap but effective enhancement to the general appearance of the Harbour Arm.

hart It will be interesting to see how Cllr Clive Hart, reacts, will he quietly let it go, or can we expect him to thrust himself once more into harms way and risk public ridicule and pose for local press in yet another photo opportunity whereby he effects that perturbed but resolute look in order to glean public support for an irrelevant cause.

Not too sure what colours will be chosen since Cllr Martin Wise wasn't waving the old dulux colour chart about but anyhow below is how the Harbour light could look, if they get an idiot who spends his time blogging and is almost as talented in the art department! Lets hope the ten grand budget gets a professional job.
hoops it is drablighthouse

BBC in town today

I should have posted on this earlier, this morning's BBC Radio Kent's Breakfast programme is broadcast from Margate's Harbour arm, I'm going along to see if I can get my twopenny worth in, since they are discussing regeneration and the Turner Contemporary, still by the time you read this it will be Sunday morning, but you can still read my past thoughts by clicking here for Turner Contemporary and here for regeneration thoughts.
Still you can trawl through the archive 1300 other post on varied topics any day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's left after the staycation, the nocation ? A day out in countryside

As a result of Labour's magnificent management of Britain Plc, many of us including me, no longer have the opportunity once or twice a year to admire this country from afar, my own preference being Majorca or New York, now more distant than I ever thought possible.timesquare
I have been lucky in past years to afford to travel and will no doubt do so again, currently the choice is stark, since work can be scarce, irregular, and available at short notice, so a planned break is not possible, so even the staycation, is not practical, so its the nocation for me this year. punch and judy
Still even having the odd day here and there is better than nothing, and certainly there are worse places to find yourself unable to take a proper holiday, even with little money, here in Thanet we have various attractions in the summer months where you can find yourself entertained for free, at events like the folk festival in Broadstairs or the Dippers and Dunkers event in Margate or just have a trip down the beach.

Obviously a proper break generally is experiencing the unfamiliar, something we don't encounter on a daily basis, so the highlight for my year so far, was driving a few miles out of town with Mrs Me, the objective to take a stroll round the gardens at Goodnestone, as it happened, this didn't happen, since driving into the village around lunch time, the pub looked more of a priority destination, than some blooming gardens.fitzwalter arms
aviewfromfitzwalterarms Fortunately Mrs Me agreed and we had a leisurely lunch at the Fitzwalter Arms, the set menu around fifteen quid a head, a bit more refined than my taste buds are use too but very good and as important, a pleasant dining area, with the pub located in a beautiful and tranquil village.

Having relaxed till about three, we took the short walk toward Goodnestone Park, decided that given the time, it was too late to embark on a tour of the gardens and anyhow the village church was open, so we took a gander, around the church instead, followed with a walk in the countryside around the village.churchgoodnestone
Not having a OS map, we walked vaguely in the direction, suggested by a Public Footpath sign, as with pretty much all these pointers, they always seem hazy the further you walk from them, so within a minute, you have little confidence of the direction your walking and being in unfamiliar territory, you half expect to be challenged with some shot gun toting farmer, requesting you get offa their land, this didn't happen and we walked unimpeded coming across a pen populated with what looked like from a distance a colony of miniature velociraptors ( during this week the papers had been full of cloned cows, giant rats and miniature pigs) however on closer inspection I realised they were in fact err baby turkeys.turkeys or velociraptors
That was highlight of our ramble, we returned to the car, having a final encounter with nature, a playful field rat scampered across the road, field rat as I adjusted my newly acquired Iphone Sat Nav app Skobbler (not bad for the price) only £1.19, and set a course for Wickhambreaux, where we enjoyed another another walk and probably caused the residents to consider the downside of living, in such a visually perfect village, as we fanaticised about escaping the cultural riches of Margate.wickhambreaux
Hopefully I will get to visit Goodnestone Park another year, still if you have nothing spoiling and time on your side click here for details, but make time for lunch in the local.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Liberal Democrat dissent true or false

I can only speak for myself as a long time, Liberal supporter but so far I think that Nick Clegg has done a good job serving the interests of both the country and the Liberal Democrat party, admittedly I don't currently get involved in Lib Dem party politics other than holding a membership card and volunteering during elections.

Therefore when I read and listen to the media whipping up, dissent stories, like Charles Kennedy's non-existent defection to Labour, and then wringing out additional negativity its difficult to not to form the opinion that Britain's journalists would not accept reality if it bit them on the bum, take this typical tosh from the Telegraph and Stephen Pollard referring to the Charles Kennedy "Story"  "…. it doesn't matter if it's true or not. Because underneath the details of which whip Mr Kennedy chooses to take in the House of Commons lie some fundamental truths about the Lib Dems."  Mr Pollard dismisses the truth, and I'm sure there are plenty of journalist like him, who just ignore facts and write what they were going too, anyway, side stepping, he suggests that Lib Dems natural home is alongside Labour, again I speak for myself and would like to point out I've no wish to be associated with the sanctimonious sleaze bags, crooks and chancers that make up the Labours upper echelons.

The press seem united against the coalitions efforts to rectify damaged done by Labours insane mismanagement of the economy, and it seems that journalists have for there own reasons zeroed in against Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems in a clearly biased way, journalists naturally have bills to pay like all the rest of us so its no surprise they write what please their masters, and since most of the press is owned by those who favour conservatives its no wonder they're not gunning for Cameron, equally the state sector journalists those employed by the BBC have a strong empathy for those also in the state sector, whose years of preferential treatment might just be about to end, so its a no brainer that they have a vested interest in attacking the Lib Dems.

It seems to me that few of Britains journalist will ever let truth and the public interest get in the way of their own agenda.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Margate's Dippers and Dunkers

The Dippers and Dunkers week long event is with us for a second year, having visited last years event, I have to say that it was entertaining and impressive, assuming that you may not have visited, I suggest you treat yourself this weekend, and go along, put off the trip to Westwood if you have to, Tesco, Sainsburys, Debenhams, Argos etc. will still be there next week.

Most of the events are free, so go and enjoy! photos are of course from last year, for full details click here for the Dippers & Dunkers website with events details, of those events that take place in Margate this is the one which most ties in with the brash, cheeky tradition of our heritage and history as one of the countries leading seaside resorts. headlessbowlgloriadipper margate

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thanet Times in Cover up!

How things or indeed Times change, if memory serves me correctly, the Thanet Times at one time used to have a certain down market sort of style of titillation often featuring for no particular reason a semi clad young lady justified by a couple of lines of inane twaddle.

Anyhow whether that's a loss or a positive is of course subjective, myself I've no opinion.

This week I've had more time than usual at home, time to glance through the local papers, today, I was taking a look at the Thanet Times report on a charity event in which a hundred plus stripped off to ride a rollercoaster for charity.

The charity event has been covered in several newspapers, including the Daily Mail, which is part of the same business that also owns the Thanet Times, taking a quick gander I realised that the Thanet Times coverage was different, in that they had apparently manipulated the photo they used to remove women's breasts.

Now I just checked the time on my PC and yes its already ten years into the twenty first century, although I suspect the editorial department of the Thanet Times and Gazette is stuck in a different time zone somewhere around the 1950's, crikey even the Mail online carried uncensored photos.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monster Bass Festival

Despite heavy rain, the new event taking place today and tomorrow around Ramsgate Harbour seems well attended. Not quite sure what it's all about but there is plenty to occupy visitors with entertainment stalls and fairground rides.

Also pleasing to see was Ramsgate Mayor David Green and county councillor Elizabeth Green involving themselves in the clearing up operations from the recent heavy rains, I also spotted Michael Child thanet online rushing past me, no doubt with some photos of the event.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Access Denied as Thanet Council officer initiates security clamp down

Thanet council officers have launched a security clamp down, following a fairly innocent enquiry to the councils Democratic Services, not the first time that Bignews Margate has been responsible for a hasty deletion of sensitive info, from TDC's website, last year I queried a dubious entry in the councils attendance records concerning the former councillor Broadhurst, which eventually resulted in a by election, although I think Clive Hart put a different (labour) spin in some leaflets, still just out of interest did Chief Exec Richard Samuel ever enquire how a bogus entry occurred ?

Having a bit of time, on my hands at the moment, I thought I'd see what entertainment was on offer down at Thanet's council offices, a quick look-see and I realised I'd missed the blimin Cabinet Meeting, last week, Blast!, this usually has a few good laughs an d bit of knockabout politics, with a touch of tired haughtiness from the ruling Conservatives whenever well groomed Labour bods, get indignant and self-righteous with the occasional comment which starts with "When we were the ruling group…. blah blah.

The meeting that disappeared from TDC website
secret meeting

Please,  excuse the digression the only meeting this week, on the Council's calendar was involving the "Coach House Working Party" I thought I'd click the link, I then thought, I'd check the agenda, see if there was anything interesting, as appeared it unavailable I phoned up the Democratic Services. I spoke with the contact, who told me that the agenda was not available to the public, uh?  apparently neither was the meeting open to the likes of Bignews Margate, so what is all the fuss about ?

The contact came back to me explaining the meeting was definitely not public, so I asked could he, as the meetings contact person, at least confirm that we were talking about the Coach House, at Northdown Park, well after waiting  some several hours, I thought bollix, and rang someone else who took the risk and confirmed my suggestion.

Its a worry that Thanet Council carry on as if the public don't have a right to know what goes on, its even more worrying that a Labour government, gave simple minded council officers up and down the country, investigatory powers under the prevention of terrorism laws, I cannot begin to imagine why TDC have now removed details of this meeting just what is the big secret.

Since there is no publically available agenda, concerning the meeting of "Coach House Working Party" here my is summation of what they ought to be discussing, Thanet council leased this property back in the mid eighties, it was meant to have been museum, this never happened now 25 years down the road the property is in a fairly dire state and now boarded up, TDC have apparently done nothing to encourage the lease holder to maintain this asset and will no doubt attempt to gloss over the past and then try to flog it which covenants prevent. Click here for an earlier commentary.

The Coach House belongs long term to the community, what possible benefit can be derived from dealing with this issue in private since we have a new leader at TDC would it not now be time for Thanet's Conservatives to grow up and stop treating the public like idiots particularly with lunatic initiatives like council the Blogging protocol which Simon Moores seemed so keen!
secret calender the meeting that no longer exist

Any danger Cllr Paul Carter learns a lesson from George Osborne

Spotted in a couple of newspapers yesterday, the story that George Osborne (Chancellor), Mervyn King (Gov. Bank of England) and advisors took the trouble to walk down two flights of stairs to the canteen at the Treasury, even queuing so that the group could eat lunch for around thirty two quid rather than have it delivered to the office for an excessive 148 pounds.

Just wonder when such thinking will filter through to Kent's Champagne Conservative councillors, if you read my previous posting, you will see that here in Kent neither officers or indeed Tory councillors have quite got the hang on the difference between public service and business or the fact that people like you and I work hard to earn our money and don't relish the thought of greedy public officials and friends largeing it up on our money.

Incidentally if you wish to complain or express your concerns about Conservative Cllr Paul Carters profligate, extravagant, spendthrift, excessive administration you could always contact your local Conservative County councillor who is entitled to minimum £13,000 a year expenses (your money), for what, who knows. Thanet's Conservative county councillors who presumably support Paul Carter,  are Robert Bayford, Robert Burgess, Bill Hayton, Charles Hibberd, Michael Jarvis, John Kirby, Chris Wells contact details can be found on this page. Please note Cllr  Elizabeth Green is a Labour member who has I assume never supported Paul Carter.
big spenders
Story in the Sun or Daily Mail

Saturday, August 07, 2010

No limits on Kent council credit card

Over the years I've been writing this blog, a rich vein of material has been provided by Paul Carters Conservative KCC administration, at some considerable cost to the taxpayer. All sorts of waste, millions on half baked ideas, like links to Virginia, Kent TV, Health watch, Icelandic banks, bonuses paid out to fat cat officers for simply doing their jobs, all the while, services to children and the elderly are being cut.

It seems that officers and KCC councillors, maintain a taste for the high life, whilst you and I are wondering if we will have a job next week or can pay our bills, top knobs even on their way out, have no such worries, if they fancy a meeting or a trip, why not! with the exclusive KCC credit card no worries!. 

Expenses include a meal costing £360 at Rules a top restaurant, now retired (Hurrah!) chief exec Peter Gilroy on a trip up to Edinburgh (£800 approx) with deputy Tory Leader Alex King just to celebrate the nomination of a film for an award it didn't win, you've probably never heard of "The Calling" which also cost a further 75,000 pounds of Kent public money. Breakfast for KCC Chief Executive & Chief Constable how expensive could that be, McDonalds maybe an Egg Sausage McMuffin and cup of coffee or a cafe for a  full English breakfast what are we looking at a tenner? No of coarse not 47quid KCC credit card that will do nicely! welcome around the world at the more expensive establishments.

One thing is clear to me, the concept that Kent Council is funded by your hard earned money doesn't seem to register with Kent's Tories or senior officers, as it seems any time is the right time spend big on hospitality and why not when you can just whop out your KCC Credit Card.

I find the words to characterise such behaviour difficult, not because I can't think of them but because I have no wish to offend Kent's top knobs, still words I don't think apply to such spending are reasonable, understandable, acceptable.

Paul Carter's Conservative administration seems to be punctuated by extraordinary waste here's my advice STOP WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY ON LUDICROUS VENTURES. To Conservative county councillors dump Paul Carter now. Taxpayers expect public services, not public excess on expenses.

Finally if you'd like to live like Kent's top bods it seems, you could always try London restaurant Rules, and assuming your paying with your own money I'm sure the meal probably taste better. Click Here it looks very good indeed

Monday, August 02, 2010

Dignitaries' exposed on Margate Sands for Sun Cream promotion

Happened to be cycling along Margate's majestic beach, this afternoon, soaking up the sun, sea, and air, when I chanced upon a clutch of dignitaries posing for photos in front of a banner proclaiming, "NIVEA SUN Best British Family Beach", could this be true, well maybe not, best check, further inspection and I picked out the Bronze Award in the corner.

Still third place not bad, anyway, decided to take a quick butchers at Nivea's website, and their family beach guide which gives more details, seems that their marketing wallahs, are first class at gaining maximum mileage from these awards, rather shrewdly, they have two gold award recipients, five silver award and eight bronze award winners, thus encouraging free publicity in seaside towns, up and down the country as similar publicity pictures are posed for.

Therefore I'm not entirely sure its worth polishing up the local chains of the Mayoralty etc, to give Nivea the oxygen of publicity, and would rate Margate beach higher myself. No doubt there is a formal press release being drafted by council busy bodies, as I type this post, which will explain more eloquently than I, what its all about and why dignitaries eschewed swimming cosies. Well done Margate!