Thursday, September 30, 2010

Manston - 10 of these could be landing every night, what an outrage!

howmany Shock Horror! Proposals for the new night quota system for Manston airport, could result in as many as 10 a380 airbus super jumbo planes landing every night between 23:30  and 06:00, if the night quota as requested by infratil is allowed.

Of course this is a worst case scenario and the reality, would be complete completely different, although no doubt you'll be reading excitable reports in your local papers and on other blogs, any minute, still if you wish to read the proposals I suggest you click here and perhaps keep an open mind.

How did I arrive at this extreme well, infratil are asking for a Quota Count (a quota count being a measure of how noisy a plane is Boeing 747 Jumbo being QC4 on take off, QC2 on landing)  of 1995QC annually, this works out to 5.4 something a night, any how the new airbus A380 is rated at QC0.5 on landing and QC 2 on take off.

I for one would rather see the100 plus jobs at Manston maintained with the hope that many more will be created in the future, but we will see a lot of hysterical reports in the coming weeks, incidentally local councillors last time this came up for discussion took a fairly consistent line, not being overly enthused but accepting the need to do what is best for the local economy.

Still DFL's (Delusional From London's) are the prime objectors, some have the view that because they made a mint from selling their squalid little homes in London and have a few bob, we ought to be in awe and here's my advice, take your money and try buying back in to London.

KCC spend spend spend

spending files Reporting on Kent county council matters is fairly sparse in our local newspapers, although Paul Francis, Group political editor of the Kent Messenger does a first class job of scrutinising Kent county council .

I've just been taking a gander at a fine example of his work and that of Bob Bounds (Editor Kent Messenger), which concerns some of the more extraordinary spending by KCC bureaucrats on , well themselves actually .

As many of you will be aware and county council is a four or five star council, I believe part of that rating surely must come from the extravagant manner in which they treat themselves, an example is quoted of how on one occasion staff were helped themselves to nearly £400 worth of chocolate (Thorntons), £200 worth of commemorative photographs and £1000 taxis.

If you feel strong enough, to read more about the extravagant lifestyle of KCC's staff, bearing in mind that you pay for it, then do please click here for the Spending Files an insight in to Kent's lavish spendthrift culture.

Every time I read of fresh excesses by Kent council, I have to pinch myself to remember that Paul Carter, leader of the council is actually a Tory and not some spendaholic socialist, nutjob from the 1980's.

Recommends – Sunday night telly

Its pretty much part of my weekly routine, on Sunday get home from the first shift of the week (hopefully not the last one), make a sandwich or maybe reheat the previous nights Chinese, quick scan through the paper then collapse on to sofa, eventually struggling to regain consciousness around midnight usually to find some god awful film on, or some shopping channel with a deranged bat trying to sell me, women's undergarments so I can drop a dress size, Mrs Me having left me for dead hours earlier.

Still this Sunday woke up to an altogether more cultural offering on BBC four a film entitled "Of Time and the City" the TV listing describing it as follow " Acclaimed British director Terence Davies's love song to his native city of Liverpool, looking at the city's transformation over the years through archival footage, personal memory and a powerful soundtrack."

Still as arty farty as it sounds, this was an enjoyable nostalgic treat, with fantastic visuals, commentary and music, evocative of what I'm not sure since I've only spent three hours in that city, with two of them getting in and out, well if I get the chance to go again, having watched this film I might spend a bit longer.

This programme will I understand be available till next Sunday on BBC Iplayer, tough titties, if your reading this next Monday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Understand this - New Leader another New Labour and the same old, same old

Here are some thoughts prompted by Ed Miliband's first speech as Labour leader, I'm old enough to have heard about "new generation's" having taken over, this that or the other political party and whilst it may be a cliché to me I'm sure its a fresh concept to the odd whippersnapper or two, but any follower of politics of any age will be familiar with this meaningless banality.

Ed Miliband's selection as leader, is indicative of just how Labour and I suppose politics in general has become more like some dull corporate world, neither of the Miliband brothers look big on charisma or personality.

Politics without passion, is how I'd describe Labour today, just look at all, that apologetic language of how, Labour made mistakes but of course, the word which spokesmen of all sorts use, particularly when they've just shafted you is "understand" as in "I understand the product/service has failed" while thinking don't worry, we've taken your money.

I just counted how many times Ed Miliband used the epithetical term, 14 times, no surprise like many a dodgy salesman the word responsible was a little less frequent, in fact despite being in the last Labour government writing the last manifesto, the word responsible was not used once in the context of say we the Labour party were responsible for Iraq/banks/economy, still  Ed Miliband  says "I will be a responsible Leader of the Opposition." but responsible in the true sense, not flipping likely.

To round up then, understand this, Labour is kidding nobody, you were in government, you had a popular mandate and frankly screwed up.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanet's Free press - "Up to a point Lord Copper"*

I see from Friday's Gazette that democracy appears pretty low on the agenda as far as Gazette editor, Rebecca Smith's paper is concerned, admittedly I get obsessive over some subjects, naturally like most democrats I viewed Thanet Councils locking me out of a public meeting a serious issue.

Not so Becca's paper (IOTG), in the "Best of the Blogs" column, misleadingly refers to "protesters" in I assume an effort to belittle the facts, "protestors" actually consisted of one neutral blogger me, a resident of Dalby Square, who I understand later spoke to the meeting, and of course Andrew Woodman a journalist at the Gazette, also Becca's paper referring to me, makes this further misleading claim "Still, as everyone did get in to hear the debate, no harm done eh Tone?.

Well Becca, as your colleague will no doubt confirm, three of us missed the first quarter hour, usually the most important part of any meeting, so no harm done is another misleading remark in my opinion.

The press is sometime referred to as the forth estate, a bastion of truth and democracy, still maybe the Isle of Thanet Gazette, is a bit more estate agent than fourth estate.

Still Northcliffe media ultimately own the Gazette and Daily Mail so we know just how much we can trust the strict editorial standards, still just imagine how much better it would be if Murdoch's News international owned the Gazette.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Labour give birth to new leader its a Millibland

Sorry it's bad news I'm afraid, although the Milliband boy might look alright, however tests have shown, that he only has partial hearing, which contributes to memory loss, this is why he wont accept complicity in the Labours economic disaster, no surprise being genetically modified from previous chancer Blair and social inept Gord.

Labour will today chose one of the Milliband boys today, we are told by the pundits and yes there are worse candidates but unfortunately they are all lacking charisma and appear bereft of any really individual traits, with the exception of Diane Abbott, who despite some of her quirks would probably make a better leader than the rest in the sense of at least, not having been cloned.

Labour have a mountain to climb, in the past decade they have systematically destroyed, the ability of for want of a better phrase "working classes" to earn a living wage and no amount of glib "we made mistakes" apologies will put that right. Try we made mistakes and will fix it.

Labour had a mandate to reform and renew the State in 1997, instead the Blair years were concerned with Blair's own "Project World Leader" in which he was happy too be a whipping boy, for the US, at the expense of other people. Since Blair's leaving office it looks like no stone has been left unturned or speaking engagement refused

Instead of providing an incentive for the work shy, welfare scroungers to work, Labour walked away and created an environment, where those who had always worked, suddenly found themselves having wages undercut and being replaced and discriminated against in the workplace by cheap labour allowed in by smug Labour professionals who didn't know or care.

Labour could have made it less comfortable for life's spongers, over the last 13 years but chose not too, now Labour are blaming everyone but themselves, for the harsh economic climate, lies abound from them, Labour could have limited migration but neither cared or knew of damage they were doing, the gulf between poor and rich (which includes the Labour hierarchy) has widened. The biggest lie of course is that we have to accept anyone in the from the enlarged EU, who wishes to come here, not entirely true since most major countries didn't including France and Germany who had transitional quotas.

Labour also often cite the increased spend on health and education failing to point out that any increase has probably only kept pace with the enlarged population, well Millibland will be just the man to perpetuate Labours changed agenda, I have to say the much of Labour has for me become every bit as sleazy and offensive as did Mrs Thatcher's Tory's, still even if you hated her and the sleaze buckets that went with her, at least they never pretended to be anything other than they were, an honesty of sorts, which is why Labour would be better off with Diane Abbot at least she says what she thinks, which makes her the individual that Millibands' are not.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Contempt for public scrutiny topped off with Jibe from Cabinet member

As expected last night, at a public meeting, Thanet Councils Cabinet colluded with council officers and agreed to discuss the passing over of their own democratic powers to an unelected council officer or as the agenda has it "each of East Kent's authorities shall delegate to its Chief Executive".

The main body of the agenda item 11, was concerned with this surrender of control to the chief executive and role of  East Kent Shared Services and should have had a public explanation, sensitive aspects of this item could then have been addressed in private.

It's clear that efficiencies will lead to job losses, detail which refers to actual numbers and specific information to department could and should have been discussed in private although I trust that the council has issued proper notice to those effected, that their jobs are at risk.

Etiquette at council meetings

Council members, should not as part of their preamble to excluding public from the democratic process, have the bad manners to make jibes at members of the public. If for instance, Simon Moores thinks he has some special immunity or privilege he is mistaken. 

Should this occur my advice is to make it loud and clear that such behaviour is unacceptable. It may lack dignity but if some councillors are lacking social graces then tough.

No doubt an unreserved apology is winging its way to me as I type.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Local Democracy is being dismantled behind closed doors

I've often referred to turkeys not voting for Christmas, when suggesting that civil servants, local government officers, might give advice to politicians, which is not in the public interest but their own and if I carry the analogy along further, you could say if councillors represent the farmers in this, then they've become too sentimental over the stock.

However that analogy is flawed to some extent, but certainly inspired by the goings on locally, tomorrow 23/09/10, is the occasional meeting of the cabinet, which basically runs the show with a handful of Tories, no problem there, as I understand all are elected to office, one item of interest deals with tarting up Margate (prior to Turner Gallery opening) referred to as "Countdown to  2011" on the agenda, I prefer my title but the council dib dobs who type the agenda earn a lot more than I.

Still that's not a cause for concern,  item 10 is that frequent used bollix device of local government, exclusion of the public, for some arcane reason which you and I will never understand because it will never be explained item 11, is to be top secret, although the agenda is available.

So what's the big secret, well it involves the creation of East Kent Services, a cooperative arrangement between Thanet, Canterbury and Dover council ostensibly set up to allow the three council make economies by collaborating and jointly running service like housing, ICT (I had to look it up computer and telephones) any how as sensible as it all sounds, one thing it wont be is democratic, powers are to be delegated to Richard Samuel, and the chief exec's of Dover & Canterbury to set up departments who will only refer back to the democratically elected leaders of council if they cannot produce 10% savings in two years, pity the governments looking for 25% and although this is already a done deal they have now amended it to four years and 25%.

Now no doubt someone will correct me but it would appear that much of local governance has been handed over to highly paid "officers" who are not elected and cannot be sacked by the electorate.

As I mentioned earlier, my analogy was wrong, and maybe the turkeys, have made monkeys of our Conservative councillors. Anyway if I can get away from work in time I shall be going along, if I'm late I still expect Richard Samuel Chief Executive to make sure that the doors are open so that I can witness part of the charade that passes for democracy in these parts.

Just as a side issue its a pity none Thanet's hard pressed journalist explain such things, again I suspect that reporters recognise that its council officers in the driving seat, and councillors in the back seat.what democracy1 democracy ruled out2
democracy ruled out3

Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning

macmillan support I get a fair few requests to mention this and that and if  I have the time sometimes I will, however usually these are things that are of interest or importance to my myself,  I've probably left this a little late to mention and nobody's asked me, but its important to me, every year Macmillan cancer support hold their "Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning" it's this Friday the 24th September.

It was a Macmillan nurse who had the time and skill to explain the severity of my eldest sister's illness, herself a nurse/midwife, simple enough I suppose but not something her doctor could manage, anyway this knowledge allowed my sister, to make the most of her last week.  Without that intervention, my sister might not have had the chance to spend  a final few hours with family.

Macmillan, campaigns, helps and advises those effected by cancer, obviously cancer treatment has improved considerably over the last few years, but people will always need help from organisations like Macmillan, so this Friday you can help them to help you or someone you know.

Macmillan have a link on their website to local coffee mornings, which are open to the public like M&S Cafes click here for those in Margate, you can use the same page to search your own town. Its some years, now since my sister past on, but I think of her most days and once in a while I thank Macmillan for giving me and her family the chance to be together briefly.

Still if you can't get to one of these mornings you can always donate click here.
Macmillan coffee mornings

Monday, September 20, 2010

The local press – another example of cover up or just indifference

Back in August, I reported on how the Thanet Times and had taken the trouble to air brush parts of the female anatomy in a photo which accompanied their report on naked fundraisers riding a roller coaster for charity, obviously the editor assumes readers of the Thanet Times are delicate souls who eschew 21st century morality. 

I was surprised that Thanet councils procedure or management, resulting in exclusion of the public (
see earlier mention), from a public meeting, went almost unreported apart from a jokey item in the Gazette's "Smudger" section (last Friday), which even had a seemingly sycophantic, comment, concurring that the lone security guard was right to lock doors to the council offices. Still that's a value judgement I suppose but I just wonder whether local hacks and editors temper their reporting so as not to offend council officers. 

Anyhow it just seems a pity, a local newspaper wouldn't consider the public being excluded from the democratic process, newsworthy in a straight sort of way, rather than buried in its gossip column. 

In fairness Gazette journo Plain Jane was astonished about some letter last week, sent from the council demanding a penny from a local resident and some coverage had been given, well I'm mildly despairing of the media, not reporting on local democracy, I post about such matters, which, most likely makes me a bit of crank, still you read it, and I think some crackpot in Ramsgate. Thanks!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pleading Time! - Police cuts is there another way

Cuts proposed by the government have resulted in much criticism, one area being policing I just wonder if there is another way, recently police officers senior and junior have gone to the media griping about the governments proposed cuts and I just wonder if there is another way.

One employee rep pointed out that its the case that something like 80% of the police budget goes on wages, therefore meaning efficiency savings elsewhere would be of minimal effect.  The conclusion therefore has to be wide scale cuts in staff, resulting in much more crime, civil disturbance and the end of civilisation as we know it.

Without a doubt many police officers, are by the very nature of their work at considerable risk, unlike most of us, as an example, chatting to a British Transport police officer, working on the railway, telling me criminals had in the past attempted to throw him onto the conductor rail (750volts (always live) not a pleasant end ), so I would suggest that earnings and benefits are rightly above average, however currently we are experiencing a unique economic crisis.

Now even accepting that police officers (those actually out doing the work) are worthy of the money they currently get, the fact is that, we are told, the publics money has been spent (note left by retiring by shameless Labour minister), so why isn't anyone suggesting police take a pay cut, or for that matter the whole public sector.

Every day some Labour politician or public sector spokesperson is bleating about cuts, to jobs and true to type I've not one heard one make the suggestion that they've been doing alright for the last few years (according to recent reports about £7,000 per year better than the private sector) all of this crowd are talking about civil unrest, social cohesion and all that malarkey, so how about the public sector  take a pay cut around 15-25% they'd have to adjust maybe drop expensive holidays, chose value products rather than finest, in a few months I'm sure they'd adjust and since even now public sector jobs are almost bomb proof what could they complain about.

Out in the commercial world such cuts are not unfamiliar, and have been occurring for some years now in construction and agriculture, since Labour accepted and actively encouraged the principle of importing cheap labour, to be ruthlessly exploited undercutting British workers and social institutions like education and health.

Nobody is forced to join the police service or indeed any other service, so surely pay could be adjusted to balance the books, millions in the private sector have had no choice in pay cuts, except of course, changing jobs however that is pretty limited although most papers are still have plenty of public sector non- jobs.

Currently this country is divided, on one side you have people who work in the market place and get on with what's on offer, and then you have what the government refer to as the special pleaders! which as well as the police includes public sector workers and workshy scroungers, its about pleading time, the later shared the wealth!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I didn't mention Heritage day does this make me anti-Semitic?

An odd question I know, having read Michael Child, of Thanet Online blog, waffling on about the council recently, not mentioning synagogues being open in Ramsgate, in a press release referring to Margate, in fact, a cursory glance of his blog and it looks like quite a campaign.

I've not had much time or inclination to blog this week, but I have to say Michael's claims are extraordinary, not having mentioned last weekend's Heritage day, I'm not sure what I might be guilty of can you be anti history, culture?

In my defence, I have mentioned such events and taken the trouble to visit some of those places mentioned when the opportunity has been available including the Montefiore synagogue where I bumped in to Michael.

Easy as it is to accuse Thanet Council of incompetence, inefficiency et cetera, I don't think you can accuse TDC of anti-Semitism, and frankly its a much overused insult and almost meaningless, having been overused by the Israeli state, to slur critics of its continued United Nations & human rights violations.

Still to save accusations of anti-Catholicism or being anti-royalist I will just mention two heads of state will be meeting this week the Queen and the Pope, I would however point out that neither of the these two have been elected to office by a proper popular democratic process.
Just a quick mention on the Margate's Tudor House, great as it was to see it open to the public, its a pity, that the council don't have it open more often.

PS I'm happy to confirm I'm anti the flipping lot of religions, as I see it they're all about controlling, what you do and what you think. My advice is never trust any man in a dress.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Council open doors policy – situation resolved

Following on from recent reports here on Bignews Margate, concerning access and egress to council offices, I've been asked to convey news that the council, have acted swiftly to ensure that public will not be inconvenienced in the future.

Richard Samuel, Chief Executive of Thanet District, issued this statement "I would like to apologise to those members of the public who were unable to access the council chamber for the start of the Extraordinary Scrutiny meeting on Wednesday (8 September). This was totally unacceptable.

Being able to access any public meeting is clearly an important part of ensuring that the council is open and accountable to any member of the public, and this was an unfortunate error on the council's behalf. I'd like to assure those people who were not able to access the building initially, and indeed the wider public, that the security procedure has been reviewed as a matter of urgency to ensure that this situation does not happen again.

According to Mr Samuel Prior to the start of the meeting, the Security Guard on duty was alerted to an incident of anti-social behaviour at the Post Office Yard, so the doors of the office building were locked while he went to investigate the claim.

Its pleasing to see this issue treated seriously and resolved, thanks.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Locked Doors at Thanet Council offices the risks

Health and Safety briefings aren't they just such an irritating feature of modern life, you know you go to a meeting, training session, whatever there's a fair chance someone will point out, how to leave the building in the event the fire alarms sounds, it's just possible it could be the most the important thing you ever listen to or indeed ignore at any public gathering.

I mention the above because last night it was clear to me that if Thanet Council, cannot even manage to open a door at the start of a public meeting what else are they capable of. 

Well this evening I called Richard Samuel's office (he is the Chief Executive of Thanet Council)  to enquire if he'd, had chance to read the email I sent earlier today concerning last nights fiasco where the main door to the councils offices were locked and abandoned.

Last night as far as I'm concerned was not the first time, the main door of the council officers had been deserted, previously as I mentioned in the comments section I was unable to leave the building for about five minutes because TDC cannot even sort out basic housekeeping, on that occasion a member of staff had opened the door with a swipe card.

Rather tiresome although not entirely unexpected Cllr Simon Moore has slipped in to,(in my opinion)  what I can only describe a gung ho, boy scout mode, offering various explanations, this to start with "From what I understand the automatic doors at the front of the council building jammed. They were still apparently stuck and waiting for maintenance this morning at 08:30" me "utter nonsense" then tonight "Apparently their was an incident at the post office And the security guard attended, locking the door Of the council building behind him, which Of course prevented people attending Scrutiny until he returned.

I'll just challenge that last comment, the security guard told me that he had to go to another building to lock it after staff had left (no mention of an incident), presumably this building must have an "incident" every evening as staff leave.

Now I originally flagged up, that by locking doors to the council building, TDC prevented members of the public from taking part in democracy, which is serious but how much more serious would it be, if a fire was to occur and no one could get out of the building because the security guard had toddled off to an incident, locking up a vacant nearby building "because we cannot give out access codes to the staff", well leaving an occupied building with no exit would certainly be an incident in the event of a fire, in fact it would be a bloody disaster.

I'm not sure whether those attending the meeting were briefed on how to exit the building since I missed the start, although I was on time.  Anyhow I just wonder whether someone at Kent Fire Brigade might view such arrangements as adequate.

Today I sent this email since, to Richard Samuel so that he can take proper corporate responsibility for such shortcomings, so often bosses get left out of the loop. 

Tony Flaig <>

to"" <>

cc"" <>

date 9 September 2010 11:16

subjectRegarding access to the council offices


Dear Richard Samuel
I am writing to express concern that access was not readily available to the council offices last night despite the fact that a public meeting was in progress.
There are two areas of concern one is interrupting the democratic process and the other one is a health and safety issue.

Firstly after arriving at just before seven o'clock I found that the doors to the council offices were closed with nobody in attendance, effectively preventing members of the public from attending a public meeting for the first 15 minutes.

Secondly there is a health and safety issue to consider without someone in attendance at your entrance doors they remain blocked even when you try to exit the building which in the event of a fire would of course be disastrous.

I would appreciate it if you could write back to me at your earliest convenience to confirm that in future when you have members of the public or open meetings in the council offices that the doors are either left open or attended at all times.

Although I spoke to Brian White last night I believe it of sufficiently importance that you yourself  deal with this matter urgently.
Regards Tony Flaig

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Thanet Council exclude public from Public Scrutiny Meeting

Tonight despite, a high profile meeting to scrutinise the decision to give away the green in Dalby Square, access was blocked to this meeting (locked doors),by what  i don't know I can take a guess and come  up with these suggestions incompetence, negligence or a deliberate attempt to prevent public scrutiny,at the time of writing I'm sat in the council chamber having been let in by a cleaner who is not sure whether he's allowed to.

As I look around I'm making the quick calculation of just how much the council officers seated in some comfort are earning per year and it's my guestimate that we are looking at a figure of something around the quarter million mark, So as you can imagine am incandescent with rage, well at least a bit miffed that senior officers on  good salaries have seemly cocked up.

Two questions need asking why were members  of the public exuded, I've asked (possibly none to politely) Brian White the most senior officer present apologise, not because its ruffled my feathers but because the public should not have been denied access.

Perhaps more seriously, leaving a meeting previously, it proved impossible to leave the building till an officer also bored witless by the procedure allowed me out with her staff access card.

Anyhow a more considered account may follow, Chris Woodman of the Thanet Gazette was similarly excluded and will hopefully report in a more professional way, you know, not my more err  excitable manner.

I will tidy this posting up tomorrow evening probably the video above is me angry outside the locked door not sure why its the wrong way round but that is why we have professional news purveyors 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Thanet Council Giveaway – under scrutiny and under siege

Just a quick one, we've all seen various local politicians posture re. plans to build affordable housing, the Tories have taken the high moral ground on this issue offering to support the development of the derelict Warren Court Hotel, currently a blooming eyesore and I suspect a health hazard to surrounding residents, and Clive Hart's "Local Labour" have decided that they are against affordable housing, favouring a few blades of grass rather than families in need of homes.

Anyhow one issue which needs addressing is the gifting of the "green" by the council, the councils scrutiny committee have called it in for an examination(Wed 8th Sep), as to why Thanet council are to give away land for nothing, admittedly it will go to a housing association which I believe has charitable status.

However some of us believe charity begins at home, so this committee is going be asking questions. As I recall Thanet Council previously gave away a large chunk of sea front land to a Conservative Kent Council, in connection with the Turner Contemporary who its worth noting, managed to select a project for the gallery, which failed big time and has cost several millions to the local economy and will probably be about four years late in opening.

Rumour has it that Labour activist will be organising a protest prior to the meeting, at the councils offices, anyhow if you have an interest, the meetings at 7:00pm, in Council Chamber, God knows we pay a small fortune, those who "manage" our council (officers),  any how the meeting as far as I know is in public unless the politicians decide to exclude the public.

For those of you who have never attended a meeting at the council, its fairly simple, I'm going from memory, just go in the main door of the council offices, walk past the security bod or ask for them for assistance, then to the lift, I think you want the third floor, anyway its the top floor, when the lift opens, walk forward and follow the corridor off to the left, until you reach the end,  as you enter the council chamber you will notice in front of you no expense has been spared on comfort, just inside to the left you might find a copy of the agenda and whatnot. Now before you get above yourself, look over your right shoulder, you will see the public gallery, if the meeting, is well attended, note, the less than generous proportions, if not you will be able to marvel at cramped seating, reminiscent of the fleapit cinemas of the past but not as grubby, well not quite, although not far off, once seated you'll appreciate, the ergonomic design, as you settle down it will immediately become apparent that these seats are designed to be uncomfortable from the first minute to last.

The simple fact is the public are a blooming nuisance, particularly to council officers and politicians, admittedly your councillor is undoubtedly there because he or she has a sort of passion for well, something, politics, policy, community or the sound of their own voice, but officers its their job career, ambition and meal ticket and the last thing many of them want is Joe public taking an interest.

My advice to you, members of the public that is go, take an interest and remember your paying for the charade that purports to be democracy. Scrutinise! make the blighters uncomfortable and insist on proper management of assets and putting people first not bloody blades of grass!

What the - a lunch time distraction

Crikey, what the hell's that? One of the benefits of working outside, is the occasional interesting encounters with nature although I'm not to sure about this lunchtimes rare meeting, what I'm told is it's an Australian orb web wasp spider.

A little more information than I need, since I generally scream like a girl and have to call Mrs Me to deal with wasps or spiders.

Still don't have nightmares as the photo was taken north of the river, in Essex, however they are becoming more common I'm told.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Death of an individual, accentuates the Clones

My impression of Tony Blair's grisly promotion of his auto biography, is somewhat blighted by his assertion that he couldn't foresee the Iraq blood bath the he and president Bush enabled by a halfassed military campaign that whilst it removed an evil bastard like Saddam Hussein hurrah! was swiftly follow by a predictable collapse of law and order resulting in the death of many thousands and American businesses accessing billions of unaccounted for re-construction dollars.

Still since all that's a million miles away from us in these parts, we'll put that to the back of our minds, perhaps what really sums up Blair, if I was paying attention was Blair's suggestion that modern politics is about project management rather than Ideology's, meaning the core values and principles that politicians and political parties used to feel passionate about.

Naturally the thought occurred that if you look at any leaders Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, or even the wannabees like the Milliband boys, what a bland uninspiring and mediocre bunch they all are, coming back briefly to Blair, clearly Gordon Brown caused him immense grief in office, and yet rather boringly he still considers him a friend, and Gordon Brown to this point has failed to respond, conflict without emotion.

Political parties have become drab boring organisations populated with leaders or future leaders competing to be as inoffensive nondescript as is possible carefully modifying their views to fit the latest available market research, what a future.

Of course this isn't new, but politics should be about the individual, even if ambitious politicians like to convince us that the are just like you and I, well of course they are not, but just occasionally an individual politician does come along and often they'll prove it by saying stuff which doesn't fit comfortably with the mainstream,  so how upsetting, last weeks news that Sir Cyril Smith had died, a politician, who seemed unafraid to express blunt honest opinions, irrespective of mainstream opinion, which had the effect of making him immensely popular with normal people, an example to legions of dull mediocre cloned politicians of all parties.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

DALBY SQUARE THE FACTS – Tory Council throws away your money and Labour say stuff the homeless

Sorry that's just an attention seeking title, but in reality I'm writing this without letting too many facts cloud the issue, Labour councillors have invested a lot of effort in tarting up Dalby Square, which has become a diverse neighbourhood and home for people from across Europe seeking a better life.

However despite the efforts of Labour activist, who I'd say have been prime movers in improving the area, one area in need of sorting out has been the Warren Court Hotel site which is currently I guess only occupied by rodents on self catering holidays.

Moving on, Town and Country Housing Group a housing association, are planning to throw up some "social housing" on the site and Thanet Council have decided to bung gratis, free, a large chunk of land, which currently is a flat green space, offering something better than social housing, an area, in the right proportion for a game of football, still given the proximity of a play area in the square, the more ornate park type bit, a superb children's playground and not least miles of cliff top, beach et cetera local Tories see this as a bit of a luxury, which of course it is.

There is clearly a valid case for keeping the "green", but on the other hand local Tories apparently see social housing as a priority which I guess is why they've decide to gift the "green" which even in today's climate must be worth many thousands of pounds. My own opinion is that Thanet council ought to sell the green as an asset still I get the impression that rather than address the chronic over staffing and inefficiency at the council, "officers" like turkeys prefer asset sales rather than Christmas dinners and compliant Tories go along with the advice.

As far as I can tell, a large section of Thanet's spiv developers, have been building "luxury apartments" which in reality are pokey low cost spaces,  tomorrows slums today, that I understand, usually end up, in the buy to rent market or taken up by housing associations so what the hell, why doesn't the council at least get something out of the deal?

If TDC had a granny to sell they would, so can someone tell me why they're not maximising on the green, it seems that this could be sold to any one of the carpet bagging, down from London types, or our own local developers, who would build the usual "luxury" flats.

Still the irony of the situation which seems upside down, was pointed out to me just before I reached the final stretch here (although I was getting there), and it is this, a Conservative administration is trying to increase affordable social housing and the Labour group have somehow manoeuvred themselves into a position where they're opposed housing, Labour ought to accept the need for housing and Tories ought to accept that the "green" is an asset that shouldn't be gifted.

LATE BREAKING NEWS  Its clear that the political temperature is on increase as we drift into autumn Clive Hart's Labour group has got itself in poor position on Dalby Square so tonight, Clive has diverted his energy elsewhere sending out an email addressing some side show a bit of alleged mud slinging which of coarse is always more important than the small issues like affordable homes for those in need, its a bit like Tony Bliars performance this week, no hint of concern for what matters, to us the people.

Although the email is in the public domain, published on Mark Nottingham's weblog tonight, I' think I'll hang fire on reproducing it here since it seems little more than mud raking, if Clive Hart, is he trying to suggest he and his colleagues have never made jibes of a similar nature, come off it Clive.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Councillor resigns from Tory group

The "this is Kent" website is reporting that councillor Ewen Cameron has stood down from the conservative group and will now act as an independent on Thanet council, this follows on apparently, after a second charge of drink driving.

Simon Moore is quoted in the article and praises Mr Cameron's contribution to the council however he makes the point that these charges are serious and  incompatible with membership of the conservative group a tough and uncompromising position.

There is no doubt that drink-driving is indeed a serious matter as of course are other things such as speeding to which I believe that Simon has had a slightly more tolerant view in the past.

However as bad as drink-driving is I don't see quite how this would be viewed as incompatible with membership of the Tory party, particularly given his past sympathy for speeding motorists and even challenging safety cameras operators doing their job, detailed in this post of his blog back in 2007.

I think it rather hasty for Simon to condemn a colleague, before these cases have reached court and Cllr Cameron and has had a chance to explain the circumstances around these cases.

Simon Moore (2007)"I had a sharp exchange of words today with the civilian contractor inside the “Kent Road Safety Partnership” van."

Simon Moore Challenging  Safety Camera Bod "This has nothing to do with law-enforcement, face it you’re just a tax collector and you’re criminalising people for no reasonable purpose. Are you telling me you’ve never exceeded the speed limit?"

Well but for the grace of god.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Isle of Thanet Blogging just where did it all go wrong

Michael Child laments the decline in blogging locally in a recent posting on his weblog, its true that blogging is not what it once used to be, I've been posting for 4 years, when I started it was fairly novel, in these parts and is possible still unique in the concentration of bloggers on the Isle of Thanet.

Its clear there are far fewer postings and some of the best contributors are no longer posting, also he points out that blogs were a good source of news in the past,I agree with him that little fresh news is reported on our local blog sites for myself I've never really attempted to produce fresh news but maybe had a different outlook from my own cynical viewpoint .

It seems to me that the main reason that people don't post as much as they did in the past is, a change in the atmosphere, Michael mentioned back scratching, which has, I'm afraid morphed in to scratching each others eyes out. Michael's monthly assessment of the local blogging scene is always of interest to me and I suspect all other bloggers in Thanet. In fact I wonder whether he shouldn't change the title for this monthly report and remove the pinch and a punch reference as I'm not sure that, that reference isn't an incitement.

The political backdrop has changed and Tory councillors in agreement with senior council officers realising they were getting a bad press, did what they could to stem the flow of information from Labour councillors by creating a pointless and expensive blogging charter, so as not offend council bosses who have an aversion to the public gaze, particularly when in concerns their frequently inept and damaging actions or inactions.

On more than one occasion local councillors have resorted to law, mainly I understand at your expense through the crazy council standards board system, set up by a cretinous Labour government, which I think is being scrapped by the coalition, myself I have not been immune from the odd fracas, I take exception to personal abuse, none more so, than when a fellow blogger wants me, to ask "nicely" to remove utter sh!t from their blog, another instance of irritation for me is our local  "media fantasist" carries this description of Bignews Margate n. a fatuous blog that pays lip service to 'freedom of speech' but shits its britches at the first sign of trouble. which is good coming from someone who I recall on my first meeting, wore dark sunglasses and a hat, in the style of z list celebs and I note that at the first sign of trouble ECR makes his blog site unavailable.

Anyhow there was a sense of common purpose amongst a group of ageing opinionated bloggers and probably still is, however the worlds moved on, and unfortunately life for the bloggerati, is not what once was, now its often personal, and some prefer abuse to discussion using a pseudonym, then to campaign for free speech from behind the sofa as ECR does, maybe the author will man up one day and use his own name, of course there is nothing wrong with being anonymous however if its just a device to take liberties...

I only mention ECR as abusive comments placed on his site remain an irritation, probably the main reason I don't blog much these days, for others its the threat of legal proceedings. So anyhow blogging is not just about finding a subject, its competitive, some of us are honest and know our limitations, my ambition is to one day to post a blog that is concise and that gets a point across grammatically and without offending anyone

Still regrettable as some blogging relationships go, maybe, its healthy not to get too matey, coming back to Michael's monthly pondering on Thanet Blogs here's my own Chart list created by visiting Wikio as you can see, this seems as erratic (bollix) surely ECR ought to be at the top of the heap, and how the hell does Simon Moore**** bag first place still how come Michael gets second with his own largely original content but third with recycled press releases from the council and how far has Labour boy Mark Nottingham slipped. I should point out that my ranking was unavailable till last month I don't hold much reliance in such things although the brief time I had a google page rank of 4 was a real ego boast. The most important thing is if you don't like a blog move on, find one that suits.

Thanet life 2150 (General ranking)  275 (political ranking) Therfore No1 for politics

NO.1 Thanetonline 596

NO.2 Thanet press releases 675

NO.3 Eastcliff Richard 789
-  also runs -
Bignews Margate 1143

From one end of Kent 1776

Thanet Star 2263

Thanet Coast Life 2776
****** OPPS! Sorry! there might well be some errors in these numbers above **** In general ranking Michael Child is the winner in first & Second place ECR beaten into third place by regurgitated press releases from Thanet district Council (Well done Cherly Pendry and colleagues) Still Simon Moores is number one as far as political influence, I quickly compiled these in about 2minutes, apologies for those not mentioned it was just a quick compilation!