Friday, October 29, 2010

Labour Say No in U turn on Manston - a hasty betrayal of Hope, Aspiration and Jobs

No surprise to me that Clive Hart's Leadership results in another let down for working people of Thanet according to Cllr David Green Labour have said NO to Manston Airport.hartattack
Perhaps in a rushed and craven attempt to gain favour with the environmental niche of the electorate, Thanet Labour has once again gone for a narrow appeal to local Nimbies recently local Labour activists, attacked the provision of Social Housing preferring to maintain a few square metres of deserted grass and a derelict Hotel.

Now despite Labour councillors being in favour of allowing night flights,last time this was discussed, click here with the exception of  Labour's Greens, David and Elizabeth, master tactician, Clive Hart looks to have lead his party in another cul-de-sac.

You would have thought anyone with a bit of savvy and a respect for those they represent would consult first and then decide however in this case Thanet Labour have chosen to follow the lead of Labour at national level and ignore the electorate.

I understand the Labour party feel more negotiation needs to take place as far as any extension to flying hours is concerned and are aware of a backlash, still that said it seems stupid, for Labour to effectively have walked away from the debate.

As far as I know the public consultation period has not even begun so for many of us, myself included have yet to hear the pros and cons of this very important issue tested.Mike Harrison
Presumably Cllr Mike Harrison who current acts as chairman to the councils Airport Working Party will now resign from that committee or of course resign from the Labour group, as one would expect of Peter Campbell and Richard Nicholson.

Thanet Labour party's decision is a kick in the teeth for working people, business and anyone with any aspiration for themselves or the local area.

Those who I know in Ramsgate (other than cranks and Labour councillors) are either unaware of any nuisance or accept that their might be a slight bit of bother no worse than a lorry going past and not as irritating local drunks going home.

Its worth reminding ourselves that Labour nationally have put large numbers of working people on the scrapheap in recent times and done nothing help, so its business as usual for Labour, Thanks for nothing Clive!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Through the door - elections start early for labour

And God knows they need to, any how clattering through the letterbox of Flaig mansions, disturbing my afternoon nap, comes an edition of Dane Valley Ward Matters, a piece of propaganda published by Clive Hart's local Labour party although its no surprise given the current state of labour party that the logo is hidden well inside the pamphlet.

Reading it, it appears as they've have done nothing in the last year, for the people of the Dane Valley, or indeed Thanet, not surprisingly Clive Hart on page 3 of this leaflet, does not mention his rather disconcerting effort to attack and stop, the provision of social housing for working people, so much for Labour's honesty and care of us lower orders.

Still the good news is that Cllr Sandra Hart will be joined in her next political fight for the Dane Valley ward by two newcomers and it would be hoped that would enable her to actually respond to e-mails from constituents like mine, see last post, anyhow fortunately local elections are not till May next year and who knows in that time even Thanet Labour, might have developed a social conscience.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dangerous Demolition Site Sorted ? and other stuff?

abouttime Following on from my recent mention of the demolition site in Northdown Road, apparently left abandoned by the site owner, when I past by midday this was being boarded up, about blimin time!  As you can see from the picture below this site was previously left in a potentially dangerous state.
I was told last week, that the owners of the site, had not been helpful in making the site secure, putting Thanet council in the awkward position of sorting the mess out, presumably using council funds, to sort out.
Anyhow just as an experiment of sorts, I thought I'd conduct a consumer test on my local council representatives, sending them a link to my earlier posting on the matter, Labour Cllr S Hart, Conservative Cllr M Jarvis, Independent Cllr  T Watt-Ruffell, of the three, so far only Michael Jarvis responded, despite Labour selling Cllr S Hart as Dane Valley's wonder councillor, and Ted Watt Ruffell has never responded to emails.
demcracyinactionornot Just a quick mention on Manston, it seems to me that, the issue of a few flights at night has become a magnet for cranks from across East Kent, Herne Bay seems one hotspot, I note one blogger is even suggesting that I'm a bigot, tut tut, I'm not quite sure that anyone could possibly hear planes from Manston, finally, my last post was a reaction to the Gazettes trawling up a comment, out of context, although its fair to say that having pointed in the past to some of the dubious adult advertising carried in both the Gazette and Thanet Times its unlikely that those employed by Kent Regional News (Northcliff Media) are likely to be to kind.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gazette gets it wrong once again

I just wonder how objective the journo's are over at The isle of Thanet Gazette, taking a gander over breakfast and after a nights grafting , just prior to getting a bit of kip I see that editor Rebecca Smith has let through what I think is a misleading account of my blog in their "best of the Blog's".

I just hope Becca is not allowing her own opinions to colour her newspapers content.

Anyhow perhaps I should do a review of the best of the press,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Economy - How did we get here

Well I'm not entirely sure how things got so bad, although I cannot help feel that Labour politicians were so far up their own manifesto, that they didn't notice the growing burden of the welfare state and all those superfluous jobs, an economic disaster waiting to happen.

Still glancing through the papers over the weekend, one indication of altruistic nature of  Labour politicians,  was to be found in the Mail, reporting on how Peter Mandelson, selflessly made himself available for a documentary film, to be shown on BBC next month.

If you'd like to read the uplifting story, click here for the Mail's Story.politicianonthewall

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Its my Birthday and I'll rant if I want to

Its my birthday so I shall not be giving one of my usual well considered analytical posts.

As it is my birthday I shall ponder over some of those matters that such a milestone prompts.

And to do it I will be using my iPhone and the Dragon voice dictation program which of all applications available is perhaps the best.

As birthdays go I've certainly had more ideal however then some will have been a lot worse, this year for instance my birthday started whilst I was out on track in the rain but at least I have some work which is better than a lot of people .

This year looks set to be tough and no doubt by the end of the day we'll get tougher as the government announce the harsh measures to rectify what they see it as a labour's incredible incompetence and poor management of the British economy .

One thought might have on the current circumstances is how the Labour party have reacted watching Alan Johnson last night being interviewed about what labour would do his reaction as shadow chancellor left a lot to be desired as his solution seems rather simplistic he seemed to be saying that the solution was to tax the banks , which of course sounds popular but then he didn't have any other suggestions on taxation and how to raise money to sort out the country's debt I am surprised that he didn't suggest doubling child benefit and reinstating the benefits to his rich pals on 50,000+and may be throwing in a £50 voucher from Marks & Spencer once a month.

If I could have a supreme birthday wish I think that it would be that the government handled the deficit differently I'm surprised that nobody has suggested that people in the public sector take pay cut for instance myself, I've probably lost 20-30% of my income in the last three years so why couldn't we see cuts of 5 to 30% across the pay scales in the public sector . This would have the effect of people maintaining their jobs, services remaining without the appalling social chaos that Mrs Thatcher caused in the 1980s, still such a thing would require unions to represent members, not the Labour party and Labour politicians, not to be so criminally irresponsible as they clearly have been.

A final rant before I go concerns the news that West Kent schools will be allowed to continue their policy which results in children in Kent not getting the education that we pay for basically as I see it three of the county schools run a selection system which results in cherry picking children from across the south-east so that they can have fantastic league table results of course this is great for the individual schools but leaves Kent children without a proper education despite the fact that the citizens of Kent are paying taxes to fund that these schools although I personally don't believe that grammar schools are the right system of education I do believe that as we paid for it should get the best of what is available and not some kids from other local authorities..

Before I go although I seem a miserable old git, I have to say that last year's birthday topped any birthday I might have, hearing for the first time that I was about to become a grandfather, anyway I appear to have a card marked grandad which I will assume has come from my beautiful grand daughter and really it doesn't get any better than that, brilliant.

Finally this has been dictated using speech recognition software and will contain the usual errors + which I know I have a dedicated readership of wannabe teachers who do like to mark my grammar well knock your selves out

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is this how to leave a demolition site?

Minding my own business, cycling down Northdown Road, I noticed a big gap, which previously had been boarded up, as some of you will recall, from the big fire, back in May 2009.

Closer inspection shows, what I feel most, would agree, a poor attempt to fence the site off, having rung the council, I understand that they are on the case as it were, but I understand that the owners of the site, are a bit reluctant to secure the site issue
I feel that given the ease, with which you could push aside the fencing (not that it appears secure), there is a real danger of a child, teenager or passing drunk could find themselves falling 3 metres or more.

It looks to me as if the owners, are not taking reasonable steps to secure the site. I appreciate that the council are chasing up the owner to get them take responsibility.

Still if you own the site, please feel free to explain the methodology of having a few plastic barriers as a means of securing the site.

I shall email my local representatives and get them on the case.

Not what you expect

Its easy to look at people and make assumptions, I'm sure in my work cloths (or out of them) I look a complete F-wit, despite being the much appreciated author of this here blog, who is in no way delusional, or the subject of criticism from competitors, well at least I'm not reading it!

Its not just our perception of people, that follows a cliché, our views on less tangible matters, particularly religion, follow on from our cultural background rather logic or rational thought.
One of my co-workers from a job a while back, Anil Bali, a machine driver, has contacted me with good news, that he has now published his first book," Gods Mail To Mankind", which I assume expands on some of the theological discussions had on site,  it would be an easy mistake, to think that all trackmen (rail workers) have to talk about is the next job, football, drinking, women and "going up the cafe break time".

Anyway making assumptions about religion, are wrong as is the view, that God is somehow exclusive, to particular groups, myself I find the idea of a God, sort of possible but remain largely unconvinced, particularly, I have to say when I see men, generally in long dresses like priest etc.espousing  the idea that women are generally second class citizens, try telling that to Mrs Me. in fact try telling me that when you aren't wearing a frock.

Incidentally the congregation of one Folkestone, church, are deserting the Church of England for that of Rome because they put discriminating against women as more important than worshiping god. Click here

Still as is the case with most things I post on, I haven't given much thought to the subject but I know Bali has and hopefully he might change the world, so if that sort of thing appeals click here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Local Democracy Week - Shame on local Editors- Council webcasts and Simon Moores

Believe it or not this post has been kicking around on my laptop, drifting around my brain and even resting in some safe depository in cyberspace for a week or so, each time I attempt to finish, I add and chop bits and pieces, anyhow this it the finished item, I see its Local Democracy week mentioned in Gazette, cheers for that snippet and a bit of poking around reveals this is an initiative from the Council of Europe in Strasburg and I'm thinking what democracy the more I observe the more I see a sham.

What sounds like good news for openness and democracy was the recent decision by Thanet Council to extend their webcast experiment to broadcast meetings, which is of course wonderful but a significant event has gone pretty much unreported by The Gazette, Thanet Extra, and Yourwotsit whose editors ought to report on major policy items within the council.

Recently you'll recall or not (if you only read the local papers)  how Thanet Council decided to exclude members of the public from a discussion which concerned the decision to transfer power to Richard Samuel the councils unelected chief executive, a spurious argument was put up that the discussion involved details of job losses likely to result from the formation East Kent Joint services ( 3 councils, combining pay, housing, ITC departments), clearly if you work for any of the councils involved Thanet, Canterbury or Dover you'd be well aware of likely outcome.

Handing over power to the chief executives, of three local councils (assuming councillors in Canterbury and Dover are as weak) is an astonishing betrayal of democracy and has been without public debate not least because the press can't be bothered and this is only my opinion because Conservative leader Bob Bayford is perhaps too embarrassed to explain to the public and Clive Hart, Labour too inept to seize on an issue of democratic accountability, preferring to argue against affordable housing still that's New Local Ed's Labour (the same as the others but deeper in denial).

I'm not sure what there is to observe now that the democratic leader of the council, will find Richard Samuel referring to him if he "is not satisfied" with occurrences with East Kent Joint services, rather than the other way round, a case of the tail wagging the dog, if you ask me.

Admittedly there is more to the local council meetings, than decision making, who can resist the wit and wisdom of councillors like Simon Moores, who dropping into, as I see it, familiar school boy mode, thought to include me ("my old friend"?)  by making a negative joke at my expense, suggesting as he proposed the  rather serious motion to exclude the public, that I "was trying or making himself invisible in the background". 

For someone who argued that Thanet council ought to have a blogging policy/charter for councillors, he ought to consider a TDC charter for councillors to act in a more mature manner, I suppose I could report him to the standards committee, if its not already been abolished, but its my contention if a councillor wants to behave like an idiot and be discourteous, it's a personal choice to be rectified at the ballot box.

Maybe Cllr Bayford could have a word, its no surprise to me that Simon Moores didn't think it necessary to apologise, or his superficial inclusion of me as a friend, being polite and friendly does not constitute friendship.

Finally its some measure how tenuous democracy is in these parts, as far as I can tell the shift from local democracy to East Kent Joint Services controlled by unelected council officers has yet to be reported by either BBC radio Kent, Kent on Sunday, Kent Messenger, and Northcliffe Media Thanet Times/Gazette shame on editors.

Still without a doubt someone will no doubt tell me I've got it wrong, I hope I have, but as there has been no public debate, what would I know.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apprentice predictable but enjoyable

I've never been a fan of reality TV, most of that genre is built on the back of either sad cranks in the "big brother" type or talentless no hopers as in the "Britain's got talent" sort. Sadly TV execs know that if you set up delusional singers or balmy characters to be humiliated then the great British public will tune in their millions.

Still the apprentice, is different, well maybe not, as with the mainstream talent shows the contestants view themselves, as the perfect candidate, for the win, however generally those taking part. are soon exposed in more depth, than any other show.

Early on its often clear those who wont make it, and none more so than last weeks episode, as the loser Dan Harris was moving to bang his hand on the table to emphasise his willingness to be a team leader, Mrs Me piped up with "He's going, home!" being a bit slower I had just thought that exact phrase.

I've not really got into this series yet but presumably by the end of tonight's second episode, I will once again be hooked, if nothing else Lord Sugar's dissection at the end of the programme is always a treat.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grim picture as Margate's dependency is highlighted

Yesterday The Sun made a big issue of the countries hotspots of welfare dependency, a grim league table with Margate rolling in at Number 7, obviously I'm not placed to comment with any authority as my Labour buddies will be only to happy to remind you.

With no wish to be kind to either Labour or Tories I'll give you my highly inaccurate thoughts and background, firstly the "welfare state" as a concept first explained to me, when I was a kid,  was set up as a safety net for those who through no fault lost their jobs or were incapable and in need of help along with a health service, social services and education for all.

That was the ideal sold in the 60's and 70's, since then both the Tories and Labour have succeeded in twisting purpose, for their own ideological reasons, Mrs Thatcher's regime succeeded, when it set out to destroy manufacturing, along with mining industry and with no regard to society, happy to discard whole communities.  Part of the price for destroying industry, was feeding just enough money, to those set aside to keep them inline, so the welfare system was re-engineered so that money was diverted to sick benefits rather than unemployment benefits, the safety net idea started to disappeared whereby benefits had been a temporary measure for those in need between jobs for example. The damage done by Thatcher was of such scale that many communities have never recovered.

Labour came back to power in 1997, they had a mandate, they had good will, they seemed to have, a commonsense approach, they would reform, well bollix!  One of the first measures was to take the brakes off the banks and with in the first two weeks Labour took away perhaps the most important of universal benefits that of a right to a free education,  David Blunkett couldn't sign up to quick enough to the abolition of free university education, which is why kids with talent could well face milestones around their necks of a hundred grand, well done Labour!. In fact Labours recent time in office was characterised by MP's filling their boots at your expense, reforms were the last thing on their minds and that of their leaders, remember they're still doing alright and for some with speaking engagements and book deals, happy days!.

Apologies for the last couple of paragraphs not really relevant, but a general background, right how did Margate get in such a state, well no doubt a change in social habits and peoples expectations, tourism certainly is big factor in Margate's decline but so possibly is the lack of manufacturing a significant amount being transferred to china, as even the miserly minimum wage is too much for some business.

Still the biggest blows to Margate economy have been the creation of the Westwood retail parks and the uncontested destruction of Dreamland Amusement park of which Labour and Conservative council administrations are to blame.

Now the present, in a few months the Turner Contemporary is due to open, whether this is a success, depends much on what is shown there and in all honesty what we've seen so far at the M&S building has been dire, so fingers crossed they don't choose a load of old **** , still this time next year, we will know if comparisons with Bilbao, and St. Ives stand up. Dreamland Museum Theme park ( a world first) might just open in two years time. Whether this will result in jobs and money sloshing around town is debatable.

So what of Margate's dependency culture, what realistic chances, are there of people moving from dependency, just where are jobs to come from short term, last year looking to work closer to home, I found that unlike ten years ago, you cannot just ring up an agency and find yourself working the next day.  Labour having expanded the workforce, rather than tackle welfare dependency, which has created local circumstances, where the working population has increased dragging down wages and excluding local people at the same time.

I am sure that the legacy of both Labour and the Conservatives will haunt Margate and Thanet for many a year, and while the conservatives are right to tackle those who've bludged off taxpayers for years, I wonder what can be achieved and at what cost to those, who are now trapped in the dependency culture, still the worst aspect of this is the immoral bleatings of the Labour party who have a "nothing to do with us" attitude. Still no surprise for a party lead by a man who can't commit to marry his partner or having his name on his sons birth certificate.

Its my belief that local politicians are both weak and negligent in representing this area, this area contributes millions to Kent County Council and yet only the minimum spend is made back here in Margate and Thanet its about time money spent in the West of the county Maidstone, West Malling etc got spread over to these parts, it is our money.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Outrage as Hutton suggests Public Sector pay more for their Pensions

The independent commission on public sector pensions, has arrived at the astonishing conclusion, that members of such pension schemes ought to pay higher contributions, and who knows where this might end, perhaps one day public sector employees, will have to fund all their pension, like pretty much most of society .

Anyway for more details please click this link from the BBC and watch the video and listen to an astonished reporter as he asks, Lord Hutton does this mean doctors nurses and teachers might have to pay more, towards their pensions, its clear to me, the ingrained attitude of the public sector, extends well into BBC reporting, it sounds like the reporter is shocked and has difficulty in accepting the concept of paying your way in life.

It's difficult not to assume that BBC is in the business of crude propaganda, on behalf of public sector workers and their unions, looking at their website the subject is currently illustrated with a photograph of firemen putting out a fire emotivephoto but then of course the image of say a clerical worker in local government or even a teacher etc would be less emotive .

I can certainly empathise with that anyone in the public sector who has been expecting a generous pension, at the end of their working days however I'm not quite sure why I had to fund it .

Currently one in every 5 pounds paid by myself and other taxpayers to fund local government, goes just on pensions, why has this ever been allowed to occur. No doubt of the next few hours a precession of plucky public sector workers will be dragged on to our screens to convince us that it somehow justified.

I'm currently paying something like £250 a year, just so council workers can retire on a good pension, I wouldn't mind so much if the council occasionally sent someone to cut the grass or even sent a thank you note, but no such luck, thanks for nothing.

PS you might think I'm suggesting a BBC bias, but no, looking at this graphic from the lunchtime news I'd say shameless propaganda since it shows "front line" staff more appealing than all those superfluous managers and administrators who make up a large chunk of the public payroll.shamelesspropaganda 

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sir Norman Wisdom 1915-2010

One of the few performers who can genuinely be remembered as great, and one with strong connections to Kent most notably Deal.

I saw him at the Margate Winter Gardens, in the eighties, a great performance, a gifted musician, actor, brilliant at comedy but also more than capable as a straight actor.

In an age which celebrates cretinous footballers, vacant models, and talentless reality stars, the passing of a truly gifted hard working entertainer puts some perspective, on the trivial icons that populate our superficial media.

I remember seeing Norman Wisdom a couple of times in Cliftonville admittedly only briefly, in W H Smith's and the Northdown Rd but got the impression the he didn't exude or have that aura of self importance that some famous people seem to.  Sadly the end of an era, I think.