Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thought for the day - Art

Taking a break recently absorbed in a bit of culture, the thought occurred as I looked at a few old masterpieces, that in days past artists must have had either very long arms or access to shed loads of scaffolding, to create the works that still amaze us centuries later.

Friday, March 25, 2011


That's one way to put it, the quote in todays Gazette, taken from Cllr Clive Hart referring to the extraordinary goings on in Thanet Labour, which last week saw the unusual and for me unbelievable suspension of one of Labours most hardworking and capable councillor Mark Nottingham.

'Sad but inevitable' could of course refer to the Gazettes placing the story not on the front page but buried inside the paper on page five, of course it could also refer to the inexplicable delay by senior Labour members in dealing with matter fully and openly.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The budget

Can't summon the energy and lack the inspiration this week so I might just post a few random images for a day or two like the above.

I did think I might comment on the budget earlier this week but lets be honest, in such matters, we the people are impotent in the face of a barrage of finance experts, and what will be, will be.

Hope this post does not prompt a load of links to be left in the comments section of the post, I'm frankly getting tired of links to youtube vides in which some beardy bloke spouts complete bollix.

Found this twitter post from BBC reporter Simon Jones quite amusing

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It must be spring then

Spotted this morning during a break, in North London a LadyBird .

In other news Britain goes to war against Libya, still as extraordinary as spotting a Ladybird in March is, I don't expect the UK to be attacking Robert Mugabe's zimbabwe any time soon.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Silence of the editors as Clive wins what? Hollow victory? His own way? Another term as opposition leader?

imageI doubt Thanet has ever witnessed such a contentious political outcome as the news that last night Cllr Mark Nottingham, was suspended for 2 months from Thanet Labour group, those of you, who have taken the trouble to plough through the evidence and accusations in this case might, well be surprised to learn, that unlike last night's Labour group meeting, you will have probably given more time, to assess the situation concern Labours choice for Northwood than the Labour group was allowed last night.

It seems, in a Labour group lead by Clive Hart and his mates, the last thing they need is an open and full enquiry into any suggestions of gerrymandering,  Labour has with last night's decision lost any credibility or moral authority in my opinion and to me the idea that Cllr Mark Nottingham, has in revealing the machinations, bought the Labour Party in to disrepute is bonkers!

As I understand it Mark Nottingham is to be commended for "whistleblowing", and it's clear to me, that Clive Hart could have done more and didn't.

I imagine Clive will be like a dog with two appendages for a day or so, until he realises that failure to examine in a open manner the Northwood selection process will not enhance his or Thanet Labours standing in the broader community.

Still whilst Cllr Mark Nottingham is to be commended, the lack of coverage by local newspapers is a disgrace, I don't think either the Gazette, Times, Yourthanet or Thanet Extra did any sort of job on this, local papers are part of local democracy, editors please report it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Who are these people?

It's probably me but sometimes you just get the hump, with all the busy bodies that interfere and pry for reasons best known to themselves into your daily comings and goings.

Anyhow I pulled up on a garage forecourt, this morning to fill up on scotch eggs and get a paper "The I" ( not bad just gives the news straight, unlike the Mail & Express only 20P) anyhow as I walked to shop I spotted a van as per the above illustration "Mobile Surveillance Unit" splattered on the side .

Naturally I thought who are these people, snooping and poking about into my daily routine, decided to take a photograph and clearly I'm not the only person with a inquisitive mind, since the anonymous guy in the van, happy to record my comings and goings, was not to happy either, in fact I'd say he was more miffed than I.

As I walk back to my vehicle Mr Nosy-Parker displays a clearly empathetical reaction, getting out of his van, unused to ad hoc amateur surveillance, asks " Who are you?" inclined to retort "Who the heck are you?" however worried I may be suffering a mild form of Tourettes, exacerbated by confrontational situations, I instead pointed out that I happened to be a member of the public, this  he found unsatisfactory, demanding to look at my camera phone.

I declined by commenting no further, and continued my journey, it's a sobering thought that any Muppet, myself included can just point a camera and expect not to be challenged.

Anyhow the bloke with his surveillance van, is probably still offended that someone should dare to respond in a similarly obtrusive manner to that of his own, without pondering on the irony.

I'm probably now on a list of dangerous and suspicious characters as I suspect is much of the British population.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Labour can they sort out Northwood mess

a load of old docsArriving home tonight I was just thinking that it had gone quiet on the Cllr Mark Nottingham  de-selection issue but it seems that this is not quite the case as documents, which I understand will be referred to tomorrow night, happened to drift into my inbox.

As I understand it, Labour party members, will be meeting to discuss whether or not Mark Nottingham has somehow brought the party into disrepute , I have to say this sounds a bit far-fetched since my impression of Mark is one of a rather puritanical practitioner of labour politics, basically its a choice between Kay Dark, with Labour Party's old boys and hard working Cllr Nottingham with honest commitment.

It will be of some interest to see if Clive Hart can justify, his position or credibility and convince anyone other that himself and pals have acted in a fair manner with regard to the selection process in the Northwood Ward, I myself am in no doubt that Mark is indeed a hard-working conscientious political activist, an asset to any party, it's just a pity he supports Labour and not the more inclusive Liberal Democrats.

Labour activists should be worried in as much as it looks as if the leadership have boxed themselves into a corner and I'm not quite sure how they will get out of it since Clive Hart told everyone that he would resign if Mark Nottingham were he to remain in the Thanet group, which he has, at this point also it seems clear given the documentary evidence, that he will be found to have acted in the interests of the party.

Whatever your political persuasion it would seem that personal ambition has resulted in a messy diversion from the issues that labour presumably will wish to be pursuing during the forthcoming local council elections.

Anyway, for your enlightenment, read some of the documents that have as I understand been circulated to the Labour party faithful, it will give a clue as to why, Mark is so eager to sort out this.

Anyway some time tomorrow, we will know whether Labour will be going into the May elections with a clean slate, or a lot of excess baggage.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BBC - Local Broadcasting threatened

imageI'll fess up at the start of this blog, I'm not the greatest fan of BBC local radio, in fact I have gone on a bit in the past and will continue to comment on lopsided reporting of Kent politics, but with that out of the way, it seems that BBC's regional output may well be about to be swamped by BBC's Five live.

Its suggested that BBC local radio will only be maintained with maybe a morning news offering and a programme in the drive time period, now although I rarely get a chance to listen into daytime output of BBC radio Kent, it is unique ish, admittedly I have trouble with listening to the B list actors, authors and artists plugging plays, books and exhibitions but who else would have them and amongst the dross there are often interesting contributions from local people, that wouldn't be heard elsewhere.

This is a subject I shall return to, in the meantime, I've received an email from a reader who cares enough, to have set up a forum with a friend. Click Here to find out more

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fresh misery of Kent's educational system

If anyone thinks Kent's grammar school system has anything to recommend it by way of social mobility, think again, new research undertaken by academics involving a sample of 3300 adults across the country has revealed that children do no better than those who attended comprehensive schools, at this point some of you are thinking so what?

Well here is the so what?, this morning's BBC Radio Kent, breakfast news revealed that despite 20 children from Sheppey qualifying for entry to Kent's grammar schools, at present they will be excluded from Kent's grammar school system, why because there are no places available to them.

In recent years in the West of Kent, children have regularly been deprived of grammar schools places as glory hunting schools, have cherry picked kids from outside Kent to the detriment of the communities that fund them.

So why does Kent hang on to this system, who knows, I'd take a guess at Kent's Conservatives being comfortable maintaining the social division that Kent's two tier system creates.

It's well known that children from "comfortable" backgrounds are frequently assisted by expensive tuition, coached in some cases by moonlighting teachers, to pass the Kent test, which undermines the suggestion by supporters of grammar schools about any fairness or indeed social mobility.

Kent's two tier education system is socially divisive, but even worse than that is the immense grief to the children and families effectively cheated by the system, having worked hard to qualify for a grammar place and Kent councils education can't offer the standard of education there so eager to promote.

"It's down to the schools' " Said Cllr Sarah Hohler, Conservative KCC Cabinet member for Education, Learning & Skills on this morning, on BBC Radio Kent when asked about the situation for Sheppey's unfortunate.image

I just wonder if Cllr Sarah Hohler has any idea of the pain families are experiencing who've been cheated by the system, which has failed once again to meet basic expectations. Still for more info and just to educate yourself you click on this link for info about the Conservative Cllr Hohler ( £36,521.51 allowances for 2009-10)

This story is also reported on BBC 1 South East Today.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thanet council Caves in on misleading info again?

I always take information from Thanet council with a pinch of salt, and comments from some of our councillors with a large economy pack.

Its been noted that comments, made by those representing the council, over the hasty  destruction of Margate Caves entrance, are not as authoritative as you have a right to expect.

I suggest that you take time out, if you haven't already to read up on this, there are two excellent reports on this one from Luke Edwards of Thanet Waves and this from the Gazette written by Daisy Stemple, on page 3 of this weeks Gazette.

Communities need to be scrutinised, and I have say I enjoyed Luke's post which in my opinion, pretty much reigned in and corralled Cllr Simon Moores excitable ruminations, which sounded solid but crumbled under examination. Daisy Stemple has put further meat on the bone with her Gazette article, a nice explanatory comment from Doug Brown ( Head of Major Developments) , and the revelation that the alternative entrance mentioned earlier as I guess a sop a public tired of public assets being wasted, like the caves and of course the superb but mismanaged Tudor House.

Its amazing how councils can rustle up the best part of a hundred grand to top up the pensions of just one "officer" being made redundant, but cannot look after the things we cherish which unlike Thanet's conservatives is not the flipping fat cats!

Anyway in more important news, myself, I happen to working on an exclusive story which will blow apart the world of refuse collection, all I can tell you at this point my blue recycling bin got overlooked this morning. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

First impressions and not much time

tctAccording to my countdown thingumajig on my Outside Turner blog, it's less than 40 days before the grand opening, I suggest sceptics take a look at the building preferably in the sun as I did recently.

Having just taken a gander a few points are worth consideration, of course the biggest issue is will it be finished on time, from where I was standing it looked as of there was a heap of materials to the rear of the lifeboat station, which assuming they're needed looks like a couple of weeks work, add to that snagging work then I'm wondering if things are getting a little tight, hopefully not.

Looking at Margate's readiness overall some items that stand out are the open spaces set to be tarted up shortly, the lighthouse was to have been painted up this has now been shelved, dreamland is a tangle of scaffolding.

Still in the vicinity of the Harbour arm and old town, things look more lively, and not bad at all, it just worries me that things could have been better coordinated, still we only had about 10 years to prepare.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The drive of your life - I flipping hope not

I think that peugeot, have used the slogan "drive of your life" occasionally to promote their product.

Having driven a couple of their vans, I just wonder what Is meant by the slogan, since the first one I had seemed to be haunted, the electronics apparently deciding when I should use headlights dipped and full beam, even after I took the vehicle in to have the fuel pipe moved from the exhaust and the computer reset the lights including dashboard still had a life of their own.

Tonight the replacement broke down resulting in a four and a half hour detour, hence, just pure angst tonight, and no flipping pancakes, I mainly drive transits whatever state there in, you can always trust them.

Hence no proper post. Just a hasty bitch from my iPhone

Monday, March 07, 2011

Labour Disturbs the Sunday ambiance

Thank god I was busy building railways yesterday, otherwise a peaceful Sunday would have been disturbed by the dull thud of Labour propaganda which on its own I can take, however its the hypocrisy, no mention of Labour's attack on job creation, improved  infrastructure, social housing or even more remarkable de-selecting one of their ablest councillors.

Still most disappointing is Clive Harts waffle at the back of their pre-election leaflet no mention of accusations made about his competence to lead even more remarkable he makes no mention of his offer to resign as leader.

Can you trust Thanet Labour, I don't think so. Cllr Sandra Hart also thanks all residents who've contacted her and I thought she had the hump when I received this comment referring to myself from Clive's Mrs "I am very upset that you have decided to take such a negative attitude towards my work in Dane Valley.

All I did was raise a public safety concern, and point out Sandra Hart's lack of a response.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

blog rankings

This is of no interest to anyone other than fellow bloggers I guess but just as an indication of relative merit of Thanet blogs, I give you the independent rankings for March courtesy of Wikio .  How reliable these rankings are, is questionable but being at the top of the pile however briefly, beats my more comfortable underdog placing. And whilst I might be at the top this month, the ranking for this month is lower than last and with the exception of ThanetOnline all of us appear to be slipping on earlier months.

Bignews Margate 852
From one end of Kent 926
ThanetOnline 1046
Thanet Press Releases 1173
Thanet Star 1426
Thanet Life 1818
Promote Thanet 3186
Thanet Coast 3221

Of course, that which is the most gratifying part of blogging is the reaction and comments, which are probably as important in ranking terms the actual posting, anyhow thanks and keep visiting.

Friday, March 04, 2011


Remember the good old days, back in the 1980's when Looney profligate councils were those run by Labour zealots in London and grim cities up north.

Well some time ago things changed, and now here in Kent, I have the suspicion that somehow things have gone completely bonkers, in Kent governance, I wont bore you with a catalogue of past eccentricities, but suggest you take a gander at this story of typical KCC excess (my opinion) in which KM reports on Kent's latest top management appointment of " Shake up Manager " £165 PA

Its worth reminding ourselves that A) a new chief exec (MD in KCC speak)  has not long be in post, B) there are blimin big cuts needed in spending, C) by any standards Kent has been extraordinarily inept in the treatment of staff from fat pay offs or as in this case, creating unnecessary management positions to manage organisational change surely the job of the Chief Exec

The sooner Eric Pickles sorts out Kent Tories, the better in my view. Remember its your money being frittered away and KCC still can't stop itself spending? I suggest you contact your local County Councillor and ask them what they are doing for £14,000 a year for few hours a month, meals, mileage expenses.

Kent at ease with itself


Kent Council TV rides again

Some people get the impression that Kent is run for the benefit of hunting and shooting toffs, however Kent is run by a progressive Conservative administration committed to an egalitarian society.

To prove that privilege and social exclusion has no place in our community, Kent County Council have recycled your hard earned money into a  short film, to illustrate the life style of ordinary Kent folk.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Fragments - Cllr. Clive Hart meets with Alan Poole Chair South Thanet Labour

According to a  fragment of info,  on Clive Harts Twitter, Labour top bods had a meeting, and that's the wonder of twitter, little detail but broad brush strokes.

Just what did they discuss, exit strategy, regime change, the May elections, sometimes more is less and less can be more, anyway answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Top Thanet Conservative lashes out ?

(Read POSTCRIPT FIRST)* It would be true to say that I rarely, visit the pages of Top Thanet Tory Cllr Simon Moores, Weblog, I know, if you're a regular you will be thinking, Flaigy your missing out on Thanet's most witty, respected and creative talent, who is in no way boring, prone to hypocrisy or suffering from an inflated ego or any of that malarkey.

Still that said I'm not sure whether Simon is desperate for publicity, since his current posting appears to criticise me for allowing "the same person" to post comments on this site, or as Moores puts it "straddling Tony Flaig's weblog" also "the same person" is accused of being "Mark Nottingham's new best friend"  an accolade I thought mine, damn!

All that is in Simon's first paragraph,  and the next continues in a similar vein, "It's not in my interest to censor anything on ThanetLife but I do have an acceptable use policy and like it or not, a  blogging protocol which I follow. So, no personal abuse, which the usual suspect, suffering as he does from chronic insomnia, will invariably leave overnight and nothing that might be considered libellous, as three other prominent local bloggers have discovered to their considerable cost in the last year or so.


Now I have only a passing acquaintance with Simon, so I honestly don't know what his motivations are but I personally find it rather extraordinary, for someone apparently so steeped acceptable behaviour and who adopts a "blogging protocol" should deliberately insult me by linking my name, using a hypertext link to a story carried on Kent Messengers website about a beached whale. In what I consider to be an immature, joke intended to be offensive.

I don't know whether this is some juvenile joke of Cllr Simon Moores or whether its some  incredible mistake, presumably  if this is some error Moores will have the decency to issue an apology. I don't act like some sneaky schoolboy and don't expect others too if they expect to be taken seriously.

Finally I hope Moores is not seriously inferring, that I have any less stringent policy on comments than he, I frequently remove comments, as was the case this week with one referring to himself, admittedly I don't play god over what goes and what doesn't  except when things get heated and abusive.



You have to be, certainly in my case eccentric to blog as much as some of us do and errors may occur

In fairness to Simon I have spoken to him (read talked loudly) and it appears that Incredible Error is the answer, at the time of posting the link, Cllr Moores was also pasting a twitter link, the two apparently links became switched which has ignited this particular post. I accept Simon's explanation, so take the preceding comments in that context.

If anything can be learnt from this its don't multi task, with blogging and twitter.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Turner Contemporary and localism

This will be a brief post, I'm intrigued by reports of The Turner Contemporary launch meeting.

As you might expect, with the TC project so firmly rooted in Margate's heart, the "Launch Meeting" was held just around the corner from Margate's artistic and bohemian centre, in Westminster, a mere two hour drive away (start as you mean to go on).

"VIP's" including  Roger Gale, Laura Sandys, token Margate representative Tracy Emin, and I guess a rag bag of Arts council wallahs, devotees, perhaps even the odd non-dom tax avoiding patron of the arts.

According to Peter Burnett of Thanet Extra report on the House of Commons bash, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey  spoke at the meeting expressing high hopes and  "believes Margate's Turner Contemporary could become a world-renowned gallery" recalling happy memories of childhood visits to er ....Ramsgate!

I'm actually in favour of Turner Contemporary, but just wonder at the manner of its delivery, I'm sure it will succeed and look forward to its opening, but continue to be amused by the disconnect between local grass roots and its delivery from on high. If nothing else we should be grateful, this project is a great model of the British way of doing stuff.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

How Thanet Labour could resolve de selection dispute

imageI read over the weekend, Chairman of South Thanet Labour party Alan Poole's, response to recent allegations by Mark Nottingham, in his letter published in last Friday's Gazette. Surprisingly rather than taking, a neutral stance, Cllr Poole's, letter seems to be in line with what Mark's reacted to.

Alan Poole is claiming to be investigating complaints about Cllr Mark Nottingham, although for some reason he simply dismisses claims made by Nottingham that events around his de-selection, where not as open as one might expect.image

It really is quite simple for Cllr Poole to resolve this issue and save Clive Hart from resignation, just publishing evidence from Labour party investigations proving Cllr Nottingham wrong.

Local Labour led by Cllr Clive Hart seems to do just about everything it can to alienate its traditional voters, it seems under Hart, traditional goals like provision of social housing or encouraging investment and jobs no longer concern Labour, since he and his front bench have spoken against.

Labour have scoured a succession of own goals fought social housing, attacked inward investment, improved infrastructure and job creation, the latest own goal and best is Clive Hart offering to resign if certain criteria are not met and then apparently going back on his word.

If Clive Hart does not resign, in the May council elections who is going to believe any election promises from Labour. Simply put how can you trust a Leader who cannot stand by his commitments.