Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Teachers Strike – How to resolve the problem.

Nothing in life remains as it was, and neither should it, many years have gone by since public sector workers got crap pay but decent pensions.
These days those in the public sector are creaming an average 40 per cent more than those in the private commercial sector.
The commercial world has seen jobs taken over by cheap easily exploited labour from the EU so those who used to work in agriculture, construction and manufacturing been thrown on the scrap heap, I don't recall anyone from the unions, including ones I've been a member complain Unite (T&G at the time) or RMT (Which I left when I realised Bob Crow was taking £15 a month, not to represent me but his own brand of lefty politics).
So those teachers who don't want to work and expect me to pay for their pension, I suggest we replace with those who are willing to work for a fair days pay.
As has been the case in most of the commercial sectors, I would suggest we get teachers who are willing to work from the EU, who in most cases would be better motivated, probably better educated and not so greedy and selfish, also better able to help the children whose first language in not English, who in many parts of the country from the majority.
Just think of that much loved character of the professional classes in recent times, the "Polish plumber" could now be complimented with his fellow countryman the "Polish professor".
PS I'd love that idiot from unison to tell me why I should have to subsidise him and everyone else in the public sector.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How "Mainstream Media" reports on censorship

Just a quick mention, over the recent, nonsensical decision by Thanet District council to discriminate against the likes of Bignews Margate and Thanetonline just to refresh your memory TDC press office will refuse to talk to me or anyone else who blogs.

To some extent it's a storm in a teacup, for myself I rarely contacted them, to be honest it's easy enough to go direct to the horses mouth, as it were, via the operator.

Still petty as it is, a principle is a principle and in this case it would appear that independent "liberal" commentators are to be excluded in favour of businesses that supply news.

Just how did the "Mainstream Media" cover the issue, well the KM's Thanet Extra dipped out, the Isle of Thanet Gazette, had its coverage side lined to  its "Smudger column" only Kent On Sundays "Yourthanet" reported the matter with some clarity, perhaps the KOS papers being younger than others, realises that the news media world is draining away from ink to pixels.

Sadly when you look at the make up of the council (elected) it's quite disconcerting to realise just how many are either retirement age or not far off, hardly the sort of people to understand the blurring of media or care about petty matters of censorship.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kent Council – Child Care cover up?

Kent council has made public in a well publicised move the release of the independent report "Children’s Services Improvement Plan" giving a candid assessment of Kent Children services. A cynic might think this was a managed PR event, by Kent Council diverting attention.

What we don't have is any explanation of how things got into such a deplorable state, BBC South East Today news programme, tonight employed more resources than is usual in reporting such matters, with reporter Simon Jones and Louise Stewart, sadly neither thought to ask the question, how did this happen?

Paul Francis ( political editor) for Kent Messenger group in this report also did not feel it necessary to remind readers that we still don't know why Kent Children services became so run down, although in fairness the most revealing insight can be found in this earlier article by Paul Francis, which I strongly urge you read.

Whilst it's correct to have release this report, KCC would gain some respect and be performing its public service obligations were to issue a report explaining of what went wrong, this report has not given much more information than had already been placed in the public domain.

Since Kent Council appears not to have a desire to learn from their mistakes or acknowledge them, the public is left to guess at what went wrong, it would difficult not to make the assumption that poor management is the sole cause, certainly nobody is blaming hard pressed front line staff, so we are left conclude was it the politicians, officers or both?

I leave you to sort the bones out of these two conflicting quotes  concerning the child care crisis, firstly Peter Gilroy the former Kent Council Chief Exec "When I raised my concerns, that was in 2009 when we did a report and even then I was starting to worry about a whole range of things that were happening. and from Cllr Paul Carter Leader of Kent Council "How Peter can say ‘Not me Gov’ I find quite astonishing. adding "I think that he’s been very economical with the facts. Peter and I had some concerns at the end of 2008-09 and asked for an independent report to be carried out.

PS I always thought Paul and Peter were singing from the same hymn sheet, perhaps I was wrong? we all make mistakes

Bignews previous posting


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big Event finally does what it should - 80,000 Can't be wrong

Margate's big event has been one of the years highlights and this year for the first time has also injected a healthy amount of cash from visitors myself included with the move to the centre of the town. It has been estimated by Thanet Council that somewhere in the region of 80,000 people enjoyed the weekends event, which included the air show, music and firework display, funfair, Margate raft race, Airfix model making, Punch and Judy etc., this of course coupled with some of the other delights that Margate has to offer the the Harbour Arm Margate Museum the world class Turner Contemporary, the old town, area plus much improved cafes and restaurants and pubs.

Without a doubt the move into the town centre had the benefit of seeing money spent in the town rather than just with traders at the event itself as was the case in previous years not noted as being a big spender, myself I estimate that over the two days I spent around £30 in the town, of which most was spent with local business, if you were to make a crude calculation based on my spending, multiplied by 80,000 people, that would mean 2.5  million pounds spent with local traders.

A couple of excerpts from from TDC Press release  Marketing Dept. "Leader of the Council, Cllr. Bob Bayford, said: “What a fantastic event!  It was wonderful to see so many people turn out over the weekend braving the elements and was a great example of true British spirit!  We had thousands of people in Margate, many from all over the South East, and many of those visiting for the first time.  From our point of view the new location worked brilliantly and helped to showcase exactly what Margate, the original seaside, has to offer.  We know from speaking with local businesses that hosting the event on the seafront had a positive impact, which is exactly what we hoped to achieve.  I’d like to thank everyone who worked so hard to pull off what was another great ‘big event’, to our sponsors Hornby for their help and support and most of all to thank everyone who came along to enjoy it”.

Darrell Burge, Marketing Manager for Airfix, said: "It was tremendous to be involved as the main sponsor of this year's show.  We had almost 1,000 families come through our make-and-paint area of the marquee experiencing the joys of Airfix modelling, and our staff were run ragged by the sheer volume of people.  Everyone though, both the public and staff from Hornby, had great smiles on their faces with some of the fantastic creations built during the weekend.  It was brilliantly rewarding for all of us and we look forward to being back in 2012."

The new location is a vindication of those who like me have over the years supported the event but criticised the location and proof that eventually councillors do listen and as a result, we all benefit. Even in the rain couldn't, ruin the day, as you could, like I did seek refuge in shops and cafes.

The air show is of course centre stage of the Big Event but the best part is having a relaxed day out with the family, the highlight for me was accompanying my granddaughter on her first visit to the Big Event and sharing a cake with her, the Vulcan good as it was came a distant 2nd.

Finally it would be disingenuous not to praise all those who have worked on the event over the last few years, it was great from the start and has just got better, well done and Thank you!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kent Councils film office do we need it

Spotted the rather extravagant claim in the Kent on Sunday, that a film which you and I apparently invested in, is a boost to the economy.

Kent Council bunged a £20,000 "investment" into the movie "Age of Heroes", alright it's a trivial amount, but according to the article, this investment has in return resulted in an inward investment of £42,800 according to "officials".

I have to say "Age of Heroes"  as far as I can recall, never made it as far as the local cinema, still presumably some speciality suppliers of DVD's will be stocking this classic.

If nothing else this is an intriguing new line of investment strategy for public money, anyway I'm currently working up a film script myself, the central character is a sad git middle aged blogger, keeping tabs on a county council run by clueless Conservatives employing more witless "officers" on hundred thousand pound salaries than you can point a stick at, further more in the background old peoples homes are closed, school travel cut, millions lost in Iceland and child services failing, oh and millions spent on PR to cover it up.

Shortly I shall be contacting the Kent Film Office, I recon 20, 30, 40 grand should be enough for me to develop the script  "Age of Cretins" a bit further, and I promise to invest it mostly in Kent but I do need a holiday.

Still if you're interested in "Age of Heroes" click here for reviews from Total Film or Virgin Media Movies.

Why would you trust the NHS to Labour

Just a quick one, I see Thanet Labour are having a whinge about who should run the NHS, I would like to point out that despite Labour's ancient history on setting up the  NHS, in recent times things have not been so good during their time in office an 7 billion pound project was set up to handle patient information in 2002 by Labour, which the Daily Mail recently reported " National Audit Office concludes that the £2.7 billion so far spent creating a database of medical records had not been “value for money”.It said it had no confidence that the £4.3 billion which will be invested over  the next few years will be “any different.”

The truth is Labour trades on nostalgia, the fact is under Labour in recent times whatever improvements Labour made historically have been eroded by a cynical agenda which has involved undermining, ordinary working people, allowing migrants to be exploited as cheap Labour ,to the point that any improvements on infrastructure such as health and education have been eroded by increased demand.

Admittedly Cameron does not inspire confidence in the health service but at least most know where he is coming from, its my view that Labour have hit on a formula of pleasing and spoon feeding the public sector workers and habitual welfare claimants (who are distinct from those unable to work or those replaced by exploited migrants).

Just locally we have seen how Labour have fought against social housing and now intend to fight inward investment at a time when the Pfizer are winding up operations, resulting in a bleak future for thousands in this area. It would be interesting to know given Clive Hart and his Labour colleagues objections to inward investment so far, what answers or strategies he or any of his colleagues might have for helping the thousands of us effected directly or indirectly by the Pfizer closure.

Still if you would like to wallow in nostalgia and Labour propaganda click here

Sunday, June 19, 2011


The above photo was taken of one of the highlights during the brilliant Airfix Air Show element of the Big Event which will continue today with the stunning Red Arrows, apologies for picture, I think I and my camera were a little unfocused me because of working a night shift friday and the camera who knows. 

As I have stressed earlier, there is something for everybody at this event, I myself spent a pleasant half hour or more, absorbing the performance given by the band Riveras in the Marine Gardens just up from the clock tower.

Anyhow events are listed on TDC's website here, today also see's Margates Traditonal Raft Race, on the beach there are various family activities including tradional Punch and Judy to compliment the Airfix Air Show and the live music.


The Airfix Air Show for Sunday 19 June

13:30    Raft Race obviouls not part of flying display but a tradional event in harbour
15:30    Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
15:52   The Tigers Freefall Team
16:09   Stearman
16:17   Tutor
16:25   Tucano
16:34   Hawk
17:00   RED ARROWS

The Entertainment for Sunday 19 June

Marine Gardens

  • 11.00 am  KD JazzThis band has its roots in the music of the 20's, 30's and 40's presenting a snappy brand of 'good time' music. All the musicians have a wealth of experience behind them ranging from West End shows to film soundtracks, classical concerts and jazz festivals.
  • 12.00 pm  DJ
  • 12.15 pm KD Jazz
  • 1.00 pm   DJ
  • 1.30 pm   HullabalooHullabaloo is an outstandingly talented and hugely popular Jazz, Jive and Swing band with a wealth of professional experience performing in the UK and overseas, and an impressive list of clients. With a unique male vocalist, wonderful harmonies and impeccable timing, theirs is a truly impressive sound. Unique (and occasionally humorous) arrangements of well-known tunes ensures that they never fail to entertain.
  • 2.15 pm  DJ 
  • 2.45 pm  Hullabaloo
  • 3.30 pm  Flying Show
  • 5.30 pm  DJ


  • 11.00 am  ATC Band.2433 (Ramsgate) Squadron Air Training Corps
  • 12.00 pm  DJ
  • 12.15 pm  The Whittlers:The Whittlers are quickly becoming one of the busiest entertainment artists on the UK music scene. All of the band are professional musicians, and have a mass of experience ranging from European tours, weddings and corporate events. This young, but heavily experienced band will provide an amazing party experience playing a mixture of Pop, Soul, Rock and Chart Music, ranging from the 60's right up to the present day.
  • 1.00 pm  DJ
  • 1.15 pm  The Whittler
  • 2.00 pm  DJ
  • 2.30 pm  Marylebone JellyA class act, Marylebone Jelly is an experienced five-piece live band with a repertoire that covers the best and classic hits from the last five decades
  • 3.30 pm  Flying Show
  • 5.30 pm  DJ  
If you have a mobile phone, you can view these pages in a mobile version without all the claptrap, which will allow you to view this brief guide of whats on at the event, since there appeared to be no programme available at the event. Enjoy

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Big Event popular as ever

Seems that the move to Margates central area has been successful in promoting trade and business for the local community in addition to the pure entertainment value it has always provided.

A better event location for family's than the bleak Palm Bay site, at least visitors get to experience the which wasn't the case in earlier years.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Margate Museum

A mention, for those who are visiting Margate, since all being well with this weekend  it will be busy for the Big Event, one little gem that may be overlooked is Margate Museum, which these days is generally open on Saturdays.

Not having been myself for a while, I wondered if it would be open this weekend, since its one of those things, because of its close proximity, you always think you can put off  but as many of us know, its future is to some extent not entirely clear, it has become a bit more precious

I've done a few museums in my time and this, has to be one of the better ones, the beauty of it is, for me, how cluttered it appears but also how, what was once so familiar and mundane, has become precious and extraordinary.

Before I get anymore pretentious, if you get time or it starts to rain have a gander, the building itself more than justifies the trouble, the magistrates court and the old police cells.

Earlier in the week I mentioned some of the other attractions which will complement the Big Event Weekend like the Turner Contemporary but this is a gem you might otherwise miss, open as I understand on Saturday only between 11am and 5pm run by volunteers, so thanks to them in advance.

PS Briefly the forecast for tomorrow is sunny intervals, and this part of east Kent generally gets more sunshine so hopefully the Big Event will be a great success particularly now that Old Margate and the town is at the heart of the event.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Search Me update

Just a couple of quick notes concerning this website, firstly the search box above the header and to the left, appears frankly useless, sometimes out of idle curiosity, I like to check whether my mood swings, actually result in changes to what I say, other than the attitude with which I deliver each post, so for this reason I have placed a new search gizmo titled FLAIGY DIDN'T YOU MENTION? which seems a bit better. (Flaigy is one of the names I'm referred to at work, the others being unsuitable). I like to encourage open exchanges and honesty, if I got it wrong then so be it and some of my more, picky readers can perhaps score a rare point.

Secondly I've change the legend below the title of the blog to reflect Thanet District Councils, censorship which appears to be yet another case of taxpayer funded politics favouring the local Conservative party."MAINSTREAM MEDIA" NEWS AND COMMENT FROM MARGATE CENSORED BY THANET COUNCIL OFFENDING POLITICIANS SINCE APRIL 2006

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Conservative stating the obvious

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One of my readers pointed out this gem, a letter penned by Tory County Councillor Jenny Whittle (referring to the failure in child care) in this weeks "Kent on Sunday" clearly stating the flippin obvious "May I, in the strongest terms refute the suggestion that social workers are somehow taking the blame for the failings identified in last November's Ofsted inspection" of course you can, nobody in their right mind is going to criticise you for that or blame frontline staff.

Still here is where some of us at least would start to separate their agreement with Jenny's thoughts, when she states "I have been candid about what went wrong" and this is why Paul Carter, Tory Leader and presumably Jenny Whittle's boss, as I understand promised a review into what went wrong, which has yet to surface. 

Recently watching Jenny Whittle and Chris Wells respond to a KCC cabinet scrutiny committee, they seemed fully content to and of course this is just my opinion, evade the questions on whether we would ever see a review or not into how Kent child services allowed several hundred children to be at risk.

Most of us, are, after all frontline staff, in whatever sphere, we work, and we appreciate that frontline social workers were in no way responsible for child care failings, still that aside, what we, most of us, understand is this, almost certainly the poor state of child care services must have resulted from management failings and not from some mechanical failure like the photocopier jamming. Since Jenny has been candid she says, so how come none of us, who after all pay the bills, are the wiser.

Jenny Whittle and her Conservative colleagues surely can't have it both ways, either they are candid or they are concealing the root cause, which is not only important to Kent council so that they know what went wrong and don't repeat the same mistakes but more importantly vulnerable children are more important than Kent council's public image.

Incidentally I've emailed Chris Wells an occasional contributor, to Bignews Margate to enquire how vociferous his support for a lack of a proper review into events is, assuming he supports the veil of secrecy that appears to have settled over things, hopefully I got that wrong.

Remember this wasn't like losing 50 million pounds to the Icelandic banks, this isn't about Kent Conservatives "losing face" this is concerned with how we look after the most vulnerable in society.

Margate's Big Event 2011

I note once again, I am receiving many hits for the popular  Margate Big Event, and this year it moves into the middle of  Margate, which hopefully will produce much benefit to all concerned.

Central to this weekend's Big Event naturally is the air display which this year includes the Battle of Britain Memorial flight, the Red Arrows, and a real treat for anoraks the Vulcan Bomber,  not having seen one, since I think the last Manston Airshow, this is a fantastic opportunity to experience a piece of cold war history not just visually but if the thing is allowed to perform as it did in the past, you can literally feel the damn thing through the sound waves from the engine particularly when the machine is climbing.

Anyway enough of that, coupled with the air show there is the fun fair, live music and a real bonus this year, Margate itself which has art galleries to saunter, the Old Town, the Harbour Arm and fine places to sit and relax with a meal or drink.  Something else worth a mention is the superb world class Turner Contemporary, which in its first few weeks of opening has seen 100,000 visitors.

I'd say there is just about something for everyone this weekend in Margate, and if you cannot find something to entertain you, then I'd see a doctor, because you must be in a bad way!

I may add some pictures to this later in the day, I've just got in from work. For background information and earlier references please click here to search Bignews Margate's archive

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why we are here?

In my case despite being hampered by a lack of ability and a poor education as provided by Kent Council, I still have an urge to express myself and question how and why things happen.

Now if you take a gander at the preceding post, you'll see there is a bit of a kerfuffle concerning a rather dubious cost cutting measure which involves TDC deciding not to send me and my ilk anymore emails from their Press Office, also should I be cheeky enough to ask for information, they will be rather silly and treat these as Freedom Of Information FOI requests.

Now the reason given was cost cutting, and of course, this has probably worried up a lot correspondence including the rather pointless email, which kicked this off, which has cost more money than had they not bothered.

Still never one to resist the urge to look in command and fully briefed, along comes Cllr Simon Moores, who of course cannot also resist the urge to look mature and grown up, arguing fiercely for what many would consider a repressive and ultimately doomed move.

Simons latest blog posting I view as a Daily Mail sort of style, innuendo,  twaddle and codswallop  he opens with  this broadside "Overnight I see that two of our better known local weblogs or should I say 'surviving' bloggers are making a fuss..." OH Gosh! (Me)

He loads more ammo "Thanet Online to  announce " A war on prominent Blogs" and Big News* Margate to howl 'conspiracy' from the rooftops, with his dramatic headline 'Thanet council discriminates against free press." NO Please Stop (Me)

Relentlessly he pushes home his attack "It's all a bit pathetic really! I"    Ouch that really hurt! ( Me)

Moores without mercy throws caution to the wind and goes for the throat "...at least two of the more popular (referring to weblogs), believe that they should receive special treatment and be regarded on the same basis as the Thanet Gazette or the BBC with a right to pester the council press team for information but without having to abide by the same news protocols and code of conduct that governs the press.

I just hope Moores doesn't think he is referring to me, which I take to be inferred  in that last comment, because clearly he is mistaken, I just expect to be treated equally, my readers of whom he is one, pay their taxes and expect accountability and don't expect to be excluded.

If councillor Moores is suggesting that I intend to pester the council press team, I considered that a gross insult and expect him to clarify or withdrawn his rude comment and adhere to codes of conduct he so frequently refers.

Finally Bloggers are subject to the law as much as any newspaper or media outlet.

PS All this is a distraction, there are bigger fish to fry, and in defence of those frontline officers who are committed to a public service ethos, information will naturally flow, currently Tesco is on the agenda tomorrow so lets hope the council gets it right and protects local interests, KCC still have to confirm the state of the review in to the Child Services failure and of course this weekend is the Big Event Yippee!

*Simon It's Bignews Margate (still was that one of your professions Teaching) it's at the top of the page, tut. tut.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thanet council discriminates against free press

You have to admire the depths local government members and officers will sink to, in the approach they have toward "media".

Still the latest creation of that inventive mind, that officers have, is that from now on, they will no longer email  press releases, to those they consider not to be "mainstream" news outlets, quite how they interpret this is simple, organisations that are likely to at some time receive income in the form of advertising from the council will get preferential treatment.

Now in itself this is not a big deal, as they informed me, the information will be available via their RSS feed, so no big loss, however this is the sinister bit "If you have any requests for information in the future, please could you send these through tofoi@thanet.gov.uk as any enquiries sent through to the press office in the future will be sent on to this address for actioning.

Local tory councillors have suggested in the past, that bloggers are irresponsible, which in the main is just an untrue slur, I know that I have in the past contacted the council for clarification, before "going off on one", and have sometimes modified my comment accordingly.

I can understand how inconvenient it must be to have elements of the media, who write purely to enlighten themselves and others into the machinations of local government.

Times have moved on, still what can we do if officers of Thanet District Council get into their heads that their are two truths, two sets of media, however the reality is this newspapers and broadcasters are losing journalists everyday, I'd take a guess that with the exception of the Isle of Thanet Gazette & Thanet Times, other newspapers have less political coverage than several of the local bloggers.

Of course the stupidity of this is that it cost nothing to send an email to one recipient in time or money as it would to a million.

Anyway have a gander while you still can.

TDC Press Release Mailing List

As you will no doubt be aware, local government in line with the rest of the public sector, is experiencing tough times and resources are becoming increasingly scarce. Thanet District Council is no exception to this. As a result, the council has been looking carefully at how all its resources are used. Following a review of the service offered by the council's Press Office, it has been agreed that we will be changing our approach in the future to concentrate our resources on the mainstream media.

We are contacting you as you are on the council's current mailing list for press releases. This was set up some time ago, when the e-mail list was the only way to subscribe to receive the council's press releases. This is no longer the case, as the council now has an RSS news feed available for people to sign up to as well as regular updates to press releases published on the TDC Website. Since the RSS feed was first introduced, we have been pointing people towards this and the website, rather than adding them to our e-mail group for press releases.

In light of this, we have reviewed the people that our press releases are being distributed to and, with the availability of RSS feeds, we are now reducing this list to cover mainstream newspapers, radio and TV only, in line with our new approach. As a result, we will be shortly removing you from the press release mailing list.

If you would like to continue to receive our press releases, you can subscribe to our RSS news feed by visiting: http://www.thanet.gov.uk/feeds/tdcnews.aspx

For any additional help with how to do this, please visit: http://www.thanet.gov.uk/advice__benefits/help_using_this_website/RSS_Feeds.aspx

Our latest press releases can all be found at:
If you have any requests for information in the future, please could you send these through tofoi@thanet.gov.uk as any enquiries sent through to the press office in the future will be sent on to this address for actioning.

Kind regards,
Justine Wingate
Corporate Information & Communications Manager
Business Services
Thanet District Council
PS I thought I'd check this out, the ensuing phone call took around 18 minutes, a call that would not have taken place or wasted "officer time" were the council not being so petty! 

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kent Council - The question that lingers - Kent's Child services what went wrong?

I recollect from many years ago a phrase which once had real meaning " my word is my bond " from a time before it was common practice to be economical with the truth and for everyone in public life and business to "spin" just about every statement or policy.
Obviously many younger readers will be completely oblivious to this phrase and its meaning as will senior practitioners of  politics, so for the unfamiliar "my word" refers to a promise or commitment and "is my bond" meaning a personal guarantee and commitment.
This undertaking and acknowledgement of accountability originated with traders on the London commercial markets and was accepted as a standard throughout business and life in general.
Still life's moved on in the political and business world, seemingly dominated by slick PR wallahs and chancers' as personified bankers and business leaders with a new set of values, hopefully such a perceived of lowering of standards does not effect us here in Kent.
Is any of the above relevant, to the continuing question as yet unanswered as why child services were found to be so inadequate.
Despite  Leader of KCC Paul Carter's non appearance at the recent KCC Scrutiny committee, we still don't know for a fact, whether Kent council is going deliver a proper review or not.
In the meantime here are a few words from Paul Carter concerning the dreadful circumstances resulting in Kent's children at risk
November 2010 "My energies and those of my Cabinet will be absolutely focused on supporting and challenging everybody involved to put right any shortcomings and weaknesses that have been identified by the Ofsted inspection. Paul Carter
December 2010 "What are we going to do now? Well, we have to make sure our scrutiny role is rigorous and this doesn't happen again. Paul Carter
So what does this all mean, hopefully that a full and proper public explanation as to how an "excellent" council, could mess up a vital child service provision.
Without such a review, we're left with speculation and rumour, and in some quarters the suspicion that, a review has not been undertaken for political expediency. My own view is .....  well irrelevant until we get the facts.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Kent Tories – Are they side-stepping questions on 2000 "at risk" children?

trudy ddeanOver the years I've been writing this blog, one fairly strong theme has been, Kent County Councils apparent obsession with moulding public image, perhaps the most dangerous manifestation of this, has been the claims made by the council of "excellence" and reference to being a 4 star council, a meaningless term to many of us.

Last year Ofsted alerted KCC in November to the dire state of its inadequate childcare provision which exposed 2,000 children to significant risk, Conservative leader of the council Paul Carter shortly afterwards said their would be a review.

At the request of members of the KCC Cabinet Scrutiny committee the question was asked, by the committee chair Trudy Dean Lib Dem, basically what's happening re the review, well Paul Carter had apparently made his excuses and did not attend the meeting and Jenny Whittle (Con), cabinet member of children's services didn't seem keen on reviewing how things got so bad, nor did former cabinet member Chris Wells (Con).

Blame is an inflammatory term, and unfortunately it has surfaced in reference to what to my mind is a simple review, into finding out how KCC slid into such a dire state and if necessary pointing out who is responsible.

Of course things have improved, and Jenny Whittle and Chris Wells are right look to the future and concentrate on making the improvement, however Trudy Dean is also right to represent her fellow councillors who irrespective of party affiliations understand that knowing how an "excellent" council could risk our most vulnerable is not an unreasonable request which might prevent similar errors in the future.

Finally a reference to "politics" was unnecessary, accepting that the subject is emotive. its still my view that children deserve better than middle-aged men and women point scouring on such a serious issue. Kent Council is not run purely for the pompous self opinionated councillors, some of us are stupid enough to still believe, in public services.

View the webcast click here and start viewing around 1:00 hour in.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Contemporary Images to immerse yourself in

a visual gem

I've got to give up reading the papers and watching the news I'm convinced that the constant exposure to bad news, cannot be good for me or indeed any of us, I'm sure life at one time life was simpler, a "suspected" mass murder/war criminal, such as Ratko Mladic was just that, these days we have to endure the preposterous pleading by relatives, that someone who could apparently order the mass killing of 8000 in Srebrenica, is too dainty to face a court inquisition or the chance to explain himself.

With that on my mind I thought I had to avoid the evening news and having spent more time wrestling with my bicycle's gears and brakes recently, than riding the flipping thing, I got my bike on the road late this afternoon so cycled along the front and past the new gallery, ending up on the Harbour Arm.

Usually there is something to be seen in the units, and today was no exception, half way along is a gallery space with an exhibition of contemporary images the work of local Artists Brian Moody ( freelance photographer whose work has mostly appeared in Magazines such as the Observer, Sunday Times) & Denis Smith ( artist and photographer who has worked as an art director for top ad agencies such as Saatchi's).

Anyhoo the exhibition has lifted my mood, as did the sunshine, and the only bit of news I caught earlier in the day that Turner Contemporary has so far attracted 100,000 visitors since opening, despite the pervasive negativity from Thanet's darker corners.

Obviously not everyone's the same, but without the TC gallery other local galleries might not exist and if you can't find something to your taste, I feel you must be in a bad way. As a keen photographer with a library of iPhone masterpieces I can tell the difference between my feeble efforts and professional and would recommend you take gander at show and see for yourself. Iphond  classics