Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blatant Britain - Before you go!

I wonder if, what with all these allegations about wrong doing from the mundane like Metropolitan Police loaning horses, to News International staff  badgering one time child star Charlotte Chuch to perform at Rupert Murdoch's last wedding, dozens of public figures hacked, journalists arrested, police taking bribes or being given jobs, even serious accusations of News of the World putting detectives investigating a murder under surveillence,  whether before he leaves these shores for good, it might just be prudent for our police to ask James Murdoch, if he's absolutely sure he doesn't know anything about all this malarkey.

Still what do Top bods know about anything, not a lot I suppose. How pleasing to see old Rupert launch his Sunday Sun, as if nothing ...............

I'm not to keen on a horses but could I borrow a car instead?

I see that the metropolitan police, loaned Rebekah Brooks, a horse, such was and maybe still is the relationship between News International and London's finest.

Assuming the met accept the principle of equal opportunities, I wonder if I could loan one of those cars they have with blue flashing lights discreetly hidden in the grill.

I'll put my own fuel in it, but it would come in handy getting to and fro from work.

PS I'll be kinder in future with my comments.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's wrong with saying sorry councillor?

Not having paid much attention to local politics recently I just had a quick read of the letter that Cllr Ian Driver has sent, to the Gazette and I have to say, what's wrong with councillors admitting they've made a mistake.

According to Cllr. Ian Driver, Cllr Mike Harrison "described a woman who complained about being called love as a “frustrated dried up bint”, I believe there is any interpretation of the word that isn't derogatory.

I don't think Councillors should dig themselves a deeper hole by trying to explain such language, and I hope that Cllr Mike Harrison is referred to a standards board.

Anyhow here's Ian's letter in full.

Like  Councillor  Julie Marson I am shocked and angered by the remarks published by Labour Councillor Mike Harrison’s on his “Newington Blogspot”. Although many readers will be offended, I believe it’s in the public interest to record the fact that Harrison described a woman who complained about being called love as a “frustrated dried up bint”. This is perhaps one of the most extreme examples of misogyny I have ever read.

The Labour Party is based upon a long and proud tradition of decency and respect for others including leading the fight for women’s equality. For Harrison to publish such derogatory and offensive anti-women remarks is, in my opinion, incompatible with party membership and brings Labour into disrepute. I will be contacting the Party and demanding a full investigation. I will also be complaining to Thanet Council’s Standards Committee.

 In my opinion there is no place in public life for someone who expresses such reactionary and disrespectful views.

What worries me most of all about this sad episode is however Labour Leader Clive Hart and Thanet Labour Party’s apparent lack of concern over Harrison’s appalling comments.

It’s been over two week since you published Cllr Mason’s complaint about Harrison’s blog. In that time Thanet Labour Party have failed to disassociate themselves from Harrison’s sickening comments.

They have not apologised for any offence he may have caused, nor does it appear they are planning to take any disciplinary action against Harrison, even though he has clearly broken party rules.

Worst of all, at the time of writing this letter, Thanet Labour Party’s blog site is still carrying a prominent hyperlink to Harrison’s offensive article!  What does all this say about Thanet Labour’s concern for women?

Your readers may wish to note that less than one year ago Harrison and Thanet Labour Party quite rightly demanded the resignation of Tory council election candidate Payam Tamiz for making outrageous sexist comments on Facebook about the women of Thanet.  But now they appear to be turning a blind eye when one of their own members does precisely the same thing. Is this because they don’t want to take any action against Harrison because it might risk their control of the Council?   In my book that’s called hypocrisy.
I am so outraged by Harrisons action that I have set up a Facebook page  “Thanet Says Stand Down Harrison” which will allow local people to have their say about this appalling behaviour.

Councillor Ian Driver

Monday, February 27, 2012

Missy the football spectator

If you think I'm currently lacking inspiration, you could be right, anyway scraping the bottom of the blogging barrel for content, I've come up with Missy the cat, I could of course pick up of one or two local stories Cllr Ian Driver, upset about something or other, Kent council doing its best to curb the access to information

I even thought of commenting on scarf wearing at airports, but have no desire to be arrested for what was once considered free speech.

Murdoch is also someone who needs commenting on, it seems that with so much needing to be resolved at news international, particularly the suspicion that hacking and bribery of public officials is as bad as it looks, perhaps Rupert a man with such passion for news papers, would be able to add valuable insight to police enquiries, whilst he's in this country.

Well at least the family cat Missy has her eye on the ball.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

KENT WATCH - Taxing questions for Kent's Tories and what else is being hidden?

Not having time to blog having other fish to fry, as it were, I just thought that these following stories from professional sources might well provide, interesting reading.

This one for instance I assume, will not just trouble conservatives but councillors from all parties particularly those living some distance from Maidstone, it seems that in tax terms, councillors are easy pickings for HMRC who are seeking to get back taxes, for travel expenses, it's been well documented that senior tax officials are happy to accept hospitality, from large corporations, who are even more happy to rob the British economy of billions, for the price of a meal, in a swish restaurant rather than stump up tax due. 

For mere mortals which includes Kent's councillors, along with you and I, businesses outside the multi-national league, who cannot afford lavish hospitality or employ armies of Tax experts and lawyers, HMRC are happy to act tough and pick off easy targets, unlike the alleged actions in writing off many millions owed to the nation by companies like vodaphone.

On a similar topic, this story concerning,  Deputy Leader of Kent Council Alex King, also highlights, travel in this case, the use of a tax payer funded chauffeur driven car (15 times in a year) to take the deputy to his exclusive London Club, outrageous you might think, however I'm sure, once you understand that these trips were council business, and that lobbying guru Douglas Smith is also a member of the club and a close friend of Alex King, you'll be assuaged of any thoughts of inappropriate use of your council tax.

Finally to round up, I suggest that you read this article, which delves into the spending by KCC of £394,000 on lobbying firms, (these are the mysterious companies which communicate with politicians to sway government policy) anyhow interestingly, assuming you don't have the energy to click the link above, here's a couple key points KCC paid out £394,000 in  an eleven year period to companies founded by Douglas Smith, a friend of Cllr Alex King and the former chief executive of the council (when they still had such a post) Peter Gilroy is reported to have "said he cancelled a standing contract with Westminster Advisers because he felt it "could be seen as inappropriate". Surely not!  

PS I've always been of the view that Kent Council has misspent your council tax on PR, it's been a regular item on the agenda here at Bignews Margate, particular concern is the way the councils press department has often avoided engaging openly to explain our local government,  perhaps a final story, which once again highlights the secretive nature of Kent Council is this one basically it refers to the case of Jane Clarke, who as former head of communications at KCC, found it necessary to take the authority to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. Ironically once again a former employee (this time a communications expert)  has agreed a confidential settlement and we the taxpayers are left wondering what KCC couldn't allow us the taxpayer to know.

Of course Conservative councillors will no doubt sight confidentiality and all that, as a reason, for doing yet another secret deal with a former employee but what conclusion can we the public draw other than the former communications director was unfairly dismissed, or why else would the council be giving our money away, and further we can all be forgiven for thinking just what are the conservative administration hiding?

I think the public interest outweighs any need for confidentiality in this last matter, clearly the former employee accepted that her claim for unfair dismissal would find its way into the public domain, during a tribunal, so what possble reason could there be for confidentiality, other than hiding some embarrassment to Kent's Conservative council.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Posting - Press Release from Kent Lib Dems

Note to readers the following press release is reproduced here to give some balance, concerning the recent perilous state of Kent's child services, regular and fair minded readers will acknowledge that I don't slavishly promote a single political view, indeed ironic as it is, one councillor has resorted to abuse and fiction, having been a "guest" poster on this site on more than one occasion.
Anyway I thought reading this, it gives some perspective, to the onslaught of public relations and bluster coming from conservatives in the county, as they have failed to address the route cause of this failure.

Kent had "Haringey" levels of vacancies in Childrens Social Services

Trudy Dean
Trudy Dean: "The system that allowed this tragedy to happen still exists. We must change it."

Liberal Democrats at County Hall have renewed their calls for an inquiry into the failure of services to children in care in Kent. Trudy Dean (Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition) revealed for the first time that data about vacancy levels in Kent were known to be at high risk well before an unannounced inspection by OFSTED resulted in a critical report.
At the Full county Council meeting on 9th February, Trudy gave County Councillors statistics revealing social worker vacancies as early as 2008 were across the county awash with red - indicating a level of high risk. Throughout 2009 over half of the county social work teams had vacancy rates of over 25% - worse than in Haringey where Peter Connelly 'Baby P' died in 2007.
Trudy Dean said:
"In Ashford, Swale, Dartford, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells rates were over 25% throughout the majority of the year. In Thanet rates were over 25% throughout the entire year. In Dartford vacancy rates were exceeding 40% over four consecutive months.
"I cannot believe Members given these figures would have failed to take the necessary action to fill these vacancies in 2008 - as we did when OFSTED blew the lid off this two years later!"
"This information was all available in KCC, but was never shared with councillors. I also understand it was never shared with the senior departmental management teams."
"So who did see it? Why it was not revealed? Why was KCC told in April 2010 that Children Social Services was 'coping' and that there were no concerns about professional standards. When only four months later (August 2010) OFSTED disagreed. Since then, under new staff, we have spent £14M this year and will spend another £7M next year bringing our services up to standard.
"But the system that allowed this tragedy to happen still exists. We must change it."
Trudy called for an inquiry into how it happened and an external inquiry since many of the individuals involved have left KCC.
"I want a clause in all officers' contracts to oblige them to reveal information which councillors need to do their job properly. If we take this simple step we will ensure these failures do not occur again - because the human cost of failure was borne by 2,600 of Kent's' children who were potentially at risk of serious harm"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I see that senior Kent Conservative KCC Leader Cllr Paul Carter still continues to object to an inquiry into how Kent council left 2600 children at serious risk of harm. 

This weeks Thanet Times reports on how Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Trudy Dean is calling for an independent inquiry into the matter.

My own personal view is this, Kent council endangered the lives of our most vulnerable, namely our children, and since Ofsted reported on the inadequate child services, Kent council have now spent millions on rectifying the situation, at no point has the Conservative administration offered any explaination of how the services became so run down.

What possible conclusion can one draw at the reluctance of Kent Conservatives, responsible for governing services, objecting to an honest independent inquiry.

I wonder why Paul Carter, maintains this line " I feel there is no need whatsoever for a public inquiry"

In my opinion until we know what went wrong we can only draw our own conclusions, which is a shame as  is the reluctance to be open and honest. 

I suggest you ask one of Kent's Conservative councillors who can be found here, and don't forget you're paying these people quite generously, so how about you ask your representative, what's going on and make them earn your money.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TAXI! Youtube video should it be used in private disputes - I think not

When was the last time you ended an evening out, a little less considerate and respectful, perhaps maybe some of your judgement having been eroded by a few to many vodka and cokes or in my case Kronenbourg 1664.

Anyhow I understand that a local taxi driver who has had allegations made against him by customer, has now posted what appears to have been a secretly recorded film, I stumbled upon this as a caught up reading comments from an earlier post, where an anonymous contributor had linked to a you tube video showing a customer complaining in the back of a taxi, which I guess was filmed as some young women returned home.

A bit annoyed that someone posted this video on my site, I contacted the company that was mentioned as employing the taxi driver, not surprisingly they are equally upset as this does no good for their reputation, I understand that the company concerned is and understandably trying to get Youtube to remove the offending material.

Now I know that many taxi drivers see video recording as a protection aswell as being useful evidence should it be necessary, a fair point however the video is not apparently a complete record of the conversation because it starts mid conversation, and this is where I feel customers are more than entitled to being safe guarded, and I understand the company involved feel similarly, we do not know what preceeded or even how things finished so it could be entirely misleading.

Understand this much any moron can post a comment to this site, but if I become aware I will delete content, to protect reputations, I don't always read every comment but please email if you have any concerns and if I don't reply please email till I do since some emails also get missed.

So if you have a private personal dispute, please keep it so, don't litter my blog with it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kent Watch - BBC bigs up Conservative police candidate?

As you will know, from time to time I query the objectivity and quality of news reporting particularly from the BBC in the south east, on some occasions I also question the direction and conduct of our Police, well the two subjects were combined, in a single news report last week.

Tuesday (7th) BBC South East Today had a story concerning retired Col. Tim Collins, who is to stand as a candidate for the new role of elected police commissioner in Kent, with the backing of the Tory establishment, now clearly Col.Tim Collins is a serious candidate, who not surprisingly having retired from military service a hero, might perhaps just be the man to take on the role.

However for me a couple of issues not really connected with Tim Collins, arise from this report and the quandry for me, is about fairness and balance, just to remind you of some of the detail, as I recall, if I've got this right Col. Tim Collins is of the view that he could perform the duties of Police Commissioner, part time stating "It would be a part-time role for me. I don't see there's full time work in it." apparently also making light of the responsibilities of this post suggesting "What we need is someone who can listen to the public" (as I understand the role is also about decisions making, budget, setting the agenda and appointing the chief constable, not as simple as it Tim Collins would have it)

No surprise Kent Police Federation described the idea, as  " nonsence", myself I'd use stronger language, but that is not what bothers me, having done my own research, to me this report lacked both balance and background, firstly my worry is of a bias, Tim Collins has as a result, of what seems to me,  a flippant attitude to policing in Kent, and for all we know Kent conservatives may have massaged up a story, in which Ian Pointon chairman of Kent Police Federation has responded with a pertinent comment but all this resulted in Tim Collins, getting prominent prime time, publicity resulting in name recognition, now just briefly mentioning the background, as I understand talking to those, who know these things, the nitty gritty of the election has yet to be finalised, such things as  nominations for candidates, perhaps a deposit such as in elections for MP's etc, so we don't know who else will be standing.

To summarise, I think this news story, could be seen, as an early but important bit of publicity for the the conservative candidate, in the election for Kent Police Commissioner, and of course its worth pointing out Dover council who are organising or administering the elections are not expecting the details of the electoral process until sometime in the spring.  

I feel that the BBC should take greater care in its news reporting. The BBC speak of "opposing voices" in reports to achieve political balance, a somewhat banal phrase, I guess from the BBC wallah I spoke  to, that role was taken by the chairman of Kent Police Federation, but I cannot help feel that a potential rival for the post, should have been used to prevent suggestions, such as mine that this report, favoured the proposed  conservative candidate.

Maybe should I announce my candidacy for the role, BBC South East, will send one of it's journos out to report on a candidate who believes that whoever is elected as Police Commissioner for Kent takes a more serious attitude toward the role.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bignews does the ramble Art, Politics, Icy roads, plus local Blog Rankings

Some bloggers, have a sunday ramble, a weekly ramble and possibly a daily ramble, with time to burn yesterday, rather than sit and fester at Flaig Mansions, I thought I've two choices Mrs Me has requested that I tidy up the study/library (spare room with lots of stuff old papers, brochures, magazines, books, tools and work gear) or I could get some fresh air.

I have until the end of the week to tidy up, or else and not having had much fresh air I decided to get out, anyhow although Mrs Me doesn't appreciate these things but I have tidied up the old desktop, defragged the hard drive, removed a lot of rubbish and updated stuff, so despite the bitter cold a walk was by far the more appealing option. I don't generally ramble or muse but here goes.

It's difficult to express how poor our local authority has been in clearing roads, as for pavements forget about it, despite listening to upbeat music on my iphone I could not help but have dark thoughts about our county and district councillors, particularly the former since these blighters trouser I think 13 grand plus a year, for what, couldn't they at least earn the money by clearing paths or something.

I cheered up, once in Margate to realise that contrary to media reports, there was some life left in Margate, and Rooks butchers still sell fine savoury delights such as sausage rolls and one of there unique specialities the cheese and bacon twist, basically a circle of puff pastry, with bacon and melted cheese on top, delicious, even better that, they now sell coffee.

Fortified I stumbled, back into the "Market" then walk down the lower high street, obviously activity is low, but which high street is still thriving, anyhow wandering around the old town, its pleasing to see the shops that are occupied which five years ago were empty, I visited the Margate Gallery which has expanded since I last visited and currently has a fine exhibition of work "Lovers of Light".

I see Southern Gas networks are busy ripping up much of Margate with considerable  mess in the old town, I just hope that they leave things as they found them but I'd take a guess that some of the elaborate blockwork paving will get replaced with tarmac, on to the Harbour Arm, I see this is now colonised by contractors building flood defences,  given that work is set to continue throughout the year, I just wonder how serious the risk of flooding is and whether its worth a years disruption.

Saturday I visited Turner Elements, but through the magic of the mobile phone, got interupted, so yesterday spent an hour or so wandering round the Turner Contemporary, first the Hamish Fulton exhibition, which devotes itself to the artist's interest in walking, with no to wish criticise I cannot help thinking if the artist, was to document his quest to fill out his annual tax return, using randomly sized notices and simple bold text, bullet points, accompanied with equally random pictures, then there would be little difference indeed it might prove more interesting.

Coming to the "Turner Elements", this is as you'd expect marvelous, the exhibition is pegged on the idea of elements as understood by greeks? earth wind water and fire and er air, anyway some great pictures and snippets of Turner capturing ideas, impressions of light and objects, a sort of visual memory, brilliant still a small point, one picture Evening of the Deluge is lit from above and the frame casts a shadow over the picture.

The Turner Elements is a great distraction from the world, outside the gallery is another distraction as much disconnected from the reality as anything inside, at first glance it looks like a hastily arranged Tracy Emin retrospective, from her tent period but happens to be the  "occupy campaign" camped at the bottom of the stairs, you have to admire the futility and stupidity of the protest, a vague and apparently pointless, anticapitalist group with no realistic objectives or goals. I couldn't help wondering whether hidden within the mess of tents, campaigners hadn't pegged out, however on leaving I could hear disembodied voices coming from within the canvas, rather them than me.

Taking a glance at "Occupy Thanet" vacant, facebook page and having taken a gander at the bland meaningless press release, even with the "like" endorsement from local activist and film maker Christine Tongue, someone ought to be kind and tell them their wasting their time.

I hope that someone gets this lot get evicted, Margate harbour area all ready looks a mess, with the harbour arm converted into a builders yard, the clump of tents just by the entrance is a complete pigs breakfast, of course had the protesters a rational objective, instead of wallowing in pity and loathing of vile capitalists, why don't they do something, like get a job, or if they already work, get a better job and be happy.

As a capitalist in the loosest definition, that is I go to work and earn money, I'd like to see that the someone from the jobcentre, makes sure I'm not grafting to subsidise these people, particularly since they can't even bother to articulate themselves.

I applaud protest, when it has an objective like that of the late Brian Haw a long term campaigner, who set up his own peace camp opposite Parliament, reminding politicians of the consequences of decisions over Iraq, for the last ten years and even if you don't agree at least you can respect the man's purpose in speaking up for children and civilians, victims of the Iraq war.

Sorry for the ramble finally, I took a quick glance at rankings using figures from Ebuzzing formally Wikio as you can be sure these are kind to me, which is why I wont be quoting my google page rank which has slipped down the toilet. I know Michael Child publishes monthly figures but anyhoo these are independent.

Bignews Margate score  801
Thanet Press score 833 (mostly from TDC PR who I thought Michael was no longer going to use )
Thanet Life score1000
Thanetonline score 1574
Thanet Star score 1907
Thanet Waves score 14073 (this is the first reference to this site and as such is likely to rise rapidly since  Luke Edwards site is one of the better reads in Thanet,.

NEXT IF I GET ROUND TO IT - Another instance of BBC sloppy reporting?

Monday, February 06, 2012

National Rail Enquiries - Stonewall for Southeastern

As you will appreciate from the graphic above, finding that the National Rail Enquiries couldn't answer a straight questions yesterday (see earlier post), about train services without giving the wrong answer, least not those posed by my family, or it seems anyone else, I thought I'd try again, having heard some real "porkies" yesterday.

National Rail Enquiries invites you and I to ask Lisa and from her photograph she looks helpful enough, so I thought I'd start by asking her Why can't you give honest reliable information about Southeastern trains?, as you'll see, above, she swerved the first question, answering one that hadn't been asked.

I asked a few more questions

Shall I try and make it simple?
Lisa says:
I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean. Could you please rephrase it for me?

I find it easier to understand short sentences and keywords.

Why can't you give accurate information for Southeastern trains?
Lisa says: Nothing

If you don't know who does?
Lisa says:
I've been programmed with lots of information, so I hope I'm giving you the right answer.

Could I speak to your manager?
Lisa says:
I'm loading our Feedback page, which will point you in the right direction to let us or a Train Operating Company have your feedback.

Lisa says:
It sounds like you want to pass some kind words of thanks to us about travelling by train. It's nice when someone goes out of their way to say a few kind words of praise about someone.

not really
Lisa says:
I'm struggling to grasp what you mean. It might help if you use just a few keywords to explain what you're trying to find out.

I have to say that the complacent and dare I say, contemptible attitude shown by the rail industry toward  consumers comes as no surprise and in reality I wonder if after nearly 20 years of privatisation anything has really changed since BR days, yes large heaps of money are being handed to commercial companies however they still seem to exude that public sector attitude of arrogance that somehow their doing us a favour and we the customer should be grateful for any service.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Shock Horror - Thanet disrupted by a bit of Snow

Who could have predicted that a few inches of snow could interrupt travel and business to the extent that it has today.

How is it that South Eastern Trains in the days of Twitter Facebook and all those other internet resources, could not communicate, the fact that trains leaving from Minster were basically stuffed, checking on the internet South Eastern were optimistically and with no apparent  reference to reality was suggesting that trains were "on time", which according to Mrs Me was certainly not the case.

Eventually Mrs Me got a train from Faversham, and missed the kick off at Chelsea, and is not happy, not following these things myself, I suggested that at least she'd seen a few goals, not knowing that Chelsea were at one point 3 up against M U, I expect she'll be writing a letter tomorrow to South Eastern, and I suspect by the end of the week they'll be ignoring it.

Anyhoo I got to shop up at a deserted Westwood, only interrupted with an irate phone call, but really how difficult could it be to sort out, our transport systems, and how come the roads are in such a poor state, Kent Highways are in my opinion useless, you see them out gritting on mild winter evenings, and the first snow flake....

Just as I finished this posting, I kid you not, I  came across this from another blogger Chris Scoggins who is happy to state on his blog "I'm Chris Scoggins, the Chief Executive of National Rail Enquiries – a privately-owned company that runs one of the UK’s top websites and one of the busiest telephone services."  even better I note that not only are trains late but such is the culture at National Rail Enquires, his New Year Greetings, are not posted until 20th of January!

Mrs Me, has now arrived home and will be sending a letter, to perhaps Mr Scroggins tomorrow, maybe something along the lines Dear Mr Scoggins how is it that four people contacted independently, rail enquires to be told that trains were running as scheduled from Minster, only to find this couldn't be further from the truth, why couldn't you and your flippin colleagues give the correct information.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Missy the Cat

I thought I'd not blog today, so instead here's some pictures of Missy the new family cat, admittedly there are plenty more serious subjects to choose from locally and the greater world, stuff like Sainsbury's proposed new supermarket, which if it goes ahead will make traveling out of Margate a mission, as of course will the wretched plan to allow Tesco, to occupy an incongruous location for massive supermarket on the front of Margate seafront and of course not forgetting the equally out of place "occupy protest" outside the Turner Gallery 

Still its the weekend and for once I'm  not working, I hope to get down to see the elements and hope to be the first local blogger to resist the temptation of engaging with anti capitalist protesters, a tall order indeed, which thus far neither Michael Child, Luke Edwards, Simon Moores has resisted, perhaps Peter Checksfield could do a photo shoot for his blog, for myself I might fail to resist the urge to suggest they get a job (yes I accept that the protesters if not in full time employment are actively seeking work by seeking the downfull of the capitalist system).

Anyway this blogger shall mainly be concerned with occupying a comfortable armchair at Flaig Mansions enjoying the company of family, watchin telly, observing as the cat continues her education, dark thoughts of gready bankers, bent politicians can at least wait till Sunday.

Friday, February 03, 2012

BBC Judge and Jury?

Chris Huhne resigns, having no choice following allegations, as I understand by his ex-wife, who suddenly if I've got this right, confessed to having taken penalty points for a speeding offence (way back in 2003), some years later in 2011, which should have gone taken by her then husband.

Both will now appear in court to answer charges of perverting the course of justice, now I cannot help thinking, the rights and wrongs of this will be decided by a jury, however I cannot help thinking that the over  the top coverage being played out just now on the BBC's News channel is prejudicial, and if I was unkind might suggest its also biased and plain boring.

Switching channels, I see Sky news have other items on their news, maybe as I often suspect, BBC Journalist are just too lazy, why bother reporting news when, you can chit chat in a vaguely relevant way to a colleague standing somewhere in Westminster talking well informed bollix.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Where's my vote? - Scots dictate my future, why?

I've had a little break from blogging and apart from yesterdays post on Turner, a few things have rattling around the fairly insignificant Flaig brain as subjects fit for discussion, honesty or lack of it has been mooted by acedemics and rather cheekily in my opinion by David Harnett boss of HMRC complaining about tax evasion when as I understand he allowed Vodafone and Goldman Sachs to side step billions in tax payments, another worry is continued British involvement in Afganistan supporting a corrupt government, fighting a barbaric opposition and with all this going on a country where primitive pea brained religious leaders imprison victims of rape apparently backed by a hostile Pakistan, still with all that, the subject which gives me most cause for concern is Scottish voters and politicians running roughshod over the democratic rights of the majority of British people.

Some time ago I predicted the break up, of the United Kingdom and now it looks to me as if within the next Ten years it will be game over for the British Nation. Now I don't have any particular grievance against Scotland or it's people, however I do object to, preferential treatment given to fellow British citizens, some of you will recall how Labour sold out England when devolving power to Scotland and Wales, for some reason Labour didn't think it necessary to allow for equality, so we have a situation where regional decisions concerning England can well be decided by Scots MP's which explains why English students pay tuition fees and Scots don't likewise with prescription fees and care for the elderly.

How Blair and Brown justified devolved government excluding England has slipped my mind or why it didn't provoke outrage in England at the time, still it's pretty much a fait accompli, I'm sure if lose weight adopt a healthy lifestyle I shall live long enough to say I told you so.

Labour were very much polished in the use or rather misuse of language, for propaganda purposes at the time Blair and Brown were encouraging the break up of the United Kingdom, much play was made of English "Regional Assemblys" to pervert the inclination of English people asking for an equivalent devolved English Parliament, however even this bone was eventually withdrawn.

So where do we stand more than 10 years on from the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament, well if your Scottish not bad, chances are you've got a cushty, job courtesy of the British taxpayer, and the satisfaction of after years of blaming the English, you currently have the upper hand.

I find being English that whether I want to or not, I feel somehow responsible for past sins of Britain, whether it's engineering the Irish potato famine, Scottish land clearances  or colonisation of much of the globe, despite the reality that those responsible were as always the minority wealthy governing classes.

To summarise, I feel it's time we all took a reality check about honesty, morality Britain, as I pontificate, the United Kingdom is lets face run from the top down by cretinous politicians and supported by a bent press, rotten to the core, big business evades billions of tax, and overpaid half wits at HMRC expect us to pick up the tab, worst still  although the UK has less influence than at anytime in it's history, a worrying number of this country's citizens are bent on attacking fellow countrymen and British service personnel are put at risk for what, in Afghanistan.

On the later point I'd like to see the government withdraw British forces today and instead educate communities susceptible to hostile views of anti western terrorists, of the liberties, freedoms, tolerance, equality and dare I say once acceptable customs of this nation, still I didn't mention democracy since it's the case, that Labour despite using that solid sounding term "stakeholder" often referring to the likes of you and me, have disbarred English residents from having a say on the future of the United Kingdom, the only ones who count are those residing in Scotland, since they get to vote, and you and I don't.

Even the thought of not having to see a smug Alex Salmond, explain how his dynamic Scottish economy is flourishing without mentioning the huge subsidy by British (English taxpayers) is quite a bonus but the price for both Scotland and England is I think too much, still what I think doesn't count does it.

PS I've probably overstepped the mark and I suspect that a few will have me down as a nut, something that might well be, still, my generation grew up in a time when free speech was more so than it is today. We live in a world today where sadly you cannot upset anybody and where the rich can without cause easily silence free speech with a bent lawyer.

MANSTON -Bob Bayford Leader Thanet Conservatives refutes Labour Claims

It seems that Bob Bayford is a tad, upset, (see press release below) as well he might be, on claims made be the Leader of Thanet Council,Cllr Clive Hart, that he created " monster of a process " referring to consultation over Manston night time flying policy, for myself despite, an apparent cross party agreement on helping Manston expand at the time it was suggest BA world Cargo might use the airport, it has become a political football, sadly with Labour milking the nimby vote for all its worth, with little consideration for those of us, who work for a living.

Still below is the Conservative Press release

Manston Airport - Open Letter from Bob Bayford, TDC Conservative Group
31 January 2012

Leader Clive Hart's latest press release concerning consultation on Infratil's night-time flying policy is simply breathtaking in its distance from the truth.

He claims that I had created 'a monster of a process', clearly ignoring the fact that the approach to consultation was determined by an in-house group of officers together with myself and (Labour) Councillor Mike Harrison, the then chair of the Airport Working Party. A draft process was then taken to that working party, where members made their contribution before final agreement. Hardly my process!

During the formative stages, a number of principles were established, with Cllr Harrison's full agreement. Amongst these were:-

1)  That the substantive consultation had to be carried out by an independent, well-respected organisation. This was to remove any suggestion of TDC bias in the results.

2)  That any reports produced by the airport in support of their proposals would be subjected to a rigorous 'peer review' to establish their veracity.

3)  That the consultation should be 'zoned' to ensure that weighting was afforded to those most affected by night-time flying but that opinion had to be sought from not only the rest of Thanet but also those other residents and businesses in Kent who had an interest in Manston's expansion. To facilitate this wider consultation, KCC were contributing £40,000 towards the cost and Canterbury City Council £5000.
  1. That getting the consultation right was more important than rushing to a conclusion.

As far as I am aware, these principles were all endorsed by the working party.

The timing of the consultation was always going to be determined by when the airport submitted its policy proposal and the subsequent submission of noise impact and economic impact reports. The peer review of the latter was published on 23rd of January, which clears the way for public consultation.

The only money spent by TDC to date is the cost of the peer reviews. In my opinion, whatever the future may hold with regard to Manston, it was vital that any reports produced for the airport should have been subjected to expert, independent scrutiny, to inform the Council's stance on the airport's activities.

I am frankly surprised by the present leader's stance on this issue. On the one hand, he suggests that there is no need for the Council to consult but then proposes a half-baked consultation, guaranteed to produce a biased outcome.

Whether the Council can, at this stage, make any binding decisions on the airport is irrelevant. TDC has a civic leadership responsibility to have a view on the airport's expansion and operational ambitions. It is a topic that elicits strong opinions on both sides of the argument. The eventual fate of the airport will have economic and environmental consequences for many. TDC must give a lead, having considered the public's views and Infratil's proposals.

Bob Bayford
Leader, TDC Conservative Group

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Turner Complacency

Above from Turner Contemporary Facebook page
I'm indebted to Cllr Clive Hart (Leader of Thanet Council)  for inspiration on this blog post, having received an email reminder of what I could have enjoyed, had I been aware of, that being the projection of a poem by artist Lemn Sissay, who I assume is somewhat more accomplished in arranging words than I, anyhow it looked from photographs on Clive's Facebook page to have been a fantastic visual treat.

I have to admit that I dont know enough to tell when words become poetry, however I'm sure I'd have enjoyed the visual side of this event, certainly Cllr Hart's photograph's shows that this projection lifted the normaly bland monochrome appearance of the gallery into something special and sympathetic to Margate's brash gaudy heritage.

I regularly check out the Turner Contemporary website and have to say, that Gallery seems to run a selective or ineffective public relations/information strategy , although this event was not directly commissioned by the gallery, it was linked and should have been bigged up, a bit more than it was, speaking to the gallery bods yesterday, I mentioned I could find no reference and was pointed to a brief mention in the whats on section.

Looking at the "press" section of Turner Contemporary website, there seems to be a dearth of information, according to the list of press releases, since December 19th last year, nothing has been worthy of mention, such as Lemn Sissay or indeed, Jon Snow news presenter, officially opening the exhibition last Friday  (according to this weeks Thanet Times), an event one assumes to allow the top knobs to er hobnob, without risk of being exposed to us lower orders, who through patronage of the national lottery, and tax system  fund the gallery.

I appreciate that Turner Contemporary is marketed and promoted with a bit more panache than the odd email or press release, using social media such as facebook and personal contacts, but it doesn't seem, judgeing by a quick glance, at the main website, as if there has been any great excitement, over the arrival of Turner's elements.

No doubt some of you have an idea that I have a downer on the gallery, not so and get hacked off at the muppets who litter the letters page of the Isle of Thanet Gazette with simplistic views, however since to the best of my knowledge the gallery is publically funded, I just question why the gallery has been schtum about what was billed by the Guardian as the opening of Turner and the Elements on Friday 27th. Given that  John Kampfner is both chair of the Board of Turner Contemporary and Chief Executive of the organisation Index on Censorship, I can't help thinking that there is more than a hint of irony. Still that's my opinion, and since I like to think we're a bit more inclusive here at Bignews Margate, John Kampfner or anyone else can always correct me by making a comment.

Anyhoo remember that T C is part of local life, not just a curiosity for arty farty types from London so enjoy the elements a real treat I'm sure, and finally it's clear that the gallery has reached out to those locally who are receptive and this first year will have exceeded the projected visitor numbers, however I hope that people arent complacent for myself I think that T C will continue to succeed  but they cannot relax.

PS I may have been harsh taking a gander at TC's facebook pages, these seem more informative and active than the proper Website, me I don't really do facebook and as it gets more intrusive the less I like.