Friday, June 29, 2012

SHOCK HORROR CHEESE AISLE EMPTY and Thanet councillors in squabble

A wot the heck moment, as I read allegations of well .. yawn Thanet politicians, web pages and flippin Facebook, Simon Moores cyber super sluth and Will Scobie the worlds youngest living Mayor of Margate. Do we really care.  Labour looks after families, the Harts, Greens, etc so what if Will Scobie wants to help his girlfriend!

I've been preoccupied but for what it's worth, neither of these councillors inspire any confidence, and really I have difficulty taking either seriously, first lets dispense with Moores, he himself seems accident prone in the web department having last year linked my name (by hypertext link) to a story about a beached whale, something which at first I thought was a juvenile school boy joke, although soon, realised it was genuine mistake though not something I ever done myself in last 1700 odd posts till now but Simon convinced me that it was an Ipad error.

Now Will Scobie, Mayor of Margate, would have probably done better just to briefly brush off, Simon's accusation, maybe a suggestion that if Moores was correct in his claims, it was an error blah blah blah.  I take it Will has chosen to be a professional politician, and in my opinion needs to up his game, it's clearly no accident, that he was chosen as Mayor, and I understand, this is seen by some, as a cynical means, by which young Will can ingratiate himself, with large numbers of people helping him bag a place in the county council, paying thirteen grand a year currently + exe's, till such time as he can get a proper job like MP!

Still more importantly here at Flaig mansions comes news from Mrs Me, that shock horror the cheese aisle up at Tesco was empty except for one cold cabinet at the end, still even worse was the news that Tesco is now making you deposit a pound to use a blimin trolley, Christ you expect that sort of thing a Asda Aldi and Lydl.

I say stuff your facebook spats, some things are more important! not only was cheese in limited supply at the supermarket I was disappointed to learn a  that fresh roast chicken was not available either.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Home Office nobble race for Election of Police Commissioners?

Back in may, in an article published by the Kent Messenger Group and written by David Cameron's team, explaining the new role of Police and Crime Commisioners, the following is a excerpt "This isn't just for politicians, but community leaders and pioneers of all sorts. People with real experience who've done things and run organisations, whether they are charities or companies. Whatever their background, they will need to be outstanding leaders ready to take a really big role on behalf of all of us

The overall impression was  that the new role would open an exciting era of exceptional people, representing, mainstream views and values to hold to account the management of local police forces like Kent's.

However since that time, as you might expect, the idea that some exceptional person should bubble to the surface, has I'm afraid died and party politics and the unimaginative hand of those who work at the Home Office has and will kill any idea of someone of ability representing the ordinary man or women.

My interest was heightened earlier in the year, when one candidate a no nonsense military type, who I thought at the time, might prove interesting should anyone delve a bit, briefly absorbed media attention, so I thought I'd make enquires, as to what qualifications would be required to stand for this post.

Anyhow full details have yet to be announced but as I understand it, nomination requirements and deposit are now belatedly available, still I think quite a few party political candidates, have been chosen as they have the organisation to pay deposits and gather signatures.

Despite the impression that maybe non-politicians, would be ideal as candidates for role of PCC it looks to me, that what we will get, is the standard institutionalised muppet from either Tory or Labour party, perhaps retired or booted out of Westminster?

For any independents considering standing, things will be tough, the Home Office guidelines require a 100 people to nominate them, and a £5000 deposit, to be forfeited if they get less than 5% of the vote.  Small beer to a mainstream party and lets be honest, as we all know Labour or Tory, and you could put up a monkey and still get votes, but even for that exceptional person outside of politics a daunting task.

It looks to me that the Home Office have set the bar, to exclude individuals and favour the old school, how sad, wouldn't it be great if our police could be answerable, to a normal honest person who would have a balanced view of life, rather than the usual political insider who Knows how to manipulate things.

Still with I think around 85 grand on offer, who else but a politician would be after the job, and as someone pointed out to me, £85 grand pa, no chance of getting the P45, for four years, watching politicians jump on this bandwagon has been like watching rats go up a drain pipe.

So we have a big lie "This is not just for politicians" said Cameron as far  I can see politicians, are not best qualified for the posts, but they will find it a lot easier than any competent independent.

When this idea was proposed,  it was a good one and could still be good, if amongst those not eligible to apply they added politicians to the list.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This is taken from Unlock Democracy, many of you will feel uncomfortable that our government is still regulated by a rag bag of unelected tory toffs, Liberals and Labour dinosaurs, I thought it might be helpful to understand how we can reform the Lords.
Unlock Democracy

Lords Reform Bill - write to your MP todayThe government finally published the House of Lords Reform Bill this morning. Their proposals are for a much smaller chamber (half the size it is currently) with 80% directly elected by the public.
This is it - over the next few months the House of Commons will be thrashing out the details of this bill and if we want to see this long delayed reform happen, we need to make sure they support it. Can you write to your MP to ask their position today?

This set of proposals has come about as a result of years of painstaking cross-party negotiations and consultation sessions. All three parties have formally supported a largely elected second chamber since 2001. The bill draws from a plan originally drafted by a cross-party group of MPs (Ken Clarke, Sir George Young, Paul Tyler, Tony Wright and the late Robin Cook) in 2005. They are substantially very similar to the proposals published by the then Labour Lord Chancellor Jack Straw in 2009.

They also take on board a whole series of changes as recommended by the Joint Committee of both houses of Parliament which looked at the draft bill and reported its findings earlier this year. Thousands of Unlock Democracy supporters submitted their views to the Joint Committee, the vast majority of whom were broadly supportive. This is the closest to political consensus we’re ever likely to get.

Of course there will be disagreements, but at this stage, there isn’t really much point in quibbling over the details. The proposals will either stand or fall as they are. The indications are that Labour will support the bill, with reservations, but a group of rebels on both sides of the Commons are determined ensure the bill falls, largely for narrow partisan reasons. We can’t afford to let this reform get blocked once again because of political self-interest.

With this in mind, I’m asking you to do one simple thing today: write to your MP to ask them whether they will be supporting the proposals or not - and send us the reply you get. All we need to know at this stage is their position (of course if you want to try convincing them, that’s up to you!).

If you think you already know where your MP stands - we are still keen for you to write to them.The more correspondence MPs receive on Lords reform over the next few weeks, the better. It may help them decide whether they rebel against their party whip, or merely abstain. It’s crucial we put them under as much pressure as possible.

So please write to your MP right now. Our website will make it easy for you:

Many thanks,

Peter Facey
Director, Unlock Democracy

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kentwatch - Secrets and Law

Troubled as many of us are by the apparent waste by Cllr Paul Carter and his Tory colleagues, over seemingly fantastical payouts, in recent times to senior officers who've abruptly disappeared, I thought I'd go to the top.

Keeping politics aside, I'm just interested in, what possible reason Kent Council could have had for dispensing with Katherine Kerswell, and finding it necessary to pay out £420,000, as I feel there maybe significant details missing from Cllr Paul Carter's explanation given back in December last year. 

So for this reason, I emailed Geoff Wild, Kent's Director of Governance and Law, assuming, if anyone would know about a confidentiality agreements, surely it would be he, so you can imagine, my disappointment to receive a reply informing me I'd have to wait for the progress of an FOI request.

"Geoff believes passionately that public sector lawyers should dispel their image as bureaucratic civil servants and display their talents as entrepreneurs to be measured against the best across the whole of the legal profession."   Er sorry, the preceding words in this paragraph are not mine, they come from the Geoff Wild's bio page on KCC's website, which although it mentions business, clients, customers, entrepreneurs makes no mention of community, taxpayers, citizens or people. Where's the public service ethos gone?

I worry that Kent council consistently gives the impression that it is a business and to some extent by  implication that public service is an irrelevance, an impression which is confirmed for me by KCC's Geoff Wild biography web page, the page is devoted to what appears to be a big legal business, which seemingly has no link to the local population,   community needs or public service ethos, reference to governance gets little or no elaboration and zilch about democracy, accountability or indeed reference,as far as I see to any public service benefits.

Perhaps I'm wrong but I thought local authorities should be focused on local people first not  "300 clients nationwide from across the whole of the public sector" as is the case with Kent's Governance and Law department.

Finally the thought occurs, that KCC's entrepreneurial legal department is so blooming marvelous why don't KCC flog it to the private sector, and see if it thrives in the commercial world, and the money made could help local services and maybe fund new contracts even for "the best" officers so if it dont work out, we don't surrender hundreds of thousands of pounds or even half millions as is not the case for a few months work! 

*Please note that my comments (above) represent my views and opinions, hopefully still protected by UK law, a topic I had to correspond previously with Mr Wild after a company working for KCC on a KCC project objected and threatened with legal action against me for holding views about guess what? KCC wasting public money.

Monday, June 25, 2012

up in flames the big non event

One item that went pretty much without notice, clouded by things, earlier in the year, what with the slippery negotiations and general arm twisting which surrounded the demise of Thanet's conservative administration, was the reallocation of a big chunk of money much of which will literally go up in flames on the 19th July.

I refer to £50,000 that had been originally been destined to fund the Margate, Big Event which over the last few years has become a favourite for residents and visitors, I noticed recently a lot of hits on this site arrived after including, Big Event as a search term, still no use crying over the demise, instead we can assume a big chunk that money has gone on a wholesome celebration of the Olympic torch fluttering and flickering through the streets of Thanet.

I'm sure it's a great idea celebrating the sacred flame, from Mount Olympus, representing as it does the ideals of er.. expensive tickets, corporate hospitality, dodgy foreigners reselling tickets on the black market, traffic disruption and officials from countries that abuse human rights of which there are many, is a better way to spend money than two days of family entertainment.

And as I understand it Tracy Emin will once again be pressed into action on behalf or her beloved Margate, forced to run around with the flippin flame, to the Turner Contemporary, blimey hasn't this girl done enough for art and Margate.

Finally what ever happened to the Thanet Pride event I thought that was meant to come back this year, maybe the money went on Labours new best friends instead?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where do you start?

I sit here, that being my armchair in front of a telly, watching F1 (BBC1), oblivious to just why this is referred to, as a sport, rather than what it is, a state paid for advert for the global automotive industry,  I have on  my occasional Sundays off. 

Hopefully I shall shortly be dragged away to spend time with my grand kids.

Yes to the point, I have this compulsion to blog, and I have a hundred subjects, prejudices, call it what you will, these vary from the outrageous theories, to the mildly perplexing issues in life, such as democracy is an illusion designed to make us forget we are poor or why people would ever watch Britain's got talent.

Still currently I have multiple ideas for blogging, Police Crime Commisioners, Kent's selective education why does it make me think about eugenics, The Hackney and Stratford Olympics traffic disruption, Loony councillors left and right, Labour's fessing up over migration.

Where do I begin or should I just not?

So it's just as well that I'm off!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kentwatch - Auditors to investigate Conservative Fat Cat payouts?

It seems that our Conservative run Kent council is once more, facing an inquiry, in to what, most of us would recognise as another fat cat payout, the latest scandal, if that is the right word and in my opinion* it is, revolves around the dismissal or redundancy of Katherine Kerswell, paid a whopping £420,000.00 the sort of money which would take some residents of Kent slightly longer to earn than the eighteen months the Chief Executive(MD) of Kent Council was in post.

Anyway what's to do, well not surprisingly it's not just hard working people, that are sickened by Kent Conservative's loose grip on public money, it seems that council opposition groups are considering a proper investigation, in to the matter, by the auditors.

For myself, I have never believed that Katherine Kerswell, was made redundant, as part of an orderly cost cutting process, for this reason, had that been the case, why did Cllr Paul Carter, Leader of Kent Conservatives, allow what must surely be considered, a misleading press statement, to be made, after Katherine Kerswell had apparently "left the building", Kent Council public relations department put out this gem "We would like to make it clear that Katherine Kerswell is and remains the Managing Director of Kent County Council. It is completely untrue to suggest that she has been dismissed or put on garden leave. That was 16th November 2011 , it all goes quiet and then a few weeks later  December 8th 2011 and er.. whoops!...sorry all change  "Blah blah blah .....Katherine will therefore be leaving the council by the end of the calendar year to pursue these new interests.....blah blah blah.

One aspect that appears to have gone below the radar, is Katherine Kerswell's own version of events, however as I understand it**, Kent's Conservative run council have probably used our money on very effective stealth technology by which I mean a legally binding confidentially or "gagging" order preventing informed judgement, on events prior to the seemingly retrospective decision that the MD had been made redundant.

Further details available here from KM's Paul Francis

*I'm not infallible
** I've just emailed Geof Wild KCC Senior legal bod/officer for clarification 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I don't love Margate that much

I must be weak, but two episodes of the BBC drama series "True Love" has shown me just how much I care for Margate, and I have to admit I don't care enough to lie, frankly without being heavily sedated, I can't make another episode.

Watching the first couple of episodes, even tasteful shots of characters traveling along Margate front and then back the other way didn't lift my spirits, nor Dr Who pretending to be a council officer, I understand that much of drama was improvised by the actors, which if you ask me just enhances the drabness of the stories.

Perhaps if the drama had spent more on writers it would have been better, as for the local commentary, that, this will help promote Margate, I for one, am not buying in to it. I like to be entertained or challenged, this, what I've seen, has been mundane and maudlin, which doesn't have to be bad as was the case with this classic of British cinema.

Hopfully if you clicked on the above, you had a clean hankie, Brief Encounter it is one of those great tragic love stories a bit like Cllr Mike Harrisons relationship between him and his electorate if you click here, it seems a touch of bitterness has come between him the voters as this comment from his "apology" for "inappropriate language" would indicate "I would also like to apologise on behalf of the two complainants for causing a waste of Council resources" where's the love. Cllr Harrison if you use offensive terms what do you expect. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ian Driver ticks another box

Hurrah for Cllr Ian Driver star of yet another video, by Christine Tongue, misleadingly titled "NHS IN THANET UNDER THREAT", for a couple of reasons, one, it seems to me to be a bit of spin and subterfuge, the issue as I understand it is this, company takes over surgery, doctors leave, continuity of service is interrupted, business enters a transition between what was and what it will be, secondly Ian Driver, has meeting, with the new management Concordia then in the debrief post meeting, no surprises apparently according to Ian Driver, Concordia agreed they had got some things wrong and would put things right and do it quickly.

Pretty much what you might expect of any service company in these days or enlightenment, Cllr Driver has secured an understanding, that the company having made a pigs ear of things, will put them right, something they'd presumably do with or without a protest, still no doubt this will be seen as a great step forward in the left leaning activist scene in Thanet, though once you've taken away the bally hoo and Cllr Drivers mega phone all rather mundane, don't you think.

Still of more concern and of more consequence will be tomorrows BMA doctors strike, I don't doubt that this will, be of limited effect, various news reports suggest that many of the 100,000 members of the BMA will ignore the strike.

I'm sure most doctors will realise, that by any standards, their doing all right, currently some doctors are trousering pension pots, worth up to three million pounds, unsustainable when added to all those others, in the public sector, with unrealistic ideas of their worth and delusions that they have paid in enough money to fund them, when in fact the taxpayer picks up the bill.

Monday, June 18, 2012

And this week's special interest is

Health, the subject that left-wing politicians, believe to be their own, on the basis I suppose that the creation of national health service, is and was Labours best and least flawed inventions unlike much of the welfare state.

Seeing a notice from, the latest campaign group, "Save our Health Service" courtesy of Christine Tongue (local film maker), promoting a demonstration outside the Broadstairs Health Clinic against Concordia Health Limited , I thought I'd make inquires, being naive, I naturally assumed that this would be one of those vaguely left of centre groups, apparently not, all are welcome.

Just to underline the non political nature of the event, I understand that local hero Cllr Ian Driver will, most likely be at the forefront, of tomorrow's action, as we all know Cllr Driver has yet to commit to any political group, for more than a few months since being elected to TDC most recently joining forces with ex Tory Cllr Worrow.

Still coming to the object of protest, this apparently revolves around, the fact that since Concordia Health Limited took over the practice, doctors have resigned, and no full time replacements have yet established themselves, from my limited experience, this seems little worse than the standard health care.

I rarely visit my surgery however they must be at the cutting edge of health care, since my doctor has been replaced with a word processor, which every few months, commands me to a consultation with a blood pressure machine, in the waiting room and if your thinking it lacks the human touch, no worries because generally the receptionist rejects the machines printout, insisting I have another go, sometimes insisting on a third.

Take a look at the Press release for details


11 Grosvenor Road

JUNE 2012


Angry patients are planning a protest outside Broadstairs Health Centre at 2pm tomorrow, Tuesday June 19.

The protest comes after it was revealed that the centre currently has no full time GPs to serve over 7,000 patients.

The protest has been called by Save Our Health Service, a new campaigning group, which has been formed to safeguard health services in Thanet.

Local film-maker, Christine Tongue, who is a patient with the practice, says the protest comes following the centre’s takeover by Concordia Health Ltd, a private company who own a string of practices in London and one in Dover.

“Two popular GPs left following the coming of Concordia. But Concordia assured us that the level of care would not be affected and that in fact the level of service would be improved.

“Now we discover we have no full time GPs and the practice manager has resigned. And there are ongoing difficulties in making appointments.

“We’ve been told that two new GPs have been appointed but are working out their notice in other practices. But the two GPs which Concordia previously recruited both left within months of joining the practice. Who’s to say these new GPs won’t leave very soon, too?

“There is something very wrong going on with Concordia and we need explanations about what’s happening there.

The Save Our Health Service group claims the problems with Concordia isn’t just an issue for its current patients, but for Thanet as a whole. Christine said: “The government’s new legislation means that it’s likely that companies like Concordia will become more and more involved with the provision of health services in Thanet. It’s important we confront these sorts of problems now or face much bigger problems in the future.”

Christine added: “Anyone who’s worried about our health service is welcome to join us at the protest at 2pm on Tuesday.” 

More information from Christine Tongue on 01843 604 253.

PS I see on tonight's news that the Thanet Conservative group have taken the tough stance of punishing Cllr Gregory by suspending him for six months after offensive comments left on Cllr Worrows phone,  its a pity Labour didn't do the same to Cllr Mike Harrison for comments made about womem and  Cllr Driver, who, I think should take a principled stand and refuse to work with Labour, unlikley as it might be.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blogging long may it continue

What a joyful story, that of Martha Payne a blogger aged nine, defeating the typical public authority   ethos which doesn't allow for free and open discussion.

As we all know, Martha Payne, had the temerity to photograph her school dinners, a simple and marvellous idea for her blog, NeverSeconds, and as we also know busy bodies at the local council Argyll and Bute didn't like it, although anyone else would recognise a very well produced and thought out blog.

People often knock bloggers, particularly journalist and of course there are some bad bloggers just as there are journalist who work for news international.

Bloggers often tackle issue which traditional media leave behind, take local government here in Kent, it often seems that criticism of Kent council is minimal, myself found that a fair bit of pressure descended courtesy of a Kent contractor threatening legal action for daring to criticise the £2 million wasted by conservative councillors on it's failed TV channel.

Again well done to Martha and shame on Argyll and Bute Council, for the typical repressive attitude of local authorities.

Friday, June 15, 2012

KENTWATCH Paul Carter - Kent Council Fat Cat payouts confirmed again?

Paul Carter, Kent County Council leader, once again tries to convince the public of his administrations competence? as the true cost of the Conservatives, fall out last year with senior officer, Katherine Kerswell, becomes apparent.

No Shock, that the Tory Council lead by Paul Carter, paid out £420,000.00 of your money, we've seen this sort of fat cat payment, all too often under his leadership.

Excuse me if I yawn, after several weeks of denials from senior Tories, and almost unbelievable misinformation from Kent Councils media statements, Paul Carter had the front, to inform us at the end of last year, that Chief Executive, Katherine Kerswell, had been made redundant, inferring that this was part of, a well though out cost cutting strategy, ignoring weeks of denial when the Chief officer of the council looked to have mysteriously disappeared from her office. 

When Kent council finally fessed up,  to having got rid of Kerswell, I don't think it surprised his colleagues, even though I believe, they were kept in the dark for weeks, for myself, it all seemed a bit odd, that Paul Carter, expected anyone, including himself to believe that Kent Council, had dispensed with Kerswell,  as part of an orderly cost saving programme when for weeks KCC, were being schtum, with the million pound media office, doing what they seem to do best, not answering questions.

As I  implied earlier, the consistency of expensive foul ups, cock ups, call it what you will is the signature of Carter's competence as a Leader, and every bit, building to a tedious catalogue of waste, endorsed and encouraged by unimaginative and unambitious Tory toffs, happy to top up to their pensions with an extra grand. 

Anyhow that's all for now, just the thought that Paul Carter is the best Kent Conservatives have, drains me.

PS in tonight's report on the subject BBC South East Today why didn't the report balance the item with a comment from the opposition leader, after Paul Carter had spoken, surely not the bias I'm told that doesn't exist.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


The advice from Nick Clegg to colleagues, to stay away, from yesterday's parliamentary vote on an inquiry, in to whether Jeremy Hunt, has been dishonest in his accounts to Parliament, seems like a sensible and pragmatic idea to me, particularly since the speaker allowed Hunt to be called a liar.

Still I noticed that the BBC took the line, that this would cause great ructions in the coalition, and complimented there objectivity by using the graphic as above, showing (in my opinion) Cameron and Hunt expressing that natural smarmy, superior expression of tory toffs,  meanwhile it looks to me as if some bod, in the BBC art department, has dug deep to find a picture of Clegg with an expression which conveys the look of a hunted and bullied victim.

The assertion that Tory MP's will be looking for revenge, I think has to be journalistic bollix, as I see it Liberal Democrats have done them a favour by abstaining. The coalition is a partnership, of differing viewpoints, something that clearly troubles the BBC and the above graphic, is a less than subtle divisive statement in my view, confirming the hostility which institutionalised BBC lefties, view the government.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bill Furness gives his reply to Thanet Labour Scaremongering

On council tax benefit, the Government intends to give local councils control of the council tax benefit system. Local authorities will be given control of money for council tax benefit and will be able to establish their own local system for discounts and support for those on low incomes. As part of the austerity measures, the total national sum available to support the benefit will be cut by 10%. The principle that local authorities should determine their own local schemes of council tax benefit according to local circumstances and local need and on a tax which they collect and set the value of, is one that Liberal Democrat MPs support. Clearly, in line with many of the challenges faced by local authorities in the current climate, it will be difficult to balance the books when the reduction in funds available is taken into account.

However, this is not yet law and there is time for local authorities and others to influence the Government to amend their proposals on council tax benefit if that is required. It is worth adding that many Labour-led councils have supported calls for the single person council tax discount of 25% to be scrapped - not something that I suspect many single pensioner and single parent households would welcome!

Mary Portas - Channel Four Doc update & Maybe some common-sense

Just a Brief update on the Channel 4 Margate High St. Documentary, Mary Portas spoke last night about her TV role, as reported on a new website Margate Never Runs, finishing up with this comment "So we either let the cameras in with me, or I go back on the train and some other town gets it" 

I'm sure nobody in their right mind would object to the publicity machine of Mary Portas, we are all used to "infotainment" now, in which some celebrity, sounds off, gets frustrated creates dramatic tension and all the that malarkey, we even put up with Gordon "F******! Ramsey, who to the educated looks like a real nut job, with a side order of tourettes.

Still the idea that on the back of a taxpayer funded bid to regenerate Margate High Street ? those who interact in that process with Mary Portas have to sign some sort of confidentiality process is in my view plainly wrong, particularly as I would guess Mary Portas is hopefully and rightly being rewarded for her services by the Taxpayer.

I've asked Optoman TV, if it is possible for them to comment, emailed to confirm whether the government are paying for her services, also similarly asked Channel Four to comment, particularly as in my view such confidentiality agreements if true, restrict freedom of speech and insult democracy. Surprising as it may seem, I find media bods are quiet shy when they themselves are under the spotlight.

I didn't have chance to attend last nights public meeting, since I had to go to work last night, so I am much indebted to the report and video available from Margate Never Runs. Thanks and Thanks

Also this story is reported here on  "Broadcast" although you may not be able to read the report as it is a subscription base website.

Finally thank you to Mary Portas for showing interest, but please drop the gagging if it exists, exactly what is the point, Margate is our town, your not dealing with state secrets, it's blimin Margate!

********** COMMON-SENSE ? ************
Since posting this news comes via Retail Week that Mary Portas has asked the TV production company Optomen to review its contracts with local businesses as a result of Traders concerns. So hopefully this will now become a forgotten storm in a tea cup and again Thank you to Mary Portas!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Margate Portas High Street Shock - TV company gags Traders ?

My knowledge of Mary Portas is limited, informed by some vague idea and media babble of a shopping guru who has collared government approval as a retail expert.

Apparently hidden in the ballyhoo, of regeneration of Margate High St, is the bane of modern TV, the reality TV show, according to a report by Retail Week, and also mentioned on the Margate Town Team Facebook site, Optomen TV, will be making a documentary for Channel four.

The Margate Town Team are not surprisingly wondering whether they will be able to participate in the government backed scheme, as I guess Mary Portas will be accompanied by a TV crew referring to the Channel Four Doc they have this to say on their Facebook page "but we're confused and concerned about the involvement of the TV production company, especially the overly-restrictive contracts which seem to want to quash and silence the public involvement and discourse which has been so effective and essential (and encouraged!) to date.

We can't escape the inevitable conclusion that the desires of a tv production company are being placed above the needs of a community in transition. 

I must say that few things surprise me the idea that a government regeneration is to be a reality TV show/documentary is a new departure.

Here's what I do with the governments, hundred grand, to make Margate High Street busy, fund scratch cards  to be given to traders, to hand out with change after every purchase over a fiver, give fifty grand away this and next year, wallop crowds, also tell Channel Four to stick their documentary somewhere else.

Labour in Thanet suddenly gets a conscience?

Labour has grave concerns about welfare?, surely their not developing a social conscience, Thanet Labour in the recent years, have fought against jobs, fought against social housing, taken £10,000.00 this year, from council services to create posts for their new best friends, so that they can continue to claim allowances.

Nationally during the Blair and Brown years, although Labour had popular support to get people back to work, beginning well by encouraging work with working family tax credits, they soon capitulated to the easy option of inherent welfare dependency culture and generations of work shy layabouts, that earlier Labour governments had created and then encouraged cheap migrant Labour into the UK undermining working people, by reducing wages and adding to the misery with collateral  damage to education/health service due to anarchic mass immigration.

Labour with no consideration to their traditional base, couldn't have done a better job to destroy opportunity and aspiration for working people, today entry level jobs are filled by easily exploited migrant labour, still no worries rich people who run Labour have done OK Blair is struggling to earn a few beer tokens like the rest of us, no he has been amply rewarded for dubious foreign wars, earning millions from overseas interests.

Dominated by welfare dependent or those working in the public sector Labour, activists have no clue about life or the struggle to get by for ordinary people trying to earn a living, ignorant that most of us don't have heavily subsidised pensions, job security or indeed bomb proof non-jobs, or that state funded sick pay option, which a concerned local Labour party member suggested to me, allowed for a few months "stress" sickie while still working for Labour.

I find it difficult whenever Blair, Brown, Balls, Milliband are mentioned not to think of George Orwell's Animal Farm,  and how Labours top bods are indistinguishable from their Tory counter parts, "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

When I look at either Conservative or Liberal Democrat it seems to me their is an honesty which you don't get with Labour, Tory's make no bones about allowing individuals to be rewarded for their efforts and Libdems are the social conscience of this nation and as honest as any in public life, just look at the Leveson Enquiry, I've yet to see any Liberal Democrat squirming or suffering memory loss as the explain relationships with Murdochs.

Coming back to the topic, a civilised society should have a safety net for those in need but over the years generations of workshy layabouts have grown fat leeching on those of us who do work.

Possibly out of ideology but more likely, the coalition have been forced into a corner on welfare reform, as Labour minister Liam Byrne helpfully said in note left to the incoming ministers, "there is no money left", so what ever welfare dependent Labour bods are saying, a squeeze on welfare payouts are inevitable and if we're honest, long overdue.

Of course all that is my personal opinion of Thanet Labour, anyway for balance here follows Labours forthright totally sincere latest Press Release 

THANET LABOUR GROUP has grave concerns about the Welfare Reform Act and Universal Credit system this Tory led Government wants to implement.

By the time the new system is fully in place, 2017, it will affect 19 million people and particularly:
-      pensioners
-      disabled people
-      people on long-term sickness
-      families on low income and their children
-      people living in rented accommodation
-      unemployed people
-      single parents
Do any of these people choose to be in that situation? Of course not! But they should all be treated with fairness and respect.

The Labour Group on Thanet District Council is also worried that many questions still remain such as:
-      how and where will someone apply locally?
-      what documents will they need and where will they take them locally?
-      If and where will there be a ‘Universal Credit’ office?
-      how does someone get face to face advice and help if they have a problem?
People will be expected to apply on-line or through a call centre.
If anything goes wrong with the claim, a whole family could be without any income for a whole month!

Local councils are also being placed in the difficult situation by this Tory-led government of having to produce a localised Council Tax Benefit scheme but with less money to pay for it. The LABOUR administration at Thanet District Council will try to minimise the impact of the overall 10% cut in funding imposed BY THIS GOVERNMENT on Thanet residents who currently receive Council Tax Benefit.

LOCAL LABOUR COUNCILLORS will do everything we can to defend the Welfare State as a symbol of a just and civilised society that looks after people who find themselves in a difficult situation through no choice of their own. 
We will be available to help and discuss any benefit problems residents in our wards may have.

Monday, June 11, 2012

UPDATE THE BIG SPILL - Have Southern Water fixed it?- Er "we'll ring back"

Despite a team of 6 bods, listed as part of Southern Water's Media Team, it appears these are insufficient to keep tabs on the Big Spill at Foreness point, contacting the media office this morning, I asked the question "Has the pumping station at Foreness Point been fixed?" I cannot, help but think, the voice on the other end, would have preferred a sports question, still a promise was made to get back should they find out anyway if they do come back, I'll let you know.

Whether this is just being evasive, who knows, but cutting the waffle aside, it certainly seems to be a major issue, and I didn't get the impression on Friday that problems at Foreness Point would be fixed any time soon. 

This excerpt from SW statement last Friday didn't inspire confidence, "Southern Water manager Jon Crooke said: “At 5pm yesterday, heavily diluted and screened wastewater was released into the sea through our long sea outfall which goes 2km out to sea." Presumably "heavily diluted" means rainwater for which apparently Sounthern Water washing the contents of Thanets toilets out to sea just like the old days.

With heavy rain forecast today, including thunder storms it looks like our best hope might be to cross our fingers (or should that be legs) and hope for the best.

Southern Water are a monopoly supplier, very profitable, some small businesses are suffering a big loss in business, lets hope Southern Water does the decent thing and helps these people today.

Since posting this I realise that instead of phoning, as promised I received an email  with this info,

The repairs to the pumping station and the beach clean-up are ongoing.
The station coped with the rain over the weekend.
It is permanently manned and the teams are working 24/7 to keep the station running.

So now we know also, later in the day I  contacted S W and was told that the pumping station had now be repaired, lets hope it has, all we need now is to hear that everything has been cleared up.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Westgate on Sea by election - Some words from Bill Furness

I  was asked two weeks ago if I would be prepared to put my name forward to the selection committee to be considered as a candidate in the forthcoming by election, I agreed that I would, but as a gesture of respect for the family and friends, only after the funeral of Brian Goodwin.

At a recent meeting  the Thanet branch of the Liberal Democrat Party has agreed that I should be the Candidate in the Westgate on Sea by- election.

Bill is currently Vice Chairman of Birchington Parish Council, a retired Managing Director Bill moved to Scotland for a few years before settling down here in Thanet to be near his family.

Born and educated in Winchester, he first became interested in politics at the early age of 16 (he fought his first election on his 21stbirthday!) he studied politics through Ruskin college Oxford, he served 4 years as a Town Councillor and won a by election to be a Borough Councillor in Eastleigh Hampshire where he served for another 12 years.

He has had experience as a  School Governor and on the police liaison committee, a very keen environmentalist he fought hard to preserve parts of the Itchen Valley from the ravages of the construction of the M3 motorway, and is very well known for his stance on pollution.

He instigated the intervention of MEP Catherine Bearder in the fight against the lengthy transportation of live animals through Ramsgate port.

He is well know for his opposition to the construction of the proposed Sainsbury superstore on The Canterbury Road due it being entirely the wrong location, Sainsbury’s are great store but not here,

Before taking up the more leisurely sport of bowls he did a spot of rally driving, golf, and a keen archer playing in Canada, the USA andFrance, I enjoy living in Thanet and I am very keen to ensure that the area is free from dog fouling. litter and graffiti as these are a blight on the area if not constantly monitored, I have and will continue to play my part for the community.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

About Time - Forced Marriage

Sometimes I get the odd spiteful comment, from I suppose brainwashed idiots within the Labour Party, who like football supporters have a blind faith, that their team are automatically best.

Me I like to be objective, back in 2006 when Labour were in power, they took an opportunity to do something about forced marriage, which after consideration and consultation, they then decided that despite it being wrong, with no excuse, they'd pretty much, do nothing, a press release at the time carried these words "In the future, we will continue to provide information and assistance both to potential victims and to concerned professionals who are confronted by this abuse." cold comfort to victims, without even the thought that one day, their abusers might themselves be punished.

Labour shamefully, rather than upset communities, which routinely abuse women, took a cynical view, why upset potential voters, they came up with waffle, about driving this crime underground, I suppose we can only be thankful that Labour didn't repeal laws on murder, rape, kidnap, and slavery because it also drives the perpetrators underground.

So well done to David Cameron announcing, that forced marriage is to become a criminal offence, we shouldn't have to form our laws in this country, on whether it offends small migrant communities, this country is diverse, but often I wonder about the millions, who've chosen to live here, what if any information are people given about the British culture, of equality fairness and tolerance.

The thought recently occurred to me, whenever I turn up to a new job/project and this is the norm, before you start work, you're given a briefing on the work site, much of which is about safety, environmental issues, welfare facilities and of course rules on conduct, reporting incidents, parking whatever, some of these inductions can go on for hours, often involving a test and always a signed acknowledgement, however when you come through boarder control, into the UK nobody hands you so much as a leaflet on what is acceptable and not.

No doubt the typical lefty Muppets will accuse me of being a right wing nut, but imagine the relief of someone being sent to this country in such an arrangement (probably a rare occurrence), to know that this country respects, individuals rights, over and above that of community "heritage" dogma.

Labour talks the talk but rarely walks the walk, we've seen here in the last week councillor makes homophobic comments and Labour suspend phobic for one month, during which little council business is scheduled, incidentally the same councillor bought the council in to disrepute as I understand with his offensive references to women. Any claim that Labour have to upholding values of equality and fairness is I'm afraid hot air, when votes count nationally or here in Thanet, there are no depths to which they'll not sink.

This move by the coalition government is something, Tory and Libdem can be proud of, six years ago Labour could have done something but didn't they should hold their heads in shame but blind faith and buying votes will I'm afraid keep them going.

This is a topic I've previously mentioned click here and it should throw up this and previous postings on the subject.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Southern Water Pollution the latest malarkey

With sewage still being pumped from Foreness Point untreated a mile and a bit out to sea, up to yesterday afternoon it would appear that Southern Water are no time soon going to sort out the problem or indeed answer questions such as these I put to Southern Water media bods earlier today.

How long before beaches are safe to use again?

Will Southern Water be paying for the clean up,compensating business or thousands of local residents and visitors?

Will Colin Hood Chairman or Matthew Wright of Southern Water be visiting the area to assess the damage?

Why is the sewage system not designed to cope with heavy rain?

As you can imagine Southern Water PR bods are unwilling to answer anything which might put not show their employers in the best light.

If you can bare to read the bland statements, click here for either Thanet Council or Southern Water, for myself I'd like to see Thanet council adopt a sharper approach to Southen Water's failure to protect the environment, it seems to me that such occurrences along coastal areas are not as rare as they should be.

Southern Water operate a monopoly business "regulated" by one of those quangos, Ofwat which inspire little confidence with consumers, I'd like to hear Southern Water offer to compensate the 120,000 plus residents and business community for the inconvenience and loss of trade but of course we wont.

Anyhow tiring of complacency I've contacted the Environment agency to see if they are considering any legal action against Southern Water, maybe it's just me but polluting 14 or is 16 miles of coastline seems a fairly considerable event, even after reading this final paragraph from TDC's latest statement.

Jon Griffin, Senior Environment Officer with the Environment Agency said: "We are working in partnership with Thanet District Council and other organisations to monitor the impacts of this event. We are awaiting the results of bathing water quality tests to make informed decisions with Thanet District Council about the re-opening of Thanet’s waters for bathing.”

Why isn't the Environmental officer saying something along these lines We are evaluating the evidence,  costing the damage and preparing to drag directors of Southern Water in to court.

What's needed is a blimin great wake up call for those who are failing to protect the environment as ever it is unlikely that the Chairman or his Chief Executive will take blame, which is why this will no doubt happen again.

I've contacted the Environment Agency to ask if they will be taking and legal proceedings against Southern Water, if they respond I'll let you know

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Southern Water Cleans up Sewage Spill with innocuous Statement

Reading reports over the weekend about Southern Water's disastrous release of untreated sewage, it proved difficult to establish the scale of the environmental catastrophe, watching tonight's news, it seems nobody is any wiser as too how long local beaches will be closed.

As you might expect Thanet Council has reacted with minimal information, visitors have been in many cases unaware, such is the lack of signage . Still this incident is not of their making so perhaps the discreet notices highlighted on the local evening news are as much we can expect.

Southern Water's response however is truly lamentable, fishing around for info, I came across this on Sunday, still available today Wednesday.
As you see the big news for Southern Water is this "Essential work to repair to approx 1.2Km of ageing sewer pipes in Bramber and Upper Beeding" something that, in any other well run organisation, might well fall under the classification of normal maintenance.

I wonder why Southern Water appear so ignorant of the incident itself, and also unable or unwilling to add to our knowledge by giving us details of the damage done by the humongous splodge of untreated sewage, presumably now washing up on our beaches.

Still delving deep into the Southern Water website, I eventually trawled up this rather innocuous and if I may say rather useless statement.

Margate beaches, June 2

Margate update - June, 2012

Southern Water continues to work with Thanet District Council to clean up beaches in the Margate area, following problems at Margate pumping station during heavy rain.

The council, as beach manager, decided to close the beach to bathers while the clean-up operation continues.

We're sorry for this incident and apologise to all those affected.

Our work to clean-up the stretch of beach continues and teams have been working 24/7 to resolve the issues at the pumping station.

We'd like to assure customers this is a priority for us.

June, 2012

Such a priority that no useful information is available on the companies website.

Maybe a more useful, statement would answer, these questions, how bad is the environmental damage? an estimate of the damage to the local economy? what if anything do they intend, to do, to stop a recurrence? who within Southern Water do local traders need to apply to for compensation of loss of earnings? or given the lack of information from both Southern Water and Thanet District Council what could be done to improve warnings, to visitors to the beach current dangerous contamination.

The days when bland meaningless press releases were good enough, have long gone, Southern Water are a monopoly supplier of water services,  we have no choice in how much we pay for water services, so come on let's see some meaningful information and advice, I'm sure you have the money to pay for something better.

Given the inconvenience and the potential damage to our coast, leisure activities and economy wouldn't it be nice if either the Chairman of Southern Water Colin Hood, or Chief Exec Matthew Wright got involved and promised to sort this business out.