Thursday, September 28, 2006

Saviours on White Chargers

Thanet seems to be awash with folks who are going to 'Save the Island' from some perceived disaster or other.

We have of course Gerry O'Donell who single handedly is going to reinvigorate Ramsgate by creating another costly tier of local Government.

We have Chris Wells who is in the process of 'saving' the Revolution skate park.

And now we have Roxanne Cheshire-Brazier who single handedly is going to stop the Westwood housing development.

O'Donell actually lives in Ramsgate and could therefore be said to be interested in its future, Chris Wells is a democratically elected representative so it could be said that his actions are legitimate, as Roxanne Chesher-Brazier however is unelected ( she was co-opted onto Acol Parish Council to make up the numbers ) and lives several miles from the proposed development. Observer fails to see what her interest is other than self promotion ( maybe with one eye on next May ) Incidently does the fact that she had to be co-opted onto a Parish Council to make up numbers indicate a distinct lack of interest in Parish Councils and does that fact bode well for O'Donell and co?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Goodbye Biggles

So Dr Moores has decided to call it a day when his Blog reaches 200.000 hits. He claims it has served its purpose and is taking up to much of his time. That may very well be the case, alternatively it could be that there are now several other Blogs that are creating talking points and putting a different slant on local news and issues and he is no longer able to propound the Tory Mantra unopposed. Undoubtedly Thanet Life has contributed to and increased awareness of Blogs in Thanet but has it contributed to a wider understanding of the issues or has it just been a vehicle for the disaffected to let off steam?
While Blogs give the opportunity for those people who do not have the chance to make their view's known in public they also give a platform for some of the more extreme and bizarre opinions to be expressed in public.

So should Blogs be a) a diary of the writers life, b) a platform for extreme veiws,
or c) a debating forum where people are free to express differering veiws?


Friday, September 22, 2006


So the Council decided last night to hold a referendum on the much debated subject of a Parish Council for Ramsgate. No doubt that Ramsgate First will be declaring it a victory. Well we will have to see, the outcome will depend on the question and the quality of the information available during the campaign. No doubt Ramsgate First will employ all the spin they can muster and lure people into voting for a Parish Council with promises of swimming pools, clean streets, extra policemen and all the other tit bits they can think of. At no point during the campaign will they be able to provide costings for this, other than to say that it will only cost another £25.00 on the council tax. They really should ask the cost of things before making wild promises, if a Parish Council is formed the Charter Trustee's will be abolished and all the assets handed over to the Parish Council. The Charter Trustee's assets DO NOT INCLUDE Albion House, all they hold are the Town Regalia. Some of the things they ( Ramsgate First ) havnt considered therefore are, the cost of aquiring and running a building to house themselves, the cost of staff to service a Parish Council, the cost of holding parish elections every year or four years depending on which option they choose, the cost of purchasing and maintaining IT, if they convert to a Town Council there will be the cost of the Mayor, hospitality for visitors, cost of the Mayors trips, the list is endless.
No doubt these refugees from UKIP who are desperate to have the prefix Cllr in front of their name will lie and spin their way through any referendum campaign in a final frantic effort to become COUNCILLORS!!!!

I would urge everyone to think very carefully about what they are doing and the potential effects on Council Tax in Ramsgate when they cast their vote.

Oh , and still no news of the 'Silent Six' presumably another fanciful thought from these Walter Mitty type characters.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thanet Guide for Americans

Apparently the Adscene are to help produce a 'Guide to Thanet' for the bosses of CI Travel, thats the company who are supposed to be bringing in American tourists from next May.
Readers are invited to submit suggestions for inclusion in this guide.
And all the while there was I thinking that the Taxpayers funded lots of jolly folk at KCC and Thanet Councils whose job this was, also of course there are the other Quangos that employ more jolly people to do this kind of thing.
While it is NOT my intention to decry Margate I do think it is a bit of an exageration for CI's Director of Marketing and PR Victoria Cash to describe Margate as 'a lovely romantic destination'.
As I have said elsewhere I hope that the Airport is a success but there are still a couple of things bothering me,

As far as I know no contract has yet been signed between Infratil and CI Travel,

As yet the Airport still only employs TWO permanent full time staff,
The Manager and his nephew the Freight Manager,,( note to self ,,possible nepotism? )

The radar as yet has not been repaired, that probably accounts for some of the bizzare flight paths taken lately,

Where exactly are these hords of American tourists going to stay?, we hear only last week that another two large hotels are in trouble.

Or is this all just a sop to Thanet and the original plan is still to fly these folks into KIA and "spend a couple of days in Canterbury before moving on"


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I see that Simon Moores has craftily taken the opportunity allow his readers to take yet another cheap and uninformed shot at the Goverment. Under the heading 'Clangers' he writes:-
What do you think of a fine or even two years in jail for not having a bicycle bell?
Another soft target for law-enforcement perhaps?
This has arisen as a result of an article in one of the Tory party house journals,

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Of course his readers have leapt on the bandwagon claiming or assuming that this is a new law and is somehow linked to a soft line on child sex offenders, rapists and murderers. As far as I know it has ALWAYS been an offence not to have a means of warning on your bicycle and to try and pretend that this is another law to allow soft targets to be met is just one more in a long line of corruption of the facts. It is in fact the very type of spin that Dr Moores and his readers allege they have had enough of.
One rule for Tories and another for the rest of us ??

The politics of non politics.

With local elections looming large in the not to distant future all the wannabe Councillors are busy sharpening their axes in preparation for the forthcoming battle. Of course the two main parties have well oiled machines ready to spring into action at the slightest hint of an election and make no pretense at being 'non political' ( apart from certain Tories) however Residents groups of one kind or another are a different matter. They all pretend to be 'Independent' but the reality is that they are as political as a proper party. They usually campaign on the same issues with the same solutions and if elected immediately form themselves into a Group with a Leader, I cannot believe that these people are so naive that they don't realise that they have then formed a Political Party.
I assume that Tom King and Gerry O'Donnell and others have aspirations in that direction.


Chip 'n Bin,,,,,or much ado about nothing.

The Gazette last friday announced that TDC had wasted £10.000 'spying on residents' wheelie bin rubbish'
One Erika Osbourne who apparently wrote some thing called The Wheelie Bin Diary for IOTG ( I assume they didnt have an expert journalist in rubbish ) loudly proclaimed " It's a shock. My refuse is my refuse. What I throw away is my business "
A Civil Liberties campaigner was also enraged and screeched " It's appaling. Its an excuse for them to poke their noses into our bins"
Malcom Kirkaldie of Ramsgate was also incensed, " people have given their lives to prevent these kinds of intrusions"
One poor old feller from Margate was so confused he thought that he may be in trouble for not throwing away enough.
I read these words with absolute disbelief, how can anyone possibly imagine that there is a micro chip capable of reading the contents of someones bin is beyond me. Dont these people realise that the chip was there for one purpose and that was to record the weight collected, not to see how many empties or used packets of cat food you are throwing away.
I was also unsuprised to realise that TDC had not thought or bothered to ask any other Council who had trialed this method what the results were before squandering ten grand of Taxpayers money.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


People often ask why do so many people in Thanet think that the local papers are rubbish?
reproduced below is an article and photo from Tuesdays Thanet Times,,,,,,

Not much wrong with that you might think,,,,,well its a good thing that as a result of the previous Labour Councils forward thinking jobs are being created,,,,more investment in Thanet...etc, etc.

HOWEVER our wonderful local rag has decided to move Wickes new store from its current location on Thanet Reach to the former Pearce signs site....maybe a photo of the new store taking shape would have a) informed them exactly where it is and b) portrayed a more positive image for Thanet rather than the impression given that the unused building had been left to go derelict before anything was done,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,if they cant get an innocuous little story like this right what hope is there of ever getting a more important story right,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Of course to get the facts you have to get up off your butt and go out and talk to people,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,much easier to take an old photo out of the archives and add a few words of what you think are the facts and publish,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

At least they have had the decency to acknowledge the mistake in today 'paper'

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kent International Airport

Observer hears that while ' Our Shirl ' was busy giving the Theatre Royal a big lump of money she was also giving the sum of £10,000 to something called the Kent-Virginia Direct Flights Project.
Now I am in support of the Airport and I hope its a success,,,BUT there are limits and questions that need answering,,,,
This sum of £10,000 was presumably given to this group to help promote inward tourism into Thanet but unless I misunderstood what I read in the local 'newspapers' the plan is that these folks will fly into KIA and "spend a couple of days in Canterbury before moving on"
not much benefit to Thanet there then,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
another wasted £10,000 on 'Tourism' ,,,oh well its only taxpayers money,,,,

And when are the airport owners going to employ some local people??
currently everyone working there apart from senior managers are emploiyed on a part time basis by an Agency in Scotland,,,,,presumably there wasnt one locally,,,,
Of course not much labour is needed because the airport Firefighters are now required to " justify their existance" and they are utilised to load and unload planes as required,,,,,,,,,,,,,

When are the airport owners and TDC going to sit down and agree a new section 106 agreement....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Politics or not,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Cllr. Bill Hayton recently critisised Cllr Clive Hart for being political during an exchange of veiws in the local rag..

Bill Hayton represents the Conservatives at Kent county Council,,
Bill Hayton represents the Conservatives at Thanet District Council,,
Bill Hayton represents the Conservatives on Broadstairs Town Council,,,

Now unless I missed something the Conservatives are a political party in much the same way as Labour are also a political party. Individuals standing under the banner of a Political Party automatically become Politicians by definition.I have also Observed that whenever the Conservatives propose a course of action it is always 'fair and reasonable' but whenever the Labour Opposition propose a different course of action or suggest an ammendment they are being Political.

Readers may have a different veiw,,login and post your thoughts,,,

nb. Liberal Democrats need not apply,,,

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Theatre Royal,,death by a thousand cuts ??

Once again the Theatre Royal in Margate is in crisis and is looking to the entertainment world to bail them out. What is not mentioned in the story in Fridays paper is the fact that yet again they have gone cap in hand to Thanet Council to bail them out. Observer hears that in the absence of the Chairman of the Council, Cllr Geoff Kirkpatrick his deputy, Cllr 'Shirley Temple' Tomlinson has approved a further sum of £7,500 to keep them afloat for another few weeks. This is despite the fact that TDC agreed the following:-
To ensure the Theatres short-term future a sum equal to 25% of the total grant be paid immediately pending the Consultants report; and
A further report be submitted to the Panel after the Theatre Royals Consultants report is published in order that the remainder of the grant can be determined.

However, since this decision was made it has come to light that £25,000 of the grant has already been made to the Theatre Royal in accordance with previous yearsÂ’ practice (50% in April and 50% in September).

In light of this, Cabinet is recommended to approve that::
To ensure the Theatres short-term future the sum paid equal to 50% of the total grant be approved pending the Consultants report; and
A further report be submitted to the Executive and Policy Scrutiny Panel after the Theatre Royals Consultants report is published in order that the remainder of the grant can be determined.

( Note the cock up!! )

So the Councils Scrutiny Panel had recommended that £12,500 of the grant be paid immediatly with a decision on the remainder to be taken on receipt of the Consultants report, Observer is told that this is now well overdue!!

Thanet Council paid over £25,000 in May,
KCC gave grant in a similar amount,,
In August they were back asking for another £7,500
They have had income as well during this time so the questions need to be asked,,
how are they managing to spend well in excess of £20,000 a month?
should TDC continue to support a sinking ship?
how many Thanet residents benefit from the continued existence of the Theatre Royal?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Eastcliff Blog suspended

Labour Councillor Dave Green has temporarily suspended his Blog spot due to pressure from 'The Authorities' It seems that he has been threatened with The Standards Board due to comments he has made on his Blog and in other places.
This of course is symptomatic of the paranoid reaction of not only Members of the Council but also Officers to any criticism at all. There is a deeply held belief that "we are right and everyone else is wrong and are being political" See comments on Biggles Blogspot and here Of course Tories have always reacted sharply to any suggestion that they are less than perfect so maybe we should step back and consider their past at TDC.
Depending on your memory some of you will remember 'The Fake Sheik Affair', maybe the Chairman of Finance who was printing his own money,,the Milkbottle advertising scandal,,,the pontoon fiasco,, these are just a few of the troubles that have beset Thanet Council over the years, there have always been the nudge,nudge, wink, wink allegations of scandal and corruption,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
If only there had been a Standards Board back then,,,,,,,

Interestingly Dave Green's wife Elizabeth also a local Councillor sits on the local Standards Board.......

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Trouble 't Mill,,,,

Quote from

"Sometimes it's the little things in life that matter, and hidden in a small column within the Isle of Thanet Gazette in their business briefs column, was this small but revealing fact that Thanet District Council spent £450,000 last year on temporary staff. I would wager that £450,000 would be the equivalent of something like average pay for maybe 25 people.

There are a number of ways to look at this, firstly if Thanet council need 25 additional staff in the year, why don't they give them a contract of employment. Also of this £450,000 just how much of this money would be creamed off by employment agencies. If Thanet council spend nearly half-a-million on temps just how much are they spending on directly employed staff, given that many of the 'officers' are trousering £ 30,000 plus. "

I have Observed that since winning the local election in May 2003 the Tories have presided over an overwhelming mass exodus of very senior and experienced staff without batting an eyelid. While I am not intending to be critical of staff that have in some cases replaced them it is worrying nonetheless that this number of senior staff have felt that the Council is being run in such a way as to prompt departure. I list below the SENIOR staff that have left.
Director of Finance, Director of Planning, Director of Community Services,
Director of Support Services, Director of Environmental Services, Head of Regeneration, Head of Communications, Economic Development Manager, Head of Internal Audit,Audit and Performance Manager, Financial Services Manager, Coastal and Civil Engineering Manager, Head of Building Services, Head of Housing, Head of Legal Services, Monitoring Officer, Head of Economic Regeneration, Head of Leisure Services, Housing Services Manager –Strategy, Head of Revenue and Benefits, Head of Maritime Services, Head of Finance, Head of Democratic Services, Head of Leisure Services, Best Value/Performance Officer, LA21 & Health Improvement Co-Ordinator, Arts Development Officer, Arboricultural Officer, Sports Development Officer, Scrutiny Manager.

This list represents one senior member of staff leaving every six weeks and does not include experienced and knowledgeable junior staff, when they are included the leaving rate climbs to about one a week. If this situation arose in a private business senior Managers would be holding crisis meetings to address the situation and yet our Tory masters continue blindly on claiming that all is well.

It is understandable then that despite all that hype and spin coming from Cecil Street our roads continue to get dirtier, the Councils planning performance deteriorates, our housing waiting list gets longer, the overall performance gets worse,

Small wonder then that TDC had to spend nearly half a million quid just to keep services running,,,,and I bet they didnt say how much of that was spent on 'Consultants'


Revolution Update

Our glorious first Citizein has announced 'efforts' to resolve the ongoing crisis at Revolution Skatepark. See Biggles Weblog. It also seems the Bearded One has been busy beavering away in the background. Still no news on what the position of TDC representatives attending TCDT board meetings is. There is much mention of 'Observing', but very little of actually participating. The question therefore is do TDC representatives actually know what their role is? if not why not? when was the role changed, if so when and by who? ( TDC representatives used to be FULL members) do they even care? are they just paying lip service to what is an issue of the moment? Are our glorious First Citizein and Ice Maiden Ingrid the right people to represent TDC at this organisation?

So many questions and so few answers!!

Observer also hears that The Wise One is incensed at the Bearded One's efforts to reach some sort of conclusion. No doubt when The Jovial General returns from family business he will sort it out by barking a few commands at his perceived inferiors.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

No news yet on the much trumpeted news that six Thanet Councillors have allegedly stated their support for Ramsgate First,,,,these are the folks who have fanciful notions of having a Ramsgate Town Council and spending very little money and acheiving a new Marina swimming pool,,more policmen in the town,,refurbishing Westcliff Hall,,,more advertising Ramsgate,,,and so on and so on,all at no extra cost to Ramsgate taxpayers,,,

anyway back to what I was saying,,,,six Councillors have stated support for a Ramsgate Town Council,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Observer hears that one lives in Birchington,and one is a Broadstairs Town Councillor already but no sign of the other four or any public statements of support,,,,,,,,,,
when are the ' Silent Six' going to come out of the closet?????

Monday, September 04, 2006

Observing Thanet

Things to watch,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Revolution Skatepark and the goings on at TCDT,,

The future of the Theatre Royal in Margate,,,has it got one????

Public funding for activities at Manston Airport,,,

Why have so many senior staff 'walked away' from extremly well paid jobs at Thanet District Council?????

Will Ramsgate get its own Parish/Town Council????

So what good news will Tuesday's paper bring ?????

watch this space:-