Friday, 24 February 2017

Ramsgate Town Centre Rejuvenation Plan



England's First Town
The Isle of Thanet - Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs

Town centre focus not Westwood Cross
Pedestrian priority not cars/lorries
Town councils not District councils
Tourism and Climate Change focus

1. Free wifi ie phone boxes/grants etc - 100% on and 100% free
2. Monthly and weekly events - plus Friday and Saturday markets expanded: apple, cherries etc
3. Police Broken Window misc: ASBO-zero street drinkers/beggars/junkies/rough sleepers/litter/parking/streetlights/empty shops - SME newsagents: tobacco/booze. Purple Flag and Pubwatch/Shopwatch
4. Town theatre/opera - flagpoles, RTC Town centre/events Manager - maximum 10% empty shops
5. Reopen Motor Museum/roof and pavement safety
6. Pav: Jazzwat, Grade 1 listing
7. Jobs: KORA and Sincerity Charity and EKFOS: East Kent Film Office and Studio, IMAX/VR
8. Red Cross Town: Debra shop - books/art, and First Aid training, Third sector coordination etc
9. RNLI Harbour - lifebuoy and phones and defibrillator, air ambulance, sealanes/ship pollution, fisheries etc
10. Pedestrianise seafront and Arches and town centre
11. Empty shops and Arches: relet at zero cost; redecor/utilities when empty so ready for use
12. Town buildings insurance and electricity: Vattenfall
13. Repair Bandstand/fountains etc
14. Ramsgate in Bloom and Battle of Flowers - orchids
15. Xmas, Easter and Summer lights/fireworks
16. Shopfront grants and Business rates rebates
17. Town promotional map and advertising - roundabouts
18. Reopen Tourist Office and Small Business Saturday, Geekexpo and ComiCon, Armada Day, Dunkirk day, Yacht Week, Brian Wilson Day, Carnival Week, 1703 Storm Day
19. Tourism foot passenger ferry: Ostend/Boulogne/Dunkirk etc
20. Arlington House demolition and Dreamland and reopened - link to Tivoli Copenhagen
21. Pegwell Bay and Canterbury Cathedral UNESCO: hoverport cleared and St Augustine/Pilgrim Trail
22. 2nd swimming pool
23. Tunnels and Maritime Museum links
24. Town Centre Twitter plasma panel
25. East Kent golf and tennis days
26. Startup Office Suites and Makers Market
27 Discovery Park: TB and Malaria Nets production, EU Rare/DNA research: UNSDG30 and UNSDG40 focus - review non-STEM businesses, and Sittingbourne Science links: graphene
28. EK College and CCU Broadstairs and Canterbury: Kent Uni/CCU: tourism focus, Foreign languages - Asia and Creative Industries
29. Business strategies: Benelux, East Europe: Poland, Hungary and Romania and Spain/LatAm: Mexico, Arg and Chile, Scandinavia: Sweden, Denmark, Finland
30. Twin Towns and celebrities/town freedom: Moses Montefiore: Chimay, Marx etc
31. Dumpton Gap sea defence - piers?

Time for Change
@timg33

* 10 signatures in Ramsgate and 10 in Lenham needed for KCC election, Directly-elected Leader: end of Leader Carter and closed shop political parties
* review of KCC candidates later
* still parking on promendade and seafront ad pavements: clamp and crush needed
* horrifying Kent road deaths increase: 20mph and zero drinkdrive needed
* Stoke election the final mail in the coffin of UKIP - so much for Kent UKIP support for Nuttall. Disappointed his beard masks his Eddie Hitler lookey-likey appearance and absurd tweed Farage mini-me nonsense. Back to random whining about immigrants and the EU and Brexit.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Hole in One for Kent and Hungary with 2020 Golf Open win?


The announcement the day before yesterday of The Open golf tournament returning to Sandwich in East Kent is excellent news. With the tournament taking place 14 times already at Royal St Georges course it's one of the world's great events up there with the World Cup or Wimbledon - and terrific it has another vote of confidence in East Kent.

And Sandwich Royal St Georges is astonishingly evocative as the home club of James Bond author Ian Fleming and basis for the most famous round of golf in films in Goldfinger. Now with Heineken rather than vodka martinis.

2011 even saw Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke winning the cup. In 2003 rookie Ben Curtis trumped Tiger Woods.

And with 184,000 visitors to the event and millions more watching on television it's a great opportunity for Kent with forecasts of over £100M in direct revenue.

Tracey Crouch UK Sports Minister and her Chatham constituency are right to cheer on the successful announcement for East Kent. It could even be the harbinger of a new City of Culture bid given the success of Hull this year and the previous East Kent entry.

And calls by Kent business organisations for a Creative Industries strand to the Thames Gateway regeneration project. And the Turner Art Gallery urging support too marks a seachange for East Kent.

### Champagne on ice?###

But beyond the hyperbole and champagne corks how best to maximise the event?

Logistics is one thing, with spectators queuing for hours at the previous Open to access the site - electric buses must be more important than ever. Recycling the mountains of waste too. And tweaking the excellent HS1 hispeed rail connections between Ashford, Ramsgate and Dover.

Even tweaks to the dire rail connections to the Gatwick Express and Hastings and Brighton. And why not the Royal Train as a special feature between London and Kent?

And ensuring the Channel Tunnel Shuttle Train through to Lille is in place as part of the Kent strategic links to Benelux and France.

And it's hardly so outrageous to consider in detail whether a second Channel Tunnel is needed for UK over the coming decades given the first freight train from China last month and ASEAN and MENA-Cape2Cairo reforms underway.

Or even a rejig of freight through the choked SouthEast to Southern Ireland and onto Scotland.

And few visitors would thank Kent for not working more closely with the Met Office and NOAA in Hawaii on seasurge and tsunami sensors and tighter volcanic Resilience.

Even a new passenger ferry for Ramsgate, as part of the Sea2Sea EU project linking Ostend, Dunkirk and Boulogne, would be vital to ensure Continental visitors have an easy way to visit the event.

As well as driving a nail in the coffin of the foolishness of Brexit for Britain's most welcoming and European county. And something more than Kent's failed 1970's industrialisation of cars and lorries driving through and away leaving only smog, cancer and litter - whether at Dover or Ramsgate ports and Stack.

### Sport for the masses ###

The jewels in the crown of Kent's golf courses should also be part of a wider sports focus with the new Ramsgate swimming pool - indeed a swimming pool in every town and Olympic pool in every county - and ice rink, and Margate beach volleyball events part of the mix to also beef up Kent's weaker football and rugby offerings.

And teeing up the new 2020 Olympic sports of surfing, skateboarding, and climbing etc plus display sports such as takraw. As well as Kent's reconsideration of those sports cut by Sport England/Olympics funding such as Badminton, Archery, Fencing or Wheelchair Rugby.

And much of the Sports Town of Ebbsfleet should be launched by 2020 too.

But Kent is struggling over the basics such as scruffy beaches, derelict town centres, parking on the seafront and tatty tennis court nets hardly bodes well.
As KCC Leader 2017 and MP 2020 I will make the successful delivery of The Open and related sports events paramount to Kent.

Certainly an overhaul of Richboro Roman fort, the Canterbury Pilgrim trail and new Landings Jorvik-style tourist attraction and Van Gogh Gallery need a kick-start. Along with EKFOS East Kent Film Office and Studio, KORA Kent Oriental Restaurant Association and Pavilion jazz club and Buddhist temple.
Watjazz if you will.

### Kent beyond just a cement and stagnant economy ###

How will The Open open up Kent to visitors?

Almost 200,000 spectators applying for tickets must be in line to receive a heavy dose of marketing about Kent's attractions? And for those couch potatos watching on television how will The Open be further packaged to attract them to Kent in future?

If we're not careful, the hype of the event could outweigh its practical impact.

I speak from personal experience having visited the2003 Open - and I'm no massive golf fan I joke with friends I'll carry their bags so I can enjoy the walk, although I prefer Crazy Golf, the pyramid with the hole on top, or the windmill. Hours of fun - and saw minimal marketing before and during the event.

Blink and you'll miss one of the world's great sporting events, unless you're a golf fanatic, wouldn't be ideal for Kent or The Open.

This Summer's revitalisation of East Kent events with the Ramsgate Film Festival, the Swiss Red Arrows, Yacht Week and Dunkirk are the first stirrings of vital improvements needed through to 2020 and beyond.

Why shouldn't sponsored golf buggy-taxis be zooming along the highways and byways of Kent. Panasonic batteries for one would no doubt want to plug into that opportunity.

Liberation Route Europe put together by Martin Schulz who this year may end up running Germany as Chancellor would be a stalwart of Kent and Benelux Tourism by 2020. And our friends in Virginia, as well as San Diego and North Carolina if not further afield, would want to be invited to the golf jamboree.

And wider sports diplomacy whether Kent or Loei strawberries and cream.

Where are the Hungary links with Bacs Kiskun that KCC has already invested in?

The Kent Police, Ambulance and Fire Blue Light Football Cup hasn't as yet developed a Rugby and Golf offshoot. Nor are the Royal Engineers and Ghurka and Royal Marines links maintained with Kent despite barracks closures.

Tracy Emin and arts permutations of sports are needed too under the oversight of the Turner Gallery, something beyond a UKIP Triumph of the Will.
If I live near the event and don't know of it how will those overseas or in nearby Europe know of it?

A sporting equivalent of Liberation Route Europe - for Kent's Brands Hatch or Dutch Battle of Medway event driven forward by Medway Tourism #BOM350, and Armada events too - is needed to synergise and energise Kent with the Benelux markets.

http://www.medway.gov.uk/leisurecultureandsport/events/battleofmedway.aspx

Apart for the few hours at the event it could have taken place on the Moon for all the specific relevance to Kent - and surely unacceptable now social media is so widespread.

Until now.

Will the 2020 Open be the first challenge for the East Kent Supercouncil in doing more than bin collections? Certainly a TeamOpen needs creating immediately to begin planning for the event.

Tourism and Creative Industries are key industries for Kent and East Kent.

Warm words but inaction or delay could leave Kent puttering along on the slow train of sports - economic regeneration.

Time for Change
@timg33

Misc:

* ShinerGate: astonishing failure of UK legal system and High Court: lawyer of the Year struck off a year later and Grabiner still a High Court judge with Aracadia now following BHS pensions: more later.

* Shambolic Business Rates plans by Government - a tax that effectively discourages entrepreneurhship and business merely to fund public sector bloat - reform needed.

* Pedzone: cars parked by park kiosks and seafront bizarre and pavements. Clamp and crush needed and pedzone seafront/marina expanded.

* KCC candidates review later: a feeble election again - cannot see the point of Latchford, Heale and Shonk after 5 years at KCC, nor doublehatters.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Irish eyes are smiling on Brexit? Or a Semtexit? While Kent drifts.


The Eire ambassador to London, Daniel Mulhalll spoke eloquently to the UK Parliament on Brexit last week and raised several points of interest.

Few could argue with an Irish diplomat: kissing the Blarney Stone must be part of the interview?

And never has a policy such as Brexit been more unpopular, with the Eire and Northern Ireland governments and public and even UK government wanting to avoid a hard border again between Northern Ireland and Eire.

A troublesome prospect even with Eire's dynamic reputation in UN peacekeeping with troops and police and aid integrated, while UK shilly-shallys on the collapse of East Africa - again - with not one but four famines in Sudan etc.

With 1.85M cars a month crossing the border now, any return to a two-state border (or Ryanair air and ferry extra migration controls to UK) would not just be inconvenient but an economic blow. And a blow that would be felt more strongly in Northern Ireland, and UK, with 36% of exports to Eire. But only 2% of Eire exports to Northern Ireland.

Perhaps Kerrygold et al would relocate to Ulster with any border shennanigans - or just not bother and sell more to Germany?

And there's the resounding success story of Eire in reducing reliance on UK from 60% of exports in 1973 to 15% now, suggests both the strength of a dedicated EU policy.

As well as a lack of effort in stimulating UK-Eire trade.

The UK’s glass more than half-empty rather than half-full. If Dublin turned off the whisky pipeline you'd be knocked over in the rush to the border whether from Belfast or Birmingham.

Certainly tax tweaks can't account for all Eire's success in attracting modern tech companies from Facebook to Apple to Google or overhauling both their agriculture and tech infrastructure.

UK could have much to learn from the Celtic Fringe other than being asleep at the wheel while 45% of Eire exports drift away over the last 40 years or so.
Hardly indicative of UK dynamism on trade or the dawnings of some sort of New Global Britain.

And who'd be silly enough to want to leave the richest trade bloc, with most-favoured-nation status, in the world that's right on their doorstep?
They must be laughing over a Guiness or three in Dublin.

Brexit means an Irish breakfast and a Little England dog's dinner.

With more deaths from agricultural accidents than terrorism, and nothing separating Ulster and Eire other than the road signs in miles, or kilometres, few would want a rerun of anything like the bad old days of the Troubles.

That cork is firmly back in the bottle, from the black and tans too, after the Easter Rising anniversary last year.

Similarly for those Brits like me with Irish relatives, or Irish residents in UK, Brexit could become an administrative nightmare or nothing much at all beyond a giant fudge after years of distraction and economic decline and tax-waste.

The Faragist lie of the EU being responsible for UK's problems is still lost in racist howls, EU mismanagement and failure to reform the EU ready for MENA, Turkey and Russia.

Ambassador Mulhall’s view that the UK remaining in EU is best for Eire and UK is hard to dispute.

The economic synergy of Eire and Ulster was detailed in agricultural produce say cattle trade and creameries either side of the border.

Indeed UK-Eire trade could be increased and improved with an Ulster-Scotland road-rail tunnel speeding up Irish and Scottish trade - removing traffic - 30 % empty HGV's according the Institute of Engineering - from Southern England's congested ports.

Such a beefed-up port and rail system with autonomous driving could only benefit imports and exports and tourism for all the home nations.

But as with Gibraltar, essentially a UK end-of-Empire tax-haven pimple on the nose of Spain, it's hard to see how Brexit could lead to anything but breaking the link to UK. Almost all the Gibraltar population commutes in from Spain anyway. As with the Falklands, another Empire fragment awaiting a long overdue Hong Kong-style handover.

While with every Northern Ireland citizen entitled to an Eire passport, and a 20% increase in them taking it up since Brexit, a de facto reunion of Ireland may be the result of a disunited kingdom in any aftermath of any Brexit.

And certainly reduced trade before the kickoff of any Brexit.

And one quirky thought: with Kent as one the only UK cross-border region in the EU (Arc-Manche linked to France’s Pas De Calais region), doesn't that mean Kent has - currently as with Northern Ireland and Eire - a virtual border?

https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/business/our-international-work/eu-funding-kent.pdf

And hardly more dastardly than the ongoing work of the British–Irish Council; although questions remain on funding sourced and used – clearly Eire has deployed its EU grants to greater effect with East Kent a broken gateway to Europe languishing with some of the worst poverty in South East England:

https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/business/our-international-work/eu-funding-kent.pdf

The £500k Ramsgate GIAA Port council fraud and coverup symptomatic of the sloth and dirt covering Kent.

Few would suggest a hard border at the Medway or Wantsum - the traffic jams from a too-centralised Maidstone or Stack are already bad enough - and probably even fewer would call for the UK border in France to be relocated from Calais to Dover. Even the Royal Marines Dover Patrol should want more active duty than drifting around in the Channel when the people-smuggling is via Dover.

And even a Gibraltar-style tax haven based on gambling or motor insurance admin would attract few bets.

And even Chief Constable O'Pughsley of the Kent Police Garda would surely balk at the cost of new border guard and police uniforms, or translating the rash of police Robbie Williams cod-Maori tattoos into Gaelic as opposed to sensible cost control and Innovation Funds.

But a hard border - maybe just police patrols on Ashford Eurostar initially - would focus East Kent on European trade and tourism - rather than the repulsive live animal exports - with Flanders and Benelux in general and the French Opal Coast, whether Panasonic batteries or Alpro soyamilk in Belgium or Philips and Heineken in Holland or Cactus and ING in Luxembourg.

While future Meiji Kent companies such as Panasonic and Toshiba and Olympus and Kawasaki and Honda and Toyota and Nissan and Mitsubishi are ideal for innovation centres as a minimum.

And would provide an early warning system for the Toxic Three terrorists of Carter, King and Wild wreaking havoc at the coast again.

Kent is one white horse they won't be riding again, certainly not over the green fields and golden beaches of East Kent.

Time for Change
@timg33


* Shinergate next week: corrupt lawyers, judges and barristers and coverup/inaction means a broken UK legal system: Grabiner, Glick, Hollingworth at One Essex Court, PB Law, the Crying judge etc
* Good KM and Gazette letters on concerns over Kent PCC/Police: frequency of foot patrols and recording of complaints at PCC
* Inaction so far on Phase 1 of Brett after Phase 2 cancelled
* 10x KCC council election signatures required: please email timgarbuttt@yahoo.com if you wan to support me. 5 more years of Carter or Latchford etc?
* Silence on GIAA/TDC £500k Ramsgate Port fraud - who was questioned at TDC?
* No details yet on KCC Highways Pleasurama but good if it is in court to raise BVI corruption - unless it's a tame whitewash judge of course

Friday, 10 February 2017

999 for 112 on 112 Day

Is it a 999 emergency for 111 or 112?

Two major emergency call centre incidents last year is a cause for concern.

First we have G4S with Lincolnshire Police making 999 calls to themselves(!) so as to fiddle the response times and pay-per-call figures. Not ideal in itself, nor with the G4S and Serco tentacles spreading across and through the public sector as a mega-civil-service-within-the-civil-service. As with Banks too big to fail or public sector monoliths such as BT, surely there comes a time when such contracts need to be broken up for both customer service and financial value?

Then there’s the denouement of the South East Ambulance scandal following the resignation of the Chairman before Xmas and now Paul Sutton the Managing Director falling on his sword too. This is the call centre scandal of 111 NHS calls being delayed before being put through as 999 emergency calls. Perhaps 11 avoidable deaths have been estimated as the inquiry continues – figures likely to be dwarfed by the Manston monitors and Thor mercury factory scandals in East Kent.

And there are wider issues within the first responder service of DNR Do Not Rescuscitate notices at Canterbury Hospital somehow placed on a patient’s file or relayed via the call centre system, without their consent. Essentially a modern-day death sentence. And a little further back, Police Scotland leaving a car crash victim to die in a ditch with the 999 call simply lost in the system.

If the expensive scandal of the 43 mega-fire service regional call centres has dissipated with the centres remaining empty then there’s debate on the 43x2 Police and Fire services merging together for more sensible savings.

But isn’t it time too for the merger between the 43 police forces (much of that happening by stealth with the Serious Crime Squads, and Special Branch and Counter-terrorism teams)? As well as a merger of the 101 non-emergency police call centres with council back-offices?

The NHS 111 service has had problems with a lack of trained nurses answering the calls, so it becomes little more than a vanity service pointing those with health worries either to the byzantine NHS website or to your GP or Chemist. That would anyway have happened that much quicker if you hadn’t wasted 10p on a 111 call of dubious if any value. Even without being placed on hold.

The tendency for much of the public sector to grow like topsy without effective democratic scrutiny results in such silos of duplicated and wasteful services.
But why shouldn’t all 43 forces be capable of being reduced down to c.15 without any impact on service? As well as merging Police and Fire managements, with at a minimum, removing the need for 43x2 sets of IT etc.

And why shouldn’t a 101 call-handler take care of council information on potholes or broken streetlights or parked cars? Many would argue that those are, or should be, a function of the police patrol cars when not responding to the luckily infrequent 999 calls.

Direct Entry to policing for dustbinmen has rightly caused a stir among the police (and not just envy at the pretty hi-viz jackets) in ensuring proper training - but no vast training is required for call reports of cats up trees or noisy neighbours or cheeky kids scrumping for apples?

Indeed the rollout of the 112 emergency telephone number has been far too slow over the last 25 years in UK. The 112 EU telephone number that works across all 28 EU nations and other nations is literally a lifesaver whether you’re in Bucharest, Bari or Bradford. Few would have the presence of mind to remember 28 different emergency phone numbers, and to be able to recall them under duress.

By now the 112 number should feature (one EU law worth following slavishly) on all police and fire and ambulance vehicles in UK and eslewhwere – even public sector buses and vans. Unfortunately most of the UK is stuck with promoting the 999 number, reducing awareness of 112 amongst the UK public (and confusion for foreign visitors to UK) for when they travel abroad and when the 999 number is phased out.

Indeed with pushbutton or touchscreen mobile and landline phones rather than the old rotary dial the 999 number is more at risk of accidentally being pressed, and slightly more dangerous in being cumbersome to dial the number in low visibility.

999 was chosen as it could be dialled blindfold by finding the last hole in the dial against the metal bar to dial and repeat three times – that function isn’t available with pushbutton or touchscreen handsets. And 999 as just one button, rather than two as with 112, can be more easily pressed by accident in a pocket or handbag or even in hand.

Those under 21 will have no idea at all what that last paragraph, and rotary dial phones with a metal bar, means. All the more reason for more impetus behind 112.
And shouldn’t UK emergency call centres have developed a Tourism Police service and number? UK is one of the leading tourism industry nations with a record-breaking 36M inbound visitors last year. Chinese tourists are the highest spenders in UK, and must be in Italy too, as Rome has introduced a dedicated Tourism Police and number for Chinese tourists.

While, with Arabian and Thai tourists the 2nd and 3rd highest spending visitors to UK surely the UK should take a leaf out of Thailand’s book and copy the 1155 dedicated tourism call centre and multi-lingual police service? The average bobby on the beat may not want to be fluent in Arabic or Thai but back-office linguistic skills could stimulate university courses. They would also be part of a career path for the Courts and CPS or Tube and Train services and private sector tourism and hotel industries?

Would it be so outrageous for UK to follow the ASEAN lead and nominate a second official language (English in the case of the 10 ASEAN nations – fortunately for the c.1M UK tourists that visit Thailand each year, the largest non-Asian group) to overcome the UK’s woeful foreign language skills?

Spanish for Europe and Latin America growth markets such as USA, Mexico, Argentina and Chile? And it’s similarity to Portuguese and Brazil – one of the BRIC mega-markets? Chinese or Hindi for the largest nations in the world? Russian (Polish already the UK’s most spoken foreign language) or Turkish for future EU accession?
While USA already has specific, memorable and consistent short-dial numbers for weather and transport updates. A pat on the back if you can recall the Highways Agency roadcone hotline or even the Foreign Office Disaster emergency numbers.

It’s only a matter of time before a global emergency number is developed out of the consensus of 999, 112 and 911 in most nations making safety abroad easier and faster. And the same should happen with 101 nonemergency too. And a consistent 1155 Tourism Police would be a lifesaver too for 112 Day tomorrow 11th February.

11/2 - geddit?

Time for Change
@timg33

* baffled by both the Ramsgate Harbour tunnel roadworks and Pleasurama rou8ndabout - no news from KCC as yet

* cannot see how Homer and Howes can continue at TDC with the latest Cllr Driver censorship for Pleasurama corruption - outrageous abuse of a councillor's role and using public funds for spurious legal cases to shut them up - civil disobedience on refusing to pay council tax works: short pay/wrong pay/delay pay: the less money they have the less they can waste

* interesting Paul Carter KCC Leader worried about EK Supercouncil - rightly seeing it loosening KCC influence and budgets and FOI clarity etc - especially with the usual maximum council tax rise announced of rJKCC and murlky Kent Police guncops 5% increase - civl disobedience again will reduce that amount. There seems a basic lack of understanding from our elderly sheepcouncillors on exercising control of public sector budgets: pay rises/pensions/backoffice bloat (and performance evaluation) not just nodding them through

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Kent corruption and TDC unreformable?


Three very brief points: more later:

1. I'm horrified at the legal manipulation by TDC lawyers and senior staff to suppress the information from former councillor Ian Driver on the c.£900,000 in fines imposed by court on TDC for their mishandling of Dreamland with Sands Heritage.

http://iandriverthanet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/censored-did-thanet-council-push.html?spref=tw

The silence of the sheep-councilors is as bad.

We have East Kent dragged onto the dirt as a scumbag council of UKIP and the continued TDC and KCC corruption as with Infratil and Manston cancer and Thor and GIIA £500k Port fraud.

As KCC Leader I will publish all the costs as routine monthly FOI and cancel the £20k fine - for the first time ever in UK - imposed on Cllr Driver for highlighting the Pleasurama tax haven costs.

Wells has failed as TDC Leader only attempting the secret Brettgate phase 1 and phase 2 cement mess.


2. East Kent Council a positive step forward - I just cannot see how Homer and Howes can continue at TDC: £120k and £90k salaries for coverup and whitewash at one of UK's worst councils is an abuse of public funds. Paying more than the PM's salary is laughable.


3. Concerned at the collapse of Kent's High Streets and tidal wave of junkies and dealers: Ramsgate High St still has not had the RTC Harbour St Fund spent and more shops have closed: the bookies and Poundland(!) amongst many with TDC failing to provide a High St Strategy.

Clearly Messrs Kenyon and Willis need to pull their finger out.

Before the KCC election on 4th May there may only be stagnation.

Time for Change
@timg33

* More later on Shiner lawyer and systemic corruption with Grabiner etc - clearly our legal system at the highest levels is not fit for purpose

* horrifying guncop bloat to 3% tax incease without a referendum for any costs over 1.99% - and Sunday Times detailing both police guns basic faults: going off when dropped and not shooting straight when it's sunny(!) - again these boys toys costs are way out of kilter for the cost and threat. Only 6 police shots fired in anger last year.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Vattenfall and East Kent windfarm


A very good Vattenfall exhibition and consultation on expansion of the East Kent windfarm off Thanet.

I was more than a little unfair on them suddenly announcing the events - as it turns out they were just a preliminary event and not even part of the formal consultation process which wouldn't start until Summer 2017 and be concluded by early 2018 with the Environment Minister.

How refreshing compared to Riveroak and Wetherspoons - and Chinagate and Infratil - with their hasty formal events and lack of information if not downright porkies.
On the Vattenfall proposal for expansion I have some specific concerns:

1. The 34 extra turbines are scheduled to be placed in front of (landward) and to the sides of the exisitng windfarm which is already the world's largest. This would dominate the seascape of our seaside towns - unless they were placed behind the existing layout.

2. The new turbines are much larger than the existing ones- so again would dominate the seascape if not look completely out of place and industrialised.

3. Placing any of the new larger turbines behind the existing ones would reduce their size and presence - and would allow a fuller review of the shipping lanes.

The ships piled up in front of the windfarm on the Margate Roads sealane are a Torrey Canyon pollution danger to the rare Blue Flag beaches. The most rare in UK as well as Europe.

A clear removal/alteration policy too is needed as the technology changes. Already the turbine design has altered and might even allow for solar panels on the turbines too.

4. The turbines built in previously were a concern in that the towns received no benefit in terms of hotel rooms, guest houses, pubs and cafes and restaurants as a hotel ship was used. Essentially the windfall of workers using the towns was little more than a once a week trip ashore for toilet paper, pot noodles and a boozeup. Nothing particularly wrong with that but not of much benefit to the towns and far less than promised. Any contract would need to specify such matters
TDC has largely destroyed the port and marina so a Harbour Trust with the RNLI, EALP etc, and TDC signoff would be a better arrangement.

Very good Local Community work by Vattenfall too – more later.

5, Vattenfall have an excellent reputation for the current 75 jobs in the port - so rather than just a quick fix of 34 turbines over 4 months or so of installation, how can their port work be properly expanded to 100 or 150 jobs? Not necessarily everyone based at the port warehouse but design or production bases inland and college and university courses too.

6. Similarly how could the Vattenfall sites in Wales and Scotland and Cornwall be expanded? And Vattenfall's plans in terms of how they work with Vestas and Siemens and expansion for their North Sea windfarms in Sweden and Germany etc? Even their cleanup work of Sweden's nuclear sites could be an expanded business stream given the dismal state of Dungeness and Sellafield and not one but 30(!) old UK nuclear submarines left to corrode and contaminate. To say nothing of an organised cleanup of Thor mercury and asbestos schools.

Some detailed information on the current site and electricity generated would be useful as a part of the debate too.

And Vattenfall's view on the Southern Water North Foreland sewage pipes, cleanup Resilience etc.

Siemens and Vestas are excellent companies and it was a loss to Kent that the Sittingbourne factory was lost to Hull. And other Danish companies such as malaria nets and Sumitomo haven't as yet been brought into a Nordic Hub in East Kent simialr to the Benelux Strategy. An ice skating rink and ice hockey team - the East Kent Vikings at the Vattenfall Rink? - and Landings Jorvik attraction would be a fun link with vattenfall and Hugin and Hengoist and Horsa too.

A Vattenfall view on EU funding for a tourist ferry and staff discounts etc would be interesting.

Even Scotland as with Laos the battery of Europe - the Tartan Nation even being considered as the Saudi Arabia of a Renewable North Sea to replace oil. As the Saudis are doing with divesting their fossil fuels by 2030.

Why shouldn't Vattenfall's Scottish windfarms be fast-forwarded as a part of a North Sea Ring of Renewables. And even solar farms and tidal lagoons of Cardiff bay.

I'd hate to think as with the first windfarm that TDC would underperform in the value of the site.

• School trips and exhibitions linked to Turner Centre and Van Gogh Gallery
• What's Vattenfall's view on the $300M Dover port expansion
• The Old Ramsgate Gasworks site needs improving and would make excellent offices.
• The Maritime Museum needs an overhaul of its exhibitions and the 2nd swimming pool isn't finalised as yet.
• A town UNSDG Twitter panel/plasma and Xmas lights is a nobrainer.

7. Beyond expanding the port jobs -and having a meaningful role in the use of Ramsgate port for a tourist ferry etc - how will Vattenfall capitalise on their existing local community work? The Sea Garden with FORS is still derelict. While more could be done with the KM Bike Ride similar to the Canterbury Tour de France previously, plus the derelict Eastcliff bandstand and beach shelters etc. Even a similar Reculver Nature Park hide at Pegwell Bay.

8. At Pegwell Bay there's concern over cables coming ashore through the UNESCO site rather than a few miles away as well as cleanup of the Hovercraft site and nearby St Augustine Pilgrim Trail. Again how refreshing the Vattnefall approach compared to National grid or Shard Aerial trying to hustle through mega-pylons etc. And good to see Sweden and France's Greens in the EU parliament speaking up on similar issues this week.

9. Apart from the Sea Garden I'm aware of East Kent receiving no extra benefit from the windfarm. Certainly nothing in terms of cheaper electricity. With the good folks of British Gas active on their FreeTime policy of one weekend day of free electricity which is similar to my Free Economy of utilities and wider Basic National Income policies it would be worth considering an East Kent electricity levy with say British Gas and Vattenfall. In particular switching EDF and its nuclear power that is toxic in terms of Dungeness and the French and Belgian nuclear sites along the Channel. East Kent's 500,000 citizens have power in voting with their wallet as well as the ballot box - and with their electricity meter.

10. The Vattenfall protection of wildlife is very good: how can this be increased? Designated fisheries and wildlife growth? Goodwin Sands protection? Some turbines now don't have blades but just a vertical oscillaters to reduce bird injuries.

The UK is behind on its renewables targets and the existing Vattenfall sites have been very well done so nothing I say above is outrageously impossible to resolve through working together.

I'd be interested to hear the publics views although I was the only one at the Yacht Club presentation in the evening and only c.30 visitors through the day apparently. At worst shades of the Ramsgate Fire station £1m debacle of lax development.

Time For Change
@timg33

• A good article by Michael’s Bookshop on the monstrous incidence of unsold/old UK books being destroyed and burnt. Especially on Holocaust Day there must be a better way than book burning in this day and age – and with Ramsgate’s Moses Montefiore Jewish heritage. Shouldn’t the Port take up old English books and textbooks and export them to Asia and Africa and India?

* good the Aerial Shard is rejected today Friday - the usual KCC foolish planning and mega-overbuild

* how foolish the ManstonParkway limps on to another wasteful consultation

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Kent - Rolls Royce of corruption compared to Thailand?

How refreshing for Thai Air and the Thai Government to move promptly on the Rolls Royce corruption scandal.

And Indonesia's Garuda Air and police have stepped up their investigations too.

A dynamic approach sadly lacking in UK and especially Kent mired in the sloth and dirt of civil service corruption and police apathy.

With Rolls Royce linked to corrupt deals for aviation engines across Russia, China, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia it's astonishing UK has done so little to prevent this rampant corruption - for so many years and across so many nations.

Unfortunately with my politics hat on it's par for the course for UK.

Former PM David Cameron's Anti-Corruption Summit of March last year has highlighted the problem of corruption but with little action.

The Rolls Royce scandal goes back decades and with on-and-off investigations by the Serious Fraud Squad only now being galvanised by the FBI and USA Justice Department.

And this week the Panama Papers detailed the vast numbers of tax haven companies with unsurprisingly British Virgin Islands, a UK colony, or dependent territory if you prefer, with more tax haven companies than all the rest put together. And Barbados and even UK featuring too.

It’s no wonder the latest 2016 crime figures issued last week include fraud and cybercrime for the first time and now constituting a massive 50% of all crimes.

British Virgin Islands companies also a notorious Kent seafront corruption issue in my South Thanet constituency for over a decade of successive councillors and senior civil servants in the Gang of Four covering up the ownership and transfer of the Pleasurama site.

A site that’s the largest seafront development in South East England so hardly one that could be missed.

While the Infratil crimes of removing the required Manston airport pollution monitors -even from Clarendon school - and faking the data and fines with TDC and KCC Toxic Three councils, was also replicated with Gloag/Stagecoach - one of Scotland’s richest people and firms – along with the dozens of illegal flights by KLM and Cargolux etc, jeopardising the public.

Concerning that although the numerous Infratil airports in Europe and NZ were shuttered, they still operate Wellington airport - I'm not sure I'd want to go through that airport with such criminal safety standards, nor their old folks homes in Australia:

https://infratil.com/our-businesses/

Fitzgerald and Clarke and Bogoievski and Baker should be brought back in chains to stand trial for corporate manslaughter. Orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and legirons and private jet ride manacled to an FBI agent.

While Dreamland one of the UK's largest amusement parks in nearby Margate has mysterious Cayman Islands ownerhship with Arrowgate Investments, and transfers over a decade complete with mystery insurance fires and plans for housing and the council leader jailed for compulsory purchase scams.

And Kent Police seem asleep at the wheel with one of their longest-running investigations into the 2015 election fraud of bussing supporters around the country and illegal candidates.

I hope they are just pretending to investigate because if it’s a real investigation they’re hardly worth a 3.99% pay rise without a referendum.

And how monstrous Cllr Driver is the first UK councillor ever to be prosecuted for releasing supposedly secret council document son the Pleasurama corruption with a £20k charge on his house – and silence form the sheep-councillors cowed into submission.

Any councillor – and member of the public – is entitled to any council document at any time.

As KCC Leader I’ll refund all his cost plus a £23k bonus for representing the public and sack TDC legal beagle Tim Howes.

While British Business plc even apart from Rolls Royce has been mired in dirt: Sports Direct breaching the minimum wage guidelines.

BHS's Philip Green purchasing super-yachts as one of UK's oldest High St retailers went bust with dozens of stores and thousands of jobs lost. And a missing £500M pension plan. Despite assurance to solve the issue of dodgy deals all that's happened is the new owner Dominic Chappel being arrested and questions over secret shareholders.

While Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court as BHS Chairman has been roundly castigated by parliament for his wilfully incompetent if not fraudulent role.

All the more astonishing as he's a High Court Judge and QC.

And, despite the multi-million BHS fraud, remains a Judge - hopefully not of fraud cases.

While his One Essex Court colleagues Ian Glick QC and Guy Hollingworth and Steve Palmer of PBI Law seem to have taken their learning form Grabiner and become the go-to barristers for defrauding High Court.

And with the active assistance of the Bar Standards Board regulator and Bar Inns.

With Hollingworth as a part-time conjuror, the Magic Circle is looking less than magical awash with such grease.

Lawyers judging lawyers without jury trial or cameras and closed courts, seems an obvious conflict of interest exacerbated without capped fees and parliamentary scrutiny.

Not so much poacher turned gamekeeper, as poacher remaining poacher and treating the highest court in the land as little more than an ATM for lawyers fees.

Lord Grabiner described as Lord Grabafee by the Financial Times for his inept yet multi-million pound reviews of LIBOR and Bank of England is the apogee of suck systemic fraud.

Thailand is far more active with NACC and ACT anti-corruption and schools training etc - UK only just appointing the dynamic Eric Pickles as Anti-Corruption Minister.

And the latest UK crime figures for the first time included online fraud which is 50% of the total - the City of London police under Chris Greany and much-vaunted Action Fraud scheme is astonishingly simply an email redirection to the local police forces.

A City Police that doesn't police the city at all.

The former South Thanet MP Jonathan Aitken notorious for arms deals with the Al-Yamamah deals with Saudi Arabia - essentially a similar mechanism to the Rolls Royce deals in over-inflating projects and paying a slice to Saudi princes. And with Sangcom and GPT - all not just glossed over on the taxpayer's dime, but the public actually funding over 100 UK MOD civil servants and troops in Saudi to continue the scam.

The East Kent civl service fraud over Ramsgate Port also covered up by the DCLG GIAAA auditor and NAO – refusing to provide details of their investigation or how the police if at all have been briefed.

You’re paying four ways: the council, the fraud, the investigation and the coverup.

The Cameron Summit called to begin to remove such tax havens and highlight the problem of white collar crime of accountants and bankers and lawyers in the City of London such as Holingworth or palmer for Conway. Yet silent on judges such as Mann etc. One result of the overheated London property bubble was the volume of dirty money from African dictators, Arabian royals or Russian oligarchs.

The Gambia's Jammeh dictator may have been ousted by the first democratic election in the former UK colony's since independence - and by Senegal military action - but he took the national bank's money and bullion with him.

https://www.pri.org/stories/2015-01-06/gambia-worst-dictatorship-youve-probably-never-heard


No doubt such funds will appear in London or Zurich in the next few months - his bolthole in Equatorial Guinea already faces questions by Swiss prosecutors over President Obiang's son's wealth. While Saddam and Gadaffi also raided the national piggy bank before their fall.

Bill Browder the instigator for the Magnitsky Act has detailed the volumes of Russian dirty money from the polonium and Perepilichnyy murders to parliament too - Surrey Police dragging their heels on that case along with the reopened Deepcut army barracks murder-suicides.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11453125/Bill-Browder-why-I-fear-for-my-life.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/billionaire-russian-businessman-found-dead-outside-surrey-home-could-have-been-poisoned-10258798.html

And not one UK tax haven closed down yet -whether offshore in the Caribbean with BVI or Caymans, or inshore closer to home with Jersey and Guernsey and Isle of Man. The silliness of Brexit, if it goes ahead, making all the British Isles one giant tax haven for Mickey Mouse firms like One Essex Court or corrupt deals as Sangcom.

USA or Canada wouldn’t tolerate any of these regimes for five minutes let alone five decades.

It's good to see that the Thai government and Thai Air aren't Roll Royce's teabag carriers and are taking a more forensic approach than UK to these crimes.

@timg33

* Trident: what a mess - kept secret from Parliament if not PM for over 6 months and through the Trident debate. UK almost nuking Disneyland by accident speaks volumes on the safety of nuclear weapons - and what must the Russian rusty nukes be like? Or the 30 UK nuclear subs simply left to rot rather than cleanup. As with nuke waste at Sellafield and Dungeness and Channel nukes in France and Benelux. Unsafe junk and military vanity and waste.

* Vattenflall windfarm - good points and more details later