Sunday, 7 March 2010

And the Oscar goes to Thanet

It’s worth remembering on Oscar Night the importance of film to the local economy.

Films represent over £7Bn in the US alone – breaking all box office records fro one of the world’s largest industries. Kent has begun to develop the Kent Film Office as a focus to ensure films are made in Kent rather than other Counties. As MP I will ensure this office is brought to Thanet rather than stagnating in West Kent to help stimulate regeneration and ensure Thanet becomes a focus for film and the filmmaking industry.

With embryonic festivals such as the Thanet Film Festival and filmmakers such as Brenda Blethyn, Timothy Spall and Medb Films and productions such as Margate Exodus and Ruby Blue it’s perfectly feasible that Kent becomes a film hub.

The first port of call for casting directors and locating scouts, specific film careers at schools and colleges and industry creating jobs throughout the economy.

As Thanet collapses and burns with contaminated water, failed town planning and mere inaction and incompetence from our politicians and civil servants, we may be far nearer to the plotline of Oscar winners based on eco-crimes such as the contaminated water in Erin Brockovich, or leukaemia in A Civil Action.


Thanet’s main industry at the moment seems to be providing anchorage for cargo ships off Cliftonville – even yesterday there were 3 or four ships close in to the Blue Flag beaches and opposite the Coastguard office. And flotsam and jetsam including 3 HGV tyres used as ballast with the chain. If those are washed ashore imagine the muck from ships cleaning out their tanks and disposing of rubbish or the recent mile-wide oil slick.

While the amount of litter and dog dirt strewn across the cliffs and beaches is astonishing: rusted drinks can, bottles and papers strewn across the cliffs just over the railings and dog muck strewn and skidded across the pavements, broken lampposts, motorway railings and beach huts that are garden sheds and boarded up toilets or builders portaloos for beach toilets.

Dozens of bottles strewn on the cliffs at the seaward side of the Motor Museum and broken shelters opposite the Churchill, half-completed repairs at the Military Arches, a semi-derelict marina and lorries parked along the Undercliff again – for no reason given any potholes are fairly minor and the Port already has 30 Lorry trailers on-site plus dozens of extra spaces and still the recycling bins that were due to be distributed last November.

And two months to repair a dozen potholes? Isn’t that half a day’s work? Maybe a committee, some expenses, a liaison group, strategy documents – it looks like the civil servants are leading our councillors by the nose.

The polished stone benches are still removed from Ramsgate Boulevard along with a tree and metal surround grate and the remaining broken bench smeared in dog dirt. Broken paving stones from Pleasurama still with no tax haven contracts or building plans released: presumably now incorporating an ice rink, built below and away from the cliff and with eco-roofs and rainwater.

A grubby little island. For £60M in tax-take and £22M of that in public sector salaries. Plus VAT and National Tax and Business rates and car tax and windfall tax. Plus the Total Place budgets for Police, NHS, and so on. Even the Government estimates at least 15% of public sector funding is wasted. I’ll bet it’s far more don’t you?


A pension fund for Ramsgate Town Council – shouldn’t all costs be displayed and detailed? Wasn’t money too tight to repair the towns or Albion House but the public are now paying for pensions and allowances?

And aren’t our councillors already duplicates on other bodies such as TDC – we seem to have a hollowing out of democracy of duplication, bloat and failure.

And why are the public and press excluded under 1960’s legislation to hear the costs of the public servants they fund?

With tax taking up over 40% of the economy whichever main party you vote for, the private sector are funding the public sector for the first four months of the year. Or all year round in Thanet it seems.

Public funds seem only designed to fund the civil servants first with an ever larger and lavish admin charge, little frontline delivery and almost no scrutiny of costs.

Why for example have TDC’s councillors never debated TDC’s salary costs or KCC’s salary costs?

Not to even scrutinise salary costs seems astonishingly incompetent while not to detail each and every salary, expenses, pensions, cars and benefits and allowances seems ridiculous mismanagement.

As MP I will detail every penny, line-by-line rather than the farce of Parliament’s bundling together of costs and salary increases disguised as food allowances and flipping of homes.

With over £1M repaid – and now a 1.5% pay increase they just don’t get it do they?

And these people run the economy?

Every penny – and receipts for every items: salary, expenses, staff costs and expenses, office costs, travel and so on – each month in an Excel sheet for ease of comparison with other MP’s and public servants.

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