Sunday, 9 December 2012

Happy Anti-Corruption Day Kent!

To celebrate Anti-Corruption Day ( ), and the UK in the top 20 at number 17, here's my favourite Kent corruption scandals (worth remembering KCC rates itself as the best county council in UK with a £2Bn budget, oversight of other public servces with a national tax rate of c.42% and Kent GDP of c.£25Bn):

1. Infratil and TDC and the missing Manston fines and monitors - increasing both council and cancer. Several million quid in fines missing - and all for Infratil a company with higher profits than KCC's budget.

2. Pleasurama-Bungarama - a series of mysterious insurance fires and Ramsgate Labour's largest-ever donation of £25k and a Caribbean tax haven company that's never built anything.

3. Southern Water - not just shit in the sea but in the water supply and water pumps. Surely they should be called Southern Cholera? And the best bit: siphoning off any public claims to their insurance company loss-adjustors to maintain their £300M profits on the rates.

4. Thor Mercury - poisoning Margate before being closed and poisoning Africans in Cato Ridge in one of the worst-ever pollution and corporate manslaughter incidents. Except it never closed in Margate. For 20 years. The HSE and Environment Agency as with the above points have excelled themselves in charging for failure and coverup.

5. Kent Coastguard. Too lazy to stop ships berthing off Kent's Blue Flag beaches. Or deciding to call out the RNLI - a charity - to do their work for them.

6. The Manston aquifer - under the runway and silence from our public-funded MP's, councillors and civl servants. Maybe they're hoping nobody will ask any questions about water quality or outfall from Manston into SSSI and UNESCO Pegwell Bay. Maybe Southern Water's loss adjustors could be called in for a haggle over fines and jail sentences and rig the NHS statistics and Coroner reports?

7. The KCC Laser £2M electricity fraud, Carter2 wages and KCC booze, tobacco and guns investments on the rates and FOI refusal - not corruption at all just normal incompetence and coverup for you to pay through higher tax and missed opportunities.

8. Lydd airport development - council bungs detailed in High Court by the airport manager himself.

9. Lack of Climate Change policies and economic growth - again not corruption at all just normal incompetence where you and your children pay twice. Once for non-services and twice for a failed future.

10. Boris Island 1 and 2 and Carter Crossing at Dartford 2 - not corruption at all just normal Kent as London's Patio rather than the Garden of England, and the Council-Construction nexus of Grand Projects for the construction industry and civil service careers. At least it's not empty housing estates.

11. KCC taxis and chauffeurs - a surplus of duffers being driven around the county for ceremonial guff on the rates in secret. See point 7 and FOI.

12. The slums of Medway and Dover. Not corruption at all. Perfectly normal to have derelict towns centes yet building empty housing estates on green belt - see point 10.

13. EKO and TDC and RTC audits with McGonigal maths. Shush. It's not for you to see the invoices. And see point 1 for missing fines and higher tax.

14. The slums of Thanet - see point 12 and lack of room sizes, design and garden footprint as the Grange Rd Rover development and Arlington House.

15. The Northfleet children with their intestines growing outside their stomachs. Perfectly normal. Nothing to worry about. Neither is lifting rabies restrictions at Ramsgate Port for the most infectious disease on the planet. Not corruption just spectacular failure to safeguard the public.

16. Dreamland: semi-burned down in more insurance fires and one of the UK's top tourist destinations still derelict after 10 years. While the Turner Centre built and rebuilt over 15 years and silly claims of 500k visitors in the first year. Not corruption just cobblers.

So there we are, Kent's corruption scandals and a series of failures and frauds on the rates.

A freshly-printed crisp £5 pound note not payable for any other examples to

And don't forget to shut up and pay your rates for the police force and courts to not investigate.

Remember, the Infratil monitors were remnoved back in 2006. Thor was supposedly closed in 1988. And FOI became law in 2007. Better to preserve public sector salaries and pensions than solve the problems.

Happy Anti-Corruption Day in Third World Kent!

Time for Change.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Obama and 21st century Asia and Kent

If Obama’s first foreign visit when elected in 2008 was Germany then the choice of South East Asia also poses few surprises for his second term.

A brief 6 hour visit marked the first Presidential visit to Burma in an attempt to seal the reforms of the last year by Burma’s military government including the release of Aung San Suu Kyi now an MP.

And a trip to Thailand reiterated the importance of South East Asia for trade and investment: the latter growing at 11% almost double the pace of China. While the first ever Presidential visit to Cambodia is against the backdrop of encouraging greater democracy and human rights as part of the ASEAN Summit. Perhaps all the more apt given the police crackdown on the Poetic Justice arts exhibition, on the Khmer Rouge and Kissinger’s bombing of Cambodia, by activist Theng Seary.

Human rights in Asia

And the signing of an ASEAN human rights declaration is designed to encompass the range of Asian governance from the dictatorships of Burma to modern democracies such as Singapore and absolute monarchies such as Brunei where voting is still outlawed.

For Kent the portents are clear, with Britain opening its first embassy in Laos to pose as a regional trade partner to rival Franc in South East Asia – and Kent’s first trade delegation from Vietnam. Like Indonesia not just an Asian country with not just one of the world’s largest population, but many of them under 25 and perfect targets for Western-style consumerism albeit within the sustainable limits of the Climate Change Era.

With UK trade with Asia almost non-existent there is work to do in ensuring both Kent and Britain’s place at the trade table. The province of Victoria in Australia for example recently sent a trade delegation of over 80 staff to China. And Hong Kong is seriously considered a replacement for the City of London within a decade – and certainly China’s economy will surpass the USA to be the world’s largest in real terms within this decade.

Kent and Asia

While the blistering pace of urbanisation in China – the greatest movement of people in history – is now 50% and forecast to reach 70% with whole cities being built in one fell swoop is in contrast tot the overbuild of Kent and almost 30,000 empty houses. Over 122 Chinese cities with 1M people compared to 30 such cities in Europe and just 10 in USA will be dwarfing Kent’s town planning in Medway and the like.

If the opportunities are great for Britain and Kent then so are the downsides. Burmese and Cambodian democratic and trade reforms are by no means guaranteed. Total petrol stations still suffer from war crime designation from Burma – and in East Kent, as with Veolia, face ethical sanctions alongside calls for corporate manslaughter for New Zealand’s Infratil, and KCC and TDC with Environment Agency and Southern Water removal of monitors since 2006 and millions of pounds of fines for cancer and pollution.

Laos and Vietnam are still 20th century Communist economies in many ways and China only in the last decade shrugging of the centralised State to some extent. Although recent Vietnamese and Lao elections mark a break with the past: the end of Vietnam War-era politicians and generals being in power for the first time in 40 years.

And as portents of globalised trade, Coca-Cola has recently opened a bottling plant in Burma – now only Cuba and North Korea are without the real thing as Coke replaces Communism or at least US trade sanctions.

Similarly Cambodia’s fledgling stock exchange opened last year with the South Korean exchange – the most advanced internet nation on earth. And the only cloud on the horizon for increased trade is minor conflicts with Thailand over the UNESCO Preah Vihar temple on the border.

Future Kent and Asia

Increased peace and prosperity and autonomy across Asia will speed up the US troops pivot to Australia and away from South Korea and Okinawa, along with the US Navy redeployed from the Gulf and Europe to Asia. Any conflicts - except major problems with Taiwan or North Korea - are likely to be naval border issues eg the Spratlys and Senkaku this year or Kurile Islands last year.

Islamic separatist conflicts are likely to be prevalent in Southern Thailand, Philippines – with US troops deployed already- and Indonesia could easily restage the Bali Bomb of 2002. While the ongoing ethnic conflict in many of Burma’s provinces has recently spread to the Moslem Rohingya of Western Burma and India. And even China is faced with similar problems with the Uighur Moslem conflicts.

All the main South East Asian nations are geographically larger than Britain, with both larger and younger populations so are crucial trading partners with Japan – and Europe - in Lost Decade decline and China’s economy is hidden behind State enterprises and non-tradable currency. Certainly the steps forward in Climate Change, tourism, FOI and corruption improvements leave Kent looking as the Old Man of Europe ridden with the British Diseases of secrecy and pollution, or as a backwater, rather than poised between London and Brussels or the UK's only multinational Euro-zone.

The recent APEC trade summit in Vladivostock marks the changing of the guard for both USA and China with Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta heading for retirement and a new Chinese ruling committee emerging from the upheavals of the Bo Xilai disputes.

With the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War next year, and the UK according to The Economist falling to 27th place as the Best Place to Live in 2030, then South East Asian trade just may be more important to Kent and Britain’s economy than China or Europe or the US in the future.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Manston collapses. Thanet collapses.

Qatari Airlines removes its investment from Cargolux – the last remaining airline at Manston. No investment for poisoning your citizens.

Let KCC and TDC do that for you with your tax-money.

Buchanan’s own figures now for Manston: zero passengers and zero cargo.

The KLM announcement is a farce – I would urge the public not to lose their money buy buying tickets as the airport will close. You’ve lost money before with EUJet remember?

It’s time for corporate manslaughter charges for Infratil.

TDC and KCC have failed us and polluted us.

Miscellanous points:

 Abysmal town planning with the Grange Rd development – it looks like two nuclear reactors failing onto an office block. I’m surprised at Jenner as they’re a good construction company.

 The Broadstairs development opposite the Town Hall – again massive overbuild and out-of-keeping with the surrounding area. TDC Planning have failed us.

 Pfizer: the site is beginning to develop with pharma companies (and Sittingbourne Science Park – and more effort from Universities required) – but plans to demolish buildings look like plans for housing rather than labs. No housing. Only pharma businesses or parks.

 East Kent Film – sliding around at KCC. They’ve approved it but seem unable to actually pay out the money. Do you want your children to have the option of a career in film or television?

 Tesco/Arlington called in – good. Demolish Arlington, Cancel Tesco, reopen Dreamland as an amusement park with the Paramount theme park, and Margate Animation Studio. Do you want your children to play in the rubble of your town? That’s what you have now.

 Portas: a television show rather than regeneration. TDC need to step forward on empty shops and houses.

 Police elections: the failure of the parties to have policies – and rise of the Independents and a need to reform pricing out Independents, and FOI and issuing manifestos in advance

 Frontline Kent for terrorism, pandemics and smuggling: Police Chief in a mock-trial for charity on smuggling a dirty nuclear bomb through Dover. And 85% of EU drugs seizures in Belgium. The foolish removal of rabies checks at Ramsgate Port. Counterfeit tobacco: 10x more dangerous than normal cigarettes – good Fire Brigade campaign on smoking in bed and smoke alarms. Time for Thanet to lead the way on tobacco reduction.

 Lazy Coastguard and ships off Margate. RNLI picking up the problem for them for free.

 0% salary fraud of Moores and McGonigal and silence on TDC and RTC accounts and EKO and ChinaGate and Infratil/EuJet invoices and funds

 Silence on Thor: baned in 1988 but remaining open.

 Trafigura fined $1M for Ivory Coast pollution: 16 deaths and 100k citizens polluted – Bring Bogoievski Back and jail Buchanan.

 DFID relocation: Mayfair offices and their own in-house pub on the rates.

 Ramsgate Police station: lease being reviewed – if no copshop the public will fund C.O.P.S. - Citizens on Patrol System with a pretty uniform, a stick and a car on the rates

 Time for votes at 16: Scotland and Austria and Brazil - but not Kent

 Time for schools without asbestos

 Time for UNMDG as Kent policy

 Time for UN Parliament elections

 Time for compulsory jury trial

 Politics with the Pav - maybe they want a bung like Pleasurama’s £25k instead of me developing it?

 Time to repeal compulsory council tax legislation – payment for service not failure

Time for Change.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Police Election Arrested?

Are the new Kent Police elections are over before they’ve begun.

Few people would argue for less democracy. And the new Police Commissioner elections on 15th November to oversee Kent Police should be part of the wider trend for accountability and transparency in the public sector.

Yet the signs are disappointing.

The £5,000 fee seems to have priced out all the Independent candidates. The short list of five includes Labour and Tory candidates (the latter already on the Kent Police Authority), the incumbent Chair of KPA, a UKIP candidate and Kent Police EU (!) adviser, and an Independent who was Mayor of Medway.

Not exactly inspiring – and barely a manifesto between them other than vague platitudes about reducing crime. Presumably as opposed to increasing it.

So feeble is the offering that there are concerns the turnout will plummet below 20% making the democratic mandate simply non-existent.

Of more concern is that ahead of the election a self-elected KCC 16- member group has been set up for the directly-elected Commissioner to report to rather than the public.

In effect we have almost the same system – although you might not think so from the recent scare-tactic ads of the Home Office or Police Federation of grannies being murdered in their beds if you don’t vote.

And this at a time when policing is under greater scrutiny than ever – whether it be Kent Police’s two attempts at multi-million purchases of spy drones. And a peculiar new national Police RAF Unit for helicopters or aircraft and presumably drones again.

Taking civil liberties

Civil liberties aren’t just up in the air and circling at 30,000 feet, but at ground level in Kent with 6-year extradition scandals such as Christopher Tappin. He’s jailed and sent to Texas and selling off his house in an FBI sting at best or fishing expedition set-up at worst. If the paperwork’s messed-up he could be on Death Row. As is Margate’s Joshua French in the Congo.

Clearly any Kent citizen with anything as meagre as a lost passport, credit card or traffic accident can expect the same lack of help from the Police and Embassy at home or abroad.

Surely the time is right, with the bloat of 42 Police forces likely to be downsized by two-thirds, for Kent Police specialisations in say an emergency foreign service, or lead review of EU arrest warrants and extraditions.

Reforms such as the 101 system could be easily adapted, similarly the improvements to Missing Persons, or Cold Case reviews such as the Deepcut barracks incident, or specialisations in drugs unit, dog searches, Third World exchange programmes are viable against the backdrop of the improved Kent Police three district reforms and one back office.

A thinner but better blue line

Policing is all the more important in Frontline Kent: 85% of drugs are seized in Belgium presumably on their way to Amsterdam and London - or Manchester. Chief Constable Fahey there having to bury two officers on the same day in a gun and grenade (!) drugs gang incident. And with Kent’s terrorist hot-spots of Dover, Canterbury Cathedral and Bluewater as well as arms conduits to and from Europe excellent policing in Kent is crucial for the UK.

From an advertising point of view, policing represents a creative challenge for the most difficult and dangerous profession – hence some of the greatest-ever advertising (remember Sir Robert Marks’ major contribution to road safety for tyres, or John Barnes not being able to be a policeman or even New York’s finest choosing to serve and protect?).

We can laugh at the Fashion Police approach of out-of-control procurement of multiple hats and trousers and T-shirts, yet there’s the very real horror of KCC childcare with a social services dept in such disarray that all 21 of Thanet’s care homes have not one Kent child in them, and 25% of the 1,700 looked-after children are missing - all the makings of a Rochdale or Derby scandal - with the Police either picking up the pieces or copping the blame.

Increasingly it seems, Kent councillors’ ceremonial badges on the rates should extend to a Jimmy Savile badge for fixing it for more Kent opportunities for every paedophile and sex offender.

Policing forward

There’s certainly plenty of national policing scandals such as the failure to blacklist the Police thug PC Simon Harwood after several violent incidents resulting in the death of bystander Ian Tomlinson at the 2009 G20 protests, (part of a wider pattern with only 8 officers being sacked in a decade), the Levenson scandal of rent-a-cop news stories and Hillsboro with hundreds of statements falsified for dozens of deaths – many of them without the policemen knowing and scapegoats of the higher-ups shifting the blame downwards to a junior Officer X.

And, as with the UK’s presidency of the G8 forum next year, with its emphasis on rape in war zones such as the Congo or Sierra Leone or Syria then Kent Police should be best-placed an urgent overhaul of not just childcare (presumably the torture of Kent’s old folks in their care homes or frozen in their own homes continues as normal) but the Kent Police rape unit and procedures.

While Kent Police successes such as investigations into African trafficking or witchcraft-sacrifices with the Osolase case and Islamic honour killings again allows for greater specialisation and future-forward policing – often to take up the slack of other failed public services.

Indeed, so decrepit is Kent governance that the Police could easily fill any arrest quotas with a wander through the council offices. The Parr and Poulson county corruption scandals of the 1970’s seem repeated with wilful denial by the councillor and civil servants presumably in the mistaken belief that the Police can’t or won’t arrest them in Kent.

Take scandals such as Pleasurama in Ramsgate – the largest seafront development in Kent – with the largest-ever donations to the local political parties, mystery blueprints, mystery Cayman Island companies and construction companies who’ve never built so much as a garden shed.

And civil service corruption veers from the simply inept such as paying the other Paul Carter the KCC Leader’s salary for years, payoffs and pension increases for failure, Icelandic and Santander losses and tobacco and gun investments. Or to out-and-out blatant criminality such as the £2M Laser fraud paid into the civil servant’s own bank account – because he asked for it. Or the 0% salary fraud of the Gang of Four and current TDC CEO and repeated TDC and RTC accounts fraud.

All coupled with a strange 1970’s homophobia of councillors wishing each other Aids or the sorts of references to shirtlifting and slags, that went out of fashion in public life around the same time as policemen’s capes and whistles.

Any colour so long as its blacktop?

While the frequent council and construction murky nexus of plasterboard, permits and public land scandals tarmacs every construction project with the same brush - even the Prime Minster’s visit to Party donor JCB’s site in Brazil - hopefully improving the favela slums rather than removing rainforest. That job’s largely done in the Garden of England with 3% of woodland left: the lowest level in Europe compared to say France with 24%, let alone Kent’s twinning partners in Hungary with nearer 80%, or the removal of 90% of Kent’s orchards.

While the mystery fires around Pleasurama spread to Dreamland in Margate, and its unique wooden roller coaster, reducing to ashes and rubble one of Britain’s top ten tourist attractions and facing – as was the Pfizer site at one point – calls for hundreds more overbuild houses and roads in a county with 23,000 homes empty.

And if the Police cop the blame for the failure to act on such scandals, then they’re certainly not alone in the public sector in dragging their heels on FOI some 7 years after it became law. Whether it be weapons stockpiles despite only a half-dozen murders a year in Kent, or the aquifer pollution and missing fines of Infratil at Manston (and presumably at Stansted if successful) allowing banned aircraft such as IranAir or Afghan Air and known gunrunners complete with 1am flights when the airport closes at 11pm.

While the corporate manslaughter of Infratil’s Fitzgerald, Clarke and now Buchanan deliberately removing of noise and air monitors from 2006 – even now, with the Police stood by wringing their hands – presumably stunned by the complicity and silence of MP’s - is a national public health scandal that, along with the Northfleet children and removal of rabies controls, makes Hillsboro seem a walk in the park.

And it’s more luck than expertise that Al Qaida didn’t score a gold at Canary Wharf in the Olympics.

And on a lesser scale, the police seem to have self-policed themselves out of the bulk of minor duties from parking, roadworks, graffiti, foot patrols and noise abatement.

The Police canteen culture seems to be not just chips with every meal but veering into car-crash policing of an insular and hamstrung public service. Take the Coastguard failure to regulate either the SS Richard Montgomery explosive wreck or the ships off Margate’s presumably waiting for another storm like 1953 or 1978 to restage the Torrey Canyon on the Blue Flag beaches before switching on the blues and twos.

Or there’s the prison reform of over-crowded petty criminals locked in their cells stocking up on Charles Bronson books, and Charles Bronson films while waiting for their turn on cop-killer Playstation games 24 hours a day and to improve the appalling reoffending rates.

While joined-up Policing thinking would extend beyond just the basics of a Kent Most Wanted list but to Courts whereby the end of jury trial allows for a closed-shop of non-regulation and lawyer-fraud of fake fees, switching courts, courtroom pretend-law and playing the public courts system for lawyers’ gain.

Public sector criminals

Not sure if the public sector boardrooms contain more criminals than your average prison? Try Southern Water’s repeated – and secret - sewage incidents (for a county with the longest coastline and most Blue Flag beaches and dependency on tourism a scandal) the cholera risk seems optional for their salaries and £300M profits.

Or there’s the Environment Agency scandal of Thor mercury in Margate and other sites – a pollution case so notorious the trial of the South African managers was held in the UK High Court - after the Margate site was banned and closed in 1988. Although it remains open to this day – certainly poisoning more Kent citizens than Crippen.

Or the NHS hospitals scandals as in Maidstone with dozens of patients dying from a lack of basic cleanliness and even prescriptions for water. Or the more subtle concerns over a lack of patient care and spiralling death rates at evenings and weekends.

Surely the new Commissioner elections pose a broader remit for the Police: prison, coastguard, courts and lawyers. While a public sector blacklist replaces silence or parroting of lessons learned and them mere job rotation to continue – at the public’s expense. And public sector pensions, salary fines and jail sentences as misconduct in public office and corporate manslaughter provide for simple and clear policing of the public sector for the benefit of the public.

The first Kent Police election may be a damp squib but may yet set the ground for an improved second election and directly-elected NHS and Education roles where Kent can lead the way with policing by consent rather than cant is worth voting for.

Tim Garbutt is the Managing Director of Sincerity Agency the leading green and ethical advertising agency in East Kent: and standing for Mayor to “Stop the Pollution, Stop the Corruption, Stop the Construction”:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

UN Day of days

Does this year’s UN Day marks a time of change for both the UN and Kent.

Today's UN Day (Wednesday 24th October) marks not just 67 years of the UN Charter founding in 1945 – but rather surprisingly a sudden outbreak of peace around the world.

From the 50 year conflicts and dictatorships of the Arab Spring of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, to the Colombian FARC ceasefire to the Aung-San Burmese democracy the world just got quieter and safer.

Plus we have a world more democratic with the last few red-blooded dictatorships of Cuba, Guinea, Cameroon, and Arabian Ayatollahs sliding into the past.

And if conflicts such as Yemen or Syria are fairly recent civil wars then Mexico’s recent convulsions into narco-state collapse are in contrast to the Congo War - home to the largest UN peacekeeping force and millions dead - and proving so problematic that Britain will declare war-rape as a theme of its presidency of the G8 in 2013.

While, the China-Japan disputes over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, the disputes over the Spratlys and Paracel islands between China, Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei, or the Kurile disputes between Russia and Japan highlight how post-1945 conflicts can flare up.

Another curfew of all US troops on Okinawa, tension between North Korea and US, and China-Taiwan-US surely declare that the post-1945 settlement is, surprisingly, closest to unravelling in Asia.

Kent economy falters

A concern all the more important in Kent with the bulk of economic growth forecast for Asia rather than Europe, as the UK’s largest trading partner stagnates. The riot-torn streets of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are not conducive to any sales let alone exports. Even smaller Asian nations such as Thailand are forecast to grow at over 11%, while China and India settle around the 8% growth mark and UK and Europe slip into negative growth again.

Perhaps the greatest requirement from UN Day going forward is a new UN Borders Agency – capitalising on the UN Women’s Agency innovation - to arbitrate on petty disputes such as Diaoyu. Disputes all the more ludicrous, as like the Spratlys, none of the islands are inhabitable and at high tide are barely bigger than a few football pitches.

If the 20th century saw the flames of such 19th century nationalism fanned into imperialism, colonialism and ultimately war and genocide, then the 21st century must surely see a completion of the process of decolonisation. Would anyone bet against the Falklands, Britain’s last colony, being divested to Argentina under UN supervision, and the dozen flecks of British and French dependent islands before they sink into the Caribbean and Pacific?

And even Europe itself would be subject to greater scrutiny, with Gibraltar and Ceuta/Melilla and Western Sahara being resolved between UK, Spain and Morocco.
If the Diaoyu represent a warning of the conflict inherent in such unresolved disputes then the post-Soviet problems of Transdniestra, Kaliningrad and especially Georgia are best solved within the EU ideally.

But the high-water mark of EU capability may have been reached for a decade – the fall of 11 governments within the last 4 years, riots from Athens to Madrid and negative economic growth – so Croatia may have to be the last EU addition in a Japanese-style Lost Decade.

EU expansion with Turkey may be subject to unification with Cyprus and Armenian reform, similarly Serbia with Kosovo, and Ukraine, Belarus and Russia will require greater democracy and economic stability to avoid the threat of the cockpit of Europe shifting south and east to the longer, and porous, borders of Kashmir and Vladivostok.

European democratic change

The next decade will likely see unification in Ireland, Korea and Cyprus, as simultaneously the forces of secession pull away in Scotland and Catalonia and Kosovo and Montenegro. And also a greater need for a Sarajevo Shift eastwards for European unity with Brussels and NATO, as the removal of British and American troops from Germany and Afghanistan already reflects the US Pivot to Australia and South East Asia, away from Japan, Taiwan and Korea, with troop redeployments begun – as already heralded by APEC and now Obama’s visit to Cambodia next month.

And the world’s navies may just recede into minor piracy operations off the coasts of Nigeria, Somalia and Indonesia, or even HMS Kent’s suntan tours, rather than removing wrecks such as the SS Richard Montgomery off Kent – barely a dozen miles from the Royal Engineers bomb disposal squad - or the ocean’s huge plastic patches.

Greater democracy in the 21st century is only likely with the example of the UN now: the UN Millennium Development Goals are still unsupported as government policy by any European government, although widely adopted/adapted as required across Africa and Asia. And votes at 16 – now granted to Scotland, and already Jersey, Brazil and Austria – is likely to be the global suffrage default.

But not yet in Kent.

Nor are there in Kent the tablet PC’s and books, online art galleries and museums available to Thai or Indian schoolchildren, nor the tree-planting programmes in Kent’s 400 schools with just 5 trees per child each year required to provide a tree for every one of Kent’s 1.3M citizens in the Age of Climate Change.

If only fragments of the world’s population such as Brunei, Bhutan and Abu Dhabi are without any vote at all (and Saudi to introduce women’s votes in 2015), then future democracy and equality is more likely in the need for quotas for women’s rights in the economy: a minimum 30% representation in corporate boardrooms.

UN future

The International Day of the Girl equality campaign last week – celebrated at Surin Village School Charity: - also highlighted that the exclusion of young girls is statistically much higher in the 100M children still not in school. And the importance of a right to free university education that the world holds dearly, yet Britain has given away. Along with other previous areas of public excellence in say town planning such as room sizes, parks and slum clearances - that no Mary Portas stunt can hope to reform.

Greater global regulation of tax havens – Kent is certainly not immune from those with Pleasurama and party payoffs in Ramsgate – will release some funds for societal improvements. The wider liability in Kent though is the misuse of existing tax-billions (£2Bn at KCC and perhaps the same again in the rest of the public sector: 42% of c.£10Bn GDP for the Kent economy).

Greater public sector reform is required, witness the civil service rush to agree on tarmac, white elephants and blacktop sprawl through the Garden of England from Dartford to Rochester Riverside to Ashford. Or even after 7 years of law, the public sector refusal to publish FOI staffing levels, salaries, pensions and expenses before elections for you to decide how your money is spent.

And if the UNMDG are a UK oversight of 12 years’ standing then surely the UN elected Parliament is 67 years overdue – all the more so as the EU and UN itself along with various national parliaments agree its need for greater voice of the people.

A UN elected parliament, supervising the UNMDG – including a UNMDG2 if you will – along with OneGov-style electronic direct voting, and merger of the World Bank and IMF to create a global currency/rating based on the SDR is a prerequisite for the 21st century.

The lack of emphasis in UNMDG1 on R2P at 500 deaths or arms exports is surprising (if the slump into an expensive talking shop is to be avoided), given peace is the raison d’ĂȘtre of the UN.

The failure to achieve the UN 0.7% aid target for each nation after some 40 years is similarly weak. As is even basic Ofcom media innovations - such as UN TV and radio channels – or European national free-to-air broadcasters and satellites that cannot access a supposedly common market for entertainment and language training – and something that Kent was moving towards with KentTV.

While European innovations denied to Britain such as 10% interest rate caps in Germany, the beginnings of always-on free internet in Finland and mobile texts or free renewable utilities from construction innovations such as Desertec hint at greater stagnation within global governance.

Third World Kent?

Perhaps Kent’s shame though is that death from infectious disease is something still not unheard of in the Garden of England, with already at the start of Autumn, whooping cough epidemics, legionnaire outbreaks in dirty hospitals, oft-overlooked rabies dangers at Kent’s ports or the usual horrific winter cull of upto 20,000 UK pensioners with a shortage of flu vaccines and heating bills somehow accepted in the 21st century.

A problem all the more astonishing given the collapse of Glaxo and Pfizer in Dartford and Sandwich and loss of thousands of skilled pharma jobs to the Kent economy.

Kent pharma has a ready-made market of billions across Africa and Asia. With 8M deaths each year from nineteenth century diseases such as TB and cholera, or the 3M deaths in Europe from rare diseases (a death-toll of WW2 each and every year), the Kentish Ports somehow sit idle. Yet Kent firms are specialising in collateral exports of water filters and, firms such as MAG, are leading the way in landmine clearance from North Africa to Northern Cambodia.

And Government funding sits in KCC’s bank account, is frittered away into tobacco and guns investments, or invested in criminal businesses such as Infratil - with its faked air monitors, and now Stansted bid with profits greater than KCC’s entire budget - and Cargolux and ACG and IranAir illegal flights, and Total, Thor and Trafigura scarring the landscape.

While endemic civil service corruption and failure such as the 0% salary fraud, Veolia, Environment Agency, Southern Water, KCC Laser fraud, and EKO cement-for-council land-grabs with Roads to Nowhere, empty housing overbuild or the horrors of live animal exports and the childcare failings of hundreds of missing abused – and supposedly protected – children make Kent a charnel house or laughing stock.

A litany of public sector crime that the Police and CPS somehow find difficult to confront with corporate manslaughter charges until, no doubt, after the event with hand-wringing, scapegoating, and whitewashing away with pension increases and payoffs.

Equally a UN Parliament would struggle to reconcile falling turnouts with Party failure and civil service bloat: Canterbury by-elections of 13% and even the Kent Police elections forecast to plummet to 15% against a backdrop of calls for ballot box boycotts, repeated spy drone purchases and weapons procurement without oversight are hardly a democratic innovation or mandate.

Nor are layers of double-hatter councillors or parachute Party candidates roadblocking democracy for pension topups - and not a manifesto published between them, and certainly not months in advance with FOI.

The Garden of England is looking lost under waves of tarmac with 90% of orchards gone and the destruction of hedgerows to SSSI sites such as Pegwell Bay with a resulting collapse of biodiversity such as bees, wasteful Food Miles - and not a single recycling factory for zero landfill and plastic and food waste sorting in the Climate Change Era.

International food speculation is likely to hit Kent’s farmers or the fished-out fisheries harder – unless a Torrey Canyon crash revisits the beaches of Margate and wakes up the Coastguard and destroys the industry completely. The death this week of Senator McGovern the1972 presidential candidate and founder of the UN Food Programme leaves unfinished work with famine requiring greater regulation of key commodity crops such as wheat and rice for market-subsidies.

And while the UK failings of secrecy and pollution are as prevalent as always, then Recession Planning seems a lost art in reducing the frequency and severity of the natural two per decade down-cycles in the economy – neither Plan B nor Plan Z seems available from Westminster. Yet these are the kind of crises that FDR resolved in the 1930’s through planned, and necessary, public works programmes easily tweaked for each decade to ensure the economy is moving and productive through briefer and shorter recessions: generational debt write-offs, tree planting, barracks, hospitals, pylons, 1960’s tower blocks and power stations demolition, asbestos cleanup, flood defences, wifi, solar panels etc.

And such a UN Parliament would be unlikely to fail to provide a Tobin Fund for rapid delivery of the UNMDG (and a Marshall Plan for Africa and India specifically), arms exports and disarmament, or a Tobin Disaster Fund for the world’s floods and hurricanes and earthquakes and 72M refugees each year.

Even the strategic pollution cleanups of the 20th century would be considered - whether it be nuclear power from Dungeness to Chernobyl (or Kent’s Channel reactors and sea-dumping in France) or asbestos in schools after 40 years, the unknown toxins affecting Kent’s Northfleet children, or the rusting Thor mercury factories from Margate to Cato Ridge would be rapidly improved and monitored.

Kent is best-placed to address the three strategic needs of the 21st century: Climate Change, the Third World and Space exploration – or face the slide back into a cold, malarial wetland, or at best, a fading and minor entrepot and dumping ground, an inverse 21st century Macao perhaps, on the Continental fringes of greater overseas powers.

Tim Garbutt is the Managing Director of Sincerity Agency the leading green and ethical advertising agency in East Kent: and standing for Mayor to “Stop the Pollution, Stop the Corruption, Stop the Construction”:

Friday, 21 September 2012

Third World Thanet: policies

Malnutrition: cancer, obesity, chlamydia and diabetes off the scale.

Food insecurity: overbuild, garden-grabbing and farmland spoiled

Poor sanitation: broken sewers, water pumps and sewage dumping

Economic dislocation: 2,000 jobs lost at Pfizer, Dreamland a top ten tourism attraction closed for 8 years, no economic policies at all.

Corrupt governance: Manston, Pleasurama, 0% civil servant fraud.

This blistered kidney we call Kent.

Time for Change in Third World Thanet.

An outline below on Third World Thanet policies: moving Thanet from Third World collapse in health, water supplies and economic dislocation, to First World growth.

Remember, KCC is a $2BN council. Each and every year – and supposedly the largest and best UK council.

And TDC is one of 12 Kent councils with $60M per year. Each and every year.

And Southern Water, the Environment Agency, Police, Ambulance, Fire, NHS budget billions.

For Third World results.

With UN International Peace Day today, it’s time for Third World polices and Thanet and Kent to improve.

Thanet, with a new generation, Pfizer experience, Port and vibrant small businesses needs to move from stagnation to a growth economy based on Third World service.

1. Reverse Third World health statistics in East Kent – with new public health policies
2. UNMDG adopted and adapted by council – a UK first delayed from year 2000
3. Kent tax rebate of 0.2% to DFID: the shortfall of the 0.7% target – since 1970
4. UN Parliament initial elections in 2013: the UN and EU agree on a UN Parliament but easy to delay it
5. Votes at 16 – avoid a tyranny of pensioners, 6th form initial elections for 2013 Mayor and directly elected KCC Leader
6. World Bank and IMF reform/merger and direct elections: SDR and Tobin Tax/Marshall Plan to deliver UNMDG, and R2P of 500 deaths
7. UK 10% interest rate cap as Germany – ban Third World extortion of 4,000% interest rates
8. Begin ethical policy: tax havens, Veolia, Infratil, Trafigura, Cargolux and Union Carbide – banned from public sector contracts
9. FOI of EU and UN
10. 3 charities for every Thanet business and public sector organisation – one for Third World, one RNLI and one Kent
11. Viiv: at Pfizer site and strategic facility for UK and Third World vaccines – public shares fund through High St banks
12. Reshape Kent Uni and CCU Uni curriculum as point 2
13. Support related Third World businesses in Kent eg MAG landmines, water filters
14. DFID office in Ramsgate: regeneration not expensive offices in Buckingham Palace Rd or Gordon Brown’s constituency - and focus on malaria nets
15. Twinning: Africa and Asia not the suburbs of Western Europe
16. Ofcom: UN TV and radio channel
17. East Europe focus: largest Romanian population in Kent
18. Trees: 1.3M one per Kent citizen – c.5 trees planted per schoolchild per year
19. EU: languages and 2013 Heritage Label
20. Police: public sector crime division, 42 focrses reform and weapons/uniform procurement, and develop missing persons specialism – and every day a drug den raid
21. Foot passenger ferry: regen
22. 1945/UN peace memorial and Korea memorial: repair
23. Surin Village Schools charity: jobs and Port exports: (like the new Facebook page)
24. Police/NHS: Third World exchanges/training
25. Cambodia: $10M DFID funding reinstated
26. TB: vaccines – UK designed toilets/portakabins
27. Brunei and Bhutan : vote and as UK votes at 16
28. HMS Kent: from HMS Suntan to plastic patch cleanup
29. Commonwealth: exchanges/training
30. Climate Change land levy: reduce overbuild and 24k empty houses in Kent, farmland and greenbelt
31. Ban offshore ship anchorages: use the Ports
32. Fisheries policies: repelenish North Sea cod stocks down to 10%
33. Pensioners Winter Policy: OAP’s dying like flies in Winter – and now Summer Climate Change
34. Solar power: Kent nuke-free, solar farms and One House Two Solar Panels policy

Misc specific points:

• article in Independent yesterday: Corruption in Britain
• KCC FOI partially published: salaries over £58k
• 46 sheep slaughtered at Ramsgate Port (and 2 drowning!) – abysmal
• 25% of 1,700 Kent migrant children lost
• KCC sudden shortfall of 10,000 school places(!) requiring 27 new schools
• Silence on Thor, Infratil, Cargolux: $25,000 reward for arrests
• Silence on asbestos in schools, Pleasurama secret meetings and RTC/TDC accounts
• Silence on MP recall and referendum and FOI meetings

Time for Third World Thanet and Collapsed Kent to improve.

Time for Change.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Third World Thanet

Time for Change.

Third World health statistics in Thanet: dying at 60, cancer statistics and social dumping off the scale.

Third World water supply: faeces in the water supply and on the beaches, an aquifer under the runway.

Third World literacy rates: some of the worst schools in UK, 99% literacy - literate to an 8 year-olds standard.

Third World political incompetence: the same double-hatters and parachute candidates, declining turnout and quangocracy again and again, and cover-up of Infratil and Thor.

Third World civil service corruption: 0% salary fraud and accounts, EKO waste, vanity projects and removing Infratil monitors.

KCC supposedly the best County governance in Britain: bloat and FOI failure and empty housing and Road to Nowhere construction.

Time for Third World Thanet to change: policy launch this week.

Time to become a Great British district supporting Third World growth and exports.

Time for Change.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Arctic Kent and Infratil and Cargolux £20,000 reward

Last week’s reports that the Arctic icesheet is the lowest-ever is as important as it is horrifying. The last lowest figure was in 2007 (with a decade’s worth of highest ever temperatures), and with the satellite imagery of the last 35 years the reduction in ice at the North Pole can be accurately tracked and recorded.

The Summer ice has melted so that within 3-5 years experts predict the North Pole will be open ocean. No ice at all. Presumably just a few soggy polar bears.

Already the Northern Sea Route from Tokyo to Europe, across Russia, and the NorthWest Passage across Canada are open to shipping: 34 ships using the former route up from just 4 two years ago.

Stormy weather

We’re entering a world unknown to humanity where not just this week’s storms such as Hurricane Isaac in Florida and Haiti, or floods in Burma, Laos and Korea become ever more prevalent and deeper – as less ice means warmer seas increasing heat and rising sea levels even further.

And, aside from storms, the US wheat belt already has 1930’s style Dust Bowls this Summer, sending food prices soaring: cereal prices up 120% and dairy up 107% as 45% of the corn and 35% of the soya crops are destroyed. Cereal prices peaked in 2008 at their highest ever according to the UN - yet another awful record now broken.

Food riots have already destabilised regimes during the Arab Spring: Yemen reports rice prices up by 60%, while bread prices in Egypt and Tunisia sparked riots and revolution – with similar incidents in Ivory Coast and Malawi. Add in reduced fish stocks and political instability in Ghana and Ethiopia and the food crisis looks bleak across Africa and the Middle East.

Kent would be affected not just by more floods and storms – along with sharper winters and much hotter summers that increase potholes, but also economic refugees and humanitarian crises from Africa and the Middle East.

Food riots haven’t broken out in your local Tesco just yet but the world’s refugees from Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and Kenya will pitch up on Kent’s doorstep as a the food crisis deepens - and epidemics of cholera, typhoid and tubercolosis break out. Another multi-million pound Kent Police spy drone will be of little use hovering over the Channel filming a bigger and better repeat of the Calais Jungle or Hackney Riots.

Food speculation

So strong are the concerns on the Continent – not separated by the Channel breakwater - that several German and Austrian banks have already removed food products from investment funds to reduce speculation and food hoarding and shortages.

Change for the better

Perhaps opportunities for Kent in the Climate Change Age though are in the likes of Thanet Earth greenhouses on brownfield sites to provide space-age sustenance, reduce air miles, and provide greater protection of farmland for the very real need to feed Britain’s own population.

If the U-Boat blockade in WW2 reduced Britain to grow your own allotments on every patch of land, near starvation levels in just 4 years, and rationing for a further decade, then Climate Change would be more far impactful. Especially as a starving Kansas would take priority over a starving Kent in any future Climate Change Lend-Lease or Marshall Plan.

Greater emphasis on investment in ethical products such as low-embedded water or reduced animal fats would refresh Kent’s farm sector – even reform of rice tariffs with Asia rather than USA, and VAT as an ethical tax linked to a capped interest rate as in Germany.

And investment in the pharma sector for not just Third World vaccines for HIV and malaria, but newer strains of resistant crops and seed banks would expand the Kent economy. Although it’s perhaps ironic when Kent has reduced its orchards by over 90% for empty business parks and retail parks. And carving up its remaining farms into housing estates and barn conversions seems only to have stimulated garden-grabbing tarmac speculation.

With over 1M empty homes in the UK – and many of them built on flood plains the tide may well reverse the tarmac boom of recent years as the construction companies head off to South Sudan and the Sahel for road-building.

And if the Desertec solar farm project in the Sahara could provide all of the world’s electricity needs then there will always be a requirement to stimulate the Kent solar panel industry.

In the chill winds of the Age of Climate Change Kent is looking exposed.

Tim Garbutt is the Managing Director of Sincerity Agency the leading green and ethical advertising agency in East Kent: and standing for Mayor to “Stop the Pollution, Stop the Corruption, Stop the Construction”:

• Manston noise and air monitors and illegal Cargolux overflights: silence and coverup
• Pleasurama tax haven: silence and secret council meetings
• Thor: banned but open: silence and let’s-play-let’s-pretend
• KCC and TDC: $2BN and $60M in tax to do nothing except say there’s no money or nothing can be done as they drive around in chauffeured cars on the rates
• The KCC AGM on 16th October and Police elections in November: the Toxic Three of Carter, King and Wild out, and Police arrests for Infratil, Cargolux and Thor

As Mayor I will increase the Manston bounty to £20,000 for information leading to arrests of the Infratil and Cargolux Directors, and KCC, TDC and EA corporate manslaughter.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Film East Kent and misc.

Manston still abysmal with Cargolux and ACG breaching the flight routes.
Bizarre that the council are still dragging their heels on public safety.

As Mayor I'll increase the bounty on the Infratil Directors to £10,000 for information leading to their arrest for corporate manslaughter. Coppers with cancer. Civil servants with cancer. Lawyers with cancer. Prison officers with cancer. Tourists wiht cancer. Even their own staff. What were they thinking?

What were they thinking removing the noise and air monitors with TDC and colluding on the pollution and cancer?

Silence on Thor mercury. And the Environment Agency and the Manston aquifer. Southern Water seem to be dragging their heels a bit on the sea discharge and have put claims out to their loss adjustor. Profits for failure I suppose.

Good news on the East Kent Film Office and Studio which has been approved for funding and potential for upto 17 jobs. Anyone interested please email a CV to I’d really like to have Ramsgate’s Brenda Blethyn and Timothy Spall as Board members – I’d turned down the Kent Film Office, whioch wasn't a bad initiative with the private and public sector etc and I always thought Kent TV was not a bad idea as such, a couple of years ago as I think EKFOS will be more effective and complement KFO. Possibly the old gasworks site would make an interesting studio after the Rover garage council vandalism.

Good news too on the Pfizer site: the new developers should be able to maintain the existing Pfizer role and hopefully bring in the lost 2,000 jobs – Viiv would be ideal as part of my Farm and Pharma strategy for East Kent.

Animal exports at Ramsgate port – I happened to see a dozen protestors and 25 coppers and vans – utterly wasteful for this repulsive trade. And from a council-owned port. And RSPCA not inspecting every lorry and impounding as necessary.

Pleasurama: all secretive. Interesting statistic on the Cayman Islands – similar to the British Virgin Islands in money laundering - has a GDP almost the same size as the UK. Someone at TDC was on a big bung for Kent’s biggest seafront development and buildings above the clifftop.

Looks to me like Sandy is on trial as a scapegoat while Samuel and White of the Gang of Four walk away with a payoff, pensions and the blatant 0% salary fraud of the year before their schtum payoff. And all signed off by McGonigal (now the CEO and FD for a £60M public organisation) and the auditors. Ask for the runaround on invoices and contracts.

Ambulances: the quiet men of the public sector. Too cheap in terms of a service and only a 7 minute turnaround – probably faster with the town centre paramedics which Mayor Green put in place. They’re working on another training role which sounds interesting and I’d mentioned pub kits and training a while ago for the town centres. They don’t, but too often I find the public sector end up nicking ideas and staffing up and taxing up and crowding out the private sector. As with Top Temps and Top Travel at KCC, and 76 lawyers on the rates. KCC’s budget over 4 years is the same as staging the Olympics and about time we had Poole’s Pool instead of tarmacing playing fields or asbestos in classrooms.

The UK has done well in the Olympics although not particularly Kent given the Games are almost over, which should improve for the Youth Games - and interesting to see how the Paralympics are hosted as it is the first time they should have equal prominence with the main Games and that hasn't quite happened as yet.

Time for Change.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Has Kent scaled Olympian heights in 2012?

Out of the blocks already. The 2012 Games are underway at last the new Olympic stadium in Stratford.

Four years after Beijing, 17,000 of the world’s athletes and officials from 205 nations have convened on London for 46 sporting events in the Olympics and Paralympics.

But will the Games deliver on their promise?

The signs are not good.

Let’s not mention the G4S security debacle last week – with twice as many troops now deployed in East London than Afghanistan. Although after last year’s riots this may be a good thing, and a portent for the future.

And since the Olympic victory announcement, in 2005 in Singapore, Kent seems to have little to show for the greatest Games in a generation. An Olympics that will almost certainly not come back to England this century – although an independent Scotland or united Eire may fancy their chances.

So far in Kent we seem to have had just two Kent Schools Games to improve our chances in the egg and spoon race in Rio in 2016. Possibly a tweaked train schedule.

And that’s about it. (Just yesterday a silver form Canterbury’s Fox-Pitt in horseriding).

Not even many athletic training camps in Kent given we’re so close to London - and more publicity for the Sierra Leone team in Hastings. With just 8 teams in Kent (Puerto Rico and the Portuguese trampolining squad don’t quite cut it as an economic boost do they?), yet I’ve written before of the importance and economic potential for twinning links with the Third World.

Games off-track for Kent?

China’s economy is already larger than Britain’s and seemingly unstoppable, Indian is a G20 nation, while if with the sub-Saharan economy has an economy little larger than Belgium’s now it’s destined to expand - even with only Chinese investment - and another 2 or 3 billion population in the next 50 years.

Such boom economies and surging populations – a second Mexico or Tokyo or Beijing Games if we’ve had three in a century is not impossible – will overshadow Britain this century. While the spectacle of the Games in the shade of the Pyramids or Taj Mahal or the jungles of Bali means Belfast may still struggle.

If Kent has the longest coastline in the UK, it seems a missed opportunity to not have one sailing or swimming event: the former is based in Weymouth - as far from London and Kent as possible.

Not even a Coast marathon in 30 miles of Blue Flag beaches or chalk cliffs.

And nothing for Royal Harbours and Towns such as Ramsgate and Tunbridge Wells, or even UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Chatham Dockyard or Canterbury Cathedral. Kent’s MP’s, even Canterbury’s Hugh Robertson the Olympics Minister must have forsaken an afternoon run for a snooze by the pool for the last few years.

The Olympic torch seems to have wound its way though every semi-derelict town centre in Britain. And missing the potential for the much-heralded entrance through the White Cliffs of Dover.

With the Olympics upon us, Kent has failed.

Olympic traffic jam

So, Kent seems left with little more than choked roads – and Boris Johnson braying to avoid the roads and trains during the Olympics at every train station tannoy into Kent is abysmal tourism marketing on a par with Boris Island itself.

What next? BBC announcements not to watch the Games as they take up too much space in the Radio Times? Although if you’re hoping to go online to watch the Games, then Kent’s bandwidth and wifi may well judder to a halt too.

Having marketed some of the earlier Games events, the logo and mascots of Wenlock and Mandeville are hardly Britain at its greatest while I shudder at an Olympic opening ceremony that includes a dance about the NHS. Almost as ludicrous as trademarking “London” or “2012” or “Summer”. And if the best the advertising industry can do are the Omega ads with the Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up yet again or Usain Bolt dressing up as Virgin’s Richard Branson or the BT students visiting the Oleempics then it’s not even bronze for the sponsors.

And the economic effects of the Games may have been overstated: a cost of £11Bn – little more than KCC spends anyway. While the Games yield is only £750M – little more than Government austerity borrowing for a month. Why are the improvements not done anyway rather than waiting for an Olympics every 50 years?

And now Central London reporting tourism and retail sales down upto 30% year on year as people stay away from London. If only they’d come to Kent?

And if the G4S security debacle is laughable at the moment, then Kent’s potential with dozens of airports, BBC reporters flying unchecked from France to Brighton-Shoreham airport, and Infratil at Manston allowing banned flights, and even IranAir and AfghanAir, provides the potential for the most disastrous Games since Munich 1972.

Yet in the spirit of the Olympics bringing nations together, scaling the heights of sporting prowess surely there is more Kent can do for legacy activity?

Is Kent’s future Olympic?

In honour of UK basketball featuring in the Games for the first time, here are five rings that Kent could slamdunk:

1. Kent athletic prowess to be hot-housed for TeamGB in Rio 2016 – five days into the Games can you name any Kent hopeful? Thought not. And if you can, try and name a handful of Kent Paralympians – for what was meant to be the first united Games ever.
2. A 2012 parks and playing fields programmes to prevent tarmacisation – one East Kent school dug up its playing fields to create a volleyball sandpit, some three miles from the Blue Flag beaches. No doubt with a new road.
3. A 2012 swimming pool programme to expand the number of both indoor and outdoor pools. For when the tide is too rough on the Blue Flag beaches or Southern Water decide to tinker with the water supply again.
4. Kent sports nutrition programme to finetune Kent produce to Olympic events and healthy eating – McDonalds may be sponsoring this Olympics event but surely Kent apples should be to the fore if the Garden of England’s youth are to be more athletic than arthritic.
5. A Kent Olympics team established before the Winter Olympics in Sochi to develop demonstration games for future Games – not even synchronised swimming - but say wall-climbing, more pistol shooting or beach polo.

And in the Olympic spirit here are a few more thoughts: A League Of Kent Supermarkets to sponsor orchards and athletes to reduce food miles and increase farmland and biodiversity. Pfizer to turn the page on the loss of Viagra and get pumped up for drugs testings contracts at the next Olympics and sports events before Essex seizes the chance.

The Jiangsu province, China links with Essex are launching in Olympic week after 20 years of exchanges and already gearing up for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

Kent drops the baton again.

Maybe some Future Games events that Britain might do better in – not darts – but say sport stacking or even esoteric sports such as takraw, that could be developed with the International teams at Kent’s universities and language schools.

If the Cultural Olympiad has been a bit of a damp squib – not even a Triumph of the Weald commissioned - then surely now is the time for Kent’s filmmakers and artists to demand a coherent programme of activity (shameless plug: I’m developing the East Kent Film Offices and Studio). Too often the arts rely on spasmodic Arts Council grants and weak promotion. For example, how embarrassing that the real-life 1924 Olympic team of Chariots of Fire fame trained on Broadstairs beach, yet are ignored in Britain’s third Olympic year.

Tracey Emin carrying the torch for the Turner Contemporary is wonderful but what about the next 20 years? Young artists such as Khmer poet Kosal Khiev working with UK must be the way forward if Kent’s youth are to think more of art galleries than just somewhere out of the rain to eat their sandwiches.

Kent’s beacons may have been extinguished during the Olympics, but surely now is the time to light the flame for the next ones.


Silence on Thor mercury.

Silence on Manston overflights.

Silence on 0% payrises.

Silence on tax haven Pleasurama.

Corporate manslaughter at its finest.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Radioactive Kent?

Consideration of a nuclear waste storage facility at Dungeness is starting to hot up. But protestations of jobs and the safety implications of 4,000 flasks of UK nuclear waste are likely to be drowned out. Not only by the realities of Sellafield in Cumbria already holding almost all UK nuclear waste, but the geological changes of Kent’s coastline over the next few centuries.

Centuries of change?

Britain’s total nuclear waste may only be enough to fill the Albert Hall and larger than 160 football pitches but the storage dump, even if approved tomorrow, would not be built until 2040.

The site would not be full of waste until 2074, with the whole site then filled in and covered over and fenced-off. A process that of course has never been done before. And the site will still be contaminated for hundreds of years – facing all the unknown geological shifts and pressures of the centuries passing.

Imagine how the Kent coast has changed in just the last 200 years. Whether it’s the regular Dover Strait earthquakes, North Sea floods, or even the Climate Change patterns of the last few months of record droughts and floods.

The closure of Dungeness A, and B taken offline for years for maintenance work with permanent closure before 2018 means the site is already largely redundant. Plans for a Dungeness C are nowhere near finalised.

The peril of nuclear buildings on the Kent coast – albeit far from Maidstone and London – is of course best highlighted by the disaster at Fukushima.

Nuclear legacy

The legacy of the third nuclear disaster in Japan is 20 miles of contaminated coast (in an area of Japan famed for its seafood), dozens of towns and villages abandoned, and upto $200Bn of economic disruption with even Tokyo suffering power blackouts.

Or there’s the German example of shutting down all 20 of their nuclear reactors in the wake of Fukushima – along with similar reviews by Switzerland, Poland and Italy. The German storage facilities at Gorleben and Asse – following the same “Big Hole” approach suggested for Dungeness, but in salt-mines - are already hotly debated with frequent reports of leaks of radioactive brine from the waste.

Tilman Pradt, Analyst at Wikistrat think tank said: “Fukushima has been a wakeup call to how Germany and other nuclear nations properly deal with their nuclear waste both now and for future generations.”

And Germany is probably more intrinsically anti-nuclear than most European nations – after the devastation wrought by conventional weapons during WW2 plus the risk of tactical nuclear howitzers – of Saddam’s 45 minutes of WMD fame - during the Cold War. Nuclear electricity was originally a merely byproduct of these various 1950’s weapons programmes.

And Britain’s plans for 10 replacement nuclear power stations - after Dungeness and 11 others are fully decommissioned - has run into the buffers. Russian and Chinese operators are now being considered after concerns over EDF and Areva’s EP reactor systems delivery and electricity pricing. And further delays may arise with the EU calling for all 14 European nuclear nations to specify a single waste site by 2015 – not necessarily within national borders.

Surely the hope is that North Korea’s nuclear tests of 2006 and 2009 are the first and last tests of the 21st century. While Iran considers other methods of electricity production such as solar – especially as the world’s 430 nuclear reactors provide only 13% of global energy.

Renewing nuclear

It’s almost perverse that Kent one of the sunniest parts of Britain, has only just begun developing solar farms here in East Kent, or embracing renewables such as wind turbines as part of the energy mix. The windfarm boom is peaking with the refusal of Vestas to invest in Sheppey, while even the stumbles over the solar feed-in tariffs to kickstart the industry means we have some way to go to rival Germany’s 10% of energy production from renewables.

It’s a shameful missed opportunity given that way back in 1979 President Carter installed solar panels on the White House roof; while we struggle even to improve the energy profile at County Hall. And Kent’s cleanup legacy as the Garden of Kent is hardly sparkling with nuclear submarine waste at Chatham Dockyard, the Stour and Medway the UK’s most polluted rivers, or serial polluters like Infratil, Southern Water, Environment Agency and Thor.

And if Dungeness is unlikely to be the UK’s nuclear store then the spectre of radiation is still close at hand for Kent. French nuclear stations such as Gravelines sit on the Channel coast. The resulting discharge – or even 28,000 barrels of waste dumped at sea near the Channel Islands - is exactly the same type of concern that Eire has from Sellafield’s liquid waste.

Nuclear power isn’t the future for Kent in the 21st century – unfortunately the great experiment begun at Berkeley Magnox in 1963 as the UK’s first civil nuclear power plant means we’ll still be scrubbing the legacy clean well beyond even the 22nd century.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Priceless Olympics and $5,000 Infratil

A few miscellaneous notes:

• the Olympic torch to run down Harbour St and Surin about 10am on Thursday – good to see cancer victims represented and several paralympians.

• The 2012 beach volleyball events by TDC have been really excellent the last few years – but what a dismal performance by KCC overall for the priceless Olympics opportunity for activity and legacy. Almost nothing. We need Poole’s Pool and the Van Gogh gallery (KCC storing millions of pounds of art in warehouses is just silly) all the more.

• Deloitte drop the sale of Manston and Prestwick airports: PWC pick it up to no doubt drop it soon. And Kent Police to feel a few collars: $5,000 reward for information leading to arrests of Infratil Directors for corporate manslaughter. Even now late flights and offroute flights and water pollution and missing fines while our pubic servants dither over how much cancer and corruption is acceptable.

* Silence on Thor mercury.

* Silence on Pfizer growth and Viiv.

• Andy Mack Audit Commission auditor finding any old reason to sign off the RTC and TDC accounts: try yourself for copies of Manston fines, water samples, Pleasurama contracts, 0% fraud payslips (he didn’t work for the AC at one point but apparently he does now, but maybe not. You know the sort of thing). They’re probably missing or stuck down the back of McGonigal’s knickers.

• East Kent Film Office and studio progressing along: providing shoot information with Kent Film Office but specific to Eat Kent, filming an festival fund and film studio and education opportunities with schools and colleges. Some celeb non-exec advisers would be perfect: I’m thinking local residents like Timothy Spall and Brenda Blethyn and some blue plaques to kickstart activity eg Bruce Robinson of Broadstairs and Killing Fields and Rum Diaries fame.

A cleaner, greener and younger Thanet.

A united and prosperous East Kent.

Time for Change

Monday, 9 July 2012

Thanet sinks

A few quick points:

* ships still anchored off coast - a Torrey Canyon waiting to happen

* RTC and TDC accounts: silence on the corruption and refusal(!) to provide the required public scrutiny of invoices, contracts, payslips, letters, emails etc

* Dreamland: another Summer wasted although the inquiry should be reporting back about now

* EKFO being considered for funding - and now the new Local Act as of last week requires all public services to be challenged on quality and value and other providers considered

* Silence on the 0% salary fraud of the Gang of Four and their little helpers McGonigal and Moores

* Silence on the missing noise and air monitors and millions of pounds of fines - and why flights continue to illegally overfly the towns and land on the aquifer

* Arlington: the same with this eyesore - both Dreamland and Arlington will be 2-5 more wasted years before being removed and replaced

* Thor and Manston aquifer: Environment Agency now simply refuse to say anything, so that's OK then

* an independent report that KCC's running of Top Temps recruitment agency for its own staffing(!) and Top Travel for its own bus and taxi company was both shambolic and undercut the private sector funding it in tax(!)

How did we end up with such bloated, expensive and yet shoddy public services?

If councillors and MP's don't investigate these issues and impose fines, P45's or jail sentences then the problems simply continue.

No wonder so few of us vote and it makes sense to dodge tax or refuse to pay.

Increasingly I think the best way forward is simply to not impose taxes but fund public services by central Treasury funding.

No collection costs, an increased consumer spend, the same public spend and the same scrutiny.

As to solving the low turnouts for elections that can only be due to a lack of policies. At best why vote for much-of-a-muchness and at worst they're as incompetent as each other?

Time for Change.

* FOI all salaries, pensions, expenses, contracts - as required 5 years ago
* corporate manslaughter charges for Infratil and TDC Directors
* a public sector fraud squad

Was the expectation that the public could be polluted and robbed?

Clearly it is at the moment.

Time for Change

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Surin Schools Charity growth

Terrific news: Surin School Charity has been initially approved for funding to create a dozen jobs and open offices Ramsgate:

With the first school built and 3 others in the pipeline it will be a terrific opportunity to develop the charity.

If anyone is interested in working for Surin school charity then please send a CV to and if any Kent schools are interested ion partnering with a new school abroad then also please get in touch.

Also developments in place for the East Kent Film Office.

So little assistance from most of the public organisations in improving Thanet - just mired in failure. Why are we paying £60M for TDC and £2Bn (that's billion) for KCC if they're not rolling out dozens of programmes?

A couple of miscellaneous points:

1. Appalling that Pleasurama-Bungarama and Westwood Cross overbuild and gridlock with 132 houses is continuing with 1,000 empty houses in Thanet.
2. Ships still anchored off Margate in Summer as a pollution accident waiting to happen – surprising that Thanet funds nearly a third of the Visit Kent budget for so little tourism activity,
3. Blue energy at the Port sounds interesting although I’m not sure it’s viable in a port – windfarms for economic growth? Hardly if the workers are berthed in the hotel ships offshore: actually reducing the economy.
4. £5,000 reward for arrests of Infratil Directors and illegal overflights of Cargolux and AGC Cargo – and silence from TDC Directors on protecting the aquifer. What are they waiting for? Cholera?
5. Tablet PC’s for every schoolchild being rolled out in Thailand – I’ll do the same in Kent, and cleanup asbestos in schools and public buildings. What has been going on for 30 years?
6. FOI? Right to view the KCC and TDC and RTC accounts, contracts and invoices? Try yourself and see what happens.
7. Silence on Thor mercury: banned but remains open.
8. Silence on Dreamland. One of the UK’ biggest seafront attractions derelict.
9. Richboro: the towers removed but the derelict buildings and windturbine remain.
10. The highest ever unemployment and youth unemployment in Thanet – ideal for a tax strike, rates strike and political and civil service change for failure.

Close Manston. Close Thor. Jail Infratil.

Time for Change.

Monday, 25 June 2012

£5,000 reward for Infratil arrests

As Mayor I’ll put a £5,000 bounty on the head of each Infratil Director for information leading to arrests for corporate manslaughter for removing the noise and air monitors.

The cost would be a fraction of the missing airport fines – even now the aquifer is in danger, pollution into Pegwell Bay repeatedly highlighted by the Environment Agency and overflights by Cargolux etc.

The reward will extend to any senior official at TDC etc who have aided and abetted this deliberate endangering of the public.

Civil servants with cancer. Coppers with cancer. Ambulancemen with cancer. Firemen with cancer. Judges with cancer. Lawyers with cancer. Councillors with cancer. Children with cancer.

Our councillors and McGonigal remain silent. The Toxic Three of Carter, King and Wild were keen to develop Manston and fund Infratil until a month or two ago.

Deliberately polluting the public that fund them. Deliberately refusing to provide effective monitoring. Deliberately refusing to charge the required fines and banned flights.

Shtum payoffs for the Gang of Four and Cancer Bob morphs into Cancer Clive and silence on the rates.

Random meetings of KIACC and playing let’s pretend on monitoring for an airport potentially the size of Stansted - and banned Afghan and IranAir flights.

A £5,000 bounty per Infratil Director seems too cheap for this shameful incident. And certainly the best use of council tax in a long time.

Why are Kent Police dragging their heels on these issues?

Bring the Killer Kiwis back in chains to join Buchanan in Pentonville for corporate manslaughter.

Time for Change.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Duff politicians and civil servants to debate East Kent’s future. Nothing to do with them.

A miscellaneous blog note on various points:

• Roger Gale on the radio on the future of East Kent waffling about how important it was to improve Dreamland. You don’t say. After 30 years as MP. And wasn’t he photographed launching some cheque with Steve Ladyman 2 or 3 years ago at derelict Dreamland? Useless

• Remember Nigel Farage at Broadstairs 3 or 4 months ago? I asked him various questions on Manston and Thor and TDC corruption – after he said he supported Manston. I’ve written to him at least 3 times. Silence from Mr Farage. Another empty bullshotter on a tax salary.

• Mark Seed at TDC: apparently there is no coordination of public compensation from EA etc. You’re on your own. You sort it out is the publicly funded response. He expressed a vague surprise at Manston on the aquifer. Yeah right. And wasn’t even sure of the outfall pipe length

• Audit Commission reviewing TDC and RTC accounts – more later. Ask the auditor if you want to know or see any costs, invoices, Pleasurama contracts, Manston fines, pollution levels, 0% salary fraud, pensions, expenses etc etc:, It’s your money spent by the councillors and civil servants. As Mayor I’ll FOI all costs every month routinely.

• Worth remembering the RTC accounts were signed off by councillors and provided to the AC without any public scrutiny. Same-old, same-old if the RTCers are just the TDCers.

• The BBC True Love show on Margate I thought was a bit boring but good to see Margate albeit looking empty and cargo ships off the coast. As Mayor I will create the East Kent Film office to encourage more filmmaking in and about Thanet – as with the £600k tourism budget we seem to be funding West Kent to ignore us or dump on us.

• Horrifying Newsnight programme – the UK is abysmal at missing persons and runaways from care homes is unbelievable. No busfares or mobile phones. No Police oversight of care homes. And social dumping again.

• The windfarm hotel ship in port for loo paper and pot noodles – so much for windfarms stimulating the economy if they’re berthed offshore most of the time. As Mayor I’ll ban it from Port along with animal exports and introduce a foot passenger ferry.

Another lost year.

A lost decade.

What have they been doing all these years?

Picking up their paycheques and pensions by coverup, delay and deny.

Riding the decline down.

Manston bust and on the aquifer.
Pfizer halved.
Westwood Cross destroying the town centres.
Nothing for 2012.
The Turner on the rates after 15 years.
Asbestos in schools.
Sewage leaks.
NHS services removed.
Every lifestage problem off the scale.

The politicians and civil servants have failed us.

And created Third World Thanet.

Time for Change.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Kent's Water and Rio20

Water, water everywhere… yet more can be done to improve Kent’s water.

Perhaps the Jubilee washout has come at the right time. Along with Thanet’s Blue Flag beaches faced with outflows of sewage over the Bank Holiday Kent’s water supplies have been thrown into stark relief.

Hosepipe bans are still in place with reservoirs only just beginning to refill. With rainfall less than Syria Kent seems to be facing a collapse in future provision of clean drinking water.

With the Rio20 Summit beginning next week to try to resolve many of the world’s environment problems, perhaps greater focus is required on Kent.

Stricter EU guidelines for Blue Flag beaches will keep the pressure on the Environment Agency to ensure Kent’s premium tourist product our beaches and oceans are spotless.

While Southern Water – can they really be making $285M profit by discharging poop to sea when it rains – need to consider if in the county with both the longest coastline and most Blue Flag beaches, if discharge to sea is viable in the 21st century.

And with over 90% of Kent’s water supply drawn from aquifers, there is woeful regulation such as Infratil at Manston having the aquifer both under the runway, and discharging fuel into Pegwell Bay a UNESCO wetland.

The sale of Manston only demonstrates the failure of KCC’s airport policy there and Lydd and Boris Island except as quick-fix dumping grounds far from Maidstone or Windsor.

While the need for using more farmland for reservoirs that fail to refill looks doubtful when desalination plants have already opened in London.

Surely too Margate being used as an impromptu anchorage for cargo ships is a Torrey Canyon-style disaster waiting to happen as well as being a blight on the ocean and eye.

Rio20 will be considering the world’s fish stocks with the Great British Fish and Chips species of cod and haddock facing extinction.

And with Kent’s coast almost fished-out, reviews of fishing discards, and the Marine Protection Zones due off Margate are ever-more important for all Kent, with both Ramsgate as the South Coast’s largest fishing fleet and Hastings as the only beach-landing fleet in the South East.

Consider too that, after the Fukushima tidal wave (and resulting closure of all Japan’s Switzerland’s and Germany’s nuclear stations), the potential is for greater storms and more floods.

But the damage wrought by an incident at Dungeness before it closes down, or EDF and French nuclear policy at Gravelines or dumping off Brittany would be disastrous for Brand Kent as the Garden of England glows nuclear.

If we are all connected then Kent may be at risk not just from rogue companies such as Infratil, Thor and EDF but public sector failure of regulation, and oversight of the regulators such as Southern Water or the Environment Agency.

Fines of public organizations simply result in higher tax bills and not resolving the underlying problems of mismanagement.

Perhaps the greatest failure to date is KCC a $2Bn organization having almost no policy on water supply or river or ocean management. A couple of blokes with a binbag and some photocopied beach closure notices or both the Medway and Stour as the two most polluted rivers in UK doesn’t really cut it in the 21st century does it?

Surely reworking sewage discharges, zero landfill, disposing of dog waste in separate household rubbish, desalination plants, river cleanup and fishfarms and Police “eco-cops” and NHS scrutiny are simple steps forward.

The reality is that Southern Water’s failure on the beaches doesn’t just mean a few days of beach closures but rebounds around the world as Kent being incapable of managing its own natural resources.

A resounding failure, not just in economic growth, but in Brand Kent struggling to live upto its remit as the Garden of England and looking more like a leaky toilet.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What now for Manston?

It’s bust. Of more concern is the public funds and time invested and wasted. And missing millions of pounds of fines. And pollution. Even today an unmarked 747 illegally overflying the towns. And landing on the aquifer. Manston can’t be sold – who’d buy an airport on the aquifer? As Mayor I’ll put a $5,000 reward on the head of each Infratil and TDC Director for information leading to arrests and jail for corporate manslaughter. We’ll hear less from Buchanan in a prison cell in Pentonville. He and Infratil knew exactly what they were doing in removing monitors and not replacing them at an airport due for expansion. Worse, is so did your TDC and KCC councillors. As blatant as the Gang of Four and 0% fraud. Even now flights continue illegally. Even now. A Third World Thanet where the growth industries are cancer and corruption. A 21st century Britain where the police and civil servants even poison themselves in dithering over corporate manslaughter. Every week an unmarked 747 and Cargolux and Infratil laughing at them. And when it's closed and they're gone? Just the cancer gift that keeps giving through the blood and bone for your children and their children. Time for Change. Time for Garbutt for Mayor in 2013 and MP in 2015 - or earlier. Zero landfill – plastic and food waste recycling and pig bins. Zero animal exports. Every day a drug-den raid. Solar panels and industry. Viiv at Pfizer. Water so clean you can drink it and bathe in it. Remember Manston. Remember Thor. Remember the Gang of Four. Remember “paint down the sink”? The delay in TDC et al placing a Public Health Order on the site is shocking. Your children being polluted by your council. Fiddling as Thanet burns and drowns Time for Change.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Shit Council. Tax strike.

10 tonnes of shit flushed into the sea off the UK’s most Blue Flag beaches. Just dismal. Then fumbling and bumbling over whether it was flushed out on Monday – or last Wednesday. Then almost no signage or advice. And all this with ships anchored offshore – a pollution accident waiting to happen. The cover up of the Manston monitors. The Manston aquifer. Pegwell Bay and airport fuel. MOD Fires at Manston on the aquifer. Dismal. Clearly TDC, Southern Water and the Environment Agency’s, and Coastguard, remit is simply to ignore the problems and then cover their backside when it does happen. Fines simply recharge the cost to the taxpayer. P45’s and arrests are required. In the meantime stop paying council tax and business rates. Pay it late. Cancel direct debits. Pay the wrong amount. Delay payment. Pay it wrong again. They can’t jail you: the courts won’t convict such failure and the jails are full. If you want to pay your tax for failure then send a letter to TDC and pay the right amount to the RNLI instead. Without clear improvements the tax-agencies are simply not fit for purpose. They’re shit. Time for Change.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Appalling mess at TDC

Just more abuse and scoundrels at TDC with the latest councillor disputes. While these scoundrels are huffing and puffing Thanet is failing and $60M tax wasted in civil service bloat and corruption and vanity construction. They have no policies. Only clinging to power. Why? Just because. It gives them a platform they wouldn’t have in their normal lives. And they pick up a few quid for bickering and whining. That’s why we have a bottom 10% council and bottom 10% area. Another lost year in a lost decade. As Mayor I will: 1. Call in the Police to investigate Infratil and McGonigal on the missing monitors and fines and 0% salary 2. Close Manston (a field and Water Protection Zone) and Thor and MOD Firebase 3. Cancel Pleasurama-Bungarama and review with Ramsgate Tunnels 4. Establish votes at 16 5. Establish Pfizer-Viiv with Glaxo 6. End windfarm hotel ship and offshore ships 7. Demolish Arlington House as part of the redevelopment of Dreamland 8. Establish Margate Town Council and cancel TDC to a quarterly committee of the Mayors 9. Instigate pandemics policy eg rabies, TB and flu vaccines 10. End doublehatters and publish manifesto 6 months before elections 11. FOI all costs, documents and contracts routinely every month and on request 12. Nukefree Kent: end EDF investment, close Dungeness and Gravelines and sea dumping of nuclear waste 13. Pedestrianise Ramsgate seafront and Arches 14. Refurb Eastcliff bandstand and dancefloor and Westcliff lift 15. Establish foot passenger ferry 16. Town centre markets improvement 17. Motion sensor street lighting/car parks 18. Fund beach shelters refurb from tax 19. Remove litter from the clifftops eg Churchill Pub 20. Remove the Hoverport rubble and create a Pegwell Bay Corridor 21. All council vehicles and heating phased out for solar power 22. Room size, garden size and solar power building policy 23. Heritage building policy – the style of new housing is abysmal for a heritage and conservation area 24. A free tablet PC for every schoolchild – and wifi/web access 25. Free windfarm electricity for OAP’s in winter 26. A Thanet credit card pegged at 10% interest, Thanet quid and improved Euro rates 27. Town utility purchasing: insurance etc 28. Council tax strike: revoke payments to KCC and TDC 29. Police daily drug den raid policy 30. Police investigation into Southern Water and Environment Agency: Thor, Manston, flood defences, water pumps 31. Monthly festivals and events 32. Free town centre wifi network and improved broadband 33. Free 101 calls, backoffice reform and phone box calls 34. Every beach Blue Flag and every park Green Flag every year 35. Asbestos and road accident map and improvements 36. Zero landfill: food waste for pig bins and plastic collections and sorting factory Another lost year in a lost decade. Time for Change

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Silence! Council coverup at work.

Same-old same-old at the RTC Finance meeting tonight. This was the meeting after the Annual Public Meeting to audit the accounts. Delayed from a fortnight ago the first attempt of Richard Nicholson as Chair was to prevent any questions at all. Even to refuse an agenda at first. Bizarrely they wanted to sign off the accounts without any questions. Then said they’d be signed off and then questions. But no copies provided. I was the only member of public there. And I left after 10 minutes leaving them talking to an empty room. And only 7 councillors out of 16 with only one apology. Finally the Town Clerk announced verbally salary costs of $90,300 for 2 full time and 1 part-time staff with an extra part-time and apprentice to be announced. Given Richard announced his salary was a lot less than $40k at the last public meeting I don’t understand how $90k costs works out. Maybe some pensions. Maybe not. It can’t be councillors costs as apparently they’ve refused to take salaries – fairly easy given almost all of them are doublehatters at TDC. It was then agreed that a separate meeting should be held for the public to question the accounts – councillor shouts of “go on call the police” (!)– easy for them to say as the Town Clerk and Richard Nicholson are now liable for the sign off. Dave as Mayor was wise to duck that one and pass the buck(s). Luckily, Richard is also the new Chair of the Airport Committee (taking over from Hayton and Harrison in the coverup) so can no doubt explain the Manston missing fines and end of KIACC scrutiny of the airport. Just delay as they cling on isn’t it. From memory last year the RTC budget was $300k – yet Ramsgate provides $17M in tax. We seem to be finding doublehatters and civil servants to provide droplets of tax back while saying there’s no money. Even most the councillors can’t be bothered with the charade any more. I've never seen more than half a dozen out of 16. And no minutes on the website or months late. Nothing to say and nothing to do but cling on. $17M tax a year from Ramsgate alone. And $300k reinvested back – with $90,300 in salaries. The accounts have been submitted to the Audit Commission and then signed off by councillors with a refusal to open the books as required and refusal to allow any scrutiny. A sham of democracy – no wonder so few of us vote. Yet we all pay tax. And use the facilities of the town. Yet it’s somehow not for is to know the costs and value provided – even with FOI. Silence! Silence! These costs are not for you! Pathetic. Don’t pay council tax. Pay it late. Pay it wrong. Pay it late again. Let the Fraud Squad and Audit Commission scrutinize the accounts. Ask for your copy. Cancel your direct debits. They’ll soon remember it’s public money. Today’s Private Eye details the $2M fraud at KCC over utility costs and 7 year jail sentence – about the same amount of money as the missing Manston fines. And RTC and TDC are covering up for Infratil at the expense of the public. Another lost year in a lost decade as they ride the decline down in a bottom 10% council. Another spurious meeting and delay and deny. And Infratil fly and pollute. Time for Change.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

No confidence in the RTC and TDC accounts

An abysmal fudge by TDC claiming to support an airport in the aquifer as it goes bust. And remaining shtum on the monitors and missing $2M fines. KCC and TDC and the Environment Agency have actively colluded with Infratil to endanger the public. The Police need to investigate and press corporate manslaughter charges. No doubt the hope is that Sandy will be a scapegoat for the Gang of Four on peripheral misuse of office charges. Most of the Duffers and Gang of Four wouldn’t last the winter, never mind winter in Pentonville. This Wednesday at 7pm the annual audit of RTC accounts creeps out of the woodwork after being refused at the Annual Town Meeting a fortnight ago. No draft or signed accounts on the website. Ramsgate’s $17M council tax reduced to $300k TDC fob-offs and KCC’s $2.3Bn funds reduced to $25k KCC councillor gifts. Mind you, maybe it’s best not to trust the Duffers. Or factor in corruption and bungs. Information on salaries, pensions, expenses, Pleasurama contracts, Manston fines, disabled grants, 0% fraud etc etc no doubt attempted to be flannelled away by RTC. Who will sign them off though? And McGonigal and the councillors can cover up the mess with more fake accounts and reports on the $2M Manston fines and by remaining silent. Death by Duffers seems to have been the approach by Cancer Bob and now Cancer Clive over the last five years knowing the airport was on the aquifer and knowing the monitors were removed. It seems to be councillors against the public to hang onto their public jobs. And MP’s using Parliament to stay silent. Refusal of FOI and webcams. Silence on recall and referenda. Waiving public salaries as gestures. Vague manifestos. Fake consultations. And they wonder why people don’t bother voting. Developing an airport is one thing. The public can take a view on jobs or night flights. But removing the monitors and downplaying the pollution though is a crime. While Cayman Islands construction and political payoffs is just embarrassing. Even now Cargolux fly off-route over the towns and planes land on the aquifer. And silence on Thor: banned but still operating and silence on the contamination. And where will McGonigal end up next with her talent for rejigging the fines, 0% salary fraud and keeping shtum for the paycheck on the rates. A vote of no confidence in the accounts, a council tax strike and Police investigation into council fraud is relevant for a bottom 10% council. Same old and stale duffers clogging up the system. And managing to pollute their own relatives and neighbours, and jettison Sandy while groveling to Buchanan and covering up the corruption. Another lost year after a lost decade. Garbutt for Mayor in 2013. Time for Change.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Cancer victim councillors to vote on night flights

It seems a rather pointless formality at TDC given the airport is up for sale and most of the public opposed. It will be interesting to see who votes for it though. And more interesting that the New Duffers are still in favour of developing the airport. Despite the safety breaches, economic failures and the aquifer. Interesting to see if any of the councillors speak up and call for the 106 to be pulled on public health and safety grounds. Cancer doesn't only work for night flights after all. We seem to have clusters of rosettes and civil servants actively endangering the public. Time for Change in 2013 As Mayor I will close the airport and rebill the fines and cleanup cost to Infratil – a company woiht larger profits than KCC’s budgets (why they were relying on public funds seems bizarre to develop the airport even after removing the monitors seems bizarre). Instigate a Police investigation – even now we have not just the aquifer problem or 0% salary and missing $2M fines civil service corruption but Cargolux ignoring the flight routes and TDC and the Police sat on their hands. Same old and stale duffers clogging up the system. And managing to pollute their own relatives and neighbours and covering up the corruption. No doubt Sandy and the Gang of Four make good scapegoats but they’ve hardly acted alone – not one public statement from a councillor on cancer or corruption or public health and safety. Time for Change

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Kent Police launch Operation ArrestPaulCarter

Speaking from Maidstone Chief Constable Learmonth said: “We are determined to catch this Paul Carter criminal. Not the KCC maintenance bloke what done a runner with 20 grand, but Paul Carter the KCC Leader. Whether it’s Infratil and the noise monitors or Thor or investing in tobacco he has killed more Kent citizens than Hitler.” Kent Police are liaising with colleagues in the Met, Sussex Police, New Zealand Police and Interpol as part of Operation ArrestPaulCarter. Paul Carter drives a Jag with some wellies in the boot and known accomplices include Wild and King along with Terry Farrell, Charles Buchanan, Steve Fitzgerald, Matt Clarke, and the usual KCC Highways Tarmac Gang of Murphy, Jacobs, Balfour and Beatty. Deputy Chief Constable Beautridge said: ”Carter has been sighted near the fifth Dartford Crossing, Manston Parkway, a Gatwick Parkway and not one but two regional airports on the rates. Along with various ticky-tacky housing estates, a highway a byway, an underpass and an overpass. And several schools with asbestos from the 1970’s. He is involved with gunrunning and may have left the country with Infratil or Cargolux on the last unmarked 747 from Manston while we’re risking our lives raiding drug dens.” The public are warned not to approach Carter and his Gang as they are dangerously incompetent and they could end up with their driveway badly tarmaced whether they want it or not, with demands for council tax, business rates, civil service bloat and 0% salary fraud. Chief Constable Learmonth added: “I have got my eye on McGonigal, Button, Sproates and Pierce. And the senior KCC Directors what done it too. And I ain't forgot the Gang of Four neither. The other Paul Carter is believed to be in the Ukraine, which is a bit better maintained, and down the nick we all think he should be knighted in the New Years Honours List and pensioned off to the SirRogerGale Retirement Home for Pillocks.” Kent Coastguard refused to comment as to whether Carter was hiding on a ship in the Channel as they thought they’d leave it to the RNLI to do their job for them. Laura Sandys MP promised to urgently enquire into the possibility of cleaning up Manston and Thor by saying little and doing less.