Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Time for Electoral Reform

With the UK economy struggling, much of Europe too and few answers from the politicians then electoral reform becomes more important. If the system is failing to provide answers then the system needs changing.

Or at least the pace of reform improved.

There are simple measures already underway:

* UK votes at 16 - following the Scottish referendum decision to allow 16 year old to vote in 2014. time for a global vote at 16 with Brazil and Austria leading the way already.

* World Parliament: a democratic assembly for the UN. Mired in delay with the EU and the UN itself agreeing that democracy is required amongst the unelected ministers and bureaucrat of the UN. Time for national elections to be held.

* 30% minimum election turnout or elections rerun. With the national party's' membership less than 1% and lower than the RSPB, we have representative democracy that's unrepresentative. And State funding of parties on the quiet. Rerunning elections would require better policies.

* Manifesto's published 6 months before elections and compulsory FOI. The charade of voting for a manifesto produced a fortnight before an election and no FOI at all. What are we voting for? As with UKIP we just don't know. Worryingly, neither do they. Elected in order to be elected in order to do nothing.

* Recall of MP's and Referenda and hereditary Lords: still not resolved in an Empty Parliament.

* Political exams: exams to raise the calibre of candidates. A UK first.

* IMF/World Bank/UNDP merger and reform: duplication and unelected - and create Treasury powers to fund UNMDG

* UNMDG1 andUNMDG2 as national UK policy: a failing. Philippines does it.

* 30% minimum gender quotas for Parliament and business: less than 20% of women in parliament and 2% of FTSE Boards.

* A global currency: the IMF's SDR's already provide the mechanism along with improved EU-focused credit ratings agencies to balance and scrutinise the dollar and yuan. Just look at the LIBOR failings for more impartial currency polices.

* 10% interest rate cap: as in Germany. The obscenity of 30%-plus credit card rates and even worse the 4,000% payday loans. If the German economy can thrive with cheap credit then so should the UK.

* Public Health improvements with UK mortality rates upto double the average with simple reforms: plain cigarette packaging delayed but introduced in Australia and Eire and unit pricing on strong alcohol and regular knife and gun amnesty's. And pharma funding for cancer vaccines eg P53 and DNA sampling and Third World vaccines.

* An education dividend: free tablet PC for schoolkids. they do it in Thailand. 3D printing and Raspberry Pc's for schools - boosting the UK economy too.

* Asian exports for UK: the greatest economic change in history through China and South East Asia and the UK needs to capitalise on it.

* EU signatories to the new Arms Trade Treaty and arms exports ban - the taxpayer subsidising arms bloat and repression form Bahrain to Brunei.

While here in Kent we have the shoddy farce of Pleasurama and Manston-Infratil criminals and EKO and ChinaGate and 0% public sector frauds and corruption. And the Medway and Stour some of the UK's worst polluted rivers, the Dartford Crossing tarmac splurge on the rates, and water companies racking up dividends for pollution.

Kent in freefall in Year Zero, Ground Zero.

Time for reform.

Failed.Failed. Failed.

Time for Change.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Chief's Policiers

Speaking from the Maidstone police headquarters, Chief Constable Learmonth of Kent Police said:

“Not many people know that I am a keen film fan so here is some of my favourite police films what I like that I found in the mucky films cupboard after Pughsley took most of the really naughty ones home for review. These are classic though:

1. Scarface. Just goes to show what can happen if you can allow a flood of drugs into the region whether it be Florida with them Cubans or my patch with Belgium via Ostend then Manston and the like, with them narco-states like Guinea and Mali too. Crack down on crack dens is what I say! Nice use of electro-pop on the soundtrack as well. And unfortunately the only policeman is a rotten apple copper failing to root out the drugs dens and supply routes. The exception becomes the emphasis. Sigh.

2. Serpico. One policeman’s lone fight on rooting out corruption. Tell me about it. Within the bleedin’ police department as well. I ask you. Luckily in Kent it’s mainly the civil servants on the bung so we can focus our scarce resources on the council offices. I have got my eye on you McGonigal, don’t think I don’t. And don’t you think Carter that I’m patrolling your building sites either just so you can pour tarmac over The Garden. Three Dartford Crossings indeed. It ain’t Poulson and Parr all over again! I ain’t spent 40 years walking around in the rain to have all that again. Them days is gone Carter with you and your Toxic Three. It’s over. I says to Commissioner Barnes, it ain't Peters and Lee policing you know. I ain't blind to this 1970's corruption and it's no good you gyrating about in the background pretending you've some policies. Arrests need to be made!

3. Ask a Policeman. And so you should. What time is it? Time for bloomin’ change I says. And this is one of Will Hays finest comedy fillums. He lived in Ramsgate. Not a lot of people know that. And speaking of which…

4. ...The Black Windmill. Not strictly a cop film, although Special Branch are in there drinking tea, wearing raincoats or tapping phones or whatever it is they do. But if you look closely at the scene in Ramsgate Hoverport where it’s that Michael Caine himself what is breaching Kent’s immigration regulations. Which just goes to show the Border Agency and Coastguard have been useless for decades. But what’s that in the background? A young policeman with an Alsatian and a Chief Constable’s baton in his knapsack? I ain’t saying it’s me. But the clues are there!

5. Dixon of Dock Green. A bit rubbish really. How we laugh at the procedural errors down the cop shop now. And the whistles and cloaks. They don’t know they’re born these young coppers with their dodgy trousers, underpants on the rates and T-shirts. The Wrong Trousers I say! I tell ‘em it’s Kent Police though not the Fashion Police! My little joke. And I have told them to stop wearing that flat hat – that’s Chiefy’s. Get the bleedin’ Constabulary hat on I says! They didn’t teach you that at Hendon! But they never listen. Anyway. Don’t get me started. I’ve put Dixon of Dock Green in for completeness. You have to. And there is that tearaway Dirk Bogarde in it so it’s not all bad. Let’s hope the new reoffending procedures deterred him from a life of crime. Which they did. Because he stayed in films. Although it doesn’t work for anyone else.

6. The Boys in Blue. Cannon and Ball’s finest hour. So one to miss. Nice to see the curly-haired comic in Ramsgate for the Not Going Out telly show last week though. Even though they called it Eastbourne. Make that sort of elementary mistake in police work and that's the end of the line I can tell you!

7. Detective Story. Does what it says on the tin as the ads would say. But the film tin! Just my little joke. Detailed police procedures for the first time in cinema. And Kirk Douglas too. Marvellous. And we certainly need some detective work on the O'Leary murder case and Infratil's extradition and the Pleasurama tax haven developments.

8. The French Connection. Perhaps the greatest policier ever. “Did you pick your feet in Tenterden” and all that. Classic. And highlights the importance of a 20mph speed limit in urban areas. They should have called it The Belgian Connection though to be completely accurate what with 85% of drugs seizures in the EU in Belgium near my patch. But that’s creative license for you.

9. Fort Apache the Bronx. Paul Newman knocking on a bit but still holding his own against a crime wave and backdrop of failed regeneration. 1970’s New York looking like Gillingham today, but nicer. He should have got a desk job in my opinion. Review the Cold Case files. That sort of thing. Modern policing ain’t all about walking around in the rain or driving fast cars or showering with other men. No. Just ask the lesbians. It wouldn’t be a modern police force without the lesbians. And they are certainly not happy about these camp uniforms or not wearing the badge numbers I can tell you! Don’t get me started on that again.

10. Bambi. Not a cop film at all. But it’s my favourite after a hard day down the cop shop. It makes me cry. Not enough animation about these days I say. If only Garbutt’s East Kent Fillum Studio and Office was about to provide a range of live-action films within the BFI region strategies, animated shorts to replace the COI activity, and all integrating funding and regeneration streams with innovative employment opportunities across various socio-economic parameters. Or whatever. Don’t do it cheap though I says to him. Do it properly. A million or two or a quick fix it ain’t! But he knows that.

11. The Offence. Dodgy this. Paedos. And surprising to see Sean Connery in perhaps his second-best role after that Kipling film. Thank goodness we’re on with cleaning up KCC’s Jimmy Savile Homes for Wayward Children. Dearie me, what has been going on. You don’t have to be Sherlock ‘Olmes to find 200 missing children what have gone missing but are found and put in care but then go missing from care. Or do you? Speaking of which.

12. Sherlock Holmes. We like these down the cop shop. Them Basil Rathbone ones against the Nazis, or the new telly show and even them film ones filmed at Chatham Dockyard. Marvellous. A detective. But certainly not the right uniform! But why is the police always playing catch-up as that LeStrade fella, eh? I was saying that to Big Beautridge the other day when I was working on his obituary for the Thor mercury raid (…line of duty…brave to the end…told him not to rub his eyes…crushing bone cancer…transplants from Little Beautridge didn’t take…not the Environment Agency’s fault…not mine either…etc etc) that Kent Police are at the forefront of dealing with modern criminality. Yes, there’s the gunrunning at Manston, yes, Buchanan and Pedro in the control tower breaching every known aviation safety rule right under our noses, yes, the serial pollution and cancer incidents, and Infratil and TDC removing the noise and air monitors for an airport the size of Stansted, yes even the occasional hopscotch miscreant. But there’s so much we get right too. The 3 new policing divisions and back office and RapeNation reforms. The drug den raids. The 101 numbers. Counterfeit cigarettes. The Kiwi extraditions. That special HGV lorry. Never gets a mention though. Shame.

Anyway, so there we are, the Chief’s top ten Policiers. They certainly are Most Wanted! Except for that Cannon and Ball one, which is just criminal. That’s it. Move along I says. Nothing to see. At the moment.”

Time for Change.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

East Kent’s Dunkirk?

On 3rd June 1940 the evacuation of 338,000 British troops from Dunkirk was completed.

The return to Dunkirk on 4th June removed 26,000 French troops just on that last day too.
The hundreds of Little Ships saved the army from total defeat - risking drowning and gunfire over days.

And all sailed from Ramsgate.

The archetypal example of the public sector failing and the public having to step forward and do it for them.

But this year’s anniversary?


Sunk without a trace.

The 70th anniversary of D-Day and Operation Fortitude tomorrow? Another of Kent’s finest hours.


Stuck in the mud.

We seem to have the complete collapse of tourism activity in East Kent now.
And the graves are not kept clean.

Ground Zero. Year Zero.


Time for Change.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Blockbuster: East Kent Film Office and Studios

Pinewood Studio has had its £200m expansion plan rejected by the local authorities as of two weeks ago.

The development of over 100acres of green belt was felt to be too intrusive – and many of the film set “streetscapes” to simply be more housing on green belt. The expansion plans would have doubled the studio capacity to over 100 acres as part of the filming plans for JJ Abrams’ Star Wars new franchises for next year, and the new James Bond movie.

Lord Grade, Pinewood’s Chairman confirmed development will allow the creation of 3,000 jobs and over £150M for the wider UK economy in securing the Star Wars franchises, along with further development of the existing Leavesden Studios.

Clearly UK film is expanding with the new Brad Pitt zombie and pandemic movie World War Z premiering yesterday with Angelina Jolie, and shot at Leavesden and also Pfizer’s Discovery Park laboratories in East Kent.

While, the BFI is reaching out to UK organisations to participate in its UK Audience Network as ‘Hub Lead Organisations’, which will help develop film diversity and access in parts of the UK currently under-served by the industry.

The BFI’s UK-wide Audience Network will consist of up to ten regional ‘Hubs,’ which are yet to be determined, with a remit to “bring a greater depth and breadth of film experiences to their local areas.”

Each hub will be led by a ‘Hub Lead Organisation’, described by the BFI as an “organisation with strength and experience in growing and developing audiences for specialised film, which can act as a cultural leader, facilitator and source of support to other Hub members”.

But the combining of the now defunct Film Council role with Film London may see the usual London-centric and cottage-industry approach for film-making to East Kent’s detriment.

Time for East Kent Film Office and Studios.

Time for Change.