Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Farage’s Waterloo: Shonky gone wonky?
Marvellous to see East Kent’s role in Waterloo celebrated at Broadstairs with the landing of the Napoleonic Eagles from HMS Northumberland on their way to London to declare the victory over Napoleon 200 years ago.
A shame that Wellington’s headquarters in Ramsgate and the Arches built for the embarkation to Waterloo were ignored but there we are. And Walmer Castle near Deal Wellington’s retirement home will be celebrated in the future which is good.
East Kent really should be thinking though of commemorating Waterloo more substantially with an Eagles Museum for example.
And fun to see Nigel Farage turning up at Waterloo described as “a man in a pinstripe suit drinking beer from a plastic cup and joking with Napoleon”.
After the Farage defeat in last month’s election and a month into the UKIP district council it looks like the wheels are coming off in slow-motion.
Nationally this week UKIP dissolved into more bickering - with Farage’s deputy Suzanne Evans both insulting him and being demoted and banned from speaking to the press.
While the UKIP national manifesto had a few good points in it albeit mainly to bolster Farage: reopening Manton or a live animal exports ban as at Ramsgate and even ending the tampon tax.
The latter the only UKIP policy that wasn’t designed around Farage.
But nothing done. Farage never seen in Thanet again.
While with UKIP TDC – the only UKIP council in Britain so a harbinger of their expertise – the picture is worse.
If not downright misleading of the public with their election pledges.
The Manston pledge to reopen the airport is now being repeatedly watered down to review the process or consider how to develop the airport etc etc.
Utter twaddle. The election promise was to reopen Manston as an airport – and promptly.
Manston is finished and egg on face all round for Farage and Wells and Shonk.
And what of Shonk you ask? This Emperor of UKIP has just about every political role going: TDC councillor, KCC councillor, RTC councillor and Ramsgate mayor.
Yet only silence.
Obviously a sad desperation to accumulate the baubles and titles of political power and no doubt extensive lunching and ribboncutting.
But what has been done?
Shonky has gone wonky.
Not one public statement as Mayor of Ramsgate in over a month. Nothing as TDC or RTC Councillor – and nothing as KCC councillor in over 3 years.
Ask Nigel from Shonky won’t do any more. How many political job titles does this Rajah of Ramsgate need to speak up? The farce of dressing up in robes before the Mayor election even took place sounds like the backroom deals of TDC of old.
Trev’s a nice enough bloke but the promise for years has been improving TDC. So what’s happening?
Even UKIP getting to grips with litter and dog dirt has fallen away. Where are the much-vaunted Kingdom litter pickers and dog dirt cleaners? As with Shonky neither hide nor hair seen. Where are the litter fines issued?
UKIP are beginning to seem more of the same-old pensioners riding the decline down simply baffled and bereft as to what to do.
Napoleon did little damage to East Kent yet the area has been destroyed by successive councillors and civil servants.
If UKIP are the new kids on the block to clean things up and starting with a clean sheet and public good will then what are they doing?
Why don’t they:
1. Call for a Police review of the corruption of Pleasurama? Labour and Tories were locked into a deathgrip of covering over the tax haven fraud. Why doesn’t Shonky speak up and ask say Bayford what he knew about Keegan and Painter? Or even LocalCraigMP as another accountant and with BVI added to a UK blacklist this week for tax havens. And are UKIP going to allow another Summer to pass without the site being cleaned? if so then how are they different from their predecessors?
2. Call for a Police review of TDC corruption: not just Macgonigal and the Moores 0% fraud. But we now have questions being asked over the Audit Commission/Grant Thornton and Andy Mack still signing off TC accounts or Edwina Crowley the TDC Planning civil servant and her own property company and fake Pavilion consultations and strange Dreamland consultations and ownerships. UKIP certainly had no role in these with the possible exception for Chris Wells as a former senior Tory for several years so why doesn’t Shonky speak up? Does he want another political job title and salary to feel able to do so? Maharajah of Maidstone?
3. Call for a review of Dreamland: it’s wonderful the site is back open at last. But what a mess. Still no CPO signed off (hardly inspiring for Manston) and I’m hearing rumours of a hurried launch with most of the attractions not open for weeks and the key rollercoaster for 6 months. To be blunt if I had travelled down to Dreamland and paid not insubstantial ticket prices I would have been livid to see so few attractions. Wouldn’t you? And who on earth are Sands Hotel and when/how did they purchase one of the largest attractions in Britain?
4. Call for a review of the Pavilion: this is looking fishier and fishier with mysterious contracts signed or not signed by Wetherspoon again by Crowley and a weird one-of consultation on Friday hurriedly announced the week before. Let me be clear, I made an offer to take on the Pavilion as I know other business people did and these were all simply ignored by TDC to appoint Wetherspoons. Chatting to them last week they were horrified at the rampant corruption and jiggerypokery at TDC.
5. A £20M fire station cum garage on the old swimming pool site? Why isn’t it reopened as a 2nd swimming pool for a seaside town?
6. What’s happening with the Motor Museum or do we wait for the roof/pavement to fall in? Yet we have the astonishing garden-grabbing at 100 SE Rd: a 5 bedroom house now with planning permission for 11 flats after being rejected 3 times for less flats (and a complete demolition) and next door’s garage classed a a housing plot. And all done without council approval or RTC: incompetence or brown envelopes? Hard to say knowing TDC but certainly heel-dragging now by TDC and UKIP.
7. How will the Town Centres be improved? Even the 2nd UKIP office is looking a mess now deserted and windows broken with a Manston sticker peeling off. Issuing some dog dirt fines is fine but how will seafront parking end or the sewers be repaired or the Port?
8. If Dreamland’s plans are looking weak – as was the Turner remember with having to be built twice – then the Pavilion seems to be following in the same footsteps of failure.
9. I attended the Pavilion consultation on Friday and it was ridiculous. Barely half a dozen visitors when I was there to look at 5 A3 boards with photos of the Pav now and a few Victorian photos and the vaguest – or rather indicative – plans for a megaboozer.
And with about 30% of the building still sealed off supposedly for other tenants at some point in the future and the tiniest square on the drawing for a community centre to keep us peasants happy no doubt.
I counted about 120 seats in the megaboozer and the rest of it one long bar and about 30 seats on the 1st floor terrace – but crammed in around the reinstated window domes. And chatting to the Wetherspoons legal chap this could all be done to a Listed Building for £3.5M. And the rest, unless you’re just going to strip it and paint it beige.
As with Tesco’s a megaboozer company like Wetherspoons will gut the heart of the town by undercutting all the pub prices and restaurants initially: already claiming to be the UK’s largest fish and chip shop and 2for1 booze of £5(!). No wonder their corporate brochure is full of policemen and pub managers highlighting another pub fight success.
And if the towns are going to regenerate with cheap as chips building renewals and microwave meals and Carling how will they do that when even McDonalds has closed? Where are the wider TDC-UKIP economic plans?
A completely muddled town strategy – rather no strategy at all other than TDC trying to offload the site after having done nothing but contribute to its decline.
And then when the beige Pav is open why would anyone go there? It’s just another Wetherspoons megaboozer. Same drinks. Same food. Same zero hour contracts and minimum wage jobs – and in competition with the Wetherspoons of Deal and Folkestone etc.
No. This is idiocy.
Towns are regenerated through niche businesses that provide a differentiation. That’s why Tesco and Morrisons are now failing: too samey. That’s why the High St is failing: too samey.
Whatever happened to the Portas Towns efforts and funds in Margate by the way? Anyone?
And in East Kent the Westwood Cross new town centre/shopping mall - whatever incoherent nonsense it was - has hardly after 10 years improved the area and now with shops closing yet more of your tax money to be spent on roadworks to improve the blight.
And hardly the right time for a megaboozer. The UK for just about the first time ever slipped backwards in road safety: an increase of c.30 road deaths to 1,807. Kent has only one or two deaths per year but over 500 serious injuries – we need fewer traffic jams and motorways and more 20mph zones and a zero drinkdriving law with accident blackspots designed out of the road system.
Not Carter’s cementiers pouring more tarmac or Cartner-Musgrave at Discovery Park allowing tax rebates of your money to create gridlock by allowing non-pharma jobs at Discovery park. Bizarrely more public sector organisations at DP with Locate in Kent with a 2nd office there.
And certainly not a cooking-lager-and-chips megaboozer on the cheap.
And certainly not either a Manston cargo airport on the rates or Gloag’s Stone Hill Manston of 2,500 houses attached to something or other to get planning permission for $1.
Manston can only be a $1 CPO for a Water Protection order for the aquifer: the drinking water for 250,000 people in East Kent. The runway dug up and buildings demolished. And of course the right support for Discovery Park for science jobs for the future not short-term quick-fix-wrong-fix random tax break jobs.
But of course we need more than idle and incompetent government.
So, let’s hear from Shonky how he will reform and improve TDC: described by Private Eye just last week as “a byword in corruption and skulduggery”.
Silence no doubt.
As at KCC for years by the Latchford-Heale-Shonk crew.
Nothing said. Nothing done.
Stale pensioners betraying the inheritance of liberty and European unity given to them by their forefathers and destroying it for their children and grandchildren.
And even too stupid to clear up their own water supply.
Farage has been confined to his Elba and St Helena at Orpington and Brussels, and Emperor Shonky has gone wonky.
The reality is UKIP is a busted flush in search of a raison-d’etre. Most British people want to be in the EU as a trade and political organisation – and want reform of it. And most British people don’t confuse that with illegal immigration or racism.
What will UKIP do after the spectacular failure of Manston supposedly reopening next year with jobs for everyone?
We need change and unfortunately TDC and UKIP seem to be no improvement.
Garbutt for KCC Leader 2017 and MP 2020.
Time for Change