Tuesday, 1 December 2015

COP21 Paris Climate Change, bombing Syria and Ramsgate Town Council fake election.

Three issues dominate the headlines this week: COP21 Paris Climate Change, bombing Syria and Ramsgate Town Council fake election.

OK perhaps the last one is fairly minor.

But COP21 Climate change Summit could be as irrelevant. 150 world leaders and 4,000 people for a summit on Climate Change for a fortnight? So what? Thankfully Climate Change is now recognised as one of the greatest threats to humanity, up there with pandemics or another meteor strike or a nuclear winter.

But what will be achieved? Some warm words? A pledge to do something? Where for example is the UK Action Plan on Climate Change already? I’m interested n this stuff and I couldn’t tell you. I’m sure a casual observer of Climate Change hoping something is being done, but not knowing what, wouldn’t have a clue either.

A beanfeast summit like COP21 and Copenhagen and Kyoto before it achieve nothing now. More effective would be the UN Climate Change group issuing its annual report with specifics at the UN.

We seem to be funding rafts of international groups and departments to abdicate responsibility and create yet more working parties and summits etc.

With the UK bombing of Syria, my view has changed since the decision not to bomb c.3 years ago for which I was in favour. Exactly as we’ve seen the tide of ISIS could have been turned back in the deserts of Syria before it flooded across Western Syria into Iraq and lapping against the Turkish and Iranian borders. And whole citiies lost.
Now I don’t support UK bombing of Syria. Why? It’s vanity bombing for the UK to be seen to be joining in. An empty gesture of half a dozen UK jets from Cyprus getting in the way of Russia and USA and France.

Let them do that job and do it well and let UK concentrate on Iraq.

One statistic: 3 major towns such as Mosul have been lost to ISIS in Iraq and only fly-blown Raqqa in Syria.
ISIS taking over most of Iraq and picking over the ruins of Syria is completely viable.

An aside on USA and Terrorism: c.750 deaths from terrorism in the last decade in USA. And 30,000 guns deaths each and every year. And 400 deaths each year by being shot by police although there’s no accurate record kept(!).
And Ramsgate Town Council elections? A point of interest in that I helped set up the council c.7 or so years ago as a counterweight to the corruption and failure of TDC. And elections were initially held. Then the council became swamped by the TDC councillor party fanatics and changing seat boundaries etc so it became a toothless mini-TDC.

Bizarrely the May 2015 election of new councillors doesn’t seem to have taken place at all. Only the Ramsgate (or rather mainly Ramsgate) TDC councillors assuming those seats much as happens with the Margate Charter Trustees – Margate the only town in Kent without any elected town council.

And now Ramsgate too it seems.

I’m also hearing reports of excessive salaries and pensions at RTC– the highest in Kent - and reserves from the c.£400k provide by TDC. If we’re not careful we could be back to the bad old days of doublehatters rubberstamping their own decisions through a pseudo-council and much of the budget going on those in the council so nothing can actually be done.

Info on the election and salaries etc much appreciated: anonymous if you prefer: timgarbutt@yahoo.com

You can see my concerns over Kent elections in the letter to OESCE election monitoring body in the blog post below eg not free elections:

• having to pay to stand – how is that free? And wasn’t that sort of 1800’s land/money levy exactly what free and fair elections were meant to prevent?
• The Police keeping their heads down on investigating election abuses eg the LibDem a serving civil servant which is banned or even LocalCraig (local candidates rather than parachute candidates is a separate issue) as a JP as well as MP. Making the laws and locking up people? Probably 1700’s?
• Saudi elections next month: first chance for women to vote. How long will the ban on women driving remain? Only Dubai/UAE and Brunei remain where nobody can vote. Several one party states/rigged elections of course.
• Votes at 16: Lords votes for it and Commons votes against – already happens in Scotland and Jersey so rather farcical
• Hereditary Lords: another bizarre election of the 92 hereditary Lords voting for another hereditary Lord to join them(!) – the only election in the Lords(!). While Bishops in the Lords are the only parliamentary religious grouping in the world outside of Iran. And the largest Upper Chamber in the world outside of China(!).
• It’s the work of moments to reduce the Lords to 300, peg sitting to under 80’s and not criminals and attendees and abolish hereditary and bishops for a parliamentary committee if required. Elections could be held by region and still fit with the Lords role in delaying but not rejecting Commons legislation.

Time for Change

Tim’s Titbits

• 100 SE Rd gardengrabbing: after 3 weeks of meeting with TDC and a set of detailed minutes they’re unable to explain how 13 flats are being built by Christopher Gent Property and not the 11 specified in TDC’s own Local Plan(!). Nor the breach of every part of that and national plan on building in gardens – and the previous 6 applications rejected since 2008. An utter mess at best and TDC now spinning in circles to come up with excuses.

• Try Simon Thomas and Emma Fibbens in TDC Planning: simon.thomas@thanet.gov.uk and emma.fibbens@thanet.gov.uk

• If Court action is required to close the site and demolish back to previous size then certainly TDC should bear those costs along with a Misconduct in Public Office order for salary deductions/dismissal. If we’re not careful we’ll have councils using the public’s own funds against the public while safeguarding their own salaries for their error.

• High Court corruption: Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court remains silent on the Barrister Hollingworth (the Ali Bongo Barrister) fraud and elderly Glick QC and BSB coverup. Quite extraordinary as both Grabiner and Glick are themselves High Court Deputy Judges(!) – Hollingworth seems to have learnt his fraudulent tricks at their knee as well as Paul Daniels'.

• Kent Fire: FOI Finchy and Ramsgate Fire £1M station: silence so far. FOI doesn’t apply to Kent Fire it seems…

• Kent Police panto: silence but promises of a surprise. Oh yes there is.

• NEMOLink: a bit of a strange one this. Cables from a megawindfarm in Belgium being proposed to be laid across the Channel and ashore at Pegwell bay and Richboro power station. Nothing outrageously wrong with that except:

o Nobody can explain why the pylons from Richboro to Canterbury can’t be buried as part of the mega-billion costs. Surely all new pylons should be buried?
o Nor why the cables have to come ashore through SSSI and UNESCO Pegwell Bay rather than say 5 miles either way? Surely the point of SSSI status is not to have to go through the palaver of having to protect Pegwell bay or say the Lake District from any construction
o Nobody can explain the value of the windfarm in terms of electricity to UK – and why is the Thanet windfarm not producing electricity for Thanet? If they don’t know then why build it apart from the government tax-grants?
o And planning approval was given by TDC and DDC in February 2013 (but only now is there a public consultation) and approval was given – I kid you not you can read it for yourself – without knowing what the development would be. Shadeso f 100 Se Rd perhaps of we’ll build something but you won’t find out until it’s too late…
o Try: Simon Thomas at TDC again: simon.thomas@thanet.gov.uk and Mike.elmer@nationalgrid.com – be careful there’s now 170(!) documents of bullshit it seems, but Natterjack Toads may be protected part of the year as the rest of the Bay is dug up. So that’s alright then.

• Kent Corruption: Pleasurama. HMRC Taxman is now advertising that over 90 territories such as BVI and Cayman Islands will exchange financial information with UK tax authorities so we may well find out who was involved in this. Keegan and Cardy can’t have suddenly developed it all themselves and then sold it to each other via TDC? For a new Broom Wells and UKIP are proving more of the same so far.

• Kent Contamination: silence on Thor and Manston aquifer. So many councillors and civil servants yet so much silence around these toxic sites.

• Autumn Budget Statement: good news on the Tampon tax being rebated but why not simply make it 0% VAT as other products? And when will the 20% VAT be reduced back to 17.5%? Fairly silly statements on increasing housing new build to 400k per year. It’s never been above 130k per year since WW2 so hardly likely or needed beyond the cement lobby. While £250M on Operation Stack is bizarre without saying What It Is. But at least a reduction from KCC’s punt at £900M for a car park: almost half the annual KCC budget.

• Silence on the £17M KCC Parkway – has that budget been swallowed up by KCC already as a windfall for documents and tea and biscuits and pensions?

• An excellent Stacy Dooley BBCTV documentary last week on the horrific Philippines paedophile webcams. I was astonished when I was in the Philippines earlier this year of the number of street kids in main towns such as Manila. All the more concerning that BBC4 will closed in January after producing the sort of programmes that BBC2 and C4 used to do and the like so of C5 or ITV2 will never do. And a complete justification of the BBC as one of the world’s best broadcasters.

• Should there be a BBC Licence Fee? Of course not. It’s a silly and wasteful tax from the 1930’s when there was only the BCC. And now 90% of court cases involve the State chasing this £145 tax that is actually illegal anyway if you’re only watching DVD’s and not live TV etc. There’s even an argument with the volume of repeats or replayed programmes as to whether the station is live. Then of course there’s other channels that are not the BCC and funded with nothing to do with the Licence fee.

• It’s a pointless mess. Abolish it and fund the BBC from an annual budget signed off by Parliament as per every other State funded organisation. Indeed there’s an argument that the BBC should be leading on time staggered channels eg BBC1 plus 2, full 24/7 TV not merging the channels after 10pm or some channels not broadcasting before 7pm and even other foreign free to air/State channels broadcast eg the BBC of German or Korean TV etc. Isn’t UK supposed to be improving at languages and exports to other nations?

• KORA and 2LB coming soon.

• Death penalty: 23 UK citizens on Death Row around the world including Margate’s Joshua French in the Congo. Even the Margate Saudi homebrew pensioner last month or Kent golfclub extradition to Texas of a few years ago. UK assistance? Stuff all. If it happens to you you’re on your own. Surely to support the various charities that do help there should be a specific UK court and police force dealing with these issues?

• UK Defence Review 2015: I’ve received some interesting points on this and to summarise various issues:

o perhaps 20 or so Royal Navy main ships in future - and 2 aircraft carriers as huge target practice for any tuppenny drone or RPG attack
o 142 F35 jets initially for the aircraft carriers and various – needed – transport planes etc
o Army supposed reform to 2x5,000 Strike Brigades although these already exist so it’s mere wording.
o 2% of GDP on the military but that now includes the security services (and Police Special branch?) and various items that were listed differently from most NATO nations. And may include the nuclear weapons that only France in Europe also posseses. So the actuality is probably nearer 1.7% of GDP – while much of NATO is nearer 1.4%. Even Germany - despite funding wasteful conscription/national service while trying to abolish it. Perhaps one, rather ineffective way, to achieve full youth employment. No functioning army is much less than 10k troops so 80k troops seems plenty not outrageous cuts. With even 20k still sat in Germany so the actual figure could be nearer 60k
o With military expenditure the UK still seems far too top heavy for the old conflicts of WW2 and the Cold War of tank battalions thundering across Germany and Poland against a background of nuclear airbursts. Britain has no main enemies of the scale of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia any more – if the latter ever was a real enemy beyond Eastern Europe and Olympic weightlifting. Even in Afghanistan UK only deployed 10k troops.
o Back to the Syria point: where are the Spanish and Italian military and bomber jets? Or Polish tanks? Or Hungarian troops? Or the Saudi military? Why are Greece and Turkey not in disarmament talks around their border and Cyprus as NATO allies?
o Britain’s enemy in the 21st century is this kind of End of Empire posturing and make it up on the hoof and the real threat of dictators such as Saddam and Gaddafi and Assad or more recently Bashir of Sudan or Obiang of Equatorial Guinea. And complete lack of any Ministry of Reconstruction for basket-case nations such as Libya or Sudan or Somali or Yemen or Afghanistan where the next threats will undoubtedly fester.
o The terror attacks across Mali and Nigeria and Kenya and Somalia and Yemen show France rather than Britain is leading the fight on terror while 20k UK troops are sat in Germany drinking schnapps and watching their and Germany’s tanks rust.

• An interesting point that the USA has produced over 70k nuclear weapons since 1945. Figures vary on 2k to 6k still held by USA and the same with Russia. And a point I’d not heard before on the risk of nuclear accidents where a fighter plane and pilot and nuclear bomb rolled off the USS Ticonderoga aircraft carrier into the sea in 1965. They’re all still lost.

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