Thursday, 22 December 2016

Dirty Southern Water - and Toxic Three Wise Men? update #1

Tim Garbutt KCC leader 2017 candidate and MP 2020 said:

"The Southern Water pollution at Margate and other Blue Flag beaches in 2012 is horrific.

Not just the scale of the pollution with 20 tonnes of faeces dumped on the beaches - but the repeated previous discharges and complete lack of alerts and cleanup.

The record fine of £2M is a drop in the ocean though with the £119M of nett profit for Southern Water and excessive salaries and pensions.

And 4 years to bring it to trial is laughable.

This monopoly water service is a licence to print its own money and merely recharge fines to the taxpayer.

The public need to see not just stricter pollution monitoring in East Kent but also jail sentences and profit reductions as with the Flint, Michigan contamination.

While the Environment Agency has proved useless as merely a tame tool of Carter's Toxic Three regime.

These are not Wise Men repeatedly endangering East Kent: Carter, King and Wild, with John Simmonds financing failure.

We need a full Magnitsky Review: Howes, Berry, Button, Sproates etc etc.

And presumably the £2M will be passed back to the public or to charity rather than merely absorbed in its costs.

As with Manston and Thor mercury or the Waste Mountains or BrettGate we have a dirty public sector deliberately contaminating the public on the rates.

Southern Water and Infratil must be laughing at the public they have polluted.

Xmas has yielded an unpleasant present in the Garden of England and in the New Year a full inquiry is required."

Note: KCC Leader election 2017: need 10 signatures for Thanet and 10 for Lenham. Direct Leader reform. Tweet/email pls: or @timg33

Time for Change



Working on my New Year's Resolutions but there are some East Kent no-brainers to start with:

* Clear Pleasurama site before another Summer wasted

* End Wetherspoons biggest-boozer-in-Britain: I've asked to take on the Pav as a Jazz Club and Buddhist temple. Far more relevant for East Kent than dereliction of a Listed building and thebn another bog-0stabndardchain pub because the council is too lazy to source anything else

* Close and cleanup Thor mercury

* Kent Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th: Knole Park and Eastcliff Bandstand

* Dreamland review by the new Board/Trustees - astonishing that the capable Bernie Morgan hasn't been given development funds/staff at TDC to get it on track

* a shoutout to the good folks of Falcon Electronics and pocket money girl for improving Margate's drab Xmas tree and decorations

* Kent orchids and other orchids on sale at Asda and Wilkinsons and York St florists - ideal late Xmas/New Year figfts

* Superb events plans for Summer 2017 Ramsgate: Dunkirk, BMX cycling, Swiss air force etc plus Margate beach volleyball/soccer/polo etc - superb along with Battle of Flowers/Britain in Bloom, and Spanish Armada

* Brett phase 1 cancelled and Port/Marina review

* End KCC (and TDC etc?) public sector investments in Tobacco and Fossil Fuels - unbelievably stupid for KCC with public health responsibilities to be investing in tobacco - and very silly to be clinging onto fossil fuel investments as the world sells them, thus reducing the very public sector pensions they should be improving - or cutting them and giving tax breaks to the public

* AMR a massive future danger/Pandemiic alert: vaccines research/production - Discovery Park review and fastforward STEM jobs

Saturday, 17 December 2016

A real coup for Thai democracy, and UK-Thailand activity?

Khun Suranand Vejjajiva as always makes some fascinating points on Future Thailand in his article this week "PM big decisions on Cabinet revamp" in The Bangkok Post and the Road to Democracy through 2017:

Clearly few farangs including myself could sensibly comment on the detailed deliberations of Thai Cabinet politics, and the candidates for the Justice, Economy or Digital Economy roles.

But with an unelected PM, an economy in the doldrums, and an over-reliance on one economic sector plus deep-rooted societal divisions and ongoing military conflict there must be cause for concern.

But enough about Britain's problems.

While what about Kent must also be the cry from Surin to Satun?

For those problems in Britain, are similar to those here in Kent with British democracy throwing up strange anti-democratic sinecures such the Leader of Kent County being Tory (the UK political party sort of similar to nineteenth century yellowshirts) for all of the council's 100 years.

Thailand's celebrities may occasionally worship at a Mini-altar, but Kent's democracy is effectively parked for the duration.

There's a civil service gerrymandering revival of the Rotten Boroughs of old, with repeated boundary changes, or political excess of double-hatter politicians with the same person occupying multiple roles, also hollowing out democracy.

Democratic tweaks such as votes for 16 and 17 year olds are long-delayed as is the abolition of the Ruritanian pantomime of Lords Lieutenants as unelected royal show-ponies trotting around the shires soaking up tax and tea and biscuits.

As a candidate to "Stop the Pollution. Stop the Corruption. Stop the Construction" in Kent in 2017 I aim to resolve the above, and build on the success of my first two manifestos resulting in the closure of Manston airport and Infratil scandal, Richboro power station demolition and ending of the Gang of Four and Toxic Three political and civil service corruption, and lawyer corruption of Lord Grabiner of BHSGate and One Essex Court lawyer-fraud.

Certainly driving a stake through the cold, dead heart of Zombie Farageland, now and in the EU elections of 2019, is a worthwhile detour on the road to my MP campaign in 2020 - if not with elections held earlier given the Brexit omnishambles dragging into the New Year like Kent’s Dickens and his ghost of Xmas past.

And in my future ASEAN Envoy and DFID Minister roles to build better links with Thailand and ASEAN, it would certainly be wrong of me to advertise diverting funds to Thailand's no doubt booming future economy - although restoring the UK’s $20M aid budget to Cambodia would be a sensible tweak, along with full G20 0.7% aid targets.

It was interesting to see detailed in the Bangkok Post, reassuring plans for Thai-Cambodia cargo lorry links increased by 400% and road improvements which are perfect for UN-FAO SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) programmes for Thai rice and Cambodian malnutrition.

The Red Cross in UK and Thailand are active – for the former I want to establish Ramsgate as an official Red Cross Town – but why should the public even with the generosity for Xmas, in Thailand or UK, have to donate to charity when the G20 represents 90% of trade and controls the main international banks through the World Bank.

It would be a minor Xmas present for the G20 nations to call into being their 0.7% aid targets each year and deploy then through the DEC NGO’s. Why bother with the fuss and delay of charity donations and collections?

Sadly, Britain now has an Empty Parliament, and Cabinet, noodling away on fripperies, and letting a whole generation sit under Kent's haystack drinking cider. If we don't invite the Dutch in again as in 1688 we could at least let Guy Verhofsdat have a go, perhaps the best Prime Minster Britain never had, so near yet so far away in Brussels.

The British disease of tea and biscuits and bumbling along has reached fever pitch.

A wider aim of my Meiji Kent campaign though is to develop UK-Thai relations. It's not that there is anything outrageously awful in links between the two nations, certainly the British Council Thailand is quietly diligent and excellent.

But surely links could be massively expanded for the benefit for both nations and ASEAN?

TDRI or other dynamic think tanks must surely be able to put an economic uplift to GDP on a range of activity between UK and Thailand?

UK for example could learn much from the Thailand 4.0 programmes - it's bizarre that UK has never had specific sector or market plans until recently. And still has no plans comparable to OTOP or 1155 Tourism Police or TRF or King Bhumibol Sufficiency Economy projects.

And Thailand should be aware that UK places Thailand in its top 5 growth markets along with Vietnam and Mexico so the political will is certainly there for greater activity this side of the English Channel.

But with a view from a hill here in Europe, surely Khun Suranand is right that PM Prayut could go down in history as the saviour of Thai democracy.
And I say that as no fan of military coups or dictatorships in any nation. Even the UK's nearest analogy, Kent's Duke of Wellington military success after Waterloo nearly drowned in political failure with riot and rebellion.

But PM Prayut as a former military man has exercised admirable restraint as well as a zeal for reform and improvement for the nation. Both in navigating Thailand through the choppy waters of colourshirt politics, feverish outpourings of Bangkok Shutdown, and the existential crisis of King Bhumibol's death as the world’s longest-reigning monarch and the only monarch most Thai people have ever known.

Britain may face similar crises with the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign, now the world's longest reigning monarch. Already Prince Charles' vision of a more Scandinavian-style monarchy slimmed-down monarchy with tax transparency and less emphasis on ceremony and Empire medals, is in conflict with Prince Andrew's aim of roles for his princesses.

And if as Khun Suranand says PM Prayut is able to jump down with the aplomb of an Olympic gymnast from riding the tiger's back of military intervention, then surely he must already be thinking of at least 7 issues beyond 2017?

1. With his military experience as Chief of Staff and political experience as PM, he must be uniquely able to balance the economic dislocation of coups and guide the next generation of military leaders in a democratic Thailand? The legacy of numerous coups through the twentieth century has dwindled to less than a handful in the last 30 years - surely PM Prayut could lead Thailand on the 2014 coup being the last of the 21st century?

2. Any military review of Thailand could benefit from the PM Prayut's pragmatic civil and military experience - Prayutism as a school of thought if you will - in reviewing the Thai military structures for internal and external defence. Issues such as conscription, or an army over 250,000 strong, or role of the Thai navy must be key? Certainly Thailand's Auld Enemy conflicts with Myanmar, as between England and Scotland, or the Deep South conflict as with Northern Ireland, are increasingly a thing of the past in 21st Century ASEAN but could benefit from UK dialogue and support?

Brexit has proved the worst UK foreign policy disaster since Suez, and only selling guns to the Gulf any sense of business as usual for Britain.
British politics has devolved into the vacuous TrousersGate of PM May's $2,000 leather trousers and fashion shoot and rivals handbags. A loose hand on the tiller of HMS Britain, and as foolish as Thailand’s HawaiiGate flights. Silliness on a par with the outlandish bloat of UK police fashions – and at least PM Prayut is exercising his tracksuit and sports kit of the health of the nation.

3. If Thailand has few-to-none enemies in ASEAN then it simply has none at all in Europe, so shouldn't a key feature of 2017, as with the US-ASEAN Summit in Rancho Mirage, be consideration of a series of State visits to EU and UK promoting democracy and the economy? And marshalling the issue of Yingluck rice reserves or Shinawatra exile seem less contentious than in 2014 with a Prayut version of rice welfare, and the ongoing strife in Cambodia and upheaval of the repeated exile of Sam Rainsy.

4. Rice welfare and Tourism could be key topics in themselves, as the main pillars of the Thai economy each worth about 10% of GDP, potentially leaving the Thai economy weaker than it should be through the lightning and thunder storms of flash-crash globalisation. Much as the UK economy is having to regear, from its over-emphasis on the City of London, and develop a manufacturing base beyond sandwiches and microwave meals. And as with the Brexit silliness of London, seeming another country to the rest of UK, and the Westminster Village of incestuous parliamentary twaddle such as TrewsGate is vacuous monkeying about worse than any Lopburi teaparty.

While with more Brits on the beaches in Thailand, than any other Western nation, or next year's mega-movie Dunkirk on Ramsgate's Little Ships. then surely UK-Thai tourism partnerships would be pushing against an open door and a simple way to expand Thai GDP?

5. Khun Suranand highlights the importance of Thailand's Foreign Office in Future Thailand beyond just the recent success of the G77 Chair - the UK has seen dynamic UK-Thai initiatives such as the Royal Mint coins and stamps, and a Team Thailand to extend Thai influence in the EU.

Shouldn't Team Thailand in UK and EU in 2017 include Team Prayut, Yingluck and Abhisit and Team Rama?

And on G77 Thailand as ASEAN lead in UN peacekeeping lead, to put it bluntly, the only Asian faces helping stop the carnage in Africa or the Middle East are Chinese. And Thailand's Red Cross can't be the only NGO active in ASEAN disaster crises?

6. Surely the issue of lese-majeste is due for review and open debate? Britain's Royals cope with far worse abuse than petty name-calling on Facebook. One unseemly part of Thailand since 2014 is using the lese-majeste laws as a political football although the recent royal pardons a positive step to the normalisation of democracy and show traits of the wise guiding hand of nation-building as King Bhumibol.

7. And couldn't Thailand-in-Europe do with translating its offering to UK and European audiences more consistently? One small example- the media storm around the two Hmong kids pickpocketing a watch from a British tourist at Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai.

A media storm that raged for days with full page articles and front page headlines - yet with no follow-up when the tourist found her watch and the kids hadn't stolen it.

The kids were just spending the afternoon with their mum after school while she finished her sewing at the temple. One huge example though, the lack of awareness and detailed understanding, beyond the disease of short-termism, in UK of say the 12 stars of tourism.

And the dynamic Tourism Minister Khun Kobkarn can't spend her days and nights showcasing every hispeed train to Chiang Mai or the rest of Thailand, nor Kent's dynamic Sports Minister Tracey Crouch - no relation to Peter, although she should be in the first team - playing permanent keepy-uppy to reform the FA and UK sports:

So, rather than a rocky road to democracy through 2017 and beyond, shouldn't some of the above points through the maelstrom of Cabinet changes, help fastforward a seamless transition to Future Thailand for both UK and Thailand?

Time for Change


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Kent councils' BrettGate - a pig as an air freshener? And High Court?

The 2nd public meeting on BrettGate expressed delight and satisfaction at the cancellation of the secret Phase 2 megadevelopment of a Brett cement works. Yet concern remains that the smaller Phase 1 development was passed last year - without any public notice or consultation and now it seems not any environment review.

And - along with the lack of TDC support for the P22 US Navy boat and Ramsgate Sprint projects - there is concern at the silence of Leader Wells for the Phase 2 mega-development and secrecy of SELEP funds sought way back in June.

Why the silence for such a megadevelopment for over 6 months?

When will we hear from Wells to explain why he and TDC councillors voted for this mega-blight including 1M freight lorries - only to have it overwhelmingly rejected within days of the public hearing about it?

And who is the TDC harbour official who signed off on environment studies for monitoring the cement dust - yet didn't do them?

Answers on the back of a child's burnt lung.

The asthmatics amongst us would be concerned at that, as no doubt would TDC's Amanda Berry still in charge of monitoring the Manston pollution that was 4x EU safe levels.

And so would Infratil's directors of Fitzgerald, Baker, Bogoievski and Clarke hiding in far-away Wellington Airport in New Zealand, perhaps Asia's most dangerous airport, given their activity in faking the pollution data and fines at Manston.

The sands are shifting and the cancer corpses caused by the council and Infratil are starting to rise to the surface.

East Kent with some of the highest disparities of mortality rates in Kent and South East.

Leader Wells could even explain the mega-plans at Manston for either Brett warehouses or Stone Hill New Town. And while he's at it some details of the Dreamland tax haven court cases and Manston airport missing fines and cancer victim pollution?

Wells and UKIP are merely continuing the secrecy and incompetence that so often characterises the stale and elderly TDC regardless of which party is in power.
To be fair as with the lame Kent Police investigation into electoral fraud of some 18 months and counting, or TDC lawyer the repulsive Tim Howes covering up the corruption scandals such as the GIAA £500k port fraud or Thor mercury cleanup, they can get away with it for longer than they should.

Quite astonishing that East Kent has Ian Driver as the only UK councilor ever prosecuted by a council for releasing council documents.

And the deafening silence from the rest of the sheep-councilors.

And of more concern why would any member of the public stand as a councilor under such threats?

Certainly chancing their arm in court for a coin-toss decision is viable as detailed in my Manifesto #2 of my Stop the Corruption. Stop the Pollution. Stop the Construction, with say corrupt barristers such as part-time magician(!) Guy Hollingworth of One Essex Court. I'd recommend them as an ideal chambers for criminals with Lord Grabiner of BHS rubberstamping judgements - along corrupt lawyers such as Steve Palmer of PBi Law.

It's all the more surprising that their corruption is quietly approved not just by scoundrels such as Grabiner - described as Lord Grabafee by the FT and a boiled old sausage by Private Eye for his role in the LIBOR fraud investigation as well as being BHS CEO - but by senior QC's such as Ian Glick and Peter Leavor keeping shtum rather than alerting the police or BSB etc.

And as with Grabiner hardly ideal for advising parliament on tax law as in previous years(!).

Only the Crying Judge expressed any remorse.

Astonishing too that Grabiner could trouser a £400k fee plus a further £3M(!) in public funds for the lawyers in the Bank of England Libor inquiry.
Hardly a great advertisement for the UK legal profession.

Surely it's long overdue for a review of lawyers court fees - bizarrely the public are the only ones with supposedly a price cap on their fees - there seems to be the sudden sleight of hand reveal of ludicrous costs at the end of a case that are quickly rubberstamped by the judge in seconds.

Effectively the publicly funded courts being used as an ATM for lawyers.

It's a policy as odd as barristers claiming to be self-employed yet clearly employed in a chambers and working as a group on cases. Looks like being employed in a company to me. What do you think? Maybe one for HMRC to review. Because the tax breaks on top of fees from public courts could be very high.

Separately I'm currently dealing with the astonishing case of the slippery Andrew Conway of Lawrence Stephens Law trying to brazen out impersonating an HMRC official as part of his legal case and covering up the matter rather than reporting it to the police.

Quite astonishing or anyone to pretend to be an HMRC official and especially for a lawyer to do so. On a par with the worthless bumf that appears all too regularly from lawyers, such as unsigned letters, or circular statements by himself signed by himself.

Only in a publicly funded court could you get such idiocy and quibbling on the rates - Parliament is far too lax in reviewing Judges and Courts and sentences etc.

There must be some sort of penalty for wasting public and court time in such a way - certainly a member of the public would be cautioned or arrested by the police if not jailed? Unfortunately the Supreme Court case on the Brexit process shows the inane depths the legal profession can stoop to in quibbling at best and liars-for-hire at worse.

Presumably Parliament as sovereign in all policies - including legal matters - could overturn any absurd decision anyway with a new law, or just sack a few judges?

Grabiner could no doubt be hired to rubberstamp it.

Clearly the Law Society and Bar Standards Board - and police - are toothless and not striking off and jailing enough of such lawyers.

But surely we need a vote of no confidence in Wells and TDC council tax strike - certainly to withold Ramsgate's £17M tax costs for Ramsgate and a Corruption Rebate -to spur on reform before the KCC elections in May?

It's hard to see how Latchford of the Gang of Four with Wells, NF Heale and Silent Shonk can be re-elected, they're hardly the future and their past record is abysmal, or even Ken "AIDS" Gregory trying his chances at KCC after failing at TDC, except for an unpleasant bit of gay-bashing other councillors.

Old East Kent at its unreconstructed worst.

And now Farage railing against the low-grade people in UKIP. And the Eddie Hitler lookylikey Nuttall as new UKIP leader trying his chances with stirring up some Northern racism.

Just what we want, elderly pig farmer Ken in charge of larger budgets and projects than the mega-corruption of Pleasurama and the KCC Parkway train-station-to-nowhere-in-the middle of -nowhere or Wells' £1M Broadstairs Scout Hut etc.

You just couldn't make these up could you?

But it's your tax money being burned.

Shut up. Work harder. Pay your tax. Pay more tax.

Rather, Ken would be better off using one of his pigs as an air freshener in the council chamber.

Certainly it would be of more use than pumping his porkers full of AMR antibiotics.

He could hire it out to the High Court too.

And as in last week’s Tonbridge and Richmond elections, we surely need an Alliance system where just one candidate stands against the Tory and UKIP candidates for change in Kent.

Not every Kent citizen supports Tories or UKIP. To be fair, KCC hold their nose and sideline the antics of Thanet's UKippers in the absence of Ken's pig.
But even the most die-hard Kent Shire Tory would fund it hard to justify almost 100 years of KCC being Tory, and less support for UKIP Trumpian policies on privatising the NHS - with or without Polish nurses - or reducing tourism and CCU and Kent University students from nearby Europe.

UKIP do have a point - as with the Greens - in gaining so many votes yet only having one MP. And a new interesting policy on raising the age of MP's to 30 to prevent career politicians: politics at university, then a central office job or MP's assistant then a safe seat and as with Roger Gale 40 years of merely seat warming and handraising.

His retirement and removal some 30 years overdue given the stagnation of East Kent.

Rather with the ongoing failure at TDC and collapse of Farage and other farcical UKIP leaders we've seen the best of UKIP such as it was. And Brexit will undoubtedly veer back to Remain after only further damaging the UK economy on top of the Great Recession of 2008.

And Farage's African HIV comments might appeal to few beyond our Ken and his pig.

Time for Change


# The African Union election for a new president is underway - and good as with the UN election that there are public debates now - but absolutely astonishing that the Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea is one of the candidates. An analogy of Africa's Rudolf Hess seems relevant for his role in propping up Equatorial Guinea. Far better candidates from more democratic nations such as Botswana and Kenya are in the running. This in the same week President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea's son is confirmed as going to trial in January at the ICC International Criminal Court. Obiang pere is one of the last dirty dozen African dictators still clinging with some 35 years of changing the constitution etc along with murdering his opponents and reports of cannibalism. A monster up there with Idi Amin and Bokassa, Gambia now ending the 22 year reign of Jammeh. And you may recall the Mark Thatcher coup attempt with Simon Mann in Equatorial Guinea a few years ago.

# concerned at report is of the Solomon Islands 7.7 earthquake and possible tsunami given its huge potential for cruise ship tourism etc in future, with the likes of the good folks at Thomas Cook and Thomsons, and the Aceh earthquake and tsunami. Both events are around the anniversary now of the Philippines Haiyan and Phuket Boxing Day disasters.

# Surely UK and Commonwealth should be stepping forward with ASEAN on massively improved resilience procedures: aircraft carrier/ships forward-placed and cargo helicopters and aid dumps etc? Plus rescue teams with search dogs etc? Over 60% of such disasters and casualties occur in East Asia and with modern weather mapping systems there's plenty of advance and detailed warning. Thailand has put in place an impressive tsunami warning system and Vietnam has superb evacuation systems with the police and army etc. With the tsunami details in UK as in last week's Sunday Times:

# It would be relevant for the Red Cross and RNLI etc here in Kent and the 1953 and 1978 disasters and hundreds of deaths. Last year's Kent Earthquake of just 3.3 was a very minor bump in the night - but exactly the sort of incident that causes tsunamis if a little bit stronger and undersea. And all the more reason to shut Dungeness nuclear power station - and the Channel sites in France and Belgium - down faster. While my view is Ramsgate should be the first official Red Cross Town with school lessons in CPR, first aid etc, defibrillators in pubs and phone boxes, OAP Winter alerts etc and close liaison with the good folks of RNLI.

# interesting that the Japan Space Agency has launched their first space junk satellite to collect space debris that can damage satellites and space-walking astronauts. Particularly interesting for Meiji Kent as the design to catch the space junk and send it into low orbit to burn up is based on a thousand year old fishing net design. Surely Space Junk is an ideal niche for the UK Space Programme, based just a stone’s throw away from the Kent border at Surrey University, along with thousands of smartphone satellites in orbit around every planet and moons?

# interesting article on earthbound junk and landfill: Sweden having to import landfill to keep its recylcing plants going after having reduced its landfill to just 1% of previous years. Why can’t Kent do that along with 90% recycling as in Germany rather than the feeble 40% in Kent? With household recycling only being introduced in UK in the last 3 years or so it's a pretty feeble effort - still no coffeeshop cup recycling or landfill mining or domestic medical waste collection such as tampons, condoms etc. Hats off to the supermarkets for switching cotton buds to paper stems rather than plastic for easier disposal. And the good folks at Ramsgate Asda and Wilkinson for their orchids displays - an ideal Xmas present now and Summer present next year with the Battle of the Flowers event etc. And a boost for East Kent's orchid farmers.

# good to see Kent University forging new Meiji international links with Japan last week: Hiroshima and Tokyo universities - and hopefully Fukuoka too the HQ of UN Habitat.

# good Oxfam report on dodgy tax havens and UK having 4 of the worst as the last fragments of Empire: BVI, Caymans, Gibraltar etc`. And an interesting yet foolish article in Private Eye by Rishi Sunak MP on developing tax haven ports in UK - surely that would be a magnet for corruption and drugs and gunrunning? Not ideal for New East Kent and UK scraping the bottom of the barrel if that's the best economic policy that can be developed. As with Medway's MP Chishti supporting the Saudi regime, and Theresa May even popping up at the Gulf dictatorships for the new Royal Navy Bahrain base - surely there's better?

# and with Xmas present buying - don't forget to stock up on Panasonic batteries for electronic toys etc and there's an excellent display by the good folks at Ramsgate Waitrose near the £5 specs, perfect as a spare pair or for leaving in the car for emergencies. Surely the food folks at Specsavers and Boots will be stepping forward on the work they already do for the 39M blind people in the world?

# awful that the BBC have issued the first pandemic warning this week for bird flu after it has blazed through Romania and Poland for weeks and Holland more recently.

# UK is so weak at pandemic alerts and far more coordination with Police and NHS on vaccines and body bags etc - and LEFT IS LIFE - is required and with hospitals abroad, and the Stanford swab test of train and bus stations etc. ASEAN is highlighted by the UN WHO as the most likely region for the next Spanish Flu - type major pandemic as in 1919 that killed more people than WW1. Although Ebola and Yellow fever caught WHO by surprise. You may remember xc.2 years ago UK failing completely on the flu vaccine due to a factory fire in Holland a one of its only suppliers. The TB and Flu viruses in particular are always in permutation - and not enough spent on research and manufacturing a tidal wave of pills - and so far only Smallpox and (almost) Polio and Guineaworm have been eradicated.

# like me I'm sure you're a Hello Kitty fan - who isn't? Chief Constable Pughsley for example is also a keen Doraemon collector. And there's an excellent Niponica article by Japan MOFA on tourism and manga and Hello Kitty and Doraemon as part of Kawaii Culture. The Margate Geekxpo and Comicon was the first stirrings of that mashup of manga, cosplay, comics, fashion, computer games, art etc etc. Ideal for East Kent with the heritage of Small Films and Bagpuss and Clangers, as well as Dickens and Billy Bunter etc, and just across the water the good folks of Belgium with their numerous Lucky Luke and TinTin museums etc.

#The Turner Museum on opening providing an interesting display of comics and magazines etc. And certainly ripe too for Ramsgate's Van Gogh museum with the Rijkmuseum and his letters and doodles from Ramsgate etc. It would be ideal annual precursor to Little Ships Dunkirk Day too with a fleet of art arriving in Ramsgate Harbour.

# absurd that the superb P22 US navy gunboat and Ramsgate Sprint projects aren't up and running and funded by TDC/KCC. And a very powerful speech by the dynamic Charlton Athletic lady (I didn't catch her name) at the Ramsgate public meeting on their youth team and events and training programmes etc etc. Along with Ebbsfleet United, perfect with the kickoff to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics underway, Margate's beach volleyball, polo and soccer events and general sports diplomacy.

# Much improved Ramsgate pedestrian zone on the High St and Seafront begun: no parking/driving through after 10am or parking on pavements or yellow lines. No G4S cashvans or GPO vans either, and certainly a police crackdown on issuing parking tickets and clamp and crush is needed in future. Please let me have any reg nos and photos of such cars. No seaside town is lax on parking and it's incredibly dangerous in a pedestrian zone and for kids and pensioners and people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.

# No news on EKFOS East Kent Film Office and Studio or dodgy Wetherspoons Pavilion asbestos etc as yet.

# No news on Spanish Armada or Liberation Route Europe/Fortitude/Masterdom CWG etc events yet. Bridge on the River Kwai JEATH event in Thailand underway again and sparkling work by CWG as always in looking after the war graves. Britain's best government dept.

# Charity Commission being questioned this week in Parliament on its plans and costs. Huge bloat and bureaucracy with almost no UK charity worth more than c.£20k a year: one of Britain's worst government depts. Having dealt with it with Surin Charity I can confirm every quid spent on the Charity Commission is a quid wasted and food out of the mouths of charities and the aid budget. Disappointing as William Shawcross the Chairman wrote Sideshow one of the best books on Cambodia. Superbly written and worth reading even if you're not that interested in Cambodia. I usually buy a different edition when I'm out there. Interesting that Broadstairs' Bruce Robinson wrote the Killing Fields that covers some of the same ground of B52 strikes on civilians etc.

# A police crackdown on junkies and dealers in East Kent is needed - far too many and far too prevalent. A Philippines-style cull is less than ideal: 5,000 dead in just a few months but certainly a rapid closing of drug dens apart from left open for surveillance, harbour boats and Gefco cars and NHS no blame-no shame treatment for junkies, and tougher jail sentences for dealers in East Kent is due. The largest-ever UK capture of Skorpion and AK47 machine guns and tower block Uzi-style machine pistols in recent years are just part of the problem in East Kent and the gunrunn9ng form Ostend/Lydd airports now Manston has closed.

# Surprised at c.4k benefit sanctions by DSS in East Kent: almost double any other Kent region. I don't understand except for blatant fraud eg out playing football when you've supposedly a broken leg etc, there'd be any benefit sanctions? It's a welfare right not a secret target to reduce costs by messing people about. I don't even see why there should be a particular restriction on working to 16 hours for benefits. Our MP's must surely be calling for a list and explanation of all these sanctions? Disabled sanctions and tests are even more repulsive. The sooner there's a Free Economy the better, and the various global trials of a Basic National Income (Canada the latest) are a step on the way - Labour now calling for BNI, and a £10ph Living Wage.

# I've not yet seen the plain cigarette packaging, and it's incredible how few smokers you see these days. The first US Surgeon-General warnings on vaping dangers this week. As with HFSS (High Fat Salt and Sugar Foods) the USA is far, far ahead of UK in public health. Surely the supermarkets should be moving more rapidly to ending their cigarette sales or at least donating the profits to charity? I don't understand cafes effectively reserving outdoor tables for smokers - maybe one corner table away from passive smokers?

# Excellent Kent Police work with TDC Housing and the churches on homeless shelters, really excellent - no excuse for sleeping rough or begging in East Kent. And only c.20 or so anyway. To help, a tweak would be tighter coordination with the DSS and Prison releases and education at Sheppey etc. UK has abysmal 50% reoffending rates and released from prison to homelessness and no job and problems reading and writing is a big part of that. The London policy of Zero Nights Homeless is ideal for East Kent. Concerning to hear TDC turning away veteran soldiers given the Military Covenant, PTSD etc etc. Especially with the first homeless person freezing to death last week in Birmingham city centre UK's second largest city. A monstrous failure of a G7 nation and the world's 5th largest economy (6th after the Brexit blip) - and Kent budgets of £2BN at KCC, £20M at TDC (and more at the other 12 district councils), £400k at RTC and £200M at Kent Police - and none of those figures include the Kent NHS and Kent Education budgets - anyone know the latter?

#Kent Fire is rather good value apart from the silliness of the Ramsgate £8M fire garage and FOI Finchy at £80M. Probably a bit too cheap with fire engines at £100k each and the excellent Road Safety Museum. The UK NHS budget is £150BN hence the feebleness of UKIP stirring up African HIV and foreigners-coming-here-taking-our-nose-jobs hatred. Any East Kent doctor or nurse should invariably be putting the Hippocratic Oath first - especially with the ludicrous plans to shortchange the East Kent public with hospital closures again or messing up on travel arrangements for the valid plans to use Benelux hospitals.

#And any Kent citizen holidaying in the EU should be flagging up where they've been refused medicare or stranded/hospitalised after a car crash or whatever, or like Margate's Joshua French left to rot on Death Row in the Congo. Kent Police should be pushing on coordination with GMP on international arrests as well as first port of call for stranded citizens etc. A minor tweak to the 101 backoffice service, along with boosting CCU and Kent Uni and the Languages Economy with NHS and Courts translation etc.

#No news as yet on British Council Myanmar/London and unfortunate that the appalling Joanna Galvan now transferred to Taiwan, one of the invariably excellent British Council outposts in Asia. The danger is such buffoons drag down the sterling work being done there by messing up conferences etc. Again a lack of Board control of costs and competence.

Time for Change

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A Kent council of GOATs not Apes or Zombies: update #1

(update points in Misc below)

The BrettGate U-Turn collapse within 10 days of the mega-cement plans being announced by TDC raises not just questions over who voted for that at TDC - and kept it secret since the SELEP meeting of June 2016 - or questions over how Phase 1 of BrettGATE crept through, and why this hasn’t already been cancelled?

But it means there are now no East Kent policies at RTC or TDC or KCC or SELEP or anywhere at all.


Our councillors and civil servants have not just completely messed up but are now hoping to keep on collecting their pay cheque and pensions - for doing nothing until the May 2017 elections.

The worst of all possible worlds.

Clearly we need a system of claw-back to prevent that and also active policies in the run-up to the May 2017 KCC election.

I’ve made it clear I am standing for KCC Leader – Directly Elected Leader for reform against both Paul Carter and Trevor Shonk – the former of the Toxic Three of Infratil and Thor and Road to Nowhere etc, and the latter the triple if not quadruple double hatter: RTC, RTC mayor, TDC and KCC councillor – and with all those titles and salaries done nothing.

A vote for me is a vote against Carter and against Shonk and for reform at KCC and in Kent.

East Kent UKIP with Shonky’s crew of Gang of Four Latchford, Drinking Water Wells and NF Heale have done nothing at KCC for 5 years and their TDC policies of the 2015 election have completely collapsed.

They must go – indeed they want to go – they know they have nothing to offer.

Mere delay and waste for their children and grandchildren.

More stale cement projects on the rates.

The stale system at KCC with Carter’s Toxic Three of Wild and King making decisions only in Cabinet rather than Council, and the Tories gaining control of the council every year for almost 100 years is absurd democracy.

As corrupt as now the UKIP, and Tory, election fraud in the 2015 election being feebly investigated by Kent Police.

We need reform and an Alliance of all non-Tories to prevent the Tory and UKIP duopoly of racist pensioners.

Our stale pensioner councillors have allowed the most £100k salaries in local government at KCC, and absurd £350k salaries almost triple the PM’s salaries – for minor services and massive failure.

And still FOI secrecy on pensions and expenses and absurd reserves over 10%.

And to be fair to KCC and Tories it certainly is not racist like UKIP so reform is overdue:

1. I urge all sixth form students and teachers to hold a KCC election for 16 and year olds in your school and publish the result. Every political party except Tories support votes for 16 and 17 year olds but dragging it out until 2020 or later. Indeed as with jury service why does the vote not end at 75 to prevent a gerontocracy (if not a kakistocracy)? It could always be tweaked upwards with Gilgamesh reforms.

2. Time for Infratil extradition for the Manston-Infratil scandal and missing fines and monitors of Manston-Gloag scandal: the EK Stagecoach-Gloag bus contracts need review, and Thor and Sericol toxic scandals.

3. I urge Typhoid Madeline Howes to sack the rascal Tim Howes TDC’s public sector lawyer leading since the Cameron May Summit on Corruption at TDC with the coverup of the above and Pleasurama BVI scandal and Dreamland mess now registered in the Cayman Islands. As KCC leader I will sack Howes with criminal proceeedings if he’s still there and instigate a ban on any KCC tax haven contracts.

4. Time for reform of KCC Public Health: dithering over road deaths increases and tobacco – the horrifying scandal of KCC investing in tobacco and fossil fuel shares. A public health investment as backward as investing in child chimney sweeps.

5. The Dreamland and Pleasurama scandals as above: I urge the rejection of any Kent public sector contract registered in tax haven blacklists – and indeed an emphasis on Kent SME companies with Kent tax.

6. The mess of 100 SE Rd gardengrabbing by the resigned Planning directors and Slipways building slop.

7. Asbestos on 350 schools including 17 EK schools – almost 50% of all schools and Pavilion silence and Clerk Bensted scandal of Britain’s biggest boozer approved without any councillor(!) involvement indeed refusing to alert councillors.

8. Time for EK Universities fastforward: ASEAN Studies and language courses eg Japanese in primary schools by the dynamic Japan Foundation courses – now under the BBC documentary shows South Korean schoolchildren doing better than British schoolchildren…in learning English(!) And Meiji reforms taking effect with the top 5 places in maths taken by East Asian nations and UK stumbling after Kazakhstan.

9. Time for EK NHS reform: utter collapse with again the old story of centralising the 3 hospitals into one reducing services and increasing travel – and topping up backoffice salaries and pensions for doing less. No news as yet on the latest kit eg cyberknives etc.

10. Time for Pandemic reform eg London the TB capital of Europe and Holland destroying 190k ducks for bird flu last week – no Stanford swab preparations or WW1 Spanish Flu commemoration or Red Cross First aid training etc.

11. UK G30 not G7: UK may have the 5th largest economy but many of the public services on a GDP per head or per ‘000 basis are nearer G30 than G7 failures eg 12k NHS medical error deaths, worse newborn care than Sweden or Japan.

12. Time for Johnny Appleseed programmes: 90% of Kent orchards destroyed since 1945 and uprooting of hedgerows destroying bees.

13. Time for 5M Kenya treeplanting record and BrexitBackIn: East Kent faces Europe not the UKIP racism of NegroRoz or Aids Gregory or Tingtong Janice and Farage bussed in or his bierkellar meetings. While East Kent relies on Kent’s European university with campuses across Europe, plus CCU with even greater international student expertise and Canterbury the largest number of Romanian citizens outside Bucharest and Kent more Poles than Krakow since The Few. The Brexit referendum was not binding, it was a minor majority result not say 60%-plus as should be required for referendums and the utter shambles of the debate and process since. I call on the 48% to step forward to cancel Brexit and re-establish certainty in a UK growth economy – and crucially massive reform of the EU such as a Sarajevo Shift or ending duplication such as Europol or Euroarmy.

14. Time for cancellation of Manston New town: protect the aquifer – and reform of Discovery Park: still only 2,000 jobs not 7,000 when it was Pfizer and many of those Thanet relocations – so their business rates will go to Dover council, and many of those companies not the Future STEM jobs. A focus is needed on TB and Rabies vaccines: 20k rabies deaths each year just in India.

15. Time for Xmas support for Kent’s Joshua French on Death Row in Congo left to rot by the UK government – what if that was your son or father or uncle, with his friend already dead from malaria – or the stranded UK citizens abroad or in prison.

16. Time for review of DFID: the 2nd year of 0.75 target of £13BN – so what are the results and it’s now the end of Year #1 of the UNSDG30. Clearly malaria nets for £2 or specs for 39M blind people at £5 each doesn’t cost billions…

17. KCC failing on road repairs: the dynamic Greg Clark Kent’s Business Minister having to see the Pembury de-dualling delayed by another 6 months after 15 years(!) of development.

18. Time for Ramsgate Port review: foot tourism with Ostend and Boulogne etc and Motor Museum before it collapses, and Van Gogh gallery and Landings attraction plan.

19. Time for fastforward on Dungeness nuclear closure and Channel nuclear power station leaks in France and Belgium – Flamanvile in Cherbourg leaking and the basis for the Hinkley Point mess.

20. No Kent Climate Change policies at all eg electric car charging points and solar panels – I urge Goody demolition to finish off the last rubble clearance at Richboro and cancel the £8M fire garage for a new swimming pool.

21. Time for Ramsgate’s £17M tax per year spent on Ramsgate not the farce of the mess of TDC and spending it on Margate and EK Supercouncil for reform.

22. Time for Red Cross and Sally Army with Kent Police homeless and begging reform etc and Rape centres with the horrifying 67 rapes with zero arrests yet our defective detectives incapable of even policing traffic and parking.

And silence on the LIBOR frauds and Green-Grabiner fraud after 8 years of the Great Recession. An unelected PM still with no policies on either Brexit or indeed anything else.

At least UKIP has the Tampon Tax – but why should there be 20% VAT that taxes the poorest or even moves to a Free Economy with Basic National Income, free utilities and £1 transport fares. All are funded from tax anyway – and with the increase in trillions of debt clearly 8 years of austerity have achieve nothing and Brexit only making things worse.

Similarly capped rental fees and DSS sanctions and electricity and petrol prices and banking fees are minor and simple reforms. While burying all UK’s electricity pylons in the move to solar would create thousands of jobs with retrofitting insulation etc.

While Ramsgate is long overdue both excellent Xmas and summer decoration and a plasma screen for UNSDG30. the Xmas lights on Harbour St and Queen St aren’t even working et and most of the other lights merely white bulbs on a £400k budget and £30k clerk salaries and secret funding of volunteers.

While Project Gilagamesh has failed to provide a UK mortality target and focus throughout pharma and 127 UK universities on cancer, dementia and stroke/arteries and the 1M EU citizens affected by rare DNA diseases.

We need a Kent clearout with Pleasurama Bob and Iris part of the same clique of failure for decades now.

As with Animal Farm they look from Left to Right and they look the same.

GOATS not apes or zombies are needed at KCC; Direct Leader select a Cabinet across the parties even outside politics to improve Kent.

##Berry, Button and Sproates and deliberate coverup of removing and faking the pollution monitoring for years.

##High Court reform: scoundrels like Grabiner and Glick and part of the South east circuit of judges perhaps adjudicating on you and your family or parliament tax and retail?

##Forecasts of a Lost Decade of lost investment and wages – and perhaps more than every politics adrift with nothing done and nothing to do.

##Arlington House 1950’s tower block long overdue demolition and regeneration of the Dreamland area and a seafront with 20mph zone/traffic bans etc as with Ramsgate seafront

Carter and the Toxic Three have nothing except cement to offer.

Kent and UKIP TDC have nothing except hate.

Time for Change


* Update Friday 2nd - Xmas lights now working on all streets as raised in blog above...but about 15% of the multicoloured bulbs are missing/blow - are the lights not checked before being put up? It's now 5 days after the switchon. the festival was very good - but lights weak and certainly not Blackpool Winter illuminations and no details of the FOI invoices on weird secret payments to volunteers by Styles...

* We seem to be paying our clerks to do work that they then get volunteers to do or make below-market-rate payments to volunteers - and keep it all secret

* first homeless person found frozen to death in Birmingham city centre - how many in Kent and OAP's before Spring? Usually about 50 extra deaths is horrifying an multiagency muddle this with a KCC budget of £2BN...

* Time for Ramsgate as the first official Red Cross Town with first aid training in schools, police etc, OAP collections, Left is Life etc

* bizarre 600 Ajax armoured cars - that's about 6 per UK battle tank (c.127 tanks) - what would they all be doing? Where would they be parked? and how many would ever be deployed overseas? Plus troop carriers and lorries. Bloat and waste - and too expensive to use or lose - as per the Voyager refuelling planes that can't refuel UK or Nato jets.

* Weak Theresa May corporate governance reforms: disappeared within days - and guff as most companies have a director responsible for staff etc. Weak - and UK drift rather than bringing BHS and Sports Direct etc to heel. No reason not to claw back the BHS £500M from Green and Grabiner's yachts and offices.

* Brett Gravel Tsunami: 2nd meeting at Oddfellows Hall, Ramsgate High St, 7pm Wednesday 8th December (amend: Thursday 8th) - a vote of no confidence in TDC is relevant and ending of the smaller Phae1 that slipped through at the port last year and the recurring 100 Se Rd and Slipways mess. A council with no public support and in freefall. (RAG newsletter below)

* Laughable in the Gazette Drinking Water Wells blaming previous administrations again - that have a apart of and MP LocalCraig blaming TDC for Manston collapse that's his own policy. What will he be doing beyond dull tax tweak. It's bizarre that no councillor ever raises tax cuts merely tax freezes and ongoing bloat an incompetence or mega-white elephants as per Wells £1m Scout Hut and now BrettGate or the secret £3M SALE OF Pleasurama and Dreamland fees...not even issuing routine FOI on salaries and pensions and expenses by staff and dept.

A chimps tea party pretending to be a council.



The Story So Far:

As you probably saw in the newspapers, Brett’s have now withdrawn their application to double the size of their aggregate-washing operations at the port.

Without your letters, e-mails and most importantly of all: your attendance at the public meeting, this would never have happened.

So, well done and huge thanks.

We won’t bore you with the details. But Bretts were trying to get this away on a technicality (Permitted Development Order) to avoid any proper assessment of the economic, social and environmental impact on the town.

More importantly, this technicality was based on a previous technicality which also doesn’t bear much scrutiny: a bureaucratic stroke pulled in the dark and smuggled through like a conspiracy, instead of offering it up to fair public examination.

In other words, if it looks like a duck and dive, walks like a duck and dive and quacks like a duck and dive – then it probably is a duck and dive.

No wonder that as soon as this proposal was dragged out into the open, Bretts promptly withdrew it.

This is the simple power of hundreds of ordinary people turning up in a draughty hall on a cold night to demand what the hell is going on.

But, unfortunately, we’ve only won a battle, not the war.

Bretts still hope to erect a new concrete batching plant at the port. And, given the closure of its marine aggregate operations in Whitstable and Dover, they are likely to be back again for another try in Ramsgate.

So, we need to ask you all to come to another public meeting at 7pm on Wednesday December 8th 2016 (amend: Thursday 8th) at the Oddfellows Hall.

(It will still be draughty and probably cold. But we will do our very best to get you all home in time to see the second half of Masterchef Professionals cooking their showstopper dishes for the French Ambassador. And, if we don’t …... um,there is always “Catch-up on I-player)

The Ramsgate Action Group:

Following the last meeting, the Ramsgate Action Group was formed and a small committee appointed. We are a non-partisan assembly, embracing political opinions of all stripes and kidney. We have no animus against any councillors or council officers – yet.

But we have come together to advance three highly controversial propositions when it comes to planning and development in our town.

a) Transparency:

If there is a case for a development in Ramsgate, why not make it? And why not make it in public to the people of the town. Tell us openly about its advantages – economic activity, jobs etc. And be plain about any disadvantages.

The alternative is incoherent, piecemeal, ad hoc decisions which blow up in the council’s face sooner rather than later. Like secret deals to defer port fees for bankrupt ferry companies or Permitted Development Orders being plopped down from the bureaucratic bowels of Kent County Council.

A good proposal can stand scrutiny and argument. Only the bad ones need to hide from the wisdom of crowds.

b) Accountability:

The Brettsaggregates proposal is practically the gold standard of how local government shouldn’t work. A tangle of authorities, a confusion of councillors and a miasma of officers, all claiming their hands are tied by past bureaucratic manoeuvres which no one can quite explainhow they came to bemade and which no one wants to take responsibility for now.

KCC assigned the mineral rights and designated a “change of use” of the port from maritime to industrial. TDC is the landlord and responsible for the port’s losses. While RTC is a statutory consultee for any developments which affect Ramsgate. So, at any time, these councils, their councillors or their respective officers can pass the buck or wash their hands of pretty much anything.

RAG believes decisions have to be “owned” and seen to be “owned”. So, that someone somewhere can be held to account for them. Even ten years later.

If it’s a council decision, we want to know which council and whether the appropriate councillors are consulting with their constituents and how.

If it’s an officer’s decision, we want to know which officer and why our elected representatives have recused themselves from the matter.

More importantly, we want such officers to understand they have certain legal duties to council tax payers which trump all other considerations. And, if they fail to discharge such duties fully, (due process, fiduciary duty of care etc.) they will be personally legally liable and held to that liability.

Councils and officials are happy to fill in health and safety assessments to comply with the law. But their duties under the Localism Act 2011 are just as clear. So, when it comes to important decisions about our town, why not fill in a “Localism Assessment” to make sure the process is above board?

c) Sustainability:

By this, we don’t just mean environmentally sustainable. Although clearly, that is important to us.

We also mean “financially sustainable” and “intellectually sustainable”.

Take the example of the Port. At the moment, it is haemorrhaging money and carrying forward a large accumulated deficit (£13.4 million and counting). Faced with such losses, the council(s) seem to think any old quack medicine will help.

Um, like the Bretts Aggregates proposal.

Who knows what Bretts would have paid in rent if the proposal had gone through? The council is certainly not volunteering such information. But the TDC website is currently offering a square metre of port for £1.15 a week. So, it’s perfectly possible the Brett’s proposal could have cost local council tax payers more than it brought in, by the time services and premises costs have been deducted.

So, at best, it’s the financial equivalent of trying to fix a severed femoral artery by sticking a small plaster on a minor cut to the patient’s finger.

And it’s not even a clean dressing, but a grab at any old dirty thing that happens to come to hand.

Similarly, at the same time as TDC is failing to attract funding for million HGV movements a year to the port, it’s congratulating itself for getting a Heritage Action Zone designation.

The two strategies are intellectually incoherent. Either you want an industrial port or you want a heritage and leisure port. You can’t have both. One excludes the other.

At the moment, proposals like Bretts are simply hand-to-mouth stop-gaps whose only purpose is to keep alive a dream of ferries and cruise ships which may or may not materialise.

Only, they don’t even do that. You can just imagine the pitch to Mr Olsen: “Your luxury passengers will love it, Fred. They just skip past the piles of ballast and then they can wave goodbye to the concrete batching plants from the sun deck.”

So,RAG believes there should be an immediate discussion about strategies for the port. And whichever one we choose has to be underpinned by a comprehensive and sustainableplan, with costed targets andcoherent goals, and which outlines a credible path to take the port into profit within a fixed period of time.

The Future:

To start this discussion, we want to hear your ideas for the port. So, RAG are launching a public competition. It will be open to anyone and everyone. All the proposals or plans will be posted on our website, where local people will then be able to vote for their favourites and to comment on the ideas.

There will even be fabulous prizes for the winners.

Full details to be announced at 7pm on Wednesday December 8th 2016 (amend: Thursday 8th) at the Oddfellows Hall.

More generally, RAG wants to promote a coherent debate about the future of Ramsgate – its economy, its environment, its heritage, its community and how people are going to earn a living here.

Of course, choices have to be made and conflicts will arise. But RAG believes such conflicts are more likely to be resolved by dialogue than monologue.

If this sounds like your kind of town and your kind of future, come to the public meeting at 7pm on Wednesday December 8th 2016 (amend: Thursday 8th) at the Oddfellows Hall (142 High Street, Ramsgate, CT11 9TY) and tell that to your council(s), councillors and MP.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

What you need to know about air pollution- a guest blog, plus Manston cancer and UN Road Safety Week

A guest blog by Joe Thomas below, and my thoughts on UN Road Safety Week later on:

Air pollution is now one of the most pressing environmental concerns. While nine out of the ten most polluted cities in the world lie in India and Pakistan that leaves no room for complacency amongst other countries; partly because they too have their own issues and also because we live in a connected ecosystem.

What Is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is a complex topic as so many factors are responsible for the poor quality of our air. However, simply put, air pollution is any chemical, physical or biological change which causes the atmosphere to become dirty and thus risks not only our own potential for survival but also that of other animals and plants.

Air pollution can also be further divided into two distinct categories; visible and invisible. Both can lead to an alteration of the delicate balance of our atmosphere and cause problems to health on a local scale and also damage to the ecosystem globally in terms of depletion of the ozone layer leading to climate change.

Air pollution can arise in two main ways. First, pollutants can be released directly into the atmosphere and are known as primary pollutants. Second, primary pollutants can combine to form secondary pollutants and this can be seen in the formation of issues such as smog.

What Causes Air Pollution?

Fossil Fuels: A main cause of air pollution is the one you might expect, namely the sulphur released from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum. We rely on petrol, diesel and jet fuel to transport not only us but our goods around the world as we live in an increasingly globalised economy. In 2015 alone nearly 3.6 billion passengers, almost half the world’s population, were transported by the world’s airlines.

Vehicle Emissions: As our reliance on cars, trucks, shipping freighters and aeroplanes increases so do the levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides released into the atmosphere. 13% of global CO2 emissions, a major factor in global warming, come from transport.

Agriculture: We may not always immediately think of agricultural activities being connected to air pollution but methane and ammonia are both by-products of farming and are highly hazardous to our environment. This is compounded by the use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers, a heady cocktail of chemicals, some parts of which make it into the air.

Manufacturing: Heavy industry leads to the release of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and a soup of other chemicals, all of which can lead to a decline in air quality. Oil refineries also release hydrocarbons which pollute the atmosphere.

Deforestation: Deforestation is caused by clearing land for agriculture, manufacturing and ever growing urban areas. This lowers air quality because the fewer trees there are the less carbon dioxide they can absorb.

Mining: The result of mining on the health of workers and nearby residents has been clearly demonstrated over the years and in developing countries the quest to extract as many tons of natural resources as possible is having a devastating impact on the health of those working in the mines.

Indoor Pollution: What we use in our own homes is also leading to air pollution. Household cleaning products, paints and varnishes release chemicals into the air which contribute to poor air quality and many of us add to this chemical mix by smoking.

What Damage Does Air Pollution Do?

Air pollution damages our environment, and it also leads to a variety of health issues and even death.

Circulatory and Respiratory Issues: The particulates in the atmosphere have been linked to heart problems, respiratory issues and even cancer. Current estimates are that polluted air causes 5.5 million premature deaths per year.

Climate Change: The rise of levels of carbon dioxide, alongside other greenhouses gases, has led to global warming which has caused increasingly unpredictable weather systems and the melting of the ice caps.

Thinning of the Ozone Layer: As the levels of hydro chlorofluorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere rise this leads to a depletion of the ozone layer which protects the planet. As it does we are exposed to higher levels of ultraviolet light which can cause skin and eye problems.

Acid Rain: As sulphur and nitrogen oxides are released into the atmosphere they can combine with water droplets and fall as acid rain. The results can be devastating to fish, wildlife, trees and even the crops we rely on for our food production.

What Can Be Done About Air Pollution?

Air pollution needs to be tackled at a global level through legislation and international agreements which aim to reduce pollution levels, such as the Paris Agreement which was agreed in December 2015.

However, there are also steps we as individuals can take to lower our own environmental impact, particularly when it comes to air pollution.

Reduce Your Use of Private Vehicles: Where possible travel to your destination on foot, by bicycle, on public transport or car pool with others in your area. By lowering vehicle emissions you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Conserve Energy In the Home: Reduce your use of electricity by purchasing eco-friendly goods, keeping your thermostat turned down and insulating your property. Switch to sources of renewable energy where possible.

Recycle: Try to buy less from new and recycle household items as well as everything you are throwing out, even food scraps can go on a compost heap.

Reduce Food Miles: By purchasing more local food from farmers’ markets and growing your own fresh produce you can drastically reduce the distance your food travels to reach your plate.

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality: As well as the steps above you can also improve the air quality in your own home by asking smokers to light up elsewhere; avoiding harsh cleaning agents; minimising your use of synthetic air fresheners; opening the windows regularly; and including plants in your interior design.

While it is sometimes easy to dismiss poor air quality as something which doesn’t concern us, we only have to take a look at the statistics to understand the negative impact pollution is having on us and on our world. It is also important to remember that it is vital for us all to act today if we don’t want to leave a legacy it will be impossible for future generations to reverse.

Joe is a writer from the UK, on a range of subjects, including health and nutrition, sustainability and environmental issues. He believes living a healthy lifestyle will ensure a good platform for a happier life and raising awareness on such issues is important for progression - education is key.


UN Road Safety Week this week.

Clearly electric vehicles etc as detailed above will improve air pollution: upto 50M deaths worldwide.

Obviously it's almost impossible to measure/estimate accurately - certainly in Kent we've seen the removal and coverup of air pollution monitors and data with Infratil and TDC/KCC at Manston airport.

Data that informs Kent's air pollution statistics for aviation but also road transport.

An unpleasant cancer effect by those funded to specifically protect us as best as possible.

A horrifying failure by Berry, Button and Sproates and TDC and KCC management and criminal corporate manslaughter with Fitzgerald, Clarke and Buchanan and Bogoievski - many now at Lydd and Wellington airports rather than jail as yet and the Wellington NZ surely Asia's most dangerous airport if there are similar safety breaches?

The KCC Toxic Three of Carter, King and Wild were quick to talk up their meetings in the Infratil boardroom and Virginia USA flights with KCC tax and then scamper away from the real cancer effect.

But on UN Road Safety Week, if it’s a surprising and little-known fact that the mosquito is the most dangerous animal to humanity with c.600k deaths from malaria and dengue fever last year. And millions more throughout the previous years. Then it’s as surprising if not more humdrum that the biggest killer after air pollution and cancer (8M) and tobacco (5M) is road accidents: 1.2M deaths last year, more than all the wars and murders and suicides put together.

And equalling HIV and TB deaths.

Hence UN Road Safety Week this week and Project EDWARD the European Day Without A Road Death last month – I must admit a slight bit of surprise that EDWARD wasn’t scheduled 6 months earlier and during the Summer, from our Sincerity work we know the counterfactual point that drinkdriving deaths are at the highest then rather than Xmas.

And surely in my politics role I will be pushing for more rapid improvements in road safety. It’s appalling that KCC Public Health have allowed Kent KSI, killed or seriously injured, to increase to 54 road deaths and hundreds maimed and injured. Not even producing a pin-map of deaths for evaluation.

As KCC Leader May 2017 in opposition to Carter and the Toxic three and Shonk's Farageland I will:

• rapidly rollout 20mph zones in a 5 mile radius from Kent’s town centres – not just around schools

• release the aforementioned pin-map

• highlight traffic danger zones and design out the problems with sleeping policemen, chicanes etc

• highlight key areas/issues for the Kent Air Ambulance- and systemic funding and training - and Police and RNLI helicopters eg motorways/hospitals as well as blood/organs transit and Left is Life campaign

• zero drink-driving: just don’t drink and drive – not a glass of wine or half a pint of lager. Nothing.

• and stiffer penalties for drugs driving, driving uninsured and mobile phone driving – the phone should be in a bag or the glovebox if not switched off

• increase clamped and crushed cars eg yellow lines, pavements, schools etc and verify potential for Lucky Iron Fish manufacturing and MGD Laos p.56 44% malnutrition

• produce a DFID plan for surplus ambulances, cars, vans etc

• rollout the innovative Kent Police HGV truck

• ban live animal exports over 3 hours and from ports as a road/transport health and safety issue

• ban Hendon-issued jazz-hands white gloves except for traffic police and redeploy the savings to cops issuing parking tickets especially the night prowl car

• a weekend late-bus and timetable from town centres

• seek school curriculum on road safety and Red Cross First Aid training

• rollout paramedic training for all police, fire etc

• develop Kent Police Polish, Hungarian and Romanian language capability and traffic police exchanges/learning

• compulsory helmets for bicycles

• end Dungeness nuclear fuel traffic

• end road-rail level crossings accident blackspots

• review town centre CCTV –much of it seems not to work at all despite investment and promises -and TDC council staff car park cameras/funds

• tighten up the enforcement of smoking with children in the car: only 1 fine by Cumbria Police so far – a danger to the children in the car and, as with mobile phones, to those outside it

• review Kent’s road safety advertising: much of it is weak if not foolish – promoting a “shared path” for cars and bikes and pedestrians? No wonder pedestrian deaths have increased, and Lincolnshire Police are far more advanced in highlighting particular issues such as weather conditions, braking etc etc

Until robotcars reduce human error by 90%, there is far more that could be done on the 1,700 UK road deaths from both UN Road Safety Week and Project Gilgamesh.

Time for Change

* Private Eye: new court case from Kent police investigation of Essex Police and Lee Balkwell cement mixer drowning(!) - a surprising choice out of 43 forces investigation given Kent and Essex share management. But certainly less worse than Surrey cops and another Deepcut investigation or South Yorks Police and not one but two Chiefs resigning over Hillsboro. When Kent's Chief Pughsley is back form his holidays I'll be asking him to provide a review of Kent/Surrey/Sussex mergers: 43 force is far too much bloat sat in the copshop rather than patrolling or kicking in drug den doors - especially with zero rape arrests in East Kent

* BHS scandal: Frank Field MP confirms with the Pensions Regulator that Philip Green's yacht could be seized with any other assets to fill the £500M pensions theft - no doubt Lord Grabiner will be concerned with running not just BHS but the fraudsters at One Essex Court barristers and tame BSB investigations and whitewash. Little more than the courts being used as lawyers' ATM's.

* A good UN report on MDG/SDG30 - although slightly peculiar in talking about the transition form MDG to SDG30 given these were approved in January and being discussed for 3 years before that and many form part of MDG. But good points on Laos (P.56) and horrifying 44% malnutrition and review of Philippines activity - far better than UK. I can't see why waiting until 2030 to achieve UNSDG30 is viable nor why many goals are set so low ie poverty funded by 2030 as $1.25 a day.

* The UK funds UN via DFID and FCO budgets so it's a key UK issue to achieved UNSDG30 as rapidly and effectively as possible.


Friday, 18 November 2016

The collapse of Kent governance. The end of Carter's Toxic Three and Shonk’s Farageland nears.

Kent is now adrift with an almost total collapse in governance.

Neither at County or District or town level are there any policies at all.

The horrifying news that 200 children escaped from KCC Social Services Jimmy Savile Care homes – with 53 still missing is only matched by East Kent’s rape statistics of 67 rapes last year and zero arrests.

And that with KCC bleating about a few hundred extra refugee children taken in from the Calais Jungle - or £20M of savings on a £2BN budget and excessively padded staff rosters and reserves.

And still no tax cuts even considered, even attempts to breach the 1.99% limit, nor full FOI.

Zero in Year Zero and Ground Zero of a failed Kent.

And this week Dover and Ashford cited as Kent’s worst Crap Towns again.

Carter and the Toxic Three have created a Retard Nation in Kent. And the Medway slumtowns record Britain’s worst primary schools again – and CCU in the bottom third of UK universities.

As KCC Leader I will ensure at least one top 200 global university in Kent, cancel Beckham Studies courses that could be done at night school or by reading a book, and ensure literacy levels are at the claimed 99% not the current 83%.

Carter and the Toxic Three have failed as has Mayor Shonk and UK’s only UKIP council. And the Gang of Four criminal Latchford’s panzers long ago ran out of fuel on the lawns of County Hall.

Questions overdue on the contamination of the public at Manston and Thor.

The collapse of Manston – both Airport and New Town – with a selloff of Discovery Park announced this week by Gloag’s team, and the collapse of the secret Brett mega-cement works of 1M HGV lorries, is good news but leaves nothing except tumbleweed blowing through County Hall.

And surely the Gloag Stagecoach bus contracts in Kent need review against the Infratil missing monitors and fines with Lydd, Cargolux and KLM illegal cancer victim flights.

We await only the resignations and jail sentences for faking the Manston and Thor mercury pollution data and Infratil extraditions form Wellington Airport, surely Asia’s most dangerous aviation hub.

Would you really vote for 5 more years of Carter or Latchford or Shonk? What would they do different or better?

I will drive a stake through the dark heart of these zombie councillors shuffling and mumbling through Farageland and stand for Direct Leader for KCC in Shonk’s constituency in May 2017.

I will seek electoral reform to introduce the vote for 16 and 17 year olds with school and Kent 6th form proto-elections next May, and end double-hatter and parachute candidates.

The vote for 16 year olds seems good enough for Scots and Austrian youth, but not Kent’s youth most affected by Brexit and Kent’s shoddy governance.

It's when not if.

Discovery Park and Pfizer in Kent is drifting despite PMQ questions and support, with still only 2,000 jobs down from 7,000 – when it was the USA’s largest investment in EU - and many of those jobs Kent taxbreak relocations of non-STEM jobs and worthless housebuilding plans not yet cancelled.

Kent’s healthcare system is in meltdown at Third World levels with every hospital and now the Ambulance service in Special Measures, no early warnings of pandemics eg this week’s German swine flu outbreak, and no doubt the Flu and TB vaccines will run out soon, and BBCTV reporting a South East GP surgery closing every 10 weeks, and 38% of GP’s over 65.

Perhaps an NHS collapse is for the best given over 15,000(!) UK citizens die from preventable medical errors each year. An annual total, each and every year, greater than all the UK military deaths since 1945.

The last dictators such as Saddam or Gadaffi or Mugabe or Obiang or Bashir have failed where the NHS succeeds in early deaths. And not even a 24-7 or weekend service yet. And certainly no DNA rollout.

And G7 Britain becomes nearer G30 Britain, with a further 20,000 UK deaths each year from the gap in the NHS being worse than the best foreign health services eg Sweden and Japan both twice as good in new-born child care than UK.

While no focus at all through the research labs or 127 universities in ending the 200 cancers or new increase in Dementia deaths.

That's 35,000 deaths from basic improvements in the NHS each year and a further 100,000 deaths from ending Tobacco.

Making the 2% NATO pledge the highest than almost any other NATO nation - or corruption such as Sangcom guns-for-bungs, RollsRoyce fighter jet fraud or even raw MOD incompetence and bloat such as the Voyager £10BN refuel jets that can’t refuel or Royal Navy Bahrain base - is a hollow promise of cradle to grave care or homes for heroes from Remembrance Sunday.

Voyager, just one failing MOD project, is more than enough wasted funds to open libraries 7 days a week, free leisure centres and school grounds/facilities on an evening and weekend.

Or the horrific raw idleness in failing to remove 1970’s asbestos from 350 Kent schools, the shocking corporate manslaughter scandal of KCC preferring to pay £800M in corporate manslaughter compensation and allow 20 teacher and pupil deaths each year. Even with the long summer holidays.

A few headteachers and clerks in jail should help solve that public health hazard within 2 years.

Even a Kent Space programme with Surrey is stalling that could launch thousands of smartphone satellites to survey all the planets and meteor crashes and remove space junk.

As a future DFID Minister and ASEAN Trade Envoy, and Creative Industries Minister, I will ensure better use of public funds than this Whitehall farce – whether the next MP election is next year or 2020.

Astonishing though that the top 10 of DFID aid recipients: Pakistan, Afghanistan etc as you would expect, but only accounts for £2BN in aid - where is the other £11BN being spent?

Certainly the cut to the Cambodian £20M DFID budget seems minor tinkering for one of the poorest nations in the world. And given the importance of ASEAN to UK. To put it in context, a water well in Cambodia costs $100 and a malaria net costs $3. That sill leaves a lot of change from £11BN.

And worth noting that £2BN is the annual KCC budget.

In Kent I will ringfence 0.3% of international funds with the UK 0.7% aid guarantee for a nominal 1% and begin a ramp-up of UN Police, G20 0.7% targets and a Sahel tripwire of UK bases in Sierra Leone and Kenya.

The Royal Engineers and Medical Corps are sat in barracks peeling coal and painting spuds white. MOD bases in UK are 3x the size of London and still there are 5,000 UK troops sat in the bierkellars of Bielefeld and Paderborn drinking their way through the German economy on UK tax and frittering away the COld War dividend for bloat.

While dozens of Kent military bomb squads sit around on the rates – even failing to dispose of SS Richard Montgomery – or prepare for the Mediterranean Partnership with the EU and clearance of the North African minefields of Algeria and Tunisia and Libya and Egypt.

And HMS Kent berthed in the Solent or on Ambre Solaire tours to Jersey while 15,000 refugees drown in the Med since 2010. So many navies and so many ships doing so little.

While a Kent Meiji economic policy on rail with Hitachi and Network Rail HS1 etc and ASEANRail is needed to develop UK-Japan partnerships for international rail projects.

And the Liberation Route tourism project from Kent radar and codebreaking and Spitfires and Hurricanes, and Channel Dash and Fortitude to Gdansk and Arnhem.

Many of Kent’s Brexit pensioners won’t last the Winter with over 60 excess deaths from cold last year – more than the increased 54 road deaths with only silence on next week’s UN Road Safety Week - and I will introduce a zero nights rough sleeping or homeless policy as in London.

Every Winter dead pensioner or rough sleeper will be named and displayed on the KCC website home page.

The idiotic KCC investments in Tobacco and Fossil Fuels for civil service pensions will be sold off, before those funds go bust reducing public sector pensions, as well as further sickening Kent’s Climate Change population.

I will introduce a network of electric car charging points in Kent given Germany and Sweden have announced the end of manufacturing petrol cars before 2030 - and 2016 is already the hottest year ever again.

I will introduce Tobacco store permits, move to over-25’s purchases, and ask supermarkets to stop tobacco and vaping sales or at least divest tobacco profits to charity.

And call for HFSS (High Fat Salt and Sugar) products to be displayed on separate supermarket shelves/labelling, and sugar reductions within 6 months, as Tesco have already done with their own brand drinks.

I will cancel any HFSS contracts in Kent leisure centres – including the rebuilt Ramsgate swimming pool from the £8M Kent Fire Brigade station garage and gerbil gasmask idiocy (yes you read that right gasmask for gerbils and an £8M garage) - and gyms and schools and hospitals. Kent’s youth may have 20% unemployment levels - but they shouldn’t have to suffer the years of delays in public health reforms as with Big Tobacco disaster.

Nor should working on Carter’s building site of ticky-tacky houses on flood-plains be the only youth employment option in Kent: I will cancel Folkestone New Town #2 and Operation Stack mega-lorry park and Boris Island.

Even Kent bricklayer Winston Churchill would snap his trowel in disgust at such waste.

I will melt down the Boris watercannon stored in Kent for shovels and divert construction efforts to empty/derelict properties, solar panels, burying pylons and fast-forward the Paramount, Dreamland, EKFOS, KORA, Dreamland, Ebbsfleet, Lower Thames crossing and Thames Gateway slum regeneration projects.

I will reverse the feeble £5.9M spent by KCC on arts and sports, compared to billions on cement projects – and missed opportunity of the 2012 Olympics on Kent’s doorstep with the Canterbury Tour, Kent Football Leagues, and Ebbsfleet waterfront and East Kent Beach games, swimming pools and icerink.

And increase Kent suppliers from 54% on KCC projects to 90%: how absurd to take Kent tax and then spend it out of the county so reducing the tax-take...

And I will fast-forward the Bratislava Summit EU town centre free 5G wifi before 2020, and a town centre plasma screen showing the UNSDG30 goals and Kent’s contribution to Rotary polio and Lions fridge stickers projects.

And I will send Kent’s twin towns to Specsavers – not just to refocus on the missed opportunities of Virginia and Kaine or Hungary or Da Nang, but towns from Joburg to Juba and from Montreal to Moose Jaw and San Diego to San Salvador and Buriram to Battambang - to focus on cataracts and cleft palates surgery.

And how absurd with East Kent home to the largest Polish and Romanian communities outside Warsaw or Bucharest, that there is no East European strategy beyond Farageland hate and border fences - nor any preparation for the accession of Russia and Turkey to the EU.

And I will begin the Free Economy of utilities with free solar electricity and water rations and £1 transport fares and Yingluck free computers and smartphones for every schoolchild and pensioner.

And launch Project Johnny Appleseed to reseed the 90% of Kent orchards – and fisheries - lost since 1945, as Kent struggles to match Kenya’s world record for 5M trees planted in one hour.

The Libor frauds or BHS scandals of Green and One Essex Court cabal of fraud with Grabiner and Glick and Hollingworth, or KCC Airport frauds seem to mean nothing to most of the public sector except a chance for whitewash and tame reviews and the public to keep funding them from a bottomless bucket of tax.

Is Grabiner really still sitting as a High Court judge on QC - on tax and pensions cases? A real Enemy of the People.

I will also, as detailed by BBC South East, introduce the Aquanaut sea-sensors for both trafficking and Climate Change tsunamis as in 1953 and 1978, and the Yalding monkey-cheeks flood plans as Thailand environment plans, plus investment in Kent Orchids and the Battle of Flowers tourism programme.

And begin the cleanup of the Stour and Medway – the UK’s most polluted rivers - and Thor mercury contamination scandal on a par with Cato Ridge or Klity Creek.
So many clerks and councillors and yet so little done except ceremonial twaddle.

As Leader I will sack the unelected Lord Lieutenants prancing around in Ruritanian uniforms of their own making as a cavalier waste of drinking taxpayers tea and biscuits, and buy back Gale’s knighthood for failure with a Royal Mint commemorative £6 note worth one euro.

While both Kent Police and Kent regiments will need to develop an Argos catalogue of pretty uniforms and kit, and make their oath to parliament and the public not the unelected Royals to bring Kent kicking and screaming into the nineteenth century.

While a P45 purge of the excessive £100k-£300k Kent public sector salaries is required given failed council services such as Tim Howes TDC lawyer covering up the GIAA port corruption and Dreamland legal mess.

Indeed with the black hole of Brexit mess and drift, in Kent we should consider a North Sea Union and associated citizenship of the EU as Brexit becomes BackIN.

Indeed even free Irish or Scottish EU passports should be viable for any Kent citizen with Celtic and Benelux trade activity whether Panasonic, Alpro, Heineken, Lucky Iron fish or Lifebuoy.

Remember, Carter and the Toxic Thee and Gang of Four and Shonk have failed Kent – from now until the May 2017 election there is nothing.


Ground Zero.

Year Zero.

And a lonely Xmas with not even Project LearmonthLearjet for Kent citizen Joshua French still abandoned abroad to rot on Death Row Congo.

Time for Change


#excellent Hippo water roller and XO laptop and Lifestraw campaigns

#Pav asbestos silence from Wetherspoons and Sanderson and TDC – bizarre that only Clerk Bansted approved the whole site as Britain’s biggest boozer - without any councillor approval or oversight

#100 Se RD public concerns over Cllr Fairbrass role given Planning Director resigned and breaches of all the TDC local plan with overbuild

#Kent Police pedestrian and parking tickets better than before but bumbling along and not one but 6 weeks in raising the rough sleepers of the seafront – when the Chief is back from holidays I’ll be writing to him for a review

# public complaints over noisy radios and ASBO’s - bizarre that police are doing the council job for them and CCTV that doesn't work

# bizarre PCC policy of extending gun licences – as KP gun amnesty yields 100 guns plus ammunition: knife amnesty needed too

#concerning that 2 Myanmar newspaper editors jailed – Aung San regime drifting with Rakhine and Karen concerns and Shan heroin

#UK-Laos designed postage stamp still unknown and Laos Chevening scholarships

# Japan tourism peaks at 20M highest ever with preparations for 2020 Olympics - leading the way

#Spanish Armada plus Magellan Anniversary – Kent-Spain and Latin American universities

# No news on the Brett Phase 1 that slipped through at TDC and RTC

# peculiar Clerk Styles at RTC arrangement of secret payments to volunteers to apply for grants – and only 2 grants applied for in a year. The £50k grant hasn’t been spent after 6 months and the £1.7M grant is still competing against every other UK council – and would only cover the 5 year costs for RTC anyway. We're funding them to tell us there's no money to do anything. For a £400k budget, £40k salaries and 30% reserves it seems ludicrous to plop out a £2k own Xmas tree and d├ęcor. Hopefully it’s better than last year’s festive roadworks – but it’s not exactly Blackpool Winter Illuminations yet for East Kent's tourism towns is it?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Gazette letter: dig up Manston runway and jail Infratil

Dear Editor

It’s good to see the Gazette letters page expanded – can we have more of Frederic Stansfield with the previous weeks view that Manston requires large cannon pointing across the Channel presumably at Paris or Berlin or Moscow. It’s certainly no more daft than LibDem Russ Timpson’s space-cadet view of Manston as the Cape Canaveral of Kent.

But surely not one but four lengthy letters from Save Manston SMA and SUMA and Why Not Manston, and with two letters from Riveroak’s PR agency and Riveroak’s lawyer, is a bit much even for the pro-Manstoners?

I’d hope you’d print this somewhat lengthy letter to stimulate debate on a non-airport future for Manston. For my view (since at least 2004) is that the runway should be dug up to protect the East Kent drinking water aquifer under the runway.

And Infratil’s directors should be extradited from their last airport in Wellington, New Zealand (Asia’s most dangerous airport?) to face corporate manslaughter charges from removing the pollution monitors and faking the cancer data, and fines for years – horrifyingly with TDC/KCC’s active assistance even now.
While Messrs. Gale, Mackinlay and Wells are surely overdue in providing their resignations given that they all made reopening Manston their main if not only policy in the 2015 election.

Rather it seems they deliberately misled SMA etc by promising to reopen the airport but realising the aquifer pollution would prevent that. Now, in less than 18 months of re-election (if not sooner with Leader Wells) they have achieved nothing at Manston and indeed done nothing.

An election wasted. They must go. If not also repaying their salaries and pensions. And Gale’s knighthood looks even flimsier than Philip Green’s.

It’s surprising too that Peter Evans the TDC Planning Chair has resigned over Manston yet he lives in Rainham some 50 miles away. How many other TDC councillors and civil servants are making decisions for Thanet while not living there? At least LocalCraig is open about bussing in supporters from Tory head office, as detailed by Channel Four, despite it being illegal.

And Why Not Manston has the failed PCC candidate Henry Bolton popping up with his views from Folkestone. And LocalCraig Mackinlay seems ever more confused as to whether he lives in Chatham or Ramsgate. It’s Chatham – a Medway slumtown that hardly bodes well for Ramsgate’s regeneration especially given the new Brett mega-cement works, and his Live Animal Exports Bill filibustered by his Parliamentary colleagues so as to urge unpaid interns in Parliament(!).

As with Wells and Gale, Craig has a political career now lying in rubble.

Ruth Bailey erstwhile Manston MP bizarrely mentions the aquifer pollution in her Gazette letter as somehow a problem for the SHP New Town but not a problem for a cargo airport. No doubt her friends and family and neighbours will be concerned at her cavalier approach to contaminating them.

Roger Gale MP similarly wrote on low-level radiation at Manston that precludes SHP but not an airport. Both of these bizarre characters ignoring the basic fact that Manston as an airport caused such pollution in the first place.

While Leader Wells has similar form in mega-projects with his £1M Broadstairs Scout hut cancelled around the same time as he jumped ship to UKIP from the Tories and glosses over his role on the Manston Committee in charge of the Environment.

While the corruption of Pleasurama and Dreamland and GIAA £500k Port fraud on his watch are shrouded in secrecy – as is his role in Brett- to prevent awkward questions from the public on how our tax has been spent.

The silence around the Thor mercury contamination, suggests an even larger toxic legacy from Wells and Gale and Mackinlay. Perhaps they should be on trial with Infratil and the KCC Toxic Three of Paul Carter, Alex King and Geoff Wild too?

In Flint Michigan, the contamination of the water has resulted in jail sentences for councillors and civil servants. Kent Police and the CPS have certainly been far less active than Flint Police so far.

I would say that Manston’s future is neither an airport nor SHP New Town – nearby Discovery Park is still only 2,000 jobs, down from 7,000 when it was Pfizer. And the Gloag/SHP/Stagecoach Manston pollution fines are as overdue as Infratil’s despite TDC’s best efforts at whitewash. Scotland’s richest woman paid only $1 for the Manston/SHP site from her Infratil friends – and not one cent in pollution fines yet.

Both TDC and KCC seem infected with the idea that every piece of land needs to be sold for housing or mega-cement projects such as the Road to Nowhere or Parkway railway.

Certainly Manston and the aquifer need to be protected as parkland and the sooner bulldozers move in to dig up the runway the better – but what do Thanet’s public think as they are the ones drinking and bathing in the water from it?

Tim Garbutt, Ramsgate


* good that the Brett Port mess has been cancelled by KCC but a full inquiry is needed as to how Leader Wells and TDC councilors developed this since July on the quiet and on the rates...even a large crane and mini cement works slipping through
* More on Trump later but what relevance a far right idiot to East Kent is I do not know