Monday, 25 January 2016

Garbutt: Meiji Reform and Kent police procurement and Benelux strategy needed

Clearly 43 police forces in UK is excessive, with Parliament already detailing the innumerable permutations of trousers and turnups and pockets and gloves and handkerchiefs. Even boots (or should it be shoes?) varying in price from £25 to £125.

If the Police can’t even find a common and consistent uniform what chance finding criminals?

Without exacerbating police bunions, why would the public want the police buying £125 shoes on the rates instead of £25 shoes for driving around and sitting about and occasionally walking about?

A Fashion Police and Gucci Cops on the run with your money.

Whatever happened to a standard uniform and shirt and ties and shoes and luminous overjacket?

We even have the Highways Agency of CCTV clerks designing their own little uniform of epaulettes and shoulder badges on the rates.

While in Kent with Meiji root and branch reforms we should consider police car procurement in detail.
Compared to most police forces Kent does rather well with the majority of vehicles and policies detailed on the website. And the workhorse of police cars being the Skoda Fabia and Octavia.

And also as part of the VW Group a few VW Crafter vans and Audi A6 performance cars.
So far so good.

Nothing wrong with consistency of purchasing through one auto group such as VW (especially as it’s Europe’s largest) and savings in spares, training, reliability etc etc.

And – the outrageous diesel emissions scandal aside – VW are one of the best auto groups in the world.
And the harsh reality is that there isn’t a British car manufacturer as yet that can cover all the range of vehicles required and require a Tax British–Buy British approach.

Would we really have Kent Police driving around in a Mini or a Lotus or Rolls Royce just because they’re British?
Rather though there are possibilities for refining procurement: with a focus on VW why have Ford Focus vehicles drifted into Kent Police? Or a Mercedes Sprinter? Or a Vito (I had to doublecheck it wasn’t a misspelling of Vimto but it is another permutation of Mercedes-Benz).

VW as one German auto group is fine - but Mercedes as well?

While the BMW X5 and Volvo V70 and Ford Connect suggest a more free and easy approach to the Kent Police tax-chequebook than is strictly necessary.

And there’s the Great British Landrover in the Kent Police mix – at last supporting the British car industry with British tax – so why then also have a Ford Ranger? Or a Mitsubishi Shogun? The last two are also rather ho-hum 4x4 vehicles. Nothing wrong with them as such but why not have more Landrovers?

And with motorbikes here seems a confusion of Yamaha and BMW – surely Meiji reform would have say a consolidation into Yamaha motorbikes and Landrover and Nissan Leaf 4x4 vehicles – the latter Japanese but manufactured in Sunderland.

Sunderland Nissan is after all the largest UK car factory which is already out-producing the total of the Italian auto industry each year. More cars from one UK factory than all of Italy is a Great British success story with Great British Japan support.

Shouldn’t Kent Police especially with Meiji reform be supporting that?
And none of the above are undercover vehicles which should be a range of drug dealer-confiscated/secondhand vehicles.

And none of the above are green/electric vehicles - as yet. How silly in the Age of Climate Change.
The latter is key in driving implementation of street electric charge points (4 UK towns announced today for investment in electric charging points)- and a hefty and ongoing Kent Police order in green vehicles (along with the other 42 police forces and council and coastguard vehicles) would stimulate innovation and take-up of electric vehicles.

For a Greater Kent and Greater Britain, as KCC Leader I will ensure Kent Police focus in on VW Group, Landrover and Nissan vehicles and Yamaha motorbikes: value and efficiencies writ large now and for the future.

And there’s another reason I will be focused on VW. The Great British support by REME and Major Ivan Hirst in 1945 that literally rebuilt VW from the ashes, with an order for 20,000 UK military vehicles, and reinstigated the VW Beetle from a Nazi runaround into the world’s most popular car.

VW is almost as British as they come. We need to remind them of that in Golfsburg. We need Kent Police to drive this kind of procurement.

Such clarity of investment would leverage say consistency and volume in auto parts and recycling – why shouldn’t UK foreign policy include VW for say a recycling plant in Chile?

Warm climate, and circular economy jobs would provide a stimulus to both European carmakers in the huge South American and USA markets (and as large Great British Mexico market where the VW was still being produced until a decade ago). And even the Alaskan landbridge/tunnel from Vancouver to Shanghai (linking to the huge Chinese market and avoiding the dangers/delays of the Pacific searoute) via the Bering Strait and on to Duisberg via hispeed rail?

Kent certainly should be stepping forward on hispeed rail with its Hitachi and HS1 and Chunnel work. But it hasn’t yet.

And it’s worth noting in ASEAN the hispeed rail potential with Myanmar (Burma in old money), Thailand and Vietnam and Indonesia each the size of France and many of those railways built by Brits and Canucks. And they ‘re still working 100 years on.

Unlikely to be said about China rail.

An Anglo-German pact with say VW and Landrover would help drive the volume of European autos in Chile and Latin America as well as provide a backdrop for the smaller but quality–led UK autos such as Rolls and Bentley and Aston Martin.

If anything, the disastrous British Leyland years showcased the failure of unions in the auto factories, and Britain taking its eye off the ball for volume engineering rather than quality. Germany’s success is based on focusing relentlessly on engineering quality and invariably in small family firms as part of a highly-organised supply chain.

And Kaizen-Meiji Japan an even greater example of that for the likes of Nissan or Honda in UK. That’s why Japan and Germany are running the British car industry now.

The UK auto industry is having one of its best years ever since peak production in the 1970’s, but as with so much of UK industry it should focus down into high-quality and specialist niches whether that be 4x4 like Landrover or car designs like Aston or high-end auto parts like Rolls.

There simply is no need for UKplc to try and take on Ford and GM by producing cars in every range – indeed the Americans are not doing too well at that either having repeatedly gone bust.

And there are enough vintage UK marques such as Rover or Riley or even MG capable of being reinstated with mainstream manufacturers.

While East Kent as a region is desperately in need of a Benelux strategy beyond cars.

How can the home of Europe’s largest port in Dover, the Channel tunnel and Eurostar, as well as Europe’s only multinational Euro-region, and at the centre of the Golden Triangle of London-Paris-Amsterdam, perhaps the wealthiest nexus of towns outside of Japan or California, and certainly Europe’s largest cities, have such feeble European trade and cultural links and so strong heroin links?

Sure there are hordes of French schoolkids on exchange trips in Canterbury in the Summer but that’s about it.
A KCC Brussels office semi-closed by UKIP and a small Summer school near Calais is about it in temrs of tax investment.

Even Kent’s 4 universities – Kent University billed as the UK’s European university are weaker than they should be. CCU in particular is bringing up the rear of the UK’s 114 universities and both should be focused on a top 200 global university aim.

As KCC Leader I will implement a clear and robust Meiji trade policy with Benelux.

With Holland I will seek trade partnerships with the Heineken1688 Project – a corner of the Garden of England forever Orange - and Philips and Liberation Route Europe.


Heineken is a Great British Dutch beer sponsoring the James Bond movies. A bit of a cheek to some extent as Bond never drank Heineken in the novels or previous films, only gallons of martinis and cognac. But you have to admire Heineken for aiming to be the global beer brand.

Wherever you go in the world you can – or will - have various local and national beers - and then Heineken.
Quite sparkling distribution and logistics. And the Bond tie-in will only expedite that.
The good folks at Heineken aren’t daft.

Kent needs that kind of dynamic trade so I will be urging Shepherd Neame and every Kent pub and restaurant and supermarket to invest in offering Heineken as a part of their drinks portfolio. And in return creating jobs and activity with Heineken in Kent. Even supporting pull-through in the rest of the supply chain for Kent’s SME’s whether the butcher the baker or pub candlestick maker. Could it be Great British Dutch Amstel or Grolsch instead? Sure. But I think Heineken is the one worth investing Kent’s efforts into.

And Heineken1688? The Glorious Revolution of Dutch rule of England in 1688 would provide countless cultural umbrella opportunities too. Whether it be a Van Gogh Museum and arts exchange with Rijksmuseum or artwork exchanges with Turner Gallery (does Kent really have 90% of its public art sat in boxes in warehouses? How foolish. It needs to be on display). Especially Kent’s native son Vincent and his letters home.

Philips? One of the world’s great electronics companies based in Amsterdam and Guildford. And should be based in East Kent too at Discovery Park to service the UK and London, Europe’s largest city etc. Indeed why isn’t all of Pfizer UK based there given the huge UK investment in Pfizer over the years.

Liberation Route Europe? A trick missed by Visit Kent and Visit Britain so far. An EU tourism initiative to promote the liberation of Europe from D-Day onwards. Hence Arnhem and Auschwitz so far in its first few years. But it really should be a thousand times larger with UK involvement: Kent’s role in D-Dday deception with Operation Fortitude and General Patton in Kent and even before that the UK-Canadian Dieppe raid training for D-Day and Dunkirk.

Part of the Kent-Dutch mix would also be the likes of Douwe Egberts coffee and Unilever shampoo etc.
Would it be just factories? Not necessarily there are call centres – certainly Unilever is one of the world’s leads on that – and customer service centres.

Benelux and Belgium.

While East Kent should also be focused on Great British Belgian companies like Alpro Soyamilk and Panasonic batteries for example.

I’ll be writing to the very capable Mark Gilmartin of Kent Police procurement to instigate a review of Kent Police vehicles – he may well know more than I do of say the benefits of Nissan vs Honda or Toyota etc etc – but certainly the political direction of Meiji procurement should lend power to his elbow in purchasing and tweaking the Kent Police offering for the benefit of the public.

And a wider economic offering for Kent.

Kent Police are lucky that crime is low with most of the criminals in the councils or courts so need to focus their efforts on reform and review of the plethora of brass bands and motorcycle display teams and so on. With Britain launching say a new defence and trade strategy with Japan where is the focus of the raft of public sector organisations bending around that target?

While this week’s statement by the Chief Health Officer of the NHS is that UK is completely unprepared for pandemics such as Ebola or even Flu, is as accurate as it is terrifying.

Britain one of the top 5 economies in the world (and an NHS one of the largest organisations in the world up there with Walmart and the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army) has proved incapable of holding enough vaccine stocks for the public and allowing the downgrading of the vaccine industries.

How incompetent.

And if the police are the public and the public are the police then we should all benefit from securing the best possible value form the £300MKent Police budget. And multiply that buy a minimum of 43 police and you can sense the scale of trade activity that is missing.

And the Kent-Essex Partnership seems merely to trim a few murder detective jobs downwards rather than any deep structural reform. I cannot see the point of 3 management teams for Kent. Surrey and Sussex Police – certainly after the disastrous farce of Deepcut Barracks – and at its simplest do we really need 3 central finance and IT teams on the rates? 3 teams buying boots and trousers?

And of even more concern given the KCC Empire of Lawyers, do we need yet more duplication through the other public sector services penalising the public that funds them.

The 43 UK forces could easily be trimmed down to c.15 forces without concerns of Big Brother Stasi-ism or extravagant sinecures examples like Rutland Police at the moment.

We’ve seen the millions of pounds of savings possible with body cameras, a fairly technical piece of kit. Imagine the savings of £25 not £125 shoes for Britain’s 100,000 coppers. And the cost reductions for bulk purchasing on £25 boots.

Flipflops could end up being more expensive. Never mind the thousands of pairs of police handcuffs that go missing after the police Xmas party each year.

While with c.100Mkent fire engines I wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least 50 or so other Kent Fire vehicles of transit vans and what-not, again all ripe for Meiji procurement tweaks. No doubt the idlers of the Coastguard will already have dozens of cars sat around rusting from lack of use and me-too-ism.

The Barnes AnneVan or FarceOne will of course be for the chop even before the Police PCC election this May and the stocks of cupasoups redistributed to the Salvation Army.

It seems incredible that the £2BN invested in KCC yields (and the billions more in Kent NHS and Education) almost nothing in return for Kent businesses and workers except for the cement industries and Serco.

A piece of work summarising the Kent GDP – both private and public is long overdue. The reality is your tax money is simply frittered away on Glory Projects- and primarily for the construction industry at that. We’re funding Costain and Murphy and Serco and G4S and almost nothing else.

Benelux and Luxembourg.

We should consider Cactus supermarkets for diversity in UK retail as well as BNP Paribas.

Again, sustainable consumption – and market forces – mean that not every product can or should be stocked but economic value being similar, shouldn’t we be supporting our Benelux friends to work with East Kent?

Certainly Holland in Asia is something to emulate with sparkling trade activity with the likes of Dutch Mill etc forging new brands in Asia, and even a whole Dutch Village I saw in Vietnam showcasing Dutch products and culture. And a Dutch Cultural Centre in Thailand to showcase Dutch films and art etc.

Worth remembering to the UK Dutch Embassy funded events in Ramsgate last year from Laura Sandys role.
The Dutch make much of Britain’s trade activity look pedestrian – already 34 years behind schedule for the 2020 £1TN target. Hence 12 new Trade Envoys to break open markets for Britain. And the need for follow-up and support in places like Kent.

I haven’t detailed a Benelux strategy for Northern France as yet (a BeNeFlux strategy if you will) and it certainly might include possibilities for say Evian etc, but initially the Opal Coast Tourism strategy with Kent that’s fallen into rust.

And the Boulogne passenger ferry for Ramsgate Port – perhaps linked with Ostend. Perhaps a sensible conversation with Dover Port and Folkestone will help balance out routes rather than Kent ports going through a paroxysm of competition and copying and collapse every few years.

And how embarrassing of Kent with the largest Romanian student population outside of London - if not in Europe - not to have Romanian industry and cultural investment in Kent? The Little Hitlers and Little Englanders of UKIP may be doing far more damage than they realise with an EU-Out and Foreigners-Out stance.

Why shouldn’t every Kent supermarket and petrol station and corner shop stock Spa water. I’m not suggesting for one moment that Spa should be the only bottled water held or stocked – and certainly British table water such as Buxton is needed. But should we have so many different table waters from Evian to Volvic to who-know-where yet we aren’t supporting Kent and our Belgian and Dutch and Luxembourg and French friends?
That would be daft.
And a Benelux strategy is just the beginning of East Kent.

The reforms called for by sensible parliamentary voices such as Byrne or Pickles are needed – the former on Germany and the latter on Israel. While the collapse of the UK steel industry and early days of the graphene industry is cause for concern.

Certainly backtracking on the supposed problems of provision of State aid shows somebody wasn’t watching what was happening with a strategic UK industry – and a feeble blamegame with the EU over State aid is perfectly viable: as with VW that has German Government Ministers on their Board of Directors!

We certainly shouldn’t overlook Germany and VW as detailed above for Kent Police vehicles. Nor Siemens already based in Kent or Japan’s Fujifilm and Hitachi based in Kent. Nor Denmark’s Vatenfall or BestNet (the latter an opportunity given Chancellor Osborne announced today extra UK investment with the Gates Foundation in malaria eradication) but they should be the tip of a longer spear to drive East Kent trade and cultural activity.
And after all at the moment it’s zero.

Your billions in Kent tax are completely wasted and there is no economic plan whatsoever.

Time for Change

Tim’s Titbits: misc points

• Good to see East Kent’s MP’s united against not just the Shard Aerial but the Nemo Link pylons that could be buried – and rightly questioning the value of connecting to the Belgian windfarm. And why it needs to run through the UNESCO site of Pegwell Bay which seems unbelievably idiotic – yet approved by TDC Planning Dept. No wonder national Grid have skipped past any consultation and kicked it off the to the Planning Inspectorate quango in Bristol – increasingly I think we need a review of PI and its involvement in planning as it seems far too powerful, random and remote

• I contacted National Grid several times and could get no straight answer beyond reams of bumf reports that couldn’t explain why the UK needed the extra electricity (if any). It seems a vanity project. More importantly with the Thanet windfarm already one of the world’s largest for enough power for 600k households (about all of Kent and London?) where is the free electricity? The initial investment cost has been funded by you and your tax. While the ongoing running costs would be minimal. There is no digging up of coal or transporting of oil. So why isn’t that reflected in electricity bills? Why shouldn’t it be free renewable electricity to the public?

• Silence from RTC on the Slipways nonsense and farce of 100 SE Rd garden grabbing where they’ve approved 11 flats as per the TDC local Plan – and then TDC changed it to 13 flats with no reason beyond presumably incompetence or bungs.

• Silence form the dodgy barristers and lawyers of One Essex Court run by Lord Grabiner – perhaps most surprising tis the sealed lips of the ClothCap QC: Keir “Hardie” Starmer tasked with regulating the BSB and Judges etc - or not

• Similar Planning incompetence with the Dreamland farce now emerging with the Lottery Fund complaining they couldn’t understand how Sands Hotel came to own the site after it was CPO’d by TDC. Indeed the Lottery Fund even as late as April and c.2 months before the opening in 2015 thought they were £6M funding the Dreamland Charity(!). I can’t understand it either. Do you? And concerning the Brave New World of Wells and UKIP seems to want to hush up Dreamland suing TDC for delays and the costs some sort of gagging order for public funds. And there seems a sudden scurry around raising council tax as of last week…

• While TDC planning again, with taking 8 weeks(!) and 3 staff to issue a letter over complaints of the noise from Tonis newsagent – clearly we need a clearout at Abigail Raymond’s Planning Dept it seems less than fit for purpose and councillors either idle or baffled with BS

• Secrecy again with TDC and their bizarre submission to the Jack Straw TDC Review (reassuringly rejected) moaning that it costs £60k (c.2 staff?) to admin FOI. A pittance in a TDC £16M budget and 750 staff. But who wrote that submission and which councillor approved it? Or do we have an institution fired up with public funds and running along under its own steam?

• No news as yet on the 16 pages of FOI bumf rewriting Parliament’s laws to suit TDC(!) – hardly the best use of resources as East Kent collapses further into ill-health and poverty by every government statistic. The councils seem to be the problem…

• An interesting World Holocaust Day exhibition in Ramsgate library for 27th January: featuring not just the Nazis but genocide in Cambodia, Bosnia and Darfur-Sudan

• Silence from FOIFinchy and Kent Fire rejecting EUR requests on staffing and salaries etc- and the Ramsgate million quid garage(!) instead of a 2nd swimming pool

• Silence on the Manston missing monitors from Sproates, Berry and Button and state of the aquifer and Thor contamination - worth remembering the Manston pollution was eventually independently recorded at over 4x EU safe levels. And Thor was banned for pollution but continued and the pollution has spread beyond the factory. This with the tonnes(!) of cleanup at the old Sericol site has bene met only by silence by our councillors and civil servants.

• A weblink for pollution at Flint:

• Thank goodness we have Southern Water and TDC to ensure such scandals don’t happen here eh?
• Let’s hope the new £300k NHS CEO is active or KCC Public Health on such matters

• New car transporter at Ramsgate Port: seems a bit ho0hum. One sailing a month and cars unloaded in less than a morning? And most of the 20 jobs taken by existing council staff?(!). Seems to add nothing to the economy.
• Newington election: equally ho-hum. Good to see a range of candidates. And perhaps the only point of note is the rejection of UKIP and reversion to a traditional Labour seat, fewer double-hatters for TDC and RTC seats – we need a pledge form future candidates not to stand for multiple seats, and ….a quite horrifying 21% turnout(!). One of the worst electoral turnouts ever: there was gnashing of teeth over the first Police PCC elections of only 15%, so 21% for a normal election is appalling. Essentially making the candidates and their policies, if any, worthless.

• Kent Police election May 2016: silence from all concerned – although I did smile at Henry “Borders” Bolton with Macedonia now reversing on his advice and closing their borders and Afghanistan requiring Kent’s Ghurkas to be deployed to help bolster that regime. I think we can do without his advice – especially as the French are now taking responsibility for managing the shambolic blight of the Calais Jungle.

• A strange point: the UK has approved the new Hinkley nuclear reactor – one of only 2 new reactors in Europe: one in Finland delayed for over a decade and likely to now be scrapped. And one on the Belgian-Dutch border reporting various fissures and cracks in the reactor requiring Hinkley to be overhauled. What a mess – and as Germany and Italy are already phasing out all their reactors as a radiation hazard. The sooner Dungeness is closed – and the Channel reactors in Normandy and Belgium the better.

• A fascinating article on innovative Koppert Cress in Netherlands in yesterday’s Independent on Sunday – astonishing flavours and proteins in a Thanet Earth-style facility and also evaluated by UN Africa for famine relief. Fascinating as part of the overall food stocks initiatives with preserving the Seed Bank and developing insect and soya protein for the future. Cambodia in particular – still suffering from malnutrition which is absurd in the 21st century - has received various UN development funds for insect farms/warehouses.

• Silence too on the UN Secretary-General 2016 election new process and openness. While it seems Britain’s top civil servant at UN is now supporting a woman - any woman- for the top job. Who decided on that rather than the best person? Quotas for the very highest jobs are irrelevant- and exactly what the new process is meant to avoid with notional quotas and backroom deals of East Europeans this year etc. Utter nonsense that will only fail to delay delivery of the 2030 SDG Goals and open elections for the delayed UN Parliament. If Britain’s failing to provide vaccines for its own citizens than how can the likes of Malaria or TB or AIDS in India and Africa be defeated?

• Certainly ensuring the G20 nations (c.905 of the world economy) achieved the 0.7% UK aid target would help eradicate poverty and disease that much faster than 2030.

• Interesting that Finland and Iceland and New Zealand all have targets for stopping smoking by 2025-2040. I think UK has a target by 2020? Plain packs are due this year I think- probably the last main initiative before moving to prescriptions from the chemist for Marlboro for over-25’s etc. Smoking now down to only 8% of UK 15 years olds. While I cannot understand why prison suppliers haven’t say reduced their cigarettes to one brand only? Why waste tax funds supplying multiple cigarette brands?

• EKFOS: East Kent Film Office and Studio: inaction

• Carpet Warehouse: ideal for offices etc and interesting that TDC seem to have taken back control of the site

• Arlington House: the last main policy still overdue from my 1st manifesto

• Pleasurama: silly delays – simply cancel and start again. A mess.

• Pavilion: silence on Wetherspoon and the mega-boozer

• Harbour St Fund: silence and looking a mess of boarded up shops

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Newington election and Kent corruption and Asia/Benelux strategy

The Newington election to replace Vince Munday takes place tomorrow and I’ve written before on my recommendations: Driver for District and Green or GRIT candidates for Town.

At the very least rejecting UKIP after the debacle of Manston indeed all their election promises and rejecting doublehatters.

People ask me if I would stand and I say of course not: TDC is corrupt and even this election fails to meet the requirements of a UK election: 6 days for candidates to register not the required 19 days. Why encourage such incompetence or fraud?

It’s the FIFA of UK councils in need of massive reform and certainly after almost a year CEO Madeleine Homer is failing despite lavish Prime Minster salaries and benefits for the lowest level of UK governance.
I can’t think of one reform and just trundling along is hardly what Thanet or TDC needs.

I received a You Tube copy of the Meet the UKippers C4 documentary which I’ve never seen and is perhaps even more jaw-dropping from actually seeing it rather than hearing of it – and the shenanigans of the 12 months since it aired.

What a mess.

Time for Change

Tim’s Titbits: misc points:

• Ramsgate Xmas decorations removed some 2 weeks after Twelfth Night – Xmas seems to catch RTC by surprise every year…when will Mayor Shonk get a grip on such nonsense?

• While the RTC budget of £500k is about 3% of the overall TDC budget when Ramsgate contributes c.£17M into TDC and KCC budgets. Clearly something is wrong.

• The cost of RTC 30%(!) reserves and the 2nd highest pensions in Kent is also hardly best us e of tax funds.
• In the same vein quite astonishing to see TDC writing to the Jack Straw review of FOI xxxx that they think FOI requests should be charged at £25 each. Interesting. Which councillor approved that proposal? Or rather do we have tax-civil servants declaring that they should have less to do and the public should be charged extra tax for their own information? In keeping of course with TDC as one pf UK’s worst councils and outrageous secrecy such as the Driver prosecution for supposedly secret documents over Pleasurama or routine refusal to provide FOI. Reassuring that the Straw Review threw out such views as TDC’s that the FOI was working very well in reducing secrecy and improving public scrutiny and value for money.

• An ongoing debacle over the Tonis newsagent broadcasting loud music outside, with TDC from a meeting with Abigail Raymond in November and Cllr Lin Fairbrass taking 2 months to plop out a letter from Amanda Berry to even begin dealing with the problem. Clearly UKIp have lost control of the workings of the council – a mix of idleness and overstaffing can only continue the decline of Thanet even without incompetence.

• 100 SE Rd: further delays on TDC responding to the notice of Court action over the gardnen grabbing. No explanation at all (to be fair what could they say other than incompetence or bungs) as to why it breaches every one of TDC’s own policies and is even 13 flats not 11 as specified in TDC’s own plan. Similar bumbling from Shonk’s RTC in approving 11 flats but then going silent over why it’s 13 – how can things improve with such idleness and incompetence on the rates?

• To be fair to TDC I’ve received the full roster of staffing and salaries – although not yet the pensions, expenses and cars info. 750 staff on a £16M budget looks high resulting in funding the organisation to do nothing. Surely there are parameters in terms of reserves and pensions and staffing ratios to the front/back off ice and deployable budgets? Of course not. Far too complex.

• Strange reports of Cllr Konnor Collins of UKIP/DIG and an array of medals and MBE’s that may not be correct. Very strange. And the Americans are much more active in preventing any such instances of Stolen Valour. The sooner he clarifies this, the better.

• Also reports of Cllr Wells now saying there aren’t 4 but only 1 expressions of interest in Manston as an airport. Sounds complete cobblers to me. Manston is a dead duck and the only issue now is cleaning the aquifer and preventing a 4th town of concrete splodge. What sort of numpty would build on the aquifer – and then knowing of it do nothing? Discovery Park needs to be filled with jobs and the towns’empty houses filled first before such vanity projects. And no £17M Parkway at the site now?

• Wetherspoons Pavilion valid and invalid and who knows? Certainly a mega-boozer is the least of Thanets needs. Similar to the King St Carpet Warehouse turned into flats rather than offices – given 20% youth unemployment

• Harbour St – looking increasingly tatty despite a new £100k Government Fund (sloshed into reserves to be sat on?) with several of the large empty shops boarded up. Ghost Town…

• Deepcut Barracks: P.20 of my manifesto and now a new inquiry opened (reported in this week’s Private Eye). And an inquiry from journalist Barry Keevins with Surrey Police paying the German police(!) £50k for forensic work into the 4 murder-suicides. I’m all for sharing EU expertise etc – but does the UK not have any forensic courses or qualified police? Are UK Police or Military Police not to be trusted with forensic reports? It makes the Essex Police Goldfinger shotgun/heart attack investigation look brilliant

• Very interesting reports in Private Eye last week and this week that the UK bombing of Syria (remember how vital that was supposed to be before Xmas?) amounted only to the first day of an air strike on an oil well then nothing else since 2nd December except: “ a Toyota and an industrial crane”(!) each with a £105k Brimstone missile. Expensive wargames and flagwaving. Much as you’d expect as ISIS is more active in Iraq and USA/Jordan/France/Russia etc have already hit just about anything bigger than a motorbike in Syria. So much so that 90% of Coalition jets return to base without having fired their missiles or guns. Unfortunately Syria and Iraq – indeed Yemen and Libya - can only be successfully resolved from the ground not the air. While Private Eye points out MOD waste on jets that of the 139 UK typhoons only 20 are ever available to fly at any point in time(!). Ludicrous bloat and waste as with the helicopters that won’t fly when it’s dusty and US codes for helicopters and nukes witheld.

• Quite frankly the British Army could be better deployed in expanding existing bases in Kenya and Sierra Leone (along with the French bases in Mali and Chad and US bases in Djibouti), speeding up the removal of troops sat around in Germany ( as the US has already done)and creating effective forces and coalitions for Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. Indeed Sudan and Yemen. The longer the delay goes on the more refugees from Iraq and Syria and Libya and Afghanistan will stream across Europe’s borders. Perhaps not a bad thing with an increase in teachers and doctors etc.

• Trident: I think Jeremy Corbyn’s vow on not having nukes on submarines is rather sensible. Who would we fire any missile at let alone nukes? While any enemy (ISIS on a motorbike?) not knowing whether subs carried nukes or not would be a valid deterrent. Especially as the UK never even had nuke sub patrols before 1969. And certainly a much reduced risk compared to a nuclear accident. The sooner UK leads on nuclear disarmament the better: warheads reduced from 80 to under 30 and phased out with other nations and US-Russia massive reductions. The former US general for nukes estimates that US only needs upto 500 and not 3,000(!).

• Britain’s greatest threats are broken nations like Somalia and Afghanistan or dictators such as Assad or Saddam - not Russian or Chinese nukes. And the more nukes the more danger of them being stolen or accidents. Not having nukes makes Britain safer in the 21st century.

• A strange email from TDC’s Nick Hughes on the 14 page TDC constitution(!) amend for FOI and other laws – it seems to be a lengthy rewrite of the laws that have already been passed by parliament(!)unless I’m missing something. Even if it’s not it can hardly be a priority for tax-funds for Thanet’s problems. I bet it’s the tip of the iceberg of bumf. Increasingly I’m coming to the view that a rule of thumb 30% reduction of any public sector organisation is waste that could be reduced to little effect.

• Startling news on the UK and still births being only 21st best in the world and far below Sweden – with the rate of improvement being over half of that of say Holland. First World tax and Third World services. Why should UK be worse than Sweden or Holland in such a key health service? Clearly 20 miles of water across the Channel seems to result in better health services. I was surprised at the global death rate of over 2M stillbirths. And 630 excess OAP Winter deaths – interesting to see what proportion of preventable deaths that is: looks very high

• A Gilmartin Review of Kent Police cars procurement underway in line with Meiji reforms: more later

• East Kent hospitals signing an agreement with Calais hospitals. This is an old chestnut that crops up now and then with Belgian hospitals too etc to reduce queues etc. A good idea for Medical Tourism in principle in line with free NHS/EU care – but you’ve to make your own way there and back to the hospital in Calais clutching your bandages and hoping your stiches don’t burst? Struggle through the language by yourself as you fade in and out of consciousness? Surely they could put on a coach service every month or so?

• Kent Police PCC election: just 3 months away and not a dickybird from the Tory or UKIP candidates and no candidates announced by the other parties. Not trying are they to manage the £300M tax-budget and issues like police guns and ammo, undercover infiltration (another policeman now announced marrying and getting pregnant a protestor), Most Wanted criminals on the run, arrest rates, crimes/no crime statistics etc etc – interesting on BBCTV that 98% of foreign HGV drivers in Kent are not fined for offences. How bizarre: despite having a reg no., driving licence, body cameras and motorway cameras and speed cameras and passports and not one but two overseas police organisations: Europol and Interpol? Why would the police not do that? Probably all too complicated and impossible.

• KORA and 2LB coming soon.

• Kent Police panto soon and I’m hearing rumours of special legal guest stars in a production of Pinocchio the famous puppet and little boy who can’t resist telling lies despite his elders’ efforts. More later.

• East Kent Benelux Strategy: work underway for closer trade and cultural links with Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg- and Northern France. More this week.

• A letter below on UK-Thailand relations:

Dear Letters editor

Your two articles yesterday were excellent: one on foreign expertise sought by Mr Sakorn of the Thai Science Museum for key areas of Thailand’s economy eg forensic science, food science and animation.

And also General Prayut’s take-up of the huge 60% excess in the Thai rubber industry through army purchases for mattresses and gloves, plus Mrs Kobkarn of the Sports and Tourism Ministry’s call for tourism bracelets and sports ground padding.

Surely both the science and tourism areas are ripe for UK-Thai cooperation and joint ventures – especially with rubber likely to be a sunset industry in the face of the expansion of the UK lead in graphene? And given the unfortunate c.35% decline of Thai investment into UK by SSI Steel.

The UK Newton Fund, further opening of UK’s 120 universities and dozens of science parks and labs, and a Visit Britain joint venture (UK also seeking 30M tourists as is Thailand) would help boost both the UK and Thai economies and ever-closer relationship.

As a UK political candidate (and the only one ever with a manifesto in Thai and for Thailand: ) I know the potential is there to be seized by both nations.

Tim Garbutt

* And a Press release on East Kent -East Asia and Benelux strategy overview:

Garbutt calls for East Kent-East Asia strategy and Benelux Strategy as part of Meiji reforms.

Tim Garbutt, KCC Leader candidate for 2017 said:

“With the Kent and UK economy mired in recession it’s astonishing that the boom economies of East Asia especially ASEAN don't have the focus they require from UK.

While in Kent the Carter and Farage regimes have collapsed after the failure of Manston, Dreamland and Pfizer the silver bullets of growth.

The Economist for example for its 2016 growth league table has Laos 1st at 8%, and Cambodia and Myanmar in the top 10 globally.

While, the UK has Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia in its own strategic growth league. And the AEC economic community and SDG goals as of this month are established for development. Along a new Laos Embassy in London and UK Embassies in every ASEAN nation.

While the closer UK relationship with Japan highlighted by FCO Ministers, Messrs Hammond and Kent's Michael Fallon last week highlight the potential of East Asia for Kent.

China has been lost to UK trade during its boom years and we simply cannot allow that failure to be repeated across Asia.

As KCC Leader I will reverse the decades of decline through Meiji Reforms:

1. Education:

· Instigate Asian language courses eg Thai, Cambodian, Indonesian in each of Kent’s 4 universities plus general Asian Studies and specific Asian study areas eg Meiji Japan

· Develop Japanese language courses with Japan Foundation for every one of the 400 Kent primary schools – many of these already in place

2. Develop Pharma-to-Farm strategy:

o Pandemic/vaccine research in Sittingbourne and Sandwich Science parks for TB and Dengue and Antibiotics

o seed bank expansion at Bedgebury National Tree Reserve and Svalbard, Norway seed bank with Asia given Climate Change

o Newton Fund and Thailand Research Fund expansion of links and conferences

3. Creative Industries and Arts:

o create annual Shakespeare in Asia Festival in this the anniversary of the Bard

o focus on Noh and Cambodia dance preservation and expansion with Kent theatres

o translate top 100 UK books and poems into ASEAN languages – and ASEAN books and poems into English

· provide retail opportunities for Khmer and Thai and Lao silk and Indonesian batik arts

· develop 24/7 Moneypenny Strategy across ASEAN timezones for backoffice and call centres etc

· develop EKFOS: East Kent Film and Studio with BFI digitisation and links to Bangkok, Taiwan and Shanghai film studios and festivals

4. Industry:

· UK-ASEAN hispeed rail: Lao-China announced and potential from Bangladesh to Battambang for UK industry given success of Kent HS1 and Chunnel

· Tourism Strategy: UK and Thailand some of the world’s great success stories in tourism and each seeking c.30M tourists

· Develop Climate Change solar and windfarm expertise in Kent and Asia

· UK tourists the highest and increasing – inbound of EU to Thailand and Thai tourists the highest spenders after China in to UK

· Create KCC 0.3% DFID Fund through c.£20M cost saving – leading the way on achieving 1% UN GNI by G20 nation and deploy to an ASEAN Fund to pump-prime activity

· Develop Road Safety, Swim, Fire and Police courses with Kent and ASEAN colleges and public sector

5. Benelux Strategy:

Almost zero links and industry between Euro-Kent: the only joint EU region and Channel links to Belgium, Northern France, Luxembourg and Holland – some of the wealthiest economies in the world is a national scandal.

* Frontline Kent reforms: police and drugs links for Kent-Amsterdam-London Golden Triangle of Afghan/Shan heroin

* Arts: van Gogh museum in Ramsgate with Rijksmuseum

* Tourism: Liberation Route Europe D-Day and Dunkirk celebrations

Tim said: “Quite frankly, the £2BN budget to KCC is merely First World tax providing Third World services and stagnation.

We need Meiji reform if we are to create a Better Kent and a Greater Britain in the Asian Century."

Time for Change

Monday, 11 January 2016

Carter Must Go and 2016 Police Election and Kent Corruption (Newington election update #1)

(Newington election update #1 at end of original blogpost: scroll down)

Tim Garbutt, 2017 KCC Leader candidate said:

"New Year and New Cancer but same old Corruption and failure in Kent. Paul Carter's KCC regime of pensioners has failed Kent miserably in a Lost Decade:

* Medway the worst schools in UK

* Kent's hospitals the dirtiest with several in Special Measures

* Corruption around the removal of monitors by Inratil/Gloag and TDC

* Pleasurama Caribbean tax haven corruption - the largest seafront site in Kent

* Environment Agency failure: Medway and Stour - UK's most polluted rivers

* Southern Water: broken sewers and dumping sewage on Blue Flag beaches

* Youth unemployment over 20% and collapse of white elephant schemes like Manston

* Dreamland almost bankrupt within 6 months of KCC and TDC investment

* Ticky-tacky housing estates bobbing around on the flood plains and 100 SE Rd gardengrabbing

* Turner Centre rebuilt twice

* Dead Winter pensioners and rancid Care Homes and Orphanages

* East Kent slipping backwards in UK poverty and Kent Third World mortality rates

* Increased road deaths

* Foolish investment in tobacco and Climate Change companies with public funds as the world divests

* Weak elections with count delays illegal candidates and doublehatters

* Blue Communism of increasing tax and the public sector

With the £300M PCC election we are undoubtedly seeing the end of the Ann Barnes regime of cupasoups and youth tsar fripperies in Frontline Kent rather than a review of Kent police guns and ammo, Missing Persons, Most Wanted, PCSO Colleges and increasing Drug Den Raids every Day in Frontline Kent and the slum towns of Medway.

I've made no decision on standing for PCC but oddballs like Fergus Wilson or UKIP's Henry Bolton, who's presided over leaky borders from the Balkans to Afghanistan, are hardly reassuring in what's become a New Golden Triangle of Heroin. And a struggle to issue parking tickets or breathalyse drunk drivers.

With Hull the 2017 City of Culture attracting investment, Kent's 2012 Olympics proximity is now proven to be utterly wasted.

We need Meiji reform in Kent and an East Kent-East Asia and Benelux strategies.

We are paying £2BN in tax for failure on the rates.

Carter and the Toxic Three must follow the Gang of Four and go.

Time for Change



• Kent UKIP featured in Private Eye yet again(!) for the Rotten Boroughs 2015 prize for party unity: “UKIP triumphantly took control of its first council, Thanet in May, then quickly lost it as the 'kippers fell out amongst themselves in a series of party squabbles”. A Night of the Long Johns if you will amongst our silly pensioners.

• Also in Private Eye was the Workplace Safety Award to Waltham Forest council in London fined £66,000 for failing to protect staff and public form asbestos – the clock is ticking for Kent councils and schools on removal of this toxin banned over 15 years ago and the pretence it’s safer to leave it as asbestos deaths increase. As Leader I will sack any Head and Deputy Head with asbestos in their school.

• Also Dover councillor Bob Frost featured for quotes of the year: “Just told the local Big Issue seller to fuck off back to Romania” – clearly many of Kent's problems are down to the dross we elect

• And, is Homer’s time coming to an end? Now CEO of TDC for almost a year after senior roles for 2 or so year before that and lavish Prime Minister £114k salary and car and pension for the lowest unit of UK governance and one of Britain's worst councils. The question being – is there any improvement or merely riding the decline diown as per her predecessors? Where is the cancellation of Pleasurama BVI corruption and Wetherspoons Pav and Slipways?

• Similarly Mayor Shonk is proving a busted flush with nothing done and barely a squeak out of him after the abysmal Xmas decorations and Bank Holiday event

• And it seems RTC has the highest pension costs of any Kent council….

• TDC have released to me their salary details for the c.£14M(!) salary budget – more later

• KORA and 2LB coming soon

• Alfred Hitchcock Chief Constable of MOD Police (remember he was one of the Kent Police candidates before Pughsley) in a Frenzy over knives and machetes – bizarre Chief Pughsley hasn't taken action on knives and guns and crossbows openly on sale in Ramsgate never mind the internet

• Ramsgate High St illegal parking ticketing starting by Kent Police – of course they issue parking tickets even if they say they can’t/don't/won’t – plenty of free parking spaces behind Barclays and Iceland not the High St or Seafront in our tourism towns

• Drug Dens Raids: increasing with more heroin and cocaine busts in Kent and Most Wanted detailed – I'm surprised the local newspapers don't detail these each week. But why no rapists or prison escapees?

• East Kent-East Asia: UK Embassies revamp their strategy with ASEAN and UK as now UK is only 1 of 3 EU nations with embassies for each ASEAN nation. Interesting too that Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia feature in the Economist 2016 league table of growth – Laos for the 2nd year in a row. Time for East Kent East Asia and Benelux Strategy with Meiji reforms.

• SDG Goals to 2030 launched as of 1st Jan 2016 to be achieved before 1st June 2030 – an interesting article by Malala the Afghan schoolgirl shot by the Taliban for attending school on the need for greater reporting for every nation to achieve 17 years of free schooling through to age 18 before 2030. This isn't such a difficult target as over 90% of children are already attending school since the UNMDG of 2000. The estimated cost is c. $30BN pa – a cost of about 8 days worth of global armaments or the cost of dog food in the EU. The quality of education is of course a separate matter as we’ve seen with the slum schools of Medway the worst primaries in UK and the UK’s overall literacy rate of 99% being for a reading age of 8 at age 16 - and after 11 years of schooling in place for the last 60 years. First World tax and Third World services - and far behind Finland or Singapore schools.

• Polio: every nation including India about to declare eradication except Nigeria and Pakistan with a hundred or so cases. Worrying too a Laos case of natural polio reported in the Highlands with Vietnam - eradication may end reporting of cases after several years but the danger of outbreaks and mutations will be prevalent for decades.

• 100 SE Rd gardengrabbing: I do increasingly think we should have P45 reform of the TDC planning department as not fit for purpose - it's mere porkies now from Messrs Raymond, Thomas, Fibbens and Howe and Cllr Fairbrass bobbing around like a leaf in as storm not sure what to do. Every council(!) policy has been breached and even the farce of more flats being built than specified hence the feeblest attempt at whitewash by TDC lawyer Tim Howes. I'm very, very surprised at Miles and Barr and Daniel Gent Construction allowing this. I do think we have a problem when publicly-funded servants are using public funds to lie to the public. Indeed that’s Misconduct in Public Office and a sackable and jailable offence.

• Astonishing too with the Manston monitors crimes that Leader Wells can’t explain the mystery 4 buyers besides Infratil - sounds like porkies - and that Messrs Button and Sproates are still employed. They’ve killed more East Kent citizens than the Luftwaffe. Or were they doing a brilliant job in not removing the monitors, not reinstating them and not collecting the millions in fines from Infratil and Carter-Gloag? At the very least very expensive clerks. And silence on Thor.

* Excellent new Cameron Greater Britain policy on demolishing the 100 worst council estates and 1960's tower blocks - perfect for Arlington House demolition.

Update #1: Newington election:

The candidates have been announced for the Vince Munday election for Newington on 21st Jan and in brief it seems a good selection of not just the same old faces or the party drones that only pop out of the woodwork just before an election or the main parties’ sludge – rather as Thanet sickens and dies - a different selection of independents etc to help cover up the problems and bury the corpses.

The best candidate is clearly Ian Driver (Green/Ind) for District – and either Andrew Jefferson (Green) or Grahame Birchall (GRIT/Ind) for Town. This should result in more scrutiny of TDC and reform, Climate Change policies and elected Mayors. None of them are doublehatters which is to be credited.

Also the end of UKIP and Manston farce. The continued silliness seems an attempt to cover up the contamination and lack of any real economic strategy for East Kent.

Why the candidates remain silent on being given only 6 days to register rather than the required 19 days is surprising. As is that they aren’t calling for the cancellation of Driver’s Court fine and opening of the secret Pleasurama and Wetherspoon corruption documents.

I am just astonished that a British election is so feebly done – as was the May national elections and councillor’s are prosecuted (but not newspapers) for releasing council documents.

Doublehatters such as Smithson, Williams, Dark should be avoided like the plague: reducing democracy and increasing costs. Indeed why aren’t new councillors specifying a No Doublehatters policy?

Other candidates are Kennedy, Hodder, Constantine, and Pritchard.

The choice of course is yours.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year. New Cancer. New Corruption.

Well pretty much the same really in Kent.

Positive news from 2015 with the resignation/sacking of TDC CEO Sue Macgonigal in January and Planning Director Edwina Crowley in July and KCC Latchford of the TDC Gang of Four sent into irrelevance over KCC funding for Manston.

And the May election clearout of Farage and most of the Thanet Labour group.

But that’s about it in a year.

The weakness of Gale and LocalCraig as MP’s has been revealed after 6 months – empty guff merchants that don’t even live here.

Even the latest flawed Munday council election: just 6 days for candidates to register? Is that really a British election at its best? Albeit positive there are only 2 TDC/RTC doublehatters: simply refuse to vote for them.

Shonk is the perfect example of accumulating job tiles and little salaries and achieving nothing. How will he improve the towns?

A wall of silence and whitewash from Carter and his cronies the toxic Three at KCC over Infratil and Manston pollution and monitors and fines. And also under Gloag.

Silence at TDC over the role of Button, Berry and Sproates.

Silence form the Ukippers betraying the possibility of a new broom sweeps clean.

Mere stagnation.

Coming upto almost a year in the job CEO Homer needs to sort this mess out or resign.
And inexperienced councillors lead by the nose by the civil servants and drowned in meaningless bumf (14 opages! in this instance – more on the TDC constitution(!) and FOI rules rewrite below. Exactly what East Kent needs as it slides further down the mortality rate scale?

We need a clearout of the TDC Planning dept: I can speak from detailed experience of Messrs Abigail Rayment and Emma Fibbens and Simon Thomas over 100 Se Rd it’s mere bullshat and lies to cover up the failure.

There's not even the pretence of an explanation now as to why TDC@s own Local Plan forbids gardengrabbing yet specifies 11 flats at 1100 Se Rd - but 13 or more being built(!).

It can only be rampant incompetence or brown envelopes - either way reform through P45 is best.

In the Age of Climate Change we simply can’t have – as you will have seen over Xmas with the various floods – this sort of incompetence in town planning and pandering to the construction industry for squeezing in an extra few thousand houses whether they’re needed or not.

Or the Nemo Link canbles through UNESCO Pegwell Bay.

I doubt any of us have any trust in the Environment Agency or Southern Water in Kent beyond sandbagging their own paychecks.

Thanet can only improve through the P45.

Even RTC struggled to get a Xmas tree up that didn’t look like roadworks on a £500k budget.
Each of the towns pays around £17M in council tax – and that’s without extra government grants. The councillors are simply allowing it to be wasted in funding more civil servants to ride the decline through incompetence, high reserves (30% of the budget at RTC simply stored?), overstaffing (do we really need 750 council clerks?) and lavish pensions.

A few notable elections to look out for in 2016:

• Kent Police PCC – replacing Barnes. I’ve made no decision to stand as yet – but it seems the weird Fergus Wilson millionaire landlord is barred form beating up and estate agent(!) while UKIP Henry Bolton would be banned as a civil servant? All the more bizarre as his border experience of Macedonia, Libya., Afghanistan etc has to just been porous but resulted in the collapse of those countries. The Midas touch in reverse. I was at the Turner gallery for the musical display of Mexican drug cartel recycled weapons which is excellent and also noticed Kent Police HQ with the scruffiest flag imaginable - see Twitter @timg33 for photos. Aside from the value of a police flag on the rates along with all the Fashion Police Gucci kit of multiple trousers and gloves why have such a tatty display?

• London Mayor – Khan and Goldsmith an interesting mix

• UN Secretary-General: between June and September: vague as it’s the first time in 70 years there’s bene even a semblance of an open process to elect the UN SecGen rather than silly internal rotas such as it has to be an East European as they haven’t done the job. Quotas for such high-level roles are an irrelevance – it’s the best person. Where are the candidates and manifestos like any other election?

* USA election: Trump vs Clinton? Stranger things have happened - who would have foreseen a Cameron victory or Corbyn as Labour leader at the start of 2015? While Carson and Rubio and Bush have imploded or fizzled out

• Ramsgate Mayor – GRIT group calling for elected mayor reform not Buggins Turn

And new cancer?

What do you expect with Manston at 4x the EU safe emissions. And Thor mercury banned in 1988 but remaining open.
Bred in the blood and bone. For you and your kids and their kids and their kids and…

You may have seem the TV shows over Xmas of the real-lie incidents Erin Brockovich and the chemical contamination of a small town USA water supply. Or the Minamata scandal in Japan of dumping mercury into the sea.

It couldn’t happen here could it? The Police would investigate? The Environment Agency would jump into action? The council would review the cleanup? MP’s asking questions in Parliament?

That would happen in Kent in 2016 wouldn’t it? Or indeed the last 10 years since Infratil and TC removed the Manston monitors and pretended they were still monitoring.

Time for Change

Tim’s Titbits: misc points:

• Email to TDC's on a request of TDC’s FOI roles:

Thanks Nicholas and:

1. Can you advise on likely timescales for this process

2. I'm not sure you're correct that the various laws are completely different to the 14 pages of TDC items: the latter refers to FOI for example? They seem completely conflated albeit confused.

3. Similarly my point seems correct that the presumption of FOI is transparency - exemptions have to be sought and are not automatic: certainly under EIR. And it is correct that Council/Cabinet can reject/overrule any internal council attempt to withhold information - that's the basis of democratic governance.

4. Further on point 2 I'm unclear why 14 pages are required to say that TDC abides by FOI etc? This could be done within a sentence or so - and detail separately any TDC-produced policies to the laws? Which items in the 14 pages are originated by TDC rather than the existing laws?

5. Specifically on LGA 1972 it's transparency points are supersceded by FOI 2000 and Audit Commission Act that allows public attendance of council meetings/ filming etc and provision of any council document for public audit. The LGA 1972 simply establishes the council reforms of 1972 and is not about the specific activities of those then-new councils?

Please advise.


From: Nicholas Hughes
To: "''"
Cc: Emily Kennedy
Sent: Thursday, 24 December 2015, 14:48
Subject: RE: Tdc information rules 17th Dec

Dear Mr Garbutt,

The access to information rules are currently under review and are available in the agenda for the Constitutional Review Working Party agenda for the meeting of the 17th December, here: .

These will be further considered by the Standards Committee and then Full Council and then included in the Council’s constitution. I can confirm that the rules are correct and comply with the Local Government Act 1972, Local Government Act 2000 and The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012. All of these acts and regulations relate to how the Council deals with information it considers at its meetings and what it should do and what it should not do. Whereas the Freedom of Information regulations concern how the Council should deal with requests for information(which generally come from outside the Council). These are two fundamentally different areas and shouldn’t be conflated.

You say: “In brief my understanding is councillors and public are entitled to any Tdc information and can overrule any attempt to withold or declare information confidential”. This is a misapprehension, the Council does use sparingly the Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 to allow it keep certain types of information confidential, such as legal advice, or commercial terms for example. In addition there are a number of exemptions that the Council can use when responding to Freedom of Information requests, so to say that the FOI regulations “can overrule any attempt to withhold or declare information confidential” would be incorrect.

I hope that this has clarified the matter for you.

Kind Regards

Nick Hughes

Committee Services Manager

01843 577208

• Terrific Sydney (perhaps an advantage being able to use the whole bay for displays) and London and Taipei New Year fireworks – but a bizarre and awful Jive Bunny megamix soundtrack for London and Bangkok Chaopraya lights weak this year
• Town cleanup beginning with ticketing of illegally parked cars in Ramsgate high St: pedestrian zone and kebab shop sparking on pavements – plenty of free parking behind Iceland and Barclays. Bizarre that G4S cash van seems to think it can drive through the High St when it feels like it
• Concern over Tonis Newsagent still blasting out music outside the shop. Anyone else doing that?
• Revamp of Summer and Winter lights and festivals
• Many more drug den arrests before Xmas: Drug Den Raid Every Day
• 2015 Kent Public Sector review to follow – with a new bottom placed service. Can you guess
• Little done for 2016 Somme anniversary in Kent given Richboro secret port etc
• Interesting Christopher Nolan – perhaps the greatest living British director -beginning a Dunkirk/Little Ships movie
• Pleasurama and Wetherspoons megaboozer ruled invalid and I’ve made no bones I want to take that on a as Community Asset previously with jiggery pokery from Edwina Crowley at TDC
• Overhaul of empty shops and houses needed – the decline picks up apace
• Silence from Kent Fire and FOI Finchy and the MillionQuid Fire station instead of a 2nd swimming pool – reassuring though the jack Straw Parliamnetary review into FOI made no recommendations at all other than FOI must be expanded
* KORA and 2LB coming soon