Friday, 26 February 2016

Garbutt calls for Khao Yai Declaration for Kent Climate Change

2016 as you probably know now heralds the start of the SDG Sustainable Development Goals though to 2030.

The challenge isn’t so much achieving the SDG goals as how fast they can be achieved.

And it is fitting that Thailand as 2016 Chair of the UN G77 Group (essentially every nation except EU, Russia and USA – so a powerful development bloc within UN) has called for an emphasis on Climate Change and Disaster Reduction. On the latter we’ve seen in just the last few weeks, massive Winter storms in New York, an earthquake in Taiwan and typhoon in Fiji.

Both issues are important given the continued impact of Climate Change – not just the hottest year ever (again), but now the warmest and wettest ever December in UK. And also one of the coldest ever Winters in East Asia and a drought in Thailand.

While Philippines is facing yet another battering of over 20 storms this year from the El Nino weather system.

#G77 Reform Opportunity.

Surely a mix of military procurement on cargo helicopters rather than gunships or fighter jets is of more use in combatting Climate Change and Disaster Reduction. And an emphasis on reforestation to prevent landslides from erosion of soil – and reduced harvests. All the more important given the UN Year of the Soil last year confirming perhaps no more than 20 harvests left in existing top soils.

And with the first G77 review meeting in Turkey in May – an apt bridge of Europe and Asia - surely greater consideration of hispeed rail systems linking Europe and Asia would facilitate aid relief as well as providing lower emissions that generate Climate Change.

Here in Kent we’ve faced 90 mph winds from Storm Imogen and an increased need for flood defences given the likely repeat soon of the Margate storms of 1954 and 1978 causing hundreds of deaths in UK and Holland.

While 90%of Kent orchards have been destroyed since 1945 and most UK farmers are over 65 so a real danger of both Climate Change and Food security with a failure of both land management and modernisation and investment in Smart Farms.

Thailand in contrast emphasises the Sustainable Development philosophy of King Bhumibol from the famous Khao Yao Declaration of 1977 – one of the world’s first national Climate Change plans - to plant trees for fruit, firewood, reservoir protection and soil protection.

#Kent Cement Cabal

Wise words that Kent could do well to heed given no Climate Change policies at all and even recycling only provided on a mass scale in the last few years. Kent now has relatively fewer Grand Projects of Cement – the disasters of Manston airport and Pfizer and Medway generation have proven salutary - which is sensible and provides the basis for a review of such projects:

• Rochester Riverside – part of the mega-Thames Gateway Project (from Southend through Docklands and East London and down to Medway) could be rolled out with a greater emphasis on solar power and far more green spaces
• Operation Stack requires a much more detailed response than the knee-jerk initial plans to tarmac much of East Kent for lorry parks
• Paramount Theme Park rounds out the mega-entertainment offering around Bluewater Europe’s largest shopping centre and could provide the basis for links to Dreamland and Kent Film Office and East Kent Film Office and Studio
• Nemolink Belgian windfarm link and Shard aerial seem weak and certainly initial plans to refuse to bury pylons seem outdated along with the bizarre insistence so far on digging up Pegwell Bay UNESCO wetland
• Dartford Crossing and 4th Thames bridge/tunnel are in need of more detailed review and transport plans given the above megaprojects

Overbuild plans in the Garden of England seem to crop up with tedious regularity badged as Green Towns or Garden Towns or some such cement-mixer-flannel and perhaps linked to the KCC cosy club of developers such as Costain, Murphy, Balfour Beatty et al that have grown up around Carter’s Toxic Three– but of little real need given the reductions of most of Kent’s 30 small towns and swathe of empty houses across Kent.

#Kent fossilised

While Kent’s failure to revise its public sector pension fund to remove Fossil Fuels – compared to say Paris, Munster, Oslo and dozens of other French, Scandinavian and German towns - is both bad economics and bad Climate science. As is the latest Environment Agency report of 1,264 landfill sites located in coastal areas plus another 2,946 located in flood plains from the UK’s 21,027 landfill sites dating back to 1890.

And no plans as yet for both landfill mining to remove such toxins and rubbish in Kent’s c.30 landfill sites, and clear up and better regulation of at least 3 rubbish mountains reported by BBCTV.

No wonder the rivers Medway and Stour through the heart of both County Towns of Maidstone and Canterbury are two of the UK’s most polluted rivers.

As Police Commissioner in the 2016 election I have pledged Meiji reforms to end Police investment in fossil fuel pensions, and switch every one of the c. 5 headquarter offices and c.21 police stations to solar power, and review electric police cars for Kent’s c.2,200 police vehicles. While a merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex police would provide further cost savings and procurement standardisation of uniforms etc.

In the Age of Climate Change Kent is failing and could do well to create its own Khao Yai Declaration for future generations.

Tim Garbutt is standing for Police Commissioner in 2016 and KCC Leader in 2017 to develop better relations and Meiji reforms with Thailand and East Asia and to Stop the Pollution. Stop the Corruption. Stop the Construction: @timg33

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Are Bill Gates’ superpowers failing him?

Having read the annual letter from Bill and Melinda Gates a few things are surprising.

Simplifying it down, the letter emphasises achieving energy ie solar power for Africa (Bill) and time ie women’s rights (Melinda), as the superpower they would like.

On the last point of women’s rights, with Saudi Arabia the last nation of any size to now allow women the vote (where elections can be held apart from the one party states and dictatorships, or the last few equal opportunities nations such as UAE or Brunei where nobody can vote) surely women’s rights are a women’s problem?

Don’t get me wrong I’m not arguing that either there aren’t gender equality issues such as women’s representation in parliament (only c.20% in UK) or on large corporate Boards (almost all the FTSE 250 only now with at least one female director) or equal pay for the same job. Or even issues such as Female Genital Mutilation, again mainly in Africa, or child marriage and human trafficking.

#Melinda and unused superpower for women’s rights?

But why aren’t women – and Melinda specifically - dealing with these problems instead of talking about them?
Most nations have had women’s votes since 1945. And women’s rights movements for the last 50 years, and even now institutions such as UN Women or men supporting women’s rights for their daughters and granddaughters such as HeforShe.

This isn’t some hugely outrageous and complex problem. It’s less complex than calling for a penny off tax. If there are barriers to women then why haven’t women resolved them?

The African Union and UN could issue policy statements at their next sessions – and international law – on banning both FGM, and child marriage under 18. Very few nations would refuse to sign it or implement it.

While political parties could insist on a minimum of 40% women political candidates and Board representation within 12 months. With 50% of their voters or customers being women, which political parties or corporations would refuse to do that?

The US Republican and Democrat Presidential candidates could pledge that. Outgoing US president Obama could pledge that. The new UN Secretary-General elected in September this year could pledge that. The outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon could pledge that.

So could the Indian and African heads of government.

So could the CEO’s of DECC the 10 largest NGO organisations such as Red Cross etc.

Heck, they could even be urging for satellites around every planet and moon, and the first woman on Mars before 2030.

The oceans and forests could even have been reseeded with fish and trees by then.

Melinda doesn’t need superpowers to achieve that.

She could send them a one cent email before she’s even got down to making Bill’s breakfast.
Bill Gates as Superman?

But what of Bill’s concern over solar power? His map highlights Europe and Latin America and Asia and even the coast of Africa lit up by electric light at night.

But not most of Africa or India.

Again Bill seems to be making something of a mountain out of a molehill. Certainly superpowers aren’t required.
And he’s now downplaying his previous emphasis on vaccines as the key humanitarian need.

Bill is the richest man in the world with a $50BN fortune and is an owner of one of the world’s largest corporations and largest humanitarian organisations.

His Rolodex would connect with every President and Prime Minister and corporate and NGO CEO in the world.
What’s stopping him?

On vaccines, only 5 corporations such as GSK or Pfizer produce 80% of the world’s vaccines. Why isn’t Bill urging each of these 5 CEO’s to ramp up vaccine production?

Indeed UN-WHO highlighted just for influenza vaccines that doses have risen from 500M in 2006 to 1BN in 2010 to 2BN in 2015.

2BN doses of any vaccine would vaccinate all of Africa and India.

The world is already producing enough vaccines.

No new vaccines need to be invented just massive production, stockpiles and distribution for vaccines for TB, tetanus, rabies, HIV and diarrhoea and penicillin – even throw in condoms and malaria nets.

Similarly with solar power, the latest household solar panels are no bigger or heavier than an A4 pad of paper – and less complex than a mobile phone which are already nearing saturation point.

#Solar for the world is easy.

Producing say 200M solar panels for Africa is a minor production issue.

No top-down electrical grid is required like back in the 1920’s. You simply remove the packaging, pop the panel on your roof and let sunshine do the work to then charge up a mobile phone, a computer, a fridge, a television, a radio or a motorbike battery.

The world’s largest car factory in by Hyundai in Ulsan, Korea or Nissan Sunderland in UK producing more cars than all of Italy, or Coca-Cola producing 4BN bottles and cans just in UK each year all show the huge technological and production facilities that already exist.

Indeed since the UNMDG began in 2000 (now SDG as of January 2016 to be achieved before June 2030) the world is an even easier place to provide vaccines and solar panels (especially since so much has been done since 2000).

Television and radio and internet are at saturation point for the world’s 7BN people. While 50% of the population are now in cities making distribution and logistics even easier.

The cities of Cairo or Abuja or Cape Town and Johannesburg and Mumbai and New Delhi make communication and distribution to the populations of India and Africa easier than ever.

As does DHL or FedEx or the Post Office and network of ports and shipping depots around the coasts of India and Africa.

One small example: the US military just this month supplied 5,000 tons of NATO ammunition to stockpile in Germany: that’s over 400(!) shipping containers – for bullets that will almost certainly never be fired and will then need millions more in funding to decommission them.

Why aren’t 400 shipping containers of solar panels and vaccines sent every week to every main port in Africa and India?

While the USA has 14 aircraft carriers – more than the rest of the world combined – sailing around doing nothing but wasting fuel. Why aren’t say 10 US aircraft carrriers positioned off Africa and India for training in airlifting in solar panels and vaccines?

It’s not difficult.

#Bill’s shout out across the world.

Bill’s already sent out his letter without superpowers. Indeed Bill or his friends and colleagues could fund and launch a UN satellite for less than $1M, that day and night beams out a UN-TV television, radio and web channel across the world detailing the plans for vaccines and solar.

It’s no more difficult and cheaper than say an existing satellite Shopping Channel or even worse a blank screen channel.

While Bill’s friends at Facebook and Google and Twitter could have a permanent ad and weblink on their home page: covering almost 100% of the world’s internet population if not almost 50% of the world population within days.

Every television station and radio station could carry a 20 second new bulletin or ad every hour, and every world newspaper a free ad on their front page and webpage.

While, the folks at Microsoft or Dell or Samsung or Apple could include a screensaver on every computer and mobile phone, and a leaflet in every box.

Indeed if Bill was feeling a bit flush then he could fund a full page ad in the New York Times every day for a year. It wouldn’t even put a dent in his $50BN fortune. Neither would a Gates ad in the Rio Olympics opening and closing ceremonies this year, or SuperBowl next year. Heck, he could even buy both teams whoever they may be and sponsor their shirts.

It can’t be money that’s stopping global vaccines and solar.

Bill’s one of the richest men in the world: his $50BN fortune would almost fund all the SDG goals in itself.
Tobin Fund not superpowers.

But Bill could make just a 10 cent phone call to the G20 and G7 and G77 Summits (the last two being held this May in Japan and Turkey – why doesn’t Bill even go there and take the 5 pharma CEO’s and other progressive CEO’s such as Unilever’s Paul Polman or Nestle’s Peter Braback-Letmathe?) and ask each nation to achieve the required 0.7% in aid. The G20 alone covers 90% of the world economy so hardly a complex agreement.

The World Bank and IMF and international banks such as the ADB and AIIB, and national banks and stock exchanges, could create a Tobin Fund – much as with Victorian electricity or railways – to create Global vaccine and solar panels.

And if needs be then write the whole lot off.

Why not? Balancing an IMF spreadsheet somewhere is worthless compared to global vaccination and solar power and women’s rights.

It would be far cheaper and of more use than the trillions of dollars of bailouts to refloat the banks.
Why not?

Why delay the deaths and shortened and difficult lives in Africa and India a day longer?

#Hey Bill, 1st September 2017 Global Vaccine and Solar Day?

What’s Bill waiting for?

Why doesn’t he declare say 1st September 2017 the month of achieving global vaccines and solar power? The monsoons would be largely over, and stockpiles of solar panels and vaccines could easily be produced and stockpiled before then.

And then within a month or two all of them distributed.

90% of the world’s children are now in school forming the basis for universal vaccinations and even distribution of solar panels to their parents.

And everywhere you go in the world you can find Marlboro or Johnny Walker or Coca-Cola as well as aspirin and toothpaste. If Unilever and Proctor and Gamble can already stock the world’s shops and supermarkets what are we waiting for?

Worth remembering Rotary achieved global polio eradication in less than 30 years without the infrastructure that now exists. While Bill’s own USA almost 80 years ago in WW2 managed from a standing start in 1941 to supply, not just their own armies to invade Japan and Germany, but also the armies of Britain and Russia.

Millions upon millions of guns and bullets and planes and jeeps and lorries and uniforms and bandages and vaccines and food produced and shipped across the Atlantic and Pacific in less than 3 years. And all to then be scrapped.

Indeed so many tanks were produced in just 3 years from zero, that by the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944, with Germany still not defeated, Eisenhower actually asked for production to be stopped as they already had too many(!) Sherman tanks to use. And within a decade or so the Marshall Plan managed to rebuild not just Western Europe but Japan and Korea too.

Bill is right that global vaccinations and solar power will happen. Will it take a decade? I doubt it. Will it take 5 years? Maybe. Could it take less than 2 years from now? Definitely.

Indeed the issue will all the SDG Goals isn’t whether they will be achieved by 2030 but how quickly they will be achieved before then? 2025? 2020?

Why not.

No superpowers required.

Why hasn’t Bill made a few phone calls and emails already and delivered on his letter?

Time for Change

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Ready, Fire, Aim! It’s the Kent guncops!

The Kent Police guncops increase is rather peculiar.

Not just the knee-jerk random increase -requested by the Home Office- of all guncops throughout the UK by 50% after the Paris Attacks.

But peculiar in that Kent has no major population centres and few attractions to compare to a Paris-style terror attack.

Peculiar too that the police response to random attacks on a rock concert or newspaper office or café was not criticised and - apart from a cop on every corner - is not preventable.

Peculiar too that Kent Police already has c.80 guncops so one wonders what the extra 37 cops will be doing? Sat in a van tooled up and ready to go somewhere in Kent? An hour’s notice? Or spread out across the existing 21 police stations – so of little extra use?

If anything it’s a vote of no faith by central government in the existing 80 guncops and terrorist policies.
And very peculiar that this 3.4% council tax increase: £5 for every Kent household was rushed through over Xmas with no full council debate – a rather unpleasant and costly swan-song from Ann Barnes, and a peculiar democratic deficit given any increase over 1.99% requires a full public referendum.

The danger is a semi-militarised police force – something most police themselves oppose in creating a criminal arms race of violence. And peculiar too that machine guns and pistols and taser stun guns and pepper spray as well as the truncheon become standard equipment as crime is actually falling and becoming less violent.

Much as the Trident nuclear weapon debate is peculiar in arguing that Britain needs yet more nukes – as the threat of the Cold War of Russia and China, and the East European armies and tanks, has disappeared with many of those enemy troops actually in NATO now.

Perhaps it’s worse for the US taxpayer where their military now outspends all the other militaries put together – over 50% of all arms expenditure, yet 90% of American troops are based in USA far from danger other than yet more budget overspend by what Eisenhower termed the military-industrial complex.

A combination of arms industry corporate welfare and tax bloat and boys with toys that any day could result in a Kent Police tank or BAE missiles for the new guncops.

But rather than Kent guncops perhaps a review of the real dangers of road accidents and appalling 17% of rapes solved statistics or drug dens is more relevant.

And a review of violence against Kent cops is of use in evaluating the real dangers facing both police and public in Kent from terrorism and guns.

So, since WW2 (1949-2011) there have been only 20 deaths of Kent policemen and women on duty.
And of these 20 deaths, 16 were from various road accidents.

The remaining 4 deaths include 2 deaths from deliberate road deaths against the police by motorists.
So that leaves only 2 police deaths from gunshots in 60 years in Kent.

And only one of those was a terrorist incident – but in Cyprus in 1956 by a Kent policeman killed on duty there with UK troops. The other gun death was a crime in Kent but even further back in 1951.

A Cyprus –style, anti-terror role certainly should be more active with UK police contributions to UN Police being beefed up after years of failure for the real terrorism threats in Iraq or Afghanistan or Mali or Sudan, and active policing of failed states such as Bosnia or Sierra Leone or Myanmar.

And the most recent terrorist incident being far from Kent on a plane in Somalia and bomb in Turkey last week.
So that’s one police gunshot crime death in Kent, and one terrorist death in Cyprus - both way back in the early 1950’s. Perhaps the easy availability of guns after WW2 was a factor too.

And presumably only one or two members of the public have been shot in that time by Kent Police guncops?

Indeed since Kent Police records began in 1873 as many police have died on a Kent Police driving course(!) than from gunshots. And many of the 16 road deaths since WW2 strangely include counting policemen killed in accidents while they were driving to work – a danger no more prevalent than that facing any member of the public.

Even in WW2 only 2 Kent Police were killed directly by the Luftwaffe – although a further c.20 were killed in air raids, but again they may not have been on duty, so a danger no more prevalent than the hundreds of civilians also killed in the Kent Blitz.

Indeed police deaths by beatings with their own truncheon, killed by horses or run over by the Royal Train(!) are more dangerous than gunshot wounds - and only 3 police deaths occurred before 1915 prior to the rapid increase in motor cars.

Kent Police are as at risk as the rest of us from car or cycling motorbike accidents, and slightly more by doodlebugs if there is another world war.

They’re not really at risk from terrorism or even bullets.

But democratic accountability is at risk if so easily waived to create a Police Army in the UK of at least 5,000 guncops – plus more with MOD Police and Special Branch and Military Police for all 3 military services – and on top of that the UK’s 120,000 soldiers plus extra navy and RAF troops.

And all that with the regular police already larger than the whole Royal Navy. Perhaps just as well.

Plus the purchase and storage costs for weapons and thousands of hours of training for guncops.
And only 6 shots fired in anger UK by police last year.

Yes. You read that right.


So a random 50% increase in guncops and machine guns – and all the other costs that aren’t yet included in the 3.5% increase -seems rather excessive. And these would require a year or two of training before being available anyway? Or existing cops or troops would be used?

Nobody doubts the day to day bravery - and real dangers - of cops on the beat. But surely the bureaucratic border protection of not having a platoon or two of Ghurkas on reserve for aid to the civil power is outdated.
Outlandish emergencies whether the 2012 Olympics or a Chunnel accident or a Paris-style Attack on the Tenterden church fete don’t outweigh such dubious tax-bloat and scaremongering (who amongst us can work out the bizarre Prevent Terrorism ratings or tune out the constant warnings of doom of lost suitcases).

Even more so, when a whole host of police reforms could be argued to be more useful than guncops – whether that’s removing cars parked on the pavement forcing mums with pushchairs or schoolkids or pensioners into the road, the overall increase to 49 road deaths per year of Kent citizens (double in a year the total Kent police deaths in 60 years so why aren’t the cops urging zero drinkdriving and 20mph laws to safeguard the public rather reaching for a machinegun?) or the 630 extra pensioner deaths each Winter or rash of machete and knife attacks that blight the towns.

Or tightening up mundanities such as guncops wearing visible badge numbers or using the – sensible – 10% reserves of c.£34M per year. Or even considering how cost increases fit with more £3M body cameras and ANPR reg no CCTV, car procurement for 2,000 cars (no doubt requiring more car CCTV for a pub fight, or jailing grannies for their BBC licence that make up 90% of court cases) let alone the cop-glitter of more trousers and shirts and underpants than a Grattan catalogue.

Indeed many of the public may be more in danger of being shagged on a protest by an undercover cop, or being left to die in a ditch by Scotland Police than being shot by a new Bin Laden in Kent.

And none of these are yet subject to democratic scrutiny – more from councillor idleness than Police mendacity. Most Kent criminals are in the council chamber or courts.

But reform is needed with Kent police failure in policing Essex Police and Goldfinger scandal or Surrey Police and the Deepcut scandal (5 bullets in the chest is a suicide for Trooper Benton?)or the GlickGate barrister and lawyer fraud or reform of police rotas and Spanish practices or gold-plated pensions at 50, or a 1:1 Backoffice ratio of a clerk for every cop.

Even the slow rollout and publicity of the 112 number some 20 years after being required.

Or deeper reforms on the availability heroin in Kent’s prison – even without the Most Wanted being nicked – or rafts of prison escapes or bail jumpers. And witness already in Kent 35 guns and semtex seized, or the rampant gun and drug running around Manston or Ostend or Lydd.

And policing costs that could be far more usefully deployed than the EU vanity project of Europol that simply replicates Interpol and only last week manages to issue 15 Most Wanted in Europe along with the new-but-old terrorism centre.

I doubt we’d all sleep more safely in our beds knowing that Europe’s police forces will be chasing a Finnish fraudster on Europol’s list for the sake of having a bit of everything from Europe’s 28 police forces rather than say the real threat of returning Syrian terrorists to Belgium or Britain, and major drugs gangs busts than just a few junkies with penny bags of skunk.

A terrorism knowledge gap as prevalent as say when the fall off the Berlin Wall or 9-11 came as a surprise to the ranks and ranks of military and police.

But even during the IRA Troubles of intensive terrorism in Northern Ireland, Eire, UK, Gibraltar and Germany only 8 Kent Police deaths were recorded between 1967-91, and again all of them were from traffic accidents.
Not one terrorist incident at all in Kent given the full-blown Ulster separatist terrorism crisis – even continuing last week with 2 deaths in Dublin with the Continuity IRA.

And of course both police and public in danger from the drip-drip contamination and corporate manslaughter of Thor mercury and Southern water, and corrupt and incompetent councils over the removal of Infratil’s monitors. Airports such as Manston and Ostend being more of a real terror threat from gunrunning and drugs.

Perhaps no wonder Iran Air felt able to break the international embargo into Manston given the precedence of corruption over the years eg electoral corruption in East Kent (Canterbury not Thanet) in 1880 resulted in the MP being suspended for 5 years and the 1883 Electoral Corruption Act implemented across not just Kent’s Rotten Boroughs but all of UK.

In Police Commissioner election year we need better than Barnes and no more guns on the rates.

Time for Change

Friday, 19 February 2016

Garbutt for Police Commissioner 5th May 2016

Tim Garbutt has announced his candidacy and manifesto to replace Ann Barnes as Police and Crime Commissioner of Kent in the 5th May 2016 PCC election.

Tim said:
“Clearly after 15 years of Ann Barnes as PCC and the appalling laughing-stock Channel 4 documentary, Kent needs a change. But the main political parties provide no basis for such change: LibDems and Greens are unable so far to even bother to field candidates.

While Labour have only just announced another party robot for the Buggins Turn politics that infects Kent. And neither Leaky Borders Bolton of UKIP with his Midas Touch in Reverse for frontiers, nor the Invisible Tory robot have been heard of before or since announcing their candidacy way back in November.
Or there’s weirdo candidates such as Fergus Wilson calling for fines for immigrants…when such fines already exist… and likening them to cattle shows how far Kent has fallen.

While the bizarre English Democrats are attempting to out-racist UKIP with a fear of Sikhs in turbans on motorbikes that can hardly be Kent’s biggest concern given the collapse of the Medway slum cities and Golden Triangle of heroin and gunrunning from Ostend airport etc.

In effect this will be the first democratic election for the Police Commissioner role where the public can select the candidates and manifestos they want. Not the silence and machine politics manoeuvring of the past.

While the collapse of Ramsgate with the end of UKIP’s only council but mired in corruption again, and marauding teen thugs through the town centre highlights the need for effective policing.

And the all-clear of Ting Tong Janice for election fraud- despite her colleague being filmed on camera, so much for CCTV(!) and expelled from UKIP - by Kent Police is a disgrace as is the Channel 4 revelations of repeated election expenses overspend by the Tory candidates in Kent and other elections.

If the police are keeping their heads down to preserve their positions then something equally pernicious is occurring with the PCC office in effect infiltrated by the police to become less a champion of the public and more just another police department.

The bureaucratic costs and job titles are of course even more absurd.

While dirty hospitals and broken sewers are corporate manslaughter crimes - also self-selected as beyond their remit - of the police who are struggling to solve only 10% of burglaries and 17% of rapes in Kent.
For £300M per year and 6,000 front and back office cops and clerks we deserve better.

We need reform.”

Stop the Pollution. Stop the Corruption. Stop the Construction.
Time for Change
Garbutt Independent Green for PCC May 2016

Garbutt Manifesto for PCC2016:

1. Abolish £5,000 candidate PCC election fee: since when was a free and fair British election somehow to be paid for by the candidates themselves so as to govern themselves? The perfect way to restrict candidates to just the same failed main parties
2. Rape Nation reform: 70,000 rapes in UK and Kent Police only solving 17% on their patch is a disgrace: 3 new rape centres needed
3. Cancel 37 extra gun cops to refocus on rape and car deaths: 49 traffic deaths per year and increasing or 630 OAP Winter deaths are the real threat
4. Police investigation into Infratil (Fitzgerald and Clark now of Wellington Airport – Asia’s most dangerous?)and KCC/TDC corporate manslaughter by Toxic Three and Gang of Four and Button/Berry/Sproates removing pollution monitors: 4x EU safe levels – deliberately contaminating the public
5. Police investigation into Thor mercury corporate manslaughter Brockovitch-style scandal by Environment Agency: deliberately allowing increased pollution at a banned factory(!) that poisoned its workers yet remains open
6. Merger of Kent and Surrey and Sussex Police: 43 is far too many police forces and bloat/duplication
7. Reform of Kent/Essex Serious Crime squad after Goldfinger gunshot wound supposedly a heart attack etc
8. Review of Kent and Essex Meiji procurement: excessive uniforms and 2,200 cars etc
9. Frontline Kent: drug den raid every day and drug arrest/hauls published each month for review
10. Review Kent/Essex police boats and Margate ships and SS Richard Montgomery explosives ship
11. Review of PCC staffing and costs: £1.5M for c.15 staff and c.£150k for office manager and finance director? That’s a lot of Cupasoups on the rates. And the CEO paid more than the actual Police Commissioner is absurd bloat and waste
12. Develop PCSO PhD career training with Kent University –paramedic, Polish, Romanian and Dutch language skills etc
13. End live animal exports from Kent ports – a barbaric trade eased through by the police
14. PCC Crime role: review of courts, barristers/lawyers, bailiffs/private detectives, prisons and CPS eg jury trial and closed courts info – police too weak on policing public sector crimes
15. Police inquiry into GlickGate High Court fraud including One Essex Court, BSB and judges, lawyers and barristers systemic theft
16. Kent council corruption review: Pleasurama BVI tax haven and Dreamland and 100SE Rd overbuild/garden grabbing etc
17. Review of Saudi MOD arms corruption and extend Deepcut new inquiry to other deaths ie Benton suicide by being shot 5 times in the chest
18. Town Centre reform: minimum policing patrols: foot and car and longevity specified for each of Kent’s c.30 towns eg illegal parking, night safety, working CCTV etc
19. Climate Change: all Kent Police buildings to switch to solar and phase-out cars to electric and end fossil fuel pension investments plus Kent/SME contract emphasis
20. Review of salaries and pensions, payoffs and working practices
21. Knife amnesty: machete ban not being enforced also crossbows, serrated daggers and hi-powered air rifles openly on sale
22. Backoffice reform: 101 merger with councils and 112 details etc
23. UN Police detachment of at least 10 cops each year and Benelux/Costa del Crime-Captura strategies beyond Spain and Joshua French Death Row Congo
24. Police helicopter review with Air Ambulance and Coastguard need/use, and publish guns and ammo and firearms training details
25. Review zero drink drive and 20mph limits
26. Instigate quarterly pandemic training and vaccine supplies: TB, Flu etc and blood and organ supplies
27. Reform BAME targets: only 50% achieved ie 3% BAME police compared to 7% of Kent population, and reduce taser use from 240 per year

Stop the Pollution. Stop the Corruption. Stop the Construction.
Time for Change
Garbutt Independent Green for PCC May 2016

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

ASEAN and hispeed rail

Khun Sutapa Amornivart, EVP and Chief Economist at Siam Commercial Bank, wrote wisely and well in yesterday’s Bangkok Post article on why mega-investment projects are required in Thailand:

The macro-economics of the US Federal Reserve, Nikkei and Chinese trade aside, the deeper and specific concerns detailed for the Thai economy are real: reduced Asian exports, drought along with the new cold snap, plus reduced prices for commodities such as rice, and rubber, and so on.

Transport megaprojects (3TN THB combined) are the shot in the arm the Thai economy needs to avoid softer growth. And rather than a mere bubble of liquidity, if managed well, the longer-term investment should provide the stable, peaceful and prosperous growth Thailand and ASEAN needs.

The glittering, world-class, success of both Bangkok’s SkyTrain and the MRT underground show the way.

Almost ending the nightmare BKK traffic jams in less than a decade is astonishing. Personally I would travel no other way in BKK. And the extension of the Purple Line this year marks the rigorous expansion into the provinces.

As do the improvements, in the Airport RailLink – albeit with concerns over disabled access and luggage lifts. And the refinement this month of the workhorse of Thai aviation with Don Muang focused on domestic flights to tightly link the changwats to BKK in less than an hour’s flight.

All are a boon for both domestic –and ASEAN- business travel and international tourism, opening up the likes of Loei, Chanthaburi, Trang and Nan as part of the new Thainess Tourism programmes too.

While the engineering plans for a London Embankment-style promenade along Bangkok’s klongs for pedestrians and cyclists is similarly superb.

And certainly more important than say the overbuild of yet more empty provincial mega-highways, or even HCMC’s slavish following of London Docklands’ drab architecture for its Heritage city, or the ongoing pollution of China’s smog-filled cities and new Ghost Town cities.

But as a UK political candidate and advocate of Thailand: I would argue for greater integration of such mega-transport projects with Britain and beyond.

A recent Economics report highlighted 50% of humanity is clustered in Northern India, Eastern China and Indonesia – along with a smattering of European and US cities.

50% of humanity on Bangkok’s doorstep – some 3.5BN people, and likely to increase to c.5BN over the next generation or two.

Surely hispeed rail – and forgive me for a minor piece of Great British flag-waving pride in the Brits and Scots-Canadians who built much of Asia’s railways – is the way forward for investment in sustainable population growth?
Surely Thailand’s investment plan should be fast-forwarding rail links to these 3 (essentially urban) mega-conurbations: Bangladesh to Beijing and the beaches of Bali – all via Bangkok if you will?

Being able to offer such hispeed travel in a day or so from Bangkok to the beaches of Bali or business centres of Yunnan, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing must surely be desirable?

But, more needs to be done, given even Bangkok to Battambang currently proves impossible by rail or with too-clunky border systems from the destruction of Cambodian rail from the Khmer Rouge era. Surely the AIIB and ADB and Thai priority of the next few years?

And only last year the Japanese-funded bridge at Neak Loueng allows for the road link to HCMC, Asia’s 2nd city. Without getting your feet wet on the rather dangerous ferry.

Surely Thai, ASEAN and farang tourists would rapidly fulfil the desired 30M target by Thai Tourism – and 10% of the Thai workforce -with such improvements?

Improvements that along with the rail-links to the deep sea port at Vinh-DaNang would also provide huge Pacific trade links whether TPP happens or not? Not least given the large UK investment in a new DaNang University by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Certainly links more viable than the economic tweaks or major environmental concerns over the unusual Dawei deep sea port project, a port still some decades away and likely to reduce trade and add to overbuild given Yangon port and BKK’s triumvirate at Laem Chabang and Klong Toei and Sattahip, as well as Sihanoukville and Singapore.
And what use are such ports without rail links anyway?

And slightly shame-faced I must confess the flag-waving embarrassment of the UK removing the Kwai rail link from Kanchanaburi into Myanmar after 1945, despite the price paid in blood by thousands of Allied prisoners of war from Britain, Holland, Australia amongst many other nations, and hundreds of thousands Asian workers.

Delivering such mega-transport policies would cement Thailand as a 21st century economy- if handled sustainably with solar power and forestry Climate Change work. Although Visit ASEAN 2017 and even Nha Trang 2016 may be something of a damp squib so far – and the Hanoi 2019 Games a resounding failure – in cohesive ASEAN planning.

Surely the opportunity though is for Thailand’s lead planners to ensure Bangkok as the nodal point not just for the Greater Mekong Subregion mainland, but through to the Indonesian islands and perhaps even through to Australia’s East Coast and largest cities and markets, and all at hispeed rather than creaking along by bus or snail-rail?

Indeed with Thailand as Asia’s Detroit for auto work shouldn’t the huge Indian, Chinese and European car markets be more tightly and better linked by car-rail transporters? And the possibility developed of the Canada, US and Latin American markets reached on dry land via the Bering Strait road/rail tunnel?
Certainly worth considering in advance of the US-ASEAN Summit in California in a fortnight, and latter China-ASEAN Summit.
In comparison, does a Dawei decades-away or China Rail through the empty highlands of Laos really provide the best value for the Thai taxpayer? Funds that would diverted from welfare support such as rubber or rive markets or world-class healthcare and have valid claims to future investment?

Could an SCB-SCG-SRT Partnership deliver on such activity? And with British support? A 3SGB if you will?
The Kent-London HS1 hispeed route with Hitachi, and Channel tunnel link to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam are huge successes of such engineering and investment.

While CrossRail (Europe’s largest construction project) across London (underneath the Underground and the even larger new SuperSewer) from the 2012 Olympics site (the previous largest European project!) in Docklands to Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport and the new 24/7 London Underground this year are similar massive mega-investment successes.

Such a UK-Thai partnership should also assist with say Thai Airways seeking the best slots at Heathrow (yet another UK mega-transport project from this year) or Gatwick or Stansted given such mega-transport coordination from and with Bangkok?

Why wouldn’t the City of London and Britain’s 1M tourists want to be more closely linked to Bangkok? Indeed everyone is already pushing in the same direction: Team Thailand in Europe is already active in seeking to replace the SSI 30% investment in UK. While Team Britain in Thailand is active in supporting not just Bangkok, but also UK investment into the provinces at Khon Kaen or Isaan as a whole, amongst the other Thai regions.

And all the more important given the importance of English as the 2nd language of ASEAN - why wouldn’t a deeper Thai relationship expand the already tripled Chevening scholarships and access to 120 UK universities, and hundreds more 6th form colleges and language schools, and thousands of teachers?

And both nations face similar challenges in China’s 11M graduates each year (larger than the entire Thai or UK youth populations – cited by former UK PM Gordon Brown the UN Envoy for Education) or Thailand’s challenge in the face of English-speaking expertise in much of ASEAN say Singapore and Philippines.

Khun Sutpa’s article is right to highlight the need for a variety of sustainable projects in the economic downturn: something more valid than the economics of paying a man to dig a hole then paying another man to fill it in.

Industries highlighted in her article are relevant for other BKK investment in the sinking skyscrapers of HCMC such as the reworking of the klongs as part of sewer and water purification projects. Why should Singapore be the only Asian capital with drinkable tap water?

And regarding Thailand’s future auto experience systematically regeared to access the Space Industries growth niches to fuel Star City in Kazakhstan. Again ripe for UK collaboration from the 2nd UK astronaut circling above our heads now, and various EU Space Centres.

Surely such activity should feature on the EU and Japan agendas for the G7 Summit in Shima, Japan this May, as part of Asia’s aim to shine at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – as a precursor from the inauguration of the shinkansen for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

While, more prosaically but no less important, as both Sports Diplomacy and trade activity, the Bike for Dad event should stimulate the UK and Thai bicycle industries and even a Tour de Bangkok cycle race could follow hard on the heels of the new Tour de Canterbury and Tour de Yorkshire expansions of that quintessentially French and Belgian event.

While if Britain revels in the French supposed insult of being a nation of shopkeepers, then surely access to UK retail markets for Thai textile and silk arts should also feature prominently in the future?

The appetite in UK is there for greater activity with Thailand for mutual benefit.

It simply needs to be grasped.

Time for Change

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Oh No it’s Essex Police…and UKIP corruption…and Lord Lucan and Carter eaten by lions?

Essex police seem to be trying to outdo TDC in being featured in Private Eye. This week they’re cited for covering up the murder (denied since 2002) of Lee Balkwell it seems he was concussed with a stun gun(!) then crushed by a cement mixer(!) on a farm linked to guns and drugs.

Deny, deny, forensic evidence destroyed, deny, delay and then last October some 13 years later Essex Police quietly settled out of court agreeing on incompetence but denying corruption.

Although one of the retired policemen then confirmed he was part of a corrupt circle of cops working with David Hunt described in High Court as an organised crime lord.

All this hard on the heels last year too of the Same Essex Serious Crime Squad confusing the Goldfinger gangster murder of a shotgun wound to the chest…as a heart attack.

Worth remembering the Essex Police serious crime dept is jointly organised with Kent Police…

And this week TingTong Janice the UKIP MEP for South East cleared by Kent Police of fraud…despite her assistant being filmed faking invoices during the party conference. Presumably the assistant was jailed…or not. Perfectly normal. Not illegal at all. Especially for a British election. Silly me. Silly you.

See the police CCTV point below too.

Again surprising and Janice, to be fair to UKIP, was booted out of the party…but continues to vote in Brussels and joined with various far-right groups such as Marie Le Pen to access more EU funding.
A separate point, I understand the Kent and Essex Police 2,200 cars mentioned below for Meiji Kent procurement reform, applies only to squad cars not transit vans etc etc. Surely car parking is a major issue with such a volume of cars?

Not a good start to the year for the police with the Battle of Dover of far right and far left demonstrations descending into football match hooliganism, while the Met Police – perhaps Britain’s most corrupt police force with their infamous wipe-clean notebooks - seem to have taken over the Kent investigation of Eastenders Sian Blake murder (the alleged murderer was even called Simpson-Kent for goodness’ sake) and surprising to see Kent Police now angling for extra ANPR car reg plate CCTV cameras.

Why? A camera on every street corner? And a helicopter? The Eurocopdrone again? A dozen of them?

You only have to stand on the White Cliffs of Margate and Blue Flag beaches to see the Coastguard failure – with an empty new building and new cars idle - of dozens of ships open berthed rather than in port. Perfect to discharge waste onto the beaches or crash ashore.

Increasing c.130 cameras with an extra 30 or so – yet only one crime a day is solved or tracked by such cameras. Where is the scrutiny? And why are ANPR cameras needed on top of £2M body cameras?

You may remember before Xmas the bizarre calls to fund 30 more guncops in Kent for terrorism on top of the 80 that exist, plus firearms training for other cops.

Getting a few of Essex Crime Squad to surrender might be a better use of police guns.

And now the KP crime statistics revealed with only 17% of rapes solved(!) and only 10% of burglaries solved(!).
£300M a year seems to buy about 10% or so of crimes solved.

Maybe the budget should be £3BN on that basis – unlikely given limit of 1.99% on budgets before a referendum? Or maybe the budget is enough if not too much wasted and more P45’s and paycuts and pension reforms are actually what’s required?

Perhaps emptying the BackOffice of clerks and lawyers too: a ratio of 1:1 ie a clerk for every cop on the beat. Even the most fat-fingered cop doesn’t need their own personal secretary to write up that there’s not much crime and what there is not solved.

While the Kent taxpayer has been bounced back on £500M of Operation Stack police costs supposedly agreed to be funded from central government. Rather unfair on Kent Police especially as one reason cited was their 10% reserves of c.£30M which is hardly excessive compared to many councils’ funds for failures.

Tax is almost as certain as death (unless you’re Google) so why councils sit on anything more than 5% or so baffles me. It should be being spent on the public that fund it.

Granny Barnes and Leaky Borders Bolton and the Invisible Tory Robot PCCers are proving very expensive and weak over police scrutiny.

I’ve made no decision yet but am thinking of standing for Kent PCC. Although I find it outrageous free and fair UK elections seem to require a £5K fee. Why?

And at the other end of the crime spectrum Private Eye reports the SEETEC quango runs Kent, Surrey and Sussex probation services…and is one of two in UK Special Measures for incompetence.
And Essex Police (partly funded by the Kent taxpayer) don’t even know when known gangsters or crime scenes are shotgun blasted or someone stun-gunned.

And Kent Police are twiddling their pretty uniform buttons while thinking of excuses not to investigate the council corruption around Pleasurama the BVI tax haven – one of 16(!) UK-Caribbean tax havens.

And of course we have the shoegazing of our cops worried about investigating the Manston drug flights and Infratil monitors or Ostend airport gunrunning or presumably Lydd.

To the police’s credit they recently made 35 arrests at once(!) for drugs, guns and semtex in East Kent – but no wonder if the jumbo cocaine planes of Manston and Ostend are flying in to Frontline Kent and the Golden Triangle of Benelux every night.

While electoral policing is unbelievably feeble: Kent Police simply ignoring calls to act over the Lib Dem candidate serving civil servant which is specifically illegal.

While LocalCraigMP now has an election won with double the amount of funding allowed by claiming Tory campaigner billeted at Ramsgate Harbour Hotel in the election were centrally funded…errr that’s the point… and unbelievably he’s both MP and Magistrate, what an utter conflict of interest.

And where is Pau Carter? His lameduck reign at KCC continues to the point of invisibility before the elections next year.

Particularly unpleasant KCC racism cropping up with c.600 migrant children supposedly making KCC burst at the seams. Yet KCC has 900 vulnerable children…and another 900 from the rest of UK in Kent. Usually KCC cite the latter as an intolerable burden – can’t they get their racist facts right and how come this twaddle goes in unchallenged for a £2BN organisation with its awful cuts of a percentage point or two? As ridiculous as the 30M Romanians (the whole population) that were supposed to arrive a few years ago.

Remember, no economic plan for Kent or East Kent specifically exists now.


Ground Zero. Year Zero.

While KCC Social Services was effectively disbanded for allowing more kiddyfiddling than a Catholic choirboys awayday to the Top of the Pops studio in 1974.

Aunty Babs Cooper in the Economic Dept seems to be snoozing in her Shackleton high chair if not given up and refusing to venture outside the County Hall Old Folks Home – certainly Grow For It has failed: nothing updated in a year for economic growth hub or something or other. Everything has failed. And East Kent has actually fallen down the UK poverty and mortality leagues.

No wonder with more heroin than an Afghan opium den washing over our streets and the hospitals actually making you sick.

Has Carter done a Lord Lucan and been eaten by Aspinall’s tigers at Kent safari park?
Certainly the pensioners of County Hall look to have him muzzled over Thor mercury and Manston contamination, if not thrown to the lions, before May 2017.

Certainly there’s no action on the Three Lion Cubs of Benelux for East Kent.

Time for Change

• Thank you for the comments on Meiji Kent procurement with Heineken and Panasonic etc – everyone pushing in the same direction for the East Kent economy
• My UK-ASEAN hispeed rail article to follow
• Cameron EU reforms: feeble twaddle seems the fairest overview. Not one of them would prevent migrants from the collapse of Syria or Iraq. And supposedly reclaiming sovereignty already exists and the new variant strangely requires a majority of other national parliaments. Nothing on reforming the massive waste and costs of the EU – a police example with Europol simply duplicating Interpol and announcing a new terrorism centre of clerks – that already exists. Or the NATO HQ of £300M for an office for military clerks to trip over reach other as USA removes its tanks and planes from Europe – as does Britain
• Being in the EU makes lots of political and economic sense – as well as Defence and Climate Change – but not without deeper reform than these empty gestures and delicate wording amounting to nothing. As twaddley as calling for an EU Coastguard – in addition to the existing national ones? Or the existing ones with an extra pretty badge and more clerks pretending they’re doing something – at least 30 more migrants drowned? Where are the Italian, Greek and Spanish and French and Turkish navies and coastguards? Even the UK and USA navy if needed?
• Private Eye also cites Judge Mann one of those involved in the GlickGate barrister and lawyer fraud – no doubt keen for an appearance in the Kent Police panto of Pinocchio..oh yes he is!
• Medway hospital back into Special Measures(!) along with East Kent and the Finance Director sacked with £1M debts per day according to BBCTV
• Medway schools not in Special Measures despite the worst primary schools in UK(!)
• Zika pandemic even worse than I thought: utter WHO incompetence as now it seems it can be spread by sexual contact not just mosquitos – how prepared are Kent hospitals or KCC Public Health. Don’t ask. 630 extra dead Kent pensioners because it’s Winter and a bit cold. And road deaths going the wrong way too no doubt because it can be a bit icy out. KCC saying wrap up warm isn’t realty valuable advice on the rates
• Ridiculous RNLI bloat building a lifeboat station on Margate beach and beach volleyball court (no Winter sports events?) – exactly what was said wouldn’t happen after the Turner was built on the RNLI station site…
• UK to merge DEFRA and UKTI food and drink units to push Great British Food and Drink – why haven’t Produced in Kent gotten onto this to carve out the Garden of England’s fair share? I seem to remember food and drink was Kent’s second or third largest business/employer after tourism
• Kent Oriental Restaurant Association and Two Little Birds coming soon
• The jack Straw FOI review rejects almost every point put to it on tightening up FOI – rather we should have autoFOI of salaries and cars etc – TDC to be fair now issue it all although strangely KCC and KentFire are proving obstructive and vexatious in random refusals. The British Disease of Secrecy – if not Public Sector Amateurism
• Silence on the National Grid weird Nemolink and separate Shard aerial: more later on 100 Se Rd gardengrabbing: RTC picking up the investigation into why what they approved isn’t happening…looks like TDC Planning Dept are out of control. This stuff is basic

Monday, 1 February 2016

Garbutt: Thai-UK tourism opportunity of the future

The Nation opinion piece today on the need to safeguard and expand the critical Thai tourism industry was timely and excellent given the peak of the farang inbound tourism this month.

Thailand’s aim of 30M tourist is similar to the UK – the latter the only non-Asian tourism group to increase in recent years: now almost 1m visitors to Amazing Thailand.

An influx of British tourists that is equivalent to the population of the Rose City of Chiang Mai you mention – almost every month. And double the population of Phuket.

And Britain’s tourist fans of Thailand voted with their feet and stayed - and actually increased - during the recent political troubles - as the Chinese and Russian tourists fled.

And as the UN forecasts tourism as the #1 global industry of the 21st century - and in keeping with the importance to Thailand of over 19% of Thai GDP and 8% of the workforce you mention – then surely a UK-Thai Tourism joint venture would benefit both nations?

At the very least synching the UK in Summer and Thailand in Winter business cycle would benefit both nations’ tourism industries. And your readers may be unaware of Thailand being a top 5 UK focus for growth, and Thai tourists to UK - while a small group - already account for the 3rd largest spend after China and Arabian tourists.

While with UK support, Thai Tourism’s excellent new 12 Unseen Thailand areas for lesser-known sights such as Loei or Chantaburi would help prevent the tsunami of concrete seen around Pattaya and Phuket that will ultimately reduce Thailand’s appeals in the face of newer resorts in Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Perhaps even more dangerous for Thai tourism is an increase in ASEAN tours already promoted in UK of a day in Bangkok, a day at Siem Reap, a day at HCMC and 10 days at DaNang or Phuket or Bagan. Tourists may not even know they’re in Thailand let alone where it is or its culture.

And Thailand’s economy would be the poorer for it.

Or worse, a focus on the Thailand clichés and negatives of yaba and heroin, road deaths, human trafficking, ladyboys and bombs, bayonets or backpacker deaths, that can too often be the face of the Land of Smiles in Europe and USA, are not reversed.

Your readers will almost certainly have seen Bike for Dad in Bangkok and Britain’s Ambassador Kent on a British Brompton bicycle rather than the more usual Jaguar, Bentley or Landrover – but perhaps may not be aware of similar albeit smaller celebrations and support in London.

A sporting support perhaps not unexpected in London, given UK’s expertise from the 2012 Olympics, and sports expertise whether Wiggins or Beckham, and potential for Sports Tourism with Thailand: where were the UK tourists for the Asian Beach Games in Phuket last year? And why are the Thundercastles not playing at Wembley if the Foxes and Gunners are regular visitors to Bangkok?. Surely a shoe-in for a Thai-UK Creative Industries initiative?

As a UK political candidate – the only UK candidate ever with a manifesto in Thai and supporting Thailand: - waving the Union Jack is one thing, but it should fit with Thailand’s Kitchen of the World, OneTambon and Detroit of Asia programmes. The latter is also ripe for UK-Thai cooperation as just one of the new UK auto factories – with Japanese support - already exceeds the production of the whole Italian car industry.

While the Royal Mint UK-Thai new cooperation over producing coins could easily extend to the roses of Rose City or the Orchids of Kent across both nations’ postage stamps, towns and industries.

The UK is one of the very few EU nations with Embassies and British Council and UKTI Trade in every ASEAN nation, and of course with the new Lao Embassy, London is the only EU –if not global - city represented by every ASEAN nation in the Asian Century.

So, an initiative of say a UK-Thai Cooperation League could easily marshal the various Embassies, universities, government ministries and trade organisations and think tanks to deepen existing ties and boost the economies in Tourism etc for both nations.

The Great British and Amazing Thai publics should demand nothing less.

Time for Change


Misc: Tim’s Tibits

• East Kent procurement: the good folks of Waitrose displaying a rather excellent mix of Duracell and Great British Panasonic batteries and worth checking out. Personally, free market and all that I would have added a third choice but they know their stuff with a splendid mix of bumper packs and rechargeable batteries. The Panasonic Meiji East Kent Challenge goes out to Poundland, UK’s No1 battery stockist they say, and Wilkinsons with a rather impressive battery display too albeit no Panasonic

• A few more details on Kent Police Meiji Cars: 2,200 police cars shared between Kent and Essex police c.£15k each that would be £33M over 3-5 years or so: 10% of the KP budget – and that’s without servicing and repairs and whatnot. Shouldn’t these tax budgets be effectively deployed in economic regeneration?

• Strange circular inaction from Amanda Berry again at TDC on the Tonis noisy newsagents issues. Fascinating to see up-close how little TDC does. While with anti-social behaviour (with noise and parking by far the largest public issue) how little TDC does. All the more concerning as that inevitably bounces back to the police. Drop Amanda a line to see what she’s upto on the rates:

• Kent Police crime statistics horrifying - although fairly average for UK: 10% detection rate for burglary and 175 detection rate for rape – looks like defective detectives to me. Even sheep-shagging and tractor robbery in Dyfed, North Wales could only result in 50% arrests. See the Tonis newsagents point above for resource etc…

• That said Kent Police have been very active with Operation Jupiter drugs gangs reform London to the slum towns of Medway and 34(!) drug and gun arrests in East Kent recently – noteworthy that there were “queues of junkies” for the drug dens – and should be rewarded with Operation Jolly BlueBoys Outings; why shouldn’t the main detectives and first-raiders not be rewarded beyond the risk of being machete chopped?

• Even more concerning is the incompetence and bureaucratic shuffle of the Military Police as the Deepcut Barracks murder-suicide of 4 soldiers reopens(!) today – it seems the Military Police rather than Surrey Police were handling a murder investigation(!) and carried out no forensics of uniforms or guns at all and are now lost(!)

• 100SE Rd garden grabbing still ramshackle: Amanda Raymond and Cllr Fairbrass lost their tongue on why 11 flats becomes 13 and RTC silent on why they approved 11 but it becomes 13. Shambolic. If Fairbrass and Shonk can’t get a grip on the planning process then they’re useless and should resign. What kind of Mickey Mouse council doesn’t even follow its own Local Plan? What else are they upto? £17M in wages and pensions is a lot to pay for failure and lies.

• Judge Smithy’s suitcase still in the Lost Property cupboard apparently

• GlickGate: Lord Grabiner and Judge Glick (High Court judges remember) silent on the Hollingworth barrister and lawyer fraud – not denying it mind you just silent pretending it will go away – perhaps they could work the Deepcut inquiry and say forensics were carried out?

• Zika pandemic: unbelievably abysmal safeguards by WHO after the Ebola mess and over a year of braindead children and the mosquito bug spreading throughout Latin America and soon the rest of the world – and when the UK is completely lackadaisical on vaccines etc

• Bizarre G4S and Loomis cash vans and even the cop cars are driving through the pedestrianised High St when they feel like too

• Diversity concerns now over High Court sentencing a black man more likely to be in prison than university – and with higher criminal sentences for similar crimes to a while man. While fewer working class white kids in university. Business Minister Javid also rightly beginning a diversity inquiry with David Lammy for UK schools and universities –even the military eg the Royal Marines with not one black officer – and surely Kent schools need review eg Medway the worst primary schools in UK. Timely given the Oscar diversity complaint (and Lenny Henry speaking out on the lack of diversity in UK television) and USA police 400 shooting deaths (Scottish Police now advising on shooting fewer of your own citizens although they might leave you to die in a ditch in a road accident..)

• Dodgy Thanet election again: an extra £14k of election expenses for Tory LocalCraig ( I cannot understand how you can both magistrate and MP – making laws and carrying them out) for numerous Tory officials staying at the Harbour Hotel through the election – double the expenses they claimed and over double the limit allowed. It makes TingTong Janice look amateurish. So much for a fair and open British election in Kent

• Good though LocalCraig has spoken out about the silly Shard aerial but silent on the increasingly strange Nemo link – how did TDC approve that given SSSI Pegwell bay status