Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Kent collapse continues: now Police and Ambulance emergency

Yet more Kent public services in freefall.

That said the decision of Ann Barnes the Kent PCC Police Commissioner to resign without contesting the May election is positive news after a disastrous 5 years of onions and cupasoups and not one but two Yoof Tsars, and mobile police station vans nonsense.

Apart from these specific foolish policies the wider concern is that Barnes was actually doing the job for 10 years before being elected! The question being what on earth was she doing (clearly little of value and a lost opportunity of some 15 years now) and how many more of these woefully incompetent characters have burrowed into Kent public services without scrutiny?

My Police Commissioner manifesto is here:

And a couple of the key points are:

• Abolish the £5k charge(!) for candidates having to stand – how absurd and undemocratic for free and fair UK elections. The Dambusters or Kent’s Channel Dash must be turning in their graves for the pseudo-democracy they fought and died for.
• Climate Change Cops: switch every police station and office and car to solar power and electric cars to pump-prime the electric car industry and charging posts etc – last month the hottest month ever: see Misc below
• Meiji procurement review: 2,000 cars and pretty uniforms and Gucci technology kit
• Frontline Kent: drug den raid every day, and junkie and dealer registry
• Corruption and Contamination inquiry: Manston-Infratil extradition of Fitzgerald and Clarke, Gloag/Stagecoach monitors, Pleasurama, GlickQC – with the One Essex Court scoundrels and Thor
• Rape Nation review: 70k rapes in UK and only 17% solved in Kent - and only 10% of Kent burglaries solved
• Review: illegal parking, machetes and knives and guns sales/amnesty and review of Kent Police guns and ammo
• Road accident review: 49 deaths increasing, 20mph town centre and zero drinkdrive

One point not raised is the Kent town prowl car which, fair enough drives round and round – but the danger is it’s simply driving around and not actually doing anything as illegally parked cars or broken windows and street lights.

I’ve often seen the prowl car going the wrong way down one way streets or prom or simply ignoring cars parked on the pavement. Zero crime through ignoring it is hardly worthwhile. A waste of petrol and salary at best. Maybe a half bottle of whisky on expenses and drinking on duty if they’re bored. It would be interesting to know how many prowl cars per town and how many/what incidents they deal with.

But now the Chairman of SECAMB South East Ambulances Tony Thorne has resigned and the CEO Paul Sutton on gardening leave – both going before the publication of reports on last year’s scandal where 111 calls for ambulances were held back to allow for an extra 10 minute delay than that specified and affected over 20,000 Kent citizens. None of the managers involved had briefed their colleagues, never mind the NHS etc.
Kent Ambulance is rather excellent but this is outrageous delays being masked that could cost lives and even prevent allocation of future new ambulances etc.
Ad beyond these two specific incidents -essentially the walking wounded waiting to be put out of their misery for years of failure, raises wider questions of Kent incompetence – if not corporate manslaughter and corruption.

The litany of failure of leadership and corruption and incompetence in Kent is huge:

• All the Gang of Four at TDC of White, Samuel, Ezekiel and Latchford being resigned and jailed – and only Latchford having the nerve to turncoat and stand for UKIP at KCC but now sidelined as an irrelevance after the collapse of Manston
• Sandys resigning early as MP with the scandal of Manston and Thor and collapse of Pfizer losing 4,000 jobs
• Macgonigal and previous Planning Depot head being resigned: the former tainted with the Moores and Gang of Four 0% salary corruption and the latter with the Pleasurama and Pavilion corruption
• TDC Planning dept scandal over 100 Se Rd gardengrabbing and presumably bungs for breaching TDC’s own Local Plan: Abigail Raymond and Emma Fibbens need to go
• UKIP DIG convulsion: 4 councillors resign within months of UKIP being elected and the stolen Valour fantasy meals scandal
• Ting Tong Janice Atkinson: removed from UKIP over the Margate fraud and Thai racism to her own members – yet bizarrely Kent Police too scared to prosecute despite the incident being filmed so Janice now sits as an Independent in the EU Parliament but usually voting with UKIP and Le Pen – and securing tax funds for the latter
• Negro Roz: resignations for blatant racism and questions over NF memberships and supporters – part of a pattern of repulsive councillors whether Aids Gregory or Bint Harrison or even the Counterfeit Sheikh
• UKIP in totality collapsing within months of being elected – not just revoking its manifesto point to reopen Manston but now revoking its manifesto promise on live animal exports. Their manifesto is now just a blank piece of paper – it seems to have been written in invisible ink and designed merely to be elected knowing their promises were twaddle
• The Manston scandal resulting in Infratil closing all their airports in England, Scotland, Europe and NZ – now only Wellington airport remaining

So what now for Kent?

The cleanout is almost complete. But questions remain.

Questions over the Toxic Three of Carter, King and Wild cling on but a lame duck regime simply keeping their head down to remain in power and refusing to discuss the Manston scandal or Thor scandal or Pleasurama corruption.

Silence too over disastrous projects such as the Road to Nowhere or Manston Parkway railway, along with building the Turner Centre twice and collapse of Dreamland and now the end of the Giant White Horse folly artwork.

Questions now raised over the Ramsgate Town Council proposed increase of 40% in a time of austerity – and silence on why their staff pensions are the second highest in Kent and silence on salaries etc.

Questions over LocalCraig as MP and Magistrate and the Tory corruption expenses highlighted by Channel Four and the Daily Mail.

Questions over whether Madeline Homer is capable of reform at TDC after over a year: the TDC Planning Dept cling on without any credibility waiting for the P45 axe to fall, and silence on Pleasurama and Pavilion megaboozer scandals lingering on – even the delays on Manston and Berry, Button and Sproates role in the corporate manslaughter of fake monitoring poisoning the public.

Questions over abysmal performance of Kent NHS with several hospitals in Special Measures.

Questions over senior salaries given such failure: NHS CEO, KCC CEO and Kent University Chancellor and Police Chief Constable all on nearly £300k salaries not including pensions etc and KCC the most £100k salaries of any UK council.

Questions over delays on FOI and seeking exemptions rather than the required transparency.

Questions over the economic performance of Kent given the collapse of Pfizer and Manston and Glaxo Dartford.

Questions over UKIP at KCC and TDC: nothing done at KCC for 4 years, and are we simply supposed to wait 4 years to replace them at TDC now their manifesto is empty? What should we have expected given both Kent UKIP leaders are failed Tory turncoats, and now found wanting again.

Questions over the silence of MP’s and councillors and civil servants for failing to speak out of the scandals that have no doubt killed hundreds of Kent citizens: Manston and Thor and millions of pounds wasted with Manston monitors or Pleasurama or Pfizer lost jobs, and the blatant breach of UK elections whether the Tory expenses or UKIP fraud and police silence.

We have public services in freefall and in effect paying First World tax for Third World services.

And not one economic plan at KCC or TDC to improve Kent.


With East Kent actually rolling backwards on every Government social and economic measure in the last 3 years.

Our councillors and civil servants are simply hanging on for their salaries and pensions and riding the decline down for as long as they can get away with it.
Our £2BN KCC and £20M TDC plus 12 other District councils, plus £250M police, plus £80M fire brigade plus the billions in Education and NHS every year…have actually made things worse.

Barnes has gone and Carter must go.

Kent is in freefall.

Time for Change

• Frontline Kent: the second largest haul of guns in Dover with various Latvian pistols – as the Old Bailey trial begins for the Rochester marina, UK largest haul of machine guns
• Shard Aerial bumbles along with Nemolink: given Pegwell Bay aren’t these sorts of silly proposals supposed to be automatically rejected?
• 2nd Deepcut inquiry likely to begin into Trooper Benton’s death: suicide by 5 bullets
• Manston/SHP: weak consultation organised and run by themselves is hardly credible – and silence over Gloag and Stagecoach paying for the missing monitors and fines when she ran Manston as an airport
• Lydd runway extension stalling - presumably still run by ex-Manstoner Charles Buchanan – the sooner he’s arrested for the Manston crimes the better
• Time to end Conflict Minerals in public sector computers and phones and cars.
• Christopher Nolan Dunkirk movie: no further news but presumably Kent Film Office would be pushing to have it filed at Chatham Dockyard…? All the more reason for EKFOS.
• US-ASEAN Summit over with no great changes but presentations by Cisco, Microsoft and HP
• G77 Summit in May in Turkey and G7 Summit in Japan in June: key issues for Climate Change and G7 (and G20) achieving 0.7% aid target
• Astonishing Graphene scandal detailed in Sunday Times of the new labs half-empty and most of the UK investment provided to a Taiwan company. Another lost opportunity for UK plc, and exports, with graphene 200x stronger than steel and more flexible than rubber and atomised water filtration and electrical super-conduction.
• UK steel industry now has UK support with £100M state aid to Scunthorpe – that was supposedly impossible and illegal
• International Women’s Day last week – but no real policies on how to improve things for women. And the real problems of FGM and Child Marriage could easily be made illegal in Africa and India – just as the vote at 16 is a global requirement given the dichotomy of a younger and ageing world
• Hinckley nuclear plans disastrous with EDF FD resigning: nuclear missiles and power and radiation have no place in the 21st century
• New Un Secretary-General election rules still shrouded in mystery despite the election supposedly happening in June. Shambolic. And the only candidates so far the usual secret Buggins Turn rota - now East Europeans. And not one manifesto. Time for open elections for anyone over 16 and the UN parliament long agreed but long delayed.
• Mars explorer rocket blasts off this week. Time for a woman on Mars before 2030 under the UN flag: petty nationalism has no place in space.
• President Obama describes UK and EU role in Libya as “a shit show” which seems accurate for the dismal failure of foreign policy in North Africa and Middle East – whether the collapse of Libya and Iraq and Yemen and Somali or dictators such as Assad of Syria and Bashir of Sudan clinging on. And UK RAF involvement in Syria has been empty political posturing with only 7 missile strikes in 3 months with even the Russians now scaling back airstrikes – there’s simply nothing left to blow up, and certainly nothing worth a million pound missile or risking a pilot’s death or capture.
• The harsh reality is that Broken Nations such as Libya or Somalia can only be fixed (however imperfectly but certainly less than the tribal bloodletting of the moment) through boots on the ground and a Stability Force – the Americans are right it should be led by European forces in its backyard whether or not with Egyptian support in Libya, or Kenya in Somalia or formal UN Protectorates. And how embarrassing that the French and Spanish and Italian and Greek coastguards and navies prove so ineffective or idle in having to rely on a UK and Canadian and German ships to help safeguard the 5 year Syrian exodus of 5M refugees and 500k deaths in the Mediterranean.
• EU last week calls for arms export ban on Saudi Arabia - the main UK defence industry focus for fighter jets and corrupt Saudi prince massive slush fund schemes such as Kent MP Jonathan Aitken’s Al-Yamamah scheme, or the Sangcom scheme – the latter funding dozens of UK civil servants and soldiers to administer it.
• Kent air ambulance: now 2 helicopters which is good but why is the annual budget of £16M funded by charity? It’s peanuts compared to its value to the public with road accidents etc. Why with 20 helicopters are Police Air Force not funding it or from the £250M Kent Police budget? Or the 400 helicopters of the Army Air Corps? We seem to have lavish equipment budgets simply not used.
• Increasingly I think blood and organ registers are required with the police and other public services. Advances in medical surgery require more and more blood in operations: a lack of blood is simply not tolerable. While hundreds of people dying from lack of organ donations is outrageous. And as part of their routine Pandemic vaccination programmes (is your tetanus etc upto date?).
• A quirk of the NHS is that it’s almost impossible to get your blood group or to find out what vaccinations and boosters are required) for TB etc the police could provide blood groups and be on monthly standby if there are blood shortages. Similarly voluntary organ donations, but also updates from road accidents etc. One other quirk is European expats in Asia and Africa sometimes struggling with rare blood groups being available, and also black citizens with sickle cell problems, and the police could liaise with international hospitals and blood banks and the good folks at Red Cross.
• Rotary are active with their excellent medical Fridge Bottle scheme (and spectacles/ey surgery for Third World) which should be rolled out – with police/NHS funding for door stickers etc.
• And I’d highlight the new Left is Life programme to carry ICE (ICE: In Case of Emergency) emergency details and medicine etc in your left-hand pocket. While a colour-coded plastic bracelet on the left wrist would highlight specific medical problems eg Black for general Left is Life supporter, Red for previous heart attack etc etc. Does the NHS have a standard colour-code system for the main/recurring medical problems? Shouldn’t these be taught in schools with the SDG2030? And all schoolkids given their own ICE card with their address and emergency numbers?
• Similarly the 112 emergency number (in UK and rest of EU) needs raising more widely around the world and telecoms reforms to at least: 112, 911 and 999. Similarly the 101 non-emergency number which I think unfortunately in India brings only the Fire Brigade. If you speak Hindi. Thailand is very active with a Tourist Police number: 1155 and English speakers: shouldn’t UK have same for foreign tourists and residents? A 103 number or use the Thai number for consistency?
• Tesco pledges this week to reduce all food waste in its stores by next year through selling it off cheap, taking wonky veg from suppliers and providing edible food to food banks and charities which is excellent. Presumably even inedible food is provided to pig farms or for fertiliser? What are other supermarkets doing? And credit to the good folks at Barclays in refusing to speculate on food investments – helping reduce famine and malnutrition. If your bank doesn’t or won’t then switch.
• The silent famine in South Sudan highlighted by Oxfam- again boots on the ground is the only long-term solution for such Broken Nations. Otherwise what are our military for?
• SDG 2030: now begun as of 1st January – I just can’t help thinking that 15 years to achieve them is far too long. The similar UNMDG took 15 years from a standing start and achieved most of the goals eg 90% of kids in school. Building on those goals shouldn’t take another 15 years. Does any research exist on which SDG2030 can be achieved before 2020 and which ones before 2025? At the very least the 3rd set of SDG will be to be achieved before 2035.
• An interesting article on Chinese naval/air bases beyond the Spratlys: Djibouti/Suez, Namibia/Cape and even Azores/Med. Maybe they’’ll buy up Guantanamo/Panama and Falklands/Cape and complete the set? A minimal cost for the world’s largest population and economy (although much weaker in GDP per head – just as the Russian economy is smaller than Holland’s) and 2M men under arms: the same as the EU and USA put together. But perhaps an argument for UK to divest Gibraltar to Spain and Falklands to Argentina as fellow-democracies.
• Nobody would suggest say the Isle of Wight as a Chinese base but certainly no more absurd than Hong Kong or the Falklands or Gibraltar being a UK colony/base. Indeed China has always been a land power and with 11m university graduates each year – equivalent to the whole generation of under-16 population of UK, indeed almost double the population of London – its strength lies in its human capital, and the eventual reunification of Taiwan and Korea. Indeed Russia has more specific concerns with only 8M population in the Siberian Far East and concerns over the Kuriles and Sakhalin.
• Northern Belle 1857 Kent shipwreck: where are the c.12 USA Presidential bravery medals?
• Let’s not discuss UK literacy rates of 99% for a reading age of 8 at 16 – how inadequate.
• Climate Catastrophe: the latest figures show not just 2015 as the hottest year ever (as part of the hottest decade ever), and not just both January and February 2016 the hottest months ever, but also the hottest month-on-month temperature increase ever, and the lowest ever levels of Arctic pack ice. What are KCC and other public sector organisations doing for Climate Change in Kent? Nothing. How silly.
• Surprising report in the Times that only 1% of coffee cups from Costa and Starbucks etc are recycled. Surely that’s the easiest piece of recycling, with even the cardboard sleeves just reused? It astonishes me that there aren’t recycling depots much as GPO letter sorting offices to sift through all rubbish and ensure the recycling is maximised. At the very least it would also create thousands of jobs.

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