Thursday, 1 December 2016

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

(update points in Misc below)

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

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


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

The worst of all possible worlds.

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

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

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

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

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

Mere delay and waste for their children and grandchildren.

More stale cement projects on the rates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kent and UKIP TDC have nothing except hate.

Time for Change


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A chimps tea party pretending to be a council.



The Story So Far:

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

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

So, well done and huge thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ramsgate Action Group:

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

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

a) Transparency:

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

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

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

b) Accountability:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

c) Sustainability:

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

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

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

Um, like the Bretts Aggregates proposal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Future:

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

There will even be fabulous prizes for the winners.

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

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

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

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

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