A sad probate clearance this week, the books of one of my better customers, his books were mostly about guns and the American Civil War, we conspired together to produce reprint of a Victorian Ramsgate gunsmiths catalogue which we both enjoyed doing.
He had quite a few of my own publications in his book collection, this is the first time I have had any back in as secondhand stock, they all seemed to be in perfect condition, but I put them in to the sale with the ones that got faded in the widow display, so there are a few bargains to be had there.
Click here for a bit more about the gun catalogue, I will put some sample pages up another day, the original image files got lost in some computer drama that I had some time ago so it isn’t a straightforward task.
There are some rather odd messages coming out of TDC relating to local blogs at the moment. A recent agenda of the TDC Standards Committee revealed that the monitoring officer says “misinformation is consuming a vast amount of officers time” and that a lot of the council’s internal workings is “finding its way onto blog sites”.
Nearly all of my comments about the council’s actions on this blog relate to major issues of public safety, like protecting our water supply, ensuring people can escape from the Pleasurama development in a tidal surge storm or that dangerous cliff collapses are avoided.
TDC seems to have lost site of what their purpose is, instead of guaranteeing that the wishes of the electorate are carried out, they seem in many cases to have a secret agenda supporting unsuitable or unsafe developments against our wishes.
The council has got this completely the wrong way round, it is wasting an enormous amount of officers time by not publishing basic information on its own website, things like the contaminated land register are important documents that effect public safety and should be readily available.
TDC seems particularly concerned to hide the views of the electorate, there does not seem to me to be any reason that public consultations and major planning applications should not be published on the internet in a way that the public can comment and others can view these comments.
A prime example of this is the government planning site where the public can comment on planning applications and on the site it says that these comments can be viewed by other members of the public.
When I did so recently and my comments failed to appear, I contacted the site administrator only to be told that TDC had elected to hide comments from members of the public. By applying pressure via the LGO I managed to get the council to publish the statutory consultees documents for the China Gateway development, these documents relate to protecting our drinking water supply and people flying into Manston airport and a variety of pollution issues.
There really is no reason that I can see why TDC couldn’t publish consultations on blogger where we could comment and others could see our comments, this also has the added advantage of being free.
When talking to council officers I find that the main problem is a core of experienced and able officers in the middle doing the bulk of the real work, a group of inexperienced officers incapable of doing their jobs properly. This is all made worse by several senior officers trying to curtail the power of the experienced and qualified officers, while supporting those less able and more malleable.
When talking to councillors, I have become aware that the cabinet has made itself into a ruling clique, spurning the offers of help from the other councillors even when they bring expertise in specialist fields.
So yes important people within our local government are disaffected making much information available to bloggers, however I must stress that most of this information should be available on the councils own website.
I have had a difficult week with printers which is running on into today, to produce the local books I have 4 printers, one is a big black and white hp printer and today it’s throwing a wobbly. It has a very odd fault in that it’s very difficult to get it to print the f1rst page of anything but once it gets going it’s fine, it stops and says it’s jammed when it isn’t about 10 times and then off it goes, all rather trying.
I have printed over a million A4 pages since I started producing the local books 3 years ago, have had a lot of paper jams and ink blockages one way or another but today’s fault is a new one.
One of my Epson inkjet boarderless printers that I use to print the covers with has developed a mind of its own and keeps putting boarders on two sides, seemingly totally at random too.
Oh and finally this video clip appears to be of a younger Gordon Brown admitting to having done what Damian Green has just been accused of.