Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sunday ramble


China Gateway

CGPs chairman’s statement is published click here to read.

There is also an Independent Auditors Report it’s a fairly large PDF document so some computers may have difficulties with it click here for it

This is a very important development for Thanet and my concern from the beginning has been that TDC appears to have given CGP unrealistic advice as to what would be allowed in terms of drainage.

Personally I can’t see any way that the existing plans for phase 1 can be drained within the constraints imposed by the EA, Southern Water and KIA, certainly no realistic drainage plans have appeared on the councils planning website.

I have asked various TDC planning officers about the site drainage and none of them have been able to explain how it could be drained, so until this problem is resolved the whole project seems very uncertain to me.

I went for a short walk yesterday and took a few pictures, walking around Thanet is always a thought provoking process as a lot of the problems seem to be caused by red tape click here for the pictures

Ramsgate’s dodgy dance floor

Around the bandstand on the eastcliff the coloured concrete dance floor and surrounding steps is disintegrating, one aspect of this that is very problematic is that this disintegration provides lose lumps of concrete for miscreants to throw from the cliff top.

I am told that there isn’t enough money in the kitty to repair it properly and in practice I think it would have to be completely replaced.

Probably the only affordable solution would be to tarmac it instead but of course it is a protected area in a conservation area, so it is unlikely this would be allowed.

Pleasurama.

Once again we are heading into the summer with Pleasurama a deserted building site, interesting to see people parking on the previous road layout that was never used, this business with slabs and coloured concrete as an alternative to parking and leisure facilities really is strange.

I will have another go at putting pressure on the council next week to try and get the site cleared, as you see from the pictures its an unsightly dangerous unsecured mess.

Not much wrong with Ramsgate sands it’s hard to imagine a town could have such a feature with a large council owned plot of land immediately behind and not exploit this better.

Maritime Museum

Still slow progress here but at least progress, the trouble here is that TDC doesn’t seem to understand that what the new museum operators need is to be able to be open during the holidays.

It is certainly a bit worrying to see windows that have been boarded up due to vandalism.

Thanet District Council is using Twitter I expect loads of you already know this but I couldn’t get on with Twitter so have taken while to catch up click here to follow TDC on Twitter.

It’s a bit sad to see that most of the historic boats have gone from the harbour, I believe this is probably due to the council stopping concessionary mooring fees for them, highly cost effective as nothing is mooring where they were.


As you can see from them pictured last year they were a very cost effective tourist attraction, right in the middle of the café culture that is developing on Harbour Parade.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Steve Ladyman’s expenses appear in the Daily Telegraph

“Stephen Ladyman claimed property in Ramsgate as second home with a £1,000 monthly mortgage interest between 2005 and 2008.Charged for regular £80 cleaning bills, £95 utilities, £50 telephone bill and £340 for food”

Once again as I did with Roger Gale I should stress that Steve is one of the MPs to take us for the least and both he and Roger obviously stayed well within the rules.

However I am not so very happy about £4,000 a year food bill in terms of what he costs us £137,559 he is so close to Roger as to make no difference.

Click here for Steve on they work for you and here for his own online expenses interesting as he is one of the MPs that publish receipts online, however I believe the food expenses are unreceipted.

Although in business I believe I could claim against income tax for staff entertainment and entertaining foreign clients, although I never do I certainly wouldn’t be able to claim a bean without a receipt.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Roger Gale’s expenses appear in the Daily Telegraph

“Roger Gale claimed £624.98 for a television and stand and £250.30 for a TV aerial. Also claimed £1,700 for redecoration, plumbing and electrical works at his second home in London”

Ed. I waited to add my thoughts on this one until my ire cooled a little, as I didn’t want to seem unreasonably critical of Roger and as he ranks 446th out of 645 this puts him in the top 200 in terms of MPs that have fleeced us the least.

£875 just to watch TV, the trouble is that our MPs have lost touch with the real world, it doesn’t seem to matter much that some of them are saying sorry and paying the money back.

Rogers total expenses last year were £137,337 click here for some more detail, the problem for me is once one realises that part of there expenses look unreasonable one starts to wonder about the rest.

Now for me being in business if I got caught having made an unjustifiable expense it would trigger a tax inspection, by that I mean that the taxman would have a very close look at my books and if there was much wrong with them I would be looking at fines, prison and bankruptcy.

It is no excuse saying MPs wages are too low as MPs know what their wages will be when they stand for election.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

MPs expenses the forthcoming elections and protest voting

I find I am still looking at my postal ballot papers in a state of indecision, it is an awful admission but always in the past I have been a floating voter, voting either voting Labour or Conservative essentially trying to chose the lesser of two evils.

A long period of Labour government nationally and Conservative government at County and District level have left both my town and my country considerably more unpleasant places to live.

As far as European elections go it’s all a bit of a mystery to me, but looks like another great expenses and allowance jamboree, with MEPs doing very little to represent my interests which are essentially curbing the masses of daft legislation produced by the army of Brussels bureaucrats.

So the bottom line here is there any vote that would contribute to making anything better, at County level for instance would Labour do better, here in Ramsgate much of the infrastructure that KCC is responsible for is falling apart, roads, pavements and cliff façades in particular.

My two KCC councillors at the moment are both Labour, good conscientious people who respond to problems and try to resolve them, the main difficulty for me though is Labour at county level want to do away with grammar schools, and Ramsgate’s grammar schools are two of the very few publicly funded facilities that haven’t been closed.

The problem with voting for the main parties at the moment is that one feels that one is condoning what our MPs have done, for me most especially Gordon Brown refused his grace and favour flat when he was chancellor, and then did a house swap so he could claim large second home expenses on his house in Scotland.

If he had resigned as prime minister and been replaced with a prime minister that hadn’t abused the system I wouldn’t be so annoyed.

I believe talking to people I meet every day that much of the voting public is as stunned and confused as I am, we had a system of government that we called a democracy and everyone told that this was a good thing, but now it looks as though our system of government turns out to be a bad thing hiding behind a good name.

What is most abundantly clear is that the government should present options for reform and put these options to the people in a referendum.

Mr boring’s blog

My wife and son commented to me that after I had posted a particularly boring press release here I should rename this blog Mr Boring’s Blog, Thanet District council promise me that it is their intention to publish their press releases in a timely manner with proper page feeds, however this is likely to take some time.

So I have set up a new blog with the intention of publishing local press releases and recently published TDC documents at http://thanetpress.blogspot.com/ I will try to get the various press officers to cooperate by becoming team members and putting them up themselves.

I would appreciate it if the other bloggers could link to it as I have done.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Recent documents published by Thanet District Council,

27/05/2009 - Minutes published: Meeting of May 20 2009 7:00PM, Planning Committee

'Housing Prosecution'

Thanet district Council press release,

A Broadstairs landlord has been fined £1,000 for operating a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without a licence in what’s believed to be one of the first cases of its kind in Kent.

Since April 2006, HMOs that are three or more storeys and are occupied by five or more persons must be licensed under laws introduced by the government to improve the physical conditions and management standards of HMOs. Failure to licence such premises without reasonable excuse is an offence, punishable by a fine of up to £20,000.

The prosecution, by Thanet District Council, came after the council discovered in early 2008 that 45 West Cliff Road in Broadstairs was a licensable HMO. An HMO is a property occupied by more than one household. Examples include properties used as bedsits and shared houses.

Following the discovery, the owner and manager of the premises, Alan Chamberlain (58) of Pierremont Avenue was asked by the council to make an HMO licence application. By July 2008, the council had not heard from him, so demanded that a valid licence application be made within 21 days.

This deadline was not met, so officers from the council’s Housing Improvement Team visited the premises in August 2008 to check whether they were still operating as a licensable HMO. The inspection revealed that Mr. Chamberlain had ignored the council's advice and the operation was continuing.

In a case heard at Thanet Magistrates Court last week (Thursday 21 May), Mr. Chamberlain pleaded guilty to the offence and was fined £1000, to which a £15 victim surcharge was added. He was also ordered to pay a contribution of £100 towards the Council's prosecution costs.

Brendan Ryan, Director of Community Services, said: "HMOs are often linked to bad management and anti-social behaviour. This is why HMO licensing is so important, as it helps us to ensure that tenants are kept safe and neighbours are not unduly disturbed. The council's Housing Improvement Team has been helping landlords to get to grips with the legislation over the last three years, but now it is time to get tough. Those landlords willing to flout the law will be prosecuted. Not only do we have a duty to safeguard tenants and neighbourhoods, but we also have a duty to good landlords to make sure we deal with the rogues. Otherwise, it is not a fair playing field. Thanet has many good landlords and the Council actively works with many of them through its Landlord Focus Group and Landlord Events. So, Good landlords must be supported and encouraged, as the private rented sector is a key component of the housing market. If anyone has an HMO that they think might be licensable, they should contact the Council for advice as soon as possible."
Further information and application packs are available from the Housing Improvement Team, who can be contacted on 01843 577437

Council mess up over ballot papers

I just received my postal vote ballot papers, on opening them I discovered that the ones for Ramsgate parish council were missing, so phoned TDC, not easy as their help line was chock a bloc.

I was told that all of the Ramsgate parish council ballot papers will be sent out separately, that is first class post both ways paid for by us the taxpayer.

David Cameron: We need a radical redistribution of power

Laura Sandys press release

http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2009/05/David_Cameron_Fixing_Broken_Politics.aspx
I urge you to read this speech by David Cameron, addressing the expenses issue and trust in MPs, but going much further and laying out a new way of government, a reinvigorated Parliament with the people at the heart of our democracy.

As a member of the Democracy Taskforce that published several reports over the last few years on reforming Government and Parliament it was very good to see many of our proposals at the heart of David’s speech.


He warned that people feel "increasingly powerless" and "at the mercy of powerful elites that preside over them" – and outlined plans for a "massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power”:


"From the state to citizens; from the government to parliament; from Whitehall to communities. From Brussels to Britain; from judges to the people; from bureaucracy to democracy."

He promised a Conservative Government would "replace bureaucratic accountability with democratic accountability" with local control over schools, housing and policing and more elected mayors.


He pledged to cut the number of MPs, publish all parliamentary information online in an open-source format, and curb the power of whips in parliament and spin doctors in the government.


The number of people that I know in Thanet – mothers, fathers, social workers, small business people, the retired - their views need to be respected. Everyone is part of the solution – with support and decisions from the community we as a country can succeed.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

CLEAN SWEEP TACKLES PROBLEMS ACROSS THANET

Thanet district Council press release,

The latest Operation Clean Sweep has uncovered a series of issues at properties across Thanet.

The council led operation also involves officers from Kent Police, the UK Border Agency, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Kent County Council.

Last week (week beginning Monday 18 May), for the first time, the operation targeted properties across Thanet that are of interest to the various organisations involved in Clean Sweep.

Five suspected illegal immigrants were found by the UK Border Agency in Ramsgate, Westbrook and Margate. Planning and housing officers from the council have uncovered an unauthorised House in Multiple Occupation in Margate, with another suspected unauthorised HMO discovered in Cliftonville at a property that had been visited on a previous Clean Sweep operation.

Further planning concerns have been raised about a property in Ramsgate, where unauthorised car sales were taking place, with the building used for unauthorised storage, while an unauthorised car wash was found in Birchington.

In Westbrook, a take away voluntarily shut for 24 hours to clean up their kitchen, following a visit from the Clean Sweep team, while in Westgate, another takeaway was found to be open for breakfast, even though a condition of the planning approval was that it should open from 11am. Two properties are now also under investigation amid suspicion that they fraudulently obtained electricity. A man was also arrested for indecent exposure in Cliftonville.

Principal Enforcement Officer, Steve Albon, said: "Once again, Operation Clean Sweep has proved to be a great way of identifying problems that we can tackle. This new approach has allowed us to visit properties across Thanet, some of which were checked on previous operations, and we've had some excellent results. It's been a high profile operation, allowing people to see us out and about tackling the issues that matter to them."

CUTTING CRIME IN DANE VALLEY

Thanet district Council press release,

A major new initiative to improve life in Dane Valley has seen overall crime levels in the area cut by 6.5%, compared to the previous year.

The work has been led by the Thanet Community Safety Partnership, with representatives from Kent Police, Thanet District Council's housing, sports development and waste and recycling teams, Kent Trading Standards, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Probation Service and local youth groups. In response to complaints from local residents, the group came together to work jointly on improvements in the area.

Those have already included graffiti removal by community payback teams and regular litter picks by the Hang 10 youth group, helping to improve the appearance of the area.

As part of their Safer Spring initiative, the police have also been focusing their resources into the area, particularly on weekend evenings, with high visibility patrols, carrying out 70 stop and searches. These resulted in four seizures of alcohol, two seizures of cannabis and five arrests.

Feedback from residents that more was needed for young people on the estate to do has led to activities on every weekday night, with Pie Factory Music Youth Club using SureStart on Monday evenings with sessions for eight to 13 year olds between 6pm and 7.30pm and a Young Persons Group at SureStart on Tuesday evenings between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Wednesday nights are football with the local Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) Ross Meek and Nick Underwood, while Charton Athletic bring their coaching to the area on a Thursday night. There's a final opportunity to enjoy more football on Friday nights between 4pm and 6pm with Sport 4NRG, followed by bowling with the PCSOs.
Details of these activities are being displayed on new notice boards that have been put up by Thanet District Council housing in the area.

A street party, to celebrate D-Day and to bring people in Millmead together, is also being held next week (Wednesday 3 June) on the green next to SureStart Millmead between 3.30pm and 5.30pm.

Community Safety Officer Tiffany Hall said: "The work that's been going on in Dane Valley over the past few weeks has made a huge difference. This initiative has brought together a huge number of organisations, all working together to improve the area and it's also had a great impact on starting to bring the community together as well. The Community Safety Partnership is here to respond to people's concerns and that's what we've done in this case.

She added: "Anyone who wants to have their say on what we're doing can get involved with PACT meetings - partners and communities together. The community action group meets on a regular basis and is a great way to make your voice heard. To find out more, call SureStart on 280666."

INTERIM ASBOS EXTENDED

Thanet district Council press release

Nine interim ASBOs against people believed to be responsible for numerous acts of anti-social behaviour in Newington have been extended until August.

It comes after the case against the nine, who all live in Ramsgate, was adjourned until August, due to one of the nine having their GCSE exams on the final two days of the original planned court case. The new dates for the trial, which will take place in Folkestone, have been fixed as Monday 10, Friday 14, Wednesday 19, Thursday 20 and Friday 21 August.

The interim ASBOs were first granted in December 2008, following a civil case brought by Thanet District Council and supported by Kent Police, on behalf of the Thanet Community Safety Partnership. These orders, which carry the same weight as full orders, remain in force until Friday 21 August and will become a criminal offence if they are breached.

The orders mean that they cannot congregate together in groups of more than three in a public place anywhere in Thanet or go near any of the witnesses in the case. Insulting or offensive behaviour, throwing items or behaviour likely to cause harassment are also covered by the interim orders.

Community Safety Coordinator Jessica Bailey said: "Although it's frustrating that the court case has been adjourned until August, we have at last seen interim ASBOs against all nine extended until the end of the court case. These restrictions apply anywhere in the district and not just in the Centre, Harbour Street or Ramsgate town centre and, if there are any breaches, then we can act on that. This extra time also gives us the opportunity to get any other statements about incidents that may have occurred more recently. I would strongly urge anyone with information about anti-social behaviour by these individuals or anything that may be a breach of these interim orders to get in touch with us."

If anyone has any concerns about anti-social behaviour in the Newington area, they can contact their local PCs, who are Mel Geeves and Chris Wiltshire on either 07870 252880 or 07980 770678, while the ward PC for Central Harbour is Phil Morley, who can be contacted on 07800 675388. The local PCSOs are Nathan Prentice and Gareth Foreman and they can be contacted on 07772 226199 or 07772 226130.

Standards Appeals Sub-Committee

Recent documents published by Thanet District Council,

Bit of a question mark this one the meeting is at 5 pm today and they haven’t published the agenda yet, anyone know what it’s about?

MPs Expenses Scandal

South Thanet Labour Party Press Release

South Thanet Labour Party held an emergency meeting on Friday (22nd May) to discuss the current political situation and reaffirm its confidence in local MP, Steve Ladyman.

Chairman, Alan Poole, said after the meeting:

"Labour Party members feel very angry about the scandal of MPs expenses and wanted to make their views known to our national party leaders. Thankfully, we have in Steve Ladyman an MP who has been honest and open about his expenses but our view is that those MPs who have let our Party down should not be allowed to stand as Labour MPs."

"Labour Party Members and South Thanet Constituents are appalled and dismayed that some MPs, of all parties, have been abusing the allowance system. I applaud Steve for publishing his allowance claims on his website."

"The local Party was able to give Steve a vote of confidence but have asked him to take a very clear message back to the Prime Minister that what has gone on is just not acceptable. We are especially angry that some MPs have been able to 'flip' their properties to maximise their expense claims and speculate in the property market. Any Labour MPs or ministers that are found to have done this must be made to stand down."

At the same meeting South Thanet Labour Party confirmed its opposition to the part privatisation of Royal Mail.

Note to editors:

The following resolution was proposed and unanimously agreed:

This General Committee of South Thanet Labour Party having studied Steve Ladyman's allowance claims found them to be appropriate and proper and thanked him for his honesty and integrity. The Committee unanimously expressed their confidence in MP, Steve Ladyman.

Steve's Website where details of his expenses have been placed is http://www.stephenladyman.info/

Monday, 25 May 2009

Kent County Council Elections, their broken website and councillors expenses

Still on the subject of the forthcoming elections the lists of Thanet candidates for the KCC elections are on the TDC website only in pdf format which is fine if your computer has The program installed and is powerful enough to run it properly, click on the link to view them there http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/cllrs_democracy__elections/elections_and_voting/elections_4_june_2009.aspx

If not I have published them at http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id108.htm this particular pdf document is a bit of a dogs dinner so when I tried to convert it into HTML all its columns vanished, so you will have to put up with images of the documents here.

I can usually overcome this problem by using search engine cached pages of pdf files that are in HTML but as TDCIT hasn’t tagged the pages no search engines have found them. It’s all a bit sad really, a bit like if I put my books for sale on the internet in a funny file format without tagging the pages so no one ever found them and I went bankrupt.

I have been trying to find out what the different candidates have to offer which is a bit of a time consuming business, I haven’t received any election material from any of the candidates or parties so far and internet wise coverage is patchy.

Now I really don’t like to be constantly complaining about our local councils IT but with the limited amount of time I have their websites are an important resource to me, once again I see no alternative, so here I go again.

The KCC website in this instance is even worse than the TDC one, it hasn’t even lists of candidates just a busted crazy map that takes you to pages without the information it says will be there this is what it says here http://www.kent.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/democracy-and-elections/elections/ Find out the candidates that are standing for election in your area click on it an see what you get.

If any of the candidates wish to send me links to their websites or material to publish by email if they haven’t got a website I am happy to publish the links or the material here.

In view of the current expenses disaster and in order to find out who your existing county councillors are click on the link for a list of their allowances and expenses http://www.kent.gov.uk/publications/council-and-democracy/member-allowances2008-09.htm once again funny file formats that may not open on some computers, so I have put them up in HTML something that anyone can view on any old computer. Click on the link to view them. http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id109.htm

As you can see at £1,762,906.72 they don’t come cheap so we want to get the right ones, don’t we?

I wonder which councillor is responsible for making sure KCCIT performs properly, one would think that the part of their website about the forthcoming election would work properly.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

European elections southeast protest vote

With over 100 candidates to vote for I have to admit to being totally confused, click on the link to view them all on the TDC website http://www.thanet.gov.uk/docs/SoPN%20-%20version%202.doc on second thoughts don’t bother as it’s part of the wonder of TDCIT, so it is so small that you can’t actually read it on most monitors.

I have just gone and done the job properly so click on this link instead http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id107.htm see what I mean a formidable list.

To be perfectly honest before the expenses scandal it was my intention to vote for the Conservatives, so there was no problem with this complex table, now I wish to register some sort of protest vote.

My reason is simple, even David Cameron one of the least besmirched of our Conservative politicians has paid back expenses money that he wouldn’t have done, had the Daily Telegraph not published details of his claims.

Now although I want this to be a protest vote, I don’t want this to be a wasted vote, after the expenses issue it’s not going to the Lib Dems Conservatives or Labour and I certainly won’t be voting for the BNP, so my problem now is who to vote for.

By that I mean which other candidates have a cat in hell’s chance of getting in and do any of the candidates have views that I broadly support. There is also the side issue of do any of the candidates have any connection with this part of Kent and would they be aware of Thanet’s problems?

I suppose one option here is to vote for UKIP but there seems something a little incongruous about voting for a party to have seats in a parliament they want no part of.

For me the single biggest issue at the moment is that we are reaching a point where ordinary people are scared to venture onto our town centre streets in the evening, my customers come from all over the south east and I have recently heard this said about the following towns: Margate, Broadstairs, Canterbury and St Albans.

I am not talking about frail old ladies here but ordinary chaps between 18 and 65 and frankly I am becoming reluctant to walk out of my own front door in evenings.

So before voting for any politician I would like their views on this issue and their possible solutions to it.

I am also very concerned about environmental issues, particularly those relating to Thanet, so perhaps I should vote for the Green Party, but I have reservations about what I believe to be their views on costal defences, the view that many of them should be abandoned and nature be let to take its course, as this would have disastrous consequences for Thanet.

In terms of Europe my main concern is to have MEPs that will curb the worst of the excesses of the unelected Brussels bureaucrats that are writing much of the legislation that now governs Britain, much of which is unworkable in practice.

Investigation of the European Parliament website has confirmed that there is some sort of proportional representation in place I am afraid to say that my ignorance of the European parliament is really showing now. The trouble is that when we first voted to join the EEC it was that, an economic community and it’s position as a governing and legislative organisation has crept up on me pretty much unawares.

I am so used to the first past the post system that I pretty much only ever voted Labour or Conservative and frankly it’s only since my recent brushes with the council and an awareness of our society breaking down that I have taken more than a passing interest in politics.

The framework of alliances that form the European political parties is different to what I am used to click on the link to see your existing MEPs http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public/geoSearch/search.do?country=GB&zone=South+East&language=EN if you then click on the individual MEP’s name you can see their party as one would understand it in the UK.

It would also appear from what David Cameron has been saying that the Conservatives intend to align them selves in a different way, although I don’t really understand this properly.

The one good thing to come out of the MPs expenses issue is that it has made me think seriously about how I am going to vote in the European elections, with the local elections I always vote for individuals that have responded to and helped resolve issues that I have raised in the past, so there is no problem choosing here and I will be making no protest vote in these elections.

I am now wondering if it is possible to get the views of the over 100 candidates standing and assimilate them in some way, perhaps it’s possible to email them all I don’t know.

I have just had a look at MEPs expenses click on the link to do so http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/expert/staticDisplay.do?language=EN&id=39 it looks to be fairly well organised, however after recent events I am much more suspicious of politicians motives.

Anyway at the very least now I feel it my duty to work out what the major European parties stand for and the views of those independents standing.

What really worries me about all levels of government that we are subject to at the moment is that to a lesser or greater degree our elected politicians have lost site of their purpose, which should be to make certain that the unelected civil servants conform to the wishes of the electorate.

A talking shop of people receiving unreasonable expenses, having little or no effect on the legislation that is produced and the decisions made isn’t adequate.

I would appreciate any comments that would help me understand how best to make an effective protest vote as this is what I intend to do.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Malicious phishing emails designed to steal your credit card details

I thought I had received one of these it really has all the hallmarks the website isn’t hosted on a .gov url or the bbc one, http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/buyorrenew/index.jsp the email address is from a different domain from the website it sends you to.

Anyway it looked quite convincing and had got through my spam filter which not much does so I thought I had better check it out before reporting it to the real TV licensing authority.

Further investigation revealed that it really came from the real licensing authority with all the experts telling us never to click on a link in an unsolicited email to go to a payment site, when one gets something like this it seems as though they are going out of their way to promote fraud.

From: no-reply@tvlreminders.co.ukTo: MICHAELCHILD@AOL.COM
Sent: 22/05/2009 14:16:11 GMT Standard Time

Subj: Click on this email to renew your TV Licence

TV Licence number
********
Dear Mr Child Your TV Licence is due to expire in a week's time on 31st May. To make it as easy as possible for you to renew, this email includes a link to our website. Simply click on the link below to reach the page where you can set up a Direct Debit or pay by credit or debit card. Direct Debit is best because your licence will be automatically renewed each year, so you won't have to remember to do it yourself.It's very quick to set up a Direct Debit. Just have your TV Licence number (******) and bank details to hand.Thank you.



If you have renewed your TV Licence in the past few days, you needn't respond to this email. Yours sincerely

Carl Shimeild

Operations Director

Friday, 22 May 2009

Thanet District Council TV

I have been engaged in a dialogue with TDCIT on and off this week about aspects of their website most especially how they could use freebies on the web to get their website to work properly.

The google search facility that works properly (like the one on my sidebar) to replace their one that doesn’t.

A blog in a frame for their news page so that they could get their news items up before the become olds items.

By way of example I received 5 TDC press releases around 9am today and during a quiet moment between customers in my bookshop this morning I published them all between 9.44 and 9.53 with illustrations, they managed one before their homepage went critical and started displaying twin images today.

During the discourse I suggested that they could also use youtube and it emerged that they do have a youtube presence, so I tried to find it using their search facility which got me to the following; one dead link http://www.communitysafety.org.uk/ and the results a 2007 competition 8 videos.

In the end I found it using google click on the link to view http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=ThanetCouncil&view=videos

It does have 10 videos but no discernable out going links from the TDC website to it and no embedded videos on the TDC website that I can find.





As you can see from the clip the actual material is good like their press relase photographs that just vanish, bit of a waste really.

Since I started writing this their website has gone totally critical, I hope it wasn’t anything I said, I believe their problem from a technical point of view is that every time they add a press release they mess with the encoding of their homepage.

WATCHDOG HIGHLIGHTS ACHIEVEMENTS

Thanet district Council press release

The watchdog body of Thanet District Council has been highlighting its achievements over the last year, which have made a "major impact" on the council's activities.

The Overview and Scrutiny annual report was presented last night (Thursday 21 May) to the Annual Council meeting. It describes one of the Panel's major highlights as the role played by their Asset Management Working Party in developing and implementing a transparent and accountable system for disposing of council assets.

Also highlighted is the "significant work" carried out by the Airport Working Party, who developed the council's response to Kent International Airport's Draft Master Plan. The Working Party are described as laying "the firm foundation for developing a balanced plan" and are praised for their part in the initial consultation process over the document.

Other working parties have undertaken reviews of the council's budget, vision and its Medium Term Financial Strategy, which sets out the council's financial plans over the next xx years. It is hoped that this group will be able to play a part in budget setting for 2010/11.

Other plans for the forthcoming year include the possibility of undertaking scrutiny of issues outside of the council. In other areas of the country, this has included scrutinising the work of partner organisations, including the NHS and police.

“LEAD MEMBERS” INTRODUCED

Thanet district Council press release

New "lead Members" have been introduced at Thanet District Council, who will, in the future, support Cabinet Members.

The idea was agreed last night (Thursday 21 May) at a full Council meeting, when it was also agreed that they would receive no additional payments for undertaking this role.

Originally, proposals had been put forward that they would each receive either £500 or £200, but members decided, in view of the current economic situation, that the role would get no extra payments.

There will be ten lead members in total each supporting the whole or a specific part of a Cabinet portfolio. Their brief will be to act as an advisor to their portfolio holder, lead on policy development, and chair advisory and consultative meetings.

They will also be able to substitute for Cabinet Members at meetings, although they will not be able to vote on their behalf.

NEW COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS

Thanet district Council press release

Ed this press release contains a table.

Blogger doesn’t accept the complicated computer language necessary to publish a table online so you need to click here to view the press release, as it should look.


Thanet Council's new Cabinet, Shadow Cabinet and Committee Chairmen for the forthcoming year have been formally announced.

Last night's (Thursday 21 May) Annual Council meeting saw Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel re-elected as the Leader of the Council for the seventh year. Cllr. Roger Latchford was re-elected as the Deputy Leader for the third year. The Leader of the Opposition is Cllr. Clive Hart and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is Cllr. Peter Campbell.

The Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet details for the Council year 2009/10 are:

Portfolio
Cabinet Member
Shadow Cabinet Member
Regeneration and Economic Development (includes the Margate Renewal Partnership, asset management, strategic planning and the Port of Ramsgate
Cllr. Roger Latchford
Cllr. Peter Campbell
Finance (also includes human resources, policy and performance, procurement and audit)
Cllr. Martin Wise
Cllr. David Green
Customer Services (includes IT services , revenues and benefits)
Cllr. Simon Moores
Cllr. Linda Aldred
Community Services (includes council housing, strategic housing, housing need and homelessness, housing renewal, private sector housing, community safety and environmental health)
Cllr. Zita Wiltshire
Cllr. Iris Johnston
Environmental Services (includes waste collection, recycling, street cleaning, public toilets, parking, parks, allotments, cemeteries and crematorium, sports development, Sport 4NRG, arts development, museums, foreshores, Thanet Coast Project, indoor and outdoor leisure, play services, tourism, events and Environmental Action Programme)
Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson
Cllr. Michelle Fenner
Regulatory Services and Ramsgate Marina (includes planning enforcement and applications, licensing, land charges and general estate management)
Cllr. John Kirby
Cllr. John Watkins

The Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the Council's Committees and Boards for 2009/10 were also appointed at the Annual Council meeting:

Planning Committee Chairman Cllr. Ken Gregory
Planning Committee Vice-Chairman Cllr. Simon Day
Scrutiny Chairman Cllr. Bob Bayford
Scrutiny Vice-Chairman Cllr. Mike Harrison
Licensing Board Chairman Cllr. Mick Tomlinson
Licensing Board Vice-Chairman Cllr. Ted Watt-Ruffell
Governance and Audit Committee Chairman Cllr. Jo Gideon
Governance and Audit Committee Vice-Chairman Cllr. Jason Savage
Joint Transportation Board Chairman Cllr. Brian Sullivan





Ed will sort this one into html so you can read it properly later

COUNCIL CHAIRMAN TO CONTINUE WITH WORK

Thanet District Council's new Chairman has pledged to "promote and support" Thanet over the next year.

Cllr. Margaret Sheldrick, who was elected to the role of Council Chairman in February, was formally elected to continue her role for 2009/10.

Cllr. Sheldrick said: "I'm thrilled and delighted to have the confidence of the councillors who re-elected me for a full year. Over the next year, along with my Vice-Chairman, Cllr. Roberts, we intend to promote and support Thanet. We're very conscious about the current economic climate and, for that reason, we'll be supporting the three town mayors and the efforts of the villages in their charity fund raising efforts, rather than trying to do our own fund raising. As part of that work, we're very keen to support small local charity events. If anyone feels that either myself or the Vice-Chairman can assist in any way, all they have to do is ask."

She added: "I'm also very keen to promote Thanet outside of the area, as I want to ensure that we are noticed and known as a magical place to live, work and play."

During her year in office, Cllr. Sheldrick will be escorted by her husband Ray Sheldrick. Cllr. Michael Roberts was elected as the Vice-Chairman of Thanet District Council.

CLIFTONVILLE PLANNING POLICY IN FINAL STAGES

Thanet district Council press release

Following extensive consultation with local people, the Council is finalising a new planning policy document for Cliftonville West.

It comes after the Cliftonville Development Plan was agreed at a meeting of full Council last night (Thursday 21 May). Following a six week representation period, it will be submitted to the Secretary of State who will appoint a Planning Inspector to examine the document.

It contains policies to tackle issues that were initially raised during previous public consultations on the planning policy restricting one bedroom flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation in the area.

The document has been developed following significant involvement with local people over the last two and a half years, which included a resident led walking tour of the area by council officers.

A number of policies are covered in the development plan which include:
Restrictions on one bedroom flats and Houses in Multiple Occupation, a policy which was first adopted in 2006.
Retaining existing family housing in the area and requiring the provision of family homes in new developments.
Support for proposals to upgrade existing tourist accommodation or the provision of new tourist accommodation.
Strategic Planning Manager, Colin Fitt, said: "Much of the development of this plan has come from local residents in Cliftonville West and we hope that we've been able to incorporate policies into the document that we know are of concern to them. During the consultation process, we've worked closely with people in the area and they've been really helpful with suggesting changes. It's been a really positive process, and we hope we will get a positive response from the Independent Inspector."

The six week period to submit representations will begin in mid June.

Laura Sandys - gets Tory health policy wrong 30,000 times!

Stephen Ladyman Press Release

Laura Sandys - gets Tory health policy wrong 30,000 times!South Thanet Conservative candidate, Laura Sandys, and North Thanet MP Roger Gale are blushing tonight after it turns out they got their own Party's health policy wrong! Ms Sandys boasted in local newspapers of having delivered 30,000 leaflets attacking Government plans to create polyclinics and saying they would 'break the link with family doctors' - days after Tory front bench health spokesman Mark Simmonds announced that the Tories now accepted this was not the case and pledged that the Tories would not block the roll out of polyclinics. Roger Gale, the MP for North Thanet, also attacked plans for polyclinics in an article in a Thanet newspaper and threw his support behind Ms Sandys unfortunate leaflet.South Thanet MP, Stephen Ladyman, said: "This Tory leaflet was based on a fantasy. The government had long made it clear that people who visit a polyclinic would do so by choice, usually because the opening hours or location suited their working life, and they would remain registered with their own local GP." "The Tories distributed it knowing it was wrong because they hoped to exploit vulnerable, elderly and sick people who rightly value their relationship with their own GP and frighten them into voting Tory. It was a shameful exercise that has been shown up by the Tory fron bench announcement that they now support the polyclinic idea!"Note to editors:The Tory announcement was made in an interview with Pulse magazine and can be read at:www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=35&storycode=4122734&c=1 http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=35&storycode=4122734&c=1 Stephen Ladyman MP01843 852696

CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE FOR BENEFIT FRAUD

Thanet district Council press release

A former Ramsgate man has received an 18 month conditional discharge, after being found guilty of benefit fraud.

Neil Peter Marshall (43), formerly from Ellington Road, Ramsgate and now from Iwade, Sittingbourne, was in receipt of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit for himself and his wife. He failed to notify Thanet District Council that his wife had found work for South East Kent Ambulance Service in August 2006 and that he had found employment with Service Innovation Group in October 2006.

During the hearing at Canterbury Crown Court, it was established that Mr. Marshall had informed the Department for Work and Pensions that his wife had started work and that there was no dishonesty element here and the charge relating to this was dropped. The full overpayment for both periods of employment was £5,072.11.

Mr. Marshall was then charged with failing to promptly declare a change in his circumstances in relation to his employment and he pleaded guilty to this offence. The overpayment in relation to this was £728.65.

Judge Sullivan sentenced Mr. Marshall to an 18 month conditional discharge. He was also given a compensation order for £728.65 and ordered to pay £400 towards the prosecution costs, to be paid back at a rate of £5 per week.

Judge Sullivan stated that the case highlighted the fact that Thanet District Council was fair in its approach to the case in requesting the charges to be altered to the lesser offence, due to further information coming to light. He also said that it is the customer's responsibility to inform all agencies administering benefits of any changes which could potentially affect their award.

Although Mr. Marshall was only charged with one offence, the full overpayment of £5,072.11 is recoverable.

SSCF MONEY HELPING TO IMPROVE AREA

Thanet district Council press release

A team of workers offering advice, services and support to residents, businesses and community groups in Margate Central and Cliftonville West are being funded by more than £200,000 from the Safer Stronger Communities Fund (SSCF).

For the second year running, the SSCF is focusing on funding these workers, who in the last year have helped to put on a number of events in the area, including the Cliftonville Games, the Big Sky jazz and kite festivals and quad bike events. The CASE Kent team has also helped local groups with successful funding bids, totaling almost £20,000.

In the past year, a team of four SSCF funded workers have worked with young people, members of the community and people with learning difficulties. The SSCF has funded three workers to provide welfare advice and a worker to provide support to those in a domestic abuse situation. As a result of the funding, several projects have obtained further money, with the hope that they can then continue once the SSCF programme ends in March 2010.

Two community group advisors have been funded to continue to provide advice, support and help with fund raising. A community warden and two Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have worked with the community to provide a safer environment in the two wards and have supported parents and students at Hartsdown Technical College. The workers have worked with the community to hold events and set up new clubs for school children, youths and adults.

The community warden has issued 126 Fixed Penalty Notices for littering or to people who put their black sacks of rubbish out for collection on the wrong day. The SSCF funded Waste and Recycling Enforcement Officer has issued around 20 enforcement notices per month over the last year and this work is continuing. From June 2009, an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer will also be added to the team.

SSCF Programme Board Chair, Colin Maclean, said: "Our team of SSCF workers has achieved a huge amount over the last year and has made a real difference to people's lives in both Margate Central and Cliftonville West. We look forward to seeing their work continue over the final year of the SSCF programme and hopefully beyond then."

In total, the SSCF has put £213,007 into supporting this team this year, by part-funding these roles, along with other partners. This makes it more likely that the roles can continue once the SSCF programme ends in March 2010. For more details, contact the SSCF team at Thanet District Council on 01843 577534 or visit www.thanet.gov.uk/sscf or email sscf@thanet.gov.uk

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Film books in the bookshop

It being Thursday my bookshop is closed so I thought what a good time to promote what I call, for want of a better title, the performing arts section.

The naming of bookshop sections is a tricky business you can’t for instance just call it the film section or there is nowhere for TV and stage.

Anyway should you be interested click here to look at the secondhand film books on the shelf now, you never know it could be entertaining.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Thanet District Council’s annual meeting to elect new leader et al tomorrow

Recent documents published by Thanet District Council,

21/05/2009 - Meeting scheduled: May 21 2009 9:00PM, Council


21/05/2009 - Meeting scheduled: May 21 2009 7:00PM, Council


Ed. The 7 pm one is the annual meeting the link will take you to the agenda.

Crazy waterworks in Thanet

Opposite my bookshop is a fire hydrant and recently a chap appeared opened the inspection cover put a metal rod down the hole and listened to the other end for the sound of running water, soon it became apparent that all was not well. The inevitable roadworks ensued.

Next time it rained heavily the road outside the shop became a lake so I called KCC and they sent the chaps with gully emptier to clear the drains who discovered that the chaps who repaired the fire hydrant had removed a section of the pipe for the drains.

Now when the water goes into the drains on the hill opposite the shop it comes out of the drain at the bottom of the hill flooding the road.

My main point here is that it is workers of this calibre repairing pipes at commercial operations on the drinking water aquifer that can lead to problems.

The picture shows water going in one drain and coming out the other.

Thanet Tories call for General Election

Laura Sandys press release

Give the people their say to restore trust in Parliament

Sign petition to call for an election

Roger Gale and Laura Sandys are calling for Parliament to be dissolved and for a general election to be held and are asking people of all political persuasions to support a petition that urges Gordon Brown to dissolve Parliament and give the electorate a say immediately about the future of their elected representatives.

“This call for an election is not a partisan request. It is about restoring the trust and dignity that the Mother of all Parliament’s must recapture and it is only through a general election that Parliament will be able to address the significant troubles that our democracy and country face with the confidence of the people,” says South Thanet`s Conservative, Laura Sandys . "I was a member of the Democracy Taskforce set up by David Cameron over two years ago that reported that we needed wholesale change in the system ages ago."

“This is not about party politics – this is about our British Democracy. This current Parliament no longer has the confidence of the public. We need to put every sitting MP and our records to the people,” says North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale.
David Cameron has said “This political crisis has been caused by the politicians, so I don't think the politicians alone can solve it. The public have got to be involved.”

The Petition states that …

We, the undersigned, believe that the best way to sort out the problems facing Britain and to restore trust in our political system is for a dissolution of Parliament and a general election so that people can pass their verdict on MPs’ behaviour at the ballot box.

Please go to



petition or sign it locally on


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

CLIFTONVILLE FIRE LATEST

Thanet district Council press release,

A set of terraced buildings, badly damaged by fire in Cliftonville, have been made safe, but road closures in the area are set to remain in place until tomorrow. (Wednesday 20 May).

The fire, at properties in Northdown Road, broke out late on Saturday night with 80 firefighters tackling it throughout Sunday and into Monday.

The council's building control team have been on site since then. Today (Tuesday 19 May), work to put additional scaffolding in place around the building has been completed, with the building made safe.

Nearby businesses, which were not affected by the fire, have now been able to re-open, but Northdown Road remains closed between Prices Avenue and Crawford Gardens.

It had been hoped to re-open the road by midday today (Tuesday 19 May), but this has not proved possible. Work is continuing and it is hoped that the road will re-open by early tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 20 May).

The cause of the fire is not yet known and is under investigation. Anyone with any information about the fire can contact Margate police station on 01843 231055 or talk to one of the police's Cliftonville neighbourhood officers.

Search Thanet District Council website

I noticed today that the main search box on the Thanet District Council website no longer works so I have added this facility to my sidebar.

I didn’t bother to pay the $100 to cut out advertising so you may get the odd sponsoring link come up.

You may need to delete your temporary internet files (right click on the internet explorer icon on your desktop and click on properties etc.) to view this.

Having struggled with the councils own search box for a number of years now I am extremely glad I did this as it does work properly.

Update, TDCs search box is working again as before, it returns no results for Pleasurama 2 results for Simon Moores neither of which lead to his contact details, the one on my sidebar returns 18 and 58 respectively.

So I managed to come up with a much more effective box for nothing, working on the premise that Google’s IT technicians know more about searching websites than I do.

Makes one wonder what the TDC one costs us, I find it strange the way TDC manages to come up with this sort of time warp IT.

Anyone using the latest version on internet explorer will notice that because this part of the TDC website is written in a very dated way the search box is shown out of alignment and partially obscures their logo

Airport working party meeting today

A meeting of the Airport Working Party will be held at 7.00 pm today Tuesday, 19 May 2009 in The Passenger Lounge, Kent International Airport, Manston, Kent.

I believe the crux of what is going on with the airport at the moment is that it is operating at a considerable loss and the airport operator wants a further relaxation of the environmental rules that it operates under in the hope of attracting more business.

If this is successful the people who will be most effected by this will be the people of Ramsgate as there will be more over flying of the town and therefore more noise and air pollution.

On the other approach detection the people of Herne Bay will also be effected although probably to a lesser extent as they are further away from the airport so aircraft will probably be higher when over flying the town.

Recent documents published by Thanet District Council

20/05/2009 - Meeting scheduled: May 20 2009 7:00PM, Planning Committee

19/05/2009 - Meeting scheduled: May 19 2009 7:00PM, Airport Working Party


19/05/2009 - Meeting scheduled: May 19 2009 10:45AM, Licensing Sub Commitee


19/05/2009 - Meeting scheduled: May 19 2009 10:00AM, Licensing Board

Monday, 18 May 2009

UPDATE ON CLIFTONVILLE FIRE


Thanet district Council press release


Work is continuing to make safe a set of terraced buildings, badly damaged by fire in Cliftonville.

The fire broke out late on Saturday night at the properties in Northdown Road and saw 80 firefighters tackling it throughout Sunday and into Monday. Six people were re-housed in emergency accommodation by Thanet District Council, but all have now made their own arrangements. There have been no reports of anyone being hurt.

Building Control officers from the council have been on the scene throughout today (Monday 18 May), assessing the damage to the building. Work is being undertaken this afternoon to put additional scaffolding in place around the building to make it safe.

It is hoped that Northdown Road, which is currently closed between Prices Avenue and Crawford Gardens will be open by tomorrow (Tuesday 19 May) afternoon, with shops and businesses that have been affected by the fire in that area able to re-open at that time. Work is continuing to re-connect gas and electricity supplies to affected properties and it is expected that the work will be completed by midday tomorrow.

Deputy Chief Executive, John Bunnett, said: "This has had an excellent response from everyone involved, both inside the council and from our partners at Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Our officers have once again excelled themselves and have been working around the clock to try and return the area to normal as quickly as possible. That's our priority at the moment. We want to see businesses in the area that have been affected able to trade again as soon as the building is made safe and we're doing everything we can to ensure that happens."

Chief Superintendent John Molloy said: "I would like to thank the residents, shop owners and staff and visitors in Cliftonville for their understanding and support over the past few days. It is quite evident just what an extensive fire this was and our first priority has been to ensure everyone's safety, followed by working to get the community's life back to business as usual. The structure is too dangerous at the moment to start our investigations on site. However, we would welcome anyone with any information to contact Margate police station on 01843 231055 or to talk to one of our Cliftonville neighbourhood officers as soon as possible."

The cause of the fire is not yet known and is under investigation

CLEAN SWEEP ACROSS THANET

Thanet district Council press release

Operation Clean Sweep has gone back into action this week (Monday 18 May - Friday 22 May), but this time it's targeting properties across the whole of Thanet.

The Thanet District Council led operation, which aims to tackle a range of anti-social issues, usually focuses on specific parts of the area, with previous operations taking place in Margate, Cliftonville, Newington and the Eastcliff and Central Ramsgate areas.

This time however, a different approach is being taken, with the team targeting properties across Thanet that are of interest to the various organisations involved in Clean Sweep.

Operation Clean Sweep involves officers from Thanet District Council, Kent Police, the UK Border Agency, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Kent County Council and aims to tackle a range of problems. This includes planning and housing issues and checking for suspected illegal immigrants or potential fire hazards.

Street Scene Manager, Bob Spicer, said: "Operation Clean Sweep has achieved some excellent results when we've taken it into specific parts of Thanet, but now we're changing the way it works. We said when we started this series of operations that we would constantly adapt them to ensure that they tackled the problems that matter to residents and that's what we're doing now. The organisations involved in Clean Sweep have properties that they're interested in targeting and they could be anywhere in Thanet. Taking this new approach allows us the chance to perhaps target just one property in a road, a village or a town to see if there are issues that we need to be dealing with."

During the week long operation, there will also be clean-ups at litter hot spots around the area.

RESEARCHING OYSTERS IN THANET

Thanet district Council press release

The first phase of research into Pacific oysters along the Thanet coastline has been completed.

Thanet Coastal Warden Willie McKnight has been working with the Thanet Coast Project and Natural England to map the distribution and density of Pacific oysters.

The Pacific oyster is native to south east Asia and Japan, but was introduced to the UK in the 1960s by the government. Under quarantine, hatchery techniques were developed, followed by cultivation trials. The purpose was to find an alternative species to supplement the shellfish industry, following the decline of the native oyster and the ending of imported American and Portuguese oysters. Commercial hatcheries and cultivation sites now operate around the UK, including one which has been operating at Reculver since 1974. <>

In March 2007, a Shoresearch Event, held by the Kent Wildlife Trust, highlighted the spread of Pacific oysters throughout the European marine sites. This concern was passed on to the Scientific Coastal Advisory Group of the North East Kent European Marine Sites in April 2007, where a commitment was made to investigate further the impacts that the oysters may be having on the designated sites.

In recognition of the importance of this issue, Natural England has commissioned a second phase of the project to look at the monitoring of priority sites around the coast, recruitment and impacts on other animals and habitats within the designated sites. This phase of the project began in February 2009.

Information from these studies will be used to inform the future management of Pacific oysters around the Thanet Coast and within the NEKEMS Management Scheme. The full results will be produced later this year in a Natural England Research Report.

For further information contact the Thanet Coast Project, or view details about the current Management Scheme at http://www.thanetcoast.org.uk/

MINI OP CLEANS UP IN CLIFTONVILLE

Thanet district Council press release

A second mini Operation Clean Sweep has been held in a Cliftonville road, which has uncovered a number of housing problems.

The one day operation, held last week (Thursday 14 May) in Harold Road, involved council officers from the Renewal Area team, waste and recycling, housing and community safety, with help from Kent Police, the UK Border Agency and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

During their investigations, the group found some flats which had no heating, others which were overcrowded and some illegal occupation.

Renewal Area Officer, Dave Farmer, said: "Our second mini Clean Sweep proved to be exceptionally useful. As well as uncovering a number of problems that we can now deal with, it also provided all the organisations involved with some good intelligence that they can use in the future. It's something that we intend to continue with, with the next mini Clean Sweep due to take place somewhere in the Cliftonville area in the next few weeks."

Another historian in trouble?

With the current expenses scandal I noticed the civil servant in charge of the House of Commons department that administers MPs expenses Andrew Walker, is not as one would expect someone with qualifications in accountancy in fact his degree was in ancient eastern studies.

Why an individual with a qualification in history is paid £125,000 per year to be in charge of doling out £77,400,000 per year in expenses to our MPs is a little unclear.

I really do feel that we need a serious review of the suitability and qualifications of civil servants earning over £50,000 per year for the jobs they are doing, both locally and nationally.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST FASCISM IN KENT LAUNCHED

EAST KENT UNITE AGAINST FASCISM
THE RED HALL
11 Grosvenor Rd
Broadstairs
CT10 2BT

MAY 2009

PRESS RELEASE

CAMPAIGN AGAINST “FASCISM IN THANET” LAUNCHED

A campaign to fight the threat of fascism in Thanet has been launched.

The campaign, run by the East Kent branch of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), has been sparked by the possibility that the British National Party (BNP) may win a seat in the Euro elections in June.

The BNP are contesting a number of local seats in Kent, including Ramsgate.

Campaign organiser Bunny la Roche said that recent events should give people a “wake up call” about the true nature of the BNP.

Bunny said: “The BNP claims to have cleaned up its act, but this isn’t the case. Recently a BNP manual was uncovered which states that the party’s ultimate aim is the ‘repatriation of the resident foreigners of the UK’. This
amounts to a direct call for ethnic cleansing.”

Bunny said that voters in Thanet should not be complacent about what will happen in the coming election. She said: “People like former cabinet minister Peter Hain have warned of the serious danger that the fascist British National Party could win seats at the European elections on Thursday 4 June.”

“The danger is that disillusionment with the major parties because of the controversies over their expenses, coupled with the rising level of unemployment, will help the BNP get support they should never have.

“The BNP can be defeated at the ballot box,” she said, “but only if people are aware of the danger and turn out to vote against its candidates.”

In the coming days, the UAF will be campaigning across Thanet, giving out leaflets in Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate.

Bunny said: “I urge anyone who is worried about the dangers of a fascist party gaining power in Britain to join us in our campaign. Get in touch, come and help us.”

East Kent UAF contact details
eastkentUAF@gmail.com
http://www.uaf.org.uk/
TEL: Bunny on 07947 424505

PRINCES & PALACES - Buffet and Talk

Laura Sandys press release,


South Thanet Conservative Association
Bradstowe & St Peter’s Branches


Invite you to a buffet and talk on


PRINCES & PALACES


With Buffet Lunch

At St Peter’s Church Hall, Hopeville Avenue,
St Peter’s, Broadstairs, CT10 2TR

Friday 29th May 2009 at 12 noon


Guest Speaker:

The Royal Family Diarist PETER HARTLEY

Peter will be presenting a new insight into this fascinating subject. He has a wealth of personal knowledge having worked for the Royal Family for many years. Last year Peter gave a speech on a different aspect of the Royal Family and the event was sold out. Book early to avoid disappointment by telephoning the STCA office on 01843 595258 or email stconservatives@btconnect.com


Tickets £10

Sunday, 17 May 2009

MPs income the great gravy train, Turner and other Sunday ramblings

The average MP costs us about £4,000 per week, this figure is based on the current annual salary for an MP is £64,766 and an average £120,000 per annum in expenses, with 645 MPs this a tidy sum.

I also gather they can claim for items costing up to £250 without having to show a receipt.

I would say that the average man in the street struggling to survive the recession is none too pleased about this state of affairs but frankly it’s only the tip of the iceberg when compared to civil servants pay and expenses.

I was chatting to a KCC IT officer yesterday who evidently found yesterdays post rather amusing, something he said that I found interesting is that there is an attitude within KCC of Turner Contemporary at any price. He said there seems to be no limit to the funds available for this project and that a lot of KCC officers that have to keep within budgets were getting heartily sick of the project.

This is a simple case of government spending our money inappropriately, the whole system is upside down and the state of Margate is a reflection of poor governance at local and national levels.

The problem with Turner Contemporary is that government says a pretty much bottomless pot of money is available to regenerate Margate provided that this money is spent on the arts.

Of course the money should have been spent on revitalising Dreamland to a state of the art modern theme park and a new indoor swimming pool near to the beach, but once again back to the way government money is spent, grants are only available for a historic amusement site and much of the prime leisure site in the town will be lost to residential development.

It’s a similar problem with Ramsgate and the Pleasurama site once a seaside town loses its main leisure sites to mostly residential development and associated car parking there is no going back.

The resource that we have to offer that other towns haven’t is our natural coastline and the only way that we can compete with other seaside towns is by having better leisure facilities very close to our main leisure beaches, it’s not rocket science.

We have the meeting at the airport to receive the report on night flying in a couple of days, the problem with the airport is that it has bumbled along for years with different operators trying to be competitive by operating far less stringent environmental controls than would be acceptable elsewhere and this looks like a move to continue down the same path.

I have given up with trying to get TDC to publish the Ramsgate parish council elections list of candidates on a HTML website with proper tags for search engines and have done it myself see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/blogpicts2/id104.htm do feel free to link to it. If TDC ever get round to doing a proper job of publishing it I wonder if they will copy my source code.

I am off to by a TV some furniture and food to eat on my business expenses so I imagine that the Inland Revenue will prosecute me and I may be out of circulation for a while.

Small Businesses Squeezed

Laura Sandys press release

Would I set up a Small Business Again?

I founded a small company in the early 90s. It was fun to run. We had great staff. We had a strong team which provided our customers with a quality service that delivered success. Then in 2000, I sold the firm. Was it for a quieter life? Hardly that, as I left business to enter politics. But, I look back on that time with tremendous satisfaction and I have every sympathy and enormous admiration for the owners and staff of the small and medium enterprises that make up around 99% of all British companies.

Closer to home, I have had a lot of conversations recently with Thanet businesses and I am hearing a lamentable story from most of them. Of course, trading is difficult; costs are rising and customers for products and services are hard to find. But, what seems to exasperate businesses the most is not the recession itself or the considerable sacrifices they are obliged to make. What drives these business up the wall, and sadly all too frequently to the wall, is the government continually adding to their problems day after day after day.

Employers have now become arms of government, filling out endless forms, administering government regulations and spending countless hours dealing with government officials when all they want to do is to get on with running their companies. One local small firm involved in light assembly is obliged to receive 8 government inspector visits every year and fill out 12 very different and very detailed government forms.

We know from the government’s own Impact Assessments that the burden of new regulations inflicted on British business since 1997 is a staggering £78.16bn. When I was running a business, I used to do all my own books; VAT, outline tax returns, PAYE and so on. It was hard but manageable. The tax handbook then had 4,555 pages. Today after 12 years of Gordon Brown Budgets, it is over 9,000 pages long.

Few people start a small business with the sole objective of making shed loads of money. They establish a company to have something that they can call their own, to be free to follow their dream and to make a living that delivers something extra for their families. But the glum legacy of Gordon Brown’s administration is that profits have been squeezed, liabilities have been increased, costs have soared and the fun has gone out of the window.

Bring back this country of shop-keepers, small business people and entrepreneurs who bring us jobs, create wealth and provide a rewarding workplace. This country was built by the owners and workforces of small businesses and we need to liberate them from government so that they get on with what they do best. We need a government that enables before it enforces. We want Ministers that value people before their pet policies. We must have an administration that creates a climate for small businesses to flourish and hard work to be rewarded. Perhaps then and only then will we be able to return to a happier workplace that is richer in every sense of the word.

Ladyman puts receipts on line - press release

Stephen Ladyman Press Release

Stephen Ladyman MP has posted his receipts and claim forms on-line.Stephen Ladyman, the MP for South Thanet has added his expense claim forms and receipts to his web site as well as providing unaudited data, that won't be officially released for another year. for his expense claims for 2008/9.The MP first provided details of his expenses on his website early last year and update them in April to include the latest information.


He has now expanded the information provided to allow access to the raw claim forms and receipts."People are understandably angry about what they've read in the newspapers and heard on the news in the last week but although copies of receipts and claim forms had been leaked to the Telegraph, the same information wasn't available to MPs in a form we could publish until a few days ago.


In the interests of full transparancy I've now published everything I can via my website. Some information has been redacted to stop bank account details being released and to comply with data protection laws because third parties were referred to but otherwise my constituents have now got everything that I've got."


"I hope that people don't tar all MPs with the same brush. I've long advocated a reform of the expense system and greater transparency and done my best through my own web site to set an example. The vast majority of MPs are hard working and honest.


If some have made mistakes they should be held to account but we should not all be blamed for their mistakes."


"On the doorsteps of Ramnsgate today and as I've met people all around the constituency in the last few days most people have said they understand that not all MPs have expolited the system, they want those who have done so punished but they don't blame us all for the errors of the few. I'm also pleased to say that they have been very kind and understanding to me personally."