Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday ramble

First a look at the other blogs for some local news.

I am starting from the top of my sidebar as it appear now, this of course will change as it updates automatically.

Don has a Ramsgate event that I didn’t know about on his promote Thanet blog and some thoughts about our town centre shops.

His use it or lose it philosophy is pretty near the mark, if it relates to a town where you intend to live for a while, you may do well to consider it.

Next is Simon on Thanet Life with a post called about money see this seems to be related to a Bignews post, I will stick to working to going down the sidebar and come to that in a bit, Simon says that council only gets to keep 20% of the £9.75 million raised in council tax that is under £2 million.

This means that the council spent half a years council tax on repairing the Pleasurama cliff façade, perhaps taking a look at it and trying to get your money back is one approach.

The main point of his post though seems to be about the closing of our museums, we had three museums in Ramsgate when I opened the bookshop here in 1987, now we haven’t got any.

In that time the interest in history as a leisure pursuit has increased markedly if history related book sales are anything to go by.

The only museum that I know much about is Ramsgate Maritime Museum, here are some of my previous posts about it.

The bottom line here is, the council isn’t being asked to run this museum, just to grant a reasonable lease to the charitable trust, that want to run it for them.

Well on to Bignews Tony’s post the comments seem to be mostly about freemasonry something that I don’t really know much about.

Perhaps I had better switch to the local papers, for me it’s the Isle of Thanet Gazette that does it this week, the lead is every schoolchild’s dream, see

How well I remember the cane, the nearest I came to this was jamming the light program when the BBC were jamming the pirate radio stations, I see the Marlow Academy seems to have been left out.

I looks like they have hacked the Gazettes website too as the title has got all jumbled up with the story about the council’s leader defending his remarks about consultation.

The Gazette bless em have also covered my main story this week about electing the council leader, see this article involves more quotes from our illustrious leader:

"This could create weaker leadership because someone from another party could be elected as leader.”

"In a way the public already elect a leader by electing their councillor who in turn selects the leader."

What was it he said last week?

“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think.”

Silly me my mind must be wandering it was Hitler who said that, our council leader said;

“residents in Thanet do not know the meaning of congestion, they do not know they are born”.

My car didn’t like the cold weather so I had to change a radiator hose and fill it up with a mixture of antifreeze and water and then drive round the town to stir the mixture up.

So I didn’t get a walk, but did stop a couple of times and take a few pictures.

Much hard hat activity on the eastern undercliff, here are the pictures apart from the funny ones of the padlock hasp, this is how the council have secured a dangerous building.
I will ramble on as the day progresses.

A couple of thoughts on the pictures below coming next, blogger doesn’t like adding pictures to a post that’s been completed, so they may not enlarge when you click on them, they are also in the batch that the link above goes to.
You may remember I have been concerned about the cliff top drainage above the eastern end of the Pleasurama site, note the wet patches forming on the cliff façade there.

There may be added problems related to the cold forecast, if the water freezes the expansion may cause stability problems.

Why the council refuse to unblock the drain there defeats me entirely, the eventual cost of this inaction could literally cost millions of pounds and even lives.
What does it cost to unblock a drain?

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t know if it will collapse I just don’t think the council’s engineers do either.

Drain the antifreeze out of your car fill the cooling system with water and a small amount of antifreeze and play Russian Roulette with the winter if you want to.

It’s just what the council are doing by not unblocking the drain.

This other picture is of the cliff façade behind part of the building that will replace the Marina Restaurant, they are building in front of this at the moment and the condition of the cliff there doesn’t look too good.

This business of building in front of our cliff facades is something that has been done on only a few occasions in the past and every time before it has been in front of a brand new cliff façade.

Just like the Pleasurama development no one has produced anything in the way of a convincing argument to persuade me that these people know what they are doing.

Now I come to the problem that has been shadowing me all week, that of the council leadership.

However this one goes after May the leader will be much more powerful as the 2007 act is still valid, the government have been saying behind the scenes that they intend to repeal this act with primary legislation.

I don’t think they have announced this to the press yet, so my apologies to them for blowing the gaff, if that’s what I’ve done. The word is that they aren’t too keen on the elected mayors, so watch out Boris and Ken.

But at the moment the law is the law and we all have to abide by it even the council.

Primarily the leader of the council should be the main representative of us the electorate within the council, essentially where the buck stops, he should be my main representative the person who will take up issues for me that are beyond my ward councillors.

The bloke we have at the moment doesn’t even acknowledge it when I write to him, let alone respond. Perhaps I am being unfair and his comments to the local paper about the mayoral election issue, that I raised, were a round about way of responding.

Perhaps he genuinely thinks that I do not know I am born, he evidently has decided to treat me as though I was not.

Whatever all of this is about, for me it means dealing with the electoral commission, secretary of state, people who will be prepared to raise a referendum petition, when I would much rather be working on another local history publication.

Ultimately here in Thanet we must have some sort of strong leadership that is in some way accountable to the electorate and the only way I can think of getting this arrangement is if we have the power to remove a bad leader.

Getting a safe seat and ingratiating oneself with party members is hardy democratic and evidently results in despotic behaviour.


  1. Michael

    The bulk of the money that sustains us comes from council fees' i.e. planning etc and central government grants. The shortfall; i.e. the money we need to both raise in fees and pay for in services is represented in each years budget.

  2. Simon we seem to have been off commenting on each other’s blogs, there should be a word on in the language for that.

    I do understand the council has budget difficulties at the moment, I also believe there are flaws in your calculations but no worries there as they don’t help with the fundamental problem.

    The problem is to work out what the council does that is essential, and if all the people involved in this are also essential, street cleaning, rubbish removal etc.

    Having done this you then look at what the council does that isn’t essential and spread the load, it’s what we have been doing in commerce for years.

    So much waste that I see relates to the councils attempts to move to what we call a paper free office and I know this is an area you understand.

    There you need to start from the premise that most documents today originate a s an electronic file, start with the businesses that the council deals with, have a surcharge for handling, paper documents, documents that are in a file format that the council can’t handle and documents that can’t be in the public domain.

    Publish all of the rest directly to council’s website as soon as you receive them.

  3. I read with interest the excuses on Thanet Life for museum closures.

    Unfortunately, TWO YEARS to grant a lease to a charitable trust for Ramsgate Matitime Museum is just incompetence.

    If a commercial enterprise took that long to organise leases on their properties they would go into liquidation.

    If this lease had been operable 18 months ago, that would have been 18 months of much needed income to TDC.


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