Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all of my readers.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Day off ramble

Theoretically today is the busiest shopping day of the year, my bookshop closes on Thursdays and today is no exception so I shall be none the wiser.

Two top stories in the local news today one being the hairdresser in Queen Street Ramsgate Marcello Marino has obtained express planning permission from TDC to put up the posters of his wife.

This one made the national papers too and I tried to work out what it was about, I think the council saw it terms of planning permission for putting up a poster and the Ramsgate Society in terms of offence because of what his wife didn’t have on. Or maybe not as apparently BBC had to issue a full apology to the Ramsgate Society Chairman for misquoting him on their website.

The other top story in the news today is about the Benedictine monks leaving St Augustine’s Abbey in Ramsgate, I covered this story in October 2009 see and was a bit surprised to see it coming up now, here are some pictures of the abbey to give you some idea of what is involved.

The aspect of this that I found most interesting was the way the sale of part of the monastery went pear shaped, I did put this at the bottom of a rather convoluted post

Strangest to me, locally this week that is the way the video of last Thursdays council meeting appeared apart from the bit about the leadership consultation, however once on the slippery slope of changing what happens at an election, there is no telling what the council may omit.

I will ramble on as time permits.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday ramble snow, duty and civil disobedience


Heath Row

As a parent on the end of the phone with the youf of today on the other end trying to deal with a departure from Heathrow, Heath Row as it used to be called, one does wonder at the way large companies use the internet. Something clear informative and decisive on their website wouldn’t go amiss.

Put your flight number in the box and the answer “no flights found” don’t exactly help.

Kent International Airport – Manston

Since we have had a relatively small amount of snow here in Thanet, one would have expected some flights to be diverted there, it is supposed have considerable capacity, who knows?

There appear to have been no less than four Manston flights recently where the safety of the aircraft has been dubious, not so funny with Ramsgate directly under the flight path.

Manston has a bit of a history of operators going out with a crash.

Then there is the business of the night flights and the Bureau Veritas report commissioned by the council see reading this is seems that the airport was asking for unreasonable noise levels.

Safety and pollution issues are not something one expects to be related to a modern airport in this way.

Democracy and Thanet District Council

In recent years I have had a few run-ins with the council, mostly about public safety issues, pollution and the way they look after iconic assets put in their trust.

I think often people view this as a direct confrontation between me and the council, truth is that in many cases it is a council officer who asks me to make the fuss, in the first place.

This latest business of changing what happens in the May elections is another matter altogether and effects our basic human rights of living in a democracy, in this case the right to vote.

The indicators are pretty thin on the ground due to the mishandling of the consultation, but everything there points to the electorate wanting to vote for a leader and the council wanting to chose one.

It is absolutely clear that the previous government and their legislation intended the voters to make this choice, it is also absolutely clear that the new coalition government have the same intention and when their new localism bill passed, the legislation will also say that it is the electorate who should make this choice.

Once the council have started down the slippery slope of trying to bend democracy to do what they think is good for local people, instead of allowing local people to vote for what they want, in this case preventing a valid election, then they have passed a line beyond which there is no easy return.

I think the main aspect of this won’t be to do with their going outside of the law of the land, but more the slow grind of publicity and public opinion. Because of the way the council tried to hide that the public consultation was happening, I think that it is only now that the local press are starting to realise the enormity of what has happened.

The excuses coming from the council about this seem to have totally missed the point, and range from what other councils have done to what they think is best for us, the point here and the only salient one is that they were supposed invoke the will of the electors and instead they did what they wanted.

Ramsgate Maritime Museum

I have had a verbal assurance from a senior council officer that the council have prepared a lease for both The Clock House and Smeaton’s Dry Dock and that the council cabinet have approved this lease.

The main criteria for the lease, as I understand them, being that the museum has to be able to pay the rent out of the proceeds of the museum and that the lease is long enough to enable the charitable trust, running the museum, to obtain grant funding.

The King George IV Maritime Heritage Pontoon

The picture above is illustrative of what happens when the council throws common sense out of the window and tries to apply cost cutting measures.

A few notes about the costs of mooring in the harbour here, the last vessel I had anything much to do with that was moored in Ramsgate Harbour, was a historic vessel called The Peggy, I think she was about 11 metres long, about 35 feet on old money, and I suppose now mooring her in the inner harbour would cost around £2,500 per year about £50 per week.

We had about four historic vessels usually moored on the historic vessel pontoon and for ease of calculation we will say that their full mooring fees on an ordinary mooring in the inner harbour would have been about £2,000 per year each.

What they had were concessionary mooring fees i.e. a discount between a half and a quarter off the full mooring fees, so they were bringing in the council and annual income of about £5,500 per year.

The council’s argument here was pretty roughly that the people who owned the boats had plenty of money and so they shouldn’t get the discount.

This all sounds fine and dandy, until you take into account the reality of the situation, first and foremost the historic vessel pontoon is the worst mooring in the inner harbour, right next to all the problems associated with late night drunks, worn out and without proper services. The historic vessels enhanced the café culture and this part of the town. As no one else would choose to moor there, reduced mooring fees are the only option.

So now we don’t have the historic vessels to look at, the council is out of pocket by about five thousand a year and all of the rules have been properly applied.

Ramsgate Harbour Slipways

With one thing and another we now have a difficult situation here, half the slipways site is leased to the slipway operator and half to the developer who wanted to build a bar complex there and paid £90,000 for the leasehold interest.

The main working part of his bit of the site was slipways 2 and 3, I have now heard that the slipway cables have been cut, this is unconfirmed information and I am not sure if this means the electrical cables or the steel with cables that pull up the cradles.

Pleasurama, Royal Sands Development

The development has now appeared on the contractors website, under their executive developments section, see so it may be that these condominiums will eventually be known as Cardy’s Condoms.

This has happened twice before, (appearing on their website that is – not Featherstone’s ticklers, Knight’s Amor or Robert Leonard Group Plc, no I had better not go on) with different contractors who have subsequently removed it, so it doesn’t mean that much.

Before the inclement weather, sporadic activity peaking at about four men on site had been occurring, this consisted of digging holes and filling them back in, sounds funny if you don’t know what they were up to, which was looking for the various pipes and wires under the site.

At the moment my main concern there is the stability of the cliff wall and since the lump fell off I have been getting a small amount of cooperation from the HSE, they are obviously very cautious about criticising another part of the great government machine, but lumps falling off that could have killed people seems to have put some sort of pressure on in the other direction.

Blogs with local news and debate from the top of my sidebar.

Bignews Margate has two local articles that are worth a gander and about Thursdays council meeting with masses of comments.

Thanet Life about Thursdays council meeting with comments disabled and

Sorry if I missed anything but these seemed to be the most lively posts, apart from the one where the comments were disabled of course, couldn’t be asked or something like that I suppose.

Councillors who actually engaged in the debates on the local blogs this week.

Simon Moores, Chris Wells and David Green.

Especial thanks here to Simon and Chris, they are both cabinet members of an administration that has been in power for nearly eight years, politically positions don’t usually get much more difficult than this and yet they did attempt to explain some difficult issues.

You may not be Conservative, you may not like them personally but they did make an attempt to communicate in this difficult public forum, and in view of the large number of councillors who never bother to reply to anything from both sides of the political spectrum, out leader included, I would say that I f they stood in my ward I would vote for them as I will vote for Dave this year if he stands.

I will ramble on between children and anything else that occurs today.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Thanet District Council Leadership Chosen

Last night the council held an extraordinary meeting to decide what sort of leadership the council will have for the next four years.

Either a leader elected by the local voters or a leader chosen by the councillors, this decision was based on a consultation aimed at determining the views of the voters.

The result of the consultation was unanimous, all of the local voters who responded said the wanted a democratically elected leader chosen by the local voters.

The council then decided not to adopt the wishes of the voters but to have a leader selected by them the councillors.

The main question here is why ask the voters if you aren’t going to take any notice of what they say?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

China Gateway update

"The Company is pleased to announce that it has agreed additional funding from Israel Discount Bank (IDB), covering all its existing properties at Manston Business Park, Thanet; Western Heights, Dover; and Farthingloe Great Farm, Dover.

The funding will remain in place until 30th November 2011 on a profit share basis.

The facility will enable the Company to obtain a signed Section 106 agreement on part of the Company's land holding at Manston and conclude the resolution to grant planning."

Well that’s what they have announced, I am a bit mysified about how extra funding can lead to the signing of a 106 agreement.

Further info

Plans at ref F/TH/05/1410

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Midweek ramble.

Well the leader consultation deadline is up, so if you didn’t take part you can hardly complain about what Thanet District Council do during the four years from May 2011.

I got sucked into something of a spat about it on Thanet Life, see and ended up wondering if Simon would rather I didn’t comment on his blog. Anyway I have made some sort of fairly innocent historical comment about Karl Marx there as a sort of olive branch.

Very few Thanet blogs are getting involved in local issues now and there is very little at all coming from the local councillor’s blogs, so in terms of comment by known people things are getting a little incestuous. And I suppose having some sort of blog discussion with someone when you don’t know who they are, is just less interesting than when you do.

A newish blog has appeared but I haven’t sossed out the feeds yet properly, I can get posts to appear on the latest posts on other blogs thingy on my sidebar, but I can’t get the link to point at the blog.

I noticed that they have started posting the council’s press releases as has Don on Promote Thanet, I tried this here but eventually it made this blog so boring that I could hardly face looking at it myself, so I started the Thanet Press Releases blog.

Anyway looking at the local blogs there doesn’t seem to be much that hasn’t first appeared somewhere else, all in all not very exciting.

The bookshop is rumbling along in the pre Christmas way with people buying a lot of local history books as presents, I hope I don’t get behind with the printing this year, it is very difficult to tell how many of which title you are going to sell and with over 130 local titles in print you can only store a limited number of each.

There is also a steady year on year increase in the number of people who buy secondhand books for Christmas, I put this mostly down to more people specifying exactly what they want.

One chap bought three 5p books and one 10p book out the sale and told me they were for his girlfriend for Christmas, something that made me chuckle, perhaps she will bring them back for exchange after Christmas.

Quite a few of the books I stock although priced as secondhand are actually new, publishers reps samples, returns, bankrupt stock and so on and this often causes quite a bit of amusement after Christmas when people come to exchange what they think is a £20 book and it transpires that we sold it for £4, quite often it becomes suddenly less unwanted.

I may well ramble on.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A day left to say if you want to vote for the leader of Thanet District Council.

You have until 5pm tomorrow 15th December to take part in the council’s leadership consultation, what the council are asking you is do you want to vote for who will be the council’s leader for the next four years at the May election? Or do you want the councillors to do it for you?

You only have to email one of the following two answers to with your name and address so he can check that you are on the electoral roll and are eligible to take part.

1 I want a leader of the council elected by the people of Thanet.

2 I want a leader of the council chosen by the councillors.

This link takes you to the councils web page about this

The results of this consultation will be the basis on which the council decide what sort of leadership we will have, this link takes you to the officers advice to the councillors about how to make this decision$RevisedPoliticalManagementArrangements.doc.htm

Please pass this information on to anyone who you think may be interested.

Thanet District Council one of the 12 hardest hit in government cuts

Anyone know why Thanet in particular, or I suppose the others
Hardest hit: Losing 8.9% for two years
Source: Dept of Communities
Great Yarmouth

Monday, 13 December 2010

Lighthearted Bob, Thanet District Council’s Leader Spills the Beans

I have finally tracked down the council leader’s comments on his rather unusual quotes, highlighted in yesterdays post, they appear in his Leader's column in the Gazette.

Unfortunately the Gazette titled it “Do we really need so much consultation?” instead of Bob’s view, or some such thing I could identify, here is the link I managed to comment on it.

Not that easy, as you have to join the site, forget your password and all that sort of thing, I suppose that’s why I use blogger.

It isn’t my intention to hound Bob over his indiscretions, I am not the one armed man and I doubt Bob is eager for fun, but I am concerned that he engages in some sort of dialogue with Thanet residents, rather in the same way that the council officers should reply to local residents.

The Conservative group have only ever sent me one press release and I am not quite sure how they view the local blogs. The leader is obviously prepared to communicate via the Gazette and of course Simon Moores has his Thanet Life blog but as he says today. “The toughest part of being a politician these days is that one can no longer say what one really thinks....” Here is the rest of the post

Well the internet is here to stay and somehow the councillors and the council are going to have to do better when it comes to using it to communicate with us lot, the rabble, voters, unborn call us what you will.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Sunday ramble

I would be the first person to admit that I have trouble doing what the late Ronnie Barker called, getting your worms out. I missed pretty much all of my primary school education and writing things down that make sense doesn’t come easy to me. I thought that this applied only to doing writing things down until yesterday, when I spent an hour and a half in front of a video camera, being interviewed about the Pleasurama debacle, but frankly it wasn’t very long before I could hear myself emitting a rather muddled drone and yet there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about this.

My views wouldn’t matter that much, I am not in a position of power so if I can’t get my worms out properly, well it wouldn’t really matter that much in the ordinary way, but for this blog. Readership has increased considerably recently, the counter has just past the 150,000 mark and so I feel that in a sense what I say represents the people who read it and so I make increasing efforts with my worms.

Recently council officers have become particularly careful of what they say to me, when I have made clear in my correspondence that what they say is for publication and during the last couple of weeks this has reached a sort of hiatus where they haven’t responded properly at all.

The rules say that the council must respond to a member of the public within ten working days and ten working days ago I asked a series of questions about the way the council are handling a public consultation.

As this consultation had only fifteen working days to run I asked them to reply promptly, I also added during the resulting correspondence that if they couldn’t answer a particular question I would be happy if they just answered the ones they could, to save time.

From the email that I have received from blog readers it would seem that the officer running the consultation has replied to everyone else promptly and has even managed to engage in a dialogue with some of them about this issue.

With me however he passed the buck, something I can only put down to me publishing the information on this blog, as far as I can tell from the different web statistics about 400 people a day read this blog or about 1,000 different people a week, so there is a sense that he wouldn’t be replying to one individual.

Now the council are in a bit of a difficult position over this, I am neither an anonymous blogger who can just be ignored, nor am I a news reporter for the press who would have to follow particular rules.

There really aren’t any rules, that I am aware of, which the council have got for this situation, I try to deal with the problem by acting responsibly, moderating what goes on here and what I publish, checking my information and so on.

Anyway the officer concerned passed this on the council’s chief executive who also couldn’t or wouldn’t answer my questions, to be fair I don’t think either of them have any legal training and an error in the way this serious matter is conducted by the council, could effect the council’s constitution.

By this I mean that if the council isn’t properly constituted then it may not legally be able to act as a council, make decisions, collect money and so on.

So the chief executive passed my questions on to the council’s head of legal services, who as far as I know is the only senior council executive with legal qualifications.

Well the ten days have elapsed and he hasn’t responded, that leaves me in a rather difficult position.

Normally as this issue relates to the way the leader of the council is elected or selected I would take this matter up with the leader of the council, but the chap we have at the moment doesn’t respond to my emails and as far as I can see doesn’t respond to any emails from members of the public.

I don’t mean by this that he should spend his life writing to individual electors, what I do mean though is that emails sent to his office should be responded to by his staff.

One of the things that I wrote to the leader about recently was his rather unusual comments relating to consulting the public, here is the email.

Sent: 29/11/2010 11:03:01 GMT Standard Time
Subj: Instability and enlargement of the language? Sic Samuel Johnson 1755.

Hi Bob

“I received one of the labour group’s press releases for publication yesterday, in it quotes you as saying the following:

At the Thanet Joint Transportation Board meeting last Thursday (25th November), the committee where TDC liaise with KCC on Highways issues across the island, Cllr Bob Bayford Conservative leader of TDC, in response to a presentation by a KCC officer and their report on Margate Seafront said,

“Please don’t keep referring to congestion in your reports as residents in Thanet do not know the meaning of congestion, they do not know they are born”.

Cllr Bayford then went on to say,

“This new government has promised to cut down on public consultation, decisions should be left to elected members because that is what we have been elected for, there is far too much of this consultation going on”.

It is my intention to publish these comments on my main blog later today, before doing so I would like to check with you that the quotes are both accurate and not made out of context.

If you anything to say on the subject please let me know before midday today, when I intend to write the post.”

I know that in a way this is raking up an old story but the council’s attitude to public consultation is what this is about and if the council can be said to have a voice then I suppose it must be that of the council leader.

Anyway the leader didn’t reply to me, so that brings me to the problem of who in the council to write to about issues, certainly in this case my ward councillors don’t seem appropriate as they are part of the Labour group that issued the press release that I was checking on.

Back to the main issue now which is the leadership consultation, I have to take the measure of effectiveness of the way this consultation has been conducted so far on how many of the approximately 100,000 local voters have responded to it.

After it was supposed to have been running for 10 weeks only 6 voters had responded.

Now the council has been asked not to waste unnecessary money on this on the one hand but on the other they are obliged by various acts of parliament to reach as many of the local voters as they can. They also have obligations to reach disabled voters and voters from minority groups as well and I believe the only way to do this would be contact various local groups and include it in council publications, but most of all put something in plain English about it prominently on their website. This is very important as it means that these people can use the normal equipment they use to access information from the web, translation programs read aloud programs and so on.

I have had quite a few off the record and indirect responses from within the council about what is going on here, these vary from the oh my god we haven’t have we type of thing, to efforts to bend the meaning of the English language in such a way to suggest that the council have acted properly. None of them however has suggested that this isn’t a very important issue.

In the last few days the council has published a bit more information about the leadership consultation in terms of explanation, it is mostly copied from the advice for councillors that I published parts of yesterday, it is hard to tell when it first appeared, google picked it up on Thursday and cached then. Which seems about right, I think this should have appeared eleven weeks ago.

Interestingly google only picked up the consultation on the 4th of December, which begs the question, how was the twelve week statutory consultation being conducted before it appeared on the council’s website?

Now of course all that I have been saying could be due to some dreadful misunderstanding on my part, but without the council engaging in some sort of dialogue it is very difficult to sort out.

Sorry I digress back to people getting their worms out, in this case council officers and the sectary of state, some of what the council has put on the internet by way of explanation doesn’t make any sense to me, it just isn’t in written English that I can comprehend.

“the Council must selected its preferred political governance arrangements”

“Government’s commitments to allow councils to return to the committee system, should they wish to, and on elected mayors.”

Both of these quotes are not from the original consultation, but from the “Explanatory Note from the Head of Legal and Democratic Services” that appeared belatedly last Thursday according to google.

Now in all of this business people keep confusing what I am saying, with my personal choice of leadership, they seem to think that what I am getting at here is that I want an elected leader. I have reservations about both types of leadership, I haven’t completed the consultation yet as I am yet to receive the advice about it that I asked for.

My gripe here is about how the council is going about the business of asking the Thanet voters which type of leader they want.

Most people seem to assume that all of the 56 councillors would vote for it being the 56 councillors who choose the leader and all of the 100,000 voters would vote for it being the 100,000 voters that chose the leader.

I suppose in any democracy the question do you want to have more or less part in the democratic process, or in other words, would you vote to vote? Has a pretty obvious answer.

Sorry I forgot there is a third group here, the council officers and they have come up with their preferred option, this presumably expresses what they would prefer and that is that they would prefer not to have an elected leader.

There is a question here, surfacing in the back on my mind like, what is the square root of minus one? And that is why someone working for any of the public services, in a democracy, wouldn’t want to carry out the wishes of the electorate?

Some time ago I had quite a long chat about this with a senior council officer about this and I think that their biggest fear is having a leader that they can’t work with. Back at this point in time I was exploring the practical implications of having an elected leader and was considering various people who would make good council leaders, I won’t name names here but the only person, I mentioned, who the senior council officer liked the sound of had already held high office in the council.

What happens with the present system is that someone decides to become a councillor, for the most part I think that they have generally very good intentions of righting the wrongs in Thanet.

What happens next is rather difficult, because to get anywhere in the council they have to belong to one of the main national political parties, something that may be all well and good for governing the country, but in terms of the local problems is not very helpful and is often counterproductive.

By this I mean it is sometimes beneficial to criticise both the national government and the county administration, in terms both their general policy towards district councils and their approach towards this particular district.

Over a period of time the new councillor becomes part of a political group, he becomes trained in the way that the council has always done things and in many cases I believe becomes reliant on the financial allowances.

Now this may be beneficial to the political parties, it may also be beneficial to the officers in the council, but I am not so sure that it is beneficial in terms of solving many of the local problems. A very big factor here is that he or she has had to form alliances with and allegiances to the very people who have been responsible for many of the major local problems.

It is this lack of allegiances that attracts me to an elected leader, starting with a clean slate with no project, no matter how long the errors have gone on for or how much of the councils funding has gone into them exempt, an elected leader could have some chance of sorting them out.

I am thinking here of the ones that I know the details of like Pleasurama where basic public safety comes way behind the rules and regulations being adhered to, so that although the environment agency can strongly recommend safety precautions they can be ignored because of the date the recommendations were made, rather than the seriousness of those recommendations. The maritime museum, where a series of interdepartmental wrangles meant that it remained closed, unused through two summer seasons, I won’t go on as it achieves nothing.

Conversely staying closest to the present system, as recommended by the officers is probably the safest way forward, their greatest concern seems to not on getting a good leader, but how to rid us of a bad one.

What happens if we get an unscrupulous mayor is a bit of a worry, we have a bit of a history of dubious and incompetent councillors. One was convicted of printing money, one built some houses on common land, we even had one leader of the council who dressed up as a fake sheik to try to get some local investment. One councillor decided to promote tourism with a milk bottle advertising campaign, which could have worked if all of the milk bottles weren’t delivered in Thanet. Two councillors were found to be receiving housing benefit that they weren’t entitled to. I got this information directly from a Thanet councillor so you can take it as you find it.

What a pity the consultation isn’t a little broader, the council could instead of asking us if we want to vote for the just the leader of the council ask us if we wanted to vote for councillors in general.

They could suggest various other methods of selecting councillors other than voting for them, prior to democracy this was mostly based on wealth and the main land owner in Kent was the church so the local government, farming of the poor and suchlike was administered by the clergy, the livings were bought.

Archbishop Wake kept a private notebook about them written in Latin, I have mentioned this before but for anyone who missed this, here are a few descriptions of the Kent clergy ant the end of the 1600s:

Patten of Whitstable kept a mistress and did not pay his debts; Bourn of Ash was "allied to the sons of Eli" ; Roberts of Queenborough, ale-house sot and debtor, "so impudent as nothing is like him"; Bate of Chilham, "proudest and stiffest man" in the diocese, allowing corpses to lie unburied for want of fees; Burroughs of Kingston, "most horribly covetous" ; Ansell of Stowting and Cade of Sellindge, Jacobites and taven-brawlers; Edward Dering of Charing who fought his own sister at the Swan Inn and threw her "head-cloaths" into the fire; Hobbs of Dover, who amassed pluralities; Isles of New Romney a notorious sot and Jacobite; Nicholls of Fordwich who preached that George was a Foreigner, a Lutheran, and a Beggar-"a wicked, swearing. Lying, Drunken man".

Well it’s something for a local leader to live up to I suppose.

I will ramble on about this as the day continues.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Is Thanet District Council Rigging The May Elections

In May the council will either have a new style strong leader, elected by the voters in Thanet at the May election when we vote for the councillors, or it will have a new style strong leader chosen by the councillors.

One or the other has to happen because of an act of parliament passed by the government in 2007.

To decide which of these types of leadership the council will have, the council has to consult the voters to find out which type of council leadership they want, the council has two options for doing this set out in the act, one is to hold a referendum so that the voters can vote for which type of leadership they want, the other is for the council to hold a public consultation to determine what the voters want.

The council has decided, to decide what the voters want, by holding a public consultation, this consultation has been in progress now for eleven weeks and has determined the views of six voters.

To answer the question in the title of this post I don’t intend to present an argument, but instead to ask another question.

Do you think that the leader of the council, that we get after the May elections, will be the same person as the leader we would have got, had the council chosen to decide what the voters want by holding a referendum?

One of the problems with the council’s leadership is accountability, it is very difficult to elicit a response from the current leader and I believe this may be to do with the way he was selected. The following is a quote from the council’s website.

“A strong and stable democracy relies on people using their votes. By voting, you can hold your elected representatives accountable.

Make sure you have your say. Votes are power.”

Click on the link for the page if you want to read the rest of this

The council officers have published their advice about how the councillors should decide this issue at next weeks council meeting, it is a very odd document, bits of it just don’t make sense, for example:

“8.1 As mentioned earlier in the report the Council must selected its preferred political governance arrangements have regard to the public consultation responses as well as the extent to which the proposals, when implemented, would be likely to assist in securing continuous improvement in the way in which the Councils functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.”

Does it mean, select or have selected. I think the difference is make their mind up at the meeting, or come to the meeting with their minds already made up?

4.1 Para 2 “In considering how to approach these requirements you will wish to have regard to the circumstances of today, including both the priority of cutting out all wasteful spending and the Government’s commitments to allow councils to return to the committee system, should they wish to, and on elected mayors.”

Does it mean the governments commitments, the committee system and or elected mayors are wasteful spending?

Here the rest of it read it for your self if you want.$RevisedPoliticalManagementArrangements.doc.htm

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Turner Contemporary and The Ministry of Silly Walks Update.

You may remember in the past I have published videos of this project that is funded by the Turner Contemporary, well here’s another one.

In these interesting economic times it is always useful to know what public money in being spent on.

For instance KCC have plans to introduce traffic gridlock in Margate, this scheme not only includes having traffic lights at the clock tower roundabout, that achieved this so well before. It expands the concept to include traffic lights instead of the other roundabout on Margate seafront and making the road a lot narrower.

The whole scheme is a snip at about £8m, you may be interested to know what KCC have to say about it.

Apparently the aim is to reunite pedestrians with the beach.

This next bits congers up images of Lego and toy cars.

Officers are working on a micro-simulation model of Margate and Westwood to study the network implications of rerouting traffic on the seafront road.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Thanet District Council Leadership Consultation Only Six People Respond

It’s a funny old world, reading the blogs and talking to local people over the years I formed the impression that quite a few people were interested in the way the council is run.

I think the population of Thanet is about 150,000 from memory and I believe the number of those eligible to vote is just under 100,000, so when the council are obliged by the local government act to hold a twelve week consultation about the way the council will be run over the next four years, you would expect quite a few replies.

Well there is only a week of the consultation to go and according to the council only about six people have responded, it isn’t as though it is a complicated consultation, the council are only asking two questions and you only have to make one answer.

1 Do you want to vote for the leader of the council?

2 Do you want the councillors to chose the leader of the council?

You only have to email one of the following two answers to with your name and address so he can check that you are on the electoral roll and are eligible to take part.

1 I want a leader of the council elected by the people of Thanet.

2 I want a leader of the council chosen by the councilors.

I asked the council about this consultation ten days ago and have been promised a response, but haven’t received it yet.

I asked my MP to ask the council about this consultation, because time is running out and she got a response from the council, as obviously not many people are interested in this subject, I will put some of the relevant bits below, here is the link to the whole response

This all relates to an act of parliament, here is the link to the relevant bit

Next some parts of the councils response in red.

We have not received many responses to the consultation so far. Of the half-dozen or so we have received, all of those expressing an opinion have stated a preference for the Mayoral model, and that will be reported to the extraordinary meeting of Council on 16 December. It is worth noting, however, that the current statutory threshold for triggering a Mayoral referendum is very nearly 5,000 people on the electoral register. It will be for Council to decide how much weight to give to the relatively small number of responses we have received.

Before I go on I will endeavour to explain this bit.

The Mayoral model, is not as some of you could expect a charming young lady accompanying the mayor but means an elected leader, it has nothing to do with dressing up of either models or ceremonial mayors, think of it as a Boris Johnson type of mayor if you like.

The “statutory threshold for triggering a Mayoral referendum,” is a bit misleading in this context as this is the figure for a mayoral petition organised and presented to the council by a member of the public. It has nothing to do with the figure required for a consultation organised by the council, which is what he is talking about.

I will add to this post if I get time this evening.

Next the really bizarre correspondence between the council and one of the readers of this blog.

Here is the pertinent bit of what he asked the council:

The Act requires that the local authority must publish in one or more newspapers circulating in its area a notice which—(i) states that the authority has drawn up the proposals,(ii) describes the main features of the proposals,(iii) states that copies of a document setting out the proposals are available at their principal office for inspection by members of the public at such times as may be specified in the notice, and(iv) specifies the address of their principal office.I read the local papers fairly closely and I don't remember seeing such a notice published. Please advise in which paper and on what date such a notice was posted.

And this the council’s reply:

Section 64 of the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 requires Councils to consult the public before drawing up their proposals (i.e. before they are put to Council). It goes on to say that after drawing up their proposals (i.e. after Council has taken the decision) those proposals must be published in a local newspaper. So there is no legal requirement for a notice to have been placed in a newspaper at this stage.

In other words the council are interpreting the act as meaning the consultation should be publicised after it has happened.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The King of the council?

This civic throne of leaders, this septic isle,
This dearth of majesty, this seat of Bob,
This other chamber, semi-paradise,
This fortress built by a Leader for himself
Against defection and the hand of law,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious chair set by the silver sea,
Which serves us in the office for us all?
Or as a moat defensive to the group,
Against, less envy of the happier lands,--
This blessed blot, this dirt, this realm, this Thanet.

Robert The Unborn of Thanet Act 2 scene 1

Sorry about that I am loosing patience waiting for council to respond to my questions about the local leadership consultation.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Kent International Airport night flights update

This is straight from the council’s website, the documents it links to are all pdf files that may be difficult for some computers to open, I will endeavour to sort it out after lunch.

Independent reviews completed
Following the submission of the proposed new night-time flying policy by Manston Airport in September, three pieces of technical work have now been completed by independent specialists Bureau Veritas on behalf of Thanet District Council.

The first is an independent technical review of the Night Noise Assessment which was prepared by Bickerdike Allen Partners on behalf of Manston Airport. This assessment was submitted as part of the airport's proposal in September and explained the implications of the proposal. The night-time flying policy, which is based on some of the findings of the Night Noise Assessment, has also been reviewed within this report. The second piece of work is a review of the night quota schemes at other UK Airports and the third is a Glossary of Terms.

All three pieces of work will be discussed at the next meeting of the Airport Working Party.
· View the Manston Airport night noise assessment review (PDF 708kb)
· View the review of Night quota Schemes at other UK Airports (PDF 45kb)
· View the Glossary of Terms (PDF 200kb)

I am a bit busy today but have put up the stuff in html it’s a bit messy at the moment and I will tidy it up when I get a chance here are the links.

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.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Thanet District Council Leader, the choice is yours, or is it?

Not happy with the way the council is run?

Then you have ten days to change the way that it’s run, so don’t complain afterwards if you don’t take part in the consultation process.

The choice is a simple one:

1 Do you want to vote to elect the leader of the council? (Directly elected Mayor)

2 Do you want the councillors to choose the leader of the council on your behalf? (New-Style Strong Leader)

You can do this by email, send your answer, with your name and address, so that the council can check it against the electoral roll to make sure that can legally take part in the consultation, to

You can do this by post, send your answer, with your name and address, so that the council can check it against the electoral roll to make sure that can legally take part in the consultation, to:

Glenn Back
Democratic Services and Scrutiny Manager
Thanet District Council
PO Box 9
Cecil Street
Kent CT9 1XZ

This link takes you to the council’s webpage about this

That’s all really, although I am going to write a lot more about this, partly because it is a very important issue for Thanet and partly because I am not so sure that this will be a fair and democratic process.

In May of next year the council comes under various legal obligations because theoretically we live in a democracy.

One of those obligations is to hold an election to select new councillors, I have no problem with this aspect of the election.

This election however isn’t like the other elections because prior to this election a new the system of government for the council has to be chosen because of the 2007 act.

Now this act stipulates that, this system of government has to be chosen by us the electors and if we choose one of these systems then it makes the May elections very different, as we would also be electing the leader of the council as well as the councillors.

There are two ways that the council can use to decide which method of government, one is an electoral referendum, this way the council would ask us to vote for which system we want to have. The council have decided not to use this method, instead they have opted to use the other way, the public consultation method to decide which system of government to use in Thanet.

I have no problem with this provided the consultation is done legally and properly and the council abide by the results of this consultation.

The problem however is that the council appear to be trying to rig the consultation, it is really a very simple consultation consisting of a choice between two options.

1 Do you want to vote for the leader of the council?

2 Do you want the councillors to choose the leader of the council on your behalf?

This is a very big decision for Thanet we either have an elected mayor, like London has Boris Johnson or we have a leader like the ones we have had in the past, chosen by the councillors.

The deadline for this consultation is the 15th of December that is only eleven days from now and you would expect such an important thing as a change in our system of government to be highly publicised well in advance.

Well the first mention I can find of it in the local papers is in yesterday's Gazette.

You would expect there to be a simple consultation on the councils website explaining the two options and enabling you to tick one of two boxes to make your choice.

You would also expect there to be some explanation of the electoral referendum, which should also be an option that people could choose.

You would also expect this consultation to appear on the councils consultation website but it doesn’t.

The only way that you can take part in this consultation is by writing to the council, either by snail mail or by email.

If you read my previous posts about this and you will know that I have written to the council asking them about this consultation and it is my intention now to publish how I have been getting on with this consultation.

Please be patient if you want to read this as I have to extrapolate the information from various emails, removing councillors and council officers names and I have to sort this out between customers in the bookshop.

My initial email to the Democratic Services & Scrutiny Manager

Hi ****
I would like to take part in the Consultation on new Governance Models for Executive Arrangements, also I would like to publicise this consultation a bit more as it seems to lack the publicity one would expect.

By this I mean there doesn’t seem to have been a press release about it nor does it appear on the council’s consultation web page at

There are some aspects of the consultation that appear to have been presented in a somewhat biased manner, it may well be that I have misunderstood something here so would appreciate any clarification you could give me.

The only mention I can find of this consultation on the council’s website is at if there is any consultation form or online survey about this I can’t find it.

Please could you let me know if either of these are available on the council’s website?

The main area where I would like clarification is about the difference of cost between the two options and the way in which the council would proceed if the mayoral option were taken.

It appears from what is said on the council’s website that were the mayoral option to be approved as the preferred option this would necessitate a further and expensive election.

Could you please explain why a mayoral election couldn’t take place at the same time as the May 2011 council elections?

Where is says that the council’s initial preference is for the new-style Leader and Cabinet model, what is meant by the council in this instance? By this I mean are the councillors included in this reference to the council or does this only mean some or all of the officers? Does this mean that all of the officers including yourself are unanimous in supporting the preference for the new-style Leader and Cabinet model?

It appears that in this instance the council’s main concern and their reason for supporting new-style Leader preference relates to the councils inability to remove a democratically elected mayor can you please confirm that this is the case?

In the instance of the council removing a leader does the word “council” mean the same as it does in terms of preferring the new-style Leader option?

Is there any part of the council where I could obtain impartial advice about this issue?

Will the summary of consultation responses be available on the council’s website?

If it will, then will it be available there before the council’s decision?

When will the summary of consultation responses be available for the public to view?

Please could you confirm your receipt of this email as I have had difficulties with the council’s email server in the past?

In view of the very short time remaining I hoping for a prompt reply from you, if you can’t reply today will you please tell me when you will be able to reply by?

Further notes:

My address is

72 King Street
CT11 8NY
U. K.
Telephone (01843) 589500

Any information I publicise about this will not contain any officers names or contact details.

His reply

In a message dated 29/11/2010 13:17:16 GMT Standard Time, *** writes:
Mr ChildI acknowledge receipt pf your email, which I will reply to within thenext few days.

Regards ******
Democratic Services & Scrutiny ManagerThanet District CouncilTel: 01843 577187

my follow up email

>>> 03/12/2010 15:42 >>>
Hi *****, that appears to have been five working days and there appear to eight left before the deadline for the consultation.

I believe I did make it clear that I need the information that I asked you for to help me publicise this consultation properly.

Obviously I could go down the official complaint route here, this would be a little pointless as that ten-day period would take us to after the deadline date here.

Perhaps you think that some of my questions are unreasonable, if this is the case could you please answer the ones you consider to be reasonable.

The first publicity about the issue that I have found appeared in today’s paper, not an official statement by the council but an article by Saul Leese, as I put a small notification about this on my weblog, which I know he reads, then I assume that is where he picked it up from.

I note from the article that all three local residents interviewed were for a mayoral election.

I also note from the paper that the leader of the council has confirmed that he considers consultation on non-controversial issues to be unnecessary, does this mean that as everyone interviewed if for a mayoral election it is seen as non controversial and we will be having a mayoral election without more consultation now?

Either way it would appear that this consultation seems to have such a low profile that very few people will take part in it and because of this I would consider it to be invalid, of little consequence perhaps in terms of consultation however as this consultation effects the content of an election then presumably and election based on an invalid consultation would be a rigged election.

I also notice that the consultation doesn’t even mention the option of a mayoral election referendum, does this mean that the council wouldn’t consider going down this road?

Best regards Michael

His reply

In a message dated 03/12/2010 16:02:04 GMT Standard Time, **** writes:
Dear Mr Child

Thanks for your follow-up email.

I regret the delay in replying to you, but although mine is the contact name on the web page, I am not in fact "leading" on the governance consultation. I need to liaise with another officer before replying to you, but that officer has been away on a residential course for a few days, and adverse weather has then hampered the ability of that officer to return to work.

I hope to be able to reply to your points early next week, which I believe will still be within the Council's corporate standard for dealing with correspondence.



Democratic Services & Scrutiny Manager
Thanet District Council
Tel: 01843 577187

My reply

Re: Consultation on new Governance Models for Executive Arrangements
03/12/2010 16:30:34 GMT Standard Time

Sorry to make a fuss about this one *** but is seems to me that the council are trying to rig this consultation and in doing so rig the election.

I have now waited a five working days out of the thirteen and you tell me that you are going to work on the ten working day response rule, during a thirteen working day time frame.

Presumably at the end of the ten days you will tell me the name of the officer I should have contacted in the first place, whose name should have been published on the webpage.

Please could you send me the contact details for that officer now?

If you had told me at the beginning of the week that you were going down this road I would have contacted the electoral commission then.

I am now taking the line that the council is trying to rig the election and will publicise this.

Best regards Michael

As you can see by this point things are getting a little heated and I have ccd the stream of email to the chief executive, leader of the council, local MP and a few other candidates.

I then received the following from the council’s chief executive.

Fri, 3 Dec 2010 16:49

This is not an election it is a decision that will be taken by the council at its special meeting on Dec 16th. The officer dealing is ****** Head of Legal & Democratic Services *******Chief ExecutiveThanet District Council

You may think that he is being a little short with me here, but I have been a bit Difficult over the last few years, so you can concede that he has his reasons.

Here is my reply to the chief exec I have edited it a bit to keep people’s names out of it.

Subject: Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
michaelchild to Richard.Samuel - yesterdayMore Details

Fri, 3 Dec 2010 18:43

***** I appreciate your courtesy in replying, I know I am not the easiest person to deal with.

I did cc **** Head of Legal & Democratic Services the initial email, but I don’t think he is at home with email, he seems to prefer the telephone.

I did have a long chat with him about the mayoral issue about six months ago and understand his position on an elected mayor and to some extent was persuaded by him.

I would say that there is some consensus on wanting what is best for Thanet here.

The problem for me is the way that the decision is arrived at, added to which is the problem of the position of the leader if that decision is not arrived at properly and legally.

I am afraid that I am more familiar with the 2007 act than I would like to be, it was never my intention to become the council’s conscience but the other bloggers who were, have had to stop.

Anyway that aside the question of who decides which system of government TDC use is not quite as you suggest a matter for councillors to decide.

The question would then be, do you the councillors wish to vote for your leader, or do you want the rabble to?

The problem of course viewed the other way, it is another forgone conclusion, if you have a mayoral referendum then you are asking the people who vote, do you want to vote?

Now all I was asking for here is a properly run and publicised consultation, with the results of that consultation implemented.

The alternative being that I will start a mayoral referendum petition, so if you are considering sending me down this road could you please supply me with the documentation I will need to produce a valid petition?

I am assuming that it would need to correspond with the electoral roll in some way that is acceptable to the council.

In the meantime I stand by my premise that the council is trying to rig the election by rigging the preparation.
Best regards Michael

Here is the chief executive’s reply to me. As you can see I have made it very clear along the line that this information is for publication so I suppose you can call it the chief executives reply to us.

Re: Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure


Fri, 3 Dec 2010 23:03

I'm afraid I gave up latin at 13 so your header left me a bit cold. However the last Government left a piece of law hanging that said that councils had to make a choice about their leadership models.

The incoming government has committed to repeal that law and hand the choice back to local councils. We have been explicitly asked not to spend too much time and cost consulting on something that will be possibly extinct in 5 months or so.

Hence most councils including Thanet have complied with the law and conducted consultation accordingly and proportionally.

The 'excitement' about possible elected Mayors in Thanet or anywhere else is - dare I say it - not shared by most electors.

Elsewhere few people have responded - Ashford had one - and it is only in the big cities where referenda will take place.

Hence my point to you that this is not an election merely one of many decisions the elected council has to take. In our case that will be on 16th December. Given your interest I am sure you will be there.

There is much more detail of course but this is the gist of things.

*****Chief Executive

My reply to the chief executive:

Re: Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
michaelchild to *****- 20 min agoMore Details

To ***
Sat, 4 Dec 2010 16:43

Hi **** sorry about the delay in replying my bookshop has been busier than expected despite the inclement weather.

Also apologies about the Latin, roughly translated it means, I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear, it can only be excused by saying that my children take an interest in our correspondence.

I have put our correspondence on to the internet as there is also some considerable public interest in this matter.

As I said I would at the beginning of the correspondence I have removed the officers names, I hope that I have published it a way that you consider accurate and appropriate.

My understanding of the policy and intention of the present coalition government is that they with to hand local decision making back to the local electorate and that district councils are intended to one instrument for achieving this, not as you suggest a means on their own.

Could you kindly be more specific as to which act they intend to repeal? I am assuming that repealing the law is a sort of Cromwellian typo and don’t think that going into the constitutional implications of repealing laws would be helpful here.

Could you also please tell what you base your hypothesis on that: “The 'excitement' about possible elected Mayors in Thanet or anywhere else is - dare I say it - not shared by most electors”?

I should point out that the local paper only published the views of three electors and they all seemed to be in favour of an elected mayor, this is all I have to go on.

I assume you are privy to the consultation results, so far, so perhaps you can share these with me, to give me a more accurate picture of the situation.

I am interested that you say that referenda are only available to big cities, I hadn’t realised that they wouldn’t be allowed in Thanet, could you please tell me what the limiting population figure is?

I am interested that the councillors seem to unanimous in their opinion that an elected mayor is not something that they want and wonder would this preclude them from voting on the issue?

I am afraid that the council meeting coincides with my daughters Brownie meeting and I suspect you would be as powerless as I am to cancel such an important engagement, so no I won’t be attending.

Best regards Michael

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Ramsgate Snow Pictures

A few pictures of the snow in Ramsgate today, click on the link for them

Ramsgate Swimming Pool Plans sort of published

The council have published the new Ramsgate swimming pool plans on their website, I only managed to get two out of four sheets to open on my old laptop and don’t know if this is because of TDCIT or my ancient technology.

Here are the links to the plans on the council’s website pdfs again so don’t go there if you don’t think your computer can manage them.

· Option 1 Elevations, item 13. PDF 5 MB

The picture of one of the sheets, above, was captured using the print screen facility, I will try to better tomorrow when I am back at work and have access to more advanced computing facilities.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Pinch and a punch it’s the first of the month

Sorry to say I have totally messed up my web statistics this month, this was all down to the new blog design, normally I am resistant to change in these matters and tend to leave anything like the design of webpages well alone.

The problem was though that the old blog design was too narrow to fit in videos, something that have got wider recently.

Once I had selected a new design there was no way back, I even had to select colours, I have some notion in my head that orange goes with blue, so there you go.

Apart from the width, never mind the quality, and of course the change of colour everything else looked the same and it wasn’t until this weekend that I felt the need to inflate my ego and went and looked at the web statistics, only to discover that I had no visits during the last month.

Anyway after realising that I must have looked at my own blog at least a hundred times during the last month, I figured that there must be some other reason. It transpired that the code that the analytics site picks up hadn’t transferred to the newly designed blog with colouring all in the best possible taste.
Who says computers haven’t go minds of there own? Just take a look at the graph of this one waking up after getting its code put back in on Saturday, each dot represents a day. for what it’s worth here are the referral statistics since Saturday

Fortunately blogger started doing their own statistics back in July, so here is there graph for last month.

When it comes to referral blogger’s statistics are much less comprehensive as you see.
I have to admit that I am becoming a bit suspicious of all this traffic that comes from redundant sites like Bertie’s and Richard’s, statistics are very strange though.

There is certainly a lack of new local news coming up on the Thanet blogs at the moment and I suppose the problem there is one of, who pays the piper?

In this respect I am different to most of the other blogs, in as much as every time I post to a greater or lesser extent it promotes my bookshop, with that and being able to type fairly quickly it isn’t much of a chore.

I think that we are moving into a world where it is getting progressively difficult to see how anyone will get paid for writing anything, other than some amount derived from advertising.

Don’t worry I am not going to put averts all over this blog so that it takes ages to open, the vague promotion of the bookshop and local history publications is enough.

Anyway thanks to all my readers last month, thanks to all of those who provided me with information, from the anonymous envelopes through the letterbox to the council officers and councillors who popped in for a chat. Thanks also to those who have bothered to comment or linked to this site.