Sunday, 30 December 2012

Wind up of the year.

 As far as I remember this time last year we had just had a change of administration in our local government from Conservative to Labour, so a reasonable question is have we benefited.
 My view is obviously biased towards Ramsgate, where I live and trade and I guess what a district council does that it doesn’t have to do anyway – empty the bins, sweep the streets and so on - is fairly limited, the difference in Ramsgate, well at least the only one I could see, relates to council owned property.
 Somehow under the eight years of Conservative administration virtually all of our district council owned public properties became or remained empty and or derelict. Whether this was due to spite towards a town with mostly Labour councillors, terrible blundering or something else that has never been explained – I don’t know – no one has ever said. 

 Since Labour took over at the end of last year three have reopened, The Clock House and the café at the end of the pier and the old tourist information office.
 The biggest and most prominent Pleasurama and The Pavillion still remain derelict abandoned eyesores, as do Westcliff Hall and Albion House.
 I guess the most significant local factor last year is that it was the first full year of The Turner Contemporary art gallery and this even included a visit to the gallery by the reigning monarch
 With all of the cuts both to our county council and the arts council I do wonder what the long term future will be for the gallery, the way it is designed makes it very expensive to run and frankly I think it is too small an attraction to command an entrance fee comparable to its running costs.
 Children’s quote of the year, may be: “We had sex education at school, but it wasn’t much good, we didn’t get to do anything, apart from watch TV.”
 If I have a new year’s resolution it must be to put the names of places and the date in my sketchbooks. Thumbing through them and trying to grasp a little of the last year I have taken photos of some of the sketches, many of them never get finished as there isn’t time.
It’s been a strange year for secondhand bookselling with Albion Bookshop in Broadstairs becoming a pub with books, I don’t really know what to make of it and certainly know it isn’t something I could cope with. 


The whole business of books and bookselling is heading for a cliff edge as far as I can see, over the years the business of choosing something to read developed into something called the browse.

This is particularly important for newly published books that were never destined for rave reviews, but was nonetheless useful and interesting to some people.

I guess that the crux of the problem is that while Amazon are very successful at closing down all forms of opposition, they haven’t mastered the virtual equivalent of a browse in a physical bookshop.  




















I may ramble on here.

18 comments:

  1. 500,000 TC visitors at £2 would cover half the present running costs but how many of the 500,000 just pop in to spend a penny or have a sit down on a wet day?

    Quite a lot is promised for Thanet next year, Plesurama site sold and the developer can then raise the cash to get on with it, a new ferry service from Ramsgate to Boulogne, Dreamland CPO completed, Tesco at Arlington underway, new air service to Amsterdam up and running and if you are looking for shop premises in Thanet even more choice will become availble.

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    Replies
    1. anonymous 2:13PM

      Do I detect a note of irony in there.

      Delete
    2. You are right, the developer wont come up with the credentials needed to proceed, the ferry service company has failed before and the ship still appears to be down under, Dreamlandlive will win their appeal and apply to build 800 dwellings scrap the heritage idea and put in up todate attractions leaving TDc with £600,000 of useless rides, Infratil will pull the rug from under KLM but at least the other two stand.

      Delete
    3. The Turner figures are made-up to justify the huge costs: 20M quid twice or was it more? 500k visitors would be half the population of Kent. The place is invariably half-empty even at weekends or a quick half hour browse covers it.With budget costs of the running cots from KCC it's been the usual farce of overclaim and then the actual result. So successful Portas has been drafted in to do equally little.

      The other points on Dreamland and Manston etc sound about right to me: failure again from the pensioners club supposedly improving things. A few sackings and paycuts would perk up the civil servants and electoral defeats the same for the councillors to clear out the dead wood and corruption.

      Delete
  2. Yesterday I had occasion to drive through Ramsgate, starting at St. Lawrence and heading towards Broadstairs. As I reached the traffic light controlled junction of Chatham Street and Boundary Road there was a sizeable accumulation of discarded rubbish at the roadside on both my left and right. This extended down Boundary Road to the end, with a particularly large and unsightly pile of accumulated paper, plastic, cans and sundry waste adjacent to the long abandoned and seemingly permanently disused gas works site. Turning into Hereson things improved, but still the general upkeep of the tidyness of the streets fell well below an acceptable level.

    If our local district council cannot even keep the streets clean over a public holiday, one of their few real responsibilities, what chance is there for any proper control and management of the projects discussed here. I suppose 'fat' is the one chance that springs to mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that the street cleaners like a lot of other people have had a few days off for some reason. You could always join Dave's big society and do your bit and clean it up.

      Delete
    2. Why when we pay council tax to get it done? Stop the tax and I will happily turn out with others to keep the place ship shape, though the public sector workers' unions might have something to say about that.

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    3. It's been surprisingly good here in Westbrook (they even empted the communal bin at the end of my road on boxing day!).

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    4. The point about the big society is that the public step in when local councils and other bodies can no longer afford to fund services. The point has now been reached when the taxes that we pay together with goverment grants are not enough to substain the services that we need. No inflation rise last year in local taxes and a less than inflation rise proposed this year.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous 4:16PM,

      I take your point. I will help out for gratis. Providing that a few Councillors and TDC Officers are sacked accordingly. Would that be OK with you?

      Delete
  3. Once upon a time John, you could have told me and I would have been on it like a shot. Now I suggest you email Cllr Poole who is in charge of the environment!

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  4. Apparently this post is aimed at you John Holyer:

    http://thanetstar.com/article/dyspraxia-is-not-a-crime-john

    ReplyDelete
  5. Peter,

    I cannot see why it should have been aimed at me. I have not made any comments about dyspraxia. In fact I only discovered what is dyspraxia one minute ago literally. What makes you think it was aimed at me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because he said so when commenting on another post.

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    2. (Un)fortunately the site is down at the moment, so I can't point this out to you (I guess the fact that you didn't believe his stories makes you anti-disabled!). Ask him yourself who the "John" is if you don't believe me...

      Delete
    3. Peter,

      Thank you. I get it now. I did post somewhere on his blog saying that I did not believe his stories about claimants being refused job seekers allowance for missing interviews through no fault of their own.

      I don't think I'll take it up with him; when or if his blog returns. There would be no value in a debate with him. He strikes me as the sort of person who forms a firm opinion in the loneliness of his mind and then proceeds to scratch around looking for evidence to support it. He sees disability as a weapon with which to smite the disbelievers. I get the impression that he is willing to say anything if he believes it will advance his purpose. It's best to leave him to himself. To be fair though irritating he is essentially harmless.

      On second thoughts,I suspect he might read Michael's blog. So I'll keep my eye out for an anonymous hurling brickbats in my direction.

      Delete
    4. I doubt if he'll reply as he rarely bothers with other local blogs (which is probably why he gets so much local info wrong). I'll send him this link though...

      Delete

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