Sunday, 13 May 2012

A few pictures of Ramsgate and St Lawrence, and possible ramble about the airport and so on.

I notice Simon has had a ramble today, see with some thoughts on the airport and once again I find I am trying to work out what I really think about it.

I guess to me it has been a sort of ongoing joke since the 1960s, because obviously an airport needs to be a transport hub and Thanet’s location makes it a very few spokes.

Unkind I know but in truth so much money has gone into trying to make it work and always the problem is that most people who would ever use it would have to travel past at least on large operational airport, invariably offering more destinations, more flying times and better prices.

I guess being in business and living in Ramsgate what would be best from my point of view is the stability of knowing where we stand with it, the uncertainties particularly about night flying are damaging to Ramsgate, being at the end of the runway.

I guess there are some types of airport activity that would be beneficial  the local economy, perhaps five or ten years after it had become established, but uncertainties about noise and other environmental issues, particularly drinking water protection are damaging to the local economy.

When uncertainties about pollution issues continue for fifty years while various companies discover the fish make very few journeys by air, the damage is considerable.  

I guess there are potentially two sorts of airport, one being a modern regional airport with the highest standards of environmental and safety controls enhancing the local economy and bringing tourists direct to us, the other a sort of dumping area taking mostly flights that aren’t wanted elsewhere, mostly freight at anti social hours, I guess this would have the minimum environmental controls that they could get away with and would be detrimental to the local economy.

I guess the latest information I had, that the airport operator has applied to The Environment Agency to reduce the environmental controls that were set out and the subject of a major consultation exercise is most discouraging.   
 I did a few sketches today, one of the harbour here, sorry about the lifeboat, pen is pretty final if it doesn’t go right the first time.

And another inside St Lawrence tavern, apologies to any victims.

Oh and here are the photographs

It seems Simon has been busy today with a second post about changes to the Conservative shadow cabinet, see

I guess I keep coming back to the old problems with the Conservative group, the first being are the really Conservative or just mostly people who have flown that flag of convenience for one reason or another.

I guess I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of its members cross the floor to one of the independent groups, partly because of this lack of Conservative ideology and partly because of the groups backing of a series of non runners but mainly their failure to listen to the local people they are supposed to represent.

The latest business over the airport being an example, it is really quite simple, the council hold an internet consultation which has more responses than any other and is overwhelmingly against night flights. The Conservative group claim to represent local people and yet seem to be saying that they are for night flights.

I guess I will be slated as being a red under the bed again for saying this, but the latest example of what I mean, is trying to get some sort of proper and considered response to the Royal Sand problem from them. 

I would guess that the local Conservative group stands a fair chance of spending the next seven years in opposition, particularly in view of the recent election results, so I guess they will try making some changes.

Whether they actually have anyone that would make the independents consider them a better bet than the existing Labour leadership I don’t really know, I guess supporting night flights just after the results of the recent consultation is as close as they could get to shooting themselves in the feet. 


  1. It's very simple really. The government of Margaret Thatcher elevated the needs of business above all. This philosophy now pervades every facet of modern life. Anyone who runs a market stall, cleans carpets and sells houses or used cars is a businessman, to be revered by society, and held in higher esteem than lowly servants like schoolteachers, nurses, or soldiers. Schools and universities are seen as training grounds for workers; hospitals are seen as workshops to fix the broken workers; entertainment has to be organised so that it doesn't interfere with the working day; the environment is either something that gets in the way of business or presents business with opportunities to make money. Tony Blair's Labour party could have reversed some of this by instigating policies which revolved around the individual. Unfortunately, they too sold out and now, sucking up to business is the only game in town. Local politicians are just weedy little versions of the national ones, so TDC puts the needs to business above everything and everyone else.

    Of course, those with half a brain recognise that Thatcher's claim that "what's good for business is good for the country" falls flat when you look at the current economic mess. It doesn't take a genius to see that the assumption that economic growth would continue forever, was fatally flawed. You have to assume they knew it wouldn't last, but knew it would last long enough to line their nests.

    Mr. Hart's stand against night-flights is an encouraging throwback to a time when politicians were responsive to public opinion and didn't take everything "business leaders" said at face value. Ed Milliband could do worse than take note. A party which was committed to putting the needs of people first could do rather well.

  2. What a load of emotive codswallop - you'd have us living in tents and bartering for sheep.

    1. If we still suffer from the legacy of Thatcher what, may I ask, did New Labour achieve in thirteen years of acute financial mismanagement. Maybe it was not Thatcher that got it wrong, but the sudden change of direction to a public sector fuelled economy during the Blair/Brown years.

      Rejecting Manston expansion, without so much as sitting down with the airport operators to discuss mutually beneficial prospects, is par for the course with Labour administrations. It is a simple but effective strategy. The more people on the bread line then the more Labour voters.

  3. Do you live under the flight path Tom? I don't, so I support night flights, but I can understand others not wanting them.

    1. Peter, people not wanting them is one thing, but responsible authorities rejecting out of hand without even discussing the full proposals is something else. As to flight paths, well I once lived in RAF married quarters on a Vulcan bomber base (and that is real noise) so I can tell you one gets used to it. No worse than backing the railway line or living next door to some neighbours.

    2. Fair comment... and I agree regarding railways. I have lived very close to Margate Station for the past 13 years, & when I first moved here the early trains always woke me; now I no longer hear them (though to be fair it was more the slamming of the doors on the old style carriages than the actual trains that woke me).

    3. Fortunately don't have door slamming with aircraft, leastways you hope not!

    4. Tom, at the next local election I suggest you stand in Ramsgate as a candidate and see how you get on and experience local democracy in action.

    5. Tony, local democracy should involve serving all the people in the district, not just those of a few targat wards. Anyway, I will take you on in an election if you like, but how about Viking or Kingsgate wards.

  4. Nobody has "rejected the proposals out of hand without discussing them." The proposals have been on the table for more than a year and there has been extensive debate within the local community. In addition, the Council has spent a lot of taxpayers' money commissioning expert reports about the proposals, all of which have concluded that the economic benefits are being overstated and the environmental impacts underplayed. The pro-airport lobby keep banging on about the economic benefits but they have not produced a shred of evidence to support these claims. In fact, the most impressive research has been done by the NNF group which looked at other airports and was able to produce a very convincing demolition of the jobs claims being made by Infratil.

    I guess the underlying complaint here is that the Tories haven't been able to influence the extensive debate which has taken place. There are two key reasons for this. Firstly, the Tory leadership made it clear that they were supportive of night-flights irrespective of the environmental impact. They were focussed only on the supposed economic benefits. There is no point in debating an issue with people whose minds are closed and so they were, rightly, marginalised. Secondly, the Tory councillors didn't bother attempting to engage with the people of Ramsgate. They could have attended one of the several public meetings which took place; they could have dropped leaflets through letterboxes; they could have set up a stall in the town centre to speak to people. They did none of these things. They didn't bother trying to speak to people because they, arrogantly, assumed they would be able to sit in their ivory tower and override the people's wishes.

    It is time for Bayford to step aside and it is to be hoped that the local party will elect a more progressive leader who is more in touch with public opinion and more open-minded. Unfortunately, this isn't a description I would apply to any of the candidates who have thrown their hat in the ring, so far.

  5. Why did Infratil remove the noise monitors in 2006, and TDC and KCC ignore this for years?

    Along with the aquifer, and illegal overflights, the public have been deliberately endangered by their civil servants and politicians.

    The Police must be called in.

  6. 1017 has it about right. No-one from the Conservative Party seems to want to listen to the people of Ramsgate and they are certainly not going to win any friends down here by their rigid insistence on their present line. Northwood, Newington and Whitehall are all pretty deprived areas and they voted resolutely for a Labour manifesto committed to no night flights, so either the jobless in these areas are happy to be jobless or they have seen through the Infratil charade.
    I wojuld suggest that the various Ramsgate wards sort out their prospective candidates for the next election pretty soon and get them out on the street. Only by talking to the people will you get any idea what this area wants.


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