Friday, 26 October 2012

Friday ramble about council tax rises and other stuff.

 Having just put up the press release about impending council tax rises, see http://thanetpress.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/council-tax-announcement-thanet.html several thoughts struck me, the main one being is that that I wouldn’t mind paying more for good, fair and open local government here in Thanet.

With Thanet District Council £1,000,000 per year for them seems to equate to about £8 per year for us council taxpayers and it seems the council want to find an extra £580,000 next year, because the national government is going to cut their grant.

 I guess the old cry of no taxation without representation may need looking at here, when it comes to making local decisions the technology exists now for us to make them ourselves without representation.

With the party political system operating at a local level, democracy doesn’t necessarily mean that you get what the word suggests. To me this suggests a local person standing to represent the needs of the local area, whereas in practice we get what the local Labour and Conservative parties chose in terms of people to vote for.

 A local person standing as an independent councillor wouldn’t normally stand a cat in hell’s chance of making any difference to anything much, the recent exception has been TIG and as most of the conventional politicians seem to strongly dislike the members of TIG this is interesting to us locals.

One way and another I guess there isn’t much at local level we can do about the representation, so perhaps we should be asking for no taxation without something else. What? Well I guess clear information about what the council are up to on our behalf and with our money wouldn’t be a bad starting point. 
 Issues that are of considerable interest to locals, produce bizarre results when searched for on the council’s website, I just had a go with the radar on the end of the pier issue that is causing such a stir in Ramsgate, see http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/councils-collide-over-ramsgate-harbour.html bung radar into the council website’s search box and be mystified. I will ramble on late I expect.

With the Royal Sands it was certainly interesting to see a councillor being sceptical about the development in the media, there is a similarity between the cabinet member responsible commenting in 2007 here http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kentonline/newsarchive.aspx?articleid=32914 and the cabinet member responsible commenting this week here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-20071560
One point worth considering is that now after all these years when we could have had a fun fair and or parking on most of the site, the council are now saying that they are going to check to see whether the company that wants to build it actually has the money to do so. Companies house list SFP Ventures as having a net negative value of minus £859.   
On to the local secondary school league tables which I had considerable difficulty locating and have copied off the BBC's website.


School name

The Charles Dickens School
47
0
33
969.3
NA
NA
Chatham House Grammar School for Boys (SEL)
95
42
91
994.2
878.7
99
Clarendon House Grammar School (SEL)
95
44
95
995.5
795.5
87
Dane Court Grammar School (SEL)
94
56
92
997.7
963.6
97
The Ellington and Hereson School
36
3
23
969.7
NA
NA
King Ethelbert School
28
0
19
978.6
NA
NA
The Marlowe Academy (AC)
20
0
4
958.8
NA
NA
Sandwich Technology School
41
0
33
993.1
552.1
71
Sir Roger Manwood's School (SEL)
95
70
95
1013.5
1017.4
100
St George's Church of England Foundation School
48
0
16
1051.7
780.8
85
Ursuline College
45
6
39
1002
498.5
44

Sorry the table is a bit wide in most browsers it will work better on the BBC website by clicking on this link
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/education/school_tables/secondary/11/html/bacc_886.stm?compare=8865438+8865462+8864118+8865460+8865468+8864120+8866906+8865463+8865428+8865447+8864633 i guess you only have to look at the link to understand the difficulties.

having done that i realise that the links to the explanatory notes on the BBC's website don't work so have copied the whole thing to a conventional website here is the link http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/1012/id9.htm the BBC may not like me doing this so I may have to remove it.


This came up because of today’s news item saying new teachers would have to pass rigorous maths and English exams, this seemed to me to be muddled thinking by the government as it does little to address problems with existing teachers and raises some questions about people like art teachers like, would you rather have an art teacher who can draw than one who can do quadratic equations?

There is a simple answer to the problem which is the teachers sit the exams with the pupils they have taught and their results are taken into account, both when marking their pupils results and when considering whether they should stay teaching a particular subject.  

I had a very busy day in my bookshop today, I put this down to there now being so few independent shops in Thanet and there being virtually no non food shops left where the items for sale are generally cheaper than the internet.

The business of leisure shop browsing is changing very rapidly at the moment and many shopping experiences are not so good, I ran out of bubble wrap the other day, I usually buy it on ebay in large rolls last time 300 metres for £16.99 inc vat and shipping. Buying it at £4.59 for 3 metres in Smiths the only remaining option in Ramsgate seemed more than a bit steep.

New High Street and shopping centre book buying is rapidly degenerating into browsing either Smiths or Waterstones, finding the book you want, pointing the camera of your mobile at the barcode and pressing the buy it now button.

This takes a lot of the fun out of shopping and returning home with your purchases and of course ultimately is heading towards disaster.

Allthatsaid I was too busy to get out and buy an Isle of Thanet so here is the link to this weeks stories in that paper http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/people/Isle%20of%20Thanet%20Gazette/profile.html

The story that most surprised me was the one about the closure of Margate market, see http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/mid-week-market-town/story-17188142-detail/story.html

I think it is about time Margate found a blogger to replace Tony as I am sure this issue should have been covert on the Thanet Blogs. 

3 comments:

  1. minus £859 that meams I must be able to fund loads of similr developments, Fancy being a business partner Michael?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don did you mean you or them, things as you may have noticed in the retail world are not so good at the moment, with bookshops there is the added problem of internet sales and the Kindle, this left me with one of two business plans, one being to win the lottery the other was to be cheaper than the competition.

      At the moment we are going with second plan, however £3.6m does look like a bargain price for the main and most prominent site in the Ramsgate and I do have more than minus £859 on me at the moment, as I guess you do, so perhaps we could ask the council for an option on the site and then try and sell it for the ten to fifteen million I would think it is worth having done this we could pay off the council and split the roughly ten million.

      Being a partner to SFP doesn’t look like such a good deal.

      Delete
  2. Its ironic that in Margate TDC want to buy a site and in Ramsgate they want to sell one. Do they need the cash from one to pay for the other?
    It also occured to me that when the new ferry starts next year this will bring additional port fees into the coffers of TDC that they had not planned for. Any ideas of how much this will be?

    ReplyDelete

Please note comments that may be libellous, comments that may be construed as offensive, anonymous derogatory comments about real people, comments baiting internet trolls, comments saying that an anonymous comment was made by a named real person, boring comments and spam comments, comments in CAPs will be deleted. Playground stuff like calling real people by their time stamp or surname alone, referring to groups as gangs, old duffers and so on will result in deletion. Comment that may be construed as offensive to minority groups is not allowed here either, so think before you write it, remember that the internet is a public place, that it is very difficult to be truly anonymous and that everyone who uses it leaves a trail of some sort. Also note the facility to leave anonymous comment will be turned of during periods when I am unable to monitor comment, this will not affect people commenting who are signed on to their blogger accounts. When things are particularly difficult on the commercial spam front I may turn comment moderation on for periods.

If you feel that someone has left a comment that is offensive and directed at you personally please email me (link on the sidebar) asking to have it removed, you will need to tell which post and the date and timestamp of the offending comment. Please do not reply to the offending comment as I will assume you continuing the dialogue as meaning that you want the comments left there.