Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Manston airport cpo scrutiny meeting last night and other possible rambles.

Thanet District Council has now put to bed the Manston cpo with the only possible indemnity partner RiverOak Investments failing the criteria required by the council.

Like so many things in Thanet most of the information is in what wasn’t said rather than what was and the only way last nights meeting would have made any difference would have been if the council’s cabinet had failed to follow the proper procedures when making the decision that they hadn’t got an indemnity partner to proceed with.

This didn’t happen, so we are still where we were, with the UK government going to look at it and possibly make some recommendations in a few months time.

It should be pointed out here that the government couldn’t force the council to engage in a cpo and from the documents leaking out onto the internet it looks like RiverOak are a tangle of interlinked tax haven investment Delaware LLCs, engaged in an expensive litigation process, that don’t have enough cash to hand to proceed and would need to raise the money from a multitude of private investors. Even if they had the money it wouldn’t seem very likely that they could satisfy the stringent money laundering requirements required by all levels of UK government.

My take on the situation is we are still were we were with the council awaiting any recommendation form the minister for transport, with the reality being that without substantial government funding, which has already been refused, I would say this puts us into the chances of the airport reopening being very small indeed.

I am not sure if it would be possible to hold a rational conversation with anyone who was pro saving the airport, along the lines of either RiverOak were not suitable or yes to an airport we could fly from but no to an airfreight hub.

Would the result have been different if any other political party had been in control at TDC? I guess the answer to this one is probably no. Will the actions and efforts of various politicians make much difference to the forthcoming election results?

My guess is that very few people are really that interested in Manston and this is really confirmed by the only petition which means anything now, the one to the UK government

To understand this you need to appreciate that of all the petitions this is the one that is very hard to sign more than once, it is open to all UK voters and the basic idea is that if you get 100,000 signatures it may trigger a debate in parliament.

Well it has been running for months and only has about a month left, it has only attracted 3,000 signatures 3% of the amount needed which says it all really.   

The interesting election candidates re starting to appear in Thanet South, see I did once wonder about standing as the Monster Raving Loony party candidate, but the very real fear of getting elected put me off. 

On the bookshop front we are still much busier than I would expect and so apparently are Waterstones so is our brush with the Kindle over? I think not.

My take is that the novelty has worn off and most people who read books realise now that there is a place for both the digital book and the paper book.

I have started using my Michaels Bookshop blog for bookshop related posts. I am not really sure what anyone makes of this including me, early days and no real feedback.


  1. Nearly that many people have signed a petition to fence off the River Medway....

  2. 7.20 The sea is an extremely dangerous place I am considering starting a petition to put a fence round it.

  3. So last night the Scrutiny committee made the obvious recommendation to the council cabinet. Namely that they look again when the government reports back on Manston. I have news for the Scrutiny committee, the TDC cabinet would have done this anyway otherwise what was the point of the government producing a report? Who knows if this report is produced before the next local and general elections it could contain election bribes mounting to hundreds of millions of pounds for TDC to issue a CPO. Maybe not.

  4. There seems to be some misunderstanding. The government isn't going to be producing a report about Manston. It was made clear that the government could do nothing if TDC did not take the first step. TDC has acted responsibly in deciding not to team up with Riveroak. They were left with no option when it emerged that Riveroak doesn't have the money, so any promises made to reimburse the council were hollow. So, the minister will now put this matter at the bottom of his pending tray until after the election, by when he will no longer be the minister and it will become someone else's millstone.


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