Saturday, 31 January 2015

Ramsgate and the Labour years

Just before lunchtime yesterday – Friday – market day in Ramsgate I walked down King Street from my bookshop. With all of our UKIP councillors at TDC, the UKIP offices being at the end of King Street and KCC being responsible for blocked drains and uneven pavements, this is a journey that provokes some thought. Perhaps UKIP councillors float in the air with their eyes shut, perhaps they are just ignored at KCC, perhaps blocked drains and uneven pavements are something they just don’t notice.

Moving the rubbish collection to late on Friday morning is down to TDC and with so much invested in Margate at the moment, with Dreamland due to open soon, I guess it is at least understandable why TDC would want Ramsgate to fail, any of those shoppers they can get out of Ramsgate may just go to Margate, a forlorn hope but there you go.  

Anyway right in the middle of the very busy market there is a pop up Labour TDC councillors stall, the idea of this or perhaps the hope of this is that when we get to the polling station in May and are faced with the three sets of ballot papers. One for the parliamentary elections where we chose. What? MP, prime minister, different coalition. One for TDC councillors where we chose. What? A councillor who will represent us, Margate council, a labour councillor – even they seem to think that TDC will be run by a Conservative/UKIP coalition made up of the North Thanet Conservative old guard. One for RTC councillors where we chose. What?

My guess is that the results in this election are going to be something of a three way split here in Thanet, Labour, Conservative and UKIP, but will many people who vote say UKIP on one ballot paper, vote differently on the others?

So how did Labour do? Their leadership of TDC hangs on getting voted in in Ramsgate. So have they done much for Ramsgate.

The main Ramsgate issues below and how they have faired under three years of Labour.

Night Flights: Well the airport has gone and I don’t think it would be easy to attach much blame for this to any political party, so no real score here.

Westcliff Hall: still the same, no score

Harbour Arches: much improved, 8 out of 10?

Café on the end of pier: reinstated 10 out of 10

Albion House: sorted 10 out of 10

Maritime Museum: open for most of the summer: 6 out of 10

Pavillion: going to be big pub 5 out of 10

Town centre: well buying up a significant shop in a pretty much fully let shopping parade next to the main car park to turn the shop part into social housing, this has to be a minus 10.

Pleasurama: no change so no score.

Port Ramsgate: this would have been a no score, but with TDC ex senior officers putting together their rubbish plan I think this may be a minus 10.

Of course at this point it may be a good idea to speculate where we would be if the Conservatives had stayed in power, my guess and this is only based on what they managed to do for Ramsgate during the 8 years they were in power, is that we would have been even worse off.

I asked the Labour councillors various questions and got the expected answers apart from when I asked them if they had had a flutter on Will winning the parliamentary elections and becoming MP for Thanet South. The odds are 8 to 1 at the moment which I think is pretty good, and no they hadn’t.    
I may ramble on here 


  1. If you shop around, you can get 10-1 on Will Scobie winning in May. I think it's a good bet, and I'm going to put every penny I can scrape together on him winning!

    On top of that, I think he'd be the best MP…

  2. Jim my assumption is that at the moment it could go to any of the three main candidates and I would expect the odds to be around the same for all three, so yes I think it a good bet, but not worth putting my shirt on. Particularly in view of the Thanet North odds where the conservatives are 2/7 and labour 5/2 I can’t see why the bookies seem to think there is much more chance of labour ousting Roger Gale.

    The main thing I hope for in a MP is that they will at least respond promptly and personally to reasonable communications from their constituents. Added to this I think an understanding of the constituency and its problems is essential. At the moment Will looks like the best bet to me.

    I guess though the main factor for me is running a small business, I don’t really know if my business would survive us pulling out of the EU, so many of my customers wages come from companies reliant on Europe. I guess my take is that if we came out of Europe things could be better in ten years time, but this isn’t much conciliation if your business goes bust during the first five.

  3. It's probably very boring, but I have to agree with everything you say, Michael...

  4. Quote from John Worrow in 2013: "My health has been affected by all this and while I'm still thinking about my immediate future I definitely will not be standing for re-election in 2015. I will be looking to go sooner rather than later." And they wonder why the public have such a low opinion of politicians.

  5. This really is Labour bias from you Michael.

    Ramsgate Labour are useless while Young Scobie is where he is because of his councillor father rather than merit.

    You've omitted to mention the Port fiasco that was completely a Labour mess with Everitt, Clive and Iris involved.

    Or night flights which Labour were in favour of then sort of weren't then Iris supporting Manston.

    Or Pleasurama that was Poole and now Iris and RTC.

    And is that really Worrow popping up as a Labour councillor for Ramsgate?

    And the other councillors are swapping around their seats? Dave Green was Eastcliff now Newington?

    Ramsgate doesn't have Tories now only UKIP (and they have done nothing) which is a problem.

  6. You must remember that the backdrop to the TDC Labour years is that the coalition government has cut and cut and amount of cash it gives Thanet. The cuts were some of the highest in the country unlike cuts given to some of the West Kent councils. In the next year the cuts mean that TDC have to find savings of £800,000 so I cant see how services can improve across Thanet.
    At the same time that these cuts are taking place the government has given a grant of £6 millions to the private company that runs Discovery park. Maybe they are hoping for a similar grant to redevelop Manston.

  7. What rubbish 9:03 Labourite, TDC has had no more or less in cuts than any other council - and £800k is almost nothing in a £60M budget.. And if the Labour KCCers or Tories can't make the case for Thanet then they should resign.

    Probably TDC deserves to have any grants cut as it is corrupt and incompetent.

    Who do you think should resign or not stand at TDC? Macgonigal and Seed have gone so clearly there is a problem there.

    Discovery park was given a grant after the collapse of Pfizer and 4,000 job losses: Labour or Tory failure?

    No wonder UKP can take seats with even vaguer promises and jumping parties and racism.

  8. Michael's forgotten Dreamland and nothing much done under both Clive and Iris for years

  9. A few thoughts here, like it or not I am a floating voter and since I have taken an interest in local politics here, I have voted in the district and national elections not so much based on which candidate is the best and most able, but on which candidate is likely to do the least damage to Ramsgate with the added proviso that after they were elected they would communicate with me personally by email.

    I guess my biggest disappointment on this front has been Laura Sandys where I went from emailing Steve Ladyman about Ramsgate issues and getting an immediate response, albeit not necessarily the response I wanted, to emailing Laura – who was always very communicative before the election – and getting a delayed response form someone in her office who often seemed to fail to understand the issue.

    I can’t quite understand this problem over who a PPC’s parents are, this country has a long history of political families like the Marlborough’s/Churchill’s. My father was a bookseller whether I would have been a better bookseller if he wasn’t I suppose has some sort of validity somewhere, however if he wasn’t I don’t suppose I would have become a bookseller at all. Do the other candidates have parents? I wonder, or perhaps the popped into life fully grown and wanting to leave Europe, does anyone care?

  10. Anon 12.21 you need to check the facts.
    The TDC budget is nearer £20 millions rather than £60 millions. You must be including all of the council tax revenues plus government grants. TDC take less than 20% of the council tax. KCC, police and fire take the rest.
    I grant that £800k out of £20 millions may be chicken feed to you but there has already been a 28% cut in the government grant in the last two years.
    The governments own figures for year on year cuts for Kent for 2015/16 (which are not difficult to find) are

    Ashford -3.7%
    Canterbury -4.0%
    Dartford -0.6%
    Dover -5.6%
    Gravesham -4.7%
    Maidstone -1.1%
    Sevenoaks -1.3%
    Shepway -4.5%
    Swale -4.1%
    Thanet -5.3%
    Tonbridge and Malling 0.3%
    Tunbridge Wells -4.4%

  11. Michael you're criteria of not voting for the best candidate seems utterly idiotic.

    As does suggesting Young Scobie is from a political dynasty rather than being helped by his dad to quickly gain the main political positions in Thanet ie KCC, Mayor and now MP - again not meritocratic and family cronyism.

    Has any other candidate had such a leg-up? It's awful.

    And yes we would be better off without political dynasties such as The Milibands or Johnsons.

    Meritocracy is best not trading on the family name.

  12. Even by Michael's own figures Ramsgate Labour get 19 out of a possible 100!

    Hardly a superb performance - if not disastrous - and what's with the Town Hall being sorted? It's a mess and now too small and where are the funds and artefacts from the selloff? Dumped into TDC again?

    While no score for Pleasurama etc is surely a fail - they're not meant to be derelict sites for years are they?

    Michael should take a long hard look at the support he's lending to such failure through such foolish comments.

    Or stick to moaning about the bins and drunks and carpet warehouse outside his shop.

  13. Anon 1.43 How long has Dreamland been in Ramsgate which was the subject of this posting. You can do your own list for Margate.

  14. 6:53 Dreamland affects Ramsgate's prosperity doesn't it?

    A list of the decay in Margate would take too long.

    The key point on this discussion though was whether Ramsgate Labour deserve to be re-elected and their track record?

    The disaster with the Port and Pleasurama is enough for them to unseated?

    And are they all standing as doublehatters for both TDC and RTC?

  15. I guess really the key point here is not really how Labour have done, but how Labour have done compared to how the Conservatives or UKIP would be likely to have done at TDC level.

    Obviously we have had mostly UKIP Thanet councillors for quite a while at KCC and I am at a bit of a loss to see what they have achieved for Ramsgate or for that matter Thanet.

    Then of course we have the previous eight years of the Conservatives having a good working majority at TDC and what they did for Ramsgate or Thanet for that matter.

    My own take is that we are reaching the point where we may need to consider a mayoral election petition for Thanet. This process involves getting together verifiable signatures of 5% of the electorate, which then would force TDC to hold a referendum asking do you the electorate want to chose the council leader by ballot or do you want to continue with the situation where the councillors choose the leader?

    My feelings are that if we get a council leadership based on a UKIP, Conservative coalition which is essentially the Thanet North, old guard Conservatives, then this will be the best way to go for Ramsgate.

  16. You seem to be both backtracking and shifting the goalposts Michael. Who knows how a Conservative regime would have done?

    Labour have controlled both TDC and RTC for some years so even you would struggle to find excuses for them.

    That said I agree UKIP are both Old Conservatives and have done nothing.

    But your post was about Ramsgate Labour - are you really saying they are rather excellent? They seem incompetent if not liars over Manston and the Port.

    How can there be a Mayoral petition if no party supports it in their manifesto? You're stuck with the same old faces and failures unless you unseat them.

  17. The Labour leaflet on your post Michael says they will approve the Cardy/Pleasurama site and the Harbour Pier Yard: you oppose both those (as did the public consultations) don't you?

    And the council houses in the carpet warehouse you dislike are Labour policies too aren't they?

    And approving Manston CPO as an airport?

    The Wetherspoon announcement seems new - when were contacts signed and what are they?

    At least the Port White/brown/oRegan aggregates is rejected.

  18. Michael, You are among the first to criticise politicians for misleading us. Yet you disemble with your claim to be a floating voter. You are nothing of the sort.

    Anyway, I've given you two hits today and that's your ration from me for the forseeable future. Good luck with the books.

  19. Just for the record anon 12.31 so that you dont make the same erroneous claim about a £60 millions TDC budget again, budget data released on 5/2/15 is -

    cutting of grants from central government has seen Thanet’s budget fall from £23 million in 2010/11 to £15.482 million for 2015/2016, a drop of 32.7 per cent. The council has already made savings of £6.2 million between 2011-12 and 2014-15.

  20. £15m with or without grants and nett or gross?

    Because the supposed £6m saving would be almost 50% of the budget.....


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