Urgent domestic affairs continue to distract me from 'Strife' but I would like to show you a picture of the Jarrow Crusade from the Great Depression of the 1930s when skilled men and women marched on foot almost 250 miles to London to campaign for work.
What a contrast with Thanet's unemployed for whom CGP and TDC seem quite prepared to gobble up vital agricultural land and build the largest industrial estate in Thanet on our water supply! Readers will remember the NoW article on 'Thanet's jobless claimants' from a few months ago. How many of our 2,220 unemployed are actually prepared to work or even have the skills required for the marvellous opportunity for job creation that CGPs Ken Wills offers.
I really can't believe he is such a philanthropist as he makes out considering one of his 'firms' treatment of a contractor last year ( see Brreze Blocks and Some Real Strife posted on 11 March 2008). Go and ask Mr Martin Hodges about Mr Wills' support of local business and employment opportunities and I suspect you will get a rather earthy reply.
Lets be quite clear about the 'construction' jobs. Locals will remember only a couple of years ago the crowds of helmeted construction workers on The Westwood site, all talking Polish, Serbo-Croat or any East European language you care to mention. Big construction firms will bus in the labour they require to construct 'Gateway'. Only a few weeks ago I was talking with workmen doing a minor building work at Northdown Road's 'Tesco Metro'. They came to Thanet to put in a simple ramp at the store from as far away as Hertfordshire and North London. So much for local employment?
Ken Wills and TDC know perfectly well that 'job creation' as a cry to get the Gateway application approved will strike a chord. They are of course, peddling a myth. An old Labour hand from Thanet, Barry Coppock, is even on CGPs payroll to lend credibility to this myth.
Lets hear what Dr Margaret Nobel , Chair of Kent nad Medway Lifelong Learning has to say about the lack of skills in Kent let alone Thanet (one of the reasons cited by Group Antolin for closing in Thanet); "The majority of future employment opportunities in Kent and Medway will require intermediate and high level skills". Her own statistics show that only a quarter of of Kent and Medway's workforce has these levels of skill. What skill level does Thanet's workforce and large unemployed population have?
There is one thing you can be sure of, as TDC hunkers down with CGP and KCC (using its East Kent Opportunities Limited Liability Partnership; a 'business') , CGP will make a great deal of money out of this project but will Thanet's unemployed benefit?
Of course not! They may as well repeat The Jarrow March to London.