Tuesday, 29 December 2009

LETS ALL WISH JESSICA WALES AND HER FAMILY A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME


Those who know  Jessica Wales or have followed Jessica's battle with cystic fibrosis over the years, will, I am sure,  be praying now that yesterday's double lung transplant, presumably at Harefield Hospital,  will give this remarkable young woman her chance of life at last.

Jessica, a former pupil of Ursuline College and resident of Westgate, was diagnosed at 4 months with cystic fibrosis and throughout her life has fought illness, debilitation and life threatening infections. A double lung transplant was regarded 4 years ago as her only chance of further life and she has already beaten the odds with a prognosis that at the time, gave her only 2 years to live.

Jessica has not only fought her own battle with this chronic condition but has raised awareness nationally for 'organ donations' and has raised £thousands for cystic fibrosis charities. She is a remarkable young lady from Thanet and I pray a successful operation will give her the chance for life she so richly deserves.

I leave you with her own words from earlier this year:

"I am only 19 and I haven't lived yet. I just want the chance to go and live my life like anyone else my age."

From Twitter on  Dec 12th 2009:   " Lungs really playing up!"

UPDATE 13 JAN 2010
It is with great sadness that I report that Jessica lost her battle 'to live her life, just like anybody else' yesterday; may she rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon her. I extend my condolences to her family and urge readers to consider organ donation. Perhaps, if Jessica had had the chance of a transplant a few years ago, she would still be with us.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

A VERY HAPPY AND PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS


Could I wish all my  team at 'Strife' , our contributors, readers and commentators a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Whatever our differences, for most it is still a time to meet up with family and friends and reaffirm love and friendship and to celebrate the birth of a Child.

In ' A Christmas Carol ', Dickens wrote these words for Scrooge's nephew :

"I am sure I have always found Christmas a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable , pleasant time; the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."


So, Happy Christmas to all my 'fellow passengers' to the grave!

Monday, 21 December 2009

WHAT HAS 'WOGER' TO SAY ABOUT EKO's DEBT AND LATE ACCOUNTS?



Tonight I ask some questions concerning our very own costly 'Quango' called EKO LLP and of our own 'Director', 'Woger' Latchford. (TDC has spent over £550,000 so far on EKO whilst closing toilets and curtailing street cleaning in Thanet). The situation does appear to be worse though than I thought! But before I go into details ask yourself what is missing from 'Woger's' statement in the PR blurb announcing this wonderful quango, EKO LLP in Feb 2008?:
"By pooling our resources we will be better placed to plan for the benefit of local parties and businesses"
No mention of the electorate or council tax-payer?

The problem with EKO LLP is accountability. Is it under democratic control of TDC Councillors or not? Are Cllrs  aware of what it is costing us all?  I doubt it! There would appear to be a small problem with KCC's Auditors (NAO) and EKO LLP. In the KCC electronic archives you will find details of KCC's Governance and Audit Committtee meeting of 16th Sep 2009. Here are some points:

1. EKO LLP has not prepared its annual accounts and these are still not available for public scrutiny? Why not ,'Woger'? Are you not a director? Are you not aware that this is causing a problem in KCC's Accounts?

2. KCC coughed up £4.368 million for the spine road that we are all enjoying as we drive through Eurokent, and yet  'a management agreement states that EKO will re-imburse the cost of the road within two years of signing the agreement'.  How will you do this, 'Woger'? Are you not a director?

3. KCC's own accounts do not seem to reflect the transactions and balances caused by EKO's purchases or expenditure. There appears to be a discrepancy as a result of land sold to EKO still being on KCC's balance sheet as a fixed asset. In simple terms KCC's accounts show its fixed assets overstated by £5.62 MILLION and accounts do not reflect the disposal of the land in question.

I love auditors and the way they criticise a shambles; this is the way NAO commented:

Our audit work identified several issues relating to :
* the accounting treatment of the sale to EKO of land owned by KCC ( i.e tax-payers land)
* the lack of recognition of EKO's liability to contribute to the cost of the Eurokent spine road within KCC's financial statements.
* the lack of of recognition of EKO's transactions and balances within KCC's  accounts.
* the late preparation of EKO's own accounts.

So what is one to make of this?  We the tax-payer, through our Council Tax to KCC and TDC are paying for this shambles of obfuscation and odd accountancy that seems to surround EKO LLP.

What is very worrying is that half of the Eurokent site and presumably a beneficiary of tax-payers largesse, is Rose Farm Estates; a private company?

What confidence can we have in this whole dubious process that seems to spend tax-payers money without any proper accountability or control?  The £ MILLIONs involved makes a pink carpet 'sub-contract' at TDC and obfuscation about who fitted it,  seem small change in comparison.

Isn't  it time we were told the truth about this whole business? Isn't it time that our Councillors took democratic control of what 'Woger' and his KCC 'co-director' are about? How will the tax-payer get back the £4.368 MILLION spent on the road?  The problem is that as time gently passes, we forget the £MILLIONS spent and never recovered by East Kent Spatial Development Company; the £MILLIONS spent on Manston Business Park and now the £MILLIONS spent on Eurokent.

Is it just possible that a 'housing development' will end up sorting this mess out and that is the real reason why  expensive housing to attract 'the right sort' is the option that 'Woger' and The Ezekiel Party are pushing instead of the original thanet Plan to have Eurokent as 'employment land'?
If you thought that a Labour Central Government wasted your taxes, please appreciate that your 2 local Conservative Councils (KCC & TDC) seem to be doing like-wise.


MARGATE'S MAYORESS TO STEP DOWN FROM 1st JAN 2010

 
                    

Thanet is a small village in many ways and the 'gossip' this week-end has been that it has been announced by The Worshipful The Mayor of Margate, Cllr Ted Watt-Ruffell that his Mayoress, Mrs Alexandra Watt-Ruffell is to step down as Mayoress on 1st January for personal reasons.
(The picture above shows them both in May 2009, in happier times.)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

EUROKENT SITE - IGNORANT COUNCILLORS AND THE BIG LIE ON HOUSING NEEDS?


  
Strife predicted in the spring of 2008 that TDC had no intention of keeping Eurokent designated as 'employment land' and that has been vindicated by the present 'consultation' document The Local Development Framework Core Strategy that needs your comment on by 18 Jan 2010. Was this site ever promoted anywhere as 'employment land' by the lately departed Mr Bunnet?

CPRE  has just announced its horror at what this document proposes. Ezekiel and his Ezekiel Party are proposing that we should build more than 600 exclusive houses here instead of retaining it as designated employment land and at the same time allowing all its policies on Thanet's fast dwindling plateau farm land to be over-ridden if a developer comes along with a promise of a good employment project. Are TDC so arrogant that they think its electorate is stupid? We know that CGI (aka CGP) has already purchased farmland for Phases 2 and 3 of The China Gateway project. Acceptance of the new LDF Core Strategy by our Councillors, in one fell swoop, removes presently designated employment land out of use whilst allowing uncontrolled development over yet more of Thanet's remaining versatile farmland, Are TDC unaware of Global warming and Copenhagen?

The unanswered question about these proposals is for whose benefit is this brazen manipulation being carried out?
Is it the TDC/KCC Quango called EKO LLP with our own 'Woger' Latchford as a director? ( You might be upset to know that a recent FoI request has revealed that EKO LLP cost Thanet Council tax payers £518,000 in 2007/08 and a further £50,000 in 2008/9 whilst your council was closing toilets and cutting back on street cleaning.)

Is it Rose Farm Estates Ltd that owns half the land for this project.(see map above). Who is behind Rose Farm Estates and what are their connections to TDC? (You might have been pleased to think that £6,700,000 of tax payers for that new link road was an investment for employment land but are you quite so happy when you realise that another  private company, building luxury houses,  is going to benefit from tax payers largesse from the setting up of the major infrastructure item through the site).

Is it CGI who will be able to develop its farmland that it has owned for two years and can get an application in for China Gateway Phases 2 and 3? (Bear in mind that Ken Wills has said that Gateway 1 depends on Phases 2 and 3).

What we have is the Ezekiel Party and 'Woger' pushing this for all its worth. (The pic above shows two Rogers out at Westwood  Cross in early 2008, canvassing ideas from shoppers for Eurokent as a PR stunt with no validity with any branch of statistics and questionaire use.) They argue that Thanet has a housing target to meet by 2026. So lets look at housing/dwelling targets and data of completions.

The problem is that SEEDA and Govt keep changing the 'goal posts' and it may well be that a Conservative Govt will reduce these targets anyway. (Is that why Ezekiel and Latchford are so desperate to get the new LDF sorted?)
In the period 2001-2016 Thanet had a target of 6000 new dwellings. The South East Plan (Approved 2009) now gives Thanet a target of 7,500 new dwellings between 2006 - 2026. What is interesting is that between 2001-2006, Thanet had 1,923 new dwelling completions (223 more than needed)
If we accept that nothing will change between now and 2026, the South East Plan requires 7,500 new dwellings at an average of 375 units per year. The completion figures, so far, look good:
2006/7 - 651 completions.
2007/8 - 606 completions.
2008/9 - 726 completions.
So in 3 years we have a total of 1,983 completions when the average requirement meant only 1,125. In otherwords we have exceeded the 'new goal posts' already by 858 (76%) and have more than 2 years 'in hand'!
So I ask the question again, what are Ezekiel and Latchford up to with the nonsense about housing on Eurokent?

What have we in the pipeline awaiting this recession to end?:  100 houses in Minster; 1000 houses on Nash Rd; 50 odd at St Augustine's Westgate; 70-100 still at Sea Bathing; 175-200 on the Hereson School site; 20 odd on The Pegwell Bay garden grab; etc etc. I could even mention the new house by 10 Berkeley Rd!

The point is simply that with the excess already, the big approved projects in the future and the private development within our urban areas, Thanet does not need Eurokent to be luxury housing for 'aspiring' incomers or  key Chinese workers and their families for China Gateway.

It needs to be kept and promoted for employment purposes and our dwindling versatile farmland preserved for food production that our grand-children will need, perhaps desperately. So Councillors, get with the facts and data and refuse to be kept in ignorance by the senior officers and Leadership of TDC.

A SNOWY THANET POTPOURRI


I hate the white stuff and this was the scene at 8.30am from the garret window. It looks pretty but we'll get partial thawing and tonight the roads and pavements will ice up. Conditions tonight will be treacherous and how many young drivers will be out taking friends home who have never driven on snow and ice before? I wonder how many cars will fall victim to that notorious bend on Manston Rd, Birchington?

Wasn't it nice to see Richard Samuel writing to IOTG to explain his actions at The Dane Valley count. We can assume it is his version of an apology and I am sure his 'error of judgement' will not be repeated. As John Worrow is now an NTCA 'officer' (aka Ezekiel Party), readers might like to enjoy a quote from him in early 2007 when he was 'Grey' as opposed to 'Blue':

"There is no going back , only forward for it came through loud and clear, during the recent canvass, that the public wants something better than empty promises and spin . By offering the Electorate a commitment to heeding their needs and acting with integrity and initiative ,we will see the disillusioned galvanized into positive action by coming out and voting for an independent group, spearheaded by a new brand of honest politicians."

Looking back into Strife, I rather liked this report in Mar 2009 in regard to the Dreamland Scenic Railway fire of Easter 2008:
"Just under a year ago, TDC was talking purposefully about insisting on urgent repair of the scenic railway or 'compulsory purchase' . This was reported in IOTG on 18 Apr 2008":
"At the meeting (TDC Meeting), Cllr Clive Hart raised the concern that although 20 per cent of the Scenic Railway would need to be completely rebuilt the other 80 per cent would still need work done to it as it has sat unmaintained for the past two years. Officers agreed works would also cover the remaining 80 per cent to ensure the ride would be operational.
Council officers considered it “reasonable to expect that the ride might be repaired and operational by Easter 2009.”


"Well Easter 2009 is only three weeks away and my understanding is that despite TDC paying £42,000 in August to put in proper secure fencing (despite Cllr Watt-Ruffell heading up security at Dreamland), TDC has not got the money back for the tax-payer and MTCRC still hasn't got any detailed repair work done with Peter Beck for Waterbridge stating 'We still need to secure funding".

Well, they have now, courtesy of the tax-payer and therein lies my disgust as a tax-payer.

To round off a wintry morning before braving slushy pavements, it has come to my attention that the 'tag-team' of  Ezekiel Party Cllrs in N Birchington Ward, 'Woger' and  'Developer' Day, may have to be busy again soon, making sure that Day's house is not overlooked by a 3 storey contemporary designed block containing 8 apartments. The idea is that Little Place in Herschell Rd gets demolished and go and look at what those wonderful architects, Clague, have come up with on F/TH/09/0939, citing and picturing Day's house in Berkely Rd again. It couldn't get better! Hang on it could.

As 'Mauwice' is still pushing for houses on Eurokent (has been since Apr 2008!) and is reported at Full Council on Thursday to have jibed at Labour Cllrs,' well you tell me where I can put 600 dwellings  instead?',
What about this for a start?  8 dwellings on Little Place is an excellent idea and I commend it to Cllrs on Planning without reservation. Have also sent a Strife team member off to talk to the owners of Aurora, Herschell Rd (their rambling place is right beside Cllr Day's). Could get another apartment block with at least 10 dwellings squeezed in there; after all TDC set the precedent for squeezing modern contemporary buildings onto postage stamps!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST IN BERKELEY ROAD, BIRCHINGTON.


Some regular readers will remember the interest generated last year in the very odd planning decision to allow a house (the one in the pic above) to be built on a postage stamp of land in Berkeley Rd, Birchington after 20 years of rejected applications (made by G. Day & Son) and a refusal by an Independent Planning Inspector on Appeal. You may wish to refresh your memory by going to( http://thanetstrife.blogspot.com/2008/07/worry-is-not-what-our-councillors-are.html  ). You will notice how out of style with the rest of the road it is and that despite objections from the neighbouring property owner that it would overlook her house and swimming pool, her local  Birchington Cllr, Cllr 'Woger' Latchford refused to support her objection to it, when asked to do so and when it was being built, even walked on the scaffolding and looked down into her garden and swimming pool with Cllr Day, his fellow Cllr for Birchington North Ward.

You should be aware that this house is now the official address of Cllr Day (vice-chair of Planning).

At this stage readers with a special interest in planning matters might like to pop off to the UK Planning portal and look at Planning Application F/TH/09/0732. This application was made by residents living in Herschell Rd, but whose garden and access to a garage can be accessed from Berkely Rd beside number 10. They employed Clague Architects to come up with a really modern contemporary designed 2 storey , 4 bed-roomed house on the site in place of the large garden and a large garage, with access to the property from Berkeley Rd.

A picture of the site is shown below and the eagle-eyed reader will note how close the new house will be to, yes, Cllr Day's new house!


The story about this latest planning application gets better! Bear with me and savour the moment, as I am sure Cllr Day's close northern boundary neighbour will.

Clague Architects cited as a strong case for their vey modern contemporary dwelling to be be built so close to Cllr Day's one-off house, the following:
"Our aim is to consider the precedent of unique one-off houses being built in the area."

This application met with approval by TDC's Planning Officers;  after all, a precedent had been set in Berkeley Rd by Cllr Day, had it not?  However, a local  Birchington Cllr, by the name of Cllr Latchford OBE, objected to it and 'called it in' to be considered by The Planning Committtee! (One must assume that Cllr Day had objected but couldn't 'call it in' but that Cllr Latchford could.)

Enjoy this from the extract from last night's (16th Dec 2009)  agenda for Planning Committee:
 'The application is brought before members of the Planning Committee by Cllr Latchford on the ground that the design is out of keeping with the surrounding street scene and therefore the scheme would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the surrounding area.'


Anyway, after a site visit on 4 Dec and in spite of Cllr Day not being able to participate on this item last night and Cllr Latchford being an objector and  bringing up the 'overlooking into garden and swimming pool at No. 10' ,when adressing The Committtee as ' Ward Cllr', I am delighted to report that this wonderful contemporary design was APPROVED and that Cllr Day will now have a new house in very close proximity to his new home in Berkeley Rd.

Whilst 'chickens coming home to roost' comes to mind , there is a more serious aspect to this for the electorate in Birchington and in Thanet as a whole, to consider.

When The Ezekiel Party Deputy Leader, (with one rap from Standards last year)  was approached by  a neighbouring owner,  as her ward cllr , to support her objection to Cllr Day's house ( 1 m away from her back fence and overlooking straight into her backgarden and onto her swimming pool), 'Woger' declined to be involved and was later seen viewing  this lady's property from his 'mate's' scaffolding and quite clearly approved of it. How strange that he should have a completely different stance when this new property will clearly impact on his fellow Ezekiel Party Cllr member's property? He calls the application in, opposes it, speaks against it and even uses the very words that the unsupported neighbour had to use herself , without any support from him 18 months earlier!

What does this say about the Ezekiel Party Cllrs in  North Birchington or in any Thanet Ward if The Deputy Leader himself behaves in such an inconsistent way? No wonder there are those in Birchington, who used to be  Conservative, and now have ideas about organising opposition to all Birchington Conservative Candidates  in 2011.

Monday, 14 December 2009

THE EZEKIEL PARTY BEING PETTY AND NASTY?




I was delighted to hear that TDC encourages its Councillors to attend 'training sessions' that are run by leading officers to bring all Cllrs upto date with council initiatives. Well, last Wednesday a 'session' was held at The Media Centre, the scene, less than a week earlier, of Sandra Hart being declared as Cllr for Dane Valley Ward.
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But what a contrast in 'attitudes' at the Media Centre last Wednesday evening  from The Ezekiel Party, compared to their blatant disregard of The Returning Officer's  restrictions on numbers at the count on the previous Thursday!
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It would seem that Clive Hart (Lab Leader) has been encouraging his Labour Cllrs to attend these 'training sessions' and prior to last Wednesday booked himself in with his wife Sandy (newly elected member for Dane Valley) with TDC's Democratic Services Officers to attend on Wed  9 Dec. Mrs Hart's name was on the list of attendees and she duly signed in on arrival for her first 'training session'. She did not stay long and nor did most Labour members. Let me explain why.
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Unlike Richard Samuel, who failed to ask the Ezekiel Party ' hangers on' to leave The Media Centre on the evening of the 'count' ( it is reported that 'Wannabe Worrow' was amongst them),  'Woger' Latchford rushed forward quickly and approached Mr Hart and told him that his new Cllr for Dane Valley was considered by The Ezekiel Party present, to be not entitled to be there as she had yet to be 'sworn-in' on 17 Dec at Council. So Mr Hart, Mrs Hart and the Labour members present, promptly left.
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I regard this as extraordinarily petty and nasty behaviour by 'Woger' and his Ezekiel Party members and is just another reason why I am glad I left NTCA. So a newly elected Cllr is to be discouraged from attending a 'training' evening on the grounds that she has yet to be sworn in?  Isn't it fascinating that The Ezekiel Party members and 'Woger' seem to insist on ' correct protocol' when it suits them and took the opportunity of making some petty political point about 'protocol' when a week earlier they were happy to ignore a Returning Officer's rules at an Election Count; a far more serious matter that was ignored by The Returning Officer.
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Just another example to TDC's electorate of 'one rule for us' as The Ezekiel Party and 'another rule' for the rest of you. One has to ask the question how 'Woger' and The Ezekiel Party would have greeted a certain Ingrid Spencer, if she had walked in for 'training'  instead of  Sandra Hart, as the new member for Dane Valley Ward?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

THE WOODS FAMILY PORTRAIT FOR THEIR CHRISTMAS CARD 2009



I couldn't resist posting this picture.   9 mistresses, so far, have come out into the open and one is reminded of a Senior Service toast: " To our wives and lovers..... and may they never meet!"

Friday, 11 December 2009

ARROGANCE AND 59,000 REASONS WHY WE NEED CHANGE AT TDC



Rebecca Smith and her team are to be congratulated on a much improved paper and a number of snippets caught my eye in this week's Isle of Thanet Gazette.

The first was Richard Spillet's Election Sketch, that described criticism of the odd behaviour of Richard Samuel, TDC's Chief Executive and Returning Officer as 'mud-slinging'.  I am surprised at the exclusion of the press to the 'count' whilst Mr Samuel quite clearly ignored his own instructions to Candidates and allowed an excessive number of  members of The Ezekiel Party to attend the count . I am surprised that Richard seems un-aware of the protocol surrounding elections and does not appear to realise that what he describes as 'Mrs Hart's evening spoiled by a pack of laughing Tory hyenas'  has a serious side to it. The Returning Officer is duty bound to uphold his instructions without favour and bias and in this case, did not do so. The report in IOTG of Mr Samuel's response,  would indicate  that a review of procedures would occur and that anyway, the Labour Party could go to Law to get the outcome of the election over-turned if they felt the process had been flawed. Did one read Mr Spillet saying that Mr Samuel has apologised for his action? No!

Mr Samuel knows perfectly well that there is little point in Labour making a formal complaint to overturn an election result that they have just won, and therin lies the implicit arrogance conveyed in such a statement that Richard Spillet reports. A simple apology might have been in order but an even-handed applying of his own rules would have been the correct behaviour expected of an experienced Returning Officer.

The other item that caught my attention was a report of a 'secret' session of Cabinet on 2 Dec 2009 to write-off debts to the tune of £59,235.79. My complaint is not that these should not be written off, but that TDC refuses to reveal details of these 'write-offs'. This is tax-payers money that has been 'lost' and thus is TDC's electorate not entitled to know more about this loss?  Is it possible that some of the debtor's are known to us and TDC would be embarrassed to be seen writing their debt off?  A few years ago, I can remember reading in IOTG that a disputed bill between a Mr Godden and TDC had been written off. The electorate had the facts then. Are we not entitled to know more now? Does this debt include security fencing at Dreamland perchance?  I hope to reveal details as soon as they become known to me.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

GALE's VIEW - HAVE TO AGREE WITH MY MP


It seems strange that good 'conservatism' involves the principle " to each according to their needs ......." but I have never understood why certain 'benefits' are not means tested. Good to see Roger Gale raising this issue.



Gale's View - 9 December, 2009.

I qualify to receive winter fuel payment.   At present I am relatively young and in rude health and working.  There may come a time when that is not so and if and when I need assistance I shall take it but for the moment let me make it a matter of record that if I find that an allowance has been paid to me then it will be forwarded immediately to an appropriate charity.

There are, however, many people that do desperately need help with their heating bills and who do not get it because they are too young.  Those in wheelchairs or otherwise disabled to the point where they cannot move around to keep warm, for instance, and those recently highlighted by Professor Karol Sikora who are undergoing treatment for cancers.

I do not believe that high taxation assists our economy and I think that people should be left with as much of their hard-earned money in their own pockets as possible rather that having it taken from them and spent by a profligate nanny state. Neither have I ever been in favour, as a matter of principle, in means-tested benefits.  However, in an age when Government is making depressingly regular visits to the pawnshop it is madness, is it not, to give money to people whose need is minimal while denying help to those who are in no position to adequately provide for themselves.  This applies not only to winter fuel payments but to some tax credits and to some other benefits and "free" concessions also.

I would like to think that the next government, which I trust will indeed be Conservative, will make a real effort to rein back the welfare state, to target assistance where it is most needed and to ensure that, as David Cameron has said, we shall enable those who can do so to take responsibility for themselves while making better and fairer provision for those who cannot do so. That, perhaps, is the real difference between socialism and social justice.

We could make a start by removing winter fuel payments from those in the higher rate tax bracket and using the money to give the benefit to perhaps younger but more deserving cases.






Sunday, 6 December 2009

EUROFERRIES - HAS BONANZA EXPRESS HAD ANOTHER PAINT OUT JOB?



 The 'Strife' Office received a report last night that Fred Olsen's elderly cat 'Bonanza Express', sitting in the Canaries for the winter,  may have had another paint 'off' job and looks like the picture above, again.
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For those not aware of the amount of paint being applied to this craft, it would appear that earlier in the year Fred Olsen was painted out and 'Euroferries' painted on. Pictures were taken and appeared on web sites, blogs and in local press. It would then seem that Fred Olsen painted out the 'Euroferries' when the summer 'deadline' for Euroferries passed.  (The pic above was taken after this first 'paint-off')
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We then had pictures in October of two hardworking chaps painting Euroferries back on the poor old BE as she was moored up in Santa Cruz and presumably in expectation of heading to Ramsgate on Sat 14th November. After the abandonment of yet another deadline and 'news' that 1st Mar 2010 was to be the 'new' start date for the service, I asked 'Strife' foreign correspondents to let us know as soon as possible, if Fred Olsen began painting out Euroferries on the side of the BE again as, as they say ' a picture saves a thousand words' etc! Initial unconfirmed  reports are that the 'paint off' has begun!
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Anyway, avid Bonanza Express fans ( should there not  be a Facebook fan club for this boat by now?) can try this link and see what they can spot for themselves; be warned though, it is a bit like watching paint dry:

http://www.canarysatellite.com/puertoscam.html (double click to enlarge and escape to reduce).
 
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Saturday, 5 December 2009

YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF ODD BEHAVIOUR BY A COUNCIL OFFICER?


To add to the embarrassment of TDC's incorrect press-release issued on Friday, indicating that Wendy Allan had won Dane Valley Ward, I am sad to report what some might consider to be another odd case of the behaviour of a TDC Officer. I am loathe to name individual officer's in regard to their conduct but in this case it is unavoidable.
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Richard Samuel, in his capacity as Returning Officer, gave all Candidates strict  written instructions in advance,that due to the cramped space available in The Media Centre Margate, they would only be allowed to have themselves and 3 others as observers to watch the vote counting of The Dane Valley Ward election on Thursday and that documentation identifying who the 4 to be present from each political party would be, was to be presented in advance.
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On Thursday evening then, one might imagine the surprise of Wendy Allan, Bill Furness and Sandra Hart to discover that having complied with The Returning Officer's directive,  they found their combined numbers, outnumbered by 'hangers on' supporting Ingrid Spencer, The 'Ezekiel' Party candidate.
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It would seem that a complaint was made to the Returning Officer that if he had stated only 4 could attend per candidate, then he was duty bound to enforce that directive without bias or favour, and instruct Ingrid Spencer to 'trim' her numbers and invite the excess to leave. The Returning Officer failed to do so.
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I am flabbergasted that Richard Samuel failed to enforce his own instructions as Returning Officer in regard to the 'Party' of his Council Leader. A Returning Officer is duty bound to carry out his duties without bias or favour for very obvious reasons.
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Unlike, CGP( now CGI) ,who were happy to thank him and his 'colleagues' (Latchford, Burnett, Ezekiel) for not hitting the mini-bars in their hotel rooms on the Great TDC Expedition to China in 2007, I am amazed at the conduct of our highly paid Chief Executive on Thursday evening and I believe it is time for him to consider  the impression he might convey in such a situation. Whether he likes it or not, he is the 'servant' of Thanet District Council as a whole and as such needs perhaps to be reminded of his 'place'. Perhaps the Chair of TDC needs to have a little chat with him?
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The only humorous aspect of this debacle in The Media Centre, was the way the smug 'we have it in the bag'  expectant Spencer/Ezekiel Party hangers on responded when, to their horror, they discovered at first hand that not only had Sandra Hart won, but that 'Ezekiel's Chosen One' had been beaten by a Lib Dem. As jaws dropped, they might have heard the cheers from nearby pubs as 'excluded' supporters of Sandra Hart heard the news second-hand, from quick mobile phone calls.

Friday, 4 December 2009

A DIGRUNTLED CONSERVATIVE GIVEN A GUEST BLOG ON STRIFE


I have been warning the 'True' Conservatives in Thanet for some time now , that the 'Ezekiel Party' in Thanet is losing the support of traditional conservatives and I am therefore delighted to let another disgruntled conservative share her views with you:
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Is this the beginning of the end?


The result of the Dane Valley by election may just turn out to be more important than it seems.  Here is, finally, an incontrovertible example of how the local Conservative leadership at District Council level is out of touch with the electorate.

The election was forced by the mismanagement of an issue with the previous councillor and his departure to Panama.

This was compounded by the selection of a time serving strong supporter of that local leadership, who had previously lost her seat in Westgate to an independent councillor.  Dane Valley needed, and could not get, a strong and credible candidate.

Conservative councillors swarmed over the seat in visiting packs, headed by the district council leader, who proclaimed every time that support for his candidate and party was solid.

Over the country (and county) as a whole the conservative candidates do very well; here in Thanet the local issues, normally a small slice of an overall vote, are just getting in the way.

Whether true or not, the perception of the current council administration is a sleazy, self serving, bunch, whose actions, even when right are seen as acting for the wrong reasons.

In fact, the District Council is seen locally as being as out of touch and mediocre as Gordon Brown’s government is seen nationally.

Perhaps those Conservatives with responsibility for these things will finally realise it is time for the Ezekiel era to be finished and for Conservative Councillors with integrity and the respect of the electorate to take over. They do exist; we all know who they are. 

One Sandy into the Council: time to put the other one out.  Too many Tory voters would rather sit on their hands than vote for the current leadership.  Whose interests are really being served by Ezekiel hanging on? If he continues to hang on will it damage the electoral chance of Laura Sandys?  Would it not be better to take action first?

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party……….


Thursday, 3 December 2009

NO POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER DANE VALLEY ELECTION IN THE NEAR FUTURE


As the electorate of  Dane Valley, at least those who bothered to vote on a miserable wet day and evening, (Polling does not finish until 10pm),  await the outcome to be declared tomorrow, those who might have expected news of another election,  will have to wait.
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Margate's Mayor, Cllr Watt-Ruffell, a  Conservative member for Dane Valley Ward;  The 'Ezekiel Party's Chief Whip;  member of Planning Committtee;  ex-Labour Member for Westgate; rejected Labour Candidate ; employee of Panama Broadhurst's Security firm (is that Probe?); custodian of  Dreamland's Scenic Railway; and a teetotal Methodist (as stated by  'Our Leader'), was represented today at Sittingbourne Magistrates by his solicitor Darren Neal who entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. It is reported that a full hearing of the case  brought against him by the RSPCA will be heard on 10th-11th  Feb 2010 in Sittingbourne.
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Could I ask all readers, when commenting, that they bear in mind that  the RSPCA's allegations are, until proved or otherwise, just that. We must all uphold the basic principle that anyone accused, is innocent until proved guilty and this applies to Margate's Mayor. I will delete, without reference to it, any comment that does not bear this principle in mind.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A MID-WEEK THANET POT-POURRI


 Whilst the Strife team is still investigating matters close to Lydden and who has done what for whom etc, the office has been inundated with items in the past few days. Here are some snippets for the discerning reader.
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It would appear that those protesting against TDC's proposed asset sales list 2010/11 are being spun the line  by the TDC PR Officers that these asset sales proceeds are earmarked for disabled and disadvantaged groups. The implication seems to be that by objecting one is harming the disabled in Thanet. I have heard plenty of cynical 'spin' from a Labour Govt in the past 12 years but I never imagined to see such tosh from a Conservative Local Authority that has reputedly diverted money from a budget for the disabled to pay for  new windows in its offices at Cecil Sq.
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Palm Bay recreation area and TDc's plans for some nice houses on the last remaining space with unobstructed views out to sea is generating a growing protest body. When 'Our Leader' lived down there with his back-garden overlooking this open space, he would have been first to protest. His present position on Palm Bay is thus,  utterly hypocritical. Covenants are being dragged out by residents whose solicitors enquired years ago about the status of the land left in perpetuity for Margate citizens to enjoy, even though TDC can find no record of the covenants!
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A Margate Charter Trustee 'Mole' tells us that Margate's Town Sergeant is not allowed to enter his current Mayor's house but helps the Mayor 'robe -up' in the front garden. The Town Sergeant should be grateful for this nice gesture on his Mayor's part as it has probably prevented him acquiring unwanted brown things that hop and bite the ankles. Whilst on the subject of fleas, it would seem that our local press will be in Court with our Mayor in Medway on Thursday.
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An Ezekiel Party member, or even 'Our leader' himself ,as an 'Anon'  has implied that Cllr Ward (Lab) is doing a ' Panama Broadhurst'. Labour sources have got a tad upset with this as it seems that Cllr Ward is away for a winter break only and certainly not for 3 months as alleged. I doubt that he will need a fellow Cllr to forge a signature to mark his attendance at a Council Meeting falsely or sign his resignation letter; this practice seems, thankfully, to be confined to Ezekiel Party members,  much to the horror and shame of those surviving true Conservatives left on TDC.
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Scources have been telling us that TDC has been wheeling out The Dutch Elm Disease (Local Authorities) Order 1984 and amendments of 1988, to force a land-owner in Ramsgate to take action on Elm sucker saplings that have now had the beetles carrying the fungus,  infect them. ( It seems that not all Elms died off fully and that root systems push up new saplings that then in turn get hit by the beetle). The removal and burning is very costly and would not be objected to if TDC set an example itself and enforced the 1984 Order on its own infected Elms. Like many aspects of TDC operations, this smacks of one rule applied against the electorate, while it blithely ignores its own legal obligations; in this case, to cut down and burn any of its own surviving infected Elm saplings.

I leave you with Edna's (our tea-lady) thoughts on biological matters:
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"Mr Biggles, I don't know a sick Helm tree from a sickamore but at least I bleedin' know what cat fleas is. Me and Martha, 'er wot cleans Ezekiel's carpets, are off to Medaway on firsday  to see wot the ROSPA sez in court against that Wot-Ruffle Mayor. So you will all 'ave to make your own bleedin' tea as weir orf to sit in the publik galerie wiv our nitting."

Monday, 30 November 2009

ANOTHER WEE ROOM GETS CLOSED BY TDC


Readers will be familiar with TDC's desire to make life difficult for bladder stressed locals and visitors alike by closing our public toilets around the Isle. There is, however, another wee room in the Council Offices that has now been closed.
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The wee room I am referring to is the one that used to be available to the electorate to have a private consultation with their Cllr to discuss sensitive matters. My TDC 'Mole' reports that this very small room has been emptied of basic furniture and closed.  Not surprisingly, this has caused some upset to hard-working Cllrs who now have to find some place in The Gateway/Library to have a private conversation with their ward electorate, presumably in public!
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The surprising aspect, resulting from Strife's enquiries, is that it would appear that our Cllrs were not even consulted or informed about this matter. I find this strange.
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Whilst some 'Ezekiel' Party members wouldn't know what a member of their electorate is,  let alone talk to them, ( if their inability to answer letters or e-mails is a guide), there are some hard-working Cllrs, (Ind, Lab & proper Con) who do and have made use of this private consultation room. Perhaps it would be nice to see our elected representatives at least consulted on this matter?
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I leave you with Edna's thoughts on the subject. She has some odd ideas at times..

"Mr Biggles, my mate Martha, who cleans in TDC, says they 'ave probibly cleared that small broom kubbard of a room art , soze they can bug it and 'erewag on cosy chats wen they let them Cllrs back in. She also says she don't think much of them new carpets; starting to 'ball up' orlready it seams".


Saturday, 28 November 2009

INGRID SPENCER ACTUALLY SEEN IN DANE VALLEY WARD!


The third but different glossy from The 'Ezekiel' Party party arrived through the  letterbox this morning amid rumours that 'Our Leader' , no less, was out and about in Dane Valley Ward , 'mob handed'  (his MP and even 'Wannebe Worrow included) and if rumours are correct,  his selected candidate Ingrid Spencer.  At least she will now know where Dane Valley Ward is.
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I am amazed at the collective claims by some of the candidates!

Well if Ingrid introduced wheelie bins to my part of the Ward she must have done this before May 2007 and it doesn't say much that they only arrived earlier this year. As for improvement to street cleaning claimed by 'Your Ezekiel Council ',  Bertie's neighbours took 6 weeks of badgering TDC in May to get the road cleaned ONCE this year; deteriorating standards of street cleaning is the reality but we live in the world of 'New Speak'.
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I was unaware that we had a secretive 'Trinity Research Centre' in Dane Valley Ward that was backed by 'Your Ezekiel Council'. (See pic above)
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Members of the 'Strife' team scurried around the ward, tripping over Ezekiel Party and Labour Party canvassers and leafleteers, looking in vain for this worrying research centre. Edna our tea-lady came to the rescue:
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" Mr Biggles, i fink that centre thing that Mr Ezekiel's Council is talking abart  in that leaflet is The Holy Trinity Church Resource Centre'; not a bleedin Research Centre! Just shows you, dunnit, how they carnt even get that right. Just shows that they are just  wot Mr Ezekiel called that nice mayor at The Winter Gardens."


I did try to tell her that there are still some genuine Conservatives in TDC and that they are not all necessarily the same, but she wandered off muttering something rude under her breath.

Friday, 27 November 2009

TDC'S THIRD MENTION IN 'PRIVATE EYE' IN 12 MONTHS?



The 'Ezekiel' Party in Thanet continues to attract scorn from Private Eye, let alone from the proper Conservatives at KCC!
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Click on the item if you have trouble reading it. This is the third time that 'Rotten Boroughs' has given some space to TDC in the past 12 months. Perhaps it's time for 'Eye' to run a regular feature on Thanet District Council under The 'Ezekiel' Party.
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Rumours reaching my ears are that Bertie may have to find another name for Thanet Conservatives soon. Can anyone confirm that 'Our Leader' intends to leg it towards the sun in the Med in the Spring 2010 as our House Martins, Swifts and Swallows head back to us?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

HOW MANY STAFF AT TDC ARE WORKING FROM HOME?


For those who have tried to contact officers at TDC and have either left an answer-phone message that has not been replied to or have been asked to ring back; then often been unable to talk to the officer you wished to,  did you ever imagine that TDC has an agreed 'Home Working' Policy?
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It would seem that TDC is being very reluctant to admit this policy and just how many officers are involved and at what level.  It would seem that any officer can apply to be home -based as a contractual arrangement and that others are involved in 'informal home-working' arrangements.
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The excuse being offered for 'informal home-working' is that this is needed to meet specific deadlines or manage 'work-load' pressures.
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So what is the true situation at TDC?  The tax-payer has paid for refurbishment, new furniture , new carpets and new windows so that staff can work at home?
I have no complaint about highly paid Directors and Senior Managers taking work home after normal working hours and working into the night or at week-ends, many of us have had to do this in the public and private sectors, so why shouldn't they?
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This cosy arrangement at TDC is an insult to hard working and often less well paid Council Tax payers and should be stopped. Can you imagine other public sector workers at the same game? The mind boggles at the thought?

e.g. Where is Blue-Watch today and why aren't they responding to the fire at Dreamland? " All on 'home-working today, Guv!".  Why is Form 8 S  not being taught History today? " Their teacher is working at home today, Head, "   Why is PC Smith not dealing with that fracas at Westgate Station? " It's his day at home, Superintendent!".
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I hope that those who are in business or self-employed in Thanet, will contact their Cllrs and express the outrage and disgust they might feel about our Council employees being allowed to work 'at home'!

UPDATE -THU 26 NOV
I could barely restrain my laughter, this morning.
Yesterday I rang Planning at TDC on behalf of my daughter,concerning her simple planning application. I was put through to the officer dealing with the matter.  He was not in but I left my enquiry with a request for him to ring me, on his answerphone. As I had not received a reply by late this morning, I rang his direct number again and received his telephone recorded message yet again.. I declined to leave a message and instead rang the main Planning Office.  I was told that ..xxx... was not in AS HE WAS WORKING AT HOME! Barely stifling a hoot of laughter, I passed my request for him to contact me and was assured this would be e-mailed to him and that he would then ring me from his home! As yet, still no call from this hard working officer, 'working from home'.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

DANE VALLEY WARD - EZEKIEL PARTY IN A MUDDLE?


The door knocking and leaflet drops in Dane Valley continue at a great pace as The 'Ezekiel' Party ( I no longer regard our local Conservatives worthy of their proper title) promotes 'Our Leader's candidate.
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Despite Roger Gale MP out by himself; Cllr Martin Wise doing a solitary drop and even 'Woger' out on his 'tod' without 'Mowice' , the Ezekiel Party seems to be muddled. The Biggles' have had two identical leaflets and reports are coming in that some streets have been lucky enough to get no less than THREE identical 'Ezekiel Party' leaflets! The Labour, Lib Dem and Independent leaflet droppers seem far better organised. Bertie would be pleased to hear from anyone who has received more than 3 'Ezekiel' Party glossies.
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One would have thought that those running TDC might have been better organised in allocating leaflet drops to streets and preventing waste of resources, but on the other hand . . . . . . . .!

EUROFERRIES -UNABLE TO BOOK UNTIL 1 MAR 2010

Having seen ECR tonight ( www.eastcliffrichard.blogspot.com) and the news that Euroferries might not be starting until March 2010, Bertie tried to book a Bonanza Express crossing on their website. All dates from Nov 2009 to end of Feb 2010 came up with the same response - 'no sailing available'.
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However the site shows 1st March 2010 has a crossing available!
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I wouldn't want to move the BE across the Bay of Biscay at the present time but one does need to ask the question as to whether Fred Olsen's reported deadline was met and are we to see the BE have its Euroferries logo painted out again? It seems odd that this saga will have rattled on for a year by the time we hit March 2010. The Euroferries saga with Spirit of Ontario and the town of Rochester, USA went on for almost as long.
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In the meantime, Gusseppe (pictured above) down at Ramsgate, has a new sign. " Don't be let down for that short Christmas Break by Euroferries - Guiseppe's will get you to Boulogne sooner than they will, even if you have to help bail out !"

Sunday, 22 November 2009

BRADGATE CARAVAN PARK - A FUN PLACE TO BE?













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I hope Bradgate Caravan Park does not mind me 'borrowing' pictures from its web-site. Bertie had not realised what a thriving place, Bradgate Caravan Park is, over at Lydden and about to have more 'holiday homes' than the homes in the village of Lydden, courtesy of TDC Planning Committte, contrary to TDC Planning Officer's advice.
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Please visit their web-site on www.bradgate.co. uk . At present, they show 16 mobile homes for sale ranging in price from £10,000 to £66,000 and if you want to ring them please do so on 01843- 833207.
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The season at Bradgate runs from 1st March to 17 Jan each year and one can be fully resident for 10 1/2 months of the year without paying Council Tax.
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What caught my eye and tied in with recent gossip, was that it has an 'excellent Club, with a pub atmosphere'. The Club is open from Thursday evenings to Sunday lunchtimes and I am told that the best night to be there is on a Saturday night, when " Bingo is followed by our own special disco."
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I have yet to go and experience a cracking disco at Bradgate and do not know if The Club is open to non-residents unless as an invited guest. Rumour has it that all sorts of Thanet's finest frequent this quiet countryside retreat with its 'Pub' atmosphere on saturday nights and that the disco is most enjoyable and professional. Must ask them who provides it as we have some serious anniversaries coming up shortly and whether the 'Biggles' tribe can descend en masse for a private function.
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I would delighted if anyone can tell me if 'The Club' is as good as I have heard and if the Saturday Disco is as good as reported to me. Having clubbed in Ibiza, Bertie feels that a good 70's and 80's disco can't be beaten and not many of them around these days.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

EUROFERRIES - TICKET BOOTHS AND CASINOS

What interesting pics we have been shown this week by Adem (Big Blog) of ticket booths on backs of lorries and by Michael (Thanetonline) of the same ticket booths placed on the deck in Ramsgate. Are we to assume that having missed 3 deadlines to start the service from Ramsgate -Boulogne, Euroferries have convinced TDC that they will be starting their service soon? Unlike our own Isle of Thanet Gazette, who reported last week that the service was due to start TODAY, it would seem that Strife reporters can only book at the earliest for next Thursday (26 Nov). I am sad to say that such is the scepticism in the 'Strife' nerve cell, that no-one has actually booked a crossing yet. Can you blame them?
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Having sent a 'pirate' to Boulogne I can show you pictures of the new Casino on the Gare Maritime in Boulogne together with the LD Lines notices stating that they have 'buggered off ' to the rather swish new 'Hub' Terminal at Boulogne; presumably leaving the rather tatty Gare Maritime to Euroferries?


Sources tell me that TDC have had booths and kit for some time to place on the deck at Ramsgate but clearly didn't put them down in readiness for the previous EF grand starts of March?, August? or 14 Nov. So has TDC now received some money up-front to put facilities in place?
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I leave you with news that Euroferries has issued yet another 'press-release' today. Its all rather vague and with the BE still in Santa Cruz, Bertie is not surprised that EF are being pretty un-informing. I thought you issued a 'press release' when you actually had something to say? Clearly not, as far as EF are concerned: make of this important news what you will:
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PRESS RELEASE
19.11.09
For immediate use


Euroferries back on track
Euroferries would like to apologise for the delays that have occurred in
bringing their fast ferry service to the ports of Ramsgate and Boulogne.
The company would like to reiterate that all passengers that had booked and
were affected by the delay have been fully refunded and offered a free
upgrade to first class on future bookings.

Euroferries travel service looks forward to delivering unrivalled crossing
times and superb facilities for the channel crossing including free European
8 day travel insurance.

A further Press Release will be made soon.

For booking information please go to the Euroferries website at:
www.euroferries.co.uk
For customer service please call: 0844 414 5355
ENDS

What worries me is this from Euroferries website at www.euroferries.co.uk :
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"Euroferries IS (my capitals) the leading fast ferry operator on the English Channel between Ramsgate and Boulogne. With our high speed wave piercing catamaran, ‘The Bonanza Express’ we provide the fastest crossing available of only 75 minutes."
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What an amazing claim to make when you have not even had a ferry you own/lease /rent , cross the 'ogin' from Ramsgate to Boulogne yet! Is this not a mis-leading statement? Is this not worthy of complaints to Trading Standards or The Advertising Standards Authority?

Monday, 16 November 2009

AT LAST, AN ' EZEKIEL' PARTY PAMPHLET !

Bertie was wondering when the 'Ezekiel' Party candidate's leaflet would arrive. It has now done so. She calls herself, 'Your conservative' candidate but as readers might have gathered, Bertie does not consider we have a proper Conservative Party at local level in Thanet, and in reality she is Ezekiel's choice. What I love is this snippet from the glossy:
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'Ingrid is committed to the provision of decent and affordable housing and believes in good quality homes as a basic right.'
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Has she failed to look at her Ezekiel Party's ideas about Eurokent becoming a rather prestigious estate for aspiring people rather than employment land? How many good , honest hard-working young families in Thanet can afford what the 'Ezekiel' Party have in mind there? £250,000 to £300,000 houses?
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What I found strange about this leaflet though, was the poor chap delivering it. In the dark of the night a lonely true Conservative Cllr who has incurred the wrath and ire of the 'Ezekiel' Party was delivering Ingrid's posters by himself; I of course refer to Cllr Mike Jarvis who will certainly have my vote in 2011 because he is a man of principle and integrity.
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Where have been the rest of the motley 'Ezekiel Party' crew and even Ingrid herself? Do they really believe that they have the divine right to be elected and therefore do not need to make an effort? I am surprised that Roger Gale MP tries to make Ingrid's support a national matter; he says on her glossy:
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"you can send a clear message to Gordon Brown to tell him his time is up. ....PLEASE cast your vote for Ingrid Spencer".
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He clearly fails to grasp that the stuff she claims some credit for in her 'glossy' are actually Labour Govt initiatives funded by a Labour Government!
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I leave readers with the latest from Bill Furness to arrive through the letter-box. He makes the point admirably that our local 'Ezekiel' Party Cllrs and Ex- Cllrs in Dane Valley ( with the exception of Cllr Mike Jarvis) have let down the electorate they are meant to represent.(Please click on the pic to read it!)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

WENDY ALLAN - DANE VALLEY'S INDEPENDENT CHOICE

It might not be as glossy as Sandra Hart's leaflet, which was,I must say,very impressive, but I was delighted to see that Wendy Allan and her team managed to drop a leaflet through my door today.
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She is very much a local candidate and has been involved in Dane Valley Ward for some time. I like her plug for the Independent approach and would certainly vote for her in 2011 when she has this to say:

"If elected I will be voting for good policies and commonsense politics, but definitely not for party politics."
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The only problem is that if she were elected it would give us only 3 truly Ind Cllrs; I still feel at the moment that Sandra Hart (Labour) is the best bet to oppose Thanet's 'Ezekiel' Party until 2011.
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On the subject of The 'Ezekiel Party', still no leaflet or contact from The 'Ezekiel' Party candidate, ex Cllr Ingrid Spencer, who Tom King ousted out in Westgate in 2007. Is this because there will be a last minute effort closer to 3rd December or an assumption that 'tribalism' will come into play and ' the i've always voted Conservative brigade' will come to the rescue?
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A proper and respectable local Conservative Party in Thanet would be something to celebrate and support, but until then, Bertie still thinks Sandra Hart has his vote as the most effective addition to TDC's opposition. However, I wish Wendy good luck and admire her civic committment.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

I WONDER WHAT FRED OLSEN THINK ABOUT IOTG?

A Strife Team member was down at Ramsgate Port this morning to see if any poor punters turned up to cross on The Bonanza Express to Boulogne. He has reported back that none did, which is good news. A cynical TransEuropa staff member commented that " of course, no-one knows how many booked in the first place!"

He did report that the chap in the pic above had put up a sign saying, 'Let Down by Euroferries?
Travel with Guiseppe's instead!" and that the photo-shoot for the tax-free shop involved the pulling up of the roll down door at the Old Sally Line and taking a quick shot before it was rolled down again.
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On a more serious note, what are we to make of a report from Santa Cruz (see www.thanetonline.blogspot.com ) that yesterday was the deadline set by Fred Olsen in respect of Euroferries? For those familiar with the history of 'The Spirit of Ontario', deadlines not being met will come as no surprise.
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What might Fred Olsen think though, about this snippet from IOTG this Friday:
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"The company (Euroferries) has so far refused to elaborate on what caused the delay, but sources believe it is due to problems in taking over the ship from Fred Olsen (a long established, professional and world-wide ferry and Cruise Line operator, by the way)! .
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Forgive me for having the temerity to enter any litigatious area, but it seems to me that IOTG have pointed a little finger of blame at Fred Olsen, here. It might not cause much upset at Fred Olsen, unlike Euroferries almost hysterical reaction, as erroneous and unfounded reports last week that Euroferries had gone bust were posted by an 'anon' blogger but of course Fred Olsen are a mature company with a proven track record, many years in the business and have confidence in themselves; they of course know the real situation and have been remarkably tight-lipped; so much so that a grimace might be a better description.
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I should imagine, and this is only speculation, that Fred Olsen painted up Bonanza in a Euroferries livery in preparation for a summer 'deadline' and then painted it out again as that 'deadline' came and went. They then painted it again in Euroferries livery recently and presumably for the 'deadline' yesterday. The paint chappies are probably their own maint team and no great cost was involved with the 'paint on'/'paint off'/ 'paint on' saga.
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One wonders whether 'Manuel and Pedro' will be on a 'paint off' task again?
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Meanwhile, I am told, Guiseppe in Ramsgate Harbour will be perfectly happy to paint his beautifully painted boat with a Euroferries logo without any need for payment by Euroferries.

Friday, 13 November 2009

SO THE TAX PAYER BAILS OUT THE DEVELOPER!


I wonder if The Thanet Times back in July, realised that the 'millions' waiting to pay for Dreamland applied to you and I the tax-payer?

It would seem that Labour's Culture and Tourism Minister Margaret Hodge has approved £3.7 million of tax-payers money to be paid under Labour's Sea Change Programme to help fund ' a project to rejuvenate the town's Dreamland Amusement Park'.
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So beaten up worn out rides from around the country can now be restored by 'amusement park' anoraks; the arsoned Grade 2 Listed Scenic Railway that for 18 months had continued rotting whilst TDC failed to enforce repair or compulsory purchase (despite strong language to do so) can now be repaired and Dreamland Cinema can be given a 'face lift' and all at the tax-payer's expense!
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I wonder how the local Conservative TDC views this largesse as it announces cuts in our municipal services, fails to sweep the streets and closes toilets as austerity comes our way after 12 years of fiscal madness by a Labour Government?
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So it is OK then, to pour public money this way into a site that has been run down over the years; that doubled in value when TDC said it could have housing and retail on half of it; all contrary to advice from a Planning Inspector 5 years ago, who warned the Council that it would possibly be left derelict and 'land-banked' and that it was the prime regeneration site for Margate! He didn't mention arson to sea-front buildings ( that conveniently provided an access from Marine Terrace) or to Scenic Railways, though.
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Perhaps when The Secretary of State comes down next week to claim Political brownie points for Labour and poses for the press with Tory Councillors, who in turn will be claiming more than equal political credit for it, Margaret Hodge might like to consider an abortive 'Ground Nuts' project in Africa under a Labour Govt in the 1950's that proved an equally ill-conceived mis-spending of tax-payers money.
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So if, at the time of boom, a reasonably modern equipped Dreamland attracted 600,000 visitors in 2004 before it was run down, what makes any sane person think that a clapped out collection of rides (I refuse to use words like 'heritage' and 'historic') will attract 500,000 visitors?.
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I suppose I should just be grateful that anything is better than nothing for Margate and if a Labour Govt and a Conservative Council want to waste more tax-payers money, so be it.
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How much healthier for a true Conservative, that the likes of Morrisons refurbish car-parks for their own business and that Tesco gets to grips with Arlington Arcade, all at their own expense.
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As the taxpayer, in various ways, has paid over £20,000,000 in Margate on the Dreamland and TC projects, all we can hope for now, is that it does the job intended. Now where is the nearest public loo?

Thursday, 12 November 2009

IS BILL FERNESS' NOMINATION VALID FOR DANE VALLEY WARD ELECTION?

Reader's might be wondering why Bertie's spelling is not up to it; surely it is FURNESS!
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Well not according to the latest Lib Dem leaflet dropped through my door. Although it is a little worrying that the Lib Dems cannot spell their 'Leader's' name in their bumpf.
What is more interesting is the TDC Electoral Officer's acceptance of Mr Furness' address. This is what is shown on TDC's web-site:
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FURNESS

Bill

25 Cross Road

Isle of Thanet

CT7 9HN

Liberal Democrat Anthony H Flaig
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Whilst its good to see Tony (Big News) being the proposer, what worries Bertie is the address. There is no official address ' Isle of Thanet'. Mr Furness resides in Birchington perhaps , with a CT7 postcode?
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So why put Isle of Thanet? It does seem to obscure the fact that he lives nowhere near Dane Valley Ward and that he is a Birchington based candidate. I am sure it is not a deliberate attempt to mislead but the fact cannot be ignored that Dane Valley voters in December will not see that he is a Birchington chap unless thay are familiar with Post Codes.
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What has surprised me is that the TDC Electoral Officer has allowed this. Is it an oversight? Is it legal in Election terms? If it is not, then has it invalidated his nomination? I hope not, as the more the merrier in Dane Valley, although I still think the best person for the job is Sandra Hart (Labour).

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

EUROFERRIES - LATEST NEWS & GOSSIP


The team at Strife has grown bigger over the past few days with offers of help from many quarters. Firstly, news from our French reporters in Boulogne.
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They have sent me the two pics you can see of a ramp completed in Gare Maritime a few weeks ago, reputedly, in preparation for Euroferries Bonanza Express. Readers should be aware that this part of the harbour in Boulogne is pretty run-down now, with LD Lines having moved to the new 'Hub'. Could it be that like PRCs images of Ramsgate with multi-blocks of sea-side luxury flats, the French have plans for a similar development at Gare Maritime?

It does seem at the moment that those French chaps in Boulogne seem better prepared for Bonanza than poor old TDC at Ramsgate. Our 'Woger' might like to consider this?
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Other news.
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The team in Ramsgate report that Euroferries seem, via their ticket agencies, to be refunding fares to those who booked for the 14th November onwards. That is good news.
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A Strife reporter has managed today, to book a foot passenger crossing on Thursday 26th November for 08:35 hrs! So, the Santa Cruz Harbour departure schedule of last week showing Bonanza leaving there on 22 Nov, gives it 4 days to get to Ramsgate, get checked out and do its stuff. So 'ferry spotters' can get down to Ramsgate on 26th to see Bonanza get on its way? If you want to talk to Fred Olsen in Santa Cruz, feel free to ring 0034-922-6282000.
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If, like a child who has got fed up with finding its milk teeth under the pillow in the morning instead of a £1 coin, and you have lost faith in the 'Tooth Fairy', you might be interested to hear of the explaination given by Euroferries' press release authors of the press release dated 3rd Nov that failed to arrive with anyone until the 10th Nov. A lady at www.goodpublicity.co. uk had this to say in regard to the 3rd Nov date on the press release when asked by a Strife reporter,
"I can't see properly" - " I put the wrong date in the calendar".
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Really? I hope Euroferries haven't paid them yet!
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Another resesrcher beavering away today came up with some business stuff that Bertie doesn't really understand too well and readers might be able to help out with.
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It would seem that http:/www.ukdata.com/numbers/05883830.html lists some stuff about Euroferries Holdings Ltd, with its office registered in a warden assisted flat in Kingston upon Thames; here are some extracts:
30/10/09 First notification of strike off action in London Gazette (Section 652)
25/06/09 Second notification of strike off action in London Gazette (Section 652)
13/03/09 First notification of strike off action in London Gazette (Section 652)
09/03/09 Application for striking off.
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Bertie is having a whip -round to raise some readies to pay for the fees to find out who is making these Section 652 notifications; it is all so intriguing!
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Edna, our tea-lady (expansion has meant that we can employ her again) said to me today, "Mr Biggles, wot I carn't understand is why these Euroferries people aint advertismentising orl over Thanet in The Fannit Times, The Gazettte , Your Fannit, on KMFM, Invctor and why they aint 'aving a write old knees up wiv, Sandy and Woger and Ladybird darn in the 'arbour to send this Bonanza pussy- thing on its way to Bogloynne on the 26th in some sorta style? My old man orways said, Edna, old gal, you gotta specerlate to acoomoolate"
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How do you answer such a profound question?