Saturday, 31 January 2009


If you do not recognise this TDC Councillor, I will not be surprised. Read on!
What madness is being proposed by this Government for local Councillors? For those who have not visited Thanetlife since last year's Blog Wars, can I urge you to do so.
Councillor Simon Moores has a perspective on his role as a Councillor that does him credit.
What our Central Labour Government is presently proposing through Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, is utter nonsense. Simply put, as part of their ideas on improving Local Democracy, they seem to be taking seriously the suggestion that Councillors can join in Council Meetings through the medium of their mobile phones or via the internet. The intention seems to try and help overcome the barriers of time , circumstance and distance that might discourage Councillors from participating in Council Meetings. The only rule proposed is that at least ONE Councillor must be present in The Town Hall Chamber and that others must be in 'audio' contact.
It does beg the question 'Why be a Councillor if you are not prepared to live locally and at least attend Council Meetings and talk to those in your Ward?'.
If you recognised, Cllr Broadhurst (Con) in the picture above, well done. He is one of my Dane Valley Councillors and is reputed to spend more time in the tropical climate of Panama than in Thanet. Has anyone been able to contact him to discuss issues about Dane Valley Ward? If he is unable to live locally and be contactable, then should he not resign from TDC?
Not according to Hazel Blears!
Let us imagine a Council Meeting at TDC in the future, if Blear's preposterous ideas are approved by Parliament. . . . . . ..
"Mauwice, Woger here. Can you hear me? I'm in the Council Chamber, on my tod, with Officers and a full public gallery and a whole load of mobile phone and internet connections and we have no other Councillors here and we have China Gateway Phases 2 & 3 Application to consider. What? You are on your yacht off Cannes? Hell, I have Broadhurst in Panama on the line .. wait, I'll get back to you!"
"Mauwice, are you there? Stephen says ' Why don't you point your yacht across the pond and join him in Panama for a week or two?... What?.... Don't worry, about the vote for Gateway Phases 2 & 3, true democracy is at work here. We have lost connections to all the dissidents and those troublesome Labour Councillors up at their Party Conference in Blackpool, but your vote and Stephen's from Panama are in OK. The result is 2 FOR, and 54 abstentions. So Gateway is approved. "
Is this really how we might improve local democracy?

Thursday, 29 January 2009


My thanks to readers and their cryptic clues!

This is how architects and developers A J Browne & Company meant their development in Millmead Road to be; not the burnt out shell now there. (Picture from AJ Browne's website) It is interesting that they have the drawing back to front!

Go and visit AJ Browne by Googling in AJ Browne.

I also note they are involved in Westcliffe Park in Westcliffe Gardens, Ramsgate with a development of 8 new homes and 40 apartments in the grounds. Is that project underway?


I can understand Cummins having to reduce staff by 30 early redundancy/jobs lost from a staff of almost 600 at its site on Manston Industrial Park, as demand for generators slows. We should breathe a sigh of relief that this is only 5% of its workforce there and is less job shedding than caused by Woolies going in our three town centres.

What does amaze me though, is the news today that London Underground and a water company (was it Southern Water?) are also shedding hundreds of jobs. Are there already less travellers using the Underground?

As far as Water Companies are concerned, we are all a captive market and unless we are on meters, we pay for water through rates and fixed charges. If we become the 'great unwashed' and use less water, it does not impact on their income; so why the job shedding then?

Could it be that the present 'recession' is an ideal time to lean down the water business to increase profits and job losses slipped into the general news of doom and gloom will go un-noticed?

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


I had a nice lie-in this morning reading General Omar Bradley's memoirs when the air in the Biggles' cave filled with smoke and set the smoke-detectors off. After a minute's panic, I realised that a major conflagration to the South-East was responsible and hastily shut windows.
It would seem that most of East Kent's appliances had raced to the site of new but unoccupied premises built on the old garage site in Millmead Road, Margate just behind the King Ethelbert pub. Locals report a very rapid and intense fire that clearly required the combined efforts of numerous fire-teams to get under control. Whilst doing so, a large choking cloud of smoke covered the north end of the Isle.
The picture above shows damping down in process this afternoon and the modern new properties are cleary gutted out. (click on pic for more detail). I am sure the Gazunder has the story on its website, with more detail.
I am left wondering how many more fires we are going to see this year as recession moves to depression?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Readers will be glad to note that this bag is not a Tesco Bag but may be able to identify the plant growing behind it.

Am I the only one to be confused by this Government's uncoordinated approach to drug taking? Cannabis is downgraded to Class C; oops let's now re-classify as a Class B; oh what the hell, pass the spliff over and let me contemplate the meaning of life.

Whilst 'Kent's Finest' have been closing down hydroponic training classes for prospective employees of Thanet Earth all over The Isle in the past 12 months, it would appear that the incidence of cannabis smoking amongst our school population has been gathering momentum.

You might as a parent, think that those 'dealing' and introducing your child to banned substances would be dealt with harshly; I can think of few lower forms of animal life than drug-pushers and naively assumed that our Criminal Justice system had the scum firmly in its sights. It would appear that is not the case.

In 2007 only 5, 130 (53%) out of 9, 564 convicted drug dealers were given custodial sentences. It would appear that 1 in 10 are given a 'caution' and many others were fined. Included in the 4,434 dealers 'let off' were pushers of Class A drugs like heroin, cocaine and crack.

I am told that it is easier to get cannabis from a 'pusher' at school than to buy cigarettes, alcohol or solvents to sniff from shops and stores. It has never been cheaper for our youngsters to get 'stoned' in Thanet than at the present time.

We have the confused messages from a Government, long past its sell-by date, to thank for this and many of our other woes.

On the basis of not wanting to be left out, this summer I will be sniffing around those hedgerows that have appeared around Manston to see what is being planted behind them; I am told that with global warming, 'guerilla planting' is a viable alternative to hydroponics in a Ramsgate House!

Monday, 26 January 2009


I make no apologies for showing you a picture taken in 1972 after a number of bombs were detonated by the IRA in Belfast City centre. Soldiers first on the scene at The Bus Station found torso parts and entrails caught on railings. The IRA were responsible for those attacks and the loss of life and maiming of large numbers of innocent civilians and we must not forget that civilians were directly targeted.

I was most unhappy to read over the week-end that The Consultative Group on The Past is to make a proposal on Wednesday that the families of all those killed in 'The Troubles' should receive £12,000 compensation and that this could cost the tax-payer £40,000,000. They wish to include in this scheme the families of dead IRA members as they want to end the 'hierarchy of victims' on the basis that the pain of the bereaved is equal! It most certainly is not.

I wondered how the death of James Quigley, aged 18yrs, on the 29 Sep 1972 was regarded. If you 'Google' him in you find yourself looking at The Relatives for Justice site. They report him as being murdered by the British Army in an attic and that his body was thrown off the roof.

They fail to mention that he was an IRA volunteer armed with a Garrand rifle and clips of ammunition who had set himself up in a firing position to shoot at British soldiers responding to a bomb set off in a shop. His body was recovered from the roof and removed from the back of the premises carefully and into an Armoured Saracen Ambulance and rushed to The Victoria Hospital.

They also fail to mention that in the same incident Private Ian Stewart Burt, aged 18 yrs, of The 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment was shot dead by another sniper backing up Quigley's position.

I suppose, such is the way this country has descended into 'madness' in the past 11 years, that the compensation will be dished out to the families of terrorists. As tax-payers you might also be interested to know that the Tony Blair's nonsense of The Saville Inquiry, set up in 1998, is still going on and has so far cost you £182,000,000.

Sunday, 25 January 2009


The picture above shows an air-bursting tank or artillery shell above a street in Gaza City. If you look closely you will see that it spreads downwards a chemical incendiary spray of material over an area. The use of white phosphorus as a smoke screen is well established military practice; but using an area incendiary weapon, as above, in a built up area populated by innocent civilians, is barbaric.

I cannot judge the Israeli Armed Forces concerning its methods in Gaza, I hope the UN will look into the matter but as the pictures above illustrate, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), are absolutely justified in initiating a relief effort for hundreds of thousands of residents of Gaza to provide drinking water, food and shelter.
Our BBC , together with Sky TV, somehow sees giving air-time to a DEC Appeal for Gaza as 'compromising its impartiality. When was the BBC last impartial in its news reporting?
I am disgusted with the BBC and it will be interesting to see if a 'howl of protest', similar to that concerning Jonathon Ross, will get the BBC to change its indefensible position. Has the BBC forgotten that the Israeli Armed Forces targeted the main UN Relief Depot in Gaza?
If the BBC does not re-consider airing the DEC Gaza Appeal, the funds in Bertie's Piggy Bank to pay my Licence Fee will be diverted to DEC.
Have a good sabbath.

Friday, 23 January 2009


Those who have been following Tony's BigNews Margate Blog will know that Tony has been, rightly I think, a strong critic of KCC's TV nonsense and the awful waste of almost £2,000,000 of tax-payers money. The actions by KCC and the TV providers to attempt to gag him have been un-inspiring. I copy for your attention, if not seen on other Blogs already, a missive from Tony and his e-mail to KCC Councillors. I hope we see him blogging on Big News again soon.
Fellow bloggers

As you may know, I have suspended new posts to my weblog Bignews Margate, a few days ago pending the receipt of a reply to the email I sent to Paul Carter requesting that he give a clear indication as leader of a democratically elected local authority, whether he support of the right of constituents to comment freely of council matters without contractors taking issue with comments nor address to them but the local authority.To this point of had no reply, today I sent an email to all of Kent's County councilors, with exception of Paul Carter, since I have received no reply from my earlier e-mail to him. Anyway for your information here is the text of my e-mail to Kent council's elected representatives.Ideally I would like apology from Kent Council, however I realise it's unlikely but I will not resume my blog until such time as Kent Council acknowledge I have a freedom of speech. The creation of Kent TV was always going to be contentious, Paul Carter's failure along with that of a civil servant Peter Gilroy to acknowledge my right to free speech, is just plain insulting.

Text of my Email

Dear councilor,I am a local blogger, I write about local issues predominantly concerning Kent and generally more specifically Thanet.I frequently write about policy issues concerning Kent Council, naturally Kent council's high profile project Kent TV is one of those issues I considered worth referring to, since broadcast media would appear, to many people a departure from the normal services, taxpayers expect from their local authority.

At the end of June last year, I received a letter from a Kent County council contractor, taking exception to comments I had made about Kent TV, the first line of their letter being " I am responding to the comments posted on your blog regarding Kent TV". This letter appeared to carry an implied threat that should I make further comments, they might well sue me.

At the time, I contacted the company concerned, asking the author of the letter whether there were any statements etc. that they wished me to withdraw, and at no point was I asked withdraw any statements.Also at around the same time I contacted both Paul Carter, and then Peter Gilroy concerning this matter both subsequently wrote to me, apparently both supporting the contractors rights, but neither appeared to acknowledge my right to express a valid opinion on the wisdom of a public authority wasting taxpayers' money on a questionable enterprise.

At no time do I feel that I have criticised the professionalism or competence of any contractor, although I have certainly questioned the output of Kent TV and its purpose.I would like Kent Council, to make a clear statement, to the effect that Kent residents are entitled to make reasonable comments as they see fit about political issues in line with those rights guaranteed under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. If Kent Council don't make a clear commitment to residents, rights to free speech, then whats next, contractors to other departments sending out letters, when say a resident complains about Kent Highways maybe suppliers of cones, tarmac or even advertising might send letters offering legal action?I have currently suspended posts to my blog site, until such time as Paul Carter responds to the email I sent him on the 13th of January 2009. All I want is a clear statement from KCC making it clear they support free speech even if its critical.

Regards Tony Flaig
Bignews Margate


Goodness me! The blue-touchpaper has been set alight and the abusive invective has begun against Malcolm Kirkaldie over on ECR!

I think this scheme to ask the people of Thanet if they would like to elect a Mayor is marvellous. I think it is fair to say that the present governance of the Isle by 'Mauwice', 'Woger'and senior officers, makes TDC in its present form, the most un-popular Council in the land.

Many had hoped that the Tory majority would have realised this last year and 'ousted' the Leadership and cabinet. Having dismally failed to 'reform', the Tory Group should not be surprised that a move to a Mayoral referendum might be perceived by many voters in Thanet(Labour and Tory alike) as the only way of changing the disastrous situation that now exists in Thanet with its 'failed' leaders and 'failed' policies.

The Thanet electorate has seen the decline of its 3 main towns brought about by the Westwood Cross fiasco, that could and should have been prevented. To enter a disastrous recession in such poor shape after 10 'boom' years is a serious failure of both Tory and Labour management of our local affairs. Have no doubt that the ravaged High Streets will look even worse by Easter.

Maybe, just maybe, if the Electorate support a Mayoral referendum, a candidate of calibre and integrity and without 'petty political allegiances' will come forward with a better CV than experience as a carpet fitter or a retired miltary blanket stacker.

We need a change and if a Mayor can achieve it, then I for one will be out canvassing for a Referendum.

6000 -7000 signatures on a petition will not be hard to find I suspect.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


I had difficulty this evening in deciding what to comment on from local Thanet news that was reported whilst 'Strife' was down. Unlike Ms Wenham-Jones, I am delighted that the closed Woolies premises in Broadstairs might be opened again as an Iceland outlet; its good for the High Street and will offer much needed jobs. Was I the only one to be annoyed by the the pompous tone in her article in the Gazunder last week?


Time to get on topic! The picture above is courtesy of Martin Thain and KM Extra. It shows just a few hundred of the thousands of Velvet Swimming Crabs washed up on Thanet beaches after the recent cold spell. Macropipus puber is a shallow water crab that has a poor tolerance of low temperatures and does not survive for long out of water, despite being an aggressive 'wee beastie' as those who have been nipped by it will remember.


A drop in coastal water temperature during the cold spell probably induced a simple state of 'crustacean hypothermia' and in a semi-comatose state, these crabs were unable to hang on securely when rough water dislodged them from their nooks and crannies in underwater chalk/rock outcrops. The result sadly seems to have been a mass beaching in cold air and death would have come on quickly. I suspect the Environmental Agency will find no pollution cause or odd virus for this phenomenon.


What should be of more concern to us is the situation in Pegwell Bay where we have seen a wipe out of mussel beds and a decline in both the size and vigour of the lugworm population. There is clear evidence of pollution in this very sensitive site that has a number of extraordinary outlets depositing possibly contaminated water into the bay. The Environment Agency need to monitor this situation more closely perhaps with TDC and KCC?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Bertie has been experiencing technical problems since 'filing' the Tesco Bag Chronicles and wonders if he has been 'nobbled' in some way?
The probability is that a technical 'glitch' in a 'wireless' box may have been the cause but why it has taken so long to rectify and sort out does concern me.
My apologies for not being able to moderate past comments and when I have looked through a few hundred e-mails awaiting my attention, I hope to resume normal postings and catch up with issues such as:
Has anyone seen Cllr Broadhurst since October 9th?
Is the new Westgate 'Chippie' really now behaving itself with its rubbish?
Is it true that 'Our Leader' intends to sail off into the sunset in March?
Is it true that CGP's shares are now worth so little that the DT description on 12th Jan of the Aim Market now fits them? " What you've got basically are the living dead at the bottom of the market".
Did the fence contractor at Pouces Cottages not get paid after all and was it he who removed the nice paddock fencing?
Has anyone cracked TDC's street cleaning colour code yet or has actually seen a TDC cleaner in their road? (At the Biggles hovel, we have taken to cleaning the street ourselves as a cleaner is as rare as Dinosaur sh*t.)
Will Ursuline College in Westgate have any money to meet the planning condition set by KCC in 2004 in regard to its Sports Hall, to put a turning lane on The Canterbury Road, by its entrance? It would seem KCC Planning is getting fed up with waiting for this to happen.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


I couldn't resist this cartoon, courtesy of The Daily Telegraph on Saturday. Could Iapologise for not moderating comments in the past 24 hrs. My internet provider let me down yet again whilst I was in the middle of this post. You can read it now. (Could anyone tell me what a PPP server fault is?)
Bertie has been reading everything he can about the 'world of finance' to try and understand what the problem is all about and it seems simply to be a horrible cycle of greed induced, debt. Gordon Brown failed dismally on The Andrew Marr Show this morning to admit any responsibility for the state this country is in despite holding the office of Chancellor for 10 years. All he could do was blame the US and the world financial storm and try and convince viewers that we in the UK are better placed than most to ride out the 'storm' under his careful hand on the tiller.
It would appear that it's not just the UK private citizen who has been living on credit and amassing debt with savings ratios down from 10% in 1997 to 0.4% in 2008, but many of our big 'blue-chip' businesses have a debt problem too.
It would seem that £85 billion of debts are due to be re-paid in 2009 together with £25 billion in re-paying corporate bonds. The effect on some companies will be as cataclysmic as a family finding that the main income earner has lost his/her job whilst having a large mortgage and mountain of plastic debt to 'service'. How many households will end up in 'personal bankruptcy' and homelessness and how many firms will find they are going to go to the wall.?
This whole business seems like a snowball gathering momentum down a slope and each rotation adds to the problem as it gets bigger and bigger until it becomes an avalanche.
I personally think the Government should not even attempt to prop up ailing businesses or squander money creating/inventing 100,000 public sector jobs. It is the nature of capitalism that there is risk and the price of failure has to be paid.
What Government could do very effectively is add some extra strands to the benefit system to protect and support the 'innocents' caught up in the economic mess. For example, families with children should not be thrown onto the street through repossession to then need re-housing by the Local Authority. It would make more sense for the house to be taken over as 'social housing'; the family kept in it and then pay rent through our generous Benefits System or some other way that will provide a sensible and cost effective safety net. Those without children and those who have bought to rent will just have to take the pain as those with savings will have to.
I am afraid I have no confidence in Mr Brown any more. Propping up banks to prevent a collapse of the banking system is fine but all the other proposals at the moment seem ineffective and costly.
I have been told that Debenhams at Westwood Cross was looking like an empty warehouse at the weekend; Debenhams directors are reported as having to go seeking finance in the next few weeks by possibly selling shares to reduce debt problems incurred in 2006. Our own CGP has to repay £28.5 million to the Israel Discount Bank in November and with a share price less than 20p, it is not looking good unless it can re-arrange its debt or 'The Chinese' come to the rescue in time.

May your God go with you in the troubled times that await us all.

Saturday, 3 January 2009


Not the best time of year for a Persian Cat to have a shave but a matted, ungroomed coat needs drastic action as this stray discovered.

If you can think of a good caption, please feel free to add it.

On a serious note, I begin to understand those who oppose the pedigree dog business at Crufts. This cat needs constant grooming and if abandoned soon gets into trouble; not because it cannot scavange but simply because its unnaturally long and fine coat becomes matted, dirt encrusted and in warmer weather, fly-blown. Specialist breeding has certainly produced some fine looking breeds of cats and dogs but at what cost in animal welfare?


My thanks to these 4 ladies at Woolworths in Northdown Road for posing for this picture yesterday. Between them they have 28 years of service to Woolworths and this was their last day of employment. They were unclear about payment of wages and redundancy payment. It brought it home to me that when big business and banks get greedy and throw caution and integrity out of the window, it's the least well off who suffer the most for such folly.
Altogether, 16 staff have lost their jobs at this store and in Thanet over 70 families have been hit by the closure of all 4 stores. This is just another nail in the coffin of what was once a thriving shopping road.
What I find fascinating in Northdown Road is that one or two unlikely businesses are still managing to hang on and it would seem that this is because the free-hold is owned; reserves from better times were not squandered and whilst profits are down, cost-cutting and belt-tightening is the order of the day. Is it true that the Woolworths chain sold its shops some years ago and then leased them back? Was earlier greed the cause of its present demise?

Friday, 2 January 2009


It was New Year's Eve and Dennis was amazed to hear the bad language emanating from Larry's Den. He popped his head around the door and ducked quickly as an Orange Wireless box whistled past his head.
"The ba-aally Orange Internet has gone down" Larry cursed.
"Don't worry " replied Dennis, " We can still look back on 2008 and here's a glass of single malt to calm you down."
"I'm rather glad The Serious Economic Crimes Unit did not find graft and corruption in Toytown, though the way the Townhall works needs to be looked at." said Dennis.
"I am still not happy about the business of Ernest The Stout Policeman going round and 'leaning' on Councillors, though" replied Larry. "It had a touch of ' The Damian Green Affair' about it, even though Inspector Bloodhound has finished his enquiries into what Ernest was up to and confirmed there was nothing un-toward and that Ernest was just following up information. He seemed quite adament on 31 July that there was no investigation going on, and even Det Sgt Upaton returned to copy the message about Ernest into his notebook."
Larry paused for a moment. " Anyway, with some luck, that's the end of the matter and the Tesco Bag has at last got back to Bosun Bob. Captain Brass has at least bought him a 'paper shredder' but why Bosun Bob and the Pirates have got involved in fencing pastures when a perfectly good fences exist already, beats me."
"Larry, you have forgotten about Inches The Grass Snake waiting on our door-step, when we got back from Ibiza. Mr Mayor or The Bumbling Magiician must have told him about us or could it have been Mr Owl?" Dennis said.
"It doesn't ma-aatter now, Dennis," said Larry, as he topped up his glass from the decanter.
"Di --idn't the Society of Toytown Bloggers do a good job and The 'China Gate' story in the Toytown Gazunder certainly raised the profile of what Commerce General Property were upto. The Private Eye articles also helped enormously. What was the high point of the year for you De--ennis?"
"Oh, that's easy to answer", said Dennis. "The look of sudden realisation, on 'Our Ken's' face as he put up his hand to vote at The Planning Committtee meeting in August, that he could not deliver the expected approval of ' China gate' due to three of Mr Mayor's Party having scruples and voting that it should go to Full Council.!"
"I ree---eember that!", said Larry. " Seeing people rushing to mobile phones and ringing Mr Mayor on his yacht with the news was also interesting. The unseemly panic and haste that followed in The Town Hall, as 29th Aug, then 9th September were mooted as Full Council meetings was very revealing. Anyway, the 9th October was quite rightly settled for! Do you think it was true that Mr Ma--ayor called those Councillors in for a telling off? He ssshouldn't have done cos Planning ish ment to be non partishan. Could you top me up, Dennish?"
"But, The Toytown Councillors approved Captain Brass' application on the 9th October, Larry, so we lost in the end didn't we?"
"Nooo way, Dennish", mumbled Larry, " chop my grass up again, woulg you pleesh. Weeceshion in 2009; shinking sips or is it sshares; shirty planning condishhuns and who knows what else; revolushion in The Town Hall and even that Waitrose ba-aag under the shtairs to look into ........"
"Happy New Year, Larry" Dennis whispered as he took the empty glass out of Larry's limp trotter and covered the snoring Lamb with a blanket.
'What Waitrose bag?', he thought as he scratched behind his ear at an uninvited New Year guest.