Friday, 27 March 2009


What an interesting week in Thanet.
We discover that Euroferries is such a switched on 'set-up' that the 31st March 'service' cannot even be considered as even 'imminent', as their prospective berth at Ramsgate is not capable of allowing vehicles to load onto the much awaited Bonanza Express. It, by the way, is still berthed alongside the harbour wall in Las Palmas in The Canary Islands.
TDC is singing its praises about an award for The Gateway and making out that this puts it at the top of Councils in the UK. I am delighted that its improving, and all credit to the staff who have made this possible, but improvement from a poor base line, is what has happened and let's cut out the OTT 'spin' please; we have had enough of that nonsense from a Labour Central Government without TDC playing the same game. This reminds me of the 'value added criteria' for some of our local schools. The fact is that TDCs 'improvement' is akin to The Marlowe Academy's improvement in league tables. In absolute terms, TDC is still sitting way down the 'league tables', no matter the hype being made; just as The Marlowe Academy is.
Could it be that TDC is about to compulsory purchase The Marina Restaurant (or what is left of it in Ramsgate). The developers who knocked down this Grade 2 listed building seem to have failed to even start restoring it. That sounds familiar! Isn't there a Grade 2 listed Scenic Railway in a similar state, with security fencing paid for by TDC under threat of compulsory purchase (i.e. 51% of the Dreamland Site) twelve months after it was 'torched'. Has TDC quietly and conveniently forgotten this?
It would seem that 'Mauwice & Wodger's' dispensing jobs for the boys and girls as 'Lead Members' etc has paid off, if we are to believe the IOTG today. A certain Conservative voice, with much to lose, should a regime change occur, is rumoured to have fallen over himself to support his 'Leader'. Grovelling sycophancy is always unpleasent to behold!

Onto Village matters!
St Peter's traders and small businesses are close to desperation. The news earlier this week that some old smuggling tunnels have been revealed in the excavations to put new gas mains in, came as no surprise to local historians but caused some panic that this would increase the time the village was sealed off. There is good news to report, however.
Jenny Matterface, a prospective Labour Candidate has been busy, together with Steve Ladyman and in particular Labour KCC & TDC Cllr Alan Poole, who is a member of KCC's Highways Advisory Board, in trying to push the completion date forward to gain relief for struggling businesses. It would seem they have had some success and it appears likely that all should return to normal by the end of next week, according to the KCC Highways Roadworks manager. I have to admire, as an NTCA member, the efforts by Labour, to support their local traders in such an involved way.
I can't help wondering how TDC might have reacted if the entrance to Westwood Cross Shopping Centre had to be closed for 8 weeks? Is it a case that small traders can be ignored but big business would have to be looked after? Having to pay 90p for parking in Birchington today whilst Mrs Biggles 'shopped' for an hour, made me wonder if ' green sustainability blah blah' is just 'waffle' where TDC is concerned? With parking rates so high, it would cost less to drive to Westwood and park for free. This makes nonsense of 'sustainability' and concern about carbon footprints etc.

Now to Westgate.
I must apologise for an old pic but this building close to the station is of interest. The 'Biggles' Shopping expedition' began in Westgate this morning. I bumped into our only Independent TDC Cllr, Tom King, talking to a shop owner about the problem of the Nationwide ATM machine being out of service all week. This has been catastrophic for trade. No bank, and only this cash dispenser in the village not working, means that people move on elsewhere to draw cash and spend it there and not in Westgate.
Cllr King has been trying to get Cllr Latchford to help in getting a second ATM for Westgate. Cllr King has managed to persuade the owners of the building in the pic to allow an ATM to be installed but is having problems getting Nationwide or another provider to install one. Its all very complicated, but Cllr King (Ind) battles on, on behalf of Westgate with what seems precious little support. Is it because he is the last of the Mohicans, oops, last of The Independents?
With Audrey Pickering having to step down as an Independent, you are probably thinking that Bertie has forgotten about Cllr Dean (call me Bert) McCastree (previously Williams?). He has a 25% attendance (TDC Website) and Westbrook residents have no location to have a 'surgery' to visit. How Independent is he? You might have noticed a recent Thanetlife'posting' quoting Cllr McCastree at length to give credibility about how TDC is doing so well.
Well he sounds more like a Conservative. It is interesting that he applied to be a Labour nominated Cllr first. I suspect he is about as Independent as Pariish Cllr Worrow was. Such is the way of Cllrs I suppose. On that subject, am I the only one to detect a major supportive 'tone' along the lines of 'My Party etc' from Thanetlife in regards to 'Our Leader'. Cllr Moores' blog seems to have turned into a supportive 'Cheer Leader's site' with 'Our Ken' at Village Voice acting in tandem and as korus or should that be chorus? This improbable 'duo' have presumably revelled in Eastcliff Matters being 'bloggered' and rumour has it that Cllr Nottingham's 'blog' is the next in line.
It makes last year's 'Blog War' seem quite tame. What is happening now seems far more serious. What we might need soon is a dedicated Labourite, who is not a Cllr, to open up a blog and thus be beyond the reach of being 'bloggered' by the TDC Conservatives on Standards issues. That said, a cautious and careful approach by a Councillor when 'blogging' is advised and Thanetlife sets the standard here.


DrMoores said...


You know where to find me so why not simply ask when you have a question?

The cash point problem isn't new I'm afraid. It has absolutely nothing to do with council services and represents a community inconvenience which is the same for me as others.

It is an issue I took up with the banks, Halifax, Barclays etc last summer and I wish Cllr King well in his efforts.

There exists already, two cashpoints at the petrol station in the Canterbury Rd and on a commercial basis I am always pointed back in their direction when Westgate fails.

What the banks don't appear to grasp is that some people siimply can't jump in their car and go to M&S for their cash but these are banks we are talking about so why should we be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Thanet becomes more depressing by the week. Just when you start to think that there may be some good people amongst our Conservative Councillors you are proved wrong. They are all the same, self interest the prime motivating force. Where, when and how did the local Conservative Party go so very wrong. When you don't want to vote Labour, see all Independents turning various shades of blue and have no faith whatsoever in your local Conservatives where can you put your cross?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask why closet labour man and close associate of irish on the westf=gate residents association for many years was allowed to sit on the panel judging Ezekiel and Latchford? Do you think this was fair, and if a closet tory as you suggest burt is was in judgement of iris do you think she would have accepted it? do you have integrity, or are you going to apply a double standard?

Bertie Biggles said...

Simon, thanks for that and sad to hear that the combined efforts of Councillors cannot persuade banks etc to put another cash-point in some-where.
Naively, I hadn't realised how a serious drop in trade could be caused whenever the sole Nationwide point went 'down' which it does too frequently.

08:44, I think you are being too pessimistic and too harsh on many fine principled Conservative Cllrs. The 'spin' on poor conduct has been effective in making it appear an attack against 'The Party' rather than just a Leader who does not know how to conduct himself properly at times. There are those who can differentiate and perhaps it is not over yet? I copy this 'comment' from the bottom of an earlier post (Kingmaker etc).

Blogger Ericl said...

Anonymous 10.07 obviously one of the leaders chosen ones stated quite clearly that at the Conservative group meeting three members abstained when the vote of confidence in the leader and his deputy was put forward but failed to mention that two councillors Hayton and Savage voted against the proposition. I suspect that the vote by a show of hand was slightly too much pressure for some of the rest of the Conservative group. The six councillors who were not in attendance will no doubt be there at the group’s AGM and will take part in a secret ballot if there is to be leadership challenge. I know of the leader’s misconduct and in my humble opinion should not even be one of my representatives of council.


28 March 2009 08:47

Bertie Biggles said...

09.44, your comment came in whilst I was putting my earlier comment on;(the problem of comment moderation, I am afraid !)

As far as I am aware, you are the first to raise the issue of neutrality of members of TDC Standards Committee. I think you are wrong to do so. We must accept that they act fairly, with integrity and with legal advice and I am sure that if Cllr McCastree was a member he would put aside any political considerations and deal with matters utterly impartially.

Anonymous said...

The problem is exactly as you state Bertie - you are so articulate!
The challenge to Ezekiel's leadership is now being treated as a labour attack, and cllr Johnstone being branded as a villain, what the conservatives are too stupid to see is that the Conservatives are now the laughing stock of Thanet and will be until they change leaders, the opposition dont care who is in charge they just want some integrity back into politics, as for saying that Cllr King was not independant,he could have done far more to support Iris than the let off the duo with a pathetic sanction.You may also like to consider whose largesse appointed the chair of the panel for that matter?
Independant band of councillors is what we need or an elected mayor?

Anonymous said...

13:10 it seems all 9:44 was asking is whether Cllr.Johnstone would have been so laid back if someone who had been a long acquaintance of Cllr.Ezekiel had been sitting on a committee judging her. Surely that is a reasonable question, and in the best interests of fairness to all is something that should not have happened.

I am surprised that you have taken the line you have. Anybody would think you have been nobbled?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Having seen the Deadly Duo going down like a lead balloon at the Cliftonville Partnership I'm surprised they've got the nerve to show their faces in Thanet (Ezekiel and Latchford, in case anyone is wondering).

Bertie Biggles said...

17.48, I am afraid I have had to edit your comments. Here is the edited version:

"I see that you have spotted that Thanetlife is now the official cheer leading section for our beloved council leader.

I am sure that this has nothing to do with the generous spread of little jobs that have recently been handed out." **********************************************************************

"Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?
Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?
Do you want to change it?"

28 March 2009 17:48

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find Bertie that the worst part of the ATM debacle in Westgate, is that the traders are really suffering.

If you go to the hole in the wall, you get money and then spend it locally. I know people are having to go to the garage, or into Birchington, and then doing their buying where they get their cash.

Bertie Biggles said...

I couldn't agree more 23:22. Westgate Cllr, Simon Moores has been on to this problem (see Thanet Life) and it is all to do with persuading another provider to set up another ATM in the village. Let's hope that Westgate Cllrs' continuing efforts will be successful in persuading a Bank or Buiding Society to provide a service for the community and shopkeepers; not an easy task.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bertie for shame!

First you castigate a certain person for accepting crumbs from the leaders table; then you change your mind, and your blog! ( Been got at have you?)

And I thought that you were made of sterner stuff!

If you can change your opinions that quickly, then they are either ill considered in the first place, or you are not the man of independent integrity that you say you are!

Bertie Biggles said...

00:06, thank you for your comment and well done for spotting my 'edits'.

In the light of day, sometimes,I find that what I wrote the night before needs re-drafting. As my own Editor and in this medium, it is very easy to do and I have done it before and will do so again.

Nothing sinister, thank goodness. If you feel that in further editing or even complete removal, my integrity is compromised, then you are entitled to your opinion.

Anonymous said...

I was, as were a few others, astounded at Cllrs Johnstons declaration of friendship and good working relationship with the leader at the Cliftonville Traders meeting this week. She claimed that you shouldn't beleive everthing that is written in the papers and that "Sandy & I" get on well and work well together for the people of Margate!!!

The Labour members that accompanied her must have wanted the floor to have opened up and swallow her by the look on thier faces. Kind of makes you wonder about the motive behind the wool mill episode and standards hearing, especially if you take in what she was quoted in Your Thanet as saying it was after the "support" of her group that she decided to proceed. But then,apparently, you shouldn't believe what is written in the papers!!!!

Anonymous said...

Can't the stuff on the former Mayor be accessed under FOI? That would bring it all out in the open.

Anonymous said...

Can I just say, as a new blogger, so I hope this works, that as a non Conservative/Labour/Liberal resident of Thanet, I think that the current council are doing well for the residents, that things seem to be moving forward for us all, and that the current climate of sniping, backbiting, back stabbing must stop on ALL sides, as it is not doing our beautiful area any good.

All Councillors must now get on with the job that they were elected to do, and let us, poeple of Thanet, decide in 2011 who we want to be in TDC, from where I am sitting, none of them would fare any better in the school playground!!

Bertie Biggles said...

12.49 a carefully crafted 'item' that resurrects the 'Labour conspiracy'issue. As far as I am concerned, the issue is quite simple; in regard to The Edinburgh Mill(2008) and Winter Gardens (2007) complaints 'behaviour' was found to be unacceptable and in breach of Standards expected etc.

I was not at the meeting you refer to and will leave it to others to comment on what you have written. You must remember that Cllr Johnston has Cllr Ezekiel as Leader of her (TDC) Council and whilst they might disagree on issues,including what is acceptable behaviour in public, I am pleased to read that Cllr Johnston comports herself with dignity when they are in public together on Council matters and that The Leader and Deputy can show that they can as well.

12.50. the recurring themes that are being 'promoted' at the moment by Conservatives supporting their Leader (Right or Wrong) are quite interesting.
1. Poor Cllr Ezekiel being subject to harrassment in 2006 that justified the outburst at The Winter Gardens.
2. Poor Cllr Ezekiel for responding to and being caught out by a 'Labour Trap' at The Woollen Mill.
Is this because there is still a meeting of Conservative Cllrs in April?

I must admire the attempts to obfuscate and thus 'negate' the findings of various Standards Boards!

You are perfectly aware what Standards Board of England in 2008 'found'in regard to The Winter Gardens. You might wish to got to my posting of 26 /04/08 "WHY THE TORIES NEED TO FIND A NEW LEADER" for extracts of the findings. You will also find that I reported on the findings concerning the unacceptable behaviour of The Mayor in 2006.

Anonymous said...

You miss the point so often that I have to question your motives Bertie. I don't think anyone is excusing the leader of the council for his behaviour, but those of us standing on the side want equal treatment for all who don't behave coorectly. It has been quoted often enough on various blogs that a labour man has been cited for harassment and bullying of a member of the mayors staff. That is SERIOUS. And I have never seen anyone deny it. If you put yourself up to be a champion of integrity in Thanet as you often do, the you would have more credibililty if you investigated. Or are you part of the cover up?

Anonymous said...

Have long been under the impression that Cllr. 'Mohican' King has been the only elected representative to actually concern himself with Westgate residents needs, wants & opinions.

Bertie Biggles said...

17.36, Cllr Clark finished as Mayor in 2007, almost 2 years ago? He is a 'back-bench' Cllr whose health,I am informed, is poor.
He was found in breach of Standards in 2008. It is up to others (Mrs Ezekiel perhaps) to continue complaints through the appropriate channels about any other issues. I do not intend to pursue matters that are 2nd or 3rd hand and that related to events of over 2 years ago. This is not a question of partiality but simply, is it relevant to today and do I have reliable information about the issues involved? The answer to both questions is no.

Anonymous said...

Is Cllr Moores in Westgate? Apart from improvements around his address, you would not know it!

Anonymous said...

12:50 here again Bertie, by FOI, I meant on Mrs Ezekiels claims, not the Cllr. That would set the record straight, as a council employee, surley she is accountable as much as Cllrs? Then we could all make up our minds instead of being fed tit bits here and there

Bertie Biggles said...

22.53, you are obviously having a dig at Cllr Moores and it is unjustified. I have cited a number of instances on this site where Cllr Moores takes up issues on his 'patch' as does Tom King. Clr Moores lives in his patch and like many Cllrs gets on with lots of minor issues that you and I have no idea about. I would be happier if you were to consider how Cllr Broadhurst (Con)can possibly represent his Dane Valley constitiuents from across the other side of The Atlantic!

18.30, please go ahead and request an FoI on the matters you are so concerned about. My only concern is that the Mayor & Secretary are in the Margate Charter Trustees remit. Should it not be a matter for them and perhaps the issues you are so keen to look into may have been resolved?

Anonymous said...

Why are you suddenley the Cllr Moores support group? One minute you're having a go at him, the next you've elevated him to a position that he must not be brought to account because he is wonderful.

Make your bloody mind up!

Anonymous said...

Cllr Moores has been contacted on several matters concerning residents South of the Canterbury Road in Westgate. He has not assisted, commented or helped!

It would appear, from the residents comments that is, that he is only concerned with things where he lives, and not the rest of westgate!

It has been noted and local residents who have not seen him since the elections will make their point at the next election!

How do I know this; because I will be standing against him as an independant tory. Not having to bow to the current leadership; and actually representing the people in westgate.

Publish this reply if you dare, Bertie!

Bertie Biggles said...

23.11/23.16, I try and give credit where credit is due. If you have problems in Wetgate, south of The Canterbury Rd then get onto all your ward Cllrs and ask them to look into matters. Details of your Cllrs are on TDC's website with adresses and telephone numbers and you will find them helpful.

The fact that you wish to stand in 2011 as a 'Independent Conservative' is good news. The more people who are able to offer themselves up to the electorate for consideration the better. I suspect you will find that the 'job' is easier to comment on, as Thanet Strife does, than actually do.
I, personally, would like to see more true Independents in Thanet; national political allegiances are not really relevant at local level.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should raise the Confederate flag South of the Canterbury Road here in Westgate, and shout; the south will rise again.

Or not and quietly accept that we are a forgotten land as far as our Councillors are concerned; until the next election of course.

To be fair, the only one we saw leading up to the last election was Cllr King. The other two didn't even feel the need to come and knock on doors or visit people.

A move that they may regret. If a couple of people can stand as independant Tories; then they could split the vote and let Labour in to have a go!

Anonymous said...

several of us already thinking about it in other wards! Birchington wont be the only one!

DrMoores said...

Forgive me Bertie, I just spotted the comment below and it's mendacious rubbish!

"Cllr Moores has been contacted on several matters concerning residents South of the Canterbury Road in Westgate. He has not assisted, commented or helped!"

If you know me then you will know equally well that I react very quickly indeed to any resident who may approach me seeking my help. I've said before that I am one of the more easily contactable of your local councillors and I can only assume that the comment made here has a malicious purpose.