Tuesday, 29 December 2009


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


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


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.



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


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.


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


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


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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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


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


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


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


 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.
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')
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!
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).

Saturday, 5 December 2009


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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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


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:

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


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.
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.
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


 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
"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."