Friday, October 29, 2004

Good Deed for The Day.

I've just helped set-up a website for the Thanet Shotokan Karate Club. You can find it at from Monday. Posted by Hello but until then it's here.

In this part of the world, having a martial arts skill is a good idea.

No member too small

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Keep Your Pets Inside

I read the Thanet Gazette's front page story describing the savage torture of a kitten by a Margate sixteen year old with a growing sense of disgust and horror. What worries me more perhaps, is the well-meaning and naïve belief that a juvenile who commits such a crime and has previous 'form' for this and other related violent offences, can see the error of his ways and can be rehabilitated into society at the end of his custodial sentence. Among the long list of those who acted in a similar manner, we can review the records of Jeffrey Dahmer and Albert De Salvo, the Boston Strangler. Posted by Hello

Being cute won't save you!

In the words of FBI Behavioural Scientist, Alan Brantley, "Animal cruelty is not a harmless venting of emotion in a healthy individual; this can be a warning sign that this individual is not mentally healthy and needs some sort of intervention. Abusing animals does not dissipate those violent emotions, it may fuel them."

In the United States, the Police will invariably place such individuals and their families on a "Watch list" in an attempt to anticipate and prevent further violence in the community. And in Thanet, what will we do about such things? Wait and see perhaps?

Finally, in one of the UK's most socially deprived areas, any consideration of a mega casino in Margate would not reflect well on our local politicians, who gave us the clock tower traffic lights and the Turner Centre and other equally bold and brilliant ideas.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Heard in a schoolboy conversation on the train to Victoria this morning.

"We've been told we have to do numeracy, what's that?"
"Maths I think!"

The schoolchildren were pretty dire in my day but those between Westgate on Sea and Whitstable any morning would frighten the Iraqi insurgents rather more than the threat of sending in The Black Watch. Posted by Hello

"Give me a child to the age of seven and I will give you the man" - A Jesuit maxim

In the meantime, Margate, has I'm told won its funding to open the new, muli-million Turner Centre on the harbour, the one with no Turner paintings at all. My hairdresser commented that the money would be better spent opening a "Chav" centre, a celebration of all things Chav, decorated in Burberry and which may attract far more visitors to the town than any attempt to celebrate fine art at the reluctant taxpayers' expense. You know what? She's quite right.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Blot on the Seascape

A View of the Windmill rig out to sea beyond Herne Bay today. From the air one can see lots of brown stumps, the bases for the windmill farm which will soon grow up and rather spoil the view I think. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Famous at last. Two mentions in The Thanet Gazette and a mention in Mongolian News , all in the same week. What more could a man ask for I wonder? Adscene maybe?Posted by Hello

Frozen Webcam

I notice the Police are regularly speedtrapping on the St Nicholas roundabout on the Thanet Way in the mornings on the road towards Birchington, so watch out!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Party Pieces

I had a brief exchange of pleasantries last night with Oliver Letwin in the men's room of the Marsham Court Hotel. One can't really cram a great deal of profound economic dialogue into such a small space, so it wasn't really worth trying. I had to remind myself that this was Bournemouth and not Thanet and change my delivery to suit the surroundings and the rare sight of me wearing a suit and tie and not a leather jacket and jeans.

This morning's conference breakfast on local eGovernment, sponsored by BT had all the right ingredients. Eggs and bacon, strong coffee and even stronger statements that electronic government should be more focused on agility and delivery and less focused on turning unwieldy paper-based systems into their online equivalent. This is a subject that I could go on about for hours but at least the Conservative Party now has a firm and I think sensible policy on eGovernment that it can follow-through in the run-up to the next election and it's up to the Conservative Technology Forum team to help build this into next year's election manifesto.

Left to right, BT's Mike Blackburn, Michael Fabricant (MP), the Shadow Minister for Technology, Conservative Technology Forum Vice Chairman Nick Wood-Dow and Councillor Paul Bettison, the national eGovernment champion.

Funnily enough and on a completely different subject, I just gave an interview to the local paper, the Thanet Gazette, on what I think of the new EUjet service from Manston. I wonder how it will read on Friday? Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Plane Jane

I've just taken Thanet Gazette columnist, Jane Wenham Jones for an overhead tour of Canterbury and the island in advance of the heavy weather warning for this afternoon.

She's back in one piece, shaken and not stirred and had a go at flying the aircraft herself as we went looking for her home in Broadstairs. You should be able to read about her death-defying experience at my hands a forthcoming Thanet Gazette, that's if you live close enough to the edge of the known world where Thanet is.

In fact and until quite recently, Microsoft's Encarta encyclopaedia still had Thanet listed as a proper island, the pizza-fed cartographers in Redmond not knowing that the Wantsum Channel in Kent had silted-up in the 15th century. Mind you, Microsoft are infamous for their geographical errors, such as which country owns the disputed region of Kashmir and the thorny question of Taiwan ,which the politicians in Beijing are a little sensitive about.. Posted by Hello

Thanet Gazette columnist and author Jane Wenham Jones

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to next week and the Conservative Party Conference where I have to co-chair a breakfast briefing on local government, sponsored by BT, with Michael Fabricant and Paul Hammond MP. It's all happening at Bournemouth this year, so I'm hoping I can fly down, weather permitting, rather than spend the rest of my life on the train.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Mission Romantic

"Caroline Baby - Will You Marry Me" - The message on a banner that Bob and I were towing behind the Airads Cessna over the Kent village of Tenterten, earlier this afternoon. A local Fireman has a long romantic streak it seems and found an original and romantic way of popping the question to the woman he loves, as the local inhabitants pointed at the banner being towed around a small housing estate on the edge of the village. Posted by Hello

"Was that you I saw towing a banner over Canterbury earlier", asked my wife, when I arrived home a few minutes ago. "Yes", I replied. "I thought so", she said. "I was too embarrassed to look up. You never did anything like that for me."

"Possibly because I didn?t have an aircraft at the time", I replied.

So there you are. You want to ask your fiancée to marry you or simply impress your girlfriend with something more original than a bunch of Daffodils? Call the man from Airads but remember, we don't do "Happy Anniversary", because Bob has trouble spelling it, he says! Posted by Hello