Sunday, December 30, 2007

2008 - A Whole New Deal

The energetic traffic flowing across this weblog over the last two days also revealed several of the problems of comment threads when a vigorous public debate is in progress.

First of these is of course the subject being ‘hijacked’ by a reader with a separate agenda and while one moment you’re reading about Margate, the next you could be reading about the IRA and how the two are very loosely connected. The second problem is the mischief-makers, who have nothing to contribute to the discussion but like to tag it with their own comment, rather like a graffiti artist and the third, is the comment thread becoming so long and often going-off on such a tangent, that incoming readers struggle to discover what the crux of the argument is really about and how it started. This happens quite frequently.

Once a thread moves past twenty comments or so, you may find it starts taking on a life of its own and evolves into a different species with some attributes of the original conversation in much the same way that a whale and a bear share a common ancestor. At which point I move on.

With the New Year almost upon us, what silly stories can be found in the Sunday papers I wonder?

For starters, it appears that more than £30 million of taxpayers' money has been spent on a government scheme to help aspiring pop stars to make it in the music industry. Sadly though and despite the influence of X-Factor on budding talent, fewer than 4,000 people have gone on to find music jobs through the system, at a cost of more than £7,500 per position.

Apparently part of the Government's larger New Deal project to help get the unemployed back into work through training, the scheme pays would-be pop, rock, dance and jazz musicians a top-up of £15 on the £59 a week they would have got in Jobseeker's Allowance if they had remained on the dole.

If you know of anyone visiting the local job centre next week, then suggest they apply now before it all comes to a sticky end.

Ski resorts in Switzerland are reportedly setting “quotas” for Russian tourists. If you’ve been abroad recently, you may have noticed how the Russian influence is flooding some of the more popular resorts. Dubai can be unbearable and they have reached Cuba too. We British are infamous internationally for our football supporters, arriving like locusts in a city and causing havoc. The Russians however arrive in private jets and Bentleys, have bodyguards, lots of girls and quickly turn a family resort into something else. It’s all too much for the Swiss but wait until China allows its new middle-class out en masse; there will be no room at the inn, anywhere at any major holiday destination on the planet.

Finally and if you didn’t know it already, the financial outlook for 2008 is bleak and further reinforced by Gordon’s new year’s message:

In a strong warning, which sets the backdrop for a campaign to revive his premiership, Brown tells Britain to prepare for 'global financial turbulence' in 2008. 'Our strong economy is the foundation,' Brown writes. 'With unbending determination in 2008, we will steer a course of stability through global financial turbulence. The global credit problem that started in America is now the most immediate challenge for every economy.”

The Prime Minister goes on a bit but if we are tightening our belts here in Thanet, you can bet that the 2008 budget will hold some unpleasant tax surprises nationally. It normally does anyway. Wait to see however whether MPs vote themselves an inflation busting 10% pay rise which would be highly embarrassing for the government at such a difficult time in the public sector pay round.


Anonymous said...

To misquote,"What a tamgled web-site, we can weave........"

Brown is in a fix!
Nu Labour spun the lie about 'no return to boom and bust' as if Tories were reponsible for the economic swings and not the cycle of around 10 years in the World Economy. Now that the British Economy is not in a healthy state due to his personal mis-management in the past 10 years, all of a sudden the impending doom and gloom is the fault of THE WORLD ECONOMY.

A clever way to deflect attention from the real causes; excessive Govt spending; over-regulation; punitive taxation; hugely increased National Debt and that thing that was so popular with Labour in the 60s 'The Balance of Payments Deficit'.
So 'boom and bust' was the fault of the Tories but when he's been in charge for 10 years 'its the world economy'? Sadly, the electorate might just believe him.

Tony Beachcomber said...

Annon 11:16, when the Coservatives were in power interest rates were set with a strong political influence and nobody cannot deny that.
When Gordon Brown took control of the economy interest rates were set without political influence. He bit the bullet, took control and made good some of the repair jobs the conservative made of the economy. Yes I agree he was dealt a good hand but he has played the game well and since then he has held the economic highground.

Due to the excesses of American Capitalism there are uncertain times ahead and it has been rammed down our throats by the media. At present Gordon Brown is the best placed person to deal with the situation.

Michael Child said...

Sorry about my tendency to bring Ramsgate matters onto your blog Simon but we don’t seem to get our fair share of either political representation or media coverage, in fact the town seems to be recovering despite both of the main political parties attempts to make things difficult for us to do so.

I am finding that the post computer generation are getting interested in the threads on the local blogs and keep having to print great chunks out for them, I wonder how you would feel about me printing out a regular news sheet covering the best of the blogs.

Looking at the figures and assuming that musicians are poorly paid on the whole, say the 4,000 musicians only went on to pay £1,000 per year in income tax that’s still £4,000,000 million per year and the n there is the £3,000 per year that the musicians are no longer getting isn’t that £12,000,000 million per year making a total saving of £16,000,000 per year. I suppose this means that after 2 years the exchequer would be £2,000,000 pounds better off.

Not to sure about the economic downturn, the bookshop sales for the first two days after Christmas were almost the same as the previous two years and I think we are getting less Russian customers than two years ago.

Anonymous said...

Darn Russians and Chinese!

Why can't they go back to eating gruel and having no ambition or movement at all?

Who said they could have a good time?!

Ghengis of Thanet said...

Will you tell them or shall I?

Anonymous said...

I like Gorden Brown because he is half Scottish, but David Cameron is much better looking and has a much more important background and a son who is different. But I look up to him for having such a brainy dad.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see Dr Moores as our MP because he would do a better Job
than Steve Ladyman and is smarter than Mr Gale and would make good PM.

DrMoores said...

Now that's what I call 'mischief-making' !!!

Anonymous said...

Well, Roger isn't as young as he used to be. There will be reporters from IOTG banging on your door next!

Anonymous said...

I like Roger Gale very much,but I think Robert Latchford will be chosen to replace him rather than Dr Moores, who is too young for the job in the eyes of many westgate residents.

Anonymous said...


It's a bit like trying to choose who you're favourite serial killer is...

Michael Child said...

Suppose that’s someone who kills teh cornflakes or alpen

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the local Labour Councillor call RobertOBE,'Colonel Angry' If Colonel Angry was an MP it would be funny to watch him loose it on BBC Question Time.

I still think Dr Moores is the best person to replace Mr Gale.

To be fair to Mr Gale he does do a lot for Afria. I guess Colonel Angry would choose China.

What country would North Thanet MP,Dr Moores help I wonder, Pakistan?

Anonymous said...

Oh B*****Y hell, I was thinking of replacing Roger, and here I am being discounted, I must point out what an asset it would be to have a previous labour Councillor as an MP. If the current lot are anything to go by I would be a real minister in 2 weeks,

Ken Gregory

Anonymous said...

How dare you have an opinion of your own!


DrMoores said...

You have to be under 50 to be selected these days. Beards are definitely out unless you are Labour, so that's you scuppered Ken!

Pakistan looks to be beyond any help at present. Prayer would probably be just as useful as the $15 billion being spent propping-up the country's army.

Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious! I thought we were all trying to be good as instructed by our Ed and stick to the 'theme' of the posting.

In that case, may as well talk about the IRA connections to Pakistan; the Turner Contemporary; Charlie and the Birchington Freedom Fighters; the decline in Margate; the demise of St Angela's; how they are all involved in causing traffic congestion at Westwood Cross and almost forgot, and why KCC cannot spend less money on a TV station and bale out the Ursuline in Westgate and what about Oasis Hong Kong sussing out Thanet in advance of the Chinese Investment Invasion by circling our beautiful Isle from the air to gain as much intelligence as possible.? Is ECR a Russian millionaire and will Ramsgate become Putingate.?

It must be getting to the end of 2007.

Michael Child said...

Well according to Simon another 3 and he promises to put up something moore interesting

Michael Child said...


Anonymous said...

Thanet South’s successor is already here.

Laura Sandys *

*(Unless nuLabour comes up with a miracle one step beyond walking on water. I’m not about to lose any sleep pondering that happening)

Thanet North’s eventual successor, not any time soon, will have to step into Roger Gale’s very well exercised shoes –Roger and hard work seem to be hard-wired together. Long may it remain the same.

Go for it, Roger.

As an an ordinary Thanet resident, (and, I freely and proudly admit, a card-carrying Tory) it sounds like to a good way to go forward to me……

Come on Gordon – let’s find out where you lost that bottle, and bring it on

Regards to all

Cllr Ewen Cameron

DrMoores said...

I think I'll give up and declare "Open Season" on this thread, so put up any ideas for discussion and we'll see how they go.

But please.. no more on how the Independant IRA Party plans to take over St Angela's or was that the Ursuline sports hall? - I forget!

Anonymous said...

See Ken, she hasn't got a beard either!

Anonymous said...

Oh,yes she has.

Anonymous said...

As it's that time of year:


Anonymous said...

This is POST NO: 25 and yet the Comments number sits stubbornly at 16. I smell a rat here, Ed!

As people have tired of hearing about The Ursuline Sports Hall ( Ooops, sorry- thats a forbidden topic!), do you have any comment on the latest rumour about Ramsgate not being the Wind Farm 'Base' due to its sand-bank problem? If some-one on another thread had it right, Thanetlife achieved a scoop on the problem way back in 2005 with a very nice piccie of the harbour and its sand in glorious technicolour.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Brown can hang on until May 2010. He may hope for an economic turnaround in 2009. 2008 will not be a good year.

But Happy New Year to you all........

Michael Child said...

Happy new year to you to Jeremy

DrMoores said...

Try pressing the F5 "Refresh" key. That should do the trick if your screen hasn't updated the comment count!

John Worrow said...

Hello everyone

I've been asked to read this bog by members of a group that I'm a member of.

My money is on Laura Sandys, who I think will make a very good MP from what my Tory contacts have told me.

Anonymous said...

Hear hear!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Doc, looks alright now. Time to put a new thread?

DrMoores said...

The same John Worrow who wrote:

"Why does Thanet's political elite appear to have a 'Let them eat cake attitude' towards the Council Tax burden that affects many of the Isle's hard-working families struggling to cope?"

As a member of the so-called 'political elite' who is only too aware of the problems we face, here's your chance for a policy soapbox as you aren't likely to find one similar reach elsewhere!

Given the derisory and below-inflation settlement for 2008 from central government and with only 40% of Thanet's income available from council tax, where would you find the money to maintain essential services while keeping council tax levels unchanged?

Anonymous said...

I see in the sunday papers that David Cameron is understood to agree to the payrise for MP's maybe our MP's should get a bigger payrise and no allowances eg travel paper office allowances other lodging allowances these all mount up at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the majority in The House of Commons are Labour MPs who have forgotten their good socialist past and are unashamedly snuffling in the tax-payers trough. For example:

Ed Balls MP - expenses £148,137
Yvette CooperMP - expenses £150,658

Combined expenses almost £300,000.

Oh, forgot to mention, they are a HUSBAND & WIFE TEAM and their 'weekend home' is their main residence for claim purposes with their London house attracting allowances as a second home.

Nice deal if you can get it.

James Maskell said...

"Come on Gordon – let’s find out where you lost that bottle, and bring it on"

Says Cllr Cameron. While I dont particularly like what Brown has done to the country as Chancellor and what hes been involved in, the truth is that he made the right decision ultimately. IMO, the Conservatives would not have acheived a victory in the General Election, nor a hung Parliament. Brown would have got a solid majority and Cameron would be left with a bloody nose in the North. The Tories were terrified of a General Election when it was being hyped. Cameron came up with an interim manifesto and put 10 million pounds aside for election fighting. He was crapping himself about it before Brown made the right decision. Brown was right not to call the election because the fact that the last one was in 2005 would have led to a lower turnout. It would also have looked like a desperate grab for a mandate.

All this "bring it on" talk is just bluster. The political winds can change very quickly indeed as weve seen. It wasnt too long ago that Cameron was under it with the Grammar Schools row and Brown was looking good.

Anonymous said...

No reply from John Worrow then. Obviously its easier to slag off and winge than it is to come up with solutions that don't involve finding oil in the Wantsum Channel!

Anonymous said...

Hang-about! Is the the young (Tory) Maskell writing here or has he had a Pauline conversion? Of course, we blue rinsers would have done for the canny Scotsman! Tut tut, must toe the line, dear chap!. Take your example from the good Doc and bend with wind; after excesses at Christmas there's plenty of hot air around.

Michael Child said...

Ah soapbox and Thanet’s political elite, before I start I would remind you that here in Ramsgate we voted to pay more council tax for another level of local government, you may wonder why so I shall try to give you some idea.

This is an impression formed by being a shop assistant in the town centre and talking to Ramsgate people all day most days for the last 20 years, through both Labour and Conservative administrations.

When I came back to Ramsgate 20 years ago I had worked in bookshops in a number of other towns, in fact the one in Ramsgate is the fourth that I have started from scratch. Those of you familiar with having a bookshop in a town will know that they are generally places where people discuss things including local issues, so working in one you tend to get some idea of what’s on peoples minds.

Now there is a feeling in the town that we are not consulted about major issues that relate to the town nor are we informed about them, this was not always the case, but it is now.

The first big project to happen in Ramsgate after I came back was the pedestrianisation of the town centre and to begin with this was done in a proper and right minded way. Local government took a shop in the town centre and displayed the plans, artists impressions, materials to be used etc. local people could go into the shop with their ideas and to get information about the project.

Everything went fine and as the project came near to completion the shop closed as the consultation process was complete, it was at this point that things really started to go wrong for us. Now the carefully planned and consulted pedestrianisation was to have gone as far up King Street as Plains of Waterloo, it only ever got half way no consultation no information displayed in the town it just stopped.

Other big projects followed without any consultation, without the plans being publicly displayed in the town, with no artists impressions in fact the first one normally knows about them is when the bulldozers turn up or when the plans have been passed.

Like pedestrianisation of the sea front or the demolition Nero’s, which was an important Victorian theatre that played a significant part in the history of cinema, in both cases the only way local people could have had some say in the matter was by lying in front of the bulldozers.

So now we come to the present time the largest project in Ramsgate is Pleasurama so periodically I speak to the people involved so I will use one example from its peculiar saga to demonstrate how local government both empowers, consults us and informs us about local projects.

Back in March I spoke to the new architect who had replaced the chap who produced the various sets of plans that had lots of errors in them, he said that he had submitted new plans to TDC that were hopefully without significant error, and that he made major changes to the layout of both the car park and the access corridors and stairs in the building.

So I asked the TDC planning officer for a set of these new plans, as it was me not he that had noticed most of the problems with the previous sets it seemed a reasonable thing to do. Many promises but no plans were forthcoming.

So I asked the architect to send me a set, he said that he had been told not to discuss the project with me.

So I wrote to one senior cabinet member, yes of course you can have the plans he said about 20 emails and two months later still no plans, eventually he stopped relying to me.

So I wrote to another senior cabinet member, yes of course I will get a set sent to you immediately, the months passed, at one point I was sent a copy of one of the old sets of plans that I had already got, perhaps you guessed, now I get no replies.

Now frankly what I want from a political elite, and I don’t mind which party they are, is to feel that I am informed about the major things that are going to happen in the town where I live and for them to listen to any comments I have about these things and to reply to me.

Ewen Cameron said...

"All this "bring it on" talk is just bluster"

(from James Maskell's post above)

Is it, James? We were ready and willing. And confident.

After COTETW-Day (Cancellation of the Election That Wasn't), Roger Gale MP offered to stand down and re-contest his seat, provided Steve Ladyman MP did the same.

So who hid the bottle this time?

It's not that we're aggressive - just keen to see this wretched government sent where it deserves (recycling not allowed, please).


Ewen Cameron

Michael Child said...

Ewen doorstep first ? just a thought of yours we are goin bungee drinkin as its hogmoney we would love to know wot you think I arsked a few chaps about this

James Maskell said...

I havent converted to Labour. On this issue though I think Brown made the right call.

Im sure you know that confidence can easily transpose into arrogance, especially in the world of politics, Ewen... The Tory Party Conference was a desperate show of force to put Brown off the election calls (Cameron wouldnt have done a speech from memory unless that was the case). You seem to disagree about how the Party felt, but its interesting to note that prior to the decision being made by Brown, the ConservativeHome polls of the grassroots were showing a pretty pessimistic Party and Cameron was having a rough ride on policy issues. After the decision, the numbers got better and the grumbles went away. In light of the just passed grammar schools row, Cameron would have been fighting his party to get policy through since his uber-modernisation of the Party would have gone into overdrive. That would demoralise the grassroots, annoyed enough at having candidates thrust upon them by central diktat. An early election would have been a nightmare.

As for the offer to re-contest the seat (as a unified Thanet seat), thats just another bit of bluster to bring up the election fuss and keep it in the public gaze. Im pretty sure the Boundaries Commission would have said no as the proposed Thanet seat would be far too large.

Ewen Cameron said...

Nice one, Michael.

Isn't that the late, great, Jacques Cousteau's doorstep? (or roughyl anywhere in the Thames Valley?)

James - we'll have to agree to differ on the points you raise. Suffice it to note that nuLabour promptly had to duplicate several planks of Tory policy.