Friday, January 25, 2008

Grupo Labour Logic

Flicking through the remainder of today’s Thanet Gazette, I rather wonder if Thanet South MP and former Transport Minister, Dr Ladyman, considers the odds of keeping his Parliamentary seat are now so low, that he is now trying to make his case for being elected to Thanet council, maybe as a future leader of the Labour group?

Apparently new job creation in Thanet is a legacy of the previous Labour council and the fault for the closure of Grupo Antolin this month, lies at the feet of the present Conservative council. As a result, we may all thank a former Labour council and a present Labour government for the fall in local unemployment since 1997.

It appears and I quote Dr Ladyman: “The closure of Grupo Antolin is at least partly related to changing production patterns in the car industry but what is clear is that they were allowed to leave without any sort of fight by Thanet council.”

Dr Ladyman added: “The council no longer prioritises job creation and looking for inward investment and has no standing economic development team anymore. We can’t blame anyone but Thanet council for that.”

Now Jeremy Clarkson may have a more ‘down-to-earth’ grasp of the problems facing the car industry and Conservative Group leader Sandy Ezekiel and the Chief Executive of Thanet Council, quite obviously went to China before Christmas, not to attract new business to Thanet in the shape of the China Gateway project but to indulge their taste for Chinese food?

While ignoring the Northern Rock fiasco for a moment, the causes of Antolin’s closure are a matter for the management of the company. And we all know that car-parts production is orders of magnitude cheaper in Eastern Europe these days, in the same way that Marks & Spencer and Barclays Bank rely on cheap Indian Labour for clothes and call-centres. As a Member of Parliament and a former councillor, Dr Ladyman knows very well that the council, funded in part by your taxes, has no powers to intervene in the fortunes of a privately owned business. Councils provide ‘Services’ to business and the local population and all that Dr Ladyman has done is to tell the world that Thanet is not an attractive environment for business.

From where I sit, I can see that the Council has worked hard to build a business-friendly reputation and there’s more than enough evidence from a series of recent initiatives to prove this to any observer.

For heaven’s sake, is he really suggesting that TDC should have somehow bailed-out Grupo Antolin in a parallel with Northern Rock? If that’s the case, you would have had something really important to complain about and no money left over for bins and housing besides!

I wonder if he's learning Chinese?


Michael Child said...

Simon I think we all know the odds are rather uncertain this time, and I think it will be sooner than later, UKIP present a problem this time round.

We know have the EC, the monarchy, the house of lords, the house of commons, county councils, district councils, town and parish councils, with all their associate bureaucracies I think if they wait there will be more parties coming forward on the platform of dispensing with more expensive levels of gov.

You could do one of those sidebar things where we vote for which levels we could do without.

Anonymous said...


so steve ladyman was instrumental in getting 'Gruppo Antolin' here. Well done steve, now they are going, lets get someone else.

No political point scoring, just jobs for the people of thanet,

Tony Beachcomber said...

Many years ago Pilkingtons glass was veiwing Thanet as a possible manufacturing location. St Helens council got wind of this and lobbied Pilkingtons hard fearing job loses, as a result Pilkingtons stayed put.

Since May 2003, has there ever been a case when conservative controlled TDC has lobbied to try and save Thanet jobs. I cannot think of any.

When Steelcase closed the Labour and Trade union movement tried and unfortunately failed, but at least they gave it a go. As for TDC not a word.

DrMoores said...

So Tony, tell me because I'm curious. How do you lobby a company that by moving can take advantage of paying it's workforce - £1.60 an hour or so for skilled Labour and huge government grant incentives to re-locate to countries like Slovakia or a corporation tax holday in Ireland?

Michael Child said...

Am I voice crying in the wilderness

Tony Beachcomber said...

Yes it is a bit of a poser but it does depend on which industry but then there is no harm in at least trying.

For the record Steelcase relocated to France, Strasbourg of all places.

Anonymous said...

Why are Antolin off to Leamington Spa? Is it another of their sites? Leamington Spa isn't down town Delhi or Shanghai? have Leamington Spa got something that thanet hasn't? On the subject of regeneration, omission or commission of untruths when Sandy states in Gazette that now 85% of Old Town shops have now got businesses in them compared to 3 years ago when it was 25%. Sounds good until you realise that he fails to mention the 30% of businesses closed up and down Margate High St and Arlington in the past 3 years. its good to know that the 'Old Town' is looking up whilst the rest of the town is dying. cheers me up no end.

Anonymous said...

Mr Child

At the moment if you look on the UKIP forum web site you will see that even they have discontent within the rank and file. Nigel Farage appears to be the only person who is allowed to speak to the press and carry out interviews. True they have had a Conservative MP join the party but look how many are joining the new Libertarian party set up this month. The latest person to join who has resigned from UKIP could be Petrina Holdsworth (mind you she has resigned twice before and was the chair person). Perhaps she could be joining the purring pussey cat (George Gallaway) -formally of the respect party - to set up anew party.

UKIP was a very good party when it was the Referendum Party under James Goldsmith. From memory (20 years ago when I was the local agent) we even gave Roger Gale a run for his money, reducing his majority quite considerably. Could they do it now? It depends on Mr Gale and how far he chooses to go. Yes I think with the situation as it is they very well could be a worry for him.

Oh by the way, I remember when I was working at Sandwich Bay.We had the Top management from Fords stay in the Hotel. They were considering setting up at Sandwich
at the time. They decided to let Pfizer buy the land they were interested in as the dredging costs of the stour put them off.


DrMoores said...

It's almost Eastern Europe, Leamington Spa that is but this is obviously a consolidation/cost cutting move which may be a consequence of competition from Eastern Europe or broader market forces. Either way it's our loss!

"A statement issued by the company said: “Following a review of UK production operations, Grupo Antolin Kent Ltd has confirmed that in order to meet industry expectations and retain operational efficiency, it proposes to consolidate UK production of headliners on one site."

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Rank leisure or Mr Thorley would be interested in buying the Grupo Antolin site and open it up as a night club. This would take all the problems out of the towns late at night. There would be plenty of free parking + the police would only have one place to catch the drink drivers and trouble makers after the pubs shut.The Ambulance station is at hand to take the inebriates to the hospital. All we need to do is shift the Police station to the building next to the Fire Station.
Come on isn't this a good idea ?


steve said...

Mr Moores

Tory controlled TDC don't lobby on employees behalf? I can think of two air traffic controllers, a baggage handler cum passport controller cum customs cum parking attendant, and the bloke who takes the chocs away who work at Manston International. They live the most charmed existance. However unfashionable air travel and airports are these days, TDC will cling onto their piece of aviation real estate and all its pointless jobs while real industry and potential for real jobs goes by the wayside.

Go figure.....

DrMoores said...

I'm sure there's an argument hidden in there somewhere but it escapes me. Could you expand your point please?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Moores said
" the council, funded in part by your taxes, has no powers to intervene in the fortunes of a privately owned business."

So does that exclude the privatly owned Clifftonville Bowls Club gifted £ 120,000 by TDC to bail them out of financial trouble !! or The Theatre Royal, a private Trust,

steve said...

Mr Moores. Apologies - I was aiming at Tony Beachcomber but I hit a little higher

My point is around TDC not lobbying or supporting anything other than a ruddy great airport on our doorstep.

Anonymous said...

Grupo Antolin was seen as a huge source of development by TDC in terms of bringing high levels of Business to the area and the amount of potential jobs that were avaialable for the Business Park Area. TDC failed to support the finances and therefore spelled the eventual demise of the company.

In 2006 when the initial job cuts were made, most of the manufacturers pulled out contracts and eventually were wittled down, with companies such as Honda and Toyota relocating to France where manufacturing costs are lower. Relocating the current Landrover business to Leamington is more of a longterm profitable decision from Spanish execs (altho lack of TDC support obviously sent out negative vibes)because the area is closer to the final assembly point.