Sunday, January 23, 2011

Passing Trade

I see that Tony Flaig, formerly of 'Big News Margate' now has an exciting new weblog, Outside the Turner Contemporary. Nothing I'm sure to do with the capture of passing trade, with the gallery due to open in three months.

I can see it now, national and international television and radio flocking into Margate for the opening and looking for local colour, ready wit and cynical comment, just happen to stumble across a weblog with a conveniently similar name to the gallery. A cunning plan worthy of the mysteriously vanished 'Eastcliff Richard', who is now rumoured to be holding up a fine new concrete bridge on the new road being built south of the airport, on account of having upset one of our well-connected local businessmen! Either that or he's enjoying a Martini on his yacht in the Caribbean!

I'm somehow reminded of Marvin, the paranoid robot from Douglas Adam's 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', in the role of unofficial Margate tour guide.

On Thursday, council voted through the re-structuring plans for TDC management, in order to make considerable savings to the embattled public purse.  Labour's 'cabinet of all the talents', were reminded that the last time they reorganized in a similar manner when they held power, it added £500,000 to the wages bill but times are tougher and we have to find savings of £1.8 million simply to stand still. Rather than voting for the reorganization, Labour abstained, en masse, partly I think because they didn't really understand the detail in the balance sheet and no single member of their front bench team was capable of interpreting the contents of the report. For once, readers may note, no pre-prepared press release or should I say speech appeared, which reinforces my view that they are quite incapable of sensibly debating anything detailed on council policy and strategy, 'off-script.'

Back at Westminster, with the loss of Alan Johnson, Labour has lurched so visibly to the 'Left' with Ed Balls now Shadow Chancellor, that the news this morning reports that donors are leaving the party. Andrew Marr was interviewing the new Shadow Foreign Secretary and former Gordon Brown's right-hand man, Douglas Alexander on the BBC and remarked that the shadow opposition now looks very much like the previous Government's front bench with the exception of Gordon Brown. Ahh well said young Dougie, we are a different party now. I bet they are, just ask the Trade Unions.

Finally, I see there's a vigorous web-based campaign building up against the proposal to repaint the Margate light house on the Harbour Arm from its present fantastical shade of grey concrete. I had some vague notion that its often helpful to have lighthouses visible by day as an easy reference for passing ships. After all, hundreds of years ago, passing ships used to dip their sails in honour of the statue of 'Our Lady of Bradstowe' when they passed the North Foreland but I would have thought that once again, with the Turner Contemporary opening only weeks away, a touch of colour might brighten-up the view I see when walking my dog towards Margate in the mornings.


Peter Checksfield said...

Simon, ignoring for the moment how good or bad it will look, do you really think spending money painting this is good value in our troubled times? Of course (just like the "white cliffs" in Ramsgate) it will need constant repainting, otherwise a peeling & faded painted lighthouse will look far shabbier than plain grey concrete...

DrM. said...

My own view is that with the biggest arts event of the year putting Margate squarely on the map of Europe, its worth the relatively small amount of Money in contrast to what such a small sum might achieve elsewhere.

I took a long hard look walking the dog this morning and would consider a little colour to be an improvement on the concrete

Readit said...

If there is some spare red and white paint going we could always use it in Ramsgate, nothing here has been painted for years.

Michael Child said...

Simon they did get this one out as far as I can see the main question that it is asking is, will the golden handshakes wipe out any benefits from the savings in officer wages.

For me another question is, does this mean that there are now only two very senior management posts at TDC and does this mean that the other members of the senior management team are going or moving down the scale.

The TG numbers at$ are mostly illegible, either deliberately or due to TDCIT but it looks like some drops from TG 12 or 13 to TG 11 or 10 when viewed in conjunction with the doc version at$Annex2structurecharts.doc.htm where much of the rest of the document is in some sort of gibberish.

DrM. said...

I suspect thats why Ramsgate has a Town Council so best take it up with them I suppose!

Of course, hasn't got a Turner opening but considerable investment and effort has been directed at the town of late

DrM. said...


I guess the answer is "No" otherwise it wouldn't make any sense doing it!

Let me repeat. We have to find £1.8 million and still maintain all the core services the public expect as efficiently as possible.

Shared services which start in a month are one route and re-structuring is another as every possible effort is made to streamline the organisation to give the the very best value for money. In fact we've been actively doing this for some time now, starti g with the squeeze from the last government as the awful realisation hit them two years ago!

DrM. said...

I just read the Labour press release and 'codswallop' is the phrase that springs to mind.

Sadly, figures are not their strong point as you might expect.

Anonymous said...

I think your last comment is a bit uncalled for, Mrs Hart has a lovely figure!

Anonymous said...

Except her hair dresser needs shooting!

DrM. said...

No more personal comments about Mrs Hart please, however witty the intention. This type of thing attracts the trolls and then before you know it tasteless comments start appearing!

Tony Beachcomber said...

Simon, Correct me if I am wrong but the proposal to paint the Lighthouse as seen in the Gazette is Trinity House colours used for navigation. I know things have moved on regarding lighthouses but they are still Trinity House colours.

DrM. said...

In a nutshell I don't know but the solution has to lie between grey concrete on the one hand and ECR's more lurid suggestion on the other!

Tony Beachcomber said...

Email to Trinity House.

Dear Trinity House

Our local council in Margate (Thanet District Council) is proposing to paint the lighthouse on the end on the stone pier. The proposal is to paint the lighthouse with horizontal red and wipe stripes. On your website I have noticed these are the colours Trinity House use , is this permitted and could it confuse mariners if somebody other than Triniy House uses this colour scheme on the Coast.

Tony Ovenden

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony. Who cares?

Andrew said...

Margate Pier light (A1972 in Admiralty List of Lights and Radio Signals Volume A) has always been officially described as a concrete tower. No mention of red or white stripes. It is not operated by Trinity House, who do not have a monopoly on red and white stripes.
If the council decide to repaint the tower they would be required to advise the UK Hydrographic Office so that the official description of the light was changed.

The saddest part of this is that we live on a part of the country surrounded on three sides by the sea. We have the only Royal Harbour in the country. And no-one in our local authority seems to have known the above facts.

Who cares Anonymous - seafarers care,funnily enough.