Thursday, March 24, 2011

Politics Aside

I suspect we've now entered the phony war period before the local elections and I'm already starting to see some quite ridiculous financial statistics being thrown around as facts, as the political hyperbole 'spins-up' in time for May 5th.

I was quite amused this morning, by an SNP politician claiming that England was stealing Scotland's oil, ignoring the inconvenient fact that Scotland is still part of the Union and that 61% of the workforce is employed by the public sector. Remove all the Westminster subsidies and the Scottish economy would sink, with or without the oil fields.

In Thanet of course, we haven't any oil but we do have lots of wind and a great deal of this appears to be blowing around the opening of The Turner Contemporary in a few weeks. One risible allegation I've seen is that local people are subsidising it to the tune of a £1 million a year; once again ignoring the fact that the presence of Turner is a generous regeneration gift to Margate, an opportunity for the town, funded from elsewhere.

In fact, Margate appears to be undergoing a powerful renaissance at the moment and the remarkable spring weather is showing-off all the improvements and new shops around the Old Town to its best, with very positive national and international newspaper coverage besides. Politics aside, I would encourage everyone to 'talk-up' the town's progress because this represents a visible catalyst for change and a better future for everyone living on an island which depends on a strong and attractive tourist economy.

Ten years ago, I visited the Guggenheim in Bilbao and in retrospect, I was struck by how artistic and attractive the once depressed port  had become in the shadow of the museum. With this in mind we can only be optimistic over the prospects for Margate in the months and years ahead.

Lastly for the history enthusiasts among you, today is he anniversary of the Battle of Margate, March 24 1387, of great significance in British history and where a French fleet was soundly defeated in sight of Marine Sands and medieval tourists!


Bill Richards said...

Whilst agreeing with you about talking up the town, Simon, I fear there is an element in Thanet who have built a lifestyle around complaining and would be devasted if they had nothing to complain about.

Like the group currently against the new community centre in Pierremont Park, who replace one shot down lie with another, it is a way of life.

Not so long ago, one of the main agitators on the park issue, was getting all frenzied over the Albion Hotel cutting down a tatty old laurel hedge. What replaced that receptacle for sundry fast food waste, cans, bottles and the odd drunk, was an attractive landscaped garden.

Sadly they just move on to the next whinge.

Anonymous said...

"One risible allegation I've seen is that local people are subsidising it to the tune of a £1 million a year; once again ignoring the fact that the presence of Turner is a generous regeneration gift to Margate, an opportunity for the town, funded from elsewhere."

As was pointed out to you before the funding for the Turner Centre is mainly coming from KCC and the Arts Council BOTH funded by the public purse which includes thoses of us in Thanet

DrM. said...

Fractionally perhaps through your taxes, that's if you pay any? As I mentioned in a previous piece, Thanet is a net beneficiary of welfare and so you might be accused of splitting hairs. The question that concerns us is whether support is directly coming from what TDC receives to spend locally rather than what the Arts Council, TDC, the lottery et al are contributing.

The Gent said...

It could be reasonably argued that most taxpayers are too busy working, in order to earn the money to pay tax on, during working hours to have the time to make facetious comments on blog sites.

I applaud the arrival of the Turner and sincerely hope it will bring a much needed boost to our isle.

Peter Checksfield said...

Here we go, another person who believes that all people with jobs work 9 to 5 & that anyone on the internet either in the day time or very late at night must be unemployed...

I wonder who those people working in pubs, restaurants, theatres, garages & late night supermarkets are then, not to mention rest homes, hospitals, etc.

Bill Richards said...

Peter, perhaps it is just a leg pull playing on the fact that a very high proportion of people in Thanet do not pay tax because they live on benefits.

I think most of us are capable of working out that everybody does not do 9-5, even Dolly Parton. Please don't overtax (no pun intended) your grey matter trying to list all the occupations that operate shifts or anti-social working hours.

Anonymous said...

Define working hours

Anonymous said...

Obviously not everyone has your intellect Bill (nor your patronising & self-righteous way with words).

The Gent said...

9:52 As Bill Richards has already intimated, working hours are those that you do according to your particular job. I was actually trying to lighten things, seeing blogging as a way of relaxation, not intense debate.

When all said and done, our audience on these sites is far too small to change the world. Doubt we will even change Thanet.

Bill Richards said...

11:02 Not everyone has my intellect in the same way has not everyone has yours. If I have a way with words it is because I write a lot, though seldom seem to earn much money from it.

Self righteous, well my good lady wife would have something to say about that for, according to her, I am seldom right, if ever. Possibly why I keep out of harms way on blogs.

As to being patronising, well all I can say is that it is not intended to be so. Apart from those annoying conspiracy theorist and the boring thread breakers who link into obscure websites, I enjoy the contributions of other commentators. A bit of literary sparring is enjoyable even when opinions may be poles apart.

We should never take offence over words but, by all means, seek to counter and respond. That way debate develops and with it our own debating skills.