Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Coincidentally Thanet

Coincidences, like buses, often come along in threes and this week was no different.

The first involved a business dinner on Monday night in London, where the chap sitting opposite announced that he and his wife had visited the Turner Contemporary in Margate over the weekend.

My ears immediately pricked-up and apparently they had stayed in Broadstairs and very much enjoyed the great weather and their vist to 'Turner and the Elements' but were disappointed to find the Margate Shell Grotto closed.

Three things were important here. The first that their visit to Thanet had been positive overall and he had good things to say about Margate's regeneration. The second, was they intended to return for the next exhibit at the gallery and the third, was that people with a class of interests and income, who one would not normally visit Thanet, are coming, spending their money on the island and saying good things about the experience. I recommended they look into the Walpole Bay Hotel or the Reading Rooms, when they next return.

The other coincidences lend themselves to the opposite end of the spectrum and that's aspiration and opportunity among the young.

Last night I shared a beer in my hotel, with a former army officer, recently out of the SAS and now starting his own consultancy business. At a time when UK forces have been involved in the most intense actions since the Korean war, his personal story was remarkable enough but for the fact that he was from Thanet. The second person, a senior police officer in the Serious & Organised Crime Agency, was also a 'local lad' and follows this blog, I'm pleased to say.

What this tells me, together with another example, I wrote about once before, a nuclear submarine commander from Broadstairs, is that the constant drip of negativity frequently reflected in the pages of our local papers, isn't necessarily a true reflection of what exceptional young people from the Isle can and do achieve with the right encouragement, determination and luck to prove the cynics wrong.


col said...

Thanks for a good upbeat posting.
Positive stuff is remembered when election time comes around.
So is negative stuff [especially inter-councillor sniping] and not for the outcomes that you might want.
Keep on with your grown up thinking. Well done. Just stay outta the playground, perleese!

Anonymous said...

The Gazette loves and feeds on anything that puts Thanet and its people down.
As the editor seems to think its such a terrible place filled with awful people why doesn't she just leave. Let a Thanet person who genuinely loves the place and not just the pay packet do the job. won't be missed.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever wondered why newspapers try to accentuate the negative (when they are not slavishly recycling council press releases)? Because that's what people want to read.

Plane lands safely - not a story.
Plane crashes - is a story.

It's not a Thanet thing but a reflection of human nature all over the world.

Anonymous said...

Let's deal in facts.

I've taken 10 copies of the Gazette over Dec/Jan and the front page stories are as follows:

(+positive, -negative, =neutral)
2: Hit-and-run crash (- cyclist killed and police appeal for info to find driver)
9: Dreamland plans (exclusive images of designs of housing estate on park on TDC's number one regeneration project) (=)
16: Portas report findings: Council's response to visit and recommendations - big issue for local business/jobs (+)
23: Charity appeal - mother starts appeal in honour of daughter with congential heart disorder (+)
30: Bstairs New Yr fireworks cancelled - new Cabinet chain email to avoid blame for cancellation
Jan 6: Thorley pub deal - Dickens and other pubs in multi-million pounds deal that will create/safeguard jobs (+)
13: Dreamland inquiry/Felicity Aston (=)
20: O'Leary appeal for dead son's watch: high profile murder case as father fights for justice (=)
Feb 3: Sainsbury superstore in Westgate(=)
10: Scrap metal thefts - several arrests in Thanet crackdown - national news story (=)

Other than the fireworks story which acknowledged both sides' views on event organisers vs TDC duties, all leads have a genuine public interest and are not constantly negative.

Crime stories are an example of negative stories but are valuable in appeals for info and increasing community awareness. It would be unthinkable for a major crime to take place and there be no record of an arrest/charge/conviction.

The free press is the eyes and ears of the public and if it sees/hears things that do not reflect well on certain people then so be it.

A fundamental part is holding people in public office to account and it endeavours to seek their explanation on issues/problems and offers a regular right to reply (evidenced by the weekly columns and letters published).

Incidentally, many stories would never see the light of day without the Gazette. The KM, KOS, BBC and ITV just don't have the reporters here to do it.

If politicians cannot handle the odd piece of flack, I suggest a thicker skin or perhaps name and shame the officers for their mistakes or omissions instead of defending the indefensible.

As for Rebecca Smith, she devotes countless hours of unpaid work as vice-chair of Margate Town partnership out of her own time and plays a strong role in supporting local traders - some would say better than many councillors and overpaid, underqualified TDC officers.

Anonymous said...

Damn.... You must have some serious time on your hands or you've been caught out and need to justify yourself.
After all, what are the odds that an "ordinary member of the public" posting anonymously would just so happen to have on their desk so many back issues of the Gazette?....................How fortunate.

And as Rebecca is so sainted, devoted and good for Thanet, why doesn't she stand for office and we can watch her magically solve all of Thanet's problems and part the Wantsum for an encore!

Interpreting the "facts" it looks to me like Rebecca Smith is a bully, not just to politicians but to anyone else she doesn't happen to like. Unfortunately, for her victims she has a newspaper at her disposal and willing staff to carry out the work she hasn't got the guts to do herself.

So stop defending the indefensible, it just makes you look even worse!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you touched a nerve there 2;44 and like all bullies she slinks away when shown up for what she is.
What a surprise.