Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welfare Wishes

Out canvassing this morning and was that the TIG election team I spotted relaxing in Station Road?

"Morning John," I said in passing.

Labour have bussed in their activists from far and wide today and together with the candidate's pledge to 'Free Nelson Mandela', I was struck by another of many remarkable political claims,  printed on the bright red and yellow leaflet; one in particular, that the candidate, 'Jodie, knows our local issues here in Westgate inside-out.'

I suppose it's now too late for her to introduce herself locally, perhaps to the Westgate Residents Association and discover what those 'local issues' actually are, as I can't find one, even remotely familiar to me, on her glossy election materials. So she knows, should anyone ask her about it, the Minnis Bay Day Centre is actually in Birchington; so in fact is Minnis Bay and I will look forward to seeing her for the very first time in Westgate on election day.

I noticed a statement on the local Labour website earlier, that caught my attention: "Your Labour Councillors will do everything they can to defend the Welfare State," alongside what looks like a badly photo-shopped photo of the Prime Minster and Chancellor; apparently laughing at voters, we're told.

Fair enough but what does it actually mean beyond a grand soundbite?

Is anybody actually attacking the Welfare State or in the face of economic pressures not seen since World War II, are we facing a dramatic reassessment of what the State can actually afford to spend on welfare to avoid us going the way of Greece, Spain and Ireland? All following thirty years of such remarkable generosity that even a former Taliban fighter from Afghanistan, will reportedly travel several thousand uncomfortable miles in the back of a truck to claim asylum and enjoy our legendary welfare extravagance.

After, all, some 30% of our National Insurance numbers in circulation are reportedly fake and benefit fraud under the last Government was in the billions, endemic and a drain on the economy. In 2011 alone, the amount overpaid to claimants due to false claims and official mistakes had soared to £3.3billion up from £3.1billion in 2010, according to the National Audit Office.

Here in Thanet, as we all know, we swim in a sea of welfare grants and subsidies. If we had to survive on simply what is raised from the community charge or even income tax then everything would grind to a halt very quickly like Athens. So quite how the minority Labour administration, with its unblemished record of exaggeration, embellishment and failure, can in six short months, make promises about the Welfare State, I don't quite know, other than exercising the kind of financial prudence and restraint that you would normally associate with Conservatives. It's a mystery!

Molly's Bar are holding a charity day for the Viking day unit at QEQM this morning. If you have a moment, please support it with a small donation. I also see St Saviours are running their annual church fete today, so lots to do in Westgate.

I'm off to the aviation section of B&Q at Westwood Cross, to get some bits and pieces for Tuesday's job at Southampton, where I have six hours flying over the P&O Cruises 175th anniversary grand event in the Solent, weather permitting of course.

Finally, I spotted Margate football club's Keith Piper, shopping in Westgate this morning. The last I heard of the club's development plans, is that the Travelodge hotel development has been replaced by a proposal for an ice rink. Perhaps we'll have another 'decisive decision' from Clive Hart on this idea as well?


Don said...

Simon why is it that Margate football club seem to never get anything passed by the council? do TDC have a dislike for football?
Westgate is the unsung jewel of thanet I have enjoyed it for years please dont attract too many visitors or it will harder to park outside PAVS

simon moores said...

In fact, TDC are very supportive of the MFC but given my experience of drawn-out negotatitions before Labour took over I would recommend that supporters to ask hard questions of the club's management.

Anonymous said...

I quite often see Mr Piper shopping in Westgate. I do believe he uses the butchers there. Nice to see someone supporting Westgates economy so why take a rather cheap pot at him. What harm has done you Mr Mores?

simon moores said...

I don't follow you. This sounds like a progress update on MFC to me?

Anonymous said...

I don't want the welfare state defended - I want all those of us that work hard to be defended for a change. I've seen the Labour pledges for the coming election - how have we all lasted without Jodie so far? If she's so good, how come no one has heard a peep from her since the election last year and how come Labour didn't put her up for a safe seat last year? It's all just spin in a very dirty fight.

Anonymous said...

Just going off subject a bit - Labour really are cocking up things. I see from the Gazette that they are considering selling the freehold of the Pleasurama site - are they mad????? If you let that go - that's that, another council sale that benefits the developer and not the Thanet ratepayer. Just like the Labour government did, they're selling all the family silver without checking what the value is and what needs to be kept.
I agree with 4.53 I don't want the welfare state defended - who's defending the workers......oh,let me remember it was meant to be Labour.

Birch Tree said...

I agree with all you say 4.53. I don't live in Westgate - so good luck to the residents!! The only candidate I have heard of before is James Maskell and I am glad to see he at least had the respect to acknowledge the late Brian Goodwin - the other candidates should take note.

Anonymous said...

I've been house/cat sitting in a Westgate property for a week and the only election leaflet through the door has been for James Maskell. Presumably, the others are so confident of securing the residents votes that they can't be bothered!

Anonymous said...

Labour know they won't have to pay for their promises because someone else will always bale them out. Like our children, grand children, great grand children, great great grand children ....

Tim Clark said...

A bit off-topic but only a bit. Have no idea who Bertie Biggles was but this snippet has proved prescient:

Anonymous said...

I wonder which of the candidates for Thursday will do the most to clean up Westgate. Walking around Ethelbert and Adrian Squares this morning I had to keep dodging litter - I'm also a bit sick of picking up litter from own drive and from the park at Ethelbert Square. Not my job!

Anonymous said...

The thing about wonderful tiggers Simon..

With the wonderful TIGGER trio in the form of cohen, driver and worrow all busying themselves reciting and learning latin along with their newly embraced possible forth (heaven forbid) candidate who is promoted by the groups very own infamous sith lord. Perhaps the latin print on the democratic election material of Claire Mendalsohn is a cryptic/encoded message to Mr Fox's whereabouts? Maybe the sly old fox is closer than you all think!?

Picking up on the points about labour. I can't see how they will have the hart to continue to patronize the tiddlywinks, with such an unconventional arrangement.

There is bound to be sorrow for worrow.

Who will come out on top?

simon moores said...

Ethelbert and Adrian Squares are now a constant problem and I was on the case again this week having them cleaned week and exploring possible enforcement action.

The issue is, I'm sorry to say one of displacement of individuals to cheap flat accommodation who have no interest in the community or associated sense of civic responsibility or pride. We see it in Margate and Cliftonville and I'm battling to prevent this tide from elsewhere, lapping at the doors of Westgate. Without firm Government action or policy to prevent London authorities and agencies outsourcing their problems to the cheap coastal rents, there is very little a local council or councillor can do other than express deep personal frustration.

Anonymous said...

A sense of pride is certainly lacking from some people in Westgate Simon. Such a shame when the village is really bustling at the moment with several new shops having opened in recent weeks - bucking the trend of Margate.

On a related issue, we have had problems with 'youths' (yobs...) hanging around Ethelbert Square for many months. Just recently though they seemed to have gone elsewhere. Tonight however they are back. There is litter in the square, dogs wandering around with no poo bags in sight, spitting and generally loutish behaviour. Wonderful.