Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ticking Away

Wishing each and every one of my readers a very Happy New Year ahead for 2014; fully expecting to see the economic recovery continuing, step by very small step. Spare a thought for France which now has close to three million unemployed and perhaps, some of us at least, can agree that austerity was and is a necessary evil to avoid the harsher consequences of attempting to borrow and tax your way out of a recession, as opposed to cutting back on the cost of the rapaciously expanding European socialist bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, if you believe the Daily Mail this morning, every aircraft and bus between here and Bulgaria is fully-booked after tomorrow, with airlines and coach companies laying on extra schedules, simply to cope with the biggest economic migration since the great Californian Gold Rush of 1848. One minibus was reportedly stopped in transit with thirty-four passengers when it only had legal room for nine occupants.

If any such weary travelers should ask you for directions, then please direct them to the "Labour Party, 44, Northdown Road, Margate" where they may expect a warm welcome with hot drinks and the proper application forms to join the UNITE trades union to quickly assist them with their rightful entitlements under EU law.

It's been an odd year, with some equally bizarre local stories; mostly appearing on the blogs.

If you would believe a couple of these, then I should have been arrested, alongside several of my Conservative colleagues, the Chief Executive of the Council and others, following the trial of the former Council Leader, Sandy Ezekiel. Arrests were apparently' imminent' but nothing happened, which of course led to even more conspiracy theories rather than accepting the more simple explanation of individual greed, arrogance and stupidity in public office. This let each and everyone of us down and badly damaged public confidence and trust in local government and it will be a long time recovering.

It's been a year when the local weblogs have become a magnet for all kinds of wild allegations and stories. The best of these by far, is that a former Birchington shooting range was knowingly used by former councillors with secret links to MI5 to train Al Qaeda terrorists, years before Osama Bin Laden, who may or may not have been living in Broadstairs at the time, had thought of starting a global jihad.

Apparently, I may know all about this (picture left) and have been the subject of several failed FOI requests.

Equally bizarre but predictable, was the meteoric rise of young William Scobie from university student to Mayor, to County Councillor to Labour PPC for South Thanet and all inside the space of a single term as a local councillor. I'm not sure that even the legendary Pitt the Younger climbed the slippery political career ladder that fast and he may have still been at university when they made him Prime Minister in 1783.

As the hours tick away to 2014, there is of course another scandal brewing, as I'm surprised the police investigation hasn't concluded after so long. At some point, Clive Hart will have to deal with it, given that the Council's Chair of Finance and Audit is nowhere to be seen and hasn't appeared for several months. Until then, Clive's keeping his fingers firmly crossed.

So what can we expect for 2014 other than the European elections? Well, we have yet to hear who may try to step into Laura Sandy's very capable shoes in South Thanet, other than Will Scobie. Will Nigel Farage have a go? I'm not so sure. I think Farage is far more comfortable being an MEP and it pays so much better than a seat at Westminster. If I was in his position I think I would prefer to retain the many benefits of Brussels and Strasbourg in contrast to the often thankless and unglamorous workload of being a back-bench Member of Parliament.

Now that the Tesco on Margate's seafront has been given the green light, we can expect to see the start of some real changes to the appearance of what is really the shabby-side of the town, from the point of view of visitors arriving at the station or from London. It's controversial I accept but at the same time it's an opportunity to make the town more presentable and attractive and that must be a good thing.

Over in Ramsgate after looking at Twitter over the weekend, you can probably expect Will Scobie to start a campaign to save the town's Station, if Cllr Ian Driver doesn't get there first, not that it needs saving. Labour are very good at such things, like saving your NHS and not being in any way endangered, never stopped anything being saved did it?

Cllr Driver will of course be saving lots of things, very few if any being connected to his role as a local councillor but each and every one, guaranteed to deliver at least twenty seconds on BBC Southeast Today, where he may soon have his own dressing room. One thing is for sure, these topics will exhaust hours of debate in the coming year's Council meetings and like 2013, very little useful business will be achieved between these indignant outbursts, outraged interruptions and the occasional ruffled ejection from the council chamber.

I may continue later but have a great evening tonight and a great year ahead.


Anonymous said...

Hey Simon, last time I looked the blue party formed part of government which has the power to stop benefits etc for anyone who does not deserve them, ie, unemployed from Bulgaria.

Then again, if people are being bussed over to work, I welcome them. I'd rather have 100 Bulgarians working than one Englishman sitting on his backside making a living from benefits.

John Holyer said...

Witty and oh so true, Simon.

I wish you a very happy new year.

Barry James said...

Here's hoping for a more robust opposition being much more visual in the media.

Happy new year to all the bloggers

Tim Clark said...

Scobie will have to do a U-turn if he's going to start a campaign to save Ramsgate railway station given that he has stated that the money earmarked for its refurbishment would be better spent on a new station in the middle of a field in Cliffsend. Now I know that the Labour Party has a long and dishonourable history of reshaping the past when it suits them but Scobie Minor only made those comments just before Christmas.
Whilst on the subject of Christmas I see that the Leader and Cllr Mrs Hart have not sent Christmas cards this year but have donated £50 to charity instead. Given the cost of stamps nowadays he obviously doesn't have many friends!

Bemused of Birchington said...

Is the Chair of Finance and Audit remunerated from public funds(Council Tax)? If so then he must be drawing his income under false pretences and a rapid solution to this problem should be made without further delay. Only in public office do people seem to get away with getting paid for doing nothing. In the private sector a P45 would be in the post. Happy new year to all.

Alasdair Bruce said...

I agree Barry. The opposition could do what you ask were it not for the media's labour biased reporting, and that applies to the TV as well as what now passes for local press. You would be surprised to know how many letters and requests to the local press have gone un-answered and un-published. Sadly I see no change for 2014 in this area.

Simon Moores said...

Bemused of Birchington, the answer is handsomely remunerated from public funds but presently AWOL in the eyes of many!

Tim Clark said...

Is it not the Chair of GOVERNANCE and Audit?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a mainly interesting year of blogs. But, shame on you for falling for that old propaganda untruth ... Tesco on Margate Seafront ... it wasn't, isn't and will not be! It is planned for All Saints' Avenue, at right angles to and some 300m from the seafront and BEHIND Arlington House. When you get your new aircraft, look down over Sheerness to see what a seafront Tesco looks like, where the store is hard alongside the sea wall. Happy New Year.

Simon Moores said...

Well i stand corrected on two fronts, the first is yes, governance and audit, a slip on my part and while Tesco is behind Arlington, most people like me, think of it being the new one on Margate seafront and that's what I wrote.

Happy New Year all!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Lord Carlile QC arrived at a different conclusion to you concerning the gun range at Birchington ?

Happily there is an FOI asking TDC for its policy of compliance with the Terrorism Act mandatory reporting provisions.

For example a Planning enforcement officer was witness to unlawful machine gun fire. Isn't that subject of a mandatory reporting provision ?

Of course you should collate all your evidence that there were no middle easterners at the range, no Uzis and no paramilitary instruction and report it to police.

That won't be onerous because you have no evidence do you ?

Happy New Year Rick

Simon Moores said...

In fact, Mini-Uzi's were not an uncommon sight in the past at firing ranges and could be bought over the counter with a 9mm slot on a firearms license but altered and restricted to semi-auto only. Not very practical though but perfectly legal at the time.

Thanks to the EU and the opening-up of eastern Europe of course it's easier today to find the real thing in criminal gangs as I recall a Sky news programme once revealed.

Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Simon, slightly off topic but I saw this essay thatwas written by Isaac Asimov in 1964 on how technology will look in 2014, wondered if you had seen it at all?


Simon Moores said...

Thanks.. I will have a look

Simon Moores said...

Thanks.. I will have a look

John Holyer said...

Thermonuclear fusion for civilan use will give us cheap clean energy. We are still waiting for it. But one day.....

Duncan Smithson said...

Osama Bin Laden living in Broadstairs. That made me chuckle :)

Good review of the year - hope you dont consider me one of the more "inventive" bloggers.

2014. Farage will stand in south Thanet (currently the bookies favourite). Local Tory. Local objectors will be spotted shopping in Tesco. More bloggers will pop up. TDC will limp from one disaster to another. Iris or Peter may have the courage to do what we know they want to do. Increase in positive action by the public. #Change4Thanet et al. Ramsgate seafront will eventually be reclaimed - but at a cost. Margate will continue to be the focus of the Gazette and TDC administration.

I could go on - but I wont. And I agree with Alastair's comments above. The local paper is really showing its true colours at the moment. Thats a shame. Perhaps this blogging thing may actually have something to it.....

Belated best wishes to you and yours for the new year.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even know that Duncan had a blog, where is it?