Monday, April 06, 2009

An Island That's Open For Business!

Don't be daft! As if I was talking about our own outcrop of chalk here in the tip of Kent! No, I'm talking about the Isle of Wight.

I was warned before my weekend on Vectis that it would be like stepping back 40 years. And yes, the hotel was very Fawlty Towers, with a general air of tut-tutiness and enough signs forbidding this, that and the other (especially the other) than you could shake a proverbial at.

On the plus side, though, I toured the entire island and saw not one burnt out amusement park or derelict building. Not even a hint of a magnificent seaside facility transformed into a car park with EU money. And all the hotels were still hotels, rather than dire accommodation for third generation unemployables. Hundreds of brown tourist signs appeared to lead to, er, actual tourist attractions. Everywhere you go there are public conveniences which are not only clean and open, but being used by people for the rather quaint purpose of going to the lavatory. And not one crushed Stella can or barker's nest to spoil your promenade along the prom.

Ventnor was a particularly good example of a seaside town that was still doing a thriving trade by being a, er, seaside town:

Even the Winter Gardens looked as if it had been given a lick of paint recently. Moving on to Shanklin, proof positive that I have relatives in every coastal resort:

One shock, though, was the sight of my old showbiz chum Alan Titchmarsh wearing black tights. He's in the centre of my shot, walking next to the gipper with the scrambled egg on his shoulders.

Steady on Alan! I know the island's a timewarp, but there's no need to take it to that extreme! (Nice set of pins, though.)

I must admit that, parking up the old Tardis/Priapus back in the Millionaires' Playground last night, I fell into a bit of a decline. Clearly something went very wrong here on Chavvy Island thirty or forty years ago. My guess is that someone, somewhere began the cry of 'the bucket and spade holiday is dead' and over the following decades ensured that their prophecy came true. Now we're constantly being told by the Tory duffers that 'Thanet is open for business'. Well, that business ain't tourism, is it, 'cos there's chuff all left for the tourists to do. Perhaps they're talking about 'funny business'.

All the hoteliers and restaurateurs I spoke to on the Isle of Wight reported bookings are significantly up this year, as the recession, the weak pound and carbon footprint anxiety lead more and more Brits to holiday at home. One downside is the cost of getting there, though. £55 return to take the car on the ferry. But it does keep the riff-raff out. Now there's an idea! We could put up a barrier at the Wantsum and charge a £50 toll for getting in. And if we make it free to get out, it would effectively be a one-way trip for the pit bull tuggers. Hurrah!

More on WikiWight
Titchmarsh sworn in as chief Wight tight wearer


tony flaig bignews said...

Lighten up!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree . We now have no museums or galleries to visit or attract anyone to come here, even the Nazis liked art, even if they were inclined to stash in caves.
I find it staggering that with our maritime heritage there is no museum left that reflects this. There was not much family silver but there will be fuck all by the time the present tory incumbents have finished.

ascu75 aka Don said...

as I said somewhere else tonight we need more than sun sea and sand to attract people REOPEN OUR MUSEUMS

Anonymous said...

Heres a challenge for you Richard , can you prove ,per capita for a tourist destination ,that we have the least in cultural resources anywhere in the country or does it just feel like it.

The speed bumps that have just pointlessly been put on Broadstairs High Street must have cost considerably more than it would to keep our museums open . They have been allowed to dwindle through lack of intiative to apply for grants and make them better to encourage people to visit.
The mess they have made of the Turner so far tells you how little they value culture or how inept they are.
If there are any Tories on the council who value Thanets cultural future they should oust current top two, otherwise you are no better than them, as Eziekiel and Latchford become more of an embarassment locally and nationally

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tony. Lighten up... or move to the Isle of Wight!

Anonymous said...

Black gang Chine still looks as shit as it was in 1977 when I last went there.

Anonymous said...

It's all so simple.

Anyone wearing nylon sports apparell is taken off the streets by force.

Obviously under-age 'couples' are arrested for pretending to be grown-up parental figures. Their offspring will be adopted by caring DFL families. (Middle-Class family values are clearly better than most working-class 'values' and certainly trump those of the underclass)

Anyone who has been unemployed for longer than 6 months has their benefits stopped.

Anyone who stares at you for longer than is necessary, gives you attitude whilst wearing the uniform of the underclass or generally doesn't deserve to share your oxygen should be taken to a holding pen near Liverpool (time they were given back, surely)

In short, let's start blaming those who have wrecked society.

Crap Parents and their shit Kids.

Anonymous said...

2.22 I would like to ask why you think there are so many crap parents and shit kids in Thanet. Could it be that:
1. At age 11 the majority of children are told they are second rate and then attend schools less well funded. This leads to a breakdown in a sense of community with children living in the same street attending different schools.
2. There is no evidence of cultural heritage that could lead to pride in the area.
3. The green spaces that existed amongst housing developments are dwindling rapidly. Children are increasingly growing up in a concrete jungle.
4. No.3 above (increase in housing development) means that infrastructure services are stretched and in some cases only just coping.
5. To most Thanet is a byword for crap, a joke, Planet Thanet out there on its own living 50 years behind the rest of the country.

ECR is right, compared to other seaside towns Thanet has gone badly wrong.

Anonymous said...

Don't give them an excuse.

Yer average underclass family just don't have a clue. Look at anti-social behaviour and street violence here and everywhere else in the UK. Who are the perpetrators?

If it were down to the 11 plus, we wouldn't see it across the country. Some families are just bad, stupid, pampered by the state and looking to blame anyone but themselves. I think it's time to bring back the workhouse - seriously.

However, apart from point 1, I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Now just look at the leadership those kids have to look up to - a yob who swears in public and pushes grandmothers around what sort of an example is that?
Nothing will change until they go - thats for sure!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the last post, any business, school, restaurant , etc is led by example.

If you have inept poor leadership it effects everyone below them as they take their lead from those above. If you see lousy bosses lining their own pockets then what incentive do you have to stick your neck out to work hard or improve services.

For too long in Thanet councillors see the job as something to improve their own situation and not the quality of life for others.
The Birchington Builder who cannot get a dodgy building through planning becomes a councillor with the soul intention of getting the building through on the nod hey presto it gets through. The councillor who thinks he can represent his ward whilst living in South America to ensure he still gets paid it is these kind of people who create a culture of distrust and demotivation.
Serving on your council should be a priviledge and not a way of lining your pockets, whilst ignoring the people and problems of Thanet

Anonymous said...

Also add the mess they just made trying to sell Northdown House a building that was left to Thanet for further generations to enjoy.
In an attempt to raise money stupidly, they have lost a lot of money to lawyers and managed to annoy another chunk of the local population.

I thought Tories were meant to be good at business do central office know about Laurel and Hardy in Thanet, let's hope they are reading Private Eye.

Anonymous said...

I tried to email the Chairman of the national tories to alert him to what was happening in Thanet and didnt even get an acknowedgement! Perhaps they think our island doesnt matter!? they seem to distance themselves from those in charge thats for sure!?

Anonymous said...

In the Extra today,( hardly a council critical newspaper) it was revealed that Sandy and Rogers altercation at the Edinburgh Woolen Mill cost taxpayers £10,000 in solicitors fees.

The Northdown House mess will come out later but will be another cost to us not met out of their extravagant salaries . No wonder people feel cynical about local and national politics.

Most descent leaders feel the need to resign when bringing their jobs into disrepute once. This pair arrogantly continue to turn the council into a laughing stock

Anonymous said...

11.42 I remember the Birchington builder and his dodgy house. I am amazed he managed to get away with it or that he can still hold his head up in public. Doesn't give anyone much confidence in our planning department.