Happy Paddy's Day! Er, that's actually got nothing to do with the next bit.
No, it's back to Thanet Earth with a bump. There's my old TV chum John Craven up there when he visited the 38m hectare greenhouse while it was under construction. Remember when this one slipped under the planning radar as an 'agricultural' (as opposed to industrial) development, we were promised 500 local jobs and a visitor centre? Well, as I exclusively revealed last week the visitor centre's on hold and the Ramsgate staffing agency detailed to hand out all those local jobs has shut.
Now intrepid yourfannitinnit reporter Tom Betts has followed up my scoop with a front page splash today on the types of people employed at the conservatory on the patio of the garden of England. And the best they could come up with? The majority of the 83 people working for the marketing department are British. Not Thanetian. British. Of the other 350 or so working there at any one time, it's a mix of Polish, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Slovakian, Lithuanian, Nigerian, Dutch and British.
My point here is not to reignite the recent argy-bargy about foreign workers. Apart from the light pollution, some queries over the water table, the fact that none of their produce actually touches Thanet earth and, er, the light pollution, I'm actually rather in favour of the place. And despite describing their tomatoes as 'watery pip bags' a while back, I'm currently munching my way through a delicious pack of their 'sunstream' red 'uns. Good luck to the lads and lasses of whatever nationality who work there I say! As Thanet Earth point out: 'To clarify a frequent misunderstanding, we wish to make clear that it would be unlawful for any of the employer-companies at Thanet Earth to discriminate either positively or negatively on grounds of nationality, just as it would be unlawful for us to do so on grounds of race, gender, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability.'
No, my argument is with our beloved council who, whenever someone applies for planning permission to dig up our lovely island soil to plonk a whopping great load of sheds on it, cry 'Jobs!' 'There are so many unemployed in Thanet,' they whine, 'that we should be bending over forwards to accommodate these nice people who are going to bring us all these lovely, lovely jobs'. Bull. It's a promise they simply can't make. Maybe some locals were employed fitting the office carpets. And some slum landlords will have rented out their hovels to the poor eastern European lads. A few shop keepers might benefit. But Thanet jobs for Thanet people? Pull the other one, it's got bell peppers on it!
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