Sunday, December 29, 2013

See The New Year In With A Bang!

I dunno. I seem to be the only person still functioning after the Daily Thanet office party the other night. Quite why we had to top a case of Krug off with Espresso Martinis, lord knows.

Any-old-hoo, I trust all is well with you, dear reader, and that Santa emptied his sack in your chimney with the desired results.

TBH, there's not much news around to talk about. I see that Scobie The Younger has been arguing against spending dosh on the refurb of Ramsgate Station on the grounds that it'll soon be made obsolete by the ridiculous new Thanet Parkway. Quite why someone who wants to be the next MP for South Thanet would undermine the main railway station in the chief town in his potential constituency is a bit of a poser.

Ah, but then our foetal Labour candidate lives in Cliftonville, doesn't he? So I suspect he's more aligned with the Margate Mafia than us minted Ramsgate DFLs who want to walk to a station where we can be whisked to God's Own North London in just over an hour!

Speaking of Margate, this year the town will be putting on a New Year's fireworks display. It's the first time for ages, and it's been instigated by those nice hedge fund people who run the Sands Hotel. Of course, in past years Margatonians have just had to make do with watching another amusement arcade burn down. Oh how times have changed over on the North Side!

Meanwhile Ramsgate will be continuing its long tradition of seeing the New Year in with a bang, so do pop over and say hello!

Oh yes, and to show that I don't just make this bilge up, I heard a rumour the other day that those pyrotechnics people out at Manston might be pulling the plug, due to their lives being made a misery by the elf 'n' safety types. It comes to something, doesn't it, when the council can't be arsed to inspect restaurants, but can make life hell if you're just cooking up a few bangers!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Daily Thanet Christmas Quiz

Yes, it's that time of year again! When Thanetians settle down after stuffing a bird, skin up a Camberwell carrot and roast their Superdrys in front of a blazing amusement arcade with a huge helping of Daily Thanet Christmas quizzing, a tradition which has spread joy around the island ever since 2013.

We've based our questions on the events and people that have shaped Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula during the past year. So throw another Grade II listed building on the yuletide blaze, grab yourself a plentiful portion of Heston's hand-pounded spatchcock, and settle down to test your noddle with our Thanet brainteasers!

January

Which world-acclaimed Thanet blog was NOT published in January (or the previous two years, for that matter)?

A: Peter's Pantsless Porkers
B: Thanet Wives
C: Eastcliff Richard (now The Daily Thanet)

Answer: C - But it returned in February, thus bringing much-needed cheer and laughter back to the isle.


February

The Great Wall of Ramsgate was whitewashed by some numpty with a roller and a pot of Wilko's finest, ruining priceless works of art in less time than it takes to jackhammer a Banksy off the side of Poundland. But who was eventually fingered for the crime?

A: A professional Painter

B: A flappy-mouthed, castanet-lipped local councillor
C: Nobody

Answer: C - Apparently the woodentops failed to decipher the writing on the wall.


March

Former Thanet Council leader and Tory stalwart Sandy Ezekiel was banged up for 18 months at Maidstone Crown Court. What was he found guilty of?

A: Misconduct in a public office

B: Misconduct in a public lavatory
C: Misconduct in a public library

Answer: A - Three guilty pleas of calling public officials 'f*cking t*ssers' were also taken into account during sentencing.


April

A famous politician, beloved of the island's Blue Rinsers, died this month. Who?

A: Maggie Thatcher

B: Thatcher, Thatcher The Baby Milk Snatcher
C: The Right Honourable Baroness Voldemort of Kesteven

Answer: All three, depending on your political viewpoint.


May

UKIP trounced the Tories in the Kent County Council elections, but what nationality were the bricklayers who paved Kent UKIP leader Roger Latchford's new driveway?

A: Bulgarian

B: Irish
C: Kentish through and through

Answer: B - despite quotes from local firms, Rodge fell for the blarney.


June

The Ferrygate scandal was in full swing after it was revealed that Thanet Council had secretly subsidised failing ferry firm TransEuropa, without so much as a 'by your leave' from the taxpayers. How much of our dosh did Bayford, Hart, McGonigal et al pour down the gurgler?

A: £3.4m

B: £26 for every man, woman and child on the island
C: £340,000 for every job 'saved' at the port of Ramsgate.

Answer: All three - or to put it another way, only 28 times Thanet Council Chief Executive Sue McGonigal's annual salary.


July

The original plans emerged from more than a decade ago for the Royal Sands aka Pleasurama eyesore development on Ramsgate front. The drawings sported a Whitbread logo, but what did Whitbread say when they were asked what their involvement would be?

A: Nothing to do with us, guv.

B: We're only here for the beer.
C: It'll Costa lotta money! (Geddit!!!???!!!??!)

Answer: A - Whitbread's Acquisitions Manager, when told about the plans, said he had not seen them, and that the company was 'in no negotiations with any party in respect of any development in Ramsgate'.


August

Margate has traditionally always taken first prize for being the biggest shithole on the island. But this month a report found that one of Thanet's other towns was even crappier. Which?

A: Broadstairs

B: Ramsgate
C: Birchington

Answer: B - the report's authors had clearly overlooked the fact that the local pronunciation of Acol is 'Aaah-soul'.


September

New figures revealed the number of fines Thanet Council had dished out in the previous year to dog owners who had not cleared up after their pooches had pooed on the pavement. How many?

A: Four

B: Four million
C: Four billion

Answer: A - the figures also revealed that enough barkers' nests are deposited on Thanet's pavements each year to build four Boris Islands - with sufficient left over for half an Isle of Wight.


October

Kiwi owners Infratil offloaded loss-making Manston Airport to Scottish millionairess Ann Gloag for the princely sum of one entire British pound. What new name did she give it?

A: Manston Poundland Airport
B: Manston Skyport Airport
C: Manston Pickle Airport

Answer: B - whilst also managing to keep quiet the fact that 'Ann Gloag' is an anagram of 'Anal Gong'.

November
South Thanet's Tory MP Laura Sandys announced on her Facebook page that she would not be standing at the next general election. What reason did she give?

A: She wants to spend more time with her family, including husband Randy Sandys
B: She's bored with cleaning up the streets of Thanet single-handedly
C: Roger Gale is having her baby

Answer: A - apparently Randy is living up to his name and has asked for more early day motions.

December
Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks starred in the latest Disney blockbuster Saving Mr Banks. Where was he born?

A: Concord, California
B: Calgary, Canada
C: Cliftonville, Kent

Answer: C - he was born in Thanet while his father was serving with the USAF at Manston, and spent his early months in a flat in Northdown Road.

So how did you do?

0 - 4 correct answers - Thanet Council is your mum
5 - 8 correct answers - Your airport has doubled in value to £2
9 - 12 correct answers - Aldi Shampagne all the way!

May we also take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and the best of British for 2014 (you'll need it). And to those who have been offended by this blog during the course of 2013, a very heartfelt and sincere 'tough titty'.

Monday, December 23, 2013

New Ferry Firm 'All Piss And Wind'

Reports that a new ferry service between Ramsgate and Ostend will begin in the New Year have been described as 'all piss and wind' by the highly respected Army Rumour Service (ARRSE).

According to a post on the ARRSE website, several firms have been set up with a view to restarting the link to Belgium, including Yasmin Ferries, Regina Line and Sun Link. All the firms have been backed by an individual that ARRSE names as Ernst Munk, who boasted on his Facebook page as recently as 19 December that he would be starting a Ramsgate-Ostend service soon.

ARRSE concludes: 'If any of you are sent anything by a company called Yasmin Ferries at an address in Lydney, Gloucestershire, or someone calling himself Ernst Munk, burn it before it burns you.'

Rumours of a new service have also been circulating in Belgium. One ferry spotter in Ostend told The Daily Thanet over the weekend: 'The Larkspur ferry was sold again yesterday for €870,000, buyer unknown. The other laid-up ferry was sold for €750,000 to Oilchart, which has now chartered her for a new Ostend-Ramsgate line. Sunlink Ferries intend to start on 1 January 2014 with the Ardenia (ex TEF's Gardenia) and intends to put a second ferry on the line (a pure roro ferry). The third ferry would be a mixed passenger ferry and they intend to carry foot passengers.'

However, the Belgian source concludes: 'The strange thing is that neither (the port of) Ramsgate nor Ostend know anything about it.

The news comes in the week that Thanet Council argued it had been right to squander £3.4m of taxpayers' money in the now infamous Ferrygate deal, which saw the council secretly subsidising the route's former operators TransEuropa Ferries, who went bankrupt in April.

Meanwhile the Met Office has warned the south coast to expect substantial amounts of piss and wind over the next 24 hours, with 80mph gussets expected in the English Channel.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Property News

Thinking of selling up and leaving this dump? Then who better to consult than Thanet's leading estate agents, Lovetts?!

And at the moment they're running a special promotion - they'll sell your cliff top mansion for only 1% commission (+ VAT)!

Why not tool along to their website? Or give them a call on 01843 570305. But don't forget to tell them The Daily Thanet sent you!

NB: The fact that Lovetts are now co-sponsoring this blog, having left a substantial sum in a manilla envelope under a lobster pot in the inner harbour, has had no influence on the content of this post.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Smell Of Margate

In Memoriam
Ronnie Biggs
Former Great Train Robber and Small Time Crook

So, farewell
Then Ronnie Biggs.

'I do not intend
To return to England.'
That was
Your catchphrase.
And 'I miss the smell of Margate.'

Keith's Dad says he had dinner
With you in Rio once.

And that you were
Let out of Belmarsh
Five years ago
Because you were
At death's door.

Sad to say
The Grim Reaper
Has finally nabbed you.
And Margate
Doesn't quite smell
The same either.

E. C. Richard (29)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Panic As Old Town Runs Out Of Cupcakes

Several shoppers were jostled in Margate Old Town today following news that the last cupcake before Christmas had been sold.

Police described the scene as 'mayhem', with one shopper taken to the QEQM suffering from a sprained ankle.

Caroline Gisby, who owns Cake Expectations in Margate Old Town, said: 'We put a sign in the window saying that there would be no more cupcakes until the New Year, and the place just erupted. I've never seen anything like it.'

Despite being offered more seasonal alternatives such as mince pies and Christmas cake, annoyed shoppers went on the rampage, with some even descending on Morrisons when a rumour spread that there were still cupcakes available in the store.

Shopper Josh, who recently moved to Margate from Hoxton in London, said: 'It was a bloody disgrace. I've never known there to be a shortage of cupcakes in Hoxton. Margate is in danger of being labelled a tinpot town if it can't get its act together.'

However, the ugly mood dissipated later in the morning after police with loud hailers announced that an emergency shipment of cupcakes was on its way from Bluewater.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Broadstairs Woman Finds Whelk

A Broadstairs woman has spoken of her shock and surprise at finding a whelk.

Builder's wife Jody Dobson, 29, described the moment she was walking along the beach at Dumpton Gap and discovered what she thought was a Belgian chocolate. 'My mum buys me these Belgian chocolates for Christmas and I just thought it was one of them. But when I picked it up it was all hard like, and seemed more like a snail.'

Jody took the whelk home to show to her children - Chantelle, 5, and Reece, 7. She added: 'I never knew there was a beach at Dumpton Gap before, let alone these things on it. When my husband Craig came home he told me it was a whelk and not to be so daft. I felt like a right moron!'

Whelks are common along the Thanet coast, according to marine biologist Professor Paul Murray. 'They are distantly related to snails but actually belong to the Buccinidae family,' said Prof Murray. 'Whilst many are edible, they certainly do not taste like chocolate.'

Sadly the story has an unhappy ending, as Jody explains: 'Once I knew what it was, I kept it in a bucket of tap water, but it went all still and died not long after.'

Monday, December 16, 2013

Manhood Museum To Open In Margate

Thanet Council have approved plans for a new museum and gallery in Margate Old Town - only this time it will be strictly 'members only'.

The Margate Manhood Museum (3M) will be modelled on Iceland's Phallological Museum, which boasts a collection of more than 200 penises and penile parts, including one from a polar bear and four human specimens.

The move follows the successful revitalisation of Margate through the world renowned Turner Contemporary, which has single handedly transformed the town from a shambling shit heap to the darling of media luvvies and cloth-capped hipsters, virtually overnight.

A spokeswoman for Thanet Council said: 'We hope this new addition to Margate's creative offering will help the town stand out amongst the increasingly crowded south coast arts scene. We've had to beat off stiff competition from places like Hastings and Herne Bay, but in the end 3M decided that Margate offered the best overall package.'

3M Director Peter Johnson added: 'We are proud to be sticking up for Margate, and fully expect 3M to become embedded in the core of the town. Turner Contemporary, Old Town and the promising addition of the new Dreamland theme park in 2015 definitely mean Margate is becoming a hot spot for discerning visitors from all over the south east. They are no longer willing to be palmed off by a load of old bollocks - we aim to provide them with something they could give a toss about.'

The gallery is expected to open next Easter.

Press Release From Angloway Media Ltd

The directors of Angloway Media (2013) Ltd are pleased to announce the purchase of the weblog currently known as 'Eastcliff Richard', along with all associated assets, for an undisclosed sum.

Commenting on the purchase Angloway Managing Director John Roberts said: "With a readership in the tens of thousands per month, we see great potential for this site, which fits our strategy of acquiring hyper-local media assets."

The site's former editor has been retained on a six month consultancy basis to oversee the smooth transition of the business to the new owners.

Further announcements regarding the future of the site are expected shortly.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blog Off

You know me. I'm not the sort of histrionic luvvy that takes offence at little things like people hijacking my blog for their own pathetic agendas. But enough is enough.

You lot don't deserve me, so I'm off.

Adios. Sayonara. Dosvedanya. Auf wiedersehen. A bientot.

Be seeing you!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Car Park Lark

As I'm currently 'off-territory' here in Bournemouth, I thought I'd go the whole hog and bring you an item about Broadstairs!

I'm indebted to the excellent Broadie magazine for this one - click on the pic to big it up. It's a press release from Isle Homes about the company's 'exciting new development' of 14 houses on the Vere Road car park site in the town. But, as the Broadie says, what about all the disruption during the build, which starts in the New Year and will continue until autumn 2014? Not to mention the future lack of parking facilities once 14 houses have been plonked there!

Oh well, at least Boredstares will get a new public toilet block out of it. And as for parking, well, I'm sure all those lovely summer visitors will be able to find plenty of spaces in the Millionaires' Playground, where our buildings seem to have turned into car parks over the years, rather than the other way round!

Update: Despite me being told at the time that this was an old story and a 'non-issue', it seems that it has subsequently (Jan 2014) exploded into a ball of angry, disgruntled fire that is threatening to engulf the whole of Boredstares in the flames of outrage and revolution! Well, sort of. Click here for more.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What Do You Think Of It So Far?

Here in Bournemouth, everything is lovely. Not a piece of litter or a barker's nest to be seen. However, my spies back there in the tip of Kent are reporting a different story!

It's been a month since Thanet Duffer Central introduced their new rubbish regime, and things don't appear to be getting any better. Reader John writes:

I live in a back street mews where we have the large, wheeled, communal, dumpster-type bins for general rubbish, food waste and recycling. Until recently they had not been emptied since October. There were maggots in the food waste bin, which stank to high heaven. TDC did come and empty them after I phoned them, but when I spoke to one of their officials on the general topic of the new recycling system, and the possibility that not everyone was putting the correct rubbish in the correct communal bins, he said that if they discovered any rubbish in the wrong bins they would fine every property in the street. Unbelievable.

Not only that, but the seagull-proof sacks are just being thrown around by the bin men without any due care and attention, the result being that household waste is littering the entire street.

Well John, it seems from what you say that the island is reverting back to the bad old days of 2007 - where my photo's from in fact. Even the Isle of Thanet Gazunder has latched onto the rubbish state of affairs, reporting that hideous great rats have been spotted roaming the streets of Cliftonville (click here for the full story).

I dunno, it seems that for every step TDC take forward, they take eleven steps back! So, in the spirit of Back To The Future, here's a little reminder of a fone jacking I performed on them half a decade ago, during their 'Drop It And Cop It' campaign. Enjoy!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Open All Hours?

I'm pleased to report that my Twankey is going down well in Bournemouth! Hurrah! However, it does mean that I've become slightly semi-detached from the Thanet scene. Boo!

Nonetheless, I'm still getting a torrent of emails from my spies around the septic isle, and this one especially caught my eye. It's a proposal to re-open the Granville bars on the trendy East Cliff in the Millionaires' Playground. Apparently Punch Taverns are looking to sub-lease the space, and an application for a premises licence will be made shortly. According to the blurb above, the bars retain 'a very rare... Putin fire place'. Just the thing to go with one's iced Litvinenko Vodka, methinks.

So in the not-too-distant future there could be a boutique hotel, a theatre and cinema, and a couple of bars (if you include the San Clu), all within a hop and skip from the old cliff top mansion.

Crikey! At the rate things are going, it'll be just like Sandbanks! Pip pip!

Click here for more details on the James A Baker website.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Surge Of Sympathy

Sitting here in the luxurious splendour of my five star suite at the Bournemouth Travelodge, I can't help feeling sorry for anyone on the Ile de Thanet affected by last night's storm surge. Mind you, speaking personally, the old cliff top mansion stands at least 100 feet above any such watery nonsense, and Natasha, my housekeeper, reports it's as dry as a bone this morning.

TBH, quite why anyone would want to purchase a property at sea level these days, what with climate change and the world's oceans rising at the rate of a metre a year, gawd knows!

And it is with that tenuous link in mind that I congratulate the lovely Emma Irvine and her husband Ben on finally getting the keys to Albion House, high and dry on the trendy East Cliff in the Millionaires' Playground, off the council. They plan to spend a heap of dosh on refurbishing it, and opening it as a boutique hotel next year.

They recently held an open day, with guided tours of the pile. There's a video of that below.

And congrats, too, to that nice Dr Who lady, who's also finally got the council's thumbs up for her Project Motorhouse in the old Ramsgate Motor Museum! There's another video below the video below showing her plans for how that will pan out. So, it's all go Ramsgate!!!!!!!

Anyway, moustache as I need to devote a coupla minutes to polishing my Twankey ahead of this afternoon's matinee. Toodle-oo!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Airport Gets New Name (Again)

Holy Gloags! Whiffling through my copy of Global Airport Cities, I spied an article on the new owner of RAF London Kent Manston Margate Tracey Emin Chas 'n' Dave Maggie Thatcher Schipol International Airport!

According to the piece, headlined 'Big Plans For Loss-Making Manston Airport', Scotland's second wealthiest woman hopes to turn her recently acquired acreage of Kentish concrete into 'an environment where new partners are attracted to do business'. Which to my uninitiated ear (that's the left one) sounds like an invitation for everyone to chuck the keys to their knackered old jumbos into a bowl and take pot luck.

She continues: 'I hope that with the co-operation of our neighbours and the wider community of Kent blah blah blah the best chance possible of having a successful and vibrant airport.'

Well, good luck with that Ann! I do hope you mean that, unlike the previous head-in-sand policy adopted by Infratil, you will enter into some kind of meaningful dialogue with the 40,000 people your planes will be flying a few feet over!

Any-old-hoo, to show she means business she's changed the name of her holding company to Manston Skyport Ltd and appointed airport 'turnaround specialist' Alastair Welch to lead her team at Manston. Presumably he'll be the one with the hi-vis vest and ping-pong bats.

Of course, this may leave current RAF London Kent Manston Margate Tracey Emin Chas 'n' Dave Maggie Thatcher Schipol Skyport Poundland International Airport CEO, Smiler Buchanan, feeling as if he's been left with the spare set of keys at an environment where new partners are attracted to do business. Especially as Welch was the MD who presided over the hugely successful take-off of Southend Airport over the last six years.

Happy landings!

Click here to read the full article on the Global Airport Cities website.
Click here for Alastair Welch interview just weeks before he baled out of Sarfend.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Shaving Mr Hanks

Photo: Disney
Ahoy Fannit fans! I've just got back from giving my old Twankey a burnishing in Bournemouth, in preparation for a four week run of Aladdin starting next Saturday! (Tickets available at all good websites.)

I must say, the back of that camel's giving me a bit of gyp, but such is the burden that we slebs have to bear.

And speaking of slebs, none other than my old showbiz chum Tom Hanks popped over to the clifftop mansion the other day for a spot of reminiscing about his early life on the septic isle. As regular readers of this rubbish will remember, Tom was born in Thanet while his father was serving with the USAF at Manston, and spent his formative months in Cliftonville. I must say, he didn't seem very impressed with the area, but he did appreciate the Turkish barbers in Ramsgate who relieved him of his Movember mo ahead of the gala premiere of his latest flick in Leicester Square!

And speaking of shaves, while I've been away the comments on this blog seem to have become rather unkempt, a bit like a 70s porn star's dangly bits. Dear-oh-dear-oh-dear-oh-dear-oh-dear-oh-dear-oh (Get on with it - Ed.) Quite who gives a flying twankey about the comings and goings at RAF London Kent Manston Margate Tracey Emin Maggie Thatcher Schipol International Airport, gawd knows.

And speaking of polls, I've just had one of my biggest ever! Yes, almost 200 of you voted on whether Thanet Council is fit for purpose, here's the full SP...

Question: Is Thanet Council fit for purpose?

Yes: 6% (13 votes)
No: 93% (182 votes)

An overwhelming vote there, confirming, er, what we already knew anyway.

So there you have it! Moustache now, and get on with carefully rehearsing my ad libs! Toodle-pip!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Another DFL Goes BTL

Holy ballot papers! Our local MP, the lovely Laura Sandys, has announced that she won't be standing in the next election in 2015!

She writes on her Facebook page:

It is with great sadness and regret that I wish to announce that I will not be standing at the next general election in 2015. For the last six months I have been considering my future in light of a wide range of family demands and have decided that I cannot combine the level of dedication and service needed for the constituency with my growing personal responsibilities to those closest and dearest to me.

It has been a difficult and heart-wrenching decision to make as there is no greater honour and privilege than representing the constituents of South Thanet. The people of South Thanet are an inspiration to me with their dedication to our communities, their strength, their steadfastness and their sense of identity. I want to thank all those who have worked with me to ensure that we are getting the best for our local towns and villages.

Over the past few years, I believe that we have together secured many positive improvements to the quality of life in South Thanet: £40million of small business support funds; improved High Speed train services; flood defences; new international business investment into the area; an extended visitor season; and improving standards in our schools and colleges.

I want to thank my colleagues – the councillors and the council candidates – who I have worked closely with to achieve the best outcomes for our residents.
I wish to assure you that between now and the next election I will work tirelessly to achieve more for our wonderful area, making representation for our causes, supporting community groups and taking on individual cases on behalf of residents. My team and I will be at full steam until we can hand over the work to the next Member of Parliament.

These years working and living in South Thanet have been the most memorable of my life. I hope that I have been able to repay what you have given me with some lasting benefits that will improve the future life and prosperity of all our residents.


I've met Laura a few times, and despite the fact that she's a Blue Rinser, I have to say she's always seemed charming and committed to her constituency. Quite what the real reasons behind her departure are, who can tell? No, seriously, if someone knows, do tell me.

You can read the full text of Laura's resignation statement on her Facebook page by clicking here. It includes a comment from Thanet North MP Sir Roger Wind, who, unfortunately, isn't resigning.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ellington Woots

Jolly well done, and all that, to the team behind the bid to win a slice of lottery money to tart up our lovely, but slightly shabby, Ellington Park here in the Millionaires' Playground.

They've reached the play-off next Tuesday on ITV Meridian East (What's that? - Ed.), and stand to win a whopping £50K if they beat the DFLs from Hernia Bay, who are also bidding to tart up a spot of greenery.

If you want to find out more about their plans, there's an open meeting at Churchill's this afternoon, 4pm kick off. And if you want to vote for them on Tuesday, you can get more info by clicking here.

On Monday it's the turn of Boredstares to bid. They're asking for fifty grand to build a shed, and are up against some poor bastards in Seahaven who need food.

 Pip pip!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Have A Go On My Poll

Cripes! With our beloved council booting out a critical report by its own Standards Committee last night, resulting in the mass resignation of the committee's independent, public members, and with every meeting now seemingly the subject of squabbles over whether or not cameras should be allowed in, it feels like political business over at Thanet Duffer Central is rapidly descending into chaos.

Of course, TDC doesn't have a lardy, crack-crazed alcoholic for a leader, like they do in Toronto. But nonetheless, we have still managed to carve out our own little corner of political notoriety here in the tip of Kent!

Readers with long memories will recall that it was ever thus. In the eight years I've been writing this drivel, I can barely recollect a day when I said 'Hurrah for TDC!'. That goes for both the reds and the blues.

True, there are some intelligent, dedicated and hard-working councillors around, albeit thin on the ground. And I'm sure that somewhere in the bowels of the administrative machine there are people beavering away, and trying to do their best. It must be extremely frustrating for them to have to deal with the numpties in their midst, but let's hope that sense prevails, and that we all live long enough to see TDC transformed into a modern, transparent, fit-for-purpose organisation that does what it's supposed to do - serve the voters who pay for it.

There, I've had my two pennorth! Now you can have yours by voting in my 7 day poll in the sidebar on the right!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ferry Interesting

My spies on the continent with the twiddly moustaches and little grey cells report that the second TransEuropa rustbucket that was holed up in Oostende, the Larkspur, has now been sold for €400,000.

This follows the sale of TEF's other tub, Gardenia, for €750,000 in September.

Of course, Thanet Duffer Council, which allowed TEF to rack up £3.4m in the secret Ferrygate deal, will see none of this as they never put their name on the list.

I dunno. Next time I have to pay my council tax, I think I might just get the money out in cash, pop it in a black sack, and bury it in a landfill somewhere. That way I'd be cutting out the middleman!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Before They Were Famous

I'm indebted to one of my eagle-eyed readers for this.

A long time ago in the year 2000, in the beautiful Buckinghamshire hills, there was a council. And this council was called Chiltern District Council. Now, the good councillors of CDC wanted to save some money, so they decided to create a trust and hive off their three leisure centres, which meant they could avoid paying business rates. They called their not-for-profit trust the 'Chiltern Leisure Trust', and off it sailed, and everyone lived happily ever after.

Well, not quite.

Four years later, the trust had run up almost £1.2m in debt. More than half of that was owed to the council itself. So the poor councillors were left with no other option than to write the money off. They were very sad, as the amount represented roughly 10% of their council's annual income.

Does that story sound familiar? A little like writing off the £3.4m that Thanet Council idiotically allowed the decrepit TransEuropa Ferries to run up before it went bust?

Well it may not surprise you to learn, then, that one of the directors of Chiltern Leisure Trust was none other than Thanet Council's very own Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager Harvey Patterson, star of my previous post. Not only that, but HP was also Head of Legal Services for CDC during the same period.

So, now you know what Harvey was doing before he was famous!

Click here to read the full story of the Chiltern Leisure Trust debacle on the Guardian website.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Bunny?

Word has reached the perfectly formed Eastcliff lugholes that Thanet Council's Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager Harvey Patterson may be heading for pastures new.

If the rumour is true, and I have to emphasise that I'm only running it up the old flagpole, it could mark the start of an admin shake-up at Duffer Central. Mr P has been the legal mandarin in the eye of many a recent Thanet storm, including the loss of £3.4m in the secret Ferrygate deal, the ongoing Pleasurama eyesore, and the recent row over the Royal Victoria Pavilion.

Of course, the head honcho in all these dubious doings has been Chief Exec Dr Sue McGonigal, and in my ever-so-humble opinion it should be her who's throwing in the towel. But then who am I to explain the Machiavellian machinations of the Margate machinery?

If the rumour proves true, I wonder if, in time-honoured Cecil Square tradition, Mr P will be offered a huge wodge for walking away? I think we should be told!

Meanwhile I see that the four independent members of our beloved council's Standards Committee, who are all members of the public rather than politicians or apparatchiks, have today reported that 'there is a local suspicion of secrecy, corruption and distance between the Council as it is perceived in the offices in Cecil Square, the reality of people’s lives and the needs of the district'.

They can say that again!

In fact, I think I'll say it again! 'There is a local suspicion of secrecy, corruption and distance between the Council as it is perceived in the offices in Cecil Square, the reality of people’s lives and the needs of the district.'

You can read their tut-tuttings in full by clicking here.

Update: After a, er, lively meeting of Thanet Council on Thursday, the Standards Committee report was rejected by our arse-covering councillors, following which the four independent members of the committee resigned en masse. Nuf said.

Update Feb 2014: My scoop about Harvey Patterson's departure finally makes it to The Isle of Thanet Gazunder. Quite why they get paid to print 'news' that I've already published two months earlier is beyond me. Kuh!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Signs Of The Times

Apologies, ECR fans, for the lengthy lacuna!

I've been having such good fun working with my new best chum Clive Anderson that time has fairly whizzed by!!! Then, of course, there was all the kerfuffle at Dreamland yesterday. Following that I fell in with Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Stacey, and we both decided to take a snoop around Albion House here in Ramsgate, which was open to all-comers today as part of the lovely Emma Irvine's initiative to turn it into a boutique hotel by next June!

Phew! It's a hard life being a sleb!!!!!

Any-old-hoo, poking around Albion House, where, as we know, the young Queen Victoria used to hang her bloomers out on the balcony to dry during her summer hols, I couldn't help noticing that there was still some evidence of its more recent incarnation as council offices. If you've ever wondered why the duffer at the end of the line doesn't appear to be taking your call about that dodgy lamp post very seriously, wonder no more!
And speaking of the Highways Department, here are some other signs I've spied in my recent travels around the Millionaire's Playground:
I particularly like the full stop after 'NO'. And the miniscule 'K' as a half-arsed attempt at rectifying the typo!

The next is pretty self-explanatory:
And it appears to have worked! Hurrah!!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Before They Were Famous

Hurrah! It's part deux of my brand new feature here on Fannit's favourite, fun-filled factsheet!!

All you have to do is guess the identity of this now-famous Fannit face to win a fantastic firkin of fizz!!!!!!*

Here's a clue - our goofy youth seems to be celebrating his tenth birthday in this pic, but he's now a high flyer. With Constable's Hay Wain in the background, you can tell he's a conservative kind of guy!! (Geddit???!!!!?!????!!!!!!)

Good luck!!!

(He looks exactly the same today, so this isn't much of a competition, is it? - Ed.)

*Prize will consist of one half bottle of Shampagne, courtesy of the Ramsgate Aldi. Terms and conditions apply. One winner only. No cash alternative. Competition and prize may be withdrawn by Richard Eastcliff Enterprises Ltd at any time and without notice. Closing date for entries: 1 January 3014.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pilots

Holy joysticks! You pop off oop north for a few days to film a couple of pilots for Dave (Wags Or Nags? and Celebrity Cake Mix), and what do you find when you get back? 100s of comments about the flippin' airport, that's what!

Oh well, the news today that Boris Island is going to be built just off the north Kent coast means there shouldn't be any more debate about the future of Manston. It hasn't got one!

That said, I expect the sight of a plan to build a six-runway lump on their doorstep will be giving the good people of Whitstable and Herne Bay a few sleepless nights. They'd better move to Ramsgate toute de suite before property prices plummet, it's going to sooooo quiet here in the Millionaires' Playground!

Click here for full story on BBC News website.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Wetherspoons Rank Outsiders

The result of my latest 7 day poll is in - and it's an overwhelming vote against Wetherspoons taking over the Royal Victoria Pavilion here on our lovely Ramsgate front! For the record, here's how you voted:

Question: Which future for the Royal Pavilion?

Wetherspoons Pub: 36% (35 votes)
Market And Community Space: 63% (60 votes)

So that's that, then. We should be getting our foodie market and community space any time soon! Hurrah!!!

Meanwhile, up on the grimmer west side of town, I see that the Project Motorhouse initiative to, er, create a community space in the old Motor Museum has been re-christened by the mandarins over in Margate. Riffling through the 240 pages of guff about 'Key Performance Indicators' and 'Summary Outturn Positions' that's being presented to TDC's cabinet next week, I came across this gem (click on the pic to big it up):
I know that nice, Australian, Dr Who lady who's spearheading Project Motorhouse won't mind me saying that she can be a bit gobby, but 'Project Motormouth' is going too far, I'd say!

Meanwhile a building has collapsed on Ramsgate High Street, not completely of its own accord, it has to be said. Oh well, nothing new there then.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Cock And Balls Story

If you're going to the Boredstares fireworks display tonight (see What's On In Thanet in my sidebar on the right for details), let's hope they have the good sense to follow Glasgow's lead and treat us to a display that aptly reflects the spirit of the area (see Fannit Flag, also in my sidebar on the right)!!

And don't forget, you've got until precisely 4.43am tomorrow to climb onto my big, 7 day poll on the future of Ramsgate's Royal Victoria Pavilion (and, er, that too is in my sidebar on the right). It's completely anonymous, and will no doubt be enormously influential on our beloved council's decision-making process over the future of the building.

And if you believe that cock and bull, you'll believe anything!! Be safe!!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Councillor's Pants On Fire?

Us millionaires are accustomed to things burning down on our lovely front. So it's no surprise that the current political conflagration over whether Ramsgate's listed Royal Victoria Pavilion should be a Wetherspoons or community-space-cum-market appears to be shedding more heat than light.

But from the emails I've seen bouncing back and forth this weekend, one thing does seem clear. Yet again Thanet Council, and one councillor in particular, have proved themselves either incompetent, past their sell-by date, or they really do believe that us simple Fannit folk are easily hoodwinked by smoke and mirrors.

Step forward Labour Deputy Leader Alan Poole. We've all seen Cllr Poole sniggering at the great unwashed at public meetings, and treating the people who vote for him and pay his expenses like chumps. He's been instrumental in fending off the justifiably gigantic public concern over the Pleasurama eyesore, and at times has seemed like Swiss Tony and his mysterious backers' only ally.

Now he's doing it again with the Pavilion.

The phrase he uses in an email he composed yesterday, from Queensland in Australia (where he is presumably fiddling on his iPad while Ramsgate burns), is particularly redolent of the, er, old way of doing things here on our septic isle. It includes the phrase: 'Wetherspoons... are the only game in town.' This, you will recall, is exactly the approach that TDC were severely reprimanded for by the District Auditor way back in 2002, when they fell for the old Whitbread trick vis-a-vis the Pleasurama site. You can read my report of the auditor's report here.

There's more.

Last month TDC issued this press release, stating: 'In June 2013, Cabinet members... agreed to extend the term of the lease of the building in order to generate the level of investment needed to get the building back into use. Cabinet agreed to open up the marketing of the site in order to offer an extended lease of over 100 years to a new potential leaseholder, with the council retaining the freehold of the property.'

Trouble is, there's been no 'marketing of the site'. There's diddly squat on CBRE's website (they're the people whose sign has been on the building for the best part of five years). Rank, who currently own the lease and whose gift it's therefore in, appear to have gone straight back to Wetherspoons with the 100 year promise, without passing 'go'. Yet Cllr Poole asserts in his email: 'We did advertise and Rank have advertised the vacancy but there were no takers with any money.'

There's even more.

It transpired on Friday, following a conversation between an interested party and Rank's Property Director Tony Robinson, that Rank offered to hand the lease back to TDC 'some time ago', thus releasing them (Rank) from any risk associated with assigning the lease to a third party. So TDC could have had full control of the building, and could have therefore held a public consultation over its future.

What makes this whole can of worms smell worse than a bad day in Margate Harbour is that there is now, it would seem, a viable alternative to Wetherspoons, but Poole and his cronies are spending our money on the last chance saloon without so much as a 'by your leave', or even troubling us with the facts.

If JDW get their 100 year lease, and the biggest pub in Britain turns out to be a non-starter or dead loss, we'll all be ashes long before anything can be done to reverse the decision. Talk about a bonfire of the insanities!!!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Ramsgate Off The Rails?

Cripes! I see there's yet more froth in the local rags this week about a putative 'Manston Parkway' station, and the upgrade of HS1 for the whisking of Londoners thereto.

Quite why Manston needs a 'Parkway', when there's already a perfectly good station just up the road at Ramsgate, lord alone knows. But supporters like Thanet North MP Sir Roger Wind guff on about it deliriously, as if it's the perfect panacea for our lacklustre landing strip.

A bunch of developers are now trumpeting it as 'the key to cutting journey times to and from London - making it (their development) more attractive to investors'. Cogent Land, who are proposing 800 homes on a 112 acre site east of the airport that they've dubbed 'Manston Green', say locating the station within their development would provide an 'important transport link to Westwood Cross, Manston Business Park and Discovery Park'.

This all might be a bit of a surprise to Ruddy-Faced Man and his cohorts at Kent County Council, who have proselytised a Cliffsend location for the 'Parkway'. A recent FOI request brought forth this curt response from the mandarins at Maidstone:

'Kent County Council (KCC) has not had contact with Cogent Land LLP regarding Thanet Parkway Station. The current stage of the development plan for the station is that the business case is being refreshed for the site that KCC originally identified for the station to the west of Cliffs End, while a watching brief is being kept over the Manston Green proposals.

In the event that a new station demonstrates a robust business case then KCC will follow the correct planning procedures in pursuing a planning application. To date, KCC Planning Applications Group has not been involved in this matter.'

Mind you, that's from the people who built you a whole load of traffic calming measures in Cliffsend, then unbuilt them a year later. So I suppose anything is possible.

Meanwhile a reader emails to say that the high speed trains are being discounted to 'all sorts of locations, including Margate and Broadstairs, but not Ramsgate'. She continues: 'Ramsgate has beautiful sandy beaches, a gorgeous Smeaton harbour, fabulous Georgian architecture and is 1hr 15mins from London. It knocks the socks off Whitstable and Deal in terms of beauty. How could anyone screw this up? Well 'they' have. And they continue to do so. We are now 3 places ahead of Margate on the deprivation index. How long before we are top? We need to fight.'

Looks like KCC and the Moonshine Band are already preparing us for the closure of Ramsgate Station, if you ask me!

Finally, talking of letting the train take the strain, reader Mike has emailed me a photo of what must certainly be the winning answer to putting off all those pesky trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Putting The Willies Up The Old Folk

Which in another context may well be termed gerontophilia. But no, this is about Halloween. My neighbour Betty, who's 76, finds all the trick-or-treating quite scary. So this year she's fashioned this rather esoteric pumpkin, or 'bumpkin' as I like to call it, in the hope that the sight of it in her front window will put the little blighters off. Good luck with that, Betty. My guess is that it may well attract something a bit scarier than a couple of 8 year olds dressed as vampires, but hey-ho.

Personally I don't mind the rascals, and have shipped in a box of Charbonnel et Walker Champagne Truffles especially for the occasion. Not only are they delicious, but they could well redirect the local oiks onto a more aspirational path!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who Wants To Be A Pavilionnaire?

I don't!

But after five years of neglect and dereliction, there now appears to be competition for the honour of owning the lease on the Royal Victoria Pavilion, one of the tryptic of tragic eyesores on Ramsgate's dilapidated front (the other two being Pleasurama and the old Motor Museum. Oh, and our deserted port! Er, that's four.)

I was the first to suggest, back in 2008, that Wetherspoons should take it over (click here to read the story), when Rank scarpered to their current shed out at Westwood Cross. And now it seems my plan is coming to fruitation, with The Duffers extending the lease to 100 years to accommodate J D and his crew.

But wait! Coming up the rear is the lovely Emma Doherty-Irvine, the owner of several successful seaside rental properties here in the Millionaires' Playground, which attract thousands of visitors to the town every year. Her plan is to use the Pav more as a community space with food stalls and a market, along the lines of London's thriving Borough Market.

Emma is a highly motivated, young, Irish architect who is currently in the early stages of turning Albion House, here on the East Cliff, into a boutique hotel. She seems to have the knowledge, drive, and, most importantly, access to the financial backing to make things happen (it'll take millions to tart the place up). She fronted the film for Ramsgate's bid to win a portion of the Portas Town Team money last year, take a look...


So which horse to back? The decision will be crucial for the future of Ramsgate. Lord knows, we don't want to end up with another Royal Sands on our hands! Look what happened there, with TDC backing Tiny Terry's lame Swiss horse as if it was the only nag in town!

I'm not knocking Wetherspoons, they seem to have a tremendous track record when it comes to tarting up old buildings, they have the sponds, and Frank Thorley could certainly do with some competition. But they only want two-thirds of the building, and as far as I know there's no mention of using the rest for community space. And what if they do a runner in ten years time, like Rank?

Then there's the question of whether we need more 'community space'? Surely that's what that nice Dr Who lady is proposing for the old Motor Museum up on the grimy West Cliff? Kuh! I dunno!

Anyway, make your own mind up. You can watch Emma's very thoughtful presentation by clicking here, and take a gawp at her Facebook page here. Then vote in my 7 day poll on the right!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Before They Were Famous

Yes ECR fans - it's the start of a brand new feature here on Fannit's favourite, fun-filled factsheet!!

All you have to do is guess the identity of this now-famous Fannit face to win a fantastic firkin of fizz!!!!!!*

Here's a clue - with his handsome, Gilbert O'Sullivan looks and brunette bouffon, he's a 'hair today, hair tomorrow' kind of chap!!!!! But I ain't gonna Labour the point!!! (Geddit???!!!!?!????!!!!!!)

Good luck!!!

*Prize will consist of one half bottle of Shampagne, courtesy of the Ramsgate Aldi. Terms and conditions apply. One winner only. No cash alternative. Competition and prize may be withdrawn by Richard Eastcliff Enterprises Ltd at any time and without notice. Closing date for entries: 1 January 3014.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Great Wall Comes Tumbling Down

Or, to purloin another musical metaphor, Hey Jude!

Well, only one tile went missing from the roof here at the old cliff top mansion during the Great Storm Of 2013, which I regard as a bit of a result. But a tour of the Millionaires' Playground in the Toyota Priapus this morning revealed that GO'D's own Great Wall failed to make it though the night, leaving the Pleasurama Eyesore looking more like The Great Hairy Mound Of Ramsgate.
A team of crack Cardy-ologists are already on the scene, making good with the wood, so hopefully the winner of the All-Comers Badly Painted Krankies Lookalikes Competition 2011 will be back in its rightful upright position soon!
I suspect a few other nosey bloggers have taken the opportunity to wander around the open site, checking the foundations of cliff walls etc, you'll probably be hearing from them shortly.

Meanwhile, around town, there seemed to be little damage apart from the odd fallen branch. Oh, and the beach appears to be in the process of reclaiming our lovely, but deserted, port!