Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ferrygate - Sweeping It Under The Carpet

Fittingly for a local authority that was until comparatively recently led by a bent carpet salesman, Thanet's councillors have now successfully swept the scandal of TDC's £3.3m secret subsidy to a foreign ferry firm under the very carpets that the aforementioned bent carpet salesman no doubt sold them in the first place.

Both the Oversight and Scrutiny Panel on Tuesday night, and an extraordinary council meeting yesterday, effectively voted to approve Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer Sue McGonigal's clandestine, multi-million pound cover-up, a commercial bollock-dropping on such a monumental scale that, if she had been working anywhere else, she would have been immediately escorted out the door with only her Miss Piggy rubber and a few paper clips as compensation.

What isn't surprising is that the right wing bears-of-very-little-brain seem to think this is the best outcome, even though you'd expect the idea of their council tax being used to prop up a bunch of Slovenian matelots to be anathema to them. You'd think they'd be arguing that McGonigal has acted like a small town version of Gordon Brown, pumping good money after bad, gifting £3.3m of public funds in unsecured loans, and causing an extended period of austerity to be brought in by, er, the Labour administration. (I think that's the point at which that particular hypothetical Tory argument breaks down.)

It's slightly more surprising that the left wingers seem compliant with this extraordinary state of affairs, but then I'm maybe crediting them with more brain cells than they actually possess. Only the independents appear to have properly got to grips with this fiasco, and understood its full implications.

What seems utterly ludicrous is that the two main Thanet bloggers who have experience of running businesses themselves seem to think there's nothing wrong with a debtor being allowed to rack up such a huge sum in unpaid bills. 'It's money we would never have had in the first place,' goes the argument. But then, if it was only 'funny money', why is £1m being slashed from the housing budget? Why didn't McGonigal use her business and commercial acumen to pull the plug before it all got so completely out of control? Well, the answer to that last one is that she evidently has none.

I dunno. For an island that's not short of whelk stalls, there seem to be very few people knocking about who would be qualified to run one.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ask Sister Assumpta - Ferrygate Special

Yes, she's back by popular demand! Our holy mother of all agony aunts, Sister Assumpta, tackles your public funding problems!

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am the Labour Leader of a local authority in Kent which has just lost £3.3m of our council taxpayers' money secretly betting on a bankrupt ferry firm. I am now having to cut public services drastically in order to make up the shortfall. Should I resign? C.

Sister Assumpta writes: Yer a shower o'bastards an' make no mistake! I wouldn't ride yer fer practice! Jaysus, yer never saw a cow shit and didn't long fer a pancake! Now feck off before I feckin' reef yer, yer great toolin' gobshite!

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am the former Tory Leader of a local authority in Kent which has just lost £3.3m of our council taxpayers' money secretly betting on a bankrupt ferry firm. It was my administration which initially approved this risky action, resulting in drastic public service cuts in order to make up the shortfall. Should I resign? B.

Sister Assumpta writes: Yer great hairy gimp! Why don't yer go and blow it out yer arse, yer givin' me the runs! Yer've got a neck like a camel jockey's bum, yer big suckie whacker! Now feck off, or I'll put yer up against the wall an' give yer a puck in the gob!

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am the Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer of a local authority in Kent which has just lost £3.3m of our council taxpayers' money secretly betting on a bankrupt ferry firm. It was me that recommended this course of action to both the former Tory administration and the more recent Labour administration. I now regret this course of action, and am also deeply ashamed at failing in my duty of public care by continuing to authorise debt write-offs to this exorbitant and ludicrous amount. Things are now so bad that I am having to instigate drastic public service cuts and recoup the money by robbing Peter to pay Paul. I am so embarrassed and upset. Should I resign? S.

Sister Assumpta writes: Feck me, yer've truly gone and put the kibosh on it, moochin' around fer money, yer mentaller! Yer've made such a feckin' bags of it, I'm surprised the taxpayers haven't eaten the head off yer! Sure, yer drawers are the size of Cork an' all! Go stuff a jammy rag up yer hole, yer thick manky gimp!

That's enough Sister Assumpta - Ed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Ferrygate - Why Did They Pay The Ferry Man?

Today's extensive Ferrygate coverage in the Gazunder sees Thanet Council's Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal, make this ludicrous statement: 'The council takes its role to protect public funds incredibly seriously and will do all it can to recover the money owed.'

Really? Then how come she didn't manage to 'protect' the £3.3m in the first place??!!

In every other business I know of, it's drilled into the employees that they must treat the company's money as if it is their own. Thanet Council is the only outfit I've come across where the money is actually their own (it comes from their taxes as well as ours), but the employees spend it like water!

Anyhoo, one of my regular readers has emailed me this list of very pertinent questions. Comments on the usual postcard please!

The front page of the Isle of Thanet Gazette today quotes the Chief Executive of Thanet Council as saying: 'The council entered into an agreement which would see the recovery of the debt in full by 2014.' Then on Page 6 the paper writes:

'The debt accrued over two years following a secret agreement which allowed the firm to defer port fees.'

Where is this agreement? Why has it even now not been published? Why was it done in secret? What other secret agreements has the incompetent executive of the Council entered into that, like skeletons, are waiting to fall out of the community chest? There needs to be full and immediate public disclosure.

Hasn't the Council's lawyer and Head of Legal Harvey Patterson heard of the expression 'not worth the paper it is written on?' Why did he and the executive who is ultimately responsible for protecting the public's funds, namely the Council's Section 151 Officer Sue McGonigal, bind local tax payers in an agreement with TransEuropa when common sense, let alone due diligence, if they'd undertook any, would have told them the other party was offering no security for the debt already incurred, let alone the debt to come? They knew full well Transeuropa had no assets at all in the UK, and were on notice that Transeuropa were most likely already insolvent! 

Such an agreement was only going to benefit Transeuropa, and be detrimental to Council taxpayers. The 'sub-prime' lending that took place prior to the global financial crash looks cautious by comparison. When will these executives pay the price for squandering public funds?

It is no defense to claim there are other budgets available within the Council to cover these massive losses. The reserves of the council, or money somehow conjured up from the failed budgeting of the council (which is also under their control), are not there for the executives to play secret games of poker with.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ferrygate - Where Does The Buck Stop?

The sorry saga of how Thanet District Council handed over £3.3m of taxpayers' funds to a failing ferry company continues to rumble on. Let's recap the story so far, and then make some conclusions:
  • At some point in early 2011, TransEuropa Ferries started getting into trouble and were having difficulties paying their bills at the Port of Ramsgate (owned by TDC). This could not have come as a surprise, as TEF had been running down their services for years, and despite TDC spending £700,000 dredging the port for a new, larger ferry (the Ostend Spirit), the new service had failed to attract more than a few months' income. The £700,000 spent on dredging, which had been done without adequate financial safeguards in place to recoup the money from TEF, plus around £70K of bad debts owed by TEF, were written off. That's on top of the £3.3m that TDC have 'just' discovered.
  • According to TDC, around March 2011, at the same time the council effectively removed the port accountant who had successfully handled the port's financial and commercial affairs for 27 years and had raised concerns about the slowing up in payments by TransEuropa through late 2010 and early 2011, some bright spark at the then Tory-led administration decided that, rather than chasing the invoices, they would allow more debts to stack up in the forlorn hope that TEF would come good.
  • TDC's then Head of Regeneration, Brian White (who held the port in his portfolio), is reported as having demonstrated little concern about the mounting problems, and having few solutions as to where to source another major shipping line to replace the cash cow that had previously been TEF.
  • Not long after, the aforementioned Brian White was given a golden handshake of around £150,000 (including pension arrangements) and waved on his merry way. Chief Executive Richard Samuel, who also presided over this state of affairs, scarpered too, with £173K in his pocket, leaving the current Chief Exec Sue McGonigal to land the six figure job (and keep her finance officer responsibilities) after a 20 minute interview.
  • By the time the new Labour administration came into power at TDC in December 2011, TEF's debts were already standing at a staggering £1.7m. Alarmingly, there seems to be no mention of this sum in TDC's accounts for that year. Nonetheless, the Labour administration were, we assume, informed of the situation, and were complicit in the plan to allow TEF to carry on not paying their bills.
  • At the beginning of 2012, The Ramsgate Port and Marina Cabinet Advisory Group, which was set up in late 2010 to advise on the commercial development of the port, decided that neither it nor anybody else at TDC had the competence to advise on the commercial development of the port, and would therefore spend £20K of public money hiring consultants to do it for them. At which point it also decided that all future meetings would be held in secret.
  • Last month TEF finally went totally tits up, and this week we learn that the total cost to TDC is £3.3m.
  • Not only that, but the Belgians are holding all the debt recovery cards. Where are the ferries? In Ostend.
Now, thinking about this disaster, if TDC were a company, heads would roll, knighthoods would be revoked, and pensions halved. The trouble is, as the Tories set up this silly scheme, and Labour then continued it, they can both conveniently blame each other until the proverbials come home.

But what about the permanent TDC officers, TDC's employees paid for by our council tax, on stupendous stipends of £100K a year or more, who have been overseeing this mess all along? Sue McGonigal has been the Section 151 officer (or Chief Financial Officer in private sector speak), all the way through this ferry farrago. Local government guidelines state: 'The S151 Officer owes a personal duty of care to local taxpayers in managing Council resources on their behalf. In discharging this responsibility the S151 Officer must balance the needs and interests of both current and future taxpayers' and 'the responsibilities of the S151 Officer cannot be delegated'.

Doesn't that mean the buck must truly, and legally, stop with her? Could she not be prosecuted for dereliction of duty? Don't EU rules forbid public subsidies to ferry companies? And doesn't allowing unpaid debts to rack up to £3.3m before imagining that a company might be insolvent show a woeful lack of business awareness, to say the very least? She should do the decent thing and leave without passing go, without collecting a six figure payoff, and never darken our doors again.

In an interview with the Gazunder in June 2011, Ms McGonigal said: 'The flip side of risk is opportunity - and if you are overly risk-averse then you miss out on opportunity.' True. But if you take too many risks, and lose £3.3m of public money, I would suggest that the flip side is you miss out on the opportunity of keeping your job.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ferrygate - Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

Has anyone else noticed the striking similarity between the £3m Thanet Council was hoping to get for the freehold of the Pleasurama eyesore in Ramsgate, and the £3.3m it has lost in the Ferrygate debacle? Talk about funny money!

Haha! Well, Samantha, if you are saying that the council's book-cooker woke up on Monday morning this week, saw that the three million sovs would be unforthcoming from the 'developers' of the Pleasurama site, and realised that, as the £3.3m ferry hole it was intended to fill would therefore remain unplugged she had better fess up, you may have a point.

I'll get my accountant Cyril on it straight away!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ferrygate - Inside The Secret TDC Committee

Hands up who's heard of Thanet Council's 'Ramsgate Port and Marina Cabinet Advisory Group'? I certainly hadn't. But apparently it does exactly what it says on the tin.

The minutes had, until a year ago, been published on TDC's website. Then the powers-that-be decided that what they were discussing was way too confidential for the likes of you and me, the people who actually pay their wages, to be privy to.

Councillors who are or were on the committee, according to those minutes that have been published, include Bayford, Campbell, Gideon, Huxley, Roberts and Watkins, with occasional appearances from D Green and Poole, and TDC officers such as Maritime Operations Manager and Harbour Master Rob Brown, and Corporate and Regulatory Services Manager Harvey Patterson.

Now, what is interesting is that on 26th January 2012, the last meeting where the minutes were published, the committee decided to spend a £20K EU grant that had to be used up by June 2012 on hiring a consultant to see what could be done to attract new business to the port. And here's the clincher. The reason? Because 'no-one within TDC was expert enough in this field'.

So, by their own admission, by the beginning of 2012, when TransEuropa's debts were already piling up, no-one at TDC was competent enough to run a maritime business in such a way that alternative shipping lines could be attracted to take up the slack. Un-flipping-believable!

Of course, we'll never know if a consultant was indeed hired, or if anything was done to attract any alternative, viable business. Because the minutes end with this killer punch: 'AOB: The Ramsgate Port and Marina Cabinet Advisory Group agreed that all future meetings would be private.'


Following my exclusive revelation last month that TransEuropa Ferries had sunk without trace, we have now been presented with the bill by Thanet Council - a whopping £3.3m!

Yes folks, that's 3,300,000 of your English pounds pissed up the swanny, without so much as a 'by your leave'. That's your council tax, that's my council tax, that's money that should have been going towards funding decent public services in Thanet, not propping up a failing foreign business.

So what did we get for our mulah? The answer to that has to be: 'Chuff-all'. I've seen councillors on other blogs justify their actions by saying TEF was a major business that couldn't be allowed to fail. Really? Are they actually suggesting that it was a worthwhile exercise to clandestinely syphon off our money into a Slovenian firm, owned by a couple of Maltese barristers, for the sake of protecting, what, ten jobs down at the port? That's £330,000 per job!

Someone, somewhere has dropped a massive bollock. Or worse, there's been enough council collusion and corruption going on to make even a crook like Sandy Ezekiel blush. Who ordered this unlawful secret subsidy? Councillors? Council officers? Why aren't they in jail too? Wasn't Brian White, the former Head of Regeneration and Planning, in charge down there at the time? Why did he get a £70,000 pay-off for this, er, sterling work? And why was the port accountant, the only person with the bottle, experience and nouse to flag up this monumental misappropriation of public funds, suddenly sacked in 2011 and told that all the number crunching would, in future, be done at Duffer Central in Cecil Square?

In order to pay for this ferry fiasco, we are now told that, amongst other things, £1m will be taken from something called the 'New Homes Bonus', a government grant aimed at helping local authorities build affordable homes and bring long-term empty properties back into use. So to line a few pockets, people are going to lose out on much-needed accommodation. Kuh!

The whole thing stinks worse than Margate Harbour when the tide's out. I think Eric Pickles should be told!

Meanwhile, in other Ramsgate seafront news, TDC have concluded that something needs to be done about the Pleasurama eyesore, and that they're now not entirely happy with the decade and a half of dereliction they've been promoting down there. Call me a cynic, but releasing this 'good news' straight after their Ferrygate revelations strikes me as a rather obvious attempt at media manipulation.

And to be honest, it ain't all good news either, as it's going to cost us council taxpayers several more millions in legal fees to undo that particular mess. You couldn't make it up, could you?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wheelie Bins On Fire, Rollin' Down The Road

Apologies to the late, great Bob Dylan (He's not dead - Ed.) for appropriating his lyrics, but there appears to have been a spate of what can only be described as 'arson about' across the island recently.

Not that earner burners and the like are unknown here in Fannit. But having torched all the big stuff (Dreamland, Pleasurama, most of Margate), the local ne'er-do-wells have now turned their attention to the slightly more trivial pursuit of popping the odd Bryant and May into our wheelie bins.

Showing a modicum of talent for the job, they are targeting the recycling bins, being, as they are, full of combustibles such as paper and plastic. Even the local fules know it's hard to set light to cat turds, soiled nappies, and used condoms.

Regular contributor Steve has put an FOI request into the boys in brown at Kent Fire and Rescue, and come up with some startling figures. In the three-and-a-bit years since records began, there have been 74 wheelie bin fires on the Ile de Thanet, that's around two per month. Out of those 74, almost a third (26) have been in Central Harbour ward, down here by our lovely Ramsgate Royal Harbour. Thus confirming my theory that the closer to large amounts of water something gets, the more likely it is to burst into flames.

I guess it's all in the name of 'fun'. But, as they say, it's all fun and games until someone gets burnt to death.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Election Night Special - Secret Footage Found!

Holy Blue Rinsers! My spies have just uncovered footage from the Tory bunker of the night UKIP wiped the floor with them here in the tip of Kent.

As might be expected, the language is a little, er, ripe. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Roger In The Local Economy

Here's a picture from Google Street View of an ordinary house in Birchington. Well, actually, it's not any old house. It's 10, Sea View Road, home of Field Marshal Sir Roger Latchford OBE, one of the new crop of seven old UKIP county councillors voted in at the recent KCC elections. In fact he's just been elevated to the lofty position of UKIP's Chief of Staff for the whole of Kent.

Now, there's no privacy issue here in my publishing this picture. The former Tory and TDC Deputy Duffer's address is on all the election material, and his house is there on Street View for all to see. So nothing contentious there.

That photo was taken in 2009. Take a look, however, at this more recent picture of Sir Roger's drive, which was taken from the public footpath by one of my spies in the last week...

Notice anything different? Yes, that's right, he's had a lovely new, brick block paving job done! Nothing contentious there either, you'd think. Ah, but thereby hangs a tale. Apparently a couple of neighbours also had their drives resurfaced recently, one by a father and son team from Birchington, the other by a company based in Sandwich. Sir Rodge, on the other hand, chose a pair of itinerant Irish lads to do his, which hardly chimes in with UKIP's bluster about local jobs for local people, methinks.

To be fair to the OBEed one (Why? - Ed.), it's hardly the makings of, er, Drivewaygate. And anyway, I'm told the workmen pulled the proverbial over his eyes by claiming responsibility for the neighbours' improvements. Which just makes him a silly old brick, if you ask me.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Ballot Dancing

Readers with long memories will remember that we once had a Conservative councillor on the Ile de Thanet who actually did kill a kitten. Straight up. No bullshit.

Anyhoo, following last week's UKIP love-in, today sees another two elections down in the tip of Kent. Both are by-.

One is here in Ramsgate and has been called because of independent motormouth Ian 'Pile' Driver's flouncing out of our teeny-tiny council. The list of candidates makes for grim reading. Three I've never heard of, and two who I have heard of and would never vote for. I'll leave you to ponder who's who in that particular zoo.

The other ballot is over on the grubby, north side of the island. It follows the conviction and jailing of our erstwhile, inglorious Tory council leader Sandy 'Beach' Ezekiel for corruption. The only name I recognise on the list is the lovely Louise Oldfield, tireless Margate campaigner and owner of the excellent Reading Rooms, that splendid boutique B&B on Hawley Square. She made the 80+ mile round trip to Maidstone Crown Court every day of Ezekiel's nine day trial to tweet and blog us the latest. So my vote, if I had one, would be for her.

Oh well. Hey-ho. Whoever I recommend, it's pretty much a dead cert that we'll end up with another couple of purple people eaters to add to the ever-growing list!

Update: I was right (but then when am I not?!). Two more to add to the UKIP list. Kuh!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

Has anyone noticed the similarity between The Great Wall of Ramsgate, as pictured in a new paperback called The English Seaside by Peter Williams, and published by English Heritage...

The Great Wall of Ramsgate

And this, The Great Wall of Ramsgate as depicted in your blog on April 27....

Are they by any chance related?

Hmmm. Interesting question, Samantha. I see English Heritage states in its blurb for the book: 'For too long the English seaside has suffered from a bad press, accused of being tatty, cold, grey and windswept, but Peter Williams finds the seaside to be warm-hearted and welcoming, about having fun, riding the rides and seeing the shows.'

Well, the rides went long ago, the cold and grey has got colder and greyer, the tatty tattier, and as for the being windswept, I see we're being warned about stonking great gusts tomorrow! Pip pip!

'Aving A Larf

Up here in the Smoke (London) there are plenty of places where you can go and have a jolly old chortle. But a chum of mine is trying to write a piece about stand-up and open mic comedy on the Ile de Thanet. Can anyone point him in the right direction?

I've told him about the regular, trouser-wetting guffaws to be had in the council chamber, but he didn't seem that impressed!

And talking of larfs, here's a trailer for next week's Mary Queen of The High Street show on Margate....

Mary Queen Of The High Street trailer on YouTube

Sunday, May 05, 2013

UKIP If You Want To...

...but I'm off to somewhere that doesn't smell of old farts and fascist socks. Be seeing you!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Thumbs Up For Dreamland Scheme

This just in here at the Big Blog newsroom - The Duffers have been given the final go-ahead for the compulsory purchase of the Dreamland site over in The Smoke (Margate).

The decision, by High Court Judge Phillip Sycamore, paves the way for a £12m 'heritage theme park' (knackered old rides to you and me), with top designer Wayne Hemingway at the helm.

On balance it's probably good news for the Arsonists' Playground, but I can't help wondering when Thanet Council are going to start spending tens of millions on our derelict seafront here in Ramsgate. Is it because they are based in Margate? I think we should be told!

Click here for the full story on the KOS website.

Whatever Floats Your Vote

Yippee! It's voting day!! Although an early straw poll of the usual pissed up and superannuated knob-knuckles dragging themselves along the street outside the old cliff top mansion resulted in a variety of reactions to my simple question: 'Morning! Election?', ranging from blank stares to the downright pugilistic.

Of course, as this is a vote for Kent County Council, and as KCC is currently bluer than my old showbiz chum Roy 'Chubby' Brown, the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Much of the county appears to be in the grips of a perpetual, true blue voodoo session in the desperate hope of bringing The Witch back from her grave to save/ruin the nation again.

Consequently Ruddy-Faced Man can comfortably look forward to another 1000 years of lording it over his Kentish reich from his Maidstone bunker, methinks. As you may be able to tell, I don't like Tories.

The real question is, how should I vote if I want to make any kind of difference here in Ramsgate?

UKIP? Well, on the Ile de Thanet at least, they seem to consist of disaffected Tories who are so right wing they think Thatcher was a commie plant. Or just outright, former Nazis. Strange how so many flabby, old decrepit men living with young, pneumatic, Thai brides can still object to foreigners swamping their country without a hint of irony, isn't it?

Greens? No, I already have a Toyota Priapus, thanks.

Yellows? Nope. Can't forgive them for becoming Bum-Faced Cameron's new bum chums.

Independents? Nobody can have failed to notice Ian 'Pile' (take that whichever way you like) Driver. He's been accused of being a motormouth and a 'career politician'. Er, hello! That's what most politicians are, ne c'est pas? I'd rather have someone representing me who was vocal and local, and spent his entire time gobbing off about Pleasurama, live exports, our derelict seafront, pooey beaches, and council corruption than the usual, mealy-mouthed, bent and pissed 'yes' men we have around here. And I admire his big, hairy, northern balls in publishing 'confidential' council documents that we all have a right to see. It's our money they're pissing away, after all. In fact, he reminds me a little bit of me (except I'm in no way northern, I hasten to add).

Two minor problems though. He isn't local. He lives in Boredstares, which is barely forgivable. And he has some cockamamie plan to declare UDI from Kent and Europe. But then that will never happen.

Then there's the lovely Liz Green, our local Labour lass. Not only does she actually live in the heart of Ramsgate, she also fights tirelessly (albeit quietly) on the town's behalf. She's helped me out of Duffer-induced pickles on many occasions. Oh, and have I mentioned she's lovely, too?

So I guess those latter two will get my vote when I stroll down to the jolly old polling station later. But who knows? As ever, I might always change my mind as I walk in!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Top Place Has Its Chips

Well, as they say on Football Focus, there's confirmation. One of Ramsgate's top nosheries has closed its doors for good.

Reader Steve has just sent me this snap of the front door of Eddie Gilbert's in King Street. The sign says:

Dear Customers,

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that, after more than 5 years serving the Ramsgate community, Eddie Gilbert's has now ceased trading.

We thank you for your custom.

What a shame. I had heard rumours that, since the tragic and untimely death of its owner Johnny a year or so ago, things had been tricky. Or perhaps it's just the current, crappy economy that did for them. What with the ferries gorn too, it's been a bad week for the Millionaires' Playground. Or, to put it another way, maybe some of the millions being spent on regenerating Margate should now be diverted to the sunny south of the island!

Bugger. You know what this also means? Bloody KFC for tea! Grrrrr!

Election Candidates In The Hot Seat

By Isle of Thanet Gazunder Political Editor Gerry Mander

Yes folks, it's election time again! Unless you're dead, living on a different planet, or a crack-crazed, alcoholic meth whore (You've just described 99% of the Thanet population - Ed.), you're probably already caught up in the excitement leading to polling day tomorrow! Will Kent County Council swing to the left? Or will it swing even further to the right and end up bashing into Essex? Or will it split down the middle like some kind of geo-political Terry's Chocolate Orange?

Here at your super, soaraway Gazunder we've gone to the ends of the earth and left no stone unturned to bring you the inside track on all the candidates by asking them to email us something which we've printed verbatim. So it's make your mind up time, Thanet!


Candidates: Adolf Hilter, Ron Vibbentrop OBE

Policies: More things to do for the young people would be nice, wouldn't it? To that end we have already established UKIP Youth to help indoctrinate our precious young people with right thinking. Also, we're not racialists, but there aren't 'arf a lot of foreigners around here, aren't there? And while we're at it, you can't visit a public convenience these days without some homosexualist waving their great, big, hairy todger at you. Wouldn't it be great if all these people were rounded up and shot?

Candidates: Nigel Bentley, Prunella Learjet-Joystick

Policies: A vote for UKIP is a wasted vote. We will do everything UKIP are pledging and more. As the national government we have already reduced the appalling deficit we inherited from the filthy socialists by 0.00003 percent through a stringent policy of sacking doctors, nurses, policemen, and firemen. We have steered the country into three recessions, whilst encouraging rich people like bankers to do what they do best - run off with huge bags of fifty pound notes marked 'Swag'. A vote for us is a vote for common sense.


Candidates: Tony Van Driver, Harry Bleachedanus

Policies: Er, can we get back to you on that? Oh, yes, I've just been reminded that we're basically the Greens, but differ from them in that we hate Labour and love airports. We're BFFs with that nice Mr Cameron although we resent him a bit because he is proper posh, and we only went to a grammar school. Is that enough policies?


Candidates: Dr Mick Beard, Amy Hempsweater

Policies: We say 'NO' to giant Tescos, polluting factories, cars, lorries, ferries, planes, trains, Chinese imports, meat, leather, personal hygiene and gas central heating. We say 'YES' to wind farms, mung beans, bicycles, yurts, composting toilets, smelly feet and anything made out of, or rolled up with, hemp.


Candidates: Sophie Ballbreaker, Jason Middlemanagement

Policies: Three years of coalition government have left our county in an appalling state. With every street light switched off, it is now becoming almost impossible to drive one's Toyota Prius to Waitrose in the evenings. And why there isn't a John Lewis closer than Bluewater, lord knows. Let alone the poor miners. With a Labour controlled Thanet Council and a Labour controlled Ramsgate Town Council, we are working hard to ensure that every Thanet citizen receives their basic human rights of a latte and a mozzarella and sundried tomato ciabatta - all day, every day. Let alone the poor nurses.


Candidates: Reginald Loonytoon, Ronnie Motormouth, 'Mad' Maggie Maddingley

Policies: WHAT DO WE WANT? TIME TRAVEL! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER! MAGGIE MAGGIE MAGGIE - OUT, OUT, OUT! KINNOCK, KINNOCK, KINNOCK - IN, IN, IN! CECIL, CECIL, CECIL - IN, OUT, IN, OUT! Also, please take your pick from the following: more renewables, less renewables, no live exports, more live exports, less Pleasurama development, more Pleasurama development, less town councils, more town councils, no filming council meetings, filming council meetings. (That's enough policies - Ed.)