Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Beau Diddley

Cripes! Look what's just plopped into my box! A letter from Dr Beau Webber, Roger Gale's Manston mouthpiece, to the new majority owners of the former airport!

Dr Beau is, er, far from congratulatory. In fact, if you ask me, his tone is slightly menacing. But that's just what you'd expect from a campaign that hasn't exactly held back from using personal threats by its henchmen against anyone who dares to utter an alternative view.

Anyhoo, take a gander and make up your own mind (click on the pics to big 'em). I couldn't possibly comment, considering the restraining order I'm under... but I'm sure you lot will! Pip pip!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Downed For A Pound (Again)

Or perhaps quite a few more pounds now, as the breaking news is that Annie Get Your Gloags has offloaded her 700 acres of prime development land at Manston, which she bought for a quid last year, to the people behind Discovery Park, the former Pfizer site. BBC News reports:

Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave, who are part of the consortium behind Discovery Park, Sandwich, have bought a majority stake for an undisclosed fee.

The partnership plans a 20-year, £1bn redevelopment of Manston, which it said would create more than 4,000 jobs.

I guess this won't stop Sir Roger Wind and his cohorts guffing on about a CPO to reinstate the airport, but to be honest I'm not sure it would come back to life now if you put 4m volts through it.

Personally I was always in favour of an airport on my doorstep from which I could be whisked off to Cannes at a moment's notice, but the sad truth is that it wouldn't have survived even with night flights, training flights, and knackered old cargo jumbos flying over 24/7, all of which were unacceptable to the majority of residents here in the old Millionaires' Playground. Anyway, I'm sure you'll have your own views, so do make them known by popping a comment in the suggestions box below. Pip pip!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jocks Away, Ginge!

Apols for the prolonged hiatus/lacuna/interregnum, but I've been north of the border campaigning for the 'Yes' camp. Hopefully all the hard work will come to fruitation when the result is announced tomorrow morning!

Actually it's given me an idea. How about starting an independence party for Fannit? After all, with a bit of, er, dredging, the Wantsum could be transformed into a half decent border once again. A shame, though, that we no longer have our own international airport, ferry port and power station. Well, shame that we don't have our own ferry port and power station. And, um, actually, I don't really miss the power station either.

Ho hum. Just a spot of blue sky thinking!!!

Update: Oh dear. Close, but no cigar. Never mind, I'm off to drown my sorrows with a dram or twelve of the good stuff. Pip pip! 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Thanet Council Gets New Chief Exec

I must say it's been a long time coming, but at last those duffers at Thanet Council have seen the light and put me in charge. Well, according to 'vertical search engine' ZoomInfo, that is. Which will probably come as a surprise to the incumbent, Dr Sue McGonigal.

It just goes to show that t'internet ain't perfect yet. For example, Google on my smart phone seems to think that Thanet is synonymous with Margate...
And as for the National Lottery, it thinks Ramsgate is outside the UK...
Which sort of drives a lorry through Farage's chances round here!

Meanwhile, I can only get French TV on Freeview. Call me old-fashioned, but a Gallic discussion about piles doesn't, er, sit too well at lunchtime when you're trying to munch your way through the old buffalo mozarella and sun dried tomato bruschetta!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Tunnel Vision

Lovely to see Ramsgate's newly reopened WW2 tunnels doing good business today. Hats off to everyone involved in the project! And over on the west side, the Bucket and Spade run, with its vintage vehicles, is also bringing in the crowds. Hurrah!

Imagine what the place would be like with a proper, joined up seafront that had attractions on the Pleasurama eyesore, a thriving Pavilion and a revamped Motor Museum. Brighton wouldn't get a look-in!

PS: I forgot to big up the folks involved in Ramsgate's Rainbow Steps (Augusta Stairs in old money), which are also a part of the buzz that is bringing the Millionaires' Playground back to life. Trebles all round!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

Has anyone else noticed the striking similarity between Ann Gloag, the Scottish millionairess who bought Manston Airport for a pound then closed it down, and Grayson Perry, the internationally acclaimed, cross-dressing artist? Are they by any chance related?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Annie Get Your Gloags

It can't have escaped your attention, dear reader, that there was an article in The Observer at the weekend questioning Ann Gloag's intentions over our dearly beloved former RAF London Kent Manston Margate Tracey Emin Chas 'n' Dave Maggie Thatcher Schipol Skyport Poundland International Airport.

You can read the Observer piece by clicking here.

The story was written by The Observer's Jamie Doward, who, I can reveal, lives in Whitstable. It seemed to be based on a single source - Cllr Simon Moores, friend of Sir Roger Gale and one of the island's high profile pro-Manston campaigners. Doward had previously written a positive piece about Simes being questioned under caution concerning the ongoing social media kerfuffle here on the island, so you can imagine why Simes would view the Observer hack as his new best chum.

And indeed, the Manston article did seem very pro-Manston, despite an unnamed source at the end (clearly Cllr Biggles) admitting that Thanet Council wouldn't have the dosh to take Ann Gloag all the way through the CPO process. It also perpetuated a number of Wiki-myths about the airport, such as it 'was designated as an emergency landing strip for the space shuttle', 'building homes on a graveyard has appalled some local people', not to mention leaving out the fact that it was losing £10K a day.

Would it be too much of a, er, flight of fancy to suggest that Doward's poorly researched article was motivated more by a desire to keep planes from flying over Whitstable if Boris Island was built? Perhaps, like the Save Manston Campaign which, I understand, has been hijacked by Rochester-based anti-Boris Island protesters, he needs to stop letting personal nimbyism get in the way of the facts. Kuh!

Meanwhile here's some more baloney about Manston by a fag-puffing dipsomaniac from West Kent who's been in the news recently...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hog Out!

As there's not much news to report today, here's a picture of some bikers in Margate for my erstwhile chum UKIP Tony. Be seeing you!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Election Fever!

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Political Editor Gerry Mander

Thanet is in the grip of Euro election fever! And with everything to play for, a host of eager candidates are pounding the doorsteps looking for your vote - and a ticket to ride the Brussels gravy train!

But who are they? What do they stand for? We've been to meet the area's election hopefuls...
President Jacques Chirac, 81 (UKIP). A surprising choice for UKIP, but Jacques doesn't see being French as a barrier to being elected on an anti-European ticket. 'I 'av retired from ze day job, and I need ze new challenge,' he told the Gazunder. 'Ze Sous East of Ongland is very close to France, I can be in my constituency at ze drop of ze chapeau.' And Jacques is promising to bring a taste of the continent to Thanet if he's elected. 'I will 'ave a stall in ze French markets selling ze pigs testicles. I 'ave ze stripey T shirt and everyzing!'Bill Watney, 34 (UKIP). Bill makes no bones about the love of his life - beer! 'It's chuffing lovely it is, magic, bloody magic. Bloody lovely,' he quipped. 'I love it, I really love it. Me? Can't get enough of it mate.' Asked about his position on drunken yobbery in the high streets at the weekends, Bill responded: 'Wankers the lot of them. I'd chuffing show them where to go. Soft as shite the lot of them. Wankers.'
Brittany Barker, 19 (UKIP). As if being a single mum to 33 little 'uns wasn't enough of a challenge, Brittany's now set her beady eyes on Europe. 'I'm fed up with Europe putting us single mums down,' she says. And she's got another bone to pick with the Eurocrats. 'Public lighting. There just aren't enough lamp posts.'
Barry Nutter, 62 (UKIP). Barry's claim to fame is that he once ate an entire suite of dining room furniture. 'I used to go in for these wacky eating competitions,' he told the Gazunder. 'I've also done a sofa, three armchairs and a bicycle.' He set up the Barry Nutter Party last year to highlight the derelict buildings in Cliftonville, but has since joined UKIP. 'There's an empty B&B in Dalby Square I've got my eye on. It should go down a treat with some HP Sauce!'
Wing Commander Professor Sir Rodney Joystick OBE, 87 (UKIP). Considered one of the UKIP 'new bloods', Sir Rodney was knighted for work on hush-hush government projects during WW2. Since then he's pursued a career in hairdressing. 'I've been persuaded to stand by fellow members of UKIP,' he says. 'Most of them are a lot older than me, and despite occasional help from their teenage Thai brides, they generally can't stand at all without the help of a Zimmer frame.' If elected, Sir Rodney has pledged to outlaw young people and nancy boys. 
(That's enough candidates - Ed.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cllr David Green, TDC Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said...

Just to set the record straight, neither Thanet District Council or the ruling Labour Group are in favour of a CPO of Manston Airport.

It has been suggested to us by a local MP, and therefore we feel obliged to examine it as a possibility. Until the airport closed, our position was one of support for the airport as a local employer but we were against environmentally damaging night flights. We note that of the three reasons given for closure - loss of BA freight contract, loss of Ryan Air contract and the Government review of south east airports - none of them involved night flights. We suggested extension of the enterprise zone to cover the airport as something Government could do to help stimulate activity. The airport is now closed, and in my opinion unlikely to open again. As the local planning authority we await notification of the owner's plans.

We have already received a suggestion for housing on the northern grass next to the airport. We received this long before talk of closure. This application will be judged along with many other suggestions for potential housing sites and may or may not form part of the next stage of the Local Plan Preferred Options draft that we will be consulting on shortly. That draft will suggest how best to meet our calculation that we will require sites for 11,500 houses over the next 20 years, only half of which can be found within the existing urban boundary.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Three In The Bed, And The Little One Said...

Unholy alliances! It seems that Thanet's two Tory MPs have now jumped into bed with our beloved council's new Labour leader to form a threesome aimed at compulsorily purchasing defunct Manston airport!

Quite how Sir Roger Wind managed to seduce lovely Laura and, er, Labour Iris into taking part in his fantasy, lord knows! Although as you can see from my montage, he was a bit of a charmer back in the day (1943). It's also beyond the wit of any ordinary person to imagine why a Thatchersaurus like Sir Rog is willing to pour oodles and squoodles of public money into what is not much more than a hole in the ground.

And as usual, poor old Windy has got his facts wrong. There is no planning permission for an airport at Manston. Never has been. Unless Iris, who was apparently on the blower to the site's owner last night, has offered to deliver one in the post.

Furthermore, as I understand it, a CPO has to be demonstrably in the public interest. There is no public interest issue at stake here. None of the higher-ups that Windy has been appealing to have shown any desire to keep Manston as an airport in the 'public interest'. Au contraire, they have tried to educate him about the commercial realities of 21st century Britain, rather than the Dambusters dream world that exists between his ears. Ann Gloag's commercial lawyers would make mincemeat of a CPO, and charge us poor council taxpayers a few Bentleys for the pleasure of doing so.

As for the failed bidders having 'every chance of succeeding', well that's just plain laughable. A consortium composed of asset-strippers, people who have failed twice before to make a go of Manston, and some chap the High Court has labelled a dodgy geezer, offering a miniscule percentage of what the place is worth as a development site, does not constitute a viable alternative.

Anyways, here's Windy's statement in full...

North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, is supporting  calls for the compulsory purchase, by Thanet District Council, of Manston Airport.

Speaking following a weekend of discussions with local and national political leaders Sir Roger has said:

'Laura Sandys and I are of the view, which I have reason to understand  is shared by the new Labour Leadership of Thanet District Council and by the Conservative Opposition, that with the closure of the airfield the best way to secure a new future for aviation at Manston will be for a Compulsory Purchase Order to be placed upon the site which has, at present, planning consent only as an airport. This is detailed in the very recent draft of the local plan so there should be little difficulty in establishing existing use and thus for the local authority to acquire and then perhaps lease out or sell on the site at a sensible price.

'Clearly the Council will wish to prepare its own study of options based upon legal advice but the opinion that we have been offered is that a bid to place a CPO on the airfield would succeed and that it could be readily funded. If that is so then it ought to be possible to remove the airport from the hands of those who clearly have other objectives and to restore Manston to its rightful place as part of our airport capacity in the South East.

'From the work that has already been done we have good reason to believe that those who wish to re-open the airport and have the capacity to do so have every chance of succeeding where others have seemingly chosen to fail and we hope and expect that TDC`s senior officers, acting on instructions from elected Members, will take a very robust line.

We have to dispel the impression given, arising from discussions that apparently took place with TDC officers earlier in the year, that housing is a “done deal” and that anything other than airport use is on the agenda. As Iris Johnston has made publicly clear, it is not'.

Friday, May 16, 2014

'Dark Forces' At Work In Thanet

Cripes! All that Manston mullarkey has somewhat distracted me from the comings and goings at Thanet Duffer Central this week!

Our esteemed leader, Coiffeured Clive, has gone after posting the longest resignation letter in the history of resignation letters. So in comes Irish Johnston, the Margate Mauler who shoots prisoners first, then takes them without asking questions. Er, sorry, not sure where I was going with that. 

The fallout has seen the departure of Poole the Fool from the TDC cabinet (he'll be the chap who patronised you if you were a protester at any of the Pleasurama eyesore meetings), and Michelle Fenner, her of 'Whoops! We've handed £1.5m to the live animal exporters!' fame.

That's not including the ongoing kerfuffle over the council's Chief Executive Sue McGonigal allegedly being involved in some scandal over planning, but I'll leave that aside for now. 

Any-old-how, a missive has plopped into the ECR mailbox purporting to emanate from Ms Fenner herself. When it comes to local politics, you have to realise I'm a self-confessed bear of very little brain. So I'll just reprint Fenner's farewell in full - unexpurgated and unedited - and let you make of it what you will. My only comment being that, in casting the Swivel-Eyed Loons (©2013 - D Cameron) as 'The Forces of Darkness', she may be confusing OBE-Wodge Kenobi with Darth Vader!

I read in the press some comments referring to dark forces in relation to my work and Cllr. Poole’s work in Clive Hart’s Cabinet.

Our actions as Cabinet members were not the result of dark forces in relation to 
  • the Live animal export issue and our decision to impose a temporary ban to protect the staff at the port
  • The motion I tabled against the bedroom tax and its disastrous effects on Thanet residents 
  • The motion on equal marriage, in line with
  • The renewed Equalities policy promoting fairness in the Council and in the community at large
  • The procurement Strategy supportive of local suppliers
  • At the General Purposes Committee we acted in support of the Chief Executive’s rights against complaints 
We did this because we used factual evidence and we were guided by our sense of social justice and our integrity

I wish for all this good work to continue because the alternative is unthinkable.

Indeed there are dark forces at work

They reside with the people who use this platform to undermine the democratic process and they reside with UKIP

With this council, we have a forum to speak out as councillors and also with the 2 parliamentary candidates for MEP and the UK Parliament.

I urge my colleagues on the other side and my friends and comrades on this side to turn their fire on and speak out against the policies that would hurt badly the residents of Thanet whom we all represent against the UKIP pledges to get rid of employment laws which protect staff, which provide paid annual leave and maternity leave, and to replace them with policies based on prejudice, ignorance and discrimination.

UKIP and their acolytes from the National Front and their ideology ARE THE DARK FORCES. And we must all stand against them, not try and befriend them.

I will certainly continue to do so.

Cllr. Johnston decided not to include me in her Cabinet as she thought that I would not be able to provide the 24/7 availability that she thinks is required, so I will continue my work to promote equality and social justice in my own way.

This is why I am minded to vote in favour of Cllr. Johnston as Leader of Thanet District Council.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Downed For A Pound

Thanks to reader Samantha for this snap of 'Hanton' airport, at Bekonscot Model Village in Beaconsfield.

It's clearly meant to be our very own RAF London Kent Manston Margate Tracey Emin Chas 'n' Dave Maggie Thatcher Schipol Skyport Poundland International Airport, as its planes fly directly over some Ramsgate houses...
Sadly both the airport and Ramsgate's Model Village are now history, the former ruined by what some might describe as corporate vandalism, the latter by actual vandals of the bovver-booted kind.

History might conclude that the decline of both was the development of an appetite by the British public for holidays in the sun, jetting off to the likes of Majorca and Benidorm from conveniently placed airports (for the majority) like Gatwick and Heathrow. In which case, we've only got ourselves to blame.

But that's history. And yes, we do seem to have plenty of history here in Thanet. Not only that, but a history of trying to bring history back to life - Dreamland, the Ramsgate Tunnels, Ramsgate Motor Museum and so on. Despite being a commercial disaster, the airport too has a proud history as an RAF base, and it's only fitting that the fly-boys should today be doing their best to wave it off in an appropriately disciplined manner, without the hysterical wailing and gnashing of teeth that has mostly accompanied the closure.

Who knows? Like the Save Dreamlanders, the Save Manstoners may one day, in the dim and distant future, get their airport back as an historic attraction. Albeit, most likely, on a much reduced scale.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

Has anyone else noticed the striking similarity between Iris Johnston, the new leader of Thanet Council, and Deirdre Barlow, the long-standing character in Coronation Street? Are they by any chance related?
Well, thanks for that Samantha. I guess with the council looking increasingly like a bad hair day at the Rovers Return, the similarity may be more than superficial!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Ramsgate For A Tenner!

Hurrah! At last the iniquity of hipsters from the smog paying only a tenner for a trip to Margate, whilst being charged full whack to enjoy the delights of the sunnier south side of the Ile de Thanet, has been ended by Southeastern Trains!

So if any of you groovy Hoxtonites are planning to spend the upcoming bank holiday weekend in the Millionaires' Playground, you'll now have enough change left to buy a decent lunch at one of our fine dining destinations, and still have some left over for a deposit on a house! Plus you can experience the delights of being whizzed down here in just over an hour from St Pancras, in the heart of North Londonshire, on the superduper high speed trains!

Boredstares has also been included in the bank holiday bonanza, but frankly most of the shops there are boarded up these days, so best give that a miss. And quite why us Thanetians still have to pay the best part of a bullseye for the privilege of quick escape out of here is beyond me.

Update: What Southeastern don't tell you, of course, is that you can only buy a day return for a tenner. And the offer is only valid until the 26th of May. Kuh!

Click here for more details of Southeastern £10 tickets.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

When Dreamland Was The Turner

Moving on from all the Manston mullarkey, I'm indebted to one of my lovely readers for flagging up this newsreel from the 1960s. It shows the then recently installed 'Spectrum Psychedelic Fun Palace' at Dreamland, complete with porn-style wah-wah 'with it' music, and bewildered posh bloke voicing the commentary.

Nowadays, of course, it's the kind of thing you're more likely to find in the Turner Contemporary. Indeed, the fun palace was the brainchild of an artist, Keith Albarn, none other than the pater of Blur Brit-Popper Damon Albarn.

The newsreel's part of British Pathé's current efforts to put all their footage online, and there are more than enough old films of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate on their website to while away a wet Thursday in Thanet.

Of course, if you want to go one step further and recreate the full 60s experience, you could always roll yourself a massive doobie and go for a wander around the Turner Contemporary!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Just How Naive Is Roger Gale?

In just a couple of hours' time, Thanet North's Tory MP Sir Roger Gale will step up to the parliamentary plate for an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Manston Airport.

Whether there'll be more than one man and a dog listening is less than certain. In fact Sir Rodge may find himself talking to thin air, as I'm not sure David Blunkett counts saving money pit airports as one of his priorities.

Looking increasingly like Neville Chamberlain waving around worthless bits of paper whilst standing next to a plane, Roger's latest mutterings during the 'packed' meeting of 300 airport supporters at Margate's Winter Gardens on Saturday saw him make this statement: 'Half an hour ago, I held in my hand a letter from a significant potential investor, who I am satisfied - and I may be naive - has the money to make the bid.'

The key word there is 'naive'. Yes, Roger, you may well be naive, if your unwitting advocacy on behalf of a bunch of Thanet VAT fraudsters who have just been thrown into prison for a total of 27 years is anything to go by.

For this, dear reader, is where it gets interesting. In 2006 Sir Wind was standing up in parliament asking this question, according to Hansard: 'To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when HM Revenue and Customs expect to be in a position to repay the sums owing to Amber Communications Management Ltd. of Margate.'

To which Dawn Primarola, then Paymaster General, responded: 'Section 18 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 does not permit HM Revenue and Customs to disclose information relating to the tax affairs of individual taxpayers.'

Fast forward to 2014, and it appears that Amber Communications Management Ltd. of Margate was nothing other than a vehicle for a colossal VAT carousel fraud based around mobile phones, which ended up costing the public purse some £27m. It was such a whopper that HMRC even gave the investigation its own handle - 'Operation Chert'. You can read the full report in GoMoNews by clicking here.

Now of course nobody in their right legal mind, least of all little old me, is suggesting that Windy was in cahoots with these fraudsters. Far from it. Everyone agrees that Roger is a fab constituency MP, and he was probably just doing what he thought was best for his constituents.

But without a due diligence check or two? P..l...eeeeeeeeze! He's been an MP around here for 30 years, you would have at least thought he might have wondered why he hadn't heard of this amazing, hi-tech Thanet business that was turning over millions and was 'owed' significant sums by HMRC, wouldn't you?

Meanwhile Ann Gloag, the airport's Scottish squillionaire owner, is apparently so on tippy-toes to receive Roger's next piece of paper that she's taken leave in Africa to spend time with her charities. Nuff said.

Click here to vote on Save Manston blog against overturning the night flight ban

Friday, April 25, 2014

Terminal Decline

Holy airports! With just 24 hours to go until the big 'Save Manston' meeting over on the seedier north side of the island, news that he's a 'confirmed guest' appears to have come as, well, news to Councillor Biggles, the island's self-styled resident expert on all things aviation.

In response to a story in The Gazunder alleging that he'd be attending along with usual suspects Sir Roger Gale MP and Laura Sandys MP, Simes sent this rather sharp tweet back to the hacks: 'I have not confirmed anything other than I am working on Saturday!!'

In all likelihood he'll be up in his teeny-tiny plane, hand on joystick, tugging a banner over Old Trafford. Which seems to be his regular gig these days.

Hey-ho. Support for the 'Save Manston' campaign has hardly set the tarmac on fire. I've seen only one 'Keep Calm and Save Manston' poster displayed on the island (in Westgate, natch!), and the mini-mob in the photo seems to be composed of a few old gippers and some embarrassed children who've been dragged along by their grandparents. Do they really think they're going to fill the Winter Gardens? I expect some of you will tell me tomorrow!

Meanwhile it's been revealed via one of those Freedom of Information thingies that Kent County Council couldn't be arsed to even look at the legals when the current owner, Scottish squillionaire Ann Gloag, bought the place for a quid off Infratil last year. Neither, indeed, did KCC's Tory leader Paul Carter, aka Sir Paul Ruddyfaced-Man. And they're not even bovvered about casting their glass eye over any of Sir Rog's current 'negotiations'. Here's what KCC's FOI response says:

I can confirm that neither Mr Paul Carter, nor any officer of Kent County Council (KCC) holds any information relating to the Heads of Terms or the sale by Infratil of Manston Airport. Also, neither Mr Carter nor any officers of KCC were they shown any Heads of Terms either by the buyer or the seller or any third party. Furthermore, KCC holds no information on how many and which businesses who asked for the closure of the airport were prevented from taking it over and in response to your third question relating to negotiations reported in the media, KCC holds no information that you requested. KCC has not been and is not a party to any of these negotiations.

Which is quite surprising really, given the kerfuffle KCC and Sir PR-M have made about Manston. What with their talk about a new railway station, planes 'flying straight out to sea', 'longest runway in Britain', and the like. Not to mention all the lovely taxpayers' lolly they've lavished on it over the years.

The words 'washing', 'their' and 'hands of it' spring to mind. You do have to wonder whether they were just using the place as a stalking horse to chase off Boris Island, thus keeping their lovely, northwest Kent cottages nice and peaceful at night.

Needless to say, Paul Carter, like Biggles, is not a 'confirmed guest' for tomorrow's meeting. Happy landings!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dim Tim Sin

Holy green curries! Poor old Tim Garbutt - yes, he of the constant spamming of the comments on these jottings - has got himself in a bit of a Twitter pickle with top restaurant critic Jay Rayner!

It seems from a twatspat that's been twittering on over the past 24 hours that 'Mayor' Tim took on The Observer's foodie fanatic over a review of his Surin Thai restaurant in Ramsgate's Harbour Street. JR objected to his continuing use of the review, which is now something like a decade old.

But as we know from bitter experience, Tim is like a dog with a bone. Here's a slightly reheated and rehashed taste of the Twitter exchange:

Tim: Surin is 'one of the best Thai meals I have ever eaten', Jay Rayner, The Observer and BBC Food Critic. Ad inf.

Jay: Stop quoting (my review). It's out of date.... Every time you quote me I'll call you out for dishonesty.

Tim: Do not threaten.... How rude and childish... I'll contact the Observer to disown you... We can quote it as we wish.

Jay: Which bit do you not understand? I haven't been (to your restaurant) in ten years so I can't stand by that review.

Tim: Your ego is in overdrive.... Just stop the bullying.

Kevin Harris: (Who he? - Ed.) Best to avoid Surin it seems, the proprietor can't control himself.

Jay: I have no idea whether Surin is any good. But I'm sure that (Tim) is what my people call a bit of a schmuck... I don't expect people to try and promote through something a decade old.

Tim: After this nasty bullying you (Jay) are not welcome.

Jay: That will be the next quote Surin use: 'A Jay Rayner-free restaurant since 2014' :)

Tim: Your nastiness just silly.

Jay: I'm going to sit in the corner and think about what I've done.

Tim: It was a great piece of writing. Shame it's soured a bit.

Jay: TEN YEARS AGO. And do stop snivelling. It's unattractive.

Tim: Annoyed/ashamed of you. Expect better.

Jay: Restaurants change. Chefs lose their touch.

Tim: Bullyboy reviewer banned.

Jay: Does this mean you'll stop quoting my review? I mean, if you now hate me so much and I'm not welcome how can my review be valid...?... After this I can say I have no interest whatsoever in the restaurant you represent. Well done.

In my opinion, poor old Tim has just committed culinary hurry-curry there. My threat to come round and give the Surin an 'honest review' in response to him spamming my blog would now seem a trifle redundant!

Still, I don't expect we'll have to wait long for his perspective on it! Pip pip!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Eastern Eggs

It's a four day weekend coming up! Hurrah! Hopefully we'll get lots of lovely visitors cramming down here to the far eastern tip of Kent to enjoy all the superduper stuff we've got going on, as well, of course, as our gorgeous seascape, architecture, nosh and booze.

To that end, I've updated my What's On In Thanet guide in the sidebar on the right. If you're on a smartphone, you'll have to click on 'view web version' to see that. To be frank it's not as comprehensive as it once was, given that the Visit Thanet website has improved over the years and is now pretty kushti. So apols if your particular shindig has been left out.

Also in my sidebar is my Recommended Nosheries column. This, er, needs a bit of updating, especially the Margate and Broadstairs sections.

I'll be tooling around the towns over the Easter break to sample the delights of the island's eateries, and reporting back. So restaurant owners beware! Prime cuts only please - no fingers in pies!! And if any of you lovely readers have any grubby experiences to report, do drop me a line in the comments section below.

As ever, I like to promote Ramsgate over Margate, especially given all the public dosh that's been spent attracting tourists to the north side at the expense of the south side over the past few years. So I'm pleased to announce that the Millionaires' Playground can now boast a new museum and gallery to equal the Turnip Contemporary! Step forward The Micro Museum, which boasts a collection of computers, electronics and video games from the 1970s, 80s and 90s. What with that and our Pinball Museum, all we need now is a glass eye collection and the tourists will be flocking!

Haha, no, only kidding. Ramsgate is a great place to visit, and this will be the first Easter for a century during which the happy holidaymakers won't be deafened by knackered old jumbos dive-bombing their barnets.

Still, the powers-that-be have done their best to put the mockers on it all, what with giving us concrete piles and now a burst main poo-drain down on the port, near, appropriately enough, the fart farms. It's not the first, and almost certainly not the last time Southern Water has treated us to this shower of proverbial during the summer season. Crimminy!

Right! I'm off to stuff some carbs in ahead of the Planet Thanet Beer Festival, which kicks off tomorrow. It'll be the ninth year in a row that I've sampled the delights of 180 real ales, then suffered the torture of beer-a-rear for the following week. To be honest, it's not been the same since it moved from Thanet's premier town to Margate Winter Gardens after the first year, but with Wetherspoons now looking like the faves to revamp Ramsgate's Royal Pavilion who knows, next year we could be welcoming the beardy beer imbibers back - to the biggest pub in Britain! Pip pip!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Smokin' Future For Manston?

The results of my big poll on the future of Manston are in! And the winner is.... well, it's a dead heat actually.

Asked what you thought RAF London Kent Manston Etc Airport should become now that its days as a runway are rapidly coming to a close, 22% of you went for 'leisure', while another 22% of you opted for a '700 acre cannabis farm'. Hmm. I suppose the two aren't incompatible. And when you add in the 15% who wanted the airport to be returned to agriculture, I think we have a pretty darn good consensus!

That should please Councillor Ian Driver, our appropriately Green local representative who is campaigning for a cannabis caff to open up on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula. I mean, cripes! With 700 acres of the stuff on his doorstep, he could open up a cannabis superstore!! Here are the results in full:

Question: What future for Manston?

700 acre cannabis farm: 22% (32 votes)
Leisure: 22% (32 votes)
Renewable energy: 16% (23 votes)
Agriculture: 15% (22 votes)
Housing: 12% (17 votes)
Industry: 10% (14 votes)

Personally I would have voted for renewable energy, which came in third. But then, what do I know? Well, what I do know is that it will almost certainly become a mammoth housing estate, which came in second to last.

Meanwhile airport champion Sir Roger Guff has been meeting with airport owner Annie Get Your Gloags today in a bid to save the place. Initial reports are that Sir Rodge has said there is no offer on the table. Believe me, Rodge, there's not only no offer, there's no table, no chairs, not even a room to put them in.

Still, one cloud hanging over the future of the airport as a non-airport, which may in the end prove to be the ace up Roger's hole, is the very well-founded rumour amongst the fly boys that there are unexploded pipe bombs on the site, left over from the war. But then again, if they've been landing planes on them for decades, I can't see it's much of an argument really. Anyone for a housing boom?!?! (Geddit??!!!!!??!?!?!)

Monday, April 14, 2014


You know me, I like a good moan. But the weather's been so clement recently that I've been mainly whipping out my old throbber and thrashing it about a bit!

That said, I have been taking the odd snap on the way, so perhaps there's something to complain about on my camera roll...
Here's the crane taking the strain at that new development down on Ramsgate front. You know, what's it called, Watery Voles I think. Anyhow, they seem to be progressing at a pace. Much faster than that lot at the Pleasurama site ever did!

In fact there's building work going on all over the Millionaires' Playground, with developers finding no end of things to convert into luxury apartments. Hurrah! Of course, to feed the building boom you need the raw materials, which is probably why the mountains of hard core and gravel at the Bretts depot down at the port is growing like topsy...
Off to soggy Sandwich after that, and - Holy Noahs! Just like Russell Crowe, they seem to be building an Ark...
Not surprising after the recent inundations down there. Actually it's a £22m flood defence scheme, which means the Quay car park will be mostly hors de combat until some time in 2015.

Whistable next, and I was glad I'd donned my Rolex Oyster (Whitstable Edition) for the annual Toy Run hog-out...
Then later that day, back in Ramsgate, I happened to be trundling past The Goose (The Sovereign in, er, old money) on Harbour Street, which has been tarted up by the new owners...
Let's hope they've paid particular attention to the nasty khazis in there, otherwise their golden egg may end up cooked!

So, um, not a lot to whinge about really. Oh, apart from my brief flirtation with the eastern tip of the island, where I encountered this monstrosity...
A house covered in some kind of puke-inducing pink cladding! It's the architectural equivalent of a spray tan, and, of course can only be in Broadstairs, which generally requires four inches of bronzer and a pair of gold-plated hair straighteners to look even vaguely presentable. No wonder it's known around these parts as 'Boredstares'! Huh!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Fokker Off

Holy joysticks! With the last KLM flight out of Manston departing this morning, I see the airline has vowed never to return to our septic isle!

In an exclusive interview with Air Transport World, KLM's Cityhopper MD Boet Kreiken said: 'We can’t leave the booking window open if they can’t guarantee operations after April 9. We can’t do business in a shaky environment. That’s not possible, not for the company, or our customers.'

Which will come as a, er, blow to all those Thanetians who were talking about hopping over to Amsterdam to enjoy the city's coffee shops. Actually, thinking about it, none of the ones I came across ever seemed to have the sponds to fund such a trip. Oh well, they'll have to hope that Councillor Motormouth's plan to open a cannabis cafe in Thanet comes to fruitation!

The KLM boss added: 'Now it is game over. We will redeploy the aircraft. We are gone. We can’t flip-flop in and out all the time. That is not the way we work.'

Cargolux have already relocated to Stansted, and Newmarket Holidays are eyeing up Lydd, so it's really looking like there'll be no happy landings for RAFMMTECNDMTSSPI Airport. Which is a bit of a shame, as I'll have to find somewhere else to park my Lear jet now.

Still, per ardua ad astra, as the fly boys say! Which is why I've popped one of my 7 day polls in the column on the right. What do you think the future of Manston should be? Pip pip!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Latchford's Legacy

Well, it's the end of another news week, fellow millionaires!

And as the whole of Ramsgate waits on tenterhooks to learn the outcome of last night's Duffer cabinet meeting to decide the fate of our Royal Pavilion (will it be Wetherspoons?), it's got me thinking about the devastation that has been visited on our lovely seafront over the past decade or so. One name keeps springing to mind - Latchford!

For it was none other than Colonel Sir Roger Latchford OBE (pictured above in happier days with his former chum John Worrow) who, in his capacity as Regeneration Supremo and Chief Ezekiel Toady under the previous Tory administration, presided over most of the crap decisions that have blighted the Millionaires' Playground, and continue to do so.

Pleasurama, for example. Wasn't it The Colonel who was the chief flag waver for SFP and Tiny Terry's Royal Sands development? And look what a pile of steaming whatsit that turned out to be! I understand the Duffers' legal eagles are even now going through the paperwork with an electron microscope to try and discover why The OBE-ed One insisted there was no 'long stop' date built into the contract. I suspect, though, they won't find the Holy Grail of a get-out clause. The Pavilion's woes also stem back to his time in the driving seat, when his hands were clearly on the steering wheel that was up Ezekiel's backside.

(By the way, where is our Sandy? He must be out of chokey by now. Has anyone spotted him? I'm offering a crisp tenner to the first person who emails me a recent photo of the ex-con!)

Of course, Latchford is now head of the Kent contingent of the Purple (Foreign) People Eater Party. So he can now presumably lord it up in Maidstone, without having to get his hands mucky with all this Ramsgate mullarkey. In fact I'm told that he's ordered his Ramsgate contingent to desist from the previous protocol of regular chinwags with the local great and good. That's democracy folks!

Anyway, the Dom is on ice and I've got some of that nice duqqa dip waiting. Before I go, I'd urge you to sign this petition. No, silly! It's not the one to save the airport. It's the one to save that skatepark in Cliftonville that the Duffers dug up last week! Thus demonstrating that, no matter which side of the island or what colour banner is flying above Cecil Square, the Duffers will always be, er, duffers!


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Big Deal Has Its Chips

Given all the hoo-ha about Margate's GB Pizza setting up shop in that London, it's about time to point out that Ramsgate is also doing its bit to export good grub to the rest of the nation!

The Bulgarian owner of Sunrise Fish and Chips here in the Millionaires' Playground tells me he's about to open another outlet down the road in Deal. That pretty much makes him a net exporter, given that anything beyond the Wantsum is viewed by most locals as suspiciously foreign.

Sunrise takes the accolade for best fish and chips in Ramsgate, in my humble proverbial. Lovely, freshly cooked food, humungous portions, and all served up with a smile and a small bill. What more could a Thanetian wish for!!??!

I dunno. They come over here, cooking good food, opening up successful businesses, employing people, contributing to the local economy. Tell Farage to put that in his Woodbine and smoke it!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Unhappy Landings

In Memoriam 
RAF London Kent Manston
Margate Tracey Emin
Chas 'n' Dave Maggie Thatcher
Schipol Skyport Poundland
International Airport

So farewell
Then, RAF London
Kent Manston
Margate Tracey Emin
Chas 'n' Dave
Maggie Thatcher
Schipol Skyport
International Airport.

You had the
Longest runway
In Britain
According to
Roger Gale MP.

And planes flew
'Straight out to sea'
According to
Paul Carter
Leader of
Kent County Council.

None of which
Was true.

You were supposed
To create
'10,000 jobs'.
That wasn't true either.

Now you have gone
To that great
Airport in the sky.

E. C. Richard (29)

Click here to read more about airport consortium pulling out on KM website.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Let's Talk About Quex, Baby!

Phew! What an exhausting week!

One positive story that caught the old glass eye, however, was the news that the Powell-Cotton Museum at our lovely Quex Park has made it through to the final five in the Guardian's 2014 Museums Heritage Awards. That's out of 350 museums across the UK!

So if stuffed tigers is your thing, do tool along to the Grauniad's website and vote - you can do that by clicking here. You've got until midnight on Friday 11 April.

I must say that, although the exhibits out there are a bit bizarre, the garden is gorgeous. Plus my housekeeper Natasha and I have enjoyed some jolly good grub at the Quex Barn eatery, which I can thoroughly recommend!

Right! It's Friday night, and I'm off down the Croissette for a bottle of Dom. Do pop back here next week for all the Thanet stories the others don't print, including a thumbs up and a thumbs down for our beloved council, more revelations about the Pleasurama eyesore, the Ramsgate business that's about to open up abroad, and why UKIP are running scared in the Millionaires' Playground! Pip pip!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Manston Owner Backs Brownfield Village Plan

Yes folks - it's Manston Week in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! And here's yet another clue to the future of our lovely airport. Its minted owner, Ann Gloag, is behind plans to build homes, shops, offices and a restaurant on a brownfield site that used to employ 100s of people.

That's got your attention, hasn't it?!?!!

Well, they don't call me Tricky Dicky for nothing. I'll have to come clean and say that the site isn't the airport, it's where an old sausage factory used to be, in Scotland. Apparently the Dutch owners pulled out their sausages (it also used to make the 'the UK's best-selling haggis') last year, after losing £79,000 a day, making 1700 people redundant.

According to the Scottish Herald, Airport Annie believes her new scheme could create 200 jobs. Naturally enough, the local council and the Scottish Government look set to bend over backwards, and forwards, to help her.

Thing is, the sausage site is only 18 acres. Just imagine what she could do with 700!

Meanwhile Norf Fannit Tory, Sir Roger Wind MP, has revealed that a letter offering to buy Manston will be sent to Annie Get Your Gloags today, from his mystery 'consortium'. That'll be the consortium about which even he admits 'I don't even know whether they have the resources to buy the airport'. Or, indeed, whether Annie Get Your Housing Estate wants to sell.

So, er, good luck with that, Rodge!

Click here to read the full story in the Scottish Herald.
Click here to smell more Wind in the Kent Messenger.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Unspoken Truth About Manston

I've been holding back on this because it was just a niggle until today, and it could prove rather incendiary.

But at last somebody on the Save Manston Campaign has said what they're really afraid of, should the airport close - 'bleedin immigrants'.

Yes folks, we have a long and proud tradition of xenophobia on our septic isle, with 'Hating Foreigners' somewhere near the top of many people's favourite pastimes. Now a leading pro-Manstoner has posted this on the Broadstairs! Facebook page:

'Who the hell wants 12,000 new homes in thanet.......what you gonna fill them with bleedin immigrants ..........SAVE MANSTON.'

Now don't get me wrong. This person clearly feels very strongly about the airport, and I'm most certainly not accusing her of racism or anything like. But I get a definite feeling that, when people use the argument of last defence about the airport closure, it generally comes out as something along the lines of: 'Well, what you you put there, a sink estate?'  The implication being that such an estate would be full of the brown, black, eastern European or otherwise non-British, non-middle class, non-Tory voting dregs of society, possibly bussed in from London.

As if the white, Tory, British middle class haven't already produced enough of their own dregs. Many of whom are on daily display in Thanet. Kuh!

Update: To their complete credit, the lovely people at the Broadstairs! Facebook page have now removed this woman from their group and deleted all trace of her odious comments. Before she was booted out, I told her I was going to blog about it, and she intimated that as she was 'loud and proud' I should go ahead. In which case I have no compunction about naming and shaming her, so step forward Annette Hearn-Gibson!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Game Over For Manston?

Yikes! Despite Sir Roger's Wind's best efforts to talk the airport up with rumours of a mystery 'consortium', it seems that existing users are voting with their feet and heading swiftly for the emergency exits.

The only scheduled passenger services, operated by KLM, are unavailable on the airline's website as of Wednesday 9th April. And from next Monday, Saudia Cargo will no longer be running its twice weekly round trips between Manston, Kenya and Saudi Arabia, according to the Kent Messenger. Cargolux are also rumoured to be tanking up and taking off for pastures new in the very near future.

Meanwhile, another airport business has been overheard in one of the local pubs discussing its imminent and permanent departure from Manston.

So Sir Rodge had better hurry up and ride to the rescue, otherwise there won't be anything worth saving. Mind you, if he had an ounce of business sense, he would have known he was backing a loser 15 years ago!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Buchanan Skips Town?

One of my lovely readers has sent in this pic and asks:

'Would this be evidence of Charles 'Smiler' Buchanan, the boss of Manston Airport, clearing out his office? I think we should be told.'

Well, er, I'm not sure about that. A quick check of the old telephone number there reveals that it's Scottish. Although, of course, the airport's Scottish owner may well have sent him his P45 in a bloody great orange metal envelope!

Meanwhile Norf Fannit Tory MP Sir Roger Wind appears to be gallumphing to the rescue, saying he has interest from a buyer, backed by a consortium, who wants to take over the airport. That may well be because he's told them Manston has the 4th longest runway in the UK (it hasn't, it's only the 14th longest), and that 'planes fly straight out to sea' (they don't, they go over a town of 40,000 people and 2,500 listed buildings called Ramsgate).

If the only hope for Manston is the guff emanating from Roger Gale's nether regions, then sadly, in all likelihood, it's doomed.

Click here to read more about Roger's 'consortium' in Kent Messenger.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday Night Scobie

Moving on from all the doom and gloom surrounding this week's news about the airport, it may not have escaped your attention that today is Saturday! And what better way to celebrate the weekend than with another Scobie Dobie Doh pic from one of my lovely readers?

So, get your glad rags on, get down to the disco, and boogie!

Funny, though. I've not seen any comment yet from Scobes Minor about Manston, despite the fact that he is Thanet South's Labour candidate for next year's general election. Perhaps he'll, er, take off once he knows which way the wind is blowing! Geddit!!!????!?!!???!!!

Meanwhile Ramsgate's feisty Labour Mayor (-ess?) Kim Gibson has firmly pinned her colours to the mast with this comment on my Facebook page:

Time for facts. It could never work CAA was not going to give out any more flight paths due to capacity being filled by other airports. Secondly the catchment area does not support numbers that would use the airport. Thirdly if a miracle happened and they could be granted permission to fly more than 8 million passengers a year a public safety zone would have to come into force. This is a 4m isosceles triangle which means you cannot congregate within the area over 3 hours. No development. No schools etc. ie you could have a golf course but not a clubhouse. Thirdly at the sister airport Prestwick at its height it supported 300 jobs. Now we could have ikea plus other shops similar to blue water (£40.00 disappears down the M2) some residential maybe a centre park/haven incorporating a swimming pool, ice rink, funfair. All this could employ so many more than the airport ever could. People could come here and this would be the hub to visit Canterbury, Broadstairs etc etc people from up North could holiday and be an hour away from a day trip to London and visit all of Kent's wonderful villages, history again etc as there is so much. The airport was never going to be the regeneration of Thanet but a leisure/retail/residential will be.

So it doesn't look as if we'll be seeing Our Kim and Ann Gloag in a cat fight any time soon. Which is a pity, as I think they would have been pretty well matched.

Oh dear. We seem to have gone back to the airport again. Never mind, think of it as a training loop!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Yep - that's what the headline in today's Isle of Thanet Gazunder screams, complete with photo of multi-millionaire Manston owner Ann Gloag, who bought the place for a pound last November.

Inside there's lots of Facebook comment from deep thinking local builders, bakers and taxi drivers about how bad the closure of the airport will be for our septic isle. Well, if you want to fly to Thailand to get pissed and turn into a lobster, and aren't prepared to schlep the hour or so to a proper airport, I guess it is a bit of a shame.

But, y'know, I think they've got the wrong person. It's not Ann Gloag who has betrayed us poor, beknighted Thanetians. All she's done is make a tough business decision.

Surely it's the endless procession of local councillors, MPs, hacks and other duffers who have all lined up over the years to pay lip service to the idea of a thriving, international airport on their doorstep, without even stopping to think or find out whether it was ever going to be a goer, who have betrayed us?

Sad to say, it was never going to be a goer. So isn't it about time to finally stop attempting to breath life into this dead dog? It's been dead for 15 years now. It's practically rotted away.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ramsgate Prices Soar As Airport Plummets

By Isle of Thanet Gazunder Property Editor Sammy Detached

House prices in Ramsgate are surging following the news that Manston Airport is to close.

Estate agents throughout the town have reported a 'tidal wave' of interest in Ramsgate's Georgian and Victorian properties now that the blight of all-night flights, cargo planes carrying rotten bananas and endless training loops by knackered old jumbos has been lifted.

One agent, who didn't want to be named, said: 'Whilst it's obviously bad news for the half a dozen people who worked at Manston, there is an upside. We're getting property inquiries from as far away as Scotland from buyers who have heard the news and are now actively seeking to relocate in our fantastic seaside town.'

One local property expert told the Gazunder that he now expects well-presented homes to double or even triple in value over the next five years. 'It's going to be a new gold rush,' he said, adding: 'I've always maintained that Ramsgate would take off once the take-offs stopped taking off, if you see what I mean.'

Meanwhile redundant airport workers are being urged to 'get on their bikes' and look for work at one of the twelve other airports in the south east. Said one recruitment specialist: 'If you want to work at an airport, stop moaning and move to where there is one.'

That's enough property news - Ed.