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!