Let me introduce you to comedy punk sensation Paul Carter, (in)famous for his tracks I Hate Work and F*** Off. Paul takes an alternative view of life but he always turns up for his gigs.
Last night his namesake Cllr. Paul Carter Leader of Kent County Council (KCC) let down a good crowd who had turned out at the Kent International Airport Consultative Committee (KIACC) meeting at Manston to hear him speak.
The audience as well as the committee were extremely angry that despite Paul Twyman, the Chair of KIACC having spent months negotiating with Cllr. Paul Carter's office to ensure a convenient date for Paul. Carter could be found, he had reneged on the commitment to attend.
Apparently, Paul Carter pulled out at the last minute due to a 're-arranged family event'. However, a message from his personal assistant seemed a less than courteous way to do this. Many considered he should have telephoned Paul Twyman as Chair of the meeting to apologise personally, and start rescheduling a future appearance.
In politics timing can be everything. Perhaps Cllr. Carter was concerned the public might object to his recent 8% allowance rise voted through at County Hall. Certainly that coming straight AFTER the elections breeds cynicism, and with politicians currently having very low public regard with the ongoing expenses stories, Paul Carter may have failed to recognise this.
As Chair, Paul Twyman, proposed a motion that Cllr. Carter be reported to KCC's Standards Committee for his failure to attend the statutory committee's meeting.
The motion was carried by a majority of the committee although Cllr. Latchford and Birchington Parish Councillor John Worrow didn't support the motion. Parish Councillor Worrow who seems to be shadowing Cllr. Latchford at all public events, watched carefully to see his Thanet District Council representative's reaction before voting. Dressed in a very similar fashion to Roger Latchford, he appeared to some to be a "mini-me" of his mentor.
Ros McIntyre from Broomfield gave an excellent presentation on why her research showed that aircraft flying into Manston didn't need to fly over Herne Bay, Hampton and Broomfield.
Is the public aware that KIA only has seven scheduled flights per week, six freight, one a holiday flight to Jersey? The freight flights bring in mainly produce from Kenya and other areas of Africa. Matt Clarke of Infratil may talk up the airport endlessly but it is clear that the parent company in these difficult times can't carry the loss Manston makes for ever.
Speakers from the floor included Steve Higgins from Stop Manston Expansion Group, Cllrs. Dave and Liz Green, Cllr. Gerry O'Donnell and many local residents not all of whom have concerns about noise or night flights. Several supported night flights and airport expansion for the jobs it might create. It was noted that the slide of the number of jobs actually in existence seemed to change to the next one before they could be totalled. Perhaps the presentation could be put into the public domain for those like myself who were not present?
One Birchington resident wanted lorries off the road but supported the airport and China Gateway for job-creation, perhaps unaware of the HGV traffic China Gateway could produce.
I was not present but am grateful to a number of those present for helping me compile this report. I will be happy to publish comments from anybody who was present who wishes to add further information.