Saturday, 24 April 2010

Steve Ladyman's Record of Achievement

Knocking on doors with Steve Ladyman is always a pleasure. So many people know him, know things he has done for them or their friends. You frequently have people say I normally vote for X Party but I know Steve so I will be voting Labour. He has done more for South Thanet than any other MP before. As this video shows, he has a record to be proud of.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Rest In Peace Audrey Pickering

I am sorry to hear that Audrey Pickering a great servant to the people of Minster has died. As I wrote when she resigned from Thanet District Council just over a year ago

"Audrey had a strong personal vote in Minster for all the work she had carried out over many years. She was first elected as a Labour councillor in 1974, and became an Independent councillor in 1999. Audrey was a Minster parish councillor for over 35 years!"

Many people will be paying tribute to her life, her dedication to Minster and her public service at Audrey's funeral which will be at 1pm on Thursday 22nd April at Minster Church. When Audrey stood down from Thanet District Council many fulsome tributes were made. I know this will again sadly be the case at the Council meeting this coming Thursday evening. My condolences to her family.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Crampton Tower Museum A Growing Success

Today I visited Crampton Tower Museum in Broadstairs for their Hobbies Exhibition weekend. I would recommend a visit on Sunday which is the last day of exhibition. Crampton are fortunate to have many volunteers, almost 40 I was told, most of whom actively particpate.

There is an excellent website (whoever has put this together deserves particular thanks). It has a photo gallery which comprehensively covers the site far better than my snaps do.

The soldiers paraded, shot and showed off their historic artefacts. I do like the image of them with Broadstairs train station behind which just about shows one of the High Speed 1 trains at the station. Ancient and modern together.

Children could have rides on the electric railway, and there is more track ready for installation to extend the length of rides. There was also the opportunity to play with the several large model train sets.

Talking to several of the enthusiastic volunteers a quite success story unfolded. From 3 days a week now the museum opens 7 days a week for half the year, and there is now winter weekend opening too. Numbers of visitors grow each year. There is disappointment that Thanet Council uses Crampton Tower as part of its advertising strategy, but does not support the museum as it could do.

With the sad news that Ramsgate Maritime Museum may now have been finally closed by Thanet's Conservatives, assets like Crampton Tower Museum need a secure future. I'll make the pont again that a long term viable tourist strategy should be based on year round attractions like Ramsgate Maritime Museum and Crampton Tower Museum. One off 'flash in the pan' events are not sustainable, nor are they an efficient use of Council taxpayers money.

The exhibition also offers the chance to play with scalextric cars so many a childhood can be recreated. Crampton Tower is a little treasure, long may it continue growing its reputation.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Eddie Izzard - Brilliant Britain

I've been an Eddie Izzard fan for a long time and his campaigning during last year's European elections was impressive. Here's his take on the current election.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Laura Sandys breaking the rules again

Last year Laura Sandys apologised unequivocally for failing to follow planning rules following an article I wrote.

Last week I wrote on how she had been asked to leave Ramsgate train station for infringing rules.

Now a "Labour activist" writes on Laura Sandys latest misdemeanours....

The 'Ubiquitous Blonde' doesn't know where the South Thanet and North Thanet constituencies are so has billboards in North Thanet in various farmers' fields presumably with their consent. One at Minster, one near Hornby Hobbies, one near QEQM Hospital on St. Peter's Road. Probably more but I haven't seen them all.

Now, I've been on to Richard Samuel Thanet District Councils Chief Executive and planning expert Steve Albon who say 'Nothing we can do' but....

A planning expert tells me advertisements are not allowed on roads considered 'accident blackspots' which St. Peter's Road, Margate near the QEQM Hospital is. That's why there is a 50mph speed limit.

So, technically, one breach of convention (posters in someone else's constituency) and one breach of other rules, advertising on a black-spot road thereby causing a distraction for motorists.

If this woman doesn't know the rules how can she expect to be taken seriously as a political candidate?"

I do hope Cliftonville and Margate Conservative County Councillors Chris Wells and Michael Jarvis, and Villages Conservative County Councillor Charles Hibberd will look into this, as I understand this is a matter for Kent County Council highways.

Time for another "unequivocal apology" Laura Sandys, but can you give an unequivocal apology a second time on the same subject??

Good Luck Tom Thumb

Last week I was fortunate to receive a guided tour of the Tom Thumb theatre in Cliftonville by Frankie Jordan. It doesn't take long with the theatre only having a capacity of 60 including standing. Every piece of space is critical. Frankie is unsure whether to remove the organ which takes enough space for 2 or possibly 3 more people to join the audience. Next to the stage there is a little space to knock through and create a kiosk for improving bar sales. Frankie was pleased the theatre was sold out that day but is keen to attract other productions. Tom Thumb would welcome any local performing groups to get in touch about staging their performances. I have been to some local amateur dramatics where the audience has been lost in a larger venue. The small size and intimacy of Tom Thumb means a relatively small audience creates a great atmosphere. What greater prospect to book a performance can there be than that satisfying feeling of a producer in saying "sold out" for a show, which is a realistic prospect for any show. My thanks to Frankie for her kind and generous attention and best wishes for future productions.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Leave it, it's not worth it

One of my earliest stories on this blog was about South Thanet Conservative candidate Laura Sandys not knowing the law. Reader Claire from Eastcliff writes with details of another incident of Laura’s arrogant approach towards life in Thanet.
Last week Claire was meeting a friend at Ramsgate station and Laura Sandys was leafleting passengers as they returned home to Ramsgate with two helpers; an older man and woman. They were approached by a man in a suit who took a leaflet. He walked a short distance away read the leaflet, and then returned to talk to Laura. He politely asked her to stop leafleting in the main hall by the entrance to the platforms.

Laura responded that she did not need permission as it was a public place. The man advised her
that it was private property. Interrupting him Laura said it was not. The man respondd that he was advising her because he was the station manager.

Laura blushed and went silent. He then advised her that he would give a minute or two for her to get her things together, but she must then leave if she wanted to continue leafleting.

Laura and her helpers then went outside the station under the canopy, continuing to hand out leaflets. The man helping her was worked up and unhappy about the situation. He started to head back into the station appearing to want to sort things out. As he walked in Laura called out no, no and ran into the station asking her helper to leave putting her hand on his shoulder and saying “leave it, it’s not worth it”.

The thing that struck Claire most was the way Laura Sandys attitude changed. When she thought the station manager was just a man in a suit, she was most insistent that she was right and the man did not know what he was talking about. When the truth dawned upon her she changed her approach.

The other thing Claire noticed throughout this time was that two young women dressed in jeans and t-shirts who were also waiting at the station for some time, were not offered leaflets and were deliberately ignored. Claire got the impression the two women did not look like the right kind of people to Laura and her helpers.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Bright Side of Margate

Guest blog by Margate Central Councillor Iris Johnston, do watch at least the first 2 minutes of the video.

Many residents thought it was an April Fool's joke when we heard the BBC were coming to film Margate on 1st April. Others groaned and thought ‘More shots of closed shops despite the Governments 40 million into the area’ However we were all very pleasantly surprised.

I understand the presenters, Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakely, arrived by helicopter into Hartsdown Park and I got to speak to them as they wandered through the town. They were absolutely lovely with everyone they met and chose several people to dress up in Easter Costumes. They ended up in the Old Town meeting the Mayor and Mayoress Mick and Shirley Tomlinson who ‘loaned’ the carnival float for the day and presented a prize for the best costume.

It was very good for them to see Margate bright and sunny and my long requested spring clean of the town before the holiday season was implemented just in time. The programme is expected to go out on Monday evening and they took away a Kiss me Quick hat and bucket and spade I gave them from Teresa on the sea front.

A special thanks to Richard Spillett at the Isle of Thanet Gazette who went around the traders the day before with leaflets advising of the visit and to everyone who participated. Good fun and cheered everyone up!

To continue the good cheer here's my granddaughter Niamh shaking her beautiful booty to KC and the Sunshine Band Best Easter wishes Iris

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Clive's Sound for Easter

A guest blog from Thanet Labour Group Leader Clive Hart. Happy Easter everybody.

"Here's an absolute classic. A voice from heaven and a truly magical pianist. Randy Crawford and Joe Sample with a jazz version of the all time classic 'One Day I'll Fly Away'. I promise you will not hear anything more beautiful over the Easter period".