Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Mayor Shonk and Ramgate Town Council collapse

Hi Trevor




As Mayor can I raise the following writtten questions for the Town Council agenda this Wednesday: please advise:




1. Pleasurama corruption: who owns the site and likely clearance before the Summer season of 31st March onwards - and given the Panama Papers etc tax haven involvement and Manston air pollution monitors/fines eg




http://iandriverthanet.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/margate-dreamlands-offshore-tax-dodging.html







2. Vote of no confidence process before May 2019 elections: you've done nothing at KCC and TDC and now RTC and should resign

3. Police update: foot-car patrols ie rough sleepers on High St with a tent for c.14 weeks - also street drinkers, parking on pavements/pedzone etc

4. Pegwell Bay UNESCO site improvements: old Hoverport clearance, NEMO megapylons twice the height of existing ones and disused wind turbine near MT Energioe

5. RTC staff salaries/pensions/expenses/reserves for the £400k budget - the staffing seems to have grown from one to 8 with nothing done

6. Slipways at Listed Harbour update: cancelled but signage

7. Harbour St £1M fund from a year ago

8. Xmas lights upgrade and 2018 events

9. £17M in tax paid by Ramsgate public (plus national tax etc) but only c.$400k received from TDC £30M budget, KCC £2BN budget and Kent Police £250M budget etc - clearly the funds are being spent elsewhere or wasted

10. Manston Parkway £20M airport rail station update

11. SHP £1 Manston airport purchase: who owns the site - and aquifer update

12. Ramsgate broken sewers update

13. Pavilion sale update to Werhrspopons wiohtout councilor involvement and awful Sunday Times review "don't order the food"

14. Thor mercury and Margate TOwn council/East Kent council update/TDC reductions

15. Kent Police gun and knife amnesty update

16. Rapes and traffic accidents in Ramsgate and East Kent

17. Channel shipping air and water pollution and radioactive waste update




Copy on my blog.




Time for Change

@timg33

Monday, 20 November 2017

US Army Europe can’t rely on UK military?


As an adjunct to my previous article on the malaise afflicting UK defence, with General Hughes the main US Army general in Europe citing concerns over UK defence spending and NATO inter-operability the problems seem deeper-seated.

Both UK and USA hardly covering themselves in glory in voting against the UN ban on nuclear weapons last month - and surprising that Holland is the only non-nuclear power to also vote against the ban. Perhaps a few US military nukes are still on Dutch soil (a few teensie-weensie ones that have accidentally been lost on purpose?) - are some of the Saddam 15 minute nuclear howitzers there?

It would hardly be as unusual as the Trident mishap of nearly nuking Disneyland in Florida last year and not releasing the details until after the parliamentary debate on Trident?

And what is it with the US military building their own golf courses - surely some crazy gold ones would be cheaper and easier and free up the Seabees?

And despite the vigorous efforts of Carolina’s Nikkei Haley and new DFID head Matthew Rycroft, UN concerns over Syria’s chemical weapons – the first and hopefully last use in the 21st century – have been sunk by Russian efforts.

And as with UK aircraft carriers the Russian Defence Minister citing them as only a larger target which is true in the age of submarines and drones for such vanity projects – and at best job creation schemes for the shipyards of the North east and Virginia. And it shows an undue Russian emphasis on viewing the West through the binoculars of the Cold War.

Putin’s possible re-election in 2018 hardly a shoo-in with threats now from public protests and other candidates, and expansion of the Magnitsky sanctions with Latvia now joining Canada and UK, that relying on the KGB playbook of old won’t suffice. Hillary Clinton citing Putin’s interest in Siberia and bears perhaps more relevant in the Bering Strait road-rail tunnel and China’s OBOR in boosting Russia’s economy beyond the sunset industries of oil and gas.

Here in East Kent one would question KCC council and its $3BN annual spend still investing in tobacco and fossil fuels for its public sector pensions – and sure-fire way to increase Climate Change and reduce the value of its payouts.

And for Parliament and the May government not to recall the military to explain does suggest both an Empty Parliament and May gone before May (who wants a Winter election with more excess OAP deaths from the cold to put an x next to some empty manifestos? - foxhunting though, everybody wants foxhunting or sell your granny and her house for dementia?) as in office but not in power.

New defence Minister Gavin Williamson’s sharpened carrot perhaps only of use for UK’s frozen pensioners and food banks. Could the German government do better – their economy surging and defence spend below 1.3% and even ending conscription. Albeit all 6 of its subs out of action suggests a greater burden of patrolling for UK and the US navy already crashing in Asia from fatigue.

Surely he UK and German car and defence industries should be able to come up with a viable parts supply chain between them for NATO?

US Amry Europe and their logistics and engineering teams might well want to ensure thats in place as well as a review of the functionality of Europe’s rail systems. If Brexit did happen – stop laughing at the back – then Dover and Rotterdam would grind to a halt. Those beans and bullets would be rotting and rusting on the dockside.

And in shunting US and NATO troops eastward and south US Army Europe would be best-placed to advise on bottlenecks it faces in defending Europe? Already the European Medicines Agency and European banking Association likely headed east to Bratislava and Austria even Greece.

A trend likely to continue in what I describe as a Sarajevo Shift policy. Why is US Army Europe quartered safe in the wealthiest and safest parts of Bavaria rather than redistributing those US tax-dollars and Cold War dividend in boosting the Visegrad and Balkans nations?

US Army Europe is more than welcome with USAF and USN to boost its troops in UK – although 8,000 seems about right – and no doubt a welcome alternative to the Yankee Go Home culture of many parts of Europe.

Certainly a Greece and Turkey conflict a hidden disaster for Europe and NATO of far greater impact than Russian ethnic border-nibbling in Donetsk – hence Greece going bust in overspending on defence, and the Cyprus divisions continuing. Both hardly a success for NATO and EU after over 40 years.

The Royal Navy seeming to use most of Latin America's cocaine in fuelling its submarine orgies. The Minister for Sex Toys Mark Garnier (heir to the shampoo fortune too?) might want to take a sneaky peek through the porthole if he’s too busy to help Liam Fox drum up trade. While the Tunbridge Wells Kinky Sex Festival – sort of like Burning Man in Nevada with a damp cagoule although one dead and one medevaced to hospital suggests a wider need of SAR helicopters for those empty aircraft carriers or not – could feature a Royal Navy parade along with the Notting Hill carnival fun and games on the rates during the hurricane season.

And the UK military allowing junkies to continue military training - and the only NATO nation with child soldiers- suggests some US Army rigour is needed after the Lariam malaria scandal (another one for you Ambassador Woody? Or GAVI and Unilever or P&G?).

Even Ramsgate's General Lord Dannatt, hardly no goddam-pinko-commie-fag-peacenik, seems to think UK troops seem in more danger from their own generals than anyone else's. While Surrey Police and the Deepcut barracks murder-suicides have killed more UK soldiers than Putin.

And they get free dental care which is unusual now in the NS and USA's medieval healthcare system - Shadow Trade Minister Chi Onwurah pulled away from Newcastle (UK not Sydney) celebrations of Martin Luther King to detail the shocking statistic of hospital A&E used for emergency dental repairs. Should US Army Europe airlift in some dentists to the NHS?

While German troops in Eastern European perhaps an unwelcome reminder of pre-NATO years but all six German subs out of action for want of spare parts suggests a lack of NATO planning. And selling Israel subs without escape hatches surely won't be the first time the German state has put Jews in confined spaces with no escape?

Liberation Route Europe developed by Martin Schulz of SDP - and now launching in USA - surely a greater vision of Europe in the 21st century from the dark years of the last century. Certainly more than the backward-looking Brexit silliness.

While ISIS taking back control of Iraq ad only now after 3 years the last ISIS town in Iraq being defeated – and ASEAN ISIS surges eg Marawi in Philippines -suggests a lack of USA and UK effort on reconstruction rather than just bombing wedding parties or Kent's useless idiot Sally Jones.

Both as welcome as Agent Orange or white phosphorous - and UK is still selling cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia along with is Sangcom and GPT and Al-Yamamah guns-for-bungs projects? Saudi Arabia with more RAF jets than the RAF or the RN Bahrain base suggests MOD funds have been spent on dodgy deals in Arabia rather than defending Europe.

Only NATO Turkey shooting down Russian military jets for border incursions. Presumably NATO will be more circumspect over Russian frontiers too. While the Russian Defence Minister rightly suggesting UK aircraft carriers are merely a bigger target speaks volumes for Russian scepticism of the West and NATO military planning.

Europe’s enemies in recent decades have been the military dictatorships in Africa and Arabia whether Saddam or Gadaffi - and broken nations from Sierra Leone to Somalia to Afghanistan.

A Cold War of tank battles and tactical nuclear weapons over Germany and Poland thankfully now unlikely.

UK troops based in Germany now simply funding the bierkellars of Bielefeld rather than Broadstairs. While the MOD Manston fire station here in East Kent more bloat and duplication with its Hampshire duplicate. Surely UK MOD firefighting along with the military police overdue mergers and reductions, and clearer civilian police oversight rather than the military kangaroo courts that would shame even One Essex Court, rather than inter-service budgetary bunfights.

Prince Mo taking the helm on Neom (and Desertec-style projects in North Africa) suggests his Vision 2030 of peace and prosperity can be realised. Indeed how long before North Africa and the Levant are members of the EU? A decade at most?

US tourists might want to find it easier to holiday in the Med as well as India with UK support?

GCHQ now steaming open every email and Facebook post must be able to do better than that? Perhaps not as the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and 9-11 took our expensive security services by surprise. Next even Mugabe or Obiang will fall without notice?

Those UK chiefs of staff Barron and Zambellas hardly inspiring in suggesting North Korea might nuke London unless parliament coughs up more cash for failure or the revolving door arms companies they front. And Lord West not backward in coming forward on the potential threat of the Swiss or Andorran Navies. The Royal Navy little more than a water-bus for the Royal Marines in future?

An argument surely for detente and disarmament - the UN nuclear inspector were right after all on the lack of Saddam's nukes. Surely theit should inspect reductions in USA's and Russia's arsenals?

And the list of nuclear accidents form Godthaab to Palomares Spain or Damascus hardly inspires confidence. Nor the sabotage threat on Douel in Belgium and safety scares with Kent's Dungeness closing down sooner rather than later. Another one for US Army Europe review must be Europe’s nuclear plants – an NBC backpack bomb all too feasible?

The UN nuclear ban, must also pose a tricky problem in the threat of war crimes or crimes against humanity, for nuclear powers now? Certainly without any reduction and disarmament programme.

And NATO's first active missions have hardly been a success in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Mediterranean refugee crisis. It's a lot of tax-dollars to do so badly from the shores of Tripoli to the Horn of Africa.

And the USA taxpayer may earmark their own inquiries of why 90% of US troops are based in the Lower 48 much as every UK soldier is sat in their barracks in UK. While practising digging trenches and graves couldn't our uniformed Johnny Appleseed's make themselves useful and plant some of UK's 11M new trees too?

And surely Panther Gold with the Irish Guards on the Kwai river on the Thailand-Myanmar border is a template for wider UK efforts given the ready availability of Shan heroin as well as Helmand heroin - and the highest ever Uk and USA drug deaths. They’ll be back bearing shamrock for St Patrick’s Day in March and engineering return visits for their Thai comrades?

Perhaps a US Army Europe remit now Russia is contained within its borders may well be the flood of heroin and cocaine into Fortress Europe through organised crime gangs. Forza Italia's election win in Palermo Sicily and rumours of Mafia funding is hardly likely to reduce the flow of drugs through the narco-states of West Africa and Southern Spain, France and Italy.

Surely it's absurd for US Army Europe not to have details of Europe's organised crime gangs and police activity? Malta’s unsolved half-dozen car bombs linked to drugs and people trafficking and ISI funding.

A platoon or two of US Army Europe troops are always welcome to visit Chief Pughsley's Kent Police and Dover Europe's largest port as part of Operation California - perhaps with Europol and Frontex and DEA and FBI a wider effort is required? 90% of EU illegal drugs seized around the Golden Triangle of London, Paris and Amsterdam. Could you bring a Starbucks and Dairy Queen shop or two too?

Doitung surely a template not just now in Colombia and the FARC peace process but more widely in Latin America and the Caribbean rolling back the drugs crops and routes?

And the medical divisions of US Army Europe must surely be the flag-carriers for the 21st century whether TB in Europe or Ebola in West Africa and plague in Madagascar. Bill Gates can't do it all - and surely it's absurd that USA's largest Marshall Plan investment, Pfizer-Discovery Park science labs here in East Kent are twiddling their thumbs on vaccine production.

1M TB deaths won’t cure themselves will they?

And with 220,000 UK citizens diagnosed with pneumonia – and US Army troops – each year and over 200 viruses suggests a failing on both research and adequate vaccine stockpiles. If it’s Winter then as sure as eggs is eggs the UK’s vaccines have run out even without AMR research. US Army Europe might want to take hold of more stocks of Unilever’s Lifebuoy antibacterial soap for itself as well as in its handwashing civil reconstruction work.

UK might even need a few US Army Europe doctors to administer whatever flu jabs crop up.

Hopefully better than the Royal Marines and Royal Navy efforts on Resilience or the tax havens of the Caribbean this hurricane season - the worst beach landings since Dieppe. Or was it just a badly-organised beach holiday?

Let's hope UK military efforts in Estonia or Latvia aren't a similarly badly-organised stag do on the rates.

Certainly Kent's Ghurkas leading the way in Afghanistan and Kent's Royal Engineers in Sudan - the Sahel and Volga the tripwires to Fortress Europe.

And Kent no stranger to Cold War politicking and waste: a Russian submarine berthed off Chatham Dockyard and nuclear bunkers dotted around the countryside. The latter best only for Microsoft database storage from those NHS cyber attacks again? The NHS database and DNA rollout under siege from Crapita incompetence.

While General Hodges might want to run up the white flag given MOD efforts on procurement and planning - aircraft carriers without aircraft (do not tell the Russians!) and the Warrior armoured car farce not dissimilar to the Bradley vehicle farce of $2M each refurbishment of 380 of them as the troops to use them are cut. And where would you park 380 armoured cars? Canada? Kent struggles to be rid of the Boris German water cannon, up on bricks and out of sight of parliament.
Just possibly $700BN each year might be too much defence spending even for the Pentagon? The techwar of bombing mudhuts with million dollar missiles across the Sahel surely counter-productive in all sorts of ways?

And renewables now the power source of the future with Germany and Italy - the former with its Jamaica Coalition - closing down all their nuclear sites and coal too. Perhaps General Hughes could send a telegram back across the Atlantic to POTUS Trump to get on board as he doesn’t seem to have got the message on Climate Change and defunct technologies such as coal, tar sands and nuclear.

Equally defunct must be delays on UK and USA cooperation on their DARPA programmes - surely Israel might want to join too as their efforts on destroying nuclear sites might be relevant for North Korea rather than just Iraq and Syria or Iran. Or even Axis of Evil nations such as Pakistan building the North Korean bomb and Myanmar's and Syria's chemical weapons programmes.

Even USAF welcome guests 65 years ago at Manston airport UK's most corrupt airport with the Infratil monitors and aquifer fraud.

How foolish that Afghanistan and Iraq and now Syria and Libya and North Korea nor viewed as the nation-building work (not just building a building or building a replacement) of decades rather than months.

Let's hope General Hodges is as vocal as General McChrysal in his interesting Team of Teams book.

Surely a military lead in Africa will mean as with Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia that every problem looks like it can be bombed into submission (20% of drone strikes with civilian casualties just collateral damage? UK claiming no civilian deaths at all from its Syria strikes sounds excellent if it’s true) rather than a more considered view on nationalist or ethnic or religious conflicts.

It's hardly outrageous given the recruitment problems to reduce UK army strength from 77,000 to 50,000 and halve the RAF and RN with robotics to 15,000 each. Indeed a more Canadian approach need of a single military command under the Army - an Admiral for every ship must be wrong.

That figure again: $700BN per year. The whole UK defence budget of c.$40BN would be a mere rounding error for General Hodges Pentagon team. While the UN estimates delivering all the UN SDG goals would cost just $50BN through to 2030.

In the aftermath of the generals testimony to parliament, the City pages of the Sunday Times in its “Tin helmets! Defence giants I the line of fire” by John Collingridge details a retrenchment of UK defence spending – GKN (the former builder of Spitfires and Lord Hezza’s Westland helicopters)losing not one but two CEO’s in months and troubles at a USA aerospace factory.

Ultra Electronics making parts for tanks and warships also lost its CEO amid a 24% fall in shares amid delays on the USA’s Sparton $235M anti-submarine project. Maybe General Hodges ought to sharpen his pencil rather than Gavin’s; carrot and take a more precise look at where UK-USA defence efforts are in retreat?

So far the only US (or German) subs worth having are at Subway.

And The Sun City pages on Friday were insightful as always from Tracey Boles with Qinetiq falling 7% - the supplier of UK’s firing ranges surely vital in expanding Sahel training efforts?

Graham Hiscott Finance Editor of the Daily Mirror reporting in detail on the £770M EU fine for Scania lorries and a cartel price-fixing with Daimler, VW, DAF etc that affects 90% of medium and heavy trucks and 75% of inland transport in Europe that must impact on US Army Europe’s logistics chain and taxpayer. The various Freight Associations with undue influence herein Kent on roadbuilding and lorry mega-parks.


US Army Europe’s more vigorous efforts could even pay dividends on East Kent’s Hornby, Scalextric and Airfix iconic Great British toy brands. A third equity raise for another new CEO to buy his own company, suggests longer dole queues here without more rigorous efforts. An Airfix F35 might be not much of a best seller or even the real-life version but surely a US Army Europe boxset of soldiers is overdue even an upgrade of the US Marines Harrier model?

DARPA must also be relevant for its peace dividend of interstate highways and internet and GPS than just its military applications.

US Army Europe's mission accomplished from the Eisenhower era of not just to the outskirts of Berlin, but now beyond the Elbe and Oder to the Russian frontier.

Bases such as Moron near Almeria (as with Trump perhaps that doesn't translate into American English) and Bari must be as relevant now whether Malta's carbombs or Greece-Turkey border sabrerattling or divided Cyprus through basketcase Libya and Syria to the Sahel and Sudan and Somalia.

Without US Army Europe kicking up a gear on UK and NATO military reform then the Harlem Globetrotters might be the best weapon in the arsenal of democracy?

Time for Change
@timg33

Saturday, 18 November 2017

US Army's General Hodges dodges the bullet on UK defence spend?


General Ben Hodges commander of US Army Europe couldn't have timed his remarks on UK defence spend better than just a week before Parliament's review of defence with former UK Chiefs of Staff and Kent's Defence Minister Mchael Fallon resigning and being replaced by the sharpened carrot of new Defence Minister Gavin Williamson.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41903960

But General Hodges has surely lobbed a grenade into the debate by calling for more defence spend by UK and NATO? Generals calling for more soldiers and shells is hardly surprising. And it's certainly not unreasonable for the US taxpayer to want to see bang for their buck with Europe sharing more of the defence burden.
The US military had to ship containers full of ammunition because Europe's NATO and defence industries couldn't provide it?

While the UK army and police stumbling over themselves to procure Belgian and German and Austrian machine guns and ammunition suggests the UK defence industry is harmless to the point of being ineffectual.

Presumably there's the same lack of coordination on making and buying cargo planes and helicopters? The regiments of UK defence attaches selling guns only seem to be in USA and Canada unless it's a holiday on the rates?

The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall soon, rather needs a new Checkpoint Charlie mission for US Army Europe on the tsunami of cocaine and heroin rather than a wave of Russian tanks into Europe. While something seems to have gone wrong - despite the expense of GCHQ and military satellites and radar - with illegal flights into Europe such as KAM Air or gunrunning from Ostend airport.

And how can a Malaysian airline fall off radar and out of the sky in the 21st century? Even switching off its own radar and black box?

And how embarrassing the USAF efforts in Ukraine in WW2 go as unrecognised as the Dambusters anniversary next year and late medals, with Putin even having to step in over the heads of UK MOD officials to recognise the Murmansk convoys.

General Hodges has no view on the right ratio of civil servants to soldiers (even Royal Navy Admirals per ship?) just a bottomless pit of more money needed?
But is the NATO 2% of GDP realistic? And is UK transgressing the boundaries of its share of defence? It's of concern that the NATO quango, calling for more money for itself, is surrounded by no criteria at all of what is included or not in the 2% figure. Hardly viable budgeting from the regiments of military clerks.
Indeed the only output so far seems to be a shiny new HQ building in central Brussels just a few footsteps from the coffers of the EU parliament - and as far from the Russian frontier as is physically possible.

And the average EU spend on defence is 1.3% with UK spending - some would say badly - at least 2.3% already and The New European newspaper citing figures as high as 5.6%.

General Hodges seems to have UK in his sights yet the figures suggest a reduction is best - and his view that UK would be a less viable military partner and NATO ally is at odds with the facts.

Perhaps too the US taxpayer may want greater scrutiny of the US defence budget of 6% of GDP- a new forecast of over $700BN. Few would argue that 8,000 US troops in UK, or 30,000 US troops in US Army Europe are excessive nor 1,000 HQ staff in US Army Europe Kaiserlauten (plus that shiny new NATO HQ in Brussels) or 1,500 staff in US Africa Command in Stuttgart.

But they may question whether both HQ commands could be merged - already Senate figures such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham expressing concern at the lack of information on US troops deployed in Africa after the Niger special forces deaths. Respected journalist Nick Turse also citing the increase in US troops as part of a forever war of drone deaths and kill squads beyond democratic oversight. Details will be published of the Ajadez and Lemonnier bases?

While the US taxpayer - recognising US Army Europe's remit since 1942 might question whether troops based near the French frontier in the wealthiest parts of Southern Germany is viable or value in resisting Russian border-nibbling in Ukraine. Perhaps less so given the bierkellars are stirring once more to the sound of the ADF Nazis, but certainly a Sarajevo Shift to the Visegrad nations is needed with EU reform.

While the Messina and Balkans bridges in Italy are long-delayed from fears of organised crime involvement.

The Soviet tank training grounds of East Germany as was are empty - and a shift east and south in Europe has already begun with UK and US and NATO troops in the Baltic states and Romania.

Surely that can only continue with a revitalised Visegrad 4 and Serbia, Montenegro and Moldova membership to the EU. Russia and Turkey can’t be far behind Georgia and Ukraine too. Perhaps Belarus will be last.

While US Army Europe rightly resist Russian aggression in Donetsk and Crimea and Georgia - and that KGB playbook from Montenegro to Magnitsky. Putin’s 65th birthday marked by protests in dozens of Russian cities and concern in London over the polonium murders and Surrey Police investigation of Perepilichnyy.
And General Hughes beyond mere pounds and pence might want to consider a US move east to the Oder - further may well antagonise a Russia not unreasonably fearful of encirclement and intervention after the German invasions of 1914 and 1945 - and UK and US invasion of 1920.

PM May citing both Russian cyberattacks – and the North Korean cyberattack on the NHS - along with Bear bomber radar probes of UK and Holland as antagonistic as Bear probes over Guam and the 7th Fleet.

Indeed after Putin and his KGB playbook, future Russian leaders may well want to join both NATO and EU and focus on being a European power rather than stretched thin into Asia with only 8M citizens in the Far East. A numbers game that China's 1Bn citizens can only win - and economically the OBOR and Siberian road-rail link through the Bering Strait to Alaska and Vancouver, across the Pacific with dry feet, more useful than sabre-rattling on the Amur again.

The Chinese taxpayer must surely be wondering what 1M PLA troops are doing sat in barracks. They can’t even fit on Mischief Reef or Taiwan. From Hainan to Hartford perhaps many of those troops should be reskilled in solar panels or vaccines or robotics or teaching and nursing?

Surely the new Boston Dynamic Atlas robots funded by the DARPA Big Dog projects are the sort of civil-military technological impetus needed in not just robotics but batteries and vaccines? And Boston Dynamics don't want to forego another bowl of clam chowder by Boston harbour and export to UK and Europe?

Climate Change and the arctic sea route more a pollution concern than a military one.

But how can European or American taxpayers seriously consider massive increases in NATO funding? Not just with NATO troops closer to Moscow than they've ever been requiring more detente than sabre-rattling.

Certainly here in East Kent as the birthplace of USA (No problem. You're welcome. Have a nice day) with Tom Paine and Pocahontas and General Patton's Fortitude, and with Margate twin towned with Crimea since the 1970's, (the Soviet-style tower blocks of Arlington House, council corruption and asbestos in schools the only reminder now of those dark days) surely a New Yalta is required from the ashes of 1945 and the Cold War? At the very least fastforwarding again Kent and Virginia's links from Jamestown onwards.

For only Kaliningrad and TransDniestra as well as Belarus are looking more Soviet than Putin now. While Russia - beyond the KGB/FSB and Generals - must surely want to invest its blood and treasure in peace and prosperity rather than tanks that would rust away on the steppes.

Certainly a revived China must be thinking of a reunited Korea and US troop reductions and arms limits, and Japan its lost Kuriles and Sakhalin with a burgeoning population - perhaps a variant on the Alaska Purchase for a Russia mired in corruption, crime and sanctions.

While thousands of nuclear missiles are an accident waiting to happen rather than a viable military weapon - the mysterious radiation burst last week in Russia and America's 1960's floppy disk a warning of such decrepit technology. And that's without even considering the F35 jets - no wonder the US marines bought up all the UK Harrier jets instead. Is the UK not allowed the Apache software codes? Even if we work with US Coastguard?

US Ambassador in London Woody Johnson, and CEO of Johnson and Johnson, must surely want to expand not just NFL coverage in UK and Europe but medical coverage too whether TB and HIV or cholera that afflicts Yemen and Haiti and Zimbabwe. Surely the Stanford swab programme of a medical early warning system for new strains of flu and TB and food poisoning, and even plague in NYC, of USA trains and suwbways and airports needs importing to UK and Europe?

And a nuclear airburst over Brest-Litovsk or Birmingham (UK) might be preferable than Birmingham (Alabama)for US Army Europe - but not when factored in a nuclear winter or the radiation drift seen from Chernobyl.

And surely US Army Europe's budget should be considered an aspect of the UN 0.7 GNI aid target before the 2018 G20 Summit in Argentina. Or does USA not do USAid or Climate Change now and leave that to the rest of NATO? Norway even manages 1.1% aid.

General Hughes battle cry of more money for the military doesn't seem credible in the post-Empire and post-Cold War and now post-ISIS era.

Time for Change
@timg33

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Kent council corruption and #paradisepapers


Clearly the #paradisepapers detailed on BBCTV Panorama and every main UK and global newspaper and website has implications for Kent.

The #paradisepapers were hacked from the offices of Appleby lawyers in Bermuda one of many law firms arranging tax haven status - hence The Queen investing in Cayman islands (horrifyingly in Bright House the renttobuy firm recently fiend £14M by UK government and with interest rates of over 900%), Bono a Lithuanian shopping mall via Malta and Lewsi Hamilton his private jet via the Isle of Man.

While Kent's largest council projects are:

* Dreamland registered in Cayman Islands now via Arrowgrass and/or Sands Hotel - who knows previously for Lottery funds

* Pleasurama in British Virgin Islands via the Cardy/Colin Hill sales - so murky nobody quite knows even the council who sold it

* various other smaller tax haven items such as parts of Margate High St and hotels in Maidstone

Manston airport the only main Kent project not registered in a tax haven but the strange $1 sale from Infratil to Stagecoach-Gloag and onto it seems the SHP speculators. Nobody quite sure - even from Parliamentary testimony - who actually owns the site.

The Gang of Four: Ezekiel, Latchford, Samuels and White - the senior TDC councillors and civil servants - resigned/sacked over Pleasurama a few years ago now. Yet for over 20 years the project has lumbered on with no details of who the secret directors are.

Even the former Planning Direcotr resigned/sacked after setting up her own property firm around the Cardy sale.

Clealry Bob Bayford - sharing an office with Terence Painter the estate agent for Pleasurama - and Deputy leader and now Tory leader - must have some details he can clarifty?

While Labour Leader Iris Johnson must be keen to open up on the Pleasurama details?

As must the Toxic Two of Paul Carter and Geoff Wild at KCC - the Toxic Three now lacking Alex "Burgher" King the Deputy KCC Leader and regular meeter of Infratil etc from his hasty KCC resignation after 30 years.

This Summer's strange Stoppping up order from KCC must also need detailing.

The question remains as to why Madeline Homer TDC CEO and Tim Howes TDC lawyer haven't yet called in the police and instigated a public inquiry?

Many people view the council silence as essentially blackmail to continue civil servant jobs and pensions and even squeeze a payrise out of our supine councillors.

While TDC leader Wells and Mayor Shonk have explaining to do on Manston as the only UKIP policy suddenly cancelled.

As must both Nigel Farage and Henry Bolton as UKIP leaders with Manston as the main UKIP national policy - beyond a bit of burkabashing and badger wrestling - and Bolton suddenly resigning as Chair of Why Not Manston the pro-airport group. Surely as UKIP leader he;d want to ensure an airport the size of Gatwick is built near Gatwick and on the aquifer and explain why?

Kent Greens silent - even on Kent Environment Agency refusing EIUR requests on Thor mercury.

And Kent Libdems with resignations after the Manston Spaceport and EU Taiwan farces - you couldn't make this stuff up could you.

KCC must also face questions over its funding of Manston especially KCC-USA via various KCC quangos - add in the tax havens and it's all very murky and downright corrupt.

Kent Police it seem scared to intervene and the City of London Fraud Squad the main UK anticorruption group (although UK far weaker than most nations such as Argentina and Thailand no doubt given the proliferation of tax havens in its colonies and Commonwealth - weak too even with Laurence Stephens law firm Andrew Conway posing as an HMRC official(!). Perhaps the police fancy dress uniform was taken for the Kent police panto - Judge Mann appearing in the Daily Mirror phone hacking fraud trial from his appearance with Glick QC and Magic Guy Hollingworth.

The High Court UK's last unreformed institution and little more than an adjunct to Russian oligarch libel trials - Canada introducing a Magnitsky law, and UK trying to prosecute him despite Putin's polonium sandwiches.

OR Lord Grabiner of BHS fraud still a judge - maybe riling on One Essex Court cases too swiftly swapping wigs and dashing around the Bench. Sleight of hand worthy of Hollingworth but too fleet of foot for elderly Glick or portly Leavor. Don't tell 'em anything the One Essex Court motto. And TDC it seems.

All in contrast to Prince Mo of Saudi Arabia arresting dozens of princes and ministers in an anti-corruption drive - as well as giving women the right to drive - as he moves the Kingdom to a moderate Islamic state.

The arrests including the National Guard bodyguards - the size of UK army - and the UK MOD Sangcom guns for bungs projects. Hence Saudi Arabia having more RAF jets than the RAF and much of the UK defence industry geared to arming Saudi to allow for bungs to princes: several hundred UK MOD and military staff based in Saudi. And that not even including the secret war in Yemen or UK cluster bombs.

Former South Thanet MP Jonathan Aitken jailed over the even larger Al-Yamamah guns for bungs scandal.

And now Craig Mackinlay MP facing jail next Summer over the Battlebus largest electoral fraud in UK history - clearly Kent politics and governance is very dirty.

And merely laughable is Roger Gale MP giving election advice in Chad or Karen Constantine KCC labour doublehatter giving referendum advice in Kurdistan - let's hear them on Kent corruption rather than teaching Chad or the Kurds Kent's dodgy ways

Cheering words for basketcase nations such as Chad - don't worry Roger Gale is here and he's bringing Karen Constantine.

But Prince Mo's vigorous Davos in the Desert - part of the Vision 2030 beyond oil - should enable the dynamic NEOM city on the Red sea a city with its own laws - although some would argue that Jordan and Lebanon if not Bahrain, Qatar and Oman are the basis for well-run and moderate Islamic nations.

Even Morocco and its North African rail to Cairo and down to Senegal and Timbuktu. Or Desertec solar in Libya and Algeria and Tunisia - all the more relevant with the latter the most ISIS returnees and civil war continuing in Libya and Syria, Yemen, Sudan and even Lebanon destabilised.

And USA Senate calling for an inquiry as to lack of oversight and permission on US troops and US Africa Command in the Sahel across Chad etc with 4 Special Forces deaths and drone bases sprouting as vigorously detailed by Nick Turse.

With the Queen investing in the Caymans and KCC and TDC too should Prince Mo be called in to run UK?

the Belgians must be busy enabling peace and prosperity for the rest of European and Africa.

Wells and Shonk must go. And LocalCraig and Gale and Constantine - they are of the past and have done nothing. Even the secret BrettGate cement project fell through on Phase 2 but not Phase 1. When will they explain these?

And there are clear UK reforms:

1. Ban tax haven funds form all UK public sector projects
2. End UK and Commonwealth tax havens before the April 2018 Commonwealth Summit and G20 Summit
3. Cap UK interest rates at 9.9% not the monstrous 1,000% rates
4. End of Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall tax exempt status: the Civil List only - Prince Charles batting for Englandshire in Malaysia on Superfoods and as a weak riposte to the Trump juggernaut in ASEAN and Asia - who lost China-UK trade for Saudi guns4bungs?
5. A Police and public inquiry into Pleasurama etc - and cancellation of these projects for review
6. Boycott the KCC free seat form Ken Gregory's death - leave it free for Bessie his best pig as an airfreshener in the County Barn until we have some detailed explanations of cancer etc
7. Civil servant delays on all the above projects before TDC elections in May 2019 or Wells/Shonk resignations


Time for Change
@timg33

Friday, 27 October 2017

Kent's Fortitude failing?


It's astonishing that Kent's role in D-Day with Fortitude South the feint to an invasion of Calais helmed by General Patton is so ignored in East Kent by Visit Kent - even Liberation Route Europe instigated by Martin Schulz EU president and recent German Chancellor candidate.

Musch as Wellington's Waterloo HQ in Ramsgate, UN monument and film star Will Hay are as neglected as Kent's Beatles and Stones concerts or Van Gogh gallery.
Surely new street names of Fortitude North Close and Fortitude South Close and General Patton Drive are needed.

If not Sword, Gold, Omaha, Juno and Utah streets - indeed POTUS JFK's elder brother Joe Jr. killed over Sussex in the first experimental drone raids on V1 sites in France.

And perhaps I am wrong but UK is the only nation that's failed to commemorate USA support in WW1 and WW2 (or Sikh and Asia allies as Thailand and Japan) with a Woodrow Wilson Avenue or Franklin Roosevelt Boulevard.

Perhaps East Kent can redress that imbalance too and even a George Marshall Grove - the USN P22 Rhine gunboat in Ramsgate harbour and Tom Paine's Sandwich marina a reminder - and Ike Drive.

And apt with the 75th El Alamein anniversary last week, a Monty View.

With the collapse of Manston yet again new streets hardly likely to be built especially at the $1 SHP-Gloag-Infratil random Garden-Town-Film-Studio-Garden-Village-overbuild-thingy.

And certainly not before TDC or RTC(?) elections in May 2019 or sooner.

With Manston as their only policy and that an outrageous deceit knowing of the aquifer and toxic dangers, both TDC Leader Wells and RTC Mayor Shonk should resign. As should Bayford and Iris of Tories and Labour and Local Craig MP (facing electoral fraud trial in c.June 2018) and Gale MP.

Especially with new town entre problems again – astonishinly with hundreds of complaints over months and months.

Already 20 council seats at TDC will be cut as doublehatter bloat and waste - and development of an East Kent Council - and my TDC sources tell me several UKIP councillors ready to resign anyway not so much at Manston but at nothing done in general.

Wells and Shonk seem to have acted as mouthpieces to muffle concerns, if not as a block on everything. They will speak up in the missing monitors and fines and cancer before they go?

Ramsgate's £17M in town tax and one third of KCC's £2BN tax wasted in being sent to Margate or Maidstone to have a bureaucratic levy or absurd reserves salted away for failure before fractions returned: the RTC budget a laughable £400k sop via TDC. That said clearly TDC and RTC in its present format are too incompetent and corrupt to handle such budgets.

And the largest councillor and civil servant salaries in UK local government for such failure.

Pleasurama and Dreamland mired in Caribbean tax haven and dodgy deals as is the Wetherspoons Pavilion sale and 104SE Rd overbuild.

While Brexit a national shambles that will be completely revoked that - along with the end of May and Boris and Davis -hardly difficult given the 18 months or so since June 2016 with nothing done beyond empty waffle.

All their political careers are over they're merely limping on as long as possible.

Manston the only policy of all the TDC pensioners and an utter disaster and crime with removal of the monitors and fake fines and aquifer pollution.
Wells and Shonk should go. Go. Go now. A vote of no confidence is required to oust them from merely clinging on for their pay cheques.

And Boris a Poundshop Churchill in a Poundland Brexit Caymans.

Not an FDR in sight with a chicken for every UK pot - and certainly not chlorine washed or with bird flu.

Fewer fools and more Fortitude and Resilience needed in East Kent and post-Brexit UK if the Special Relationship isn't to wither on the vine.

Time for Change
@timg33

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The business of academia is failing UK?


Luke Johnson's ode to capitalism in his Sunday Times Animal Spirits article last week is right on the money in its concern over the weak quality of UK universities and Business Schools.

Hopefully the coffee and cake guru (and cancer with his ICE Cancer School - surely NASA's DNA work on the P53 cancer gene for Mars 2030 flights is calling out for his dynamic efforts in UK?) in his new professorship at King's Business School will be able to help resuscitate UK business learnings in academia.
And why shouldn't King's Business School rival Harvard or Yale or Stanford?

Oxford and Cambridge and LSE may be excellent universities in general but few would rate their business schools. Kellogg School of Management university could do better half-asleep in lectures.

Indeed with UK universities punching above their weight in both the Times and Sunday Times university leagues where is the UK MIT, or even UK RAND and UK DARPA? Surely the latter a shoo-in for King's also with its War Studies dept?

Project Gilgamesh extending human life span to at least 150 years - the first 1,000 year old man or woman born already? - would possibly be impossible for King's.

While the UK knowledge economy and Creative Industries are hampered by a lack of learning rigour. Fashion perhaps strutting its stuff through the London College of Fashion at the Olympics site. A failure though in support of the Hanoi College of Fashion from a recent ASEAN visit.

But, with my Sincerity Advertising hat on, I was astonished that the University of Texas - apt for the United States of Advertising even as it loses ground to UK Great Advertising - is one of the few universities anywhere with its own dedicated Advertising School and courses.

They must be laughing at UK all across the South West States. For, in my previous Visiting Professor role at Watford Advertising College - the UK's leading advertising college - and other universities I've long argued for such a remit. Even leading on making the best use of MOOC's and alumni.

Who would balk at Prof. Johnson insisting on a Patisserie Valerie or three on King's campus - maybe a Starbucks or seven too? - and some HFSS alternatives in with the lardy cake. Simon Stevens NHS Chief insisting on bargain buckets of gutbuster lard n' sweets (mostly) banned from NHS vending machines. If only they vended cholesterol sweeties. One for Nestle or Nabisco?

As with Dreamland now failing on its food ratings reform and fresh eyes, and struggling on from council corruption and mismanagement, even after lavish amounts of Lottery funding, is needed.

Perhaps a Robotics Dept - not UK's strongest suit at the moment - could deliver on Prof.Johnson's article in not just endless theorising but sourcing the best of the moment, reviewing and recommending and forecasting to move UK plc into assembly line production. Unilever and CocaCola something to add on that last one for UK management learnings?

I'll save a few points on English language learning schools and methods for another day.

And Bechtel, Mott and Murphy won't sit around waiting forever for new housing construction methods. Shouldn't Kenya's Kibera slums the largest in the world be a test case for a new version of Homes Fit For Heroes? Other Commonwealth, and ASEAN, slums might be keen on that too - a Prof Johnson Visiting Professorship to Nairobi or Mumbai or Jakarta or Manila University?

All the more absurd is Kent academia given the closure of CCU Broadstairs campus - various £20M buildings on the rates opened less than a decade ago (King's School buyout for $1?), or overbuild vanity projects from tax: a half-empty new mega-library in the Age of Kindle? Student housing on the rates and greenbelt and sports fields, rather than student digs in the private sector or Cliftonville? Million dollar Vice Chancellor - and rafts of deputies - salaries?

Indeed there's an argument for universities to take on more impartial public sector functions such as elections - the best way to rig an election after all is to screen out the candidates or count the ballots. My MP and Mayor "Stop the Corruption. Stop the Construction. Stop the Pollution" campaign halted in the first election some 5 years ago due to concerns over even mentioning (council) corruption on the ballot.

The same torpor and delay in Kent as policies - Pleasurama? Manston 3? Thor mercury? Brett 2? Carter 4? - are shunted into reverse to await democratic face-saving with the next election.

While weak self-regulation over utilities - whether water or energy - or the notorious failures of Bar and Lawyer corruption long needing more robust and impartial scrutiny than fraudsters such as Lord Grabiner of One Essex Court, Britain's most corrupt set of barristers, and BHS would care to explain. Secret shareholders in a plc? Fake invoices presented to Court? High Court denials then confessions - isn't that perjury even (especially) for a barrister and lawyers?
If Lord Grabiner is the apogee of weak corporate governance then Professor Johnson has his work cut out in reversing the rot in business or law even with the King's Law School.

While one Sincerity friend near the end of a 3 year media degree at one Kent university that shall remain nameless - Canterbury Christchurch seeing as you ask, near the bottom of UK university leagues, and with Kent University needing a refit for a global 200 university in Kent unless Malaysia's UK universities have a view - had never even heard of David Ogilvy.

Ogilvy a figure perhaps second only to Alex Osborn in the UK and USA surge in advertising post WW2. The aphorism that you wouldn't produce a bad ad with Ogilvy's rules, but not a good one either, a little harsh. She had heard of David Beckham though so her degree wasn't a total waste of £9,000 tuition fees and minimal tuition and a hessian tote bag.

With just 13.4% of Fortune 500 companies of 1955 still on the list in 2011, USA business in trouble - Amazon,Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Google/Alphabet and YouTube almost all created or peaking in the last 20 years. How many Chinese or Indian Fortune 500 companies in the next decade? Dynamic UK companies such as Jardines and HSBC based on UK-China trade.

Perhaps only the History of Advertising Trust a beacon in UK for disseminating knowledge on advertising and no doubt receptive to wider funding and support and links with schools such as King's.

Luke is right also to despair at the winging it quality of many Beckham Studies or Eastendersology courses and noodling dissertations of almost no worth at all. DHL the only Fortune 500 company founded from a dissertation, or was it FedEx?

Even a Start Up Nation School with Israeli - and Palestinian or Lebanese or Jordanian - universities? Impossible. But permanent war never lasts forever.
Former Transport Chair, Liverpool's dynamic MP Louise Ellman, giving Republican Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania a run for his money with her Zafira inquiry, after the GM ignition switch recall of 800,000 Chevy Cobalt cars with a $2 ignition switch repair delay causing at least 13 deaths in head-on road collisions and airbag failures.

All the more concerning as the car price-point attractive for parents buying teenagers their first car so the lives of upto 153 young motorists snuffed out.
Even the UK-USA Special Relationship foundering as UK's second largest trading ally seeks other markets for its supersize cakes and smaller cars. Indeed with Motor City USA - whether Detroit or Diego San - USA's car industry long a giant of capitalism and management learning.

Surely Professor Johnson could urge an Auto Industry School at King's or elsewhere an Aviation and Rail and Space Schools, to mine the best learnings from Ford or Sloan even lathe worker Frederick W. Taylor - indeed with another Mercedes airbag recall of 400,000 cars and VW, and others, emissions scandals and Zafira fires, the world needs a more rapid and resilient response to auto-tech failures. Lives literally depend on it - as does UK as a Road Safety Superpower and 1M deaths globally.

I know there probaly isn't room on the King's campus now (did I mention the acres of space at Broadstairs campus?) but could a Road Safety PHD be crammed in or Professor Johnson inisist a few desks are found and pushed together for a Resilience doctorate?

And if the P53 cancer gene is crying out for a focused business response surely the other dynamic Johnson, Tylenol's Ambassador Woody, as well as Unilever's dynamic CEO Paul Polman, fresh from celebrating the Lifebuoy soap Kenya handwash campaign, could roll up his sleeves and grasp the opportunities for Zero Disease by 2030. At worst 2035.

Luke may even need to issue them a free pair or two of Zoggs sunglasses to shade their eyes and wallet from the dazzling opportunities.

Surely Johnson and Johnson and Johnson and Polman may be the worse name for a company ever (and Garbutt? There has to be one fool in the room) but ideal for their contribution to a new UK Business Council - Liam Fox can't sit in a room or on a plane all by himself coming up with random trade deals. As a doctor suckled on the tax-teat of the NHS and then Parliament, he's done rather well so far but surely needs some heavyweight business support?

If Ambassador Woody is out at the ball game or down the beach surely Messrs Reckitt and Benckiser could step up to the plate? Even the Heinz boys of Preston? Or Givaudin perfumes and the almost as-sweet aroma of CupaSoup Ashford?

The UNSDG30 providing a clear framework for delivery of polio pills, HIV vaccines, TB nasal sprays and so on. With London the TB capital of Europe the danger, and opportunity, that much closer to home - could King's even squeeze in a Pandemic School on their campus?

Indeed an astonishing failure of UK's 130 universities is its lack of cohesive USA and ASEAN links but also dedicated Cancer and Dementia departments in each university. No wonder it takes decades to find a disease and then decades more for a cure.

While a Ministry of Reconstruction for Europe's waterfront in Libya and Syria as well as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan - and now Yemen - long overdue whether within government or academia.

And I know, I know, there isn't room at King's overcrowded campus from the above, but surely a Media School could be squeezed in - part of its Advertising School? - to review European film and television reforms and learning given the Ofcom review even computer games and VR and EKFOS.

Certainly Luke is right that UK universities and business schools are infected with more failure than is tolerable in 21st century Great Britain and not immune to reform.

Let's hope Professor Johnson is at least promoted to Vice-Chancellor this side of the next academic year.

@timg33

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Besides Cambodians, are we all Belgian now?


Certainly Belgium in terms of military defence writes Alastair Campbell, former press secretary of PM Tony Blair, in the latest issue of The New European newspaper.

And Campbell even press-gangs Lord West the former head of the Royal Navy into his argument that Tory defence cuts would result in a keelhauling if undertaken by Labour.

I imagine that's possible in a narrow party political sense.

But isn't the wider issue one of the competence of the military and MOD and military-industrial complex?

The political parties and politicians don't fumble the ball over Caribbean Resilience or secretly nuking Disneyland before the Trident renewal debate or aircraft carriers without planes - that's the military and MOD.

The politicians have issued the orders and the military as with Rear Admiral Burton can either carry them out effectively and efficiency or be marched around the parade ground, epaulettes ripped off and sword snapped over the knee, and out the gate they go to write why-oh-why letters to the Daily Telegraph and Naafi, or join their favourite arms company.

Alastair railing against the fact that the 79,000-strong UK Army could fit inside Wembley stadium misses the point. Whether they could fit in a phone box or a bus or a football stadium is irrelevant - it's whether they're any use and the right size for that use.
Lord West's sabrerattling and scaremongering over the dangers of the modern world - is Andorra or the Swiss Navy upto something? The Albanians? - is empty cheerleading and the worst sort of interservice fighting.

The harsh reality is that the world is a safer place than ever before - yes, North Korea's nuclear threat is real but not unknown for decades, although Kent's Michael Fallon Defence Minister citing London as nearer than San Francisco has a whiff of the Saddam-Blair 15 minute nuclear howitzer fantasy threat about it.
And it negates the real threat to Seoul and Tokyo and disturbingly Chinese weakness over Shanghai and Beijing and Vladivostock also being turned into another Hiroshima by North Korea either accidentally or deliberately.

While, as an aside, the prevalent threat to all humanity of meteor strikes - this week's near miss equivalent to 30 Hiroshima blasts - and volcanic eruptions ignored and underfunded by the UK and EU Space Agency and NASA for say Royal Navy cruises.

Sometimes I imagine I would be a better Lord than most of the elderly duffers asleep on the red benches. Even Lord West's sabre-rattling failing to rouse most of them. Perhaps war with Spain over Gibraltar is the best that could be expected. And a UK Senate some 200 years overdue.

And yes the real threat of Putin border-nibbling straight out of his East Berlin KGB playbook with Georgia and Crimea and Donetsk - and now the Baltic states following Belgium as the cockpit or charnelhouse of Europe. Yet even that real threat to destabilise Europe halted through tardy but effective NATO action - but a real danger that excessive NATO action could revive the real Russian fears of Western invasion.

France under Napoleon, and Crimea (again) with France and Britain, Japan in Manchuria and the Russian Far East, Germany under the Kaiser, Britain (again) and America in 1920, and then the devastating slaughter of Hitler's Germany.

Russians in Paris in 1815, and in Berlin from 1945 is a not unreasonable response to such devastation. And a destabilising danger as NATO edges nearer to Moscow requiring more detente and disarmament not less.

East Kent twinned with Crimea and Margate from the stagnation and Soviet-style Arlington House fetid tower blocks and town planning of 1970's is perhaps the basis of a New Yalta for Russia in Europe.

Perhaps the wider question of the military is how NATO failed to see every Russian threat since and including the Berlin Wall to Crimea and Syria? Or the Taliban and ISIS. NATO and GCHQ are very expensive and intrusive for such basic errors.

And here in Kent the provocations of Russian Bear bombers probing UK and Dutch radars a concern as in Guam. The Manston-Infratil crimes and Ostend with Afghan's KAM Air wandering across Europe hardly reassuring for European air safety even without the Ukraine airliner downings - or Malaysian jumbo jet somehow disappearing from both radar and expensive satellite coverage.

No wonder Kent struggles with shoddy mobile phone and television reception - thank goodness for French and Belgian coverage as well as Belgian Navy minesweeper and gunboat patrols to rescue the RN if they're all at sea.

And the wheezing threat of Admiral Kutzenov flagship Russian aircraft carrier trundling through the Channel is more an indication that Russia too needs to waste its tax on military kit that's unlikely to be used.

Certainly the Med refugees a damning indictment of military failure by NATO's navies sailing in circles as thousands drown.

As is UK aircraft carriers not only without planes (stop laughing at the back this is serious) but running on Windows XP (stop giggling) and UK's submarines having to resurface for a wifi connection (stop it!) as cybersecurity threats increase.

No wonder USA won't release its helicopter software and Trident codes to UK, keeping a firm hand on pulling the plug in the event of any Suez adventurism.
While UK's own generals cite the appalling incompetence of its military efforts in Basra and Afghanistan. No doubt urging more tax-money and tech-kit to be thrown at the problem.

And after 15 years, more heroin than ever produced in Helmand and Shan for UK streets despite a UK troop presence and deaths, and USA troops increased as Kent only supplies a few hundred Ghurkas, Britain's best mercenaries.

All of which suggests a strategic failing to pay any price and bear any burden.

For the hard yards of years and decades. Perhaps 25 years. Maybe 50 years. Northern Ireland took over 40 years for peace and the beginnings of prosperity so why should Iraq or Afghanistan take less?

UK too often merely showboating as America's spearcarrier for political vanity rather than nation building.

And taking over a year for Iraqi and NATO troops to take back flyblown towns such as Mosul and Raqqa - after an ApBacian loss in the first place with hardly a fight to ISIS?

But should Tesco or Walmart Asda or DHL take over Caribbean Resilience if the military can't deliver?

And surely Thailand's Blue Flag welfare stores an innovative and vibrant response to essential stock inventory and food banks without the shame or shambles of Universal Credit? Worth a trial in Burnley as well as Buriram? Cheapo specs for a quid can't be in stock just in Poundland? And surely a spare pair in the car a legal requirement with medical kits etc in future across the EU?

With more RAF jets in the Saudi Airforce - and banned cluster bombs - as well as a private army of MOD civil servants for guns-for-bungs projects for Saudi princes such as Sangcom it's no wonder the UK public were baffled as to why government buildings flew the Union Jack at half-mast for the death of Saudi royals. Maybe Saudi royals rather than Belgian royals should head up UK ceremonies?

As with Saudi arms deals a long retreat from the RN navy pier in Bahrain also needed - again UK military incompetence at its best in propping up another dubious Gulf kingdom just as oil becomes irrelevant.

Perhaps a drone strike on Whitehall by the Army Air Corps would be of more use to UK security.

Surely Dubai and Brunei as the last nations not having the vote - and in the Commonwealth - can't be linked to the UK military support shooting down dissent and funded by the public?

Certainly a fancy new NATO HQ in Brussels seems a worthless quango expense of several billion dollars.

As does NATO citing that NATO should have 2% of Europe's budgets. Imagine that. Especially as UK already funds 2.3% of the military suggesting excess and the EU average 1.3%.

USA taxpayers and earmark pundits might quail at the Pentagon's 4% of military spend - not just at POTUS/General Eisenhower's warnings on the military-industrial complex bloat and war-search. The Andorrans could be upto anything couldn't they?

Presumably the Pentagon keen to keep its tax-claws sharpened with upto 50% of USA tax-take dependig how you define it, rather than wasting it on Medicare or gun controls.

And with 1M USA troops and 1M European troops and 1M Chinese troops it's astonishing that most of them are just sat in barracks ironing their underpants - just 4,000 UK troops at Xmas deployed overseas out of 100,000 hardly suggest either value for money or massive security threats.

What would a million or two of demobbed extra pairs of hands do for the solar panel or space or vaccines or farming industries? UN detente and disarmament long overdue.

And reducing the 96,000 by half hardly suggests penny-pinching.

And as an aside, Special Branch turned into a Catalonian goon squad of cops with guns patrolling the Guildford Cheese and Wine Festival - and no shortage of police volunteers for once to go out on patrol for the Tunbridge Wells Kinky Sex Festival (almost as many dead and medevaced as in the Caribbean and more anoraks). Or RN sailing through the Notting Hill carnival without a care in the world on the rates as the Caribbean drowns - or balaclavas without badge numbers, suggests a lack of real intelligence on counter-terrorism as ISIS leave Raqqa to return to Europe and ASEAN whether Manchester or Mindanao.

Alastair Campbell rightly cites the lack of maritime P8 AWACS and anti-submarine patrol aircraft and radar aircraft and refueling planes (that can't refuel), and cargo helicopters or helicopters that can't dustoff when it's dusty, that constitute the enforced idleness of the military sat in barracks painting coal white. Years of military procurement expertise to build a pub with no beer? A rum do indeed.

Or the utter extravagance and waste of 800 Warrior and Jackal armoured cars at the very least costing as much in parking fees - almost as much as parking costs at hospitals - with billions wasted, as the Boris water cannons rusting in Kent.

When would 800 armoured cars ever be deployed - it would make a handy target as a convoy anyway. And the largest UK tank battle since 1945 was 25 tanks in Iraq.
No wonder the Russian Defence Minster cited the new UK aircraft carriers as just a larger target for thousands of drones. And the RN, or any navy, has hardly fired a shot in anger since 1944. It's a senior service that's over the hill as well as over the horizon for a deluge of missile strikes.

And the RM and RN antics over Caribbean Resilience the worst beach landings since Dieppe. Our Cockleshell Heroes look comical rather than Comacchio. Even landing without their guns. Dismal. And even worse the chorus of military cheerleaders to try and excuse this nonsense.

Certainly defence reforms such as reducing the RM by 1,000 or reducing beach landing ships are foolish in the wider sense of an island nation than just the particularly shoddy efforts in the Caribbean. It's called Hurricane Season for a reason and it happens every year.

Aside from Resilience rescue and aid, the drug interdiction routes through the Caribbean and Latin America to both USA and West African narco-states a real threat to UK security. And what Churchill or Boris would call the soft underbelly of Europe's drugs ports in Spain and Italy and France and Albania and Turkey. As is the piracy of the Nigerian Delta and Somalia as well as Singapore.

While UK has much to learn from French successes in a picket line across the Sahel to protect Fortress Europe through the sandsea of the Sahara (where are the Desert Rats when they're needed now?) and Mediterranean.

While the carnage and chaos of Saddam and Gaddafi highlights that the real threat to UK is dictatorships.

The former USA Ambassador writing eloquently on the need and ease of ending dictators by 2025 - that seems too long with 2020 drawing nearer for the last few gerontocracies of Africa and Central Asia. Why would EU and NATO help prop them up? The Clinton Doctrine and ICC already ending support for military coup sand presumably presidential term extensions.

Syria and Sudan and Russia (protests in 80 Russian cities for Putin's 65th birthday present must be as welcome as a polonium sandwich at his birthday party) now and now doubt Equatorial Guinea under Obiang, Zimbabwe under Mugabe and after Bouteflika in Algeria.

Assad, Putin and Kim JongUn surely now the last ever users of chemical weapons?

And Kent’s aged and corrupt Tory and Labour even failing against the decrepit UKIP eg Pleasurama tax haven projects under Bayford and Iris and Homer.

And a new crop of MP's fresh from the military, Johnny Mercer and Tom Tugendhat and Rory Stewart reporting for duty, ready to rally round the flag and claim some special lack of scrutiny of the military is needed. The French Foreign Legion always needs new recruits if they're unhappy with Parliamentary and public oversight of the UK military.

If only they'd made a success of invading Afghanistan, the Taliban stronger than ever through the safe havens of Pakistan - a new Ho Chi Minh trail if you will - and Pakistan more Axis of Evil than much of a Commonwealth or NATO ally, fuelling the North Korea nuclear threat, and chemical weapons as well as to Myanmar. Journalists still in prison there for exposing that threat more dangerous than Margate’s and Cato Ridge’s Thor mercury.

While reconstruction after the AfPak tech war explosions limited to drone strikes on wedding parties rather than any sort of Ministry of Reconstruction cohesive effort. No doubt the Caribbean tax havens will need to resort to some financial jiggerypokery too to rebuild their shanty towns.

With the new UN Nuclear ban would RN sailors and MOD officials be considered war criminals for manufacturing, or warehousing or even deploying nuclear weapons in a few years or months?

EU oversight and control of UK and French nuclear weapons draws nearer as does an EU seat on the UN Security Council with India. An EU army mere bureaucratic fluff or perhaps another expensive HQ - except for the EU Defence Council - given the existing EU Battlegroups and European aspect of NATO.

Certainly UK and EU funding for the last colonies needs regearing to encouraging trade. Stan Abbott in the same New European edition writing eloquently on Guadeloupe and EU-Caricom funding. It's surprising USA not urging enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine or UK/EU tax havens, or under a new Cuba ending its colony in Guantanamo Bay after some 100 years of Bahia Honda and the Isle of Pines - Castro still refusing to cash those US Imperial cheques.

And Puerto Rico and Vieques unimpressed with the US Commonwealth cheques so far after the Caribbean Resilience destruction. Only the US Coastguard emerging unscathed from the mess far from shore.

But the ranks of elderly RM blazers lined up to excuse the war crimes of RM Blackman particularly repulsive: dragging a wounded Taliban prisoner into the trees to murder him out of sight of helicopters reminiscent of My Lai rather than the best of UK military. And then RM troops filming themselves shooting the prisoner while openly stating it as a Geneva Convention war crime is also reminiscent of Calley's murderous troops or a mini-Malmedy.

But in terms of UK military reform surely there are some low hanging fruit and quick wins:

* regear the UK and EU military to UN peacekeeping as in Eire - ending the Empire and Cold War presumption that UK needs to tackle every military issue itself
* restrict NATO funding to 1.3% - and specify inclusions/exclusions not a blank cheque and minimal scrutiny for a quango
* handover the lavish NATO HQ and MOD Whitehall offices to Microsoft and Samsung cybersecurity - and a Sarajevo Shift of EU and UN offices eastwards to V4 (Kent unfortunately all too familiar with V1 and V2 rather than Hungary and Poland links) and Balkan allies
* fastforward UK and EU efforts on Cyprus and Greece-Turkey and Gibraltar and Ceuta/Melilla conflicts - all too long a stain on European unity and peace
* clearly detail Russia and Turkey EU/NATO membership requirements
* end the Admirals in every dinghy bloat of the RN: 40 Admirals and 80 Captains for c.20 main warships suggests an absurd shortage of P45's and pensioning off
* cap all RN ships to under 25 not over 70 - and fasttrack more RN landship closures (or offices), certainly left-behind coastal towns such as Portsmouth and Plymouth viable for more Whitehall-out-of-Whitehall MOD regen
* end the military and police oaths to the Royals: even the most cavalier royalist would agree parliament and public have had precedence for over 300 years
* scrap the last Royal medals/honours without Parliament approval and peg civil service gongs to less than 20%
* enforce a revolving door ban on majors and above joining arms firms on retirement - as with Zambellas hawking missiles
* publish corporate welfare tax figures each quarter for arms firms such as BAE and Qinetiq and deals with Boeing etc
* scrap the Manston MOD Fire base - a bloat-duplication of the one in Hampshire and setting fires on the East Kent aquifer to put them out with chemicals as militarily foolish as pissing on campfires to put them out
* ban white phosphorous from UK and NATO and Israeli armouries as napalm-lite, a weapon as offensive as Agent Orange – surely Israeli StartUp nation or UK DARPA could replace it in moments
* rejuvenate UK shipbuilding whether military or civil from Newcastle to Wales - and to Virginia Beach and San Diego - with forward-thinking allocation of warships and robot ships and skills. Certainly few RN ships patrolling the coast means more bloat for the Border Force and Coastguards to pick up the slack, even a Police Navy. Perhaps a Police Admiral in every dinghy too.
* scrap the MOD's toxic stockpile of Larium antimalaria pills/vaccines and fastforward DARPA research for AMR and vaccines as well as graphene armour, battteries and rare earth materials
* sharpen the Army to under 50,000 with three divisions on rotation - halve the RN and RAF to 15,000 each and place them under Army control as a united command to reduce interservice manoeuvring. They could comfortably fit in Wembley Stadium or the Gunners' Emirates stadium then
* cancel more ineffective regiments than RM eg RAF Regiment WW2 runway-walkers and rockapes with only their Alsations keeping them on a short leash of interspecies cooperation on the rates
* cancel the last vestiges of BAOR in Germany: merely an extended bierkellar boozeup ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 - the different spare parts and training for all the different helicopters and jets must cost a small fortune in storage.
* expand UK troops in East Africa: Kenya and Sudan - and Afghanistan - and a West Africa force on regular rotation
* establish a DFID Minstry of Reconstruction and Resilience for post-conflict and disaster dithering and delay
* create an MOD presumption for helicopters: SAR and cargo rather than gunships and jets
* scrap Trident as part of the UN new nukes ban, already winning the Nobel peace prize, and lead on nuclear and naval disarmament, especially of subs, jets and carriers attack weapons
* expand UK/NATO mine clearance from WW2 in North Africa with MAG Laos and Belgian Iron Harvest - and SS Richard Montgomery Liberty shipwreck in Kent
* reinstate the feeble search for banditti such as Kony
* merge tri-service military police into one Redcaps under civilian police, after Deepcut farce and stolen guns, and Learmonth's Learjet police readiness for stranded/jailed UK citizens and one global emergency number eg 112
* instigate Left is Life military and police blood donors/groups given increased organ donations and emergencies
* place military Medical Corps on rotation in Africa, India and Asia with US Army Europe: out of the barracks and into the field eg vaccinations, Operation Smile cleft palate surgery etc. Even a bar of Lifebuoy soap for handwashing duty or Lucky Iron Fish if the military aid is a bit anaemic
* rearm the UK military with UK guns after the farce of the Army buying-in Belgian machine guns - maybe we're more Belgian already - and end police purchasing of German and Austrian guns - especially as they're faulty, the guns not the police. Or USA having to ship in bullets to Europe. A UK arms industry geared to supplying its own troops for defence not offence is a strategic and long-delayed shift
* ban UK arms exports beyond NATO - as with Germany
* end UK troop recruitment under 18 as highlighted by SNP - the last EU/NATO nation to do so
* end RN Ambre Solaire tours to the Jersey Boat Show and Monaco: either on useful duty - presumably only the Med or Caribbean or West Africa - or tied up in port saving on fuel and rum
* end RAF involvement in Syria: a service vanity project for live-fire weapons testing on mud huts, mobile phones and motorbikes - or is that kinetic constraints on command bunkers and communications routes?
And bizarre General Rupert Jones, commander of some bit of the Army's regiment of acronyms, and son of H Jones VC, claiming low collateral damage bombs are being dropped on civilians on buildings in Syria to minimise damage and deaths. Utter drivel. Clearly just another expensive Rupert deserving of retirement.
Or bussed over to Mexico to help pull some bodies out of buildings there from earthquake damage.
* expand Kent's Ghurkas and Royal Engineers activity and rotation in Africa and Asia eg Sudan, Sierra Leone - and Nepal earthquake readiness. For surely Sudan for example needs roads as well as aid airstrips, through to Ethiopia and Somalia, even aside from Cape2Cairo Rail or Kuwait Rail
* instigate cocaine and heroin annual targets for the military and police - certainly The Kent Year of an extra year in jail for possession in Frontline Kent
* USAF and FBI review of EU aviation weaknesses eg Manston-Infratil crimes and Ostend airport gunrunning - and failure of African aviation safety and links between African nations not former colonial powers
* a military review and whitewash of EU nuclear safety and sabotage as Belgian nuclear sabotage crisis, missing US Benelux nukes, and radiation leaks and waste in Spain and the Channel
* cap old soldiers on defence committees to under 30% - enough for poacher turned gamekeeper and not blind cheerleaders in blazers
* recruit Chief Canuck Mark Carney of the Bank of England and Bank of Canada to highlight Canadian defence reforms and Veterans Minister - even WW1 Ramsgate, as neglected for Canadian Medical Corps and Red Cross links, as Canada's - and USA's - First Nations
* Sudan as with Senegal overdue hispeed rail links - and resolution of the Spanish Sahara open wound
* Expand CWG and Liberation Route Europe funds - and create a proper Bridge on the River Kwai in Thailand memorial than the shame of just a Welsh Hong Kong male voice choir(!) or a tiny USA plaque(!) for the 75th Anniversary this next year and rail links destoyed in the colonial 1950's
* establish an Asian WW1 Allies London memorial for Thai and Japan and Vietnam Masterdom deaths - presumably some distance from the ludicrous Hyde Park military memorial to animals
* recall all c.400 UK defence attaches from touting arms deals on the rates outside NATO unless they're spies
* detail the Commonwealth Summit 2018 Agenda beyond tea and biscuit and caviar niceties on the rates - on Resilience and aid and peacekeeping and drugs spec requirements - A Jamaica Coalition beyond Germany, with Cuba and Haiti and Central America overdue
* ensure UNSDG30 a core feature of UK military activity and aid
* expand UK Space Agency with retired RAF pilots and engineers - for Mars 2030 and a Global Space Exploration Plan
* place UK colonies - now hardly more people than an East Kent village - under EU and UN oversight for independence within a decade, or suzerainty to USA or Brazil or Argentina, or evacuation for nature reserves. The paedo islands of Pitcairn and West Falkland as indefensible as UK-Philippines online paedo activity
* scrap F35 jets for drones, and begin an investigation as to how Eurofighter Typhoons can be more expensive than French Rafale jets. So much for European defence cooperation and savings?

The closure of several USAF based in UK hardly suggestive of wider conflicts in Europe - rather USA focused on Eastern and Southern Europe for Russia and Africa. Congo after all causing more deaths than WW1 and Rwanda and Sudan more genocide than Kosovo.

England's footballers gearing up for the World Cup with Rabies jabs. Russian footballers might for the return match want TB jabs with London as the TB capital of Europe.

So might Alastair Campbell and his former PM's TB and GB - unless the UK's vaccines have run out again. Surely lavish amounts of vaccines could be stockpiled in UK and then shipped to Africa and India a few months before the expiry dates by RN ships? Perhaps not. Impossible.

Discovery Science Park and Pfizer, the world's largest vaccine company give or take Johnson and Johnson and Glaxo, the USA's largest inward investment in Europe sat idle here in East Kent just a few miles from Dover Europe's largest port and the Channel Tunnel. And London as well as Paris and Brussels. And concerns raised in PMQ in Parliament at a strategic national asset rusting.

Impossible. So impossible.

And Spanish Flu Pandemics more likely to be an African Flu or Ebola or Mozambique's current Plague. Surely Farage and his AFD Nazi collaborators or homegrown Turnip Taliban could resuscitate his repulsive African HIV remarks from the last but one election to make some racist political capital out of all this?

Clearly, Alastair Campbell is right that UK is more Belgium in its defence now, but that's a good thing. Ramsgate's General Lord Dannatt citing swords turned perhaps not into ploughshares as yet. But certainly into pruning shears, as the Illinois railsplitter's better angels of our nature have reduced war to just civil war and ethnic cleansing and peacekeeping this far into the 21st century.

And unfortunately not More Virginia or More Wyoming in its trade deficit - but only because a Nelsonian blind eye has been turned under successive governments to incompetence and waste.

Perhaps if UK defence is so incompetent, Nelson should be removed from Trafalgar Square and replaced with General-Admiral-Wing commander Marc Thys.

Time for Change
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