Saturday, 19 August 2017

Mr Surin and ASEAN 50th

With the founding of ASEAN celebrated from the Bangkok Declaration last week of 8th August 1967 surely a more critical overview of ASEAN is needed - and reflections on the next 50 years?

Former Secretary-General and Bangkok governor candidate Khun Surin Pitsuwan detailed many of the celebratory points in his Manila speech.

Certainly the evolution of ASEAN from a Cold War anti-Communist alliance at the height of the American War in Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos in 1967, between only Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore - in effect replacing SEATO and ASA - to a South East Asia-wide grouping of 10 nations is a success in itself.

But is Mr Surin’s overview too positive - does the ASEAN giant have feet of clay? Celebratory bureaucratic beanfeasts, backslapping and bunfights and vague exhortations of unity are all well and good, and preferable to the blood-drenched paddy fields of the past. But is process leading content?

And is that unity down to ASEAN as an organisation?

ASEAN's first 17 years involved no wider sense of Asian unity - indeed Thai and Filipino military contingents served in Vietnam. While Vietnamese incursions into Laos and Cambodia were repeated for decades – the current Laos and Cambodia military dispute a disturbing reminder of when Asia was a less peaceful place.

And ASEAN had no united voice for decades on either the SLORC military regime in Myanmar, nor China's invasion of Vietnam in 1979, nor, of concern for the future, the Chinese seizure of the Paracels in 1974.

Indeed the present day South China Sea dispute of Paracels and Spratlys are the elephant in the room for ASEAN.

A Chinese empire may well replace the Western empires that fittingly and finally ended with the withdrawal of the first Western empire of Portugal from Macao in 1999.

While the earlier Chinese takeaway of Hong Kong in 1997 from UK still leaves an unpleasant taste, both with UK’s failure to establish democracy rather than a cod-council junta, and now the Chinese arrests of the Umbrella Movement dissidents for democracy.

And on trade ASEAN has a mixed record to say the least - the AEC only just scraped into being at the end of 2015 rather than the beginning, and is still more of a bureaucratic paper tiger than a resurgence of the tiger economies of pre-ASEAN days that most Asians must surely be banking on for future growth.

While ASEAN's weak social record is perhaps symbolised by the baying of the mob and the last chopper from Pattaya as ASEAN ministers fled their summit in 2009. The death penalty moratorium by Malaysia this week on mandatory death sentences for drugs is a positive move for ASEAN human rights. Yet not regionally coordinated by ASEAN.

While HIV and Malaria and TB still not overcome in ASEAN again not for lack of funds available not major pharma companies such as Pfizer or institutions such as Ford Foundation and even Cabbages and Condoms movements.

And the latter is surely a major gap in ASEAN policy in cultivating a Civil Society culture beyond the State or Military: groups such as Greenpeace or Red Cross and Ban Krut and Klity Creek.

If the intention is for ASEAN to be an Asian EU in reducing conflict, and coordinating and improving economic and social policy then much remains to be done. So far the roadmap looks to be full of blind alleys and U-turns rather than a superhighway of turbocharged tech and souped-up agricultural trade.

The EU had rather different beginnings to ASEAN in originating with the specific intention to end the tribal conflicts of Europe that post-1945 had reduced the place to rubble again. The important - then - sharing of resources such as coal and steel between Benelux, France and Germany was driven by Schuman's ESCS removing the need for conflict over those resources where possible.

Strasbourg and Flanders and the Saar Rhineland changed hands for years for their coalfields and steelworks as much as for imperial vanity as economics. The P22 US Navy 1950’s gunboat berthed in Ramsgate harbour is a reminder of USA Marshall Aid and peacekeeping after WW2.

Brexit may well have sounded the death-knell for the Little England approach, compared to greater unity, yet paradoxically has highlighted the need for substantial reform of the EU as an organisation beyond just a warm fuzzy feeling of European unity.

The EU office in Bangkok though is woefully underused by ASEAN for a trade impetus courtesy of the European taxpayer, everything from agricultural produce to automotive parts. And isn’t an ASEAN Space Agency overdue? Australia's Woomera rocket ranges would be a fitting site for UK and Commonwealth cooperation with even the Space Ladder project.

Although UNSDG30 and Philippines is something of an ASEAN success certainly compared to UK’s damning report by House of Commons on UK's limited efforts so far.

And, Brexit silliness aside, the EU has successfully created a Europe-wide series of reforms whether draining the wine lake or reducing the wasteful food mountains of agricultural and fisheries policies. And as of this Summer, now synergising mobile phone roaming charges.

I’ve urged a Sarajevo Shift of EU institutions East for greater peace and prosperity for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Flanders for example is more than capable of driving Belgian prosperity without every EU institution such as the new NATO headquarters being clustered around the oyster bars and caviar cafes of Brussels-Midi.

Indeed the potential relocation of the European Medicines Agency from London to cities such as Paris or Frankfurt or Dublin highlights both the economic incoherence of Brexit and the potential and clamour Sarajevo Shift to the Balkans.

But certainly the ceremonial nonsense of shuttling the EU between Brussels and Strasbourg every few months is ripe for cancellation.

Surely ASEAN for the next 50 years should be looking at such a range of improvements?

Surely it’s monstrous that in the world's rice basket - Thailand alone being the second largest rice producer after India - there is no ASEAN Rice Plan for the region’s staple crop and 500M mouths? The ASEAN rice mountain must be unsustainable with 40% - yes a horrifying 40% - malnutrition in Cambodia and Laos and outrage of Philippines now being a net rice importer.

AS an aside, al the more concerning with this Summer's harvest glut in Latin America no doubt left to spoil and rot despite not one but four African famines.

Khun Surin’s tweaks to the financial system with an ASEAN Bank and Fund by and for ASEAN is simply adding to the plethora of funds that already exist with ADB, AIIB, UNFAO etc etc. An ASEAN fund could easily be raised through the existing ACMF stock exchanges. Shouldn't a Malnutrition Fund be first on the agenda?

ASEAN’s fine words don’t seem to be translating into action for Asia's still-hungry peoples. Process over content is the danger.

And isn’t even the task of a United South East Asia still undone without Timor-Leste formally recognised and road-mapped in its aim of accession by 2020?

Or even an ASEAN response and support for Papa New Guinea and Solomon Islands to cruise faster beyond their current political and social unrest and yet more grinding poverty and hunger? North Korean missiles raining down on Guam must be the least of their worries.

ASEAN is even silent on the appalling spectacle of street kids barefoot and unschooled in its main cities such as Phnom Penh or Manila. If Vietnam has lifted itself from the African-style poverty driven by war then the trade embargos of the 1980’s then still much of ASEAN has not.

While even basics such as mobile phone roaming across ASEAN must be an easy prosperity injection for tech giants such as True given the EU's example to follow?

Astonishingly there is no ASEAN Tourism Plan given the importance of that trade to almost every ASEAN nation - ASEAN silence on the absolute monarchy of bling-bling-oil-rich Brunei is matched only by tourist disinterest. But with Thailand’s 10% of GDP and 30M tourist visitors and forecasts of 5M from Cambodia ASEAN’s lobster-red tourism gold is slipping through its fingers with only an ad-hoc ASEAN Tourism Year every now and then.

It wouldn’t be more fun in the Philippines without tourism, or the extra 10% of GDP in expat remittances, and Manila’s dynamic infrastructure guru Karen Jimeno of the Dept of Public Works and Highways can’t build the sewers and monsoon drains and drinking water plants for tourists and residents all by herself.

ASEAN’s coordination and delivery of hispeed rail has been too long delayed: Cambodia's links to HCMC and BKK only now underway and this week’s announcement of the Malaysia east-west railway linking Thailand's eastern seaboard and border through to western straits of Malaysia.

Similarly the lack of a rail route between Vientiane and Vinh is a strategic weakness in connecting Laos' capital with the Vietnamese deep sea ports - and surely too it’s a key strategic aim for Vietnam for expanded trade with its main port Haiphong and capital link to Hanoi, so near to Hainan’s Chinese submarine base?

ASEAN Peacekeeping could be a useful initiative both in ASEAN aid and Resilience and wider UN peacekeeping- as with the end of UK troops in Germany a too-large military sat in barracks is merely a drain on both the economy and society. The EU Battlegroups are in effect a cost-effective alternative to a standing EU Army with national militaries coordinating on a 6 month rota - although even there they have never been actively deployed.

An ASEAN response on the North Korea nuclear and ICBM threat only now is weak in the extreme with Guam targeted - and with Russia Bear bomber threats as in UK and Netherlands. Seoul and Tokyo as well as Beijing and Taipei are all in range of targeted or accidental missile strikes and radiation. But further afield perhaps Bangkok or Singapore or ASEAN HQ in Jakarta may be next in line for Kim Jong-Un’s ICBM threats horrifically apt given the commemoration this month of the nuclear airbursts over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

New Zealand’s dynamic former PM John Key spoke in London at Asia House on New Zealand's past as Britain’s Farm and of course the threat of being merely China’s Farm in the future.

Indeed Australia and New Zealand should be at the forefront of a revived Commonwealth Asia group working with ASEAN. Over the next 50 years it’s not inconceivable that those nations may join the organisation rather than the alphabet soup sub-groupings of ASEAN plus 3 and plus 6 etc. Is the EU as ASEAN-27 a thing? Would it be of use?

While an extra 5M Chinese or Indonesian immigrants to Wagga-Wagga or Wellington would be a drop in the ocean but make the Antipodes fully Asian from Captain Cook’s European Imperial blip of the last 230 years.

On law and order ASEAN is far from arresting on the drugs surges in the Golden Triangle and from Dawei to Davao and the outrageous comedy of errors over the Red Bull cop killer case highlights a need for both an ASEAN arrest warrant and coordination with Europe and USA. Europol’s new EU Most Wanted campaign must surely be relevant for sunny hideouts across Asia-Pacific whether Phuket and Boracay or Brisbane’s Gold Coast.

Greater coordination on drugs and terrorism: Duterte and Shinawatra regimes responding aggressively to the surge in drug deaths. While Khun Bam of UNODC:


highlights the rapid terrorism surge with returnees from Syria and open sore on Europe’s flank in Libya - Australian universities are very active on counter-terrorism research and long ago highlighting the threat of low-tech vehicle attacks as in London and now Barcelona.

While the porous borders of Syria and Sulu Sea must be ripe for ASEAN and Commonwealth coordination on terrorism? The dynamic highlights of Khun Bam and Australia’s excellent university chairs will be only so much e- paper waste without action.

And as Khun Anchalee pointed out in her article: ASEAN must walk the Climate talk:

Climate is surely a massive failing in ASEAN to provide a coordinated and comprehensive Climate Change response - not just resilience with 50% of deaths from natural disasters of typhoons and earthquakes across Asia-Pacific.

The forest fires and farmland hazes that the EU has been woefully underprepared for in recent months - with fires in Portugal (4,000 troops and firefighters and 64 deaths) and France and Balkans again – shows up the lack of fire brigade coordination and helicopters and transport aircraft that is simply embarrassing for the EU as an economic superpower.

And blazing a trail for ASEAN not to follow – although Bangkok’s fire engine woes and bus and train overhauls could well do with UK and EU coordination. One bright spot for Sudan despite being the world’s fewest roads subject to JCB and Royal Engineer activity is an influx of London buses. The scandal over the $2M Ramsgate fire station hard to justify beyond vanity bloat and as with live animal exports and Pav and Pleasurama routinely mixing both corruption and an East Kent democratic deficit.

ASEAN is far too weak on reversing protection and reseeding of its forests and fisheries that make up the green lung of the planet through Jakarta and Java to Mindanao and Myanmar.

Tourism is even weak on developing a UNESCO World Heritage plan - do the ancient civilisations of Asia still only warrant just 37 sites compared to 31 in UK – including this year’s designation of the Lake District albeit with Kent’s Pegwell Bay under attack?

Alastair Campbell, formerly of 10 Downing St and still a Burnley supporter, writing in the New European cited the potential for newer EU nations such as Albania for political and economic support, even Sports Tourism with a Tour D'Albania cycle race of the sort that has evolved beyond France and Flanders to UK in recent years with the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour de Canterbury here in East Kent.

One could ask where is the ASEAN Sports or Sports tourism Plan?

Certainly the huge potential is there with both SEA games and Asia Games and I attended the Phuket beach games recently which was superb and food for thought on the potential for East Kent with the success of the Margate UK volleyball championships. Beach polo on the Blue Flag beaches may be a bridge too far at the moment but surfing and skateboarding and sports climbing ahead of the Tokyo and Los Angeles Olympics is a distinct possibility.

Yet ASEAN dropping the ball with Hanoi failing to deliver the 2019 Asian Games confusingly rescheduled to both 2018 and Indonesia, and now Manila and the 2019 SEA Games cancellation only just being reversed, doesn’t inspire confidence nor does the lack of a co-ordinated response for an ASEAN Olympics at some time this century, now Paris and Los Angeles are (almost) confirmed for 2024 and 2028. Not Sydney again so soon?

Surely UK and ASEAN broadcasters could be active on the current SEA Games broadcasts as well as culture and language programming for the future? Bangkok bus overhauls with English language letters are fine in delivering English as the ASEAN lingua franca but concerning if they cannot be read by most people.

HALO trust and the 2025 landmine deadline is relevant for Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Philippines is beyond ASEAN’s current efforts. UK’s Princess Diana’s work on landmines and fashion is a baton taken up by dynamic royals such as Cambodian and Californian Princess Soma.

ASEAN's 50th is certainly worth celebrating but won't the candles on the birthday cake for even its 60th be burning lower without more active efforts from the likes of Mr Surin?


Saturday, 29 July 2017

UK and Thailand weaving through air pollution? With EU and Surin silk?

The UK has stepped on the gas in the first week of dynamic Environment Minister Michael Gove's reign.

The former Justice Minister and Education Minister and arch-Brexiteer and would-be PM, and Times columnist has released the UK's first Air Pollution Bill consultation of the 21st century witheld due the June 8th election and a general lack of policy and direction.

If Norway will phase out pollution from the combustion engine by 2025 then France and now UK will do so by 2040. It’s perhaps not such a radical step given VW announced earlier this year - hastened no doubt by the DieselGate emissions scandal and fines - it will cease manufacturing combustion engine vehicles by 2030. And Volvo this month announced it would do so by 2019.

Every car now on the road, or bought in the next decade would be scrap metal by 2040 anyway but it is a clear start to clear the logjam.

Surely more could be done faster with public sector procurement on police cars etc - BMW's new Mini, unfortunately only screwdriver assembly from Bavaria, in the Midland's Engine at Oxford and Nissan's new Qashqai efforts in Sunderland's part of the Northern Powerhouse, and Ford's Port Talbot plant in Wales should surely be factored into the mix with British jobs?

Nevertheless it's a forward UK step and Minister Gove clothed himself in similar green garb such as tweaks to end live animals in the last two or three UK circuses. And ending live animal exports on cruelty grounds - that now only through Ramsgate's port, and occasionally Dover's, and a point I support in my politics campaign.

The noxious trade resulted in the slaughter of 40 sheep in 2012 through the badly-managed port, an incredulous High Court case noodling on the on the rates on the finer points of free trade.

## UK exports pear shaped? ##

And the accident waiting to happen of SS Joline, a Soviet tank transporter designed for the Baltic rivers now defended by a breakwater of UK and NATO troops, weaving its way through the Channel and busiest shipping lanes in the world, with crates of sheep on deck.

A stomach-churning sight matched with Minister Gove quickly urging restraint on Trade Minister Liam Fox's chlorine-washed chicken imports from USA potentially breaching EU's higher food safety standards. Supersize KFC buckets of fried chicken and pink goo McDonald's feeding into the wider need of fast food reform whether store or menu design.

Despite Minister Fox's sterling efforts UK exports are still far lower than they should be: the latest GDP figures just a soggy 0.2% about half of the previous year's.

Trade efforts aren't all going pear-shaped though: The Times details Argentina's Malbec grapes and wine are an astonishing 31.6% increase through Asda supermarkets and cleverly marketed through the Summer as UK's BBQ wine.

USDA ratings and trade integration opening the market for Patagonian pears too. While cheaper wine brands such as BBQ-central Australia's Lindeman's brands are facing a 30% fall by contrast plus 41% of Brits curbing their drinking whether financially or health driven.

A point surely not lost for Thailand given the GI – Geographical Indication - status this week by EU, perhaps via its Bangkok-ASEAN office along with UN-FAO, for Surin silk. Isaan's cloth and craftsmanship also recognised along with Hom Mali rice and Northern Thailand's Doi Chang coffee.

Khun Apiradee Treerutkuarkul's fascinating article "Spinning your Surin style" details Ban Sa village and Queen Sirikit's QSDS Dept of Sericulture efforts:
The GI status already protecting European brands such as Champagne and East Kent beer hops. Patents a key brand issue from the days and dyes of Chantilly lace and de Nimes cloth appropriated by California's Levis jeans.

UK and national treasures such as Welsh lace or Scottish tartan could learn much from Khun Kinnaree Rekcharoen of QSDS and Khun Arthorn Sangsomvong of Isaan Thai Silk Association along with wider cross-fertilisation of brands such as George at Walmart-Asda (now with B&M merger to turbocharge its clothing) or Marks and Spencer. Arcadia unfortunately still a stain on UK retail and legal from the Grabiner-Green scandal.

## Surin Silk economic corridor ##

Surin silk with its high gold thread count is patently a massive trade opportunity for Isaan and Thailand - whether developing a Southern Isaan economic corridor, or Royal Road to Cambodia or UK High St and City support. If silkworm cocoons and mulberry leaves provide a delicious Isaan cuisine then UK brands such as Mulberry must also be relevant.

Fashion expert Alexandra Haddow in the New European for example detailing the much smaller menswear market, compared to womenswear, showcase of LCM London Collections Men still worth c.$20BN in sales in 2015 for its two shows a year plus European markets such as Florence's Pitti Uomo trade show amongst many more. Jermyn St tailoring or Paul Smith must be a factor too for Surin silk from suit linings to socks.

While OTOP status is long overdue in UK and for UK brands in Thailand and UK whether Tesco Lotus or boutique brands.

Indeed a boon also for Cambodia with its GI accreditation for Cardamom pepper and now being cited by UK chefs with Asian fish and fruits. No doubt a spur to the food, and climate-controlled, mega-warehouses now being built on the Thai-Cambodian border feeding into those hispeed rail networks, certainly as an antidote to 40% malnutrition in Cambodia and Laos.

A mega-trade deal with USA or Commonwealth as a counterweight to losing EU access being another Brexit chimera. More closely at hand is the end of Brexit altogether given former PM Tony Blair and new LibDem leader Vince Cable speaking openly of its cancellation before it's even begun.

The only missed opportunity being the EU reforms rightly cited by former PM David Cameron prior to the Brexit referendum. Draining the wine lake and reducing the butter mountain have all been broadly succesful EU reforms over the years. EU fishing reforms are seeing the fished-out North Sea returning both cod and sea bass as well Kent's Marine reserves and a factor in Scotland's fishfarm growth – salmon GI status too.

As an aside, it does seem absurd that fishermen can't in effect be paid twice; once to reseed the oceans and then to fish them. While the accession of Eastern Europe in 2008 was balanced with work permits for say agricultural and medical workers in several European nations, except Britain. The longer the pretence of Brexit continues with the foreign perception of an unwelcoming Britain then the more the NHS and retail and agricultural sectors will suffer with EU workers voting with their feet and wallet and going elsewhere.

Fortunately this week East Kent with UK's first and last UKIP council and crop of incompetent, idle and unpleasant MEP's awaiting the chop in 2019, has suffered another wipeout to a minority administration restoring Kent to its welcoming tradition.

Far away Huddersfield's Felix the Cat in the welcoming tradition of Japanese railway station cats helping the trains to run on time. A moggie Mussolini of mice, and welcome addition to the UK rail network along with Japan Rail and Hitachi and Meiji Kent's train franchise. Hyper Japan festival in London going beyond the hype to detail another round of Japanese innovation from Hello kitty to Manga town to Tokyo 2020 preparations.

## Visegrad Kent ##

East Kent's elderly MP Roger Gale even chairing a Poland-UK parliamentary debate with the astonishing fact of UK being Poland's largest trade partner after Germany yet without a PM trade envoy or plan. An astonishing fumbling of the ball with Polish now the main UK language after English or Welsh – and East Kent a Videsgrad and East European heartland with the most Romanians in Canterbury CCU outside Bucharest.

Although endemic Labour and Tory and civil service corruption over Manston and Pleasurama and Thor mercury ensures the farce will cling at least through August's Margate by-election and another round of paydays for salaries and pensions before any clawback.

I've urged a Sarajevo Shift of reforms to move several EU institutions eastward. At first glance a foolish policy given East Kent's close links of tourism and transport and universities with Flanders and Belgium albeit invigorating those economies longer-term. Another vanity building for NATO in Brussels is tax waste given Putin's miscalculations in Ukraine and Crimea, indeed in Syria with Assad's poisonous regime too.

While Visegrad nations such as Czech republic MEP's highlighting food apartheid in Eastern Europe with different formulations and packaging sizes is a game changer for Europe’s food industries and EU. And in stark contrast to the great success of Budapest's' Fina swimming championships now showcasing the city and nation to its best and for future big-ticket events and infrastructure building peace and prosperity.

Britain's Adam Peaty confirming again Britain's status as a Sporting Superpower gaining all the top ten fastest swim times ever. Apt with Ramsgate's Little Ships highlighted in the Dunkirk megamovie in helping the British Army return home - with their French friends - without getting their feet wet.

But an astonishing failure of Kent tourism and Film marketing and I’ve highlighted EKFOS previously the East Kent film and Office. One bright spot in UK trade figures being the boom in the UK film industriy for studios and special effects companies from Disney invigoration of franchises such as Star Wars. And no doubt providing food for thought and urging on dynamic Tourism and Sports Minister Kent's Tracey Crouch with her aim of a n Olympic pool in every UK county. East Kent overdue on that score and long-delayed Bolero icerink.

And the farce of the Brussels-Strasbourg shuttle every few months is similar ceremonial tax-waste that could be redeployed further afield to the Visegrad nations if not eventual Moldova, Ukraine and Russian accession to the EU - along with the Maghreb and Levant nations beyond sandbanks and landmines.
Monstrous absurdities such as 900 landmine deaths in Lebanon are ripe for EU HALO trust and MAG work given efforts in Cambodia and Laos and Zero Mines by 2025 - as are the Iron Harvests of mines and UXO still reaped in Belgium and Kent, and WW2 battlefields of North Africa.

With peace efforts ongoing in Libya, such moves must be key for Britain and Germany and Italy, along with Desertec solar prosperity by BP and a Beyond Petroleum future for Arabia.

## Air pollution choking NZ and Wales too ##

But if air pollution is a toxic factor in UK with 40,000 deaths each year, that figure can only have been underestimated from Infratil's removal of Manston airport monitors one of the key nodes in the London and South East air monitoring network.

No doubt a similar toxic policy affecting staff, workers, tourists and citizens around Infratil director's last redoubt at Wellington Airport in New Zealand. No wonder Air New Zealand helps market New Zealand as 100% Pure Air if they're serial-polluting elsewhere. Minister Gove's Brext rival Boris Johnson popping up in NZ among the sheep to try and drum up a mega trade deal this week.

Such horrific air pollution must also be a factor for contenders such as Surin Pitsuwan and the Bangkok governorship - Bangkok being far more active with pollution and public transport measures in recent years. And if an initial failing in the UK air pollution plan is a lack of detail around Heathrow expansion and pollution, surely fellow-Bristolian, Surin would be reviewing Don Muang and Suvarnhabumi expansion with U-Tapao and Eastern Economic corridor as well as Thai Airways plans for 28 new jumbo jets and Bristol-Cardiff manufacturing hub.

As a former Rolls Royce teaboy, getting in the way of my father making engine parts for Rolls Royce and Concorde, the Thai airways and Rolls Royce corruption scandal is painful to witness and depressing the Midlands Growth Engine from Derby to the new electric Mini in Coventry - and Birmingham airport by far the best of the bunch during the airports reviews - indeed UK Space Agency growth.

The Gove announcement for UK version of DARPA undoubtedly unleashing both greater UK and USA cooperation and innovation of the military-industrial nexus, as with the success of the internet, and scandalous failure of F35 jets for UK and USA and NATO taxpayers and soldiers, on useful issues such as materials, batteries, vaccines as successfully implemented by StartUp Nation Israel.

And if the Operation Stack lorry park and garden megatown are now rated a red economic danger by the National Audit Agency then under-playing air pollution from shipping form the afore-mentioned Channel shipping lanes, is a factor in the Manston monitors fakery for over ten years now.

Mullet-haired Tim Wetherspoons sticky carpet pubchain with the new Wetherspoon's Pavilion mired in pro-Brexit twaddle, then concerns over EU workers rights for his boozers, and council corruption, asbestos and resignations.

While the Buriram motorsports race track, recently cited by tourism expert Richard Barrow must surely be a contender with Kent's Brands Hatch or Silverstone for both sports tourism and economic development and R&D say a UK-Thailand eco-Grand Prix whether for electric vehicles powered by flowers or biowaste. The fuss and furore around the Circuit of Wales racetrack has currently stalled the project but could be jumpstarted on eco-grounds with an infusion of leeks or daffodils.

Welsh national policy launching an innovative minimum pricing on alcohol in its health bill and vigorous opposition from Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood for a specific Cancer Fund Health Bill adjunct not just for the effects of air pollution but innovations in lesser-known cancers such as bowel and liver.

## Brexit silliness and autoparts ##

It seems astonishing UK public policy failure with NHS one of the world's largest employers after the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army and AsdaWalmart, and UK's c.130 world-leading univerisities not to be more closely woven with pharma giants such as Pfizer and Glaxo - whether in UK or ASEAN - and cancer courses in every university.

Brexit silliness continuing for much longer past Parliament's vacation would see the unravelling beginning with for example the European Medicines Agency moving from London Docklands.

Both Japanese and Eire policy makers rightly vocal on the silliness of Brexit - Japan even allying its words with practical support if needed of trade negotiators for UK from its experience of EU and USA (and UK with Eurocopter) trade dealings.

Already dynamic Eire policy makers are urging the brakes on Brexit but competing with Paris and Frankfurt for such rich pickings along with new Bank of America headquarters in Dublin - perhaps an echo of regionalism blind spot affecting most governments, compared to say Cork and new port-hispeed rail infrastructure tightening the links on southern and northern Ireland's economies if not Glasgow's.

While automotive expert John Neill Chairman of Unipart the main autoparts and rail producer writing last week in The New European newspaper detailed not just the dangers of Breixt on planes and trains and automobiles, and buses, but the vigorous and seamless growth potential from electric vehicles - that must surely shape and retool Thailand's automotive and satellite industries.

Surin silk is clearly just one steel thread that should bind UK and Thailand more closely with Europe and USA.

Time for Change

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Times letter: Lazy cops and Cheshire

Dear Editor

Chief Constable Simon Byrne of Cheshire Police is one of UK’s more capable police chiefs – albeit Cheshire facing no more serious crime than dodgy Botox - but his letter today in The Times from the front page article “Lazy Cops” (next to the excellent F35 expose) by the UK’s Chief Prosecutor no less, suggests cheerleading rather than rigorous scrutiny.

Given the police failures on major cases such as South Yorkshire and Hillsboro and Surrey Police cowed by the Military Police over Deepcut, or the Met and Plebgate, or even Thailand’s Red Bull Boss copkiller on the run and High Court corruption under Lord Grabiner’s One Essex Court, does seem to be cause for concern.

While – as a former PCC candidate in Kent - more peripheral issues such as The Times article “Blobbies on the beat” for overweight cops or Boobgate or excessive kit procurement from trousers to drones to guncops to gender-neutral baseball caps suggests a wider malaise and backoffice bloat given the rise in heroin and cocaine deaths, serious crime figures, road deaths and knife crime epidemics.

Surely Chief Byrne should take his fingers off the keyboard, adjust his baseball cap and get some junkies and rapists arrested? Or at the very least call in the Chief Prosecutor for more details on his concerns over modern policing?

Tim Garbutt, Ramsgate


* Good Ramsgate Festival today and opera on the beach - my favourite is Tutti Frutti
* Good UKIP wipeout: Cllr Bev defection yesterday means UKIP lose control of TDC council their first and last UK council. Oblivion but clinging on for 2 more years?
* Bizarre Gazette letters from Everitt and Johnsston scoundrel cllrs over Pleasurama and Port corruption
* Time for cancellation of Slipways and Nemo Link Pegwell Bay UNESCO site

Friday, 14 July 2017

Kent in a right old state - of failure and corruption

Tim Garbutt Ramsgate Mayor 2019 and MP 2022 (or sooner) candidate said:

"Clearly East Kent Council reform is long overdue with Dreamland tax havens etc and rampant civil service and councilor corruption for at least a decade.

Now the latest TDC salary increases - presumably with a secret vote and certainly not included in any manifesto - and KCC councilors hurriedly approving a 15% increase instead of the recommended 1.5% increase (unless The Duffers didn't have their specs on) makes yet another mockery of East Kent governance and KCC £2BN bloat.

Salaries and pensions higher than the Prime Minster for failed councils and lack of FOI and debate are simply too old-fashioned and leave Kent in a right old state.

Chris "watery" Wells the first and last UKIP council leader is being led by the nose by the civil servants presumably to cover up the Infratil crimes with the KCC Toxic Two. His resignation is overdue, and Leader Carter already sidelined from some of the South East council beanfeast quangos.

KCC with the highest £100k civil service salaries and now highest councilor salaries in UK aren't so much conservative but stagnant - and a toxic mix of elderly duffers and trade unionists using the elections to fill their boots.

Kent has failed and cuts are needed to salaries and pensions and jobs to reverse the bloat and failure.

While court revelations that Craig Mackinlay scapegoat for the Tory Battlebus fraud not only didn't include the Battlebus and hotel expenses, but also didn't include any advertising or agent costs and cites living in Ramsgate, makes a mockery of national electoral fraud.

With Chief Constable Pughsley back from his holidays, a Police investigation into Thor mercury and Manston-Infratil cancer crimes as well as Dreamland and Pleasurama tax haven fraud is overdue.

The Belgians could run things better - they speak English, are near East Kent and are still funded from UK tax.

Or Chad could have a go.

Time for Change


* awful tarmac splodges still on Ramsgate High St - is this the new RTC handyman's best work? And a mystery build on the Listed slipways attempt again...
* Pav and 100 SE Rd callin still overdue for dodgy decisions
* another Summer of Pleasurama mess or a public invasion and sit-in?

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Gazette letter: 3 Duffers. Manston aquifer and Infratil crimes

Dear Editor

Three letters in the Gazette last week from Messrs Chris Wells, UKIP Leader of TDC (2 years - and c.15 years as Tory councillor),and Iris Johnson (23 years a Labour councilor and leader), and Roger Gale MP (1,000 years as MP) are the epitome of everything that is wrong with Thanet and TDC - and has been for decades.

Especially on the Manston airport and Riveroak debate.

When will they speak up on the East Kent aquifer under the runway and removal of Manston airport monitors and faking of pollution data by Infratil and Gloag/Stagecoach since 2004?

Perhaps they're hoping to be safely tucked up in their coffin before the scandal fully merges?

While Cllr Messenger, as a new duffer, states that the councillors tried unsuccessfully to persuade TDC(!) not to end the US Navy gunboat P22 mooring in TDC-owned Ramsgate harbour, suggests the clerks are running the council not elected councillors.

Tim Garbutt, Ramsgate

Time for Change



* very concerning the planned closure of CCU Broadstairs - which our councillors has raised this?

* another Summer with Pleasurama hoarding. Time for the public to remove it with a mass sit-in?

* Time for a vote of no confidence in Wells and TDC. A failed organisation and desperate clinging to power. Nothing done. Nothing will be done.

* concerning an oil tanker crash in the Channel: East Kent's BLue Flag beaches and Torrey Canyon?

* Silence on Kent tower blocks fire safety and asbestos and Thor mercury - Flint Michigan has already started jailing its clerks for failure and coverup

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Kent Chief Constable letter- and Mackinlay election fraud trial next week @timg33

Letter to Chief Constable Pughsley, Kent Police

Dear Chief

I wanted to write to you formally in the General Election campaign on the corruption and criminal points in my manifesto and highlight several of the criminal scoundrels:

1. Manston-Infratil crimes: the extradition of the Infratil directors from Wellington in New Zealand ie Fitzgerald and Clarke, and Bogoievski and Baker and TDC/KCC complicity in removing the monitors at Manston and faking the data from 2004 onwards

2. Charles Buchanan: similar points as 1 as but now in UK at Lydd airport (update: apparently no longer at Lydd nor Northpoint Aviation consultancy?)

3. Gloag-Stagecoach: similar issues to point 1 ie banned aircraft and illegal overflights and failure to reinstate missing monitors and fines 2013-14

4. TDC-KCC complicity in both the above points: Berry, Button and Sproates and KCC Toxic Three now Two: Carter and Wild

5. Sangcom/GPT MOD Saudi arms deals frauds continue: part of Al-Yamamah with former Thanet MP Jonathan Aitken jailed

6. Margate's Joshua French was released from Congo Death Row last week – so no longer a UK Police issue

7. Lord Grabiner: the disgraced "apogee" Chair of BHS/Taveta: secret shareholders - astonishingly still a High Court judge and bizarrely a barrister too - in effect sitting both sides of the bench and marking his own homework

8. Ian Glick QC and Guy Hollingworth complicit with clerks in - also of One Essex Court - false and fraudulent costs in High Court and false imprisonment

9. Judge Mann, Crying Judge and Teacups Judge - aiding and abetting as point 8

10. BSB and Law Society incompetence and coverup: Leavor QC, One Essex Court barristers and clerks etc - clearly a wider parliament and police review of the failing self-regulation of the courts is needed

11. PBI Law: Steve Palmer Hollingworth's accomplice as point 8

12. Messrs Conway and Kelly of Law Step: posing as - and/or aiding and abetting - HMRC officials:

13. Thor Mercury Margate and Cato Ridge: Environment Agency (and Manston role given the East Kent drinking water aquifer under the runway)

14. The blatant Tory 2015 election fraud - the largest in UK history - trial now underway with Craig Mackinlay as scapegoat for 30 MP's and Party HQ Battlebus bussing in supporters and obviously issues of wider electoral reform

The Manston crimes would only pollute the c.130,000 people in East Kent - with resulting increases in cancer - but it is worth noting that the Manston weather station and pollution monitors are one of the key facets of London and South East England's weather and pollution network. The faked data would skew the air pollution figures upwards already c.50k UK deaths.

It’s also worth noting the cost to the taxpayer in lost fines revenue, increased tax cost, and time and damage to HMRC and legal system.

And a wider issue remains around UK national security with flights by Cargolux now based at Stansted and KLM - perhaps piloted by the Dutch King given recent reports - but especially gunrunning and drugs flights - including UN sanctions for blood diamonds etc - as well as Afghan KAM Air and Egyptair via Ostend airport just a few minutes fly-time across the Channel.

Obviously Manston closed in 2014 after being sold for $1 and all the other UK and Europan airports as the directors fled to NZ, but in my MP role I've urged no a no-expense-spared to bring back Infratil's directors: orange jumpsuits, leg-irons and handcuffs.

Corrupt barristers and lawyers and judges are almost an axiom in the UK legal system, with libel tourism for Russian oligarchs etc, but obviously an issue if caught.

And as you know all the above aren’t now denied merely coverup and silence.

Please consider this a formal police statement and/or witness statement and please advise if you require any further information.

Copy on my blog for public view.

Tim Garbutt
Thanet South MP candidate

Time for Change


* good tarmac splodges being replanted in Ramsgate High St replanted with trees and drains/sewers cleanup.
* outrageous KCC and Kent Fire haven't released details of 155 tower blocks in danger in Kent - FOI so no excuse, and shunting blame around depts etc no excuse. Presumably all the fire inspections are upto date anyway?
* and asbestos in schools etc?
* bad that East Kent's Dover in bottom 10 in UK survey of broadband speed

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

East Kent fails. Time for Change @timg33

A few EK points:

* EK council next steps? Suggested budgets/responsibilities based on KCC budget etc

* No train stopping in Kent for Amsterdam Eurostar a concern

* also train commuter shuttle to Lille? and trams TG50? - that's the whole point of Ashford station

* Grenfell Tower review published: all EK tower blocks: fire/broken lifts/demolition etc and asbestos schools etc - also motorway bridges

* also demolition Arlington House Margate 60's eyesore tower block and open up Dreamland

* derelict/eyesore wind turbine demolition: c.200M form Richboro power station

* Dreamland and Paramount drift: timetable?

* Discovery Park and Sittingbourne inaction: outline plan? ie TB research /manufacture etc

* LCD panels in town centres

* public complaints over TV reception: Ofcom/BBC?

* EK tourism plan/festivals by month/year?

* halt Pav Wetherspoons - Ramsgate Lloyds?

* clear Pleasurama site - and clear it/$1 CPO/Review: another Summer lost and derelict eyesore.

* cancel Riveroak (and Parkway - KCC refund): aquifer review and protection

Writing on the wall in Ramsgate: "You voted Mackinlay??!!": @timg33

Lame Duck MP's/TDC: every senior councillor voted out in recent elections. Tiem fro vote of no confidence - are we really supposed to wait 2 years to be rid of these lame ducks?

Wells now announcing Riveroak's plans would - shock horror well I never - include night flights is laughable. He didn't realise that? Rather, we've had game=-playing on the damage caused by Manston and Infratil etc since UKIP won the 2015 election to reopen the site then quickly cancelled it.

How polluted is the aquifer and what cleanup has been done? Why has the extradition process for Infratil directors not begun?

* KCC Int links: Virginia /Hungary refreshed? ANd East Europe: Romania etc.

* Good a new campaign on press/radio as Kent vaccinations: below 83% safety level: Pandemics.

KP/Blue Light policy on vaccinations etc? And Left is Life? KP liaison with hospitals/new vaccines?

* I couldn't attend KP Blue Blowers concert at Broadstairs - is there a set list/video?

Garbutt for Mayor 2019 or sooner.

Time for Meiji Kent reforms.

Time for Change

* astonished to see cars parked in Pedzone and pavements/Seafront: G637 SKA still: Good current Mayor Shonk taking photos: tickets and clamp/crush needed

* update:

* High Court of Corruption: