Friday, 29 April 2016
Nothing done. Kent rots.
Time for Change @timg33
1. Arlington House demolition: no Tesco
2. EKFOS: East Kent Film Office and Studio
3. EK Film: Paramount theme park-Dreamland-EKFOS, USA
4. Kent-Benelux Strategy: Panasonic batteries, Alpro soyamilk, Philips etc
5. Kent-Iberia Strategy: Spanish/LatAm courses, KP: Operacion Captura, LatAm autos/tourism – Mexico, Chile and Argentina focus etc
6. Kent-EastEurope Strategy: Romania - Hungary/Poland
7. Meiji-Kent: HS1 Ashford: Hitachi and Fujifilm focus, all 400 Kent schools: Japanese course etc
8. KORA: Kent Oriental Restaurant Association: Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese etc
9. Kent Police-ASEAN liaison: sports events and Costa del Crime Asia, RNLI, SAR: air ambulance, Meiji auto procurement etc
10. Thailand Morlam Festival
11. Thailand-Cambodia Khundrum Festival
12. Kent Police dept: UK citizens abroad: jailed/hospitalised/arrested etc
13. Kent Pandemics strategy: vaccines etc
14. LeftisLife Campaign KP/NHS: emergency info, 112, blood/organ stocks, expat blood
15. Kent Chevening courses and New Chevening Strategy: STEM
16. Digital Kent Strategy: IofT/Industry4.0 etc
17. Khmer Shakespeare Event
18. Ramsgate Van Gogh Gallery
19. Spanish Armada Margate 2018: 430th Anniversary
20. Magellan Anniversary 2019-21 anniversary: Kent-Spain
21. Margate: Thailand first UK diplomatic relations 1619: 2019
22. Ramsgate Pavilion: jazz bar, art gallery, Buddhist temple
23. Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things: Kent University courses
24. Kent Uni: ASEAN languages and Nottingham University China/Japan links
25. Discovery Park and Sittingbourne Science parks: largest USA inward investment in Europe: Third World vaccine research/production – #STEM/Dover Port exports
26. CCU: Broadstairs campus – Tourism focus
27. Ramsgate Port focus: foot passenger ferry Sea2Sea: Ostend/Boulogne/Dunkirk
28. Kent Blue Flag beaches: beach volleyball/beach soccer etc
29. Military Covenant: RE Sappers, Royal Navy, Ghurkas focus: SS Richard Montgomery and MAG mines
30. SDG2030 Goals for all public sector organisations
* thank you for your comments on the EK Plan above and amends etc to follow, and keep them coming
* please be patient with posts loading as the volume of views does affect updates etc
* horrifying Hillsboro detail still merging and now 2 SYorks Chiefs resigning...in a day - the latter investigated by Kent Police for corruption at GMP detailed previously - more later
Hillsboro cover up lies: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-35473732
One brief thought on Hillsboro - and Plebgate and Orgreave and Bloody Sunday and Guildford 4 - when will Kent Police in this instance eventually detail the Infratil monitors corruption or Thor negligence or One Essex Court fraud? 27 weeks? 27 years? The Toxic Three at KCC or TDC won't be urging an inquiry will they?
* yet another Kent corruption case with MEP Skinner jailed - why is Kent so corrupt?
* delays on Kent election expenses fraud - how can it be so complex to whitewash?
* superb Wellesley School and Ellington Space events/work with 22 schools and STEM and Astronaut Tim Peake - Produced in East Kent food for Space?
* secrecy at RTC on £140k salaries and pensions and 40% tax increases and Mayor pseudo-election
* Smoking article for No Tobacco Day on Sincerity blog
* Belgian nukes mess: government now issuing iodine tablets for all the population(!) in the event of a radiation leak to air
* Kent remedial points to follow
* KORA and 2LB underway
* Good to see Arlington House eyesore tower block being demolished and danger of asbestos
* 100 SE Rd garden grabbing later: blatant porkies from Fairbrass now and lack of scrutiny
Time for Change
Saturday, 23 April 2016
I thought I’d occasionally mention an interesting book I’m reading. First one away from the kerb is “Red Notice” by Bill Browder.
Very briefly it’s the true story of the Russian hero, Sergei Magnitsky murdered after being jailed in 2008 on false charges against the backgdrop of Russian oligarchs and the first stirrings of capitalism in Putin’s Russia.
You may remember the polonium radiation poisoning of former FSB-KGB official Litvinenko in London following the assassination of journalist Politkovskaya.
And the trials of various Russian oligarchs on trumped-up tax and fraud charges such as Khodorkovsky and Lebedev – remember them imprisoned in a cage during the showtrials?
And more directly involved the death in 2012 of Alexander Perepilichnyy at his home in Surrey. And the investigation of his death by – oh no it’s Surrey Police perhaps Britain’s weakest police force currently lumbering through the Deepcut Barracks murder-suicides (4 bullets is a suicide? It could happen).
Leaping into action they conducted a toxin test – several weeks after the death rendering it as useful as Scotch mist.
Perepilichnyy uncovered evidence of various multi-million frauds in Russia which he detailed to Bill Browder in Moscow who owned the Hermitage Fund and exposed various corruption scandals.
Magnitsky was a tax lawyer who also uncovered the frauds and was arrested and jailed and subsequently died in prison in November 2009 after a year of being tortured and denied medical treatment.
Some of the frauds involved Browder’s companies being seized by the police and courts and then money rinsed through them via tax frauds: $581M against Pafenion and a further $321M in a separate Moscow court: eventually over $1BN.
The sort of thing that’s just a fraction of the Panama Papers and Kent BVI fraud like Pleasurama.
Key officials in the fraud were:
• Colonel Artem Kuznetsov – a Russian Interior Ministry policeman (I’m not sure if it’s FSB or a separate division) who approved various tortures
• Pavel Karpov – Russian Interior Ministry and involved in tax fraud
• Oleg Silchenko – another torturer
• Irina Dudukina – Interior Ministry spokesperson in charge of fluffing up the case against Bowder and Magnitsky
Their names detailed here as following the efforts of Browder after Magnitsky’s death, Senator Cardin in USA steered through the Magnitsky Act imposing sanctions on such Russian officials: 32 of them.
A You tube video of Browder: http://tinyurl.com/hwdud4g
And in April 2014 (if nothing surely the case against a Brexit) over 700 MEP’s from 28 countries voted for similar sanctions against Russia.
So, a very, very recent scandal making the book all the more interesting.
And in a final absurd twist, the trial of the already-dead Magnitsky by Judge Alisov in March 2013. Yes, a dead man on trial. So ludicrous that the reluctantly-appointed State lawyers eventually walked out of the trial leaving the judge to address an empty witness box and courtroom.
The first trial of a dead man in Europe since AD897 and the trial of Pope Formosus in Rome - after he’d been drowned.
As Browder says on page 487:
“This is Russia today. A stuffy courtroom presided over by a corrupt judge, policed by unthinking guards, with lawyers whom are there just to give the appearance of a real trial...”
Perhaps also a damning indictment of the UK as few of the Foreign Office officials emerge untarnished except Simon Smith of the Russian Desk and Ambassador Brenton of the UK Moscow Embassy. Or indeed the High Court with Olswang lawyers conducting a separate libel-for-oligarchs action against Browder instigated by Karpov – although Geoffrey Robertson QC rushed through a last-minute legal defences for the EU vote. The latter (Karpov) who at various times was appointed to investigate himself in the case as was Kuznetsovv also appointed to investigate…himself.
Both then awarded a medal by the Interior Ministry.
Perhaps Russia’s modern-day equivalent of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth where truth become lies and lies accepted as truth.
Google-away if you want for the various names for detailed newspaper articles and You Tube videos by Browder and the passing of the various Acts.
Why mention all this? It’s a very interesting book and I hope you read it.
But mostly because Browder asks for the names to be made public:
“if you sympathise with this search for justice or with Sergei’s tragic fate, please share this story with as many people as you can. That simple act will keep the spirit of Sergei Magnitsky alive and go further than any army of bodyguards in keeping me safe.”
So, please pass it on. And I hope Kent’s bookshops and libraries stock more copies of Red Notice by Bill Browder.
I’ve mentioned previously here the need for a Magnitsky Street in every town as a memorial to Sergei.
And one output of the story was the development of Magnitsky Lists. Not binding in law, but a naming of names of suspects in such cases. And in Kent we have the beginnings of Magnitsky List: the $1 Most Wanted poster of the Infratil criminals is detailed on the blog (if you’d like an A4 PDF copy please email email@example.com) and as with the closure of Manston and all Infratil’s dozens or so airports in Europe and NZ except Wellington – now Asia’s most dangerous airport - the net is tightening on those named on there: Fitzgerald, Clarke and so on.
NZ’s PM John Key is no fool – and despite the fluff around changing the flag to remove the Union Jack must be even less keen to replace Britain’s Farm with reliance on China’s Farm – and the vagaries of tariffs that would make a Brexit tariff war look like a tea party in comparison. And corrupt organisations such as Infratil – a NZ corporate staple only supersceded in scale by sheep – does NZ no favours.
Many of the Kent criminals involved in the removal of the monitors are no longer employed in aviation or politics or civil service such as the Gang of Four except Latchford, or the 0% council fraudsters such as Macgonigal and Moores. Certainly Madeline Homer and Tim Howes are keeping their heads down on the TDC corruption leaking into their regime, and the councillors with the exception of Matterface or Bambridge or Martin, too idle or stupid to even raise their hand.
A Kent Magnitsky List would include not list the KCC Toxic Three, but crooked barristers at One Essex Court such as Guy Hollingworth or Ian Glick QC or Lord Grabiner QC – tricky to get a ruling against those chaps since they’re not just practising barristers in and out of High Court most days, but also senior QC’s so above reproach with the other QC’s, and Glick and Grabiner judges too. And the latter even a Lord.
But they’re turds.
Turds that Judge Alisov would be proud of.
Turds made worse by their wigs.
Fraudster turds that actually advise Parliament and the Bank of England on finances and tax.
Perhaps they’d edged out of their courtroom for a parade of Law Society/SRA and BSB and Inn of Court (not one but two feeble regulators of barristers is more than a coincidence) officials to help them paper over the frauds and failures.
The Kent Magnitsky List should include who else?
Certainly there’s greasy lawyers like Palmer and Downs Law. I’ll publish later an explanation of the former's magical costs. I just need to doublecheck the spelling.. It’s funny. Except of course the dozy judges nod it through. On your rates. On your trust. They’ve probably done the same – using the courts as a lawyer’s cashpoint.
No wonder there’s so many millionaire lawyers and barristers if the costs are a nudge/nudge wink-wink formality.
Certainly we have far too many dozy judges – not the “who are the Beatles” kind of years gone by but too-cosy, too-old-fashioned, make-weights. Grovelling lawyers in front of you every day, I suppose go to your head after a while, helped by cancelling jury trial or cameras in court or weak Parliamentary reports/review on sentencing. And breathtaking 80% Oxbridge-Eton-white-male social immobility from an England of the 1950’s.
Certainly I wouldn’t recommend The Crying Judge on such a List or even Suitcase Smithy. Definitely The Wee Grey Scot and The Teacups Judge though.
But more than a few.
In Kent we don’t yet know the Broadstairs Rape Lawyer – writing to a rape victim to deny their client was a rapist and threatening her with jail unless you shut up. Then their client confirming he was the rapist after all. Who is that lawyer?
You can sleep a little easier that certainly Kent Police are not corrupt or outrageously incompetent. Certainly nothing on the scale of Surrey Police, or Essex Police, and the Goldfinger-shotgun-heart-attack confusion, or suicide-by-drowning-in-a-cement-mixer. It could happen.
You do wonder though at 747’s flying into Manston or Big ben at night from Ostend or Infratil’s Charles Buchanan (another Kent Magnitsky A-Lister) still running Lydd – Britain’s wide-open backdoor to terrorism and drugs.
Ostend is remember Europe’s most notorious gunrunning and Antwerp blood diamond airport for the trade into narco-states like Guinea (the Colombia of West Africa) and endemic wars in Congo and Sudan and Somalia. Or helping to prop up monsters like Obiang and Bashir and Mugabe.
To put that arms trade in context, the Pentagon recently provided 400 tons of ammunition to be forward-placed in Europe for a spot of sabrerattling against Ukraine-Donetsk and to replenish the Syrian and Kurdish militias. 400 tons of ammo is a lot of bullets. It’s about 400 blue shipping boxes. Which would be about 100 or so 747 flights: 2 or 3 a week. So easy to smuggle in enough guns and drugs for the gangs of Salford and Peckham.
All the more important as you may have seen the Kent gunrunners of Rochester’s Cuxton Marina awaiting life sentences for UK’s largest gun haul of AK47 and Uzi ripoffs. With UK’s 2nd largest gunhaul awaiting trial. And just yesterday a £10M cocaine haul from a helicopter at Redhill Airport just off Kent’s M26. Maybe a helicopter is just for fancy drugs and guns.
If we could trust the courts – and I’d take Kent Police advice on their view - I’d have no compunction in imposing mandatory 10 year sentences for any guns or heroin or cocaine in Kent. Ounces never mind tons. And bullets never mind guns. You may also have seen the recent gun amnesty by Manchester Police getting their trousers on with 822 weapons seized.
You might be interested to know too that from my PCC election where I refuse to stand because of the endemic Kent public sector corruption there were 3 main lobby groups that contacted me: Guns, NSPCC and Cycling/Road Deaths. Certainly the last 2 having viable points given Kent’s Jimmy Savile Children’s Homes (perhaps the only other people with any idea of what Magnitsky suffered would be Kent OAP Care Homes with waterboarding bathnight by Nursey or cold gruel from Meals on Wheels every month without fail usually) and Road Deaths worsening with 49 deaths/injuries.
My Kent Police PCC Manifesto: you can't vote for it: http://tinyurl.com/jt8hjmb
Certainly Kent’s Care Homes have seen more kiddyfiddling than the Top of the Pops Studio 1974.
While the thousands of police involved in jailing a few elderly DJ’s seem to have overlooked the horrifying 70,000 rapes in Rape Nation Britain - and 1,000 rapes each year in Kent but only a 5% detection rate.
That at a time when UK is rightly proud of its best-in-the-world road safety: second only if at all to Sweden – the Swedes facing more wintry weather but a third of the population.
As KCC Leader next year I’ll increase Kent road safety – and urge the 6 PCC candidates now to raise the issue – with new Kent Police trousers with a pocket for a pad of parking tickets. Also Meiji Kent car-procurement review replacing Kent Police cars with a larger glovebox for both white and brown gloves, a Ginsters Buffet bar for sustenance, and a pad of parking tickets.
For a very reasonable £50M or so every Kent Police car could be equipped with a pair of policemen and a pad of parking tickets. Perhaps another £10m on a Kent Police ballpoint pen. With a series of seminars and training programmes these policemen (and the Great British Kent Police Lesbians) could be encouraged to go out walking – have a sit down first to get used to the idea and the required diversity training- from the car after parking it) to ticket illegally parked cars. Preferably not their own as that would only increase the rates.
It should only take 10 or 20 years and would eventually reduce the need for traffic wardens, parking officers, ASBO deployment captains, majors of littler liaison and so on. A reorganisation of pretty uniforms with the Highways Agency CCTV clerks could even yield a further £100M saving on a £150M procurement.
Indeed Deputy Chief Constable Paul Buchanan tells me tomorrow has sent me a fax from the PredPol Mystic Meg Division confirming that this would be viable, given his police budget reviews at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas have all turned up trumps. And he’s got an ace in the hole to develop the rest of his Innovation Fund.
And let’s hope from Manchester to Maidstone the call goes out for a Magnitsky List and Left for Life campaign.
Sure the Police Federation Trade Union will mumble and moan on a bit (“ooh we’re giving blood now on our miserly wages and pension” etc etc) but say Kent Police’s 6,000 cops and clerks have routine blood tests that would stimulate the vaccine market with the NHS and private sector.
No doubt encouraged onwards by the pharma boffins at Great British Kent Discovery Park Science Park and Great British Kent Sittingbourne Science Park and Great British Kent Kent University and CCU science courses.
As well as providing 6,000 cops and clerks (along with the NHS and Ambulancemen) safer working conditions: bitten by a drug dealer or his dog on a drug den raid etc. And providing a rapid top-up of blood and organs if relevant for NHS emergencies on blood stocks. Even just a ready supply of blood for DNA research etc.
Certainly it’s a Great British NHS success story that people live longer from injuries in car crashes etc but they require more blood in operations. And it would help pump-prime the delayed DNA rollout and other medical possibilities. It’s a scandal that 300 people die each year from a lack of organs given 2,700 road deaths.
A minor scandal too with the NHS incompetence in being unable to detail what vaccinations you should have at what age and what medical tests. A pandemic scandal on a par with the Flu vaccine running out in August, or relying on the Dutch factory not to set on fire again.
A scandal too on a par with the Sunday Times stillborn campaign: UK worse than Japan or Sweden. And the scandal of thousands of UK cot deaths and miscarriages. And for both public and police the say orange (is there any sort of NHA colourcoding for illnesses?) emergency bracelet on your left wrist if you have serious medical conditions - and card with Left for Life details anyway in your left hand pocket etc.
Left for Life: one of my free ideas that just tickles me. A wonderful thing. And before the police get overzealous it’s not compulsory nor in any way an ID card or to be used in any circumstance except as the Great British Rotary Fridge Bottle/DoorSticker campaign for medical emergencies.
Improvements of course that Sergei will never see.
Time for Change
Garbutt for KCC Leader May 2017.
• A regular feature: OnlyInThanet-OIT. Stuff you just couldn’t make up. Even I don’t believe it and I know it’s true. Anyway. Ramsgate pavilion and Wetherspoons (you can read my objections in the previous post below) Britain’s Biggest Boozer ad Zero Hours Contacts on the cheap... It turns out the licence was approved by…one clerk. Philip Bensted. He cancelled the councillor meeting. Ignored any other objections. And approved it himself. OIT. We seem to have Philip District Council not Thanet District Council. Cue random excuses, BS and downright lies and denial. You know the form. Tim Howes the legal beagle steps to the fore with drivel and more denial, that sort of thing.
Not really a titbit as it’s a bit lengthier than usual:
Worth mentioning the Channel Four documentary on Koh Tao and the 2 backpacker deaths aired last Wednesday. I wasn’t that impressed with the documentary. It just seemed a bit muddled on the horrific deaths of the 2 Brits, Thai mafia allegations, corrupt Thai police and various other Westerner deaths.
Channel 4: http://tinyurl.com/hb7k6ze
Daily Mail going a bit overboard: http://tinyurl.com/zd54v8e
I have no vast knowledge of the specifics of this case but a few observations:
• Nobody has explained nor was it mentioned in the documentary that the 2 Burmese suspects agreed they were on the beach at about the same time as the 2 Brits. The beach is very small as you could see. And so is the road to it, as shown on CCTV. If they didn’t do it, then who did? 2 other Asian men? 3? All of them on the tiny beach with the 2 Burmese suspects and 2 Brits?
• Is it because they’re Burmese and discriminated against? Possibly - but no worse than say fingerpointing against Moslems in UK at the moment as with Steve Uncles and the Bluewater rapists who weren’t Moslem at all. And that’s underestimating the real discrimination in Thailand and Malaysia against Burmese and Rohinyas that goes in with trafficking and fisheries and fruit industry scandals.
• The DNA confirmed both rape, and 2 Asian men involved. I’m not aware of any specific concerns about the DNA tests and again if the 2 Burmese chaps didn’t do it who did?
• I thought Thai police came out of it rather well – within hours of the murders the 6 police on Koh Tao (having been there I know how small an island it is so 6 cops is perfectly reasonable) were increased to 60(!) including special forensics, Thai FBI etc. If anything you’d be tripping over cops.
• It would be interesting just for the heck of it for Kent Police to compare their forensic kit and procedures with the Thai FBI –it may well be that with leapfrog technology the Thai kit is more advanced, just as Cambodia’s phone system is more advanced than UK.
• Indeed Major Suswat was perhaps a little over-frank that Thai Police aren’t as good as they could be (he should see Surrey Police). I’ve never had any problems – quite the opposite with the national police and tourist police (I once lost a flight ticket or sunglasses or something so needed a crime number/report) and the police were falling over themselves to have a chitchat to a foreigner about England or English footy and practice their English. And certainly the Thai government invests huge sums in a dedicated Tourism Police and telephone number and website to help tourists. You imagine being say a Thai or Chinese tourist and pitching up in Manchester Airport for a footy game at Anfield or Old Trafford and trying to explain you’ve lost your sunglasses or whatever?
• Tourism as so often with Britain is invented here but then perfected elsewhere whether it’s steel or railways or television or penicillin or DNA or radio or cinema or football or golf or graphene. Certainly Great British Graphene if Manchester University/Institute gets on with it.
• I do hear of Thai police corruption from Thai friends and it certainly seems more widespread than in UK with roadblocks for bungs. But most corruption in Thailand seems to come from the civil service: extra payments for renewing a driving licence and what not. At least the UK civil service tends to stick to local government and construction corruption.
• The Thai mafia thing in the documentary was all a bit vague and bogeyman-ish. The only Thai mafia rackets I know of and have experienced is some of the tuktuk or taxis in Phuket or some of the islands. You pay the price or walk. And the price is fixed high for every taxi – or they’ll be in trouble rather than you if they try to undercut each other. And certainly in Phuket there’s a hue and cry over reforming both the taxi system and overbuilding onto the beaches and national parks that is outrageous.
• Both Koh Tao and Phuket are my least favourite places in Thailand, Phuket is fun for conferences but both feel too overdeveloped with better beaches and diving and less traffic jams elsewhere – but are they dangerous and corrupt and you shouldn’t visit? Definitely not. Go. Certainly go to Thailand. And maybe you’d like Phuket or Koh Tao anyway.
• The main danger if anything is road safety: far too many accidents – motorbikes and no helmet and Tshirt-shorts and drinking and speeding that rightly isn’t allowed in UK. And if you come off a motorbike and bounce along the road and survive you’ll be waiting a while for an ambulance. An ambulance that in some places could well be just a pickup truck and a bouncy drive to a hospital. For the sake of not following similar Thai driving laws as in UK it’s not worth it.
• The C4 show was interesting though on the c.6 other Western deaths in 2 years in Koh Tao – certainly a flaw in UK reporting (c.4k UK deaths in each of the hospitalised, jailed and dead brackets: c.12k each year around the world) is monthly updates on those and on the Embassy websites etc. If there is a surge of UK TB or road deaths or arrests in Thailand or Tanzania then surely that needs detailing faster.
• There is the first private website detailing such foreigner deaths in Thailand: https://twitter.com/farang_deaths that’s excellent and would no doubt welcome a bit of UK and EU support too. But these aren’t all murders – these are heart attacks or drownings and what not. As you’d have in UK.
• People ask me as well if they should go to Thailand because it’s dangerous with its politics or its military regime. Again I say no. Don’t worry at all. Go. I was in Thailand during the first demonstrations 2 years or so ago. But they were only in Bangkok. Life in Thailand everywhere else carried on as normal. And Bangkok is a very big town, larger than London: anywhere upto 11M people so the demonstrations were concentrated on 2 or 3 equivalents of Piccadilly Circus. If you weren’t at those sites you wouldn’t see any demonstrations. And all the demonstrations I saw were very friendly: speeches and eating out and so on. The recent Dover Riots were far worse.
• The military takeover in May 2014 was also very low key: no troops at beaches or resorts and troops only in Bangkok at the palaces and so on. And only really for a few weeks. Most Thai people reluctantly or not agreed with the military takeover to restore peace that was in danger of escalating to a civil war.
• Since then there have been few arrests, and increasing demands now for the military to finalise a Charter/Constitution and return to barracks.
• General Prayut the head of the army took over – and rapidly moved to as civilian government as possible - and provides a weekly TV broadcast that talks a lot of sense and is worth watching if you can. If anything he’s a patriot rather than a Gadaffi-esque strongman. And if anything he’s also held onto power a little bit too long. If he’d agreed the Charter and stood down this time last year he’d have been feted as a hero. Now the calls are increasing for the return to full democracy. Thailand is a modern democracy – and its reputation for military coups is rooted in the distant past: in the last 25 years there have been c.2 coups and this one is extremely bloodless in comparison to the 1960’s and 1970’s.
• In many ways General Prayut’s legacy will be avoiding a civil war and getting back to democracy as fast as possible and helping make further military interventions almost impossible. Indeed may say that PM Prayut’s legacy, now he's retired form the military, could also be a wider reform of the military and some of the more militarised divisions of the police.
• Thailand faces wider issues in the next few years with the end of the rein of King Bhumibol - deeply-loved, and a more active and positive steering hand on the nation’s development than the UK Royals, and the world’s longest reigning monarch since 1946.
* And with Thailand now at peace the political rapprochement with former PM Thaksin Shinawatra is overdue rather than exile and the needless bogeyman scare stories. Again an imperfect analogy not dissimilar to the nonsense of Ed Miliband being Red Ed and some outrageous Communist. Certainly some of the restrictions of Yingluck – or any Thai politician - travelling to EU and the European Parliament seem a little silly though.
• The USA and UK and EU are all calling for a return to democracy, as are the main political parties again and the wider institutions, and public, and that’s scheduled for this August with a referendum to agree the Charter-Constitution.
• Many of my Kent policies you will see are based on Yingluck who is something of an Aung San figure in Thailand with various dynamic policies. Her brother Thaksin Shinawatra is loved and hated in equal measures by the wider public and elites and Yingluck I think very unfairly is seen – or insulted - as his puppet. Her political rival Abhisit is actually a former Eton schoolfriend of PM David Cameron and the left-right divide is probably more Democrat-Republican than Labour-Conservative. And certainly the Redshirt-Yellowshirt dynamic can veer towards the UK of the 1930's deep social divisions and General Strike - but it’s an imperfect analogy as Thai politics is more vibrant than UK or USA, with more smaller, newer parties and Independents than just a stodgy duopoly.
• I hope the above is of some interest for your travels in Thailand.
• Don’t hesitate to invest and trade there too if you want to – indeed Thailand is one of the UK’s top 5 Growth Economies over the next few decades so doing business is as easy as it could be with both UK and Thailand active in working together.
• And as I say don’t hesitate to visit the Land of Smiles for a holiday it’s a wonderful place. Tourism is a huge part of the economy and travel is easy and fun. Thailand is modern and thriving and democratic and with a prominent and deep-rooted arts and cultural heritage unlike anywhere else in Asia. Its problems are very real but very minor compared to many Asian nations and as you know from some of my writings on this blog far better than UK in several instances.
• Kent has recently seen other backpacker deaths as at the Vietnam waterfall and subsequent memorial service in Canterbury Cathedral. Is Vietnam intrinsically dangerous? Of course not. As with Thailand and the rest of East Asia it’s exceptionally safe. With the exception of parts of Northern Myanmar-Shan State or parts of the Thai-Malay border or Mindanao in the South of Philippines the whole region is at peace after the convulsions of the 1970’s. And all those disputes are far smaller than say Ulster even in the 1980’s.
• Certainly Vietnam had very capable leadership with President Dung now handing over to a new regime, and a new regime in Laos too, and of course the new Aung San regime in Myanmar now ending military rule. Even the journalists jailed from reporting the Myanmar chemical weapons factory, and conduit to North Korea, Sudan and Syria and Pakistan, are now released.
• Keeping the military out of politics is something that Britain has always done well - and you only have to look-back to the military juntas that infected South America until recently, whether Brazil and Argentina and Chile, to see how badly they end up running anything beyond the military itself before handing back to democracy - usually after slaughtering thousands of their own citizens and investing in guns not butter. A legacy that corrupts Latin America to this day, with Colombia and Mexico contaminated with drugs and guns, and over 20 of Latin American cities not just more dangerous than Asia – but now more dangerous than warzones.
• Certainly, especially as I'm no fan of military regimes in any shape or form, I even balk at Britain’s military touted as salesmen around Arabia and Asia to shift guns and bungs into some despot’s pocket and out of the national treasury. Kent has form in that field whether Thanet’s MP Jonathan Aitken and The Mother of All Gun Bungs with Al-Yamamah, and its variants with Sangcom and GPT. Even Lydd airport had links to the Al-Yamamah investors at one point. And certainly Britain’s aircraft carriers are ridiculous bloat and junk and waste already irrelevant in the drone age. But might use up some steel before graphene is finessed.
• And foolishly harking back to a Britain of Empire and a world power that ended 70 years ago if not before. But before the ships are eventually scrapped there certainly is a role in Asia given the collision of crises around the Spratlys, Haiyan typhoon disasters and the dimmed legacy of Commonwealth in Singapore and Malaysia and Brunei and Papua and so on. And a revitalised defence treaties with Japan and Korea. Too often the likes of HMS Kent are either cooped up in port, or on meaningless AmbreSolaire tours to Torremolinos or Naples, or the occasional Somalian rubber dinghy pirate.
• Certainly no organised tour is in place of UK and EU coasts. Certainly no organised tours of Asian coasts. And even say the RAF given 13,000 islands in Indonesia and 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and hundreds more through Micronesia, the Solomons and Guam, must surely have scope for development given the whole raft of cargo aircraft, radar drones and cargo helicopters as well as Sports Diplomacy of footy and rugby and golf at the RAF’s fingertips.
• Especially given 60% of Climate disasters are in the Pacific. It’s certainly outrageous that a Malay 747 can disappear in the ocean through lack of radar and ocean and seabed sensors and research. Even the Plastic Patch littering the oceans and fish we eat.
• But East Asia’s problems if anything are attracting investment, developing tourism and reducing avoidable deaths such as road accidents and pandemics whether TB or Birdflu or Dengue. Not that dissimilar to East Kent really.
Time for Change
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
A rather bizarre argument by Tim Howes the legal person at TDC over an email being sat on by him for 6 weeks and the Licensing Committee meeting being suddenly cancelled - so the Wetherspopons licence was approved by just one clerk - Philip Bensted - without any councilor involvement at all(!) for Britain's biggest boozer(!).
TDC at its murkiest and incompetent best.
More later, but my letter here:
Tuesday 29th March 2016
I wanted to write to you/Planning Committee on the Ramsgate Pavilion and Wetherspoons planning application/drinks licence.
I would completely agree with Kent Police and DCI Adley in refusing the drinks licence - and indeed TDC in initially rejecting the application.
It’s worth considering that what would be Britain’s biggest booze-barn is likely to be a major centre of disorder and police resource: that part of the seafront is furthest from the town centre and would require extra police patrols as soon as the fighting and use of the beach got out of hand.
To be blunt, a Wetherspoons 15 hour drinks licence in that part of the town centre would be like The Last Days of Rome.
In particular the older Planning/licensing committee members may remember the Sawdust Caesars running amok during the 1960’s that blighted Thanet’s seaside towns – numerous fights and injuries and police being airlifted in to control the influx of Mods and Rocker fights during the Spring and Summer Bank Holidays. Not dissimilar to the recent bussed-in trouble at the Dover riots around demonstrations.
Undoubtedly the same would happen the first Bank Holidays after a mega-Wetherspoons opening - if not most weekends. And similar questions and concerns would then be raised.
At the moment though it’s worth remembering that two large Wetherspoons have closed in Kent at Dartford and Sittingbourne so Wetherspoons is hardly a panacea for regeneration - and as with Sports Direct a focus for parliamentary concerns over zero hours contracts.
As well £1.5M in repairs may sound a large amount but is minimal for a Grade 1 Listed structure next to the only Royal Harbour in Britain: nearer £5M would begin to be realistic. The plans I saw last year at the Royal Yacht Club were weak, simply being photos of the old building 100 years ago and one or two loose drawings and a new glass arch.
As you know I’ve made no bones about my intention to open the Pav as The House of Bamboo jazz club, photographers gallery and Buddhist temple.
The latter faith was cited in Archbishop of Dover’s Easter message on interfaith work with (only 87 Buddhist temples in UK) the Church of England centred in East Kent at nearby Canterbury.
The House of Bamboo is far more in keeping with the Café Culture programme and the Nightime Economy work cited by DCI Adley, and begun by innovative nightspots such as the NME Music Hall, Belgian Bar, Bench Tapas, Rokka and Miles bar.
A bog-standard Wetherspoons would undermine this work.
While the larger bars such as The Goose or various Thorley Taverns would feel the strain in reduced custom – both rather excellent in terms of staff training and SIA/bouncer training without excessive drinks promotions.
Again to be blunt, Wetherspoons as a booze equivalent of Tescopolies would undercut the other pubs and create more zero hours/minimum wage salaries. This is of little benefit to Ramsgate, nor carves out a niche different from any Wetherspoons in any town to help Thanet tourism.
A giant Wetherspoons - while seemingly useful - would destroy the green shoots of recovery in Thanet’s tourist towns, that only the children and grandchildren of the elderly councillors will be able to witness.
Again as you know the required Community Right to Bid I raised – and for clarity I’d repeat again here - was simply ignored by the Planning Director now resigned. Wetherspoons would also be concerned at any flawed process and legal challenge.
Anecdotally several members of the public have urged me to take on the Pav and generate the required jobs etc after almost 8 years derelict especially if the best that we can now come up with is a Wetherspoons booze-barn.
Please reject the licence and Wetherspoons application for the Pavilion.
Copies to Committee and Kent Police and on my blog for public review.
Separately can I raise some specific points:
• Bouncy castles: obviously the terrible death in Essex this weekend – and previous serious injuries - raises issues over bouncy castles at pubs and on Ramsgate seafront for the Planning Committee. I’ve previously raised specific concerns on the noise of the generators and the Taliban could not have designed them better to trap and chop off a child’s fingers or hand – these should be banned from public areas or as a minimum permanent supervisory presence
• RNLI: raised previously with RTC: noisy and polluting beach quad bikes to drive a few feet amongst holidaymakers
• RNLI slipways memorial/boards need preserving
• Slipways: an awful mess that should be cancelled – as with the previous restaurant building project in the same spot - and a Hornby Visitor Centre considered for elsewhere within the town if not New Pleasurama. The Slipways are a key part of a working Port.
• Pleasurama: still a mess and should be cancelled and the site cleared for the Summer
• Tonis newsagent and other town shops/WC: radios blaring outside
• Seafront pubs: Friday and Saturday litter ending up in the harbour for the sake of a bin or 5 minutes with a broom – unfair on the street sweeper doing a rather excellent job
• Similarly dustbin collections in the town centres should be changed from Friday market days
• Litter Patrol stood outside Boots glaring at the public in a stab vest and itching to issue tickets of not much use – a parking warden role too?
• Trade station: machetes, crossbows and hi-powered rifle dangerous but could no doubt be bought up on expenses as a part of a gun and knife amnesty
• Bako van man HGV and now Gefco car transporters on the seafront rather than in the many car parks
• Pedestrianisation of Marina seafront ie removal of parking spaces and enforcement of existing High St pedestrian zone: cars on pavements, driving through, cash vans etc
• Particularly week Bank Holiday events: no funfair, weak advertising of events, Xmas lights not switched on/fireworks etc etc. The worst ever and resulting in a Ghost Town - and certainly not good value for £17M provided to TDC in tax and £400k to RTC and £2BN to KCC plus business rates and national taxes.
• Increasingly – and loosely - I think Pleasurama would be more suited to an ice rink, Hornby centre and open park/funfair certainly the BVI hotel and apartments and shops are another nonsensical overbuild project of little use to the town.
• Discovery park/SHP: review of DP site given Pharma focus
• Parkway: cancelled and £17M cost review
• CCU review/expansion: Broadstairs campus and bus/train links to Canterbury campus and Cliftonville student digs area
• Gasworks and Carpet Warehouse concerns: numerous empty houses housing destroying the town centre and lack of office space
• I’d echo the Gazette comments on Harbour St being a mess and the c.£20k funds has not been detailed as yet, not does last week’s Coastal Communities Minister comment on £2M provided to TDC seem correct or how it has been deployed? Also the KOS comments on Richboro rubble not cleared yet nor the derelict wind turbine
• Ships off North Foreland: c.10 berthed actually amongst windfarms(!) and c.5 far too near the beaches: Torrey Canyon accident etc destroying the Blue Flag beaches and tourist economy for years
• Sand on prom and steps: tourist season begins 1st March certainly not after the Bank Holiday
• 100 SE Rd garden grabbing clearly illegal breaching TDC’s own Local plan and ETC? TDC approved flats and excessive mega-extension: please advise as this should be returned back to the previous footprint – copy of November meeting minutes attached again.
• Paramount theme park relevant for East Kent and EKFilm/Studio as I’ve raised previously and Dreamland
• Thor mercury near Broadstairs is still polluting and endangering the public
• I’ll forward the recent parliamentary report on the Border Force citing the UK’s lack of airport and port security – albeit with Kent Police Operations Pegasus and Kraken - which is relevant for Manston previously, and Ostend and Lydd now
• That said I’d flag up Port Ostend – and recent town visit - and requirement for a foot passenger ferry as part of Ramsgate regeneration
• I would highlight the rather excellent street sweeping and pothole tweaks and public toilets cleanliness- also TDC Beach Volleyball and Beach Soccer activity
• EK Stack: a cement park for 2 days a year seems of minimal value: Dover DDC liaison?
• Can I flag up for TDC schools liaison: BBC Microbit computer free to schoolkids: first 1M produced – worrying if EK kids at the bottom of the pile in receiving them
Please advise on next steps and if you need any other details on the above.
Monday, 11 April 2016
I refuse to stand in the Kent PCC election.
The public sector corruption in Kent is simply too blatant and widespread for me to be associated with it in any way, shape or form.
While the Kent Police silence -given Pleasurama BVI and the Panama Papers and after months and years- verges on the police aiding and abetting the outrageous public sector fraud and corruption.
A brief list of Kent corruption is telling:
1. Political fraud with Labour’s Skinner MEP now facing jail for fiddling millions in EU expenses
2. Janice Tingtong Atkinson booted out of UKIP but remaining an MEP and forming an alliance with the repulsive Le Pen racists to access even more EU tax-funds. And Kent Police silent on her assistant even being filmed(!) fiddling her campaign expenses
3. Silence around the LocalCraig Tory election fraud with double the allowed election expenses through bussing in Central Office assistants
4. Lib Dem illegal candidate in the 2015 election: an EU civil servant for Taiwan (Matthew Scott the PCC Tory candidate may fall under the same ban as an MP’s Parliament clerk assisting the Tory government Whip – at the very least jobs for the boys
5. Ann Barnes has resigned albeit issuing a last-minute report claiming she was brilliant in the role – and few of the existing candidates have been heard of: UKIP’s Bolton was formerly a LibDem, Tory Scott a Party drone, Labour Osbourne a Maidstone councillor, same with the Lib Dem Dave Naghi, and then there's Gurvinder Sandher (Independent)from the KCC Police committee (something of a non-role now the PCC is directly elected by all the Kent public) – and responsible only to the public not other councilors
6. Steve Uncles the English Democrats worth mentioning as facing an election fraud court case – from the 2013 election of falsifying ballot papers. But – only in Kent - the Turnip Judge ruling the case be heard...so he can stand in the 2016 election. You just couldn’t make that up could you?
7. Pleasurama – now current as a BVI company - despite the weird council restructuring of it as a UK company and the builder buying them out. Really the whole site – the largest seafront development in UK – was a crooked mire of secret directors and beneficiairies of the councillors and civil servants from the Gang of Four days. Essentially a big payday on the rates
8. Gang of Four: all the Thanet senior civil servant and councillors resigned off and sacked or jailed
9. Macgonigal and Moores with the 0% salary fraud –perhaps the parties and councillors and police want to the public to pick up the tax-tab for these crooked deals
10. Infratil and Gloag with Berry and Button and Sproates with the fake airport monitors and missing millions of fines – resulting in higher cancer for East Kent
11. The £17M KCC Parkway and Road to Nowhere for Pfizer more incompetence and waste than corruption as with building the Turner Centre twice – I wonder how much of the £17M will be repaid back to Westminster?
12. RTC 40% tax increases without a public referendum as required for anything over 1.99% - illegal and fraudulent
13. Same with KCC c.3% increases
14. And the Kent Police random £5 per household gun cops charge
15. Thor mercury – silence from the Toxic Three and Environment agency and TDC on how the banned factory remained open – increasing the pollution even now
16. FerryGate with the secret £3M deal by the Hart Cabinet without the rest of council knowing – and then it goes bust anyway
17. ChinaGate: similar Chinese warehouses dodgy deal by Latchford of the Gang of Four
18. Barrister and lawyer corruption at One Essex Court: Hollingworth fake invoices to High Court and Glick QC and Lord Grabner QC (both the latter also judges (!)– as well as Grabiner in the Lords but described by Private Eye as a ”boiled old sausage” for failing to investigate the LIBOR frauds) and BSB cover-up. Resulting only so far in the Head Clerk’s scapegoat resignation – and him an MBE too. And similar coverup by SRA. One quirk of barristers given the financial scrutiny from the Panama Papers is describing themselves as self-employed despite working in a company and sharing the workload amongst fellow-employees – joint liability in fraud at the very least
19. The Stolen Valour councilors fake medals and up for shoplifting. Laughable if it didn't mean even fewer councilors to represent the public - while being paid
But the list goes on.
Not even including the fake Wetherspoons planning procedure or FOI/EIR disclosure etc. Or shameful Live Animal Exports animal cruelty.
Astonishingly blatant as I say.
How can the politicians and civil servants and police excuse this?
It’s as plain as the nose on the Chief Constable’s face, or the bunions on his feet.
Even the most defective detective could make an arrest out of any those. And without resorting to the Mystic Meg policing of PredPol. Perhaps Essex Police Serious Crime Squad would struggle from the Goldfinger heartattack/shotgun blast murder. Or Surrey Police and the Military Police bumbling through the 4 Deepcut murder-suicides.
To be fair to the police most of the corruption is in the councils – but since when did cops decide they’d put their own salaries and pensions before public justice?
Coverup Cops is almost as bad as Crooked Cops though. As we’ve seen at Hillsboro or Downing St with the wipe clean police notebooks.
A minor point on Fergus Wilson who’s been barred form standing on technical paperwork points (it really has to be hand-delivered? What is this? Kent slips back to the 18th century?) and previously a court case. I’ve no support for him whatsoever – his election ads are appalling scaremongering drivel - even worse than the Police Federation grannyrape ads when they want a payrise - but the PCC process is still in its infancy and the process very unclear. One of the few Independents should be encouraged and helped to stand.
While a £5,000 (yes £5k not £5) charge on candidates to stand is absurd: essentially the main parties trying to price out opposition. Even the MP charge of £500 is bad enough but £5,000? What happened to free and fair elections?
And the court case requirement Fergus initially fell foul of is baffling: you can be barred from an election if you’re guilty of a crime that carries any prison sentence. Even if you’re not jailed? Eh? Why? And every crime carries a potential prison sentence. Fair enough if you’ve been jailed for a serious crime but a potential crime? Nonsense.
While presumably the extra £60,000 fee to the election official is outrageous waste. Why? It’s part of a council’s role every 5 years. Especially when most of the counters etc are volunteers.
£60k for one night’s election work is nonsense.
I refuse to stand.
Kent is corrupt.
I will be calling for every candidate and the Chief Constable to raise the above corruption points for a formal review.
Most of Kent’s criminals are in the councils not the streets.
And with the Manson monitors cancers the cops are helping them get away with murder.
J’accuse the Gang of Four now only Latchford
J’accuse the Toxic Three of Carter, King and Wild
J’accuse Moores and Macgonigal the former still in a Tory Chair role
J’accuse Infratil, Gloag and Thor and Pleasurama
J’accuse blatant Kent corruption.
None of the candidates have provide a manifesto: mere water-is-wet nonsense about reducing crime. Gosh. Well I never. They took 5 years to come up with that?
My PCC manifesto is here:
Or scroll down the blog.
You cannot vote for it though.
I refuse to stand.
I give permission for any of the candidates to use any of my points for free.
I cannot even advise you on which is the least worst candidate: none of them have produced manifestos and none of them have ever said anything.
They’re as bland as a glass of water and as shallow as a puddle.
We’re seeing the same blandroids in the UN Secretary–General election #unsg with a secret rota of Buggins Turn East European nonentities, or emphasis on women rather than the best candidate and not a manifesto between them of what they actually would do beyond seat-warming and picking up a lavish pay cheque.
In Kent PCC, certainly Uncles is the worst with his anti-moslem drivel, and Scott as a blatant party drone/Westminster jobs for the boys – what next Cameron’s granny to stand? – but all the rest are essentially doublehatters too.
Bolton is worth mentioning as particularly laughable in UKIP – previously a LibDem(!) - claiming police and borders expertise – despite all the nations he cites as facing border collapse and floods of refugees. And again perhaps a civil servant so technically banned from an election?
It’s why every piece of research – commissioned by the parties themselves – points out that the problem with politics is the parties themselves: drone candidates, no manifestos and petty insults and bureaucratic-ceremonial instead of reform.
While the new fees for candidates is just the worse of Third World politics so only the rich can stand – or the winners make payoffs to their supporters/funders to recoup the huge costs, as in US elections. No doubt through tax havens such as BVI as we’re seeing with the Icelandic PM, Argentine PM, Robert Mugabe Zim PM, Brazil PM corruption inquiries, Zuma South Africa PM corruption inquiry and so on.
Even David Cameron UK PM having his tax haven details dragged out of him ahead of an Anticorruption Summit and years after the Lough Neath UK tax haven policies.
And of course silence on the Saudi-UK institutional arms corruption we fund through Al-Yamamah (previously Kent MP Jonathan Aitken) and now Sangcom. Essentially UK bungs to Arab princes via arms deals. Funded by you.
Kent Police certainly wouldn’t dare touch those cases. The Chief Constable’s nose might end up being cut off or left to rot in a hellhole jail like Margate’s Joshua French.
But in the UK how could an 18 (or 16) year old student, or someone on minimum wage take part in UK elections under the current rules?
Indeed though you may want to consider refusing to vote: Barnes was elected on only 15% of the electorate turnout (local elections struggle to get c.30 % and national elections c.50%).
It was interesting that the Dutch EU referendum last week had a clause that a minimum turnout of 30% of the electorate was required or the election would be declared void.
I refuse to stand as PCC2106.
Kent is too corrupt.
Time for Change
Garbutt for KCC Leader: May 2017
Friday, 1 April 2016
Astonishing that yet another Kent MEP is found guilty of fraud with Peter Skinner MEP facing jail.
A Kent hat-trick with Ashley Mote and Janice Atkinson.
Add in the council and civil servant corruption and various election frauds it's astonishing.
Separately, Belgian nuclear reactors across the Channel form Kent facing both radiation leaks and a sabotage threat:
Any such explosion would make Fukushima or SS Richard Montgomery a drop in the ocean.
And the sooner the closure of Dungeness is speeded up the better.
And yet another machete death - bizarre they're still on sale:
Time for Change