My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Friday, 16 February 2018

Ramsgate Labour: Election Campaign Vandalism Cover-Up

Karen Constantine & Election Agent Kaz Peet
The Labour Party in Ramsgate, as nationally, is now beginning the process of selecting its Parliamentary Candidate for the next General Election. Although I am currently not a member of the Party I’m very interested in who the Party locally might choose as its candidate. If their choice is an honest, hard-working, socialist with sound moral and ethical principles then I, for one, will vote for that person in the hope that he or she would be my representative in parliament.

However, it appears that the selection process is becoming a catalyst for broader discontent and concern amongst members of the Ramsgate Labour Party. Indeed, a number of them have contacted me over the past few weeks.

Election Agent Peet
One issue which has come up repeatedly is an alleged case of election campaign-related vandalism during the May  2017 Kent County Council elections. The members who have expressed their concern over this issue, have said it involved the Labour Party election agent, Kaz Peet.

From what my sources have told me it would appear that Ms Peet, and several Labour Party members, including their KCC election candidates, were canvassing in Cliffsend. It is alleged that Ms Peet became involved in a doorstep argument with a voter and that afterwards Ms Peet is said to have vandalised property belonging to the person she argued with.

I understand that the alleged act of vandalism was captured on CCTV and that the person concerned submitted a formal complaint to the Labour Party about the actions of its election agent. My contacts tell me that rather than discipline the alleged vandal, the Ramsgate Labour Party bosses decided instead to strike a deal whereby a senior member of the Labour Party paid over £300 to the aggrieved person to avoid any bad publicity that may affect the outcome of the election. If this is true, the Labour Party has a lot of explaining to do, and besides which, why didn’t Ms Peet pay the damages herself. She reportedly runs a successful Airbnb business from her home and rents out a property in Todmorden.

Ms Peet, readers will remember, was also involved, along with wannabe MP Karen Constantine, in the ‘Lushgate’ scandal of a year ago, in which the pair syphoned off charitable donations destined for homeless and poor people in London which they resold at the Churchill Tavern Ramsgate to raise money for the Karen Constantine KCC election campaign. It was only when a journalist from a national newspaper contacted them that they decided to apologise and give the money to local charities.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Councillor Constantine Politicking Parasite?

Cllr Constantine (left) Exploiting the works of others?
Wannabe Labour MP, Councillor Karen Constantine has demonstrated today that she is an unprincipled politicking parasite who will shamelessly exploit, and ride on the back of, other people’s campaigns to brazenly generate self-publicity to aid her efforts to be selected as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate in Ramsgate. 

Following news today that the Labour Party has finally decided to support a ban on live animal exports for fattening and slaughter abroad – news which I am delighted about – Constantine wrote on her website “I believe the live exports for slaughter to be wholly unnecessary. Many of the animals have been transported hundreds of miles before they reach Ramsgate and have endured cramped conditions throughout. Labour’s stance on this should see an end to the practise”. She repeated this message during an interview on BBC Radio Kent this morning.

Wannabe MP Constantine has lived in Royal Road, Ramsgate since 2013. In that time over 60 live animal export shipments have taken place from the Port of Ramsgate which is less than half mile from her home. I have attended most of these shipments to demonstrate with others against this cruel and barbaric trade and do not recall ever seeing Constantine there. During 2013/ early 2014 there were a further 27 live animal export shipments from Dover. Once again I do not recall seeing Constantine at any demonstrations and nor do any other anti-live export campaigners I have spoken to. All of these demonstrations were well publicised on social media by myself and others. 

During the time Constantine has lived in Ramsgate there have been at least 10 public meetings about live animal exports in the town and one large march in 2015 which attracted several thousand people. These events were widely advertised. But, to the best of my knowledge, Constantine attended none of them. The Ramsgate MPs Laura Sandys and then Craig MacKinlay both worked closely, on a non-party political basis, with campaigners against live animal exports from Ramsgate to support and raise the profile of our cause in Parliament and elsewhere. Constantine has not been involved in supporting this highly successful cross-party campaign.

Finally, since becoming a district and then a county councillor, Constantine has never once used her political influence to support and promote the work the hundreds of local people who are trying their best to stop this awful trade. In July 2016 anti-live exports campaigner, Reg Bell, made an impassioned plea to Thanet Councillors to launch a public investigation into the payment of £5million compensation to the cruel exporters. Constantine was at that meeting and said and did nothing to support Mr Bell’s call for increased public accountability about this awful payment of blood money to cruel abusers, some of whom have been convicted in our courts. 

Many people will find it strange and inexplicable, that a high-profile politician, who today professes that she opposes live animal exports, has not been involved, in any way whatsoever, in a popular, broadly supported campaign against a cruel trade which has been taking place less than half a mile from her home since she moved here 5 years ago. This suggests to me that until today’s self-promotional media opportunities became apparent to her, Constantine didn’t give a damn about live animal exports. 

As I said at the beginning of this post these are the actions of someone who, I believe to be, an unprincipled politicking parasite who shamelessly exploits the hard work of others to generate self-publicity in her sharp-elbowed efforts to become a Labour Parliamentary candidate. I credit Labour Party members, who will be involved in her selection, with sufficient intelligence not to support someone who uses the work of others to further their own naked self-interest. This isn’t first time. Remember the Lush cosmetics charity scandal of a year ago. A track record of poor behaviour  may make her unelectable.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Margate Dreamland Offshore Bosses To Own Winter Gardens & Theatre Royal?

Margate’s historic Theatre Royal and Winter Gardens are, in my opinion, almost certain  to be sold off, or leased,  to the private sector in the not too distant future.  This is because Your Leisure Kent  Limited,  which manages these properties on behalf of Thanet Council faces a major  financial crisis which is almost certain to result  in the scaling back of its activities and the shedding of many its responsibilities.

According to its latest accounts,   Your Leisure, which manages council owned sports and entertainment facilities in Dover and Thanet,   made a loss of  £130,000 in 2017.  This loss is compounded by Your Leisure failing in  its bid run Dover’s brand new sports centre, which has reportedly cost the  organisation £150,000 in reduce income as of this year. If this wasn’t bad enough, just last week,  Thanet Council voted, as part of its 2018-19 budget setting process  to slash its annual contribution to Your Leisure by £350,000! How a small company like Your Leisure can survive losses of almost £700,000 in less than a year is beyond me!

As Your Leisure and its staff bravely struggle to manage this extremely serious situation, I expect that the organisation is likely to hand back its biggest cash guzzlers – the Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal   to Thanet Council. Thanet Council has, of course, no cash available to manage these high maintenance buildings so the only option will be to dispose of them. But to who?

I can’t think of many businesses who  would be willing to risk taking  on responsibility for 2 historic buildings which between them probably require several £million investment in  restoration and modernisation. But there again maybe I can.  I think that  the owner of the Margate Dreamland Amusement Park,  the offshore tax-dodging, Cayman Island registered, Arrowgrass Masterfund Limited would be very keen to get its  greedy hands on the these properties in order to generate yet more tax-avoiding super-profits to stuff in the pockets of its  already mega-rich investors and directors.

Bearing in mind Thanet’s appalling track record  on asset disposals  such as the  scandal of the Margate’s £1-a-year seaside pier  and the North Foreland Golf Club £900 a year leasehold steal ( see links to my articles below), I would imagine that Arrowgrass would get an excellent bargain basement price for taking these properties off the Council’s hands. With talks rumoured to be already taking place between Arrowgrass and the Council about the sale of the Arlington House  freehold and whispers of deal between Arrowgrass and the owners of the Margate Lido site, I don’t believe that it will be long before Arrowgrass secures  what amounts to be a monopolistic domination of Margate’s seafront leisure and hospitality industry.

Now some people might say that’s no bad thing. But I profoundly disagree. Tax avoiding, offshore companies such as Arrowgrass reportedly cost the country tens of £billions a year in lost revenue. That’s tens of £billions a year that could be invested in our schools, hospitals and social care services. The jobs created by offshore companies, especially companies such as  Arrowgrass, tend to be zero hour, minimum wage, which do nothing to eliminate the poverty and deprivation faced by thousands of people living in Thanet. The domination of Margate’s seafront leisure and hospitality industry by a single, large and powerful company will also destroy smaller businesses, eliminate competition,  and drive up prices making a day out at the seaside unaffordable for all but the well-heeled.  I believe that Thanet Council would be foolish in the extreme to allow a  secretive, company which aggressively avoids the payment of tax, to become the Emperor of Margate seafront. Such a development is not, in my  opinion, in the best interests of the people of Thanet.

I firmly believe that offshore,  tax dodging, companies  do much more harm than good and that governments across the world should work together to  make them illegal. I firmly believe that Thanet Council should not be supporting pernicious and evil organisations such as these to exploit and rip-off out seafront to make fat cats even fatter.  I only hope that despite my lack of confidence in some of  Thanet so-called Labour leaders, that Jeremy Corbyn is elected as the next Prime Minster and that he runs Arrowgrass and their like  out of town and maybe tosses their directors in gaol for good measure.  


Saturday, 10 February 2018

Council’s Crazy Golf Madness – North Foreland Sell-Off Scandal

Until today I had no idea that Thanet Council owns the freehold of the 200 acre  North Foreland Golf Club. With a membership fee of  £1,000 plus annual green fees of £500 this elitist’s paradise is managed by the private company, Kingsgate Golf Club Limited. 

In 1993 the Kingsgate Golf Club signed a 125 lease with Thanet Council for the 200 acre course. From the company’s latest accounts it  can be calculated that Kingsgate Golf Club pays just £900 a year to Thanet Council to rent  this huge piece of land,  which is situated in what is perhaps one of the most attractive seafront locations in south east  England.  I think most people would agree that this giveaway leasehold deal is utter madness and totally fails to comply with local government legislation which require  councils  to
make “proper arrangements for securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources”. 

Kingsgate Golf Club is not a poor organisation. Its latest accounts show assets of more than £1.6million incuding over half a £million cash reserves. It could easily afford to a pay a more realistic rent to the Council of between £50 – £60,000 a year.   I’m sure its well-heeled, patrons would not object to  paying a proper market rent. For far too long  members of  the North Foreland Golf Club have enjoyed the benefits of having their elitist sport subsidized through an unfair and  cheap, giveaway rent, which has been paid for by the hard-pressed council tax payers of Thanet. It’s time for these feather-bedded golfers to pay more money  for hitting their balls with sticks!

But instead of raising the rent and getting a better deal for council tax-payers, it would appear, from rumours I have heard, that the Council may be preparing to sell its freehold of the land to the Kingsgate Golf Club for a figure which I have been told is likely to be in the region of £2.5million! If this is true,  then Thanet Council is embarking on a potentially  disastrous land sale. Bearing in mind the size and location of the North Foreland Golf Club the freehold must be worth tens of £millions. The alleged £2.5 million asking price is nonsensically low.

However the real issue isn’t the value of the land it’s the Council’s  loss of ownership and what this might mean for our  environment. Love golf, or hate it, the North Foreland  courses provide desperately needed open space  which provide habitats for many wild animals and rare plants. Gaining control of the freehold of this huge piece of extremely  valuable real estate could easliy tempt,  beyond endurance,  the Kingsgate Golf Club to sell off some of the land for a massive profit to developers. Coincidentally,  two of the directors of the Kingsgate Golf Club, Gary Lambert and Jeremy Parkin happen to be active in the building and property development industry, especially Mr Parkin, who according to Companies House records has extensive business connections with other property developers too.

Because recent events at Thanet Council have led to a further, long, delay in agreeing a Local Plan, it will be much easier for a developer to secure  planning permission to build on land which is part of the of the North Foreland golf courses. This would mean that this area of land which acts  as a large “green wedge” will be undermined and reduced thus allowing Margate, Kingsgate, Cliftonville and Reading Street to merge into a large borderless urban sprawl.

If the rumours I have heard are true, my advice to Thanet Council is dump your stupid and environmentally damaging plans to sell off the freehold of the North Foreland Gold courses and instead set a realistic market rent for the land. Oh! and whilst you are at it force the Kingsgate Golf Club to construct some public footpaths across the course too!