Ironically it appears that there is little news available to the public, in regard to the Kent Messenger Groups bid to buy Kent Regional News and Media (Northcliffe Media).No surprise that when I contacted Kent Messenger group and Northcliffe Media execs, they were unable to offer any elaboration on this significant development to local news reporting .
Is it possible that the success or failure of Thanet as a whole can be deduced from it's size alone? It seems unlikely on the surface but let us look a little deeper.
Physicist Geoffrey West has found that simple, mathematical laws govern the properties of cities -- that wealth, crime rate, walking speed and many other aspects of a city can be deduced from a single number: the city's population. In this mind-bending talk (above) from TEDGlobal Geoffrey West shows how it works and how similar laws hold for organisms and corporations.
Given Geoffrey West's model of human population I think there are a few things we can learn from what has been happening in the towns of Thanet.
For example Margate seems to be suffering a huge decline and I would suggest that this is due to a lack of innovation. Geoffrey West makes the point in the video that for growth to continue we need innovation and yet what I see in Margate specifically is that we are, as a whole, heavily concerned with keeping things the way they are.
Perhaps we fear change. Perhaps we liked Margate as it was in the 1990's or before but the unyielding mathematical evidence suggests that we need two things for Thanet to thrive - Innovation and Change.
Tesco might not be a great entity in terms of the little guy, the Turner Centre might be something that seems out of place and even wasteful and certainly building ever more houses seems, on the face of it, to be a dead end street. Urban sprawl in Thanet is something that I am somewhat uncomfortable with but unless we are willing to innovate an alternative it might be the only sane future.
The problem that the council faces in trying to take us to a prosperous future (regardless of how aware members of the council are of this) is that we need Super Creative people. However our best minds leave. For example when I look for work I really look any closer than London. The best singer I know grew up in Margate and yet she works in London (she's a lead part in a popular west end production).
I wonder if Thanet (and especially Margate) is suffering due to a social brain drain which is feeding the city but starving the district.
Labour have accused the conservatives of forgetting Ramsgate.
Cllr Nicholson (Shadow Cabinet member for Finance) accused Cllr Bayford of failing to mention Ramsgate at all in his leaders report to the Council. Cllr Nicholson's (amateurish) press release (dated 15/07/2011) was extremely dismissive of the successes reported to the council regarding the Turner centre, progress in Dreamland and the coming of the Tesco store near Arlington House (foregone conclusion apparently).
Cllr Nicholson reports that Cllr Bayford mentioned amongst other bits of waffle, about the success of a beach in Broadstairs but Cllr Nicholson was not impressed that Cllr Bayford forgot Ramsgate going on to say Obviously it has slipped of his radar, if he wishes to style himself leader of Thanet District Council then he should pay attention to the entire Island, not just the bits he favours.
Nationally there are moves afoot to ensure greater press diversity which is in stark contrast to Thanet Council's moves in completely the other direction.
According to the BBC (see link below) Mr Miliband has told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that there is a need to look again in the round at the plurality rules to make sure there is proper plurality in the British press.
Of course in Thanet we do not exactly have a lot of papers all owned by one body unless you count KM Media which controls a lot of radio and newspaper output in the area. Certainly KM Media control more than 20% even if you count bloggers in that number. Meanwhile Mr Miliband has said I think that we've got to look at the situation whereby one person can own more than 20% of the newspaper market.
This raises an interesting question - is Thanet suffering for lack of sufficient news diversity?
Michael Child is reporting on the recent publication of Thanet District Council's accounts. Of particular interest to me is what the accounts as reported by Michael show.
Despite Cllr Simon Moores and Cllr Chris Wells calling Thanet Star, her readers and myself (the reporter) all sorts of rude names over our reporting of the Chief Executives pay-out the leaked information was pretty darn accurate. Mr Wells and Mr Moores please note I vet and protect my sources and it would do yourselves and your party credit to admit that your protests were non-factual.
“The Authority terminated the contracts of a number of employees in 2011/12 incurring liabilities of £694k (£111 in 2010/11). Of this total, £92k is payable to the Chief Executive, in the form of compensation for loss of office and enhanced pension benefits of £81k, a further £67k was payable to the Director of Regeneration Services for loss of office and enhanced pension benefits of £83k, these would be disclosed in note 35 however, although the restructure was agreed in 10/11 and a as a result the cost accrued, the staff will not leave until 2011/12. The remaining £370k is payable to 13 officers from various services who were made redundant as part of the Authority’s restructure.”
I am planning to write a fairly in depth look at the Eurokent Business Park and would love to get a feel for the opinions of you fine folk that read this blog. (Assuming that you are not looking at this thinking "what is Matt talking about?")
So over to you on the subject of Eurokent Business Park.
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Matthew Brown is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate for Cliftonville.
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