Thanet Star

We are living in a horror story

Some days, I wake up and pray that I am still dreaming.

These days it honestly feels like we Brits have given up compassion, in favour of making as many people suffer as humanly possible. When did that happen? When did we start fearing those worse off than ourselves?

Just after the banks screwed us as hard as they could, we brought into the mentality of blaming the victim. We let the bankers have a big payout and turned our attention on those that got the worst of it and said: "this is your fault".

Was it, or was it not, rich and overpaid "managers" that got us into this mess? Was it, or was it not, traders in greedy "too big to fail" money market agencies that caused the crash? Was it, or was it not, the very same people that walked away with a huge bonus, paid for by the government with our money, that got us to where we are now?

UK

Don't get me wrong, things were not exactly ideal before the bankers bent us over and, well, you get the picture. Only now, we have been convinced to blame the poor. How the hell did that happen?

...

» Continue Reading: We are living in a horror story

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Political Laryngitis

It appears that we have a new Police and Crime Commissioner, the Conservative candidate Matthew Scott. He was elected, if you can call it that, by a mere 20.98% of the population of Kent.

To put that into context will require some numbers, so bear with me. As of 2014, there were 1,510,400 people living in Kent. Only 266,806 people voted in the Kent PCC election. Matthew Scott received 104,558 votes, including the second count. That's less than the population of Thanet.

Over the centuries, people have fought and died for our right to vote. For me, voting is not just a right. It is a responsibility; an obligation. How can I possibly hold an opinion on the decisions made in government if I have not exercised my right to vote? By abstaining, I am forfeiting my own voice, and that is not acceptable to me.

I recently attended a town meeting, where various councillors, PCSOs, and other representatives held a panel to speak to members of the community. It was held in a school, so naturally I assumed it would be the assembly hall. In fact, it was in a classroom, and half the seats were empty.

Last time I checked, classrooms were designed to accommodate 30 children.

The main topics of discussion at this meeting seemed to be cars parking on both sides of the street near a school during pickup time at the end of the school day, youths playing on skateboards on the promenade, and lots of complaining about the lack of police presence on the streets. The PCSOs held their own, repeatedly explaining to those raising the issues that there are much more serious crimes occurring that the Police are needed for, there is only one PCSO per area, and resources are stretched due to budgets.

Those present did not seem to understand that a Police Officer does not just cost their salary there is the equipment, training, vehicles the actual amount to hire another Police Officer for Thanet would be huge. The Officers that are here try to use their resources as effectively as they can within the budget they have been assigned. Unfortunately, if people continue to complain about cars parking on both sides of the street, or kids hanging out and not causing trouble, then police resources will be stretched even thinner.

Perhaps the new Police and Crime Commissioner will manage to increase budgets and put more Officers on the streets, as appears to be the general public desire. That being said, I'm basing my research on the fifteen people present at the town meeting. Like the turnout for the PCC, it appears that they are the voice for us all.

If only the rest of us would speak up, perhaps someone would hear.

About Seb: When he is not writing guest posts for Thanet Star Seb Reilly is a fiction writer and occasional musician from Thanet. Seb maintains a website at www.sebreilly.com.
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TDC missed out on 1.14m in EU grants

According to their own review documents, TDC managed to miss out on 1.14m in already approved EU funding.

The document in question covers a period from 2000 to 2006. During that time, TDC managed to obtain 4.4m in EU funding but somehow managed to lose out on a further million of already approved grants.

TDC missed out on EU money

We are not talking about possibly available EU grant money here but already approved grants. Money that was, in theory, there for the taking. Some of the money was not claimed and so TDC missed out, but over 600,000 was claimed only to be spent badly and then had to be repaid.

Read the figures for yourself. The total claimed by TDC was dwarfed by the amounts of EU cash that KCC were able to put their hands on. One grant alone (just for Thanet) was 26m.

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What's the truth about KCC Strategic Partnerships?

What do you know about the Mental Health Wellbeing Strategic Partners?

For many years now Kent County Council (KCC) has dished their money out to community groups across Kent, including Thanet. If you've used a local service such as Rethink, Mind (when it operated in Thanet), or a whole host of others, then KCC have probably funded it.

KCC spent the last few years talking about replacing their system of yearly renewed grants with a more robust system. They settled on Strategic Partners. KCC invited organisations from any sector to apply to become a Strategic Partner and, those that did, were taken through a process.

Sometime later two Strategic Partners emerged - Porchlight and Shaw Trust. Porchlight has done a fantastic job over the years of supporting the homeless and has recently done some great work in the world of mental health. Shaw Trust have done some great work supporting people with mental health difficulties to get back into employment. They could have picked worse people to be Strategic Partners.

Keep reading to find out what really happened next.

...

» Continue Reading: What's the truth about KCC Strategic Partnerships?

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Easter Egg

Due to the time of year I was going to write something funny about Jesus hatching from a chocolate egg, but recent events have turned my focus elsewhere. Firstly the devastating attack in Brussels, and secondly everyone is talking about Europe; should we stay, or should we go?

The answer to the latter depends on multiple factors, all of which can be found with a quick internet search. When considering whether Brexit is the right or wrong move, and how that will affect Thanet, it is worth looking back at our past.

The Isle of Thanet has been passed amongst leaders, gifted to local kings and royals at various times throughout history. It was always separated from the mainland by the river Wanstum, originally the Wantsum Channel, making it somewhat detached from the politics of the rest of the country. Nowadays Thanet has become a key seat in national elections, a dramatic change from a thousand years ago or so.

As an island, Thanet benefited from independence, whilst at the same time being under the governance of Great Britain. Similar, it seems, to the current relationship Britain has with the European Union. As the Wantsum filled with silt and the mainland drew closer, we became more and more connected to the country of which we are part. Our full joining was more geographical than political, and it seems highly unlikely the English Channel will suddenly dry up and attach us to France. So our decision to stay in, or leave, the EU is most definitely a choice we need to consciously make, and carefully.

Last weekend, before Brussels, was the Vernal Equinox, the point at which the days start to grow longer than the nights. In ancient Britain, including Thanet, this was a day for great celebration, a sign of hope, ushering in the age of fertility and new life. Rabbits, those relentless breeders, became a symbol of fertility, and eggs were associated with birth. As is still the case today, eggs would be decorated to mark the occasion, although in the modern calendar not necessarily on the same day.

Perhaps we are still as we were a few thousand years ago, here on this little island we call home. We decorate eggs, celebrate the dawn of spring, and often look across the river to the mainland to see what direction we should take. Maybe it's time we took matters into our own hands, let our voices be heard, and stopped worrying about whether Jesus really did hatch from a chocolate egg or not. After all, there are more important issues at stake.

About Seb: When he is not writing guest posts for Thanet Star Seb Reilly is a fiction writer and occasional musician from Thanet. Seb maintains a website at www.sebreilly.com.
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Recent Comments

Matt B commented on Political Laryngitis
When so few people speak up, those of us that do can have a very profound impact... When...
[17-05-2016 14:58:09]

Nick Lund commented on Political Laryngitis
I am surprised that so many people actually voted. I'm sure in Thanet it was much much...
[09-05-2016 22:05:01]

Matt B commented on Full Disclosure
I fear we may always have more questions than answers. More importantly what are the...
[18-04-2016 00:17:03]

Matt B commented on What's the truth about KCC S...
There was an error with you "about" box. I fixed it.
[18-04-2016 00:12:48]

Anna Barrowcli... commented on Full Disclosure
Surely someone should be investigating the bad management of the school? How was it...
[11-04-2016 15:05:42]

David Moger commented on Full Disclosure
A well informed, balanced view. Bad news travels fast, but the vulnerable young people...
[10-04-2016 17:18:06]

Matt B commented on Roads closed after man climb...
update: the standoff lasted around 23 hours and the man has been charged with a list of...
[10-03-2016 12:23:16]

Matt B commented on Dinner Plans
Great article, Seb.
[13-02-2016 17:18:41]

Matt B commented on Is this council a bad joke?
With thanks to a reader (who wishes to remain unnamed), now edited for clarity.
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