Tuesday, 27 January 2015

On The Right Road

This started off as just an update to my previous post, but needed to be broadened out so warranted its own post.

First, some good news: two of the road repair jobs I mentioned last time – Anchor Road and Mooring Road in Rochester East ward – are to be resurfaced throughout. I had the confirmation of this a little earlier today, and it looks like they will be done quite soon.

Note that these have been completely neglected by the (Labour) ward councillors for years: I first spotted them when I was early for candidate selection in a nearby church hall, back in 2009. I had assumed that they would have been in hand, but even then still not realised the callous disregard Labour nearly always have for anything that does not profit them politically.

Indeed, it was only the following year onward when I moved home into a Labour ward and saw first-hand at close quarters the permanent sneer and telling body language of one or two of their councillors that I finally learned just how much they hate us all, and hate doing any actual work. I have plenty of detailed material on this for my memoirs, which I might start writing soon...

I can't see the point of being elected to represent an area, a community, and not even bother to act for them on what are, after all, council matters. If some of us can do it, then all elected members should be pro-active in ensuring their own 'patch' is up to standard.

I have mentioned previously the purely political reasons why Labour in particular have a vested interest in keeping roads in a bad state, but my sources indicate fairly strongly that those members and activists aren't out and about unless they are on a specific party political quest. They have no interest in simply patrolling the ward and noting things needing attention, getting stopped in the street occasionallyand getting further input from residents.

It's a completely different attitude, almost diametrically opposite; and it is a good indicator of who each side believes serves whom, and what is most important. For me it was always the community and its needs that came first (hence my rock-solid reputation) and for Labour it is entirely about the people serving their political ends as mere pawns in their game.

They are on the wrong road, and always shall be, with no actual value to their community, however cleverly they can sometimes make it look otherwise. All of this is why decent folk despise and shun them, and rightly so!

Friday, 23 January 2015

My Way on the Highway

As many people around these parts in particular are well aware, I am a formidable force for good action (and strategic planning!) when it comes to highway and related matters. It is probably my strongest suit when looking and my ward work from when I was on Medway Council and subsequently as well.

Indeed, since leaving the Council, and moving home, I have been getting all manner of street scene and similar issues dealt with in other parts of Medway, most notably in the ward where I have been living for the past several years.

This, as I conclusively documented at the time, was because the Labour councillors for this ward had neglected to do anything for years, and nothing was even in the queue of outstanding work. Thus I felt no qualms about taking on the task of dealing with a range of issues from a broken kerb (trip hazard) at a crossing point outside an infant school to resurfacing damaged sections of roads, with two lots of graffiti removal, sorting out collapsed metal fencing, and having overhanging branches (two lots again) dealt with, also in the mix.

My wry smile at last night's Council meeting when Labour councillors complained about 'the appalling state of Medway's roads' might have puzzled others in the public gallery at the time, but not if they had known the reality.

You see, it is generally only in the wards of Medway that have just Labour councillors that the roads remain in a bad way for years on end. That is because they do not want them to be fixed, because those roads' only use to Labour councillors and activists is as a political weapon. If they are dealt with, that weapon is lost. It is exactly the same philosophy as Labour's intention to 'weaponise the NHS', which is something that is currently in the news.

I am very careful when getting highway (both road and footpath) repair work done on what might be considered to be someone else's patch. For a start, I make sure that it has been in a bad way for some time and is not already scheduled to be fixed (when the facility for that check is available – and there have been no fewer than three such systems coming and going in recent years!)

Occasionally I embarrass the existing ward councillors to do something themselves – as seems to have been the case in regard to the footpath repairs on Eastcourt Lane, Twydall, after years of neglect (I had been checking in Google Street View images going back at least three years). Only once I have – very publicly – pointed this out did it suddenly become of interest to at least one of the three Labour councillors for that ward, and was subsequently fixed. I went back to check...

I spend many hours using Google aerial and street view imagery to check out various parts of the Medway borough's roads, taking careful note of the dates of those images, and plenty more hours on the ground, checking first-hand. For example, St Albans Close in Strood South ward was one of just two roads that were then, on Google Maps, still showing need of significant work.

I checked it out (and it's a slightly involved walking route from the nearest 'bus stop!) and found that it had been recently completely resurfaced. They'd done a good job too. I reported in the other road (Beech Road) myself last year, having first checked that no-one else had done so already, and offering suggestions to aid with the logistics of that task when it came to implementation.

That is a mixed-representation ward. Labour-only Rochester East ward has several long-neglected roads whose entire length in each case is a disgrace.Why has this not been tackled? I have waited a long time for these to be done, even feeding the 'intell' on these roads to a former Conservative activist who lives there – but has now gone to UKIP so I am not expecting any results, especially after his general attitude toward the running of the council on a number of fronts.

As a direct result of that, I have today reported those three roads in Rochester. For anyone who wishes to see what I mean, search for Anchor Road, Mooring Road and Fairway Close. The same two Labour councillors have represented those three roads for eleven years and done nothing about them in all that time! Now that is the real story of Medway's roads.

UPDATE 24 January 2015: Medway Labour didn't like this post, but rather than commenting here have instead tried to counter it via Twitter (their favourite medium). It appears that the official figure they are using is a simple count of how many roads have (or had when the exercise was last run) an issue of any kind, as a proportion to the total number of roads each Local Authority administers.

This isn't all that useful, as we (and, I suspect, many other areas) have roads of differing lengths, numbers of lanes, amount of traffic and so on. Also, 'an issue' might be the tiny blemish on Wells Road close to Bligh Way shops in Strood, or the full-length resurfacing needed on the three roads I mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago.

I can find no evidence of 'crumbling' roads as Medway Labour claim in their image – and I have almost certainly put in considerably more effort into watching this than all of them put together – and they have tweeted that they are not interested in providing a list, so I suspect they have done no actual work on the matter at all, merely looked up a central government ministry statistic.

I am aware of their claim of a £35 million total cost to bring all our roads up to top-notch standard; but as several millions are spent each year on a rolling programme of repairs, and it has been increasing year-on-year ever since the Conservatives took over running the council some fourteen years ago, this huge exercise is being managed well enough and without draining finances from other services.

I don't claim that all is rosy, and never have; although Medway's road have for years been recognised as being in the best condition of any in Kent – but I cannot recognise this supposedly 'crumbling' place when I, at least, do make the effort to make frequent checks of main roads, back streets, closes and all other places I can reach, throughout the five towns and as far onto the peninsula as I can physically reach – as well as with the continual aid of online aerial and street imagery.

Labour, on the other hand, do no work on street scene matters in many (if not all) cases, and all they are capable of doing is knocking Medway – which they do with monotonous regularity on every subject they can find. For voters in the local elections here this May, the choice seems to be between lazy,miserable dragging-down negativity with Labour, or actual achievements with the positive-attitude Conservatives.

Medway Council Meeting – 22 January 2015

I thought I ought to write something about this as we are approaching the local (as well as national) elections, and this was bound to have an effect. Although I couldn't stay until the end, as something cropped up and I needed to return home to deal with it, I caught enough to be able to tell precisely what was going on.

Fortunately the meeting was video-recorded, so I hope a straight, unedited copy of that will be uploaded to a publicly-visible site such as YouTube n the days to come (it's not there yet). So much of what I have been saying for several years will become clear to the truly observant that many of the public – reading what ends up being written in the local newspapers – will probably never realise!

Here are some thoughts I hurriedly posted to Facebook last night, assembled here for convenience and with a little 'fleshing-out' where that could be helpful...

Labour Gaffes

I got a signal (on one of my communication devices) that required me to leave this evening's meeting of the full Medway Council in order to deal with something from back here, but not before I had witnessed several Labour gaffes in their attempts to secure headlines from the no doubt broadly compliant (complicit?) journalists present.

There were several gems for anyone paying proper attention – and the meeting was video-ed so it will be possible (for the first time!) for readers here to see for themselves what I mean when I mention these things – though this is my favourite, from the Labour group leader...

Good ol' Vince: he said that the Labour group rarely call-in decisions (i.e. bring Cabinet decisions before the Full Council, as they are entitled to do) as they do so "only when they have a concern" (or very similar wording).

This of course means that they have no concern about most of the Cabinet's decisions – and yet, purely for party political purposes (and again this will become evident to anyone listening closely to what actually transpired) they spend most of their time at Council whingeing or otherwise criticising those very decisions.

In fact, on an almost trivial matter, the same individual gave their true game away much earlier in the meeting. He actually had a valid point, regarding the council's official Twitter coverage, and I'd have had some sympathy with the thrust of his case had it been handled properly – comfortably in advance of this meeting.

If he had, it could have been put in place for this meeting (which it should have been); but because this was a purely party political manipulation technique designed only to grab headlines, he left it until this evening – when it was obviously too late to do anything – to make his point.

Thus you get to understand something of the true nature of Labour: it isn't (and never has been,by the way) about 'right and wrong', only about what serves themselves. Note that they clearly weren't interested in getting the Twitter coverage in and of itself.

 The Fool On The (Lodge) Hill

Another interesting event at this evening's Council meeting was the result of a know-it-all (self-confessed) hot-head whose lack of understanding meant that he dug himself into a hole. This is a result of one of those I have been coaching getting above themselves and thinking they 'know it all', despite all my cautionary advice.

If the individual concerned had come to me, I could easily have explained the issue's history, posed a rhetorical question or two to aid comprehension, and predicted what was going to happen if he attempted this course of action. I'd also have suggested a better approach.

Instead of that, he went his own way, switching political parties in the process and is now beginning to look ridiculous, despite a predictable by-election success that he is labelling a 'referendum' (it is glaringly obvious that it was and is nothing of the sort).

This individual has a HUGE amount of growing-up still to do – and, quite frankly, was never suited to elected office: the peg simply cannot fit the hole, which always means more harm than good is done, eventually. Very few who end up in this kind of situation have the wisdom to recognise this truth, so I am expecting some not very good times ahead, and the lesson to be learned the hard way.
Ah well, so be it...

Questionable Practices

Yet another aspect of the past evening's Council meeting was the well-known 'trick' of asking a seemingly-innocuous question, which is published on the agenda and for which an answer can be prepared in advance, and then the infamous 'supplementary' question that is the real (political) question.

We had several examples of those, all from prominent (and well-known) Labour party members and former candidates in elections gone by and one Liberal Democrat former candidate. One of them was new to me, but I'd known the others for some time: the names Garrick, Heathfield, Jeacock, Munton and Pranczke might ring the odd bell or two with any readers who have been following the scene here for a while.

Earlier Council agendas will show not only these same questioners turning up time after time, but the records of those meetings (i.e. including the supplementary questions) show the true, purely political motivations of these five – and a few others not included in this meeting's batch..

Again, this will be most evident from the video-recording of the meeting once it becomes available (I am assuming it will be uploaded for public viewing), and the purely political manipulation of what was always intended to be a helpful adjunct to the regular 'public questions' agenda item will be seen for what it has largely become.

Paying Attention

It is amazing to me how poorly-informed many opposition councillors are, even those who had spent time as part of the ruling group. Time after time in the 'Questions from Members' section of the agenda even political group leaders got basic facts wrong so were asking useless, irrelevant or nonsense questions, wasting their opportunity to achieve something of value.

I have already touched on one of these above, but the Lib Dem leader's question made reference to 'a large number of contracts with Medway Citizens Advice Bureau'. Well, perhaps two is a large number to the Lib Dems – it would be no worse than Ed Balls' recent inability to cope with counting to three, as in the short video clip I posted on my Facebook page earlier this week...

There was also an attempt to portray the Conservative Group as split on an important issue, but again – because of focusing on the political goal of the questioner rather than the (non-)issue – it fell completely flat. It is a lesson that Labour folk in particular never seem to learn, as their aims are completely skewed by their near-enough desperate need to jump on anything they think they can use for their own political advantage. Time and again, down the years, we have come to realise that this truly is the be-all and end-all of their (literally) miserable existences.

Indeed, the tenor of all of that party group's offerings to that point in the meeting were easily shown to be exactly as they had been for a decade and a half at least (I quote that time period because I can personally attest to its veracity)which is to continually 'knock' Medway and paint a dreary picture that does not accord with reality.

Not that the almost-rosy picture the Conservatives like to paint is accurate either, though in reality it is a lot closer to what those of us who are 'out there' a lot find and can feel (well, at least Sensitives like myself, who can tell more than merely what people say and their general demeanour,though of course I take those fully into account as well).

Bearing in mind that I live in a predominantly Labour-voting area, with its consequently expected moan-at-anything outlook, perhaps surprisingly it usually takes prompting to generate negative reactions here – though I have witnessed Labour people doing precisely that, in order to 'manufacture' the response they want rather than what is true. I could cite specific examples; and one day I expect I shall write a detailed post containing a number of those, just to drive the point home.

Some people like moaning (it's a convenient way to shift blame, among other temptations) so it's always easy for those coached in the ways of Labour campaigning to produce a falsified picture of life here. If the public paid sufficient attention too, in this case to how they were being statistically manipulated, perhaps they could discourage Labour by providing no usable results for them.


Overall, at least in the two-and-a-quarter hours that I witnessed first-hand, I'd have to say that the opposition (especially Labour) achieved very little for themselves politically, despite a lot of bluster – though, interestingly, not as much as I had expected. The public gallery was sparsely occupied, without the usual Labour-supporting claque, and remarkably quiet and well-behaved.In fact, it was one of the less unpleasant Medway Council meetings of the past year or more.

Of course, Labour leader Vince Maple's big opportunity will come late next month at the Budget-setting meeting, where he will have unlimited time to make his usual national politics speech (nothing really to do with the business of the meeting, purely party political posturing). After that, there will be one more regular Council meeting before May's elections, in late April, and that will be where the rest of the fireworks will be set off.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The Enemy Of My Enemy

There is an old saying that goes the enemy of my enemy is my friend. It's somewhat simplistic, but it does allow for the creation of some 'unholy alliances' – as I personally witnessed during our local elections here in Medway some eight years ago.

Just about everyone and his dog who were involved in that election campaign (and, yes, there really were a few dogs in the mix!) who wasn't a Conservative teamed up with each other to jointly push an anti-us message. There is quite a story behind that, even entertaining in parts – but that is not my subject of attention on this occasion.

It has been interesting (if predictable) to see the launch of an anti-UKIP Twitter account, supposedly fed from across the political spectrum but (as I expected it would turn out to be) essentially, and predominantly, from the Left.

Okay, it doesn't really matter all that much, but it does mean that – despite a wealth of usable material – they all to often pick on things that they think make the case against UKIP, but to most of the British voting public are more likely to be seen as good things. I have encountered a number of such 'ouch!' moments, and suspect they sometimes do their cause more harm than good.

I follow this account, just to see what they are putting out, and even occasionally re-tweet one of their offerings if it makes a valid and important point. It does happen sometimes, though much of their material is too skewed (and, usually, obviously so) to be usable by someone with my (very high) standards.

So, are they my friends? No. Is UKIP truly my 'enemy'? Not really, not to the extent that I'd apply that term to them. In practice, these elements are already out there, and in practice I am doing little more than keeping a weather eye on them. I do not contribute or respond to them, and don't re-tweet much of their output.

I am content that the British electorate will reach their own conclusions and vote whatever way they decide – though I do like to occasionally pull out the rug from under those who seek to deceive us all. If it hurts enough, and often enough, it might just discourage the deceivers – but it is an ongoing situation and will probably never end.

Thus the game is being played in its 2015 form, and I shall keep a watch on it – though I doubt that any of what I have mentioned here is making more than a miniscule impact around the nation anyway!

The Debates Debate

I know it sounds silly, but we've had it before: the way the pre-General Election party leaders' televised debates are to be conducted and who is to be invited to participate.

Last time, five years ago, it was comparatively clear-cut – and there were three parties that could reasonably be thought of as being part or all of the new post-May 2010 UK government. They were, unsurprisingly, the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats.

Thus when those three parties' leaders were to be the invited participants, it all made sense and was no great surprise. Indeed, two of those leaders subsequently became Prime Minister (David Cameron) and Deputy PM (Nick Clegg).

This time around, the national situation has changed markedly and the waters are distinctly (or should that be indistinctly?) muddy, with no fewer than five parties now of sufficient significance to warrant consideration.

Realistically, there are only two approaches that the organising broadcasters can take without justifiable accusations of political bias...
  1. Have only those party leaders that can sensibly be expected to have a chance of being the next Prime Minister. That means David Cameron and Ed[ward] Miliband – no-one else; or
  2. All five significant parties. This is the only acceptable way to include the Liberal Democrats again this time, as their support in the country has consistently been so low as to have them in either equal fourth place or even fifth place, behind UKIP and the Green Party.
Ideally, there should be at least two such debates, one of each of the above. That should satisfy almost everyone. Lefties want UKIP included because they see Nigel Farage as their best weapon (hugely better in this respect than Miliband!) to make Cameron look bad, weak or otherwise diminished. Thus their pushing for UKIP's inclusion is purely politically motivated, and transparently so.

However, the Green Party has a larger membership that either UKIP or the Lib Dems, they also have a new MP who took that seat from another party by standing on a Green party platform. UKIP has never done this, merely holding two seats by deploying the same candidates whose positions were essentially secured by a different party, and their holding them primarily as 'the devil we know' in this time of anti-political sentiment.

Of course, the Lefties don't want the Green party leader in the debate(s), as that would tend to level the playing field again – and one thing upon which all Lefty organisations depend heavily is skewing things their way, playing as dirty as they feel is necessary to achieve that goal. They know they cannot win in any fair contest (hence all that postal vote rigging that we have read about in recent years, for example) as their most respected writers have frequently admitted, and as worldwide history during the past century or so clearly illustrates.

The Left's diversionary tactic has been to put it about that David Cameron is scared of facing Nigel Farage.

I am sure he'd face such an encounter with trepidation, but he knows he has little to fear. UKIP has lots of internal problems, many of which reach the public awareness; their policies are often incoherent and nonsensical and get changed on the hoof (as our Mark Reckless recently found) or even scrapped in their entirety; they are essentially one-dimensional in nature so can be easily outflanked by Cameron's broader and more inclusive approach, and insider knowledge, especially on the world stage.

He can handle the gig!

On the opposite side of the political divide, the Lefties know that the Greens are on an upward trend these days, after a couple of years more-or-less in the political wilderness. Their change of party leader seems to be bearing fruit – watermelons in this case, of course: green on the outside but raw Communist red when one looks below the surface.

This means they can 'out-left' Labour easily, and could even (after an all-five debate) lead to the Lib Dems petering out completely within the next couple of years. Thus neither of those parties wants the Greens involved in any of the debates, especially while that party is in the ascendancy. Both are running scared of them.

Thus it is easy to see that it is actually the Miliband and Clegg camps that are 'frit', and David Cameron who is correct in insisting that the Greens be included. Overall, they are now the most significant (especially potentially) of the three 'lesser' parties – and without them, neither of the others (Lib Dems, UKIP) should be included either.

That, folks, is the bottom line!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Still 'Kipping or Waking Up?

Inevitably, and perfectly understandably, there is currently a lot of anti-UKIP activity by other political parties and sources (especially on Twitter) that do not appear, on the surface, to have a party political basis – though it is more than likely that they do.

For me, already knowing much of what lies up ahead, it has been interesting to observe all these manoeuvrings and the effect they have. The latter has tended to be the opposite of what was intended, actually bolstering UKIP's support rather than diminishing that support/ It's all quite predictable, once one appreciates the 'playing field' that exists in Britain (especially England) today.

None of that really matters all that much in practice, as the deception that is UKIP continues to make headway with a disillusioned voting public, trying hard to find a party that can be considered to be 'non-establishment', for whom they feel they can vote. So far, it seems to be working, and it will result in a spoil for other parties, most notably – but not exclusively – their primary target, the Conservatives.

Thus it is possible that, for a second time, there will no overall majority after the May election – which is what the UKIP leadership are, I believe, fervently hoping, if (as seems likely) they cannot achieve their preferred outcome of a Labour overall majority.

If that sounds strange, it is worth learning at least something of the truth about UKIP, some of which I have described before. All the necessary clues to the truth are in the public domain, and have been obvious to any attentive observer for some time. Two simple questions, that most people will answer incorrectly, will when correctly answered point this out quite starkly...

  1. Are the UKIP leadership left-wing or right-wing?
  2. Are the UKIP leadership in favour of Britain's exit from the EU, or greater integration?

I shall not answer those here, now, as it is much more instructive for readers to work out the truths for themselves. The mere fact that I felt it necessary to ask them, and in that precise form, is in itself a further clue.

I see that the party's most famous founder (there were originally three, one of who has since died), the left-wing Alan Sked, is weighing-in because of fears that the party's current 'Farage effect' will deprive his old party of any seats. Incidentally, it is interesting to remind ourselves of why he left the party he had helped to create in the first place: partly because of Nigel Farage, partly because it was getting 'too right-wing' – which was never the true game plan: that was just deception.

When it really comes down to it (and as some who have made the switch to UKIP have already learned) everyone is going to have to learn the lessons for themselves, as I often say. There is no point my saying anything to any 'Kipper or supporter in person, because they always 'know better' and use the standard Lefty trick of labelling me in a negative fashion.It has been tried many times.

Therefore I now mostly let them be, and wait for them to humiliate themselves as unfolding events prove what is and what isn't. Although it goes against the grain a little, I have had too much of that kind of treatment to bother much any longer. Let them learn the hard way!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tweet of the Day that wasn't – 10 January 2014

I haven't done one of these in a long while, but this one was just begging to be immortalised, just in case it got deleted. Oh, oops, it has just vanished, and I did try to be quick...

It referred to Labour's candidates for the 'Rochester & Horsted' (sic) council ward as including one 'Derek Mutton' (sic again). I bet they're feeling somewhat sheepish about that one! Hopefully it managed to get into an archive so will be publicly visible once its index has been updated.

UPDATES: a corrected version has now been posted; and they are now titled 'Rochestersth&Horsted'...

"Your candidates Derek Munton, Joe Murray and Elaine Thomas feel 4.4m may be better spent on our failing primary schools"

The ward is, of course, correctly named 'Rochester South and Horsted' – and I am sure that better brains than theirs could have come up with a better shorthand ID to fit with the Twitter specifications.

I don't blame Labour for targeting my old ward, by the way: they have been coming second there ever since the boundaries changed, displacing the Liberal Democrats into third place long before that latter party's woes nationwide. They know it is a 'nexus ward', and with its nexus member out of contention (that's me, by the way) it is nowadays much more vulnerable than it has ever been since coming into being. Its main strut has been removed, and all parties locally know it.

The poor handling by the ward incumbents of the Rochester Airport improvements has allowed a situation to develop that is now against the Conservatives' stance and plays right into Labour's – something that was never within a million miles of happening when I represented the ward, and of course never would have happened while I was there.

They are also as keen as ever to get their ageing former councillor Derek 'Mumbling' Munton (not Mutton!) back onto the Council – to which he has failed to be re-elected in 2003, 2007 and 2011 and is in reality a spent force, though local Labour either can't or won't see that. Thus they continue to field him in one ward after another: Strood South in 2003 and 2007, Rochester West in 2011, and now Rochester South & Horsted in 2015. The proven loser still fights a hopeless battle...

It is probably worth mentioning that, although I do not personally dislike Derek Munton, he is the one who tried making mischief for me in both the local newspapers and with the governmental councillor watchdog, but to no avail as it was easily shown that I had no case to answer and his vindictiveness fell on stony ground. I have all the evidence on file, and have shared it in public in the past.

However cleverly (and craftily) local Labour try to manipulate the agenda and public perception in the ward, their chances are still not that great – provided that the Conservative councillors extract their digits and stop treating the job as a casual, spare-time activity.

It is no secret that the state of affairs in the ward would now be orders of magnitude better and more secure if I had been back on the Council – but it is too late for that now, and I am no longer interested. The bed has been made and they need to lie in it. The Conservatives' position in the ward are a long way from being secure, and it is exclusively the result of their putting their own agenda above the interests of the communities (ten of 'em!) they purport to serve.

They are going to have their work cut out for them between now and May, not exactly helped by having a General Election running alongside, but it is possible to hold those three council seats. If they don't put this first in their lives, they deserve to get kicked out – so the ball is in their court, no-one else's as far as this is concerned. Otherwise, my people might end up with 'Mutton', however dressed up, when they deserve much better!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Rochester Airport Improvements

I notice that the council's Planning Committee has decided to defer a decision on the application for a paved runway and a number of other improvements at Rochester Airport, so that a site visit can be held.

I am not surprised by this, nor do I think it is a negative move: it is important that no allegations of riding roughshod over concerns and suchlike should be able to be levelled against the planning authority (the council) and this is the right way to proceed. The minimal additional delay will be negligible.

I say additional delay because this whole plan for the airport should have been implemented at least five years earlier, and perhaps even ten. There has been no material change in circumstances during the past decade, except that the airport itself has deteriorated and now needs a considerably higher investment to put right – by my reckoning, three times as much as it would have cost a decade ago, though I cannot be certain of the figures as I have been 'out of the loop' for nearly three-quarters of that period.

I have in the past covered the falsity of the fears aroused by scaremongers – and all the intelligent observer needs to do is check what the consequences of the other eight (or perhaps nine by now) small airports that have already been down this path, years ago, have been. I think anyone doing so will find that there has been no problem, and indeed there has if anything been an improvement in (for example) noise levels and safety records as a result of modernisation – which is exactly the same as is being proposed for Rochester.

Is there something odd about our little airport that doesn't apply to those others? I can't find anything...

I notice that the local media are, as usual, putting their own slant on how they are reporting what is currently happening. Here's a good example...

"Councillors dither over plan to use taxpayer cash to expand airport"

Three errors (spin?) in so few words:

  1. it's not a question of dithering, any more than any other site visit the Planning Committee holds is ever labelled 'dithering' – it's a standard procedure to ensure those taking the decision have on-the-spot knowledge of the site and how what is being proposed will be in practice;
  2. it's capital investment.to reap ongoing returns – another standard practice in business, government and anyone else with an asset that needs something done in order to be able to generate a return – slanting it in the above manner is not only incomplete, but is a hundred percent biased in the message it conveys; and
  3. the airport is not expanding – indeed, it is contracting slightly, while the site remains exactly the same size but with new facilities added in one corner.

How's that for being (and it looks to be deliberately) misleading?

Nothing new in that, of course, as I have noted – and recorded in my files, and occasionally in public forums such as this over the years. Never mind: we press onward regardless.

Although I do not know what the committee will decide in due course, I expect the application to be approved – though possibly with changes or additions to its conditions as a result of the site visit. I don't those, if they are imposed, to be big or difficult to manage for the airport.

As far as the scaremongers are concerned, and their buddies in the local media: longer-term residents of this area will no doubt be well aware of the previous (Labour, with Lib Dem collusion to achieve majority voting) council administration's plans to close the airport altogether and have it concreted over, so that 'crinkly shed' automated warehouses could ply HGVs by the hundred up and down the adjoining roads and beyond.

That plan was sneakily inserted into a planning policy document that went to central government as the council's official position, even though it was not the version that the elected representatives of the people here had voted upon. There were another couple of 'new' items sneaked into that version that also had not been included in the version approved by the elected Council. The whole thing was underhand, and still reeks to this day of a corrupt agenda that is being pursued even now.

As long as this decision is made, and is effectively legally binding, before the May elections then the future of the airport will be more-or-less assured, even if there should then be a change of political control. That, as people will soon enough discover – some to their surprise, I imagine – will be the best possible outcome, and set things up for a much brighter future around those parts than any of the alternatives.