Friday, 31 August 2012

Euro rumblings

A few interesting snippets from the mad land of the euro.
Good read.

Sing along with Steve

Not for you should you have delicate ears.!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Robin Hood saga continues

The pub has closed, the locals are up in arms.  An article has been published in the local press and more to follow.  There is an attempt being made to have the building 'Listed' and enquiries are in hand to determine if a public footpath runs across the site.

The pub's owners have given up on the pub and have advertised the site as suitable for residential development.   So, the future of the site will depend on the planners and the planning committee.  One can only hope there will be intensive lobbying by the Sherwood ward councillors.

One of the ward councillor's has set the ball rolling:

The MP for Tunbridge Wells is a government minister with responsibility for planning policy.  He has championed also the concept of localism and attends events in Sherwood on a regular basis.  He must know about the problems of Sherwood and the investment that has gone into the area - a new community centre and family centre for starters.  It is not good for the community that a venue for adults to socialise has been closed as three days' notice. Indeed, the only pub in the area.

It will be an interesting test for the planners when coming to their decision on the informal application (refer to in the link). Will they embrace the opinions of local people or will the developer win?


This is an interesting article:

In particular:

Nicholas Ide, head of planning and development at Tunbridge Wells estate agents and surveyors Batcheller Monkhouse, said the site would be "attractive" to developers, because it was within the town's built-up area, adding: "It's quite a prominent site and there is no doubt the council doesn't want it to become run down like the cinema site."
Mr Ide said anyone wishing to build homes on the site would have to prove there was no longer demand for the pub, however.

I have agreed to draft the wording of a petition.

Spot the errors

A link to a post on the English Passport blog:

Play spot the mistakes.  A clue: I didn't know Eddie Izzard was so young. There are other errors which are not age related.

Keep up the good work - it will destroy the EDP.

Then have a look at this:

Oh dear, Oh dear.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Delay, delay, delay

The Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has given the owners of the old cinema site a year to to do something with the site or a compulsory purchase order process will commence.  Big deal: we have been waiting for twelve years for something to happen.

One revealing comment by the Leader was his statement that the future of the civic complex is dependent upon what happens to the cinema site.  And, it would appear there are no plans , just 'ideas' for the complex.    The way matters are proceeding we may have new buildings open by 2020, but not if past performance (or lack of it) is any measure.

I support the body of opinion which favours the development of Royal Tunbridge Wells as a cultural centre for West Kent and part of East Sussex.  The problem is that the best site for a cultural complex is the old hospital site.  It is a big site and could have included a car park.  There is a goodly number of pubs, cafes and restaurants in the vicinity.  However the site is to be used to build houses. What a waste.

Sadly, we have seen dither and delay.  Decline is not far away.

Latest from euroland

A few articles to peruse.  The EC has been remarkably quiet in recent weeks.  Something is afoot.
Or, in the case of the eurozone the Siegfried Line.

Update, 30.08.2012:

Time to go

Last week I retired as a director of Tunbridge Wells Mental Health Resource Limited and thus severed my final connection with the voluntary sector.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Gears to union start to turn?

So Mrs Merkel has set the gears in motion to achieve political, fiscal and banking union.  Should be an interesting few months.  We may be granted our referendum.  Then again.....

Meanwhile, back at the front:

A spanner in the works?

Bikini Uncles

No sooner do I decide to stop posting than Steve Uncles come up trumps again.

His latest blog post:

Nationalists are on 10%, but a closer study of the poll results shows the EDP on 0.2% and 10% refers to all political parties (including the Green Party) other than Labour, Conservative, UKIP and the Lib Dems.

Remember: statistics are like a bikini: what they reveal is interesting, what they hide is vital.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Euro crisis ticking along.

Some weekend articles:
We have heard before this from  Monti.

UPDATE: 20th August



Then again:

UPDATE: 22nd August
Excellent 4 part article.

The saga continues......

Bald-faced cheek

Khrushchev, Eisenhower and Mussolini all had follicle challenges, so what is your point Mr Uncles?

Of course the English Democrats have their own:

And here is another!

Tory faithful sorely tried.

Ok, it is the silly season for press reports and MPs away from Westminster become somewhat braver than when in close proximity to the Whips.  Nevertheless, this weekend has seen unrest on an unprecedented scale amongst Conservative MPs, particularly those with marginal seats

Three stories caught my eye:

Add to this  list the actual and threatened damage to pensioners' income. The electoral damage the Conservatives are inflicting on themselves puts in serious doubt the party's ability to hold power, either as a majority or minority government, after the next general election.  Miliband must be rubbing his hands with glee.

Then there is 'Europe'.

Hard to discern the Conservatives 'get out of jail card'.  UKIP is eating away at the Conservative membership base and garnering votes from former Conservatives at elections.  Had it not been for UKIP, the Conservatives would not have needed to do the squalid deal with the Liberal Democrats to form the Coalition.  The damage UKIP will inflict on the Conservatives at the next election will be even more serious, unless something changes, but what?

See also:

Friday, 17 August 2012

New use for the old fire station?

The news that Rusthall Parish Council is seeking to acquire the old fire station for use by the parish council and also as premises for youth activities is welcome.  Rusthall has long been plagued by children roaming the streets with nothing to do.  However it will not be a panacea.

I do not object to paying a little more  to provide more facilities for young people and should a consequence be a marked diminution in the unsocial behaviour by young louts that disfigures our neighbourhood, that will be a bonus. However, I doubt the bonus will be delivered.  It will be interesting to know the views of residents living close to the old fire station.

It is postulated in the press report that there might be other community uses for the building. I would encourage a variety of uses be built into the proposal.  One matter which must be addressed is that of storage space: it is often underestimated how much is needed when multi-user activities are planned.

Parish precept payers will be saddled with ongoing revenue costs for the building and these costs will rise should the decision be taken to apply to the Public Works Loan Board for a loan.

Parish councils may apply to the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities programme for a grant to acquire premises for community use. the minimum sum awarded is £100,000 which is the amount Rusthall Parish Council has to raise.

What is wrong with Rusthall Parish Council?

Having expended public funds on a website is it too much to ask that the site is updated on a regular basis?  No minutes since the June 2012 meeting and the last published full council agenda is for June 2012.  Come on, get your act together.

Save the Robin Hood

It was announced on Wednesday 15th August that the Robin Hood public house in Sherwood, Tunbridge Wells will be closing its doors on 19th August and then boarded up.  The land is on the market,  advertised as suitable for residential or commercial development, although I surmise there will have to be planning approval.

The locals are up in arms, quite right.  The nearest pub to the Sherwood estate is well over a mile away and not on a  bus route.  No longer a stroll down to the local, it will be car or taxi, not good news in an area with many people on very low incomes.

A protest group has been set up on Facebook.  How will local politicians and the housing association react to this body blow to community life?  The problem is that time-scales are short.  Having been given virtually no notice of the impending closure how will local residents be able to put together a package to save the pub?  The whole episode shows how some owners of pub chains behave: with disdain for their customers and no sense of social responsibility.  Surely the owners could provide time for a rescue package to be mounted?

The site is large enough to support a pub and some housing.  The function room is not an integral part of the main building, rather it is a side annexe. It could be used for community based activities which are not suited to the community centre.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Euroland musings
Interesting two part article.
It has been for a long time.  Political ineptitude over many months has hastened the euro's decline.
But see:

It's that woman again!

I note that Ann Barnes, until recently chair of the Kent Police Authority and now a declared candidate for the post of Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has been sounding off about the unfairness and undemocratic nature of the elections for the Commissioner post.  Her gripe is that the taxpayer will not fund the cost of delivering election addresses which she claims puts her at a disadvantage as an Independent candidate as the political parties will fund their candidates.


There is merit in her argument but it would have been even better had it not been for the following:

1. She opposed the proposals for PCCs on the grounds that it would cost the taxpayer more.  Now she is seeking more money from the taxpayer.

2. She expressed her opposition to the proposals on the publicly funded Kent Police Authority website.

3. Her concern for democracy is touching, bearing in mind she wished to retain the current undemocratic selection processes for police authority membership.


The Sherwood desert

I have an affection for the Robin Hood public house in Sherwood, Tunbridge Wells.  It was my first 'local' when I moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1990. There are reports that it is to close on 20th August. Will this be a temporary closure or is the land to be sold to a housing developer?

What are the alternative venues?  Not the High Brooms Hotel, nor the old community centre, nor the Greyhound, all have gone, or soon will be.

The Robin Hood has had a chequered career.  At times the management has been very poor, at others excellent.  But what now?  Pubs are part of the fabric of the community - as witness the excitement at the re-opening of the pub in Bidborough.  The Robin Hood has an excellent function room which could be used for a variety of community activities, there is a good car park and a large outside area.  There are some very keen community activists in Sherwood.  Why not look into making the Robin Hood a community pub, possibly run as a co-operative?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Nostalgic and Narcissistic

The title is taken from Spiegel Online and prefaces an article entitled France's Obsession with the Past Hinders Reforms.

Replace the reference to France with Tunbridge Wells' Aspic Brigade and you have encapsulated the problem of town centre regeneration in Tunbridge Wells.

The Aspic Brigade is consumed by nostalgia and love for the mid 20th century, reflected in the desire to retain the civic complex.  The world has moved on but the Brigade wishes to retain buildings which are no longer fit for purpose.  Form should never be permitted to determine function: to do so condemns Tunbridge Wells to the second-rate.

A miscellany of euroland items

See also:


Monday, 13 August 2012

Here we go, again

Should hasten referenda across Europe which will bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.

See also:
(previously posted)
Doom and gloom

A year ago.......

No comment!

Mr Uncles is 'mooted' to be the English Democrat candidate for the post of Kent Police Commissioner.

Comment is superfluous

Mr Uncles is 'mooted'  to be the English Democrat candidate for the post of Kent Police Commissioner.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Greece on the brink.

Back in February I posted this:

Now we have this:

The 'Troika' visit to Greece, to determine progress on budgetary cuts in the nation, has not gone well.


Kent Police Commissioner

What  a load of tosh.

Perhaps she is hoping for Lib Dem votes as the party, as far as I am aware, is not fielding a candidate. She certainly knows a few dodgy Lib Dem poll tricks.


Latest from the Wealden Line Campaign

Gatwick - Stansted: does it offer a solution to the problem of how to fit BML2 into traffic flows in London?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Royal Tunbridge Wells Technical High School

Whilst hunting for her crochet needles (a family member is expecting a baby) Rosemary came across the programme for the dedication and opening in 1963 of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Technical High School.  The programme contains lists of staff and governors, photographs of the building and pupils and mention of sundry Kent County Council members and officers.

Fascinating - there were aldermen in those far off days.

Spiegel interview with Monti

The fault lines in Europe are widening:

See also


Interesting background to the current spat between Rome and Berlin.

Lords reform scuppered

The electorate dispensed with the Liberal Democrats AV proposals with a resounding 'no'.  The Coalition agreement linked the AV referendum with proposals for parliamentary constituency boundary revision, not with House of Lords reform.  Now that Clegg has been given a bloody nose over Lords reform by backbench Tories he is retaliating by refusing to support constituency boundary reform.  Says all that needs to be said about the Liberal Democrats.

I doubt the electorate would have put up with another layer of well paid party hacks in a reformed upper chamber, hence the refusal to put the issue of Lords to a referendum.  As for as I am aware the list system was to have been used for elections to the upper chamber, the list order being determined by the political parties.  Jobs for the boys and girls who follow the party line.

Of course the main beneficiary of AV and Lords reform would have been the Liberal Democrats who would have become the perpetual tail wagging the dog.  Back room deals between the parties would become the order of the day, and hang the electorate.

Really, the Conservatives should be looking to ditch the Liberal Democrats.  A press report today

states that six out of ten Tory activists would like the Conservative Party to enter into a coalition with UKIP.

See also:

One assumes that the main reason for this is strong anti- EU sentiment within the Conservative Party membership.  The Liberal Democrats are the most pro-EU major political party in England, which makes for strange bedfellows within the Coalition.

See also:


Sunday, 5 August 2012

HS2 - a political football

The last Labour government supported HS2 and the two Coalition parties support the proposal.  For the Conservatives the value of the proposal was that it enabled a promise to be made of no additional runway at Heathrow, which doubtless persuaded some residents of West London to vote Tory.

Although the Coalition has reiterated its support for HS2 forces opposed to the new railway are gathering strength.  The Treasury is not convinced the scheme offers value for money, people/councils on the proposed route have been granted judicial review  and the airlines are still pressing for more runway capacity in the south-east.    The brewing storm will have adverse political consequences for Conservative MPs with seats in West London or on the proposed HS2 route.

Hence the following article comes as no surprise.

See also:

Euroland woes continue

The excitement of the Olympics will pass.  The woes of Euroland, like the poor, look like being with us always.  . See also:

We know Monti, we know.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Spanish crisis: German crowing

This blog has numerous posts in which Mr Rajoy has denied the need for a bailout.  Few believed him..

Meanwhile hands being rubbed with glee in Germany.

Old Odeon Cinema Site

A few days ago I posted the following on this blog.

Today the local newspaper has a front page story on the issue.  Apparently the developer is close to signing an agreement with a supermarket and then will submit a full planning application to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - hopefully in October.  The line the developer is promoting is that once the supermarket has signed up other organisations (including an hotel operator) will follow suite.

Time will tell, but the Council should be working on the preparation of a compulsory purchase order and dusting down the plan, prepared at his own cost, of the Leader of the Council.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Damp squib

So Draghi has spoken and immediately the markets went down and Spanish borrowing costs rose!

Alternative viewpoint:

Without German support none of this will happen and so far the Germans are not playing ball.


A key day for the euro

2nd August is a key day for the euro.  Will Spain formally seek a bailout?  What does the ECB intend to do? Will the ESM be granted a banking licence?  What will be the stance of the Bundesbank and Mrs Merkel?  What role is the EC playing?

Questions, questions?