Posted by: maisiegrace | June 24, 2008

It’s not just the bloggers

Last evening I went a hilarious, but at the same time depressing, meeting entitled ‘Margate United’. I think it had been called to have a pop at the current councillors but as none of them were there, it was rather unclear what it was all for, except to provide a soap box for a few ill-informed bods who needed to blame someone else for their own sad lives. The funny thing was that it was clear that genuine differences of opinion were pretty minor! There was nothing to argue about! All agreed that: 1. Margate is a lovely place (hurrah!), 2. Our beaches are brilliant (unanimous), 3. Margate used to be better than it is now (hardly news actually), 4. The road works in the Old Town have taken longer than they should (yes we know), 5. The car parking situation there is hopeless (emphatically yes). The only points of contention seemed to be that, 1. Some people don’t like contemporary art (OK), 2. If Paigle Properties had been represented it would have been more fun (yes but aren’t they all old arguments?). 

I think some people were limbering up for a fight but all points of objection were neatly diffused when Derek Harding of the Margate Renewal Partnership and Grant Burton from TDC clearly demonstrated that there was indeed a joined-up plan for the town, lots of positive work was going on, and the road works had overrun for various legitimate reasons (such as the utility companies’ plans being wrong). Essentially they showed that they did know what they were doing, they had listened to consultations such as for the Lower High Street and actually they were doing all they could for the benefit of the town.

The minority of people who decided to sound off made complete idiots of themselves. There was little need for anyone to intervene when they were doing such an excellent job of making themselves appear stupid and ignorant. It was an illustration of the negative Thanet attitude at its worst.  These people seemed unaware that ‘the council’ is not a nebulous entity but one with a constantly changing administration and indeed, ‘the council’ doesn’t actually control everything on the planet. They also embarrassed themselves by trying to have a go at Derek Harding who clearly stated that he was not a councillor. They didn’t appear to read newspapers or any of the freely available information around the town, or indeed even walk around with their eyes open. They also appeared to have no grasp of the reality of commercial pressure and the need to respond to it. Fundamentally, the ‘blame somebody else for our predicament’ shone through brightly. There was also a lot of ‘I’ve been here for 40 years.’, worn like a badge to warn off the new boys and girls. Actually that badge is rusty and not something to be proud of at all. How can anyone be proud of witnessing the death of their town and doing nothing about it? No wonder Thanet is in the mess it is with ill-informed, inward-looking attitudes like this being allowed to see the light of day.

But I’m not going to let it get me down. They are dinosaurs, and there were plenty of intelligent people at the meeting as well. Margate is beautiful and it will prosper. It’s called evolution.



  1. I wish I’d known about this meeting, I probably would’ve gone along (I could do with a laugh!).

  2. I’m with Peter on the not having the slightest idea it was happening front.

  3. It was chaired by Iris Johnson and the people there were mostly representatived from various local groups and residents’ associations, like the Old Town Action Group, although there were a few of the regular locals there too. I only found out about it by accident.

  4. This inability to communicate at all levels of council (up to and including KC too) realy irritates me. It’s not rocket science as we three have just proven.

  5. I am new to this Blog thing but thought I would add a late comment I never knew anything either must have become a head in the sand Margateonian or a Thanitian. Wish I had known though

  6. Welcome to the blogs Don! You might like to look at There are lots but I would recommend Big News Margate, Margate Architecture, Eastcliff Richard, Thanet Strife, thanetonline, thanetcoastlife and thanet star. Not because I agree with them but they are either amusing, frustrating or just plain mad. They usually have passion about something, even if it’s not always directed appropriately. At least they care.

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