All posts tagged 'Folkestone'

Farage rejects Newark. Kent is in his sights

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Wednesday, April 30 2014

Nigel Farage has moved quickly to rule out the prospect of him standing in the Newark by-election caused by the resignation of Patrick Mercer. There are few things more damaging to politicians than looking like opportunists and it was bound to be a charge thrown at him by opponents.

The UKIP leader may have his flaws but he has astute political antennae and calculated that winning the seat   - even given the party's steady rise in the polls and the spectacular council gains last year - would have been beyond his reach. He also rightly concluded that in standing, the by-election would have become a distraction from the EU poll, an argument he has deployed every time e has been asked about where he might stand in 2015. 

Which brings the speculation back to Kent and whether he will opt for either Thanet South or Folkestone and Hythe at the general election.

Even in these constituencies, however, there will be claims that his connections are rather loose. He lives in west Kent, for starters. But he stood in Thanet South in the 2005 general election and has made a point of visiting regularly an area that now has a solid UKIP base, after taking all but one of the Thanet county council seats last year. The party's Euro election campaign will wind up with a big rally in Margate just days before polls open.

He is also a regular visitor to Folkestone and Hythe - he enjoys fishing at Dungeness - which is also a UKIP stronghold. So, he can make a case of sorts that he has associations with the two constituencies, albeit tangential ones.

Between the two, there is no frontrunner. The case for going for Thanet South was that the incumbent MP Laura Sandys was a pro-European but she is standing down and the Conservatives have yet to pick a successor. If that is someone local and on the Euro-sceptic wing, UKIP has a tricky calculation to make.

In Folkestone and Hythe, he would be up against the incumbent Conservative Damian Collins who has a healthy 10,000+ majority and where in 2010, the UKIP candidate Frank McKenna - now a county councillor - took  only a 4% share of the vote.


IT has not been the best of weeks for the Kent crime commissioner Ann Barnes after details of her £150,000 office move to Kent Police HQ in Maidstone came under scrutiny.

The commissioner hastily sought to pre-empt the publicity over the costs by setting out the details of her expenditure before it got chewed over by a national newspaper at the weekend. In fact, as it turned out, several of the claims over the costs were inaccurate.

But why haven’t the costs of the office move been made public before?

Like councils, police commissioners are required to publish details of everything they spend above £500 on a monthly basis.

The explanation given by the commissioner’s office was that it was a matter for Kent Police to set out the expenditure, not Ann Barnes.

This seems a grey area.  Two invoices do appear in the commissioner's record of her spending but no others do. You have to wonder why - even if it was formally the job of Kent Police - why the commissioner did not decide to get on the front foot much earlier by detailing the costs herself.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Maria Miller's resignation was inevitable but who wins?

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Wednesday, April 9 2014

Maria Miller's resignation was predictable the moment it became clear that many of her Conservative parliamentary colleagues were not happy about her staying in her job and were taking flak on the doorsteps from voters who were questioning why she hadn't already been sacked.

And as the days went on, more Tory MPs were prepared to say publicly it might be better if she went - effectively questioning their leader's judgement and his inistence that she could stay in the cabinet.

The judgement was made by David Cameron that because she had been cleared of the central charge, she ought to be allowed to stay on.

Despite Cameron's emphasis on this point, the finer technical details on which a committee of MPs delivered this verdict went unnoticed by many - or was delibarately ignored.

That is part of the problem with accusations of political sleaze. The public - much to the exasperation of MPs elected in 2010 - were largely oblivious to the fact that her conduct and claims were being judged against the old regulations, not the new ones which have tightened many of the loopholes gratuitously abused by so many former MPs.

Fair or not, there was enough in the standards committee report - not least the charge that she had sought to frustrate the inquiry - to give her opponents ammunition. She did not do herself many favours with her perfunctory apology, a PR car crash by anyone's standards.

It is telling that as a result of this episode, politicians from all parties are now falling over themselves to talk about the need for further reforms to the expenses regulations - having told everyone back in 2010 that they had devised a foolproof set of new rules that would restore the integrity of  politicians and be impossible to circumvent.

The public backlash over the saga is not just about Maria Miller but a wider feeling that our elected representatives still play by different rules. Unless they can address that, distrust will remain.


The forthcoming European and council elections were undoubtedly a factor in the pressure being heaped on Maria Miller.

An already tricky election for the Conservatives risked becoming even more challenging with sleaze allegations swirling around.

UKIP - already favourites to win the Euro elections - will no doubt pick up even more votes from those disaffected with the mainstream parties. And it still looks like the leader Nigel Farage will be standing as a candidate in Kent.

Whether it is Folkestone and Hythe or Thanet South remains to be seen but Mr Farage came much closer than he has before now to confirming it will be one or the other, telling my colleague Matt Leclere that "it was more than likely" he will be a candidate somewhere in the Garden of England.




Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Politics

Summer Events in Folkestone

by The Fly Away American (in Kent), with Jessica Galbraith Thursday, June 13 2013

Did anyone catch the Red Arrows in Folkestone this past weekend? The weather was beautiful, the crowds were large, and the show was magnificent. Well, for the first five minutes. Admittedly I am not much of a plane, car, motorcycle type girl. I really enjoyed the Red Arrows, I did, but my attention span can sometimes fail me. Regardless, I had a fabulous day out with friends. Barbecuing at The Leas Coastal Park is just about my favorite thing in the world. It was windy, but then again- when isn't it? It was really a shame that the city wasn't able to profit from the thousands of people who came out, I seriously considered running down to ASDA and setting up a hot dog stand on the promenade. I would have made a killing

This weekend (Tomorrow through Sunday) Folkestone will be hosting the Folkestone Multicultural Festival, three days of dancing, food, and music representing regions from all over the world. I usually go for the food. Last year, I had the best Nepalese food on the planet- no joke. I have dreams about it sometimes. Not a bad option if you are looking for something to do this weekend. I am always happy to see local events going on, and do my best to show up and support the organizations that put these things together. Here is the schedule for the event: Folkestone Multi-Cultural Festival

Next weekend the inaugural Folkestone Fish Festival will take place. The Whitstable Oyster Festival is my favorite event in Kent all summer, so I am hoping this one in Folkestone really gains some momentum. Many of the local businesses (Rocksalt, yum.) will be down at Folkestone Harbor with stands of food, drinks and random stuff.  I will be attending the South East Airshow next Saturday, but will be down at the Fish Festival on Sunday for the Blessings of the Fishes. I am intrigued to witness the process of blessing a fish. 

I will be all over Kent this summer, but thought I would start off letting you all know what is going on around my neighborhood! 




Leas Cliff Hall, I hate you.

by Kent music reviews and teenage views, with Nick Tompkins Sunday, October 21 2012

So tomorrow is supposed to be the day that myself and a few of my friends go to the Leas Cliff Hall to see an amazing Indie Rock band, The Enemy. The key word there is supposed, as the Leas Cliff Hall pulled the plug without so much as an explanation. In our disappointment and panic after hearing the news, my friend posted on The Enemy's Facebook page to ask what the problem was. The band actually respond to the majority of posts on their Facebook which is a pleasant surprise, but then again The Enemy have always placed massive importance on their fanbase; they said, "there were a few issues we're told, but we don't know the full story. We hope the promoter has emailed you guys, and of course we're dead sorry we can't make it, we know you would have been awesome. Make it up to you! x"

So not even the band were told exactly why they couldn't play?! I have seen The Enemy at Folkestone Leas Cliff before but what I'm super annoyed about is that The Enemy are pretty much one of the only good bands the Leas Cliff ever has in! For a great venue in the heart of Folkestone, which has a massive proportion of students and young people about, the Leas Cliff should really be getting some more current acts in like The Enemy! Don't get me wrong I've seen some great bands there: The Enemy, The Editors, Pete Doherty and The Zutons, but take a look at the upcoming events: 'The Sensational 60s Experience', 'Marty Wilde's Rock 'n' Roll Party', 'The Drifters', 'Boogie Nights' and 'The Solid Silver 60s Show'. I mean, come on would it kill you to get something from the last decade in?! Although I can't really complain, as a little something for the hip young people of Folkestone, they've got Dappy and Peter Andre lined up for us... 

Tags: , , , ,
Categories: music

What High Speed have done for us

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Wednesday, December 22 2010

Protests about the proposed route of High Speed 2 from London to the Midlands and the North will provoke hollow laughter in Kent. I remember reporting on marches from South Darenth and Sutton-at-Hone that demonstrated fierce opposition to the initial route.

There was the admission that a map had been drawn up on an official’s dining room table using out of date information and putting the route through a new housing estate near Blue Bell Hill, Chatham. When a Mid Kent Parkway station was proposed between Medway and Maidstone, there was an outcry that the “green lung” would be removed and prompt the creation of a “Medstone” or “Maidway” conurbation.

There was dismay with the proposal to put the link down the pretty Nashenden Valley. When construction started, there was outrage over the “scar on the landscape.”

I can hardly remember a good thing being said about the proposed railway, wherever it went. Maidstone council bowed to this anti-sentiment and voted not to have anything to do with what eventually became HS1 And yet, and yet...

Taking a lesson from the French city of Lille, which battled for the TGV line to go through its heart, Ashford council fought tooth and nail to have the service re-routed through the centre of the town. Look what that decision has done to the prosperity and potential of the town.

Commuter journeys have been transformed. Look at the potential for regeneration in Dover, Margate and Folkestone from the presence of what is a brilliant service on state-of-the-art Hitachi trains. Look at the great advertisement for the county. Kent, a railway back-marker since the 1800s, is no longer on the wrong side of the tracks.

While third-rail trains were stuck in the snow, HS1 kept on rolling. More than seven million passengers took HS1 in its first year and I bet that figure will be a lot higher next year. It is a powerful economic driver for the county, raises our game and is proving a powerful incentive for firms to move to the county.

Just as 19th century steam trains and track came to blend into the countryside, with pressure groups lobbying to preserve threatened lines, so the railway that sparked so much protest in Mid and North West Kent is now part of our landscape. Nothing much to protest about now. The engineers did a great job.

Maidstone is left on the sidelines, now pleading for a high-speed station that was once there for the taking. Prosperity is slowly shifting to Ashford and will in time flow to Dover, Margate and Folkestone. House prices will rise disproportionately in towns with good access to the trains. A Manston Parkway station is on the cards.

HS2 protesters should look to the Kent experience and see that while they should ensure the route is tweaked here and there, and tunnelled under beautiful places, there is so much to gain from high-speed rail in terms of greener travel and greater convenience in a modern world. Things we fear in advance often come to be loved. In a 100 years’ time, HS2 and HS1 will be celebrated as much as the steam railways of another era.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Categories: Business | Trains | Transport

Silver Spring's bubble is burst

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Wednesday, October 6 2010

Business can be brutal.

Take the case of Neill Cotton, the young ex-managing director of Silver Spring, the Folkestone-based soft drinks and mineral water enterprise.

The firm has been through turbulent times recently. After more than a century as a family-run business, it had lost its way, racking up huge losses and plunging into administration.

Cotton was a turnaround specialist with lots of relevant experience. He was hired to sort out the mess and, with others, persuaded Privet Capital to inject life-saving equity.  A controversial pre-pack administration was arranged and he became MD last September.

He cut 60 jobs at Christmas, and took other cost-cutting measures. Loss-making work was ditched and good customers were reassured that Silver Spring had a good future under new management.

New products were launched and marketing campaigns unveiled. Silver Spring - such a crucial part of the Folkestone economy - was regaining its sparkle. Cotton was planning for the long haul. He told me a few weeks ago that he had found his dream job, and aimed to double turnover in the next five years.

He had a refreshing, intelligent, open approach that seemed to bode well for the future. But it all turned sour a few weeks ago when a restructuring cost him his job, along with around 30 others. It seems he was offered a less senior role, found it impossible to accept and walked away.

No doubt the firm has its reasons. Maybe Privet was putting on pressure. But the move suggests this iconic Kentish brand, famous for pioneering flavoured water with Perfectly Clear, is still on the sick list. I hope not. I hope also that the new management is fully aware of its Kentish heritage, its importance to the Folkestone economy and jobs - generations of local people have worked there - and the importance of tapping the undoubted goodwill for this well-regarded manufacturer.

I would like to see it take more part in the Kentish scene. It could have done more to wave the flag for the county and I suspect Cotton would have been happy to do so. Everyone who depends for their income on Silver Spring’s revival will hope this latest decision, which looks harsh from the outside, helps rather than hinders its path to recovery. 

As for Cotton, who married recently, he has a lot to offer and does not deserve to be out of work too long.

Tags: , ,
Categories: Business

Got a bee in your bonnet?

Bloggy BeeIf you have a voice, and would like it to be heard, why not consider writing a blog for our site?

Click here to send us a message and let us know!

Welcome to our blogs!

Our Blogs

Tag cloud

Topics of Conversation