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Monday, 6 July 2015

Manston: testing times

Some thought-provoking entertainment for you - your end of year examination paper, specialist subject:
"The orchestration of mass delusion by public story-telling and aggressive fact avoidance, with reference to the "save" Manston Airport campaign in the year of RogerOak 2014-2015."
Instructions – please answer the questions below, referring to source documents and supporting evidence.
  1. What benefits would a cargo airport bring to Thanet?

  1. In what way are these benefits better than the benefits offered by the employment, housing, community facilities, leisure facilities and open space benefits that feature in the owners' plans for the site? Please make reference to economic, social and environmental benefits. In providing your answer, please remember that the airport plan needs to be better than the owners' plan if a CPO is to go forward, as the default legal position if both plans are equally good is that the owners keep their land.

  1. By what criteria are 39 initial potential airport jobs that are dependent on one employer better than 320 jobs (a mix of actual and potential jobs) spread across several employers and ready to come to the site now?

  1. Why did the Government allow Cartner and Musgrave to take over the old Pfizer site and obtain Enterprise Zone status for it if they have a poor track record of regeneration?

  1. Why, given that Cartner and Musgrave are praised by Government Ministers and Conservative MPs for what they have achieved at Discovery Park, are Thanet's two Conservative MPs attempting to "block" their plans to achieve similar outcomes at Stone Hill Park? For extra points, please set out the timeline by which the Conservative Party adopted its new "anti-jobs; anti-development; anti-investment" policy.

  1. What is the basis for suggesting that a "national asset" should be owned by a US private equity fund that has no track record in aviation and that is registered in Delaware, outside the reach of English law? You may use as examples any other UK "national assets" held by Delaware-registered companies with invisible investors.

  1. Define "national asset".

  1. What market reasons are be behind the absence of any credible airport operator to come forward as a bidder for the former airport at Manston?

  1. Mini case study – RiverOak's "plan" for a cargo airport at Manston relies on the aviation experience of Mr Tony Freudmann. Mr Freudmann's plan failed at Manston between 1999 and 2005. The same Freudmann plan failed under Mr Freudmann's management at a number of other airports around the globe. Mr Freudmann's involvement at Lahr airport left workers not being paid their salary. Mr Freudmann's Manston-Virginia route failed and KCC's investment in it was lost. Mr Freudmann has overseen a number of other company failures. Mr Freudmann was struck off as a solicitor for helping himself to client funds. You are the team responsible for running Thanet District Council. Faced with the prospect of Mr Freudmann spearheading the reopening of Manston as a cargo airport, should you:
  • Embrace the idea with open arms. What's a track record of business failure and a striking off between friends?
  • Remember your duty to run the Council in a financially prudent way and reject any business "plan" that has Mr Freudmann as its aviation expert?

  1. It is said that 98% of Thanet wants an airport to reopen at Manston. Please demonstrate how this figure was arrived at. You must use traditional definitions of Thanet (i.e., you may not include support from people who live outside Thanet nor may you include people who live outside England). You must also use traditional definitions of percentages. Please also submit clean workings – i.e. strip out any people who have signed more than one petition or who appear on both a petition and a page. You must also specify exactly how many people responded positively to this question when a doorstep survey was carried out in parts of two Thanet wards. Please provide evidence of the question that was put to Thanet residents.

  1. Describe the role of Messrs Joshi, Soards and Maggs in the campaign to open a cargo airport on the Manston site.

  1. In the 2015 elections:
  • Thanet North was won by the Conservative candidate with a 4% fall in support whereas the UKIP candidate failed;
  • South Thanet was won by the Conservative candidate with a 10% fall in support whereas the UKIP candidate failed as did the only candidate standing 100% on a "save" Manston Airport platform;
  • the Conservatives won nine fewer seats on Thanet District Council than they won in 2011, whereas UKIP increased its Council seats significantly;
  • All the Conservative and UKIP candidates, and the Independent Manston candidate, came out strongly in favour of a CPO to develop cargo airport on the old Manston site.
In what way can this set of results be validly used to suggest that voters for the successful candidate in each case were voting in favour of a cargo hub on the old airport site?

Courtesy of Manston Pickle

Friday, 1 March 2013

Council throws good money at bad airport


KCC have now admitted they're slinging £100k of public money at a billion dollar multi-national.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Game-changer - Manston to stop being an airport

Manston and Prestwick would be easier to sell... if they weren't airports. So Infratil is putting the word out that they're prepared to stump up cash to help potential buyers transform the airports into, er, something they actually want to buy.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Charles Buchanan's brave face

Every now and then Charles Buchanan reports to KIACC (the airport's consultative committee). These reports are usually a rattling good read, if only to pick out the bits where a favourable gloss is put on the less than lovely truth.

Friday, 5 October 2012

All aboard the 4.20am flight to Amsterdam?

After years of fanciful forecasts, missed targets and false hopes, this may be Infratil's legacy - a minimal passenger service that only ever flies at night, while the airport is almost entirely idle through the 16 hours of daytime. This is Infratil waving goodbye, with two fingers.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fan Mail

"Perhaps if I was your neighbour and you had to have an ambulance at 3am I would stop it due to the noise from the sirens."

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Airport Working Party: unprepared

The AWP may be prepared to shoot itself in the foot, but it's not preparing for much else.

Cllr Gideon concluded yesterday that this is the wrong time to review the S106 agreement, and that it should be revisited as and when the airport sale goes through, or a planning application is received.

It would be marvellous if the AWP adopted the motto used by hundreds of thousands of scouts and guides across Britain - "Be Prepared".

Monday, 24 September 2012

Friday, 25 May 2012

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sparks fly over AWP fiasco

The unutterable shambles of the recent AWP meeting has given cause for complaint. A fully-fledged formal foot-stamping has landed with a thump at TDC Towers...

Friday, 6 April 2012

Thanet Airport Working Party 4th April

Like pushing your own face into a bacon slicer. Slowly. It was shambolic to a degree I would once have found shocking...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Thanet rejects Manston night flights

73% of voters said "No" to night flights. Next question: what will the councillors say?

Monday, 26 March 2012

NHS Bill Risk Register

This MIGHT be the leaked Risk Register. Or not.

A bit off-topic, I know, but might be of interest if you care about the NHS...

Friday, 23 March 2012

Consultation results

Well, the results are in for Canterbury district, and the answer is a clear "No" to night flights.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

BAWC: But Are We Convinced

OK folks, let's get a grip before hysteria takes hold.

The latest PR drivel is that BAWC are going to save the whole of south-east England from flight congestion by, er, moving their flights from one part of the south-east to another...

Friday, 9 March 2012

Airport CEOs upbeat

Airport CEOs upbeat, and using very similar words to express their optimism...

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Reality hits home, Infratil leave town

Delusion has finally been swept away by the onslaught of reality and Infratil are throwing in the towel. This is clearly bad news for all those employed at the airport. Manston was clearly one of Infratil's rare bad investments, and the workforce at the airport did their best to make a silk purse out of a flying pig's ear, but to no avail...

Manston in the Eye

The already deprived residents of one of the poorest local authorities in England may soon be deprived of sleep, too — thanks to the ineptitude of Thanet council...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Unveiled threat

During a normal summer, when sitting quietly in our garden, we have to endure  endless circuits by empty planes to earn the airport some revenue. This is bad enough.

If the council permits night flying, they will have betrayed the people of Ramsgate and this will be remembered by us in any forthcoming elections.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

More common sense

The consideration of granting permission for night time flights based on jobs must be dealt with on facts rather than hope...

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Bus day in Ramsgate

The bus had real impact. Provided a great stationary billboard and pitch for us and welcoming people on, dishing out tea and biscuits etc all felt good...

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The NoNightFlights Bus

We'll be at Ramsgate Harbour for crowd scenes, photo opportunities and movie making at 11am and 12 noon - be there a few minutes early to be sure of your well-deserved stardom! More details here:

Friday, 24 February 2012

SNAFU at TDC Public Consultation

Phew! Panic over.
For a while there, it looked like the TDC Consultation machine was randomly rejecting emails without telling anyone...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The biggest lies hide in plain sight

Buchanan says he's not asking for unlimited night flights. HE IS - that's exactly what he's asking for. And he wants there to be no fines or penalties when he breaks the rules.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Tannoying question

Where in Ramsgate can you hear the Tannoys at the port and the station?
I can hear the Tannoy system and noise of the ships being loaded/unloaded from my house
I can hear the Tannoy system and announcements and the trains with their flat spots on the wheels

Sunday, 12 February 2012

GROUPTHINK - an alternative to responsibility

Looking at the unutterable shambles surrounding Manston, I wonder how on earth this happened. Answer: GROUPTHINK

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A shred of evidence?

Manston's job forecasts are absurdly exaggerated, a cruel and selfish deception on the people of Thanet and east Kent.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

At last - a chance to be heard

Manston night flights consultation: your chance to make a difference - they cannot ignore a majority result.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Tit for tat at TDC

There are no heroes in this story - blame can be splashed in every direction. Conservative and Labour members (AND Officers, let us not forget) are all culpable.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The nasty niceties of planning

TDC cannot choose whether or not to decide that this proposal requires planning permission.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Dream Council

This is what happens when a local council throws its weight into the fight against night flights, on behalf of the residents.

Laura Sandys gets political

Politics is the worst thing that ever happened to democracy, and I only realised this since getting involved in local community campaigns like this one.

It's disheartening when political spin and point-scoring produce more heat than light, warming the hearts of political supporters without showing a way forward. (This criticism is emphatically not levelled at Laura alone, not by any means - they're all at it, most of the time, usually when there are better things to be doing.)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Good night to night flights?

The report that TDC commissioned is very critical of Manston's proposal. See the Readers Digest version at

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Friday, 20 January 2012

Flybe, Manston, night flights and the truth

We wondered whether night flights would have made a difference to Flybe's decision to quit Manston. So we asked them.

Had the lack of scheduled night flights made Manston less attractive? Would scheduled night flights have persuaded Flybe to stay?  

Thursday, 12 January 2012

CPRE says night flights at Manston will not boost business

Quite the reverse in fact - the campaign group says night flights could actually damage Thanet’s economic growth...