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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

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