Home Thoughts 103


I am off to Ghana today, and it leads me to think about how very much I have come to love Ramsgate. Walks along the cliffs and beach and across Pegwell Bay with my family are a major part of my life. The sea has always been important to reviving my spirits. Ramsgate’s magnificent Edwardian esplanades stretch for miles, and the Ramsgate Society is now putting a commendable effort into their restoration. Ramsgate has almost entirely ceased to be a seaside holiday destination and I really do not quite understand why.

All these pictures are of places within an easy 15 minute walk of my house:

The depressingly ugly Turner Modern at Margate continues to attract the visitors, 99.99% of whom are blissfully ignorant of far greater art – and infinitely greater architecture – just down the road:

The lack of public interest in St Augustine’s and its highly limited opening hours (Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons only, from memory) appear to be a vicious circle.

Pegwell Bay still looks precisely as it did when Dyce painted it:

Right on the street where I live we have a particularly good ghost story:

All this just one hour and ten minutes from St Pancras. Unfortunately Ramsgate town centre has suffered disastrously from the decision to build a huge out of town shopping centre at Westwood Cross, but is showing some first signs of revival.

Want another reason to hate the big supermarkets? They are building a new Asda at the top of the High Street, and a fortnight ago the builders cut through a main sewer, flooding several houses including the local vet, where a number of recuperating animals in cages were drowned.

Here is a picture of a jumbo coming in to land over Ramsgate, taken from the Open at Sandwich. You can see my house in this photo:

I am baffled by the scheme to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary, when just down the road at Manston, and already right on Britain’s first HS1 High Speed Rail route, you have the second longest, now civil, runway in the UK, fully operational but working at 1% capacity. Manston can take the A380 without modification. I have seen proximity to Schiphol given as the reason Manston cannot be used, but it is further from Schiphol than Heathrow is from Gatwick.

Anyway, time to pack…


103 thoughts on “Home Thoughts

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  • Ishmael

    Lets have a vote on who thinks i should sassist the russians in beating or containing nato? I certainly don’t want russia to have such an overwhelming advantage that they do nasty things .I need to decide fast

  • Jon

    @Franz – heh, I don’t think Komodo was being rude about Germans!
    .
    Now for some light entertainment, this Briton ‘ere is going to indulge in some light-hearted self-deprecation. Ask google to “define an english person”, and see what you get. A miserable people indeed 😉

  • nuid

    Latest on Twitter:
    U.S. asks Iran for drone back. Iran says drone has converted to Islam and is very happy.

  • mark_golding

    Ishmael – From my perspective Russia has paused the situation in Syria despite intense propaganda from the US and Britain that over 200 children have been killed by Bashar’s security.
    .
    The flagship aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov along with a patrol ship, an anti-submarine craft and other vessels are on the Syrian coast near Tartus, the Russian naval base.
    .
    Moscow has spoken out against further sanctions imposed by Western and Arab League states, and it has defended its right to sell Syria Russian cruise missiles to hit any INS warships that might engage the Syrian coastline (Latakia) at night.
    .
    I am trying to get YK radio ham reports on the unfolding situation from Damascus (Morse code) SSB 14Mhz band and RTTY on the 10Mhz band.

  • Fedup

    Mark_golding
    Wheels within wheels, the scenario is not as clear cut as the narrative holds.
    ,
    The bluster hides the obvious facts.

  • nuid

    Two links:
    The video of, “President Barack Obama is pressing his request that Iran return the U.S. surveillance drone captured by the country’s armed forces.” (Just imagine if it was an Iranian drone captured over America, and Iran asked for it back. There would be hysterical laughter in the USA.)
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/12/obama_on_us_drone_captured_by_iran_weve_asked_for_it_back.html
    .
    And about the Beeb. Peter Eyre – ‘Middle East Consultant’.
    “I have always had so much respect for the BBC until the day that they censored me during their programme called “Question time” when it came to the City of Derby.”
    Worth reading. He claims they re-started the programme and cut out his initial remarks, pretending that the programme started with (what was actually) question No.2.
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/214937.html
    .
    He talks about the coverage of Libya and then says:
    “… Now we see the BBC playing out the same scenario in regard to Syria with the same very jittery mobile phone images and extremely false reporting. They give no account of the true situation which is the fact that Special Forces, Mercenaries, CIA, MI5 and Mossad operatives are behind the Syrian lines stirring things up. They also do not cover the fact that the French are helping in training of combatants on both the Turkish side and in Lebanon, not to mention the intense arms smuggling that is going on.”

  • Fedup

    Ishmael,
    So you think after the latest round of interference in the internal affairs of the Russians (face book/tweeter protests), Putin is going to be taking it easy?
    ,
    No need for your help, Russians are pissed off, and looking to kicking someone’s arse. Georgia lessons were learnt by the Russians and by the looks of it US learnt nothing.

  • Mary

    Why did I get this message for several attempts to visit here tonight? Some interference happening or normal? I have never had this message before.

    .
    ‘Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/var/tmp/) is not within the allowed path(s): (/home/craigm/:/tmp:/usr/local/lib/php/) in /usr/home/craigm/domains/craigmurray.org.uk/public_html/wp/wp-content/plugins/spam-captcha/spam-captcha.php on line 317
    .
    Fatal error: session_start() [function.session-start]: Failed to initialize storage module: files (path: ) in /usr/home/craigm/domains/craigmurray.org.uk/public_html/wp/wp-content/plugins/spam-captcha/spam-captcha.php on line 317′

  • Fedup

    Mary,
    Try and clean up your browser cookies and see if this happens again?
    ,
    If you don’t know how to do this, let me know which browser you are using and we can work something out together.
    ,
    Although one of my comments which has been submitted twice, has not appeared on the broad too.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Somehow Mary the spam plugin was trying to access Craig’s temporary session folder instead of the public session temporary folder allocated to your request to post. Craig’s folder is restricted for security reasons so the request failed. Most odd.
    .

  • Ken

    So the King of Bahrain is in the UK and has met Mr Cameron and all was smiles and hand shakes. I am guessing that the following means little to Cameron.


    At least 40 people are known to have been killed in clashes with security forces so far this year, including five documented cases of people being tortured to death in custody. Nearly 3,000 people were arrested following the outbreak of protests inspired by the Arab Spring and a further 700 remain in custody.


    Arresting doctors for treating people as well,what a guy but he is our bastard so no campaign to smear him and no immediate plans to bomb the crap out of Bahrain.

  • crab

    The error message indicates to me some work or maintainence might be going on the sites installation, and this kind of error is very independant of your own computer/browser/cookies etc.
    I think there is no cause for concern in this case, except that those error reports should be disabled on a site like this – they may have been turned on just temporarily.

    Here is line 317 of latest wordpress spam-captcha.php

    316 function check_if_captcha_image($vars) {
    317 session_start() ;

    The warning and fatal error stop on line 317, which is right at the start of a function to check and create a captcha image.
    What fails is a global function called session_start -which couldnt find its temp directory anywhere, including in folders in ‘the path’ (a collection of likely directories) which it happened to correctly not be able to access all of. It just couldn’t find its temp directory basicaly- a maintainer possibly deleted it by accident and took a moment to fix.

  • crab

    I was shocked last months by reports of the Doctors arrested, abused and seemingly sentenced to long imprisonment just for treating wounded protestors in Bahrain.
    Channel4 is advertising a Documentary next Monday called Syria’s Torture Machine.

  • Antelope Grazer

    Herbie
    .
    I read enough to know it was a lazy piece of garbage. If you want to defend it, why don’t you answer the specific points I (and Oldmark) made?

  • Antelope Grazer

    In fact, on second thoughts, Herbie, don’t bother. There’s enough serious writing about the world’s problems. I wouldn’t want anyone to waste their time on poorly presented rubbish. In future, if you want to be taken seriously, don’t just say, ‘try again’ when someone dismisses your pet essay. And tell your friends to do basic proof-reading before handing in their work – even if it’s rubbish they should at least try to make it coherent.

  • Mary

    Thanks for the explanations on that message that came up. When I see the words ‘fatal error’, I get the heebie jeebies! I do always clear the cookie cache btw.

    .
    This is strange.
    .
    http://electronicintifada.net/blog/ali-abunimah/israeli-jewish-hate-rally-against-africans-tel-aviv-caught-video-haaretz-deletes

    .
    Ha’aretz have deleted an article that exposed the racism against black Africans within Israel but deny that there was any interference. There are some defences for them in the comments. Of course, there were instrructions from on high. Ha’aretz has a new part owner, Leonid Nevzlin. Just read his Wiki page.

    .
    Salman Schocken, a wealthy German Jewish Zionist who owned a chain of department stores in Germany, bought the paper in 1937. His son, Gershom Schocken, became the chief editor in 1939 and held that position until his death in 1990.[20] Until August 2006, the Schocken family owned 100% of the Haaretz Group, but then the German publisher M. DuMont Schauberg acquired 25 percent of the shares.[21] The deal was negotiated with the help of former Israeli ambassador to Germany Avi Primor.[22]
    .
    On 12 June 2011, it was announced that Russian-Israeli businessman Leonid Nevzlin had purchased a 20% stake in the Haaretz Group, buying 15% from the family and 5% from M. DuMont Schauberg. This means that the Schocken family now owns 60% and M. DuMont Schauberg and Leonid Nevzlin have 20% each.[23]

    .

    {http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonid_Nevzlin} Quite a catalogue.
    .
    I had read earlier that Netanyahu is visiting Africa appealing for countries to take back those people who have arrived in Israel. {http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=444100}
    The little ‘state’ is indeed racist.

  • Komodo

    “@Franz – heh, I don’t think Komodo was being rude about Germans!” (Jon)
    .
    IN-GER-LAND! IN-GER-LAND! IN-GER-LAND!
    Come and take my pit bull if yer fink yer ard enuff!
    Etc….

  • Mary

    Quite a roll call in your good link Herbie. I noted a few Uzbeks in the list of names and faces including Usmanov’s. I thought it a good and well researched piece of work. The Nevzlin I quoted above is not in the list yet. With wealth of only $2billion, he is small fry in comparison to most of those listed.
    .
    Had you heard that Canada has come out of the Kyoto Protocol? All that oil extraction production from the tar sands will continue apace.
    .
    One of the names there LI KA-SHING, HONG KONG with wealth of $26 BILLION as of March 2011
    has a connection to UK electricity supplies. UK Power Networks is owned by Cheung Kong.
    .
    Three networks known as the London Electricity Board, Eastern Electricity, and South Eastern Electricity board, were brought together by EDF Energy to form EDF Energy Networks. UK Power Networks began operations in October 2010 following the sale of EDF Energy Networks to Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, Power Assets Holdings and The Li Ka Shing Foundation in July 2010.
    .
    Therefore a large population is dependent on this one company. My local town has suffered many outages lately and even the new Hindhead tunnel on the A3 was closed for several hours last week due to a blackout. Retailers who are having a hard time are not happy and neither are the householders. Quite often the lights dim and flicker.
    .
    http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/products-services/networks/about-networks/index.shtml
    .
    Wealth: Li Ka-shing owns stock in Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa (HW). Through HW, Li is the world’s largest operator of container terminals in what is now the region through which almost all manufacturing originates for exporting goods across oceans. He is also the world’s largest health and beauty retailer (by number of outlets), a real estate developer and a major supplier of electricity to Hong Kong. Li is a majority shareholder in Husky Energy, a Canadian oil firm that recently announced its third oil discovery in
    the South China Sea. Husky Energy is in a joint-venture with BP to develop the Sunrise Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada (which is proceeding despite BP shareholder concerns over its environmental impact).
    .
    Li’s powerful allies include Lee Shau Kee of the Henderson Land Development, New World Development’s Cheng Yu-tung, casino and property magnate Stanley Ho, the Kwok family of Sun Hung Kai Properties, and Henry Fok Ying-tung. Li is regarded as one of Asia’s most generous philanthropists, having donated more than $1.4 billion to charity and other various causes. Beneficiaries include the University of California at Berkeley, which received $40 million from Li to build the Li Ka-shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, a new biosciences facility set to be completed in 2011. Li also has given UC Berkeley’s rival, Stanford University, $90 million for the Li Ka-shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, part of Stanford’s School of Medicine.
    Environment: Neither Hutchison Whampoa nor Husky Energy are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
    .

  • Azra

    Nuid , that is very funny, but seriously can you imagine Obomber being so stupid as to asking for Iranian to give it back to them, it is their property after all! could not believe gall that idiot.

  • nuid

    Azra, it’s worse than that. The fruitcake John Bolton thinks the USA should go in and take it back. Never mind acts of war, or anything like that! The arrogance of it.
    .
    “According to some earlier reports, President Barack Obama was given different options by the Pentagon to go into Iran and either retrieve the RQ-170 or destroy it, but he declined because, according to the sources, he didn’t want such a mission to be seen as an act of war.
    [John] Bolton, however, pointed out that it was not an adequate excuse.”
    More here http://in.news.yahoo.com/russians-providing-jamming-equipment-iran-worse-news-downed-073236387.html
    .
    I posted a comment last night up around 10:50 pm (about the BBC censoring ‘Question Time’) but I put two links in (without brackets) so it’s got jammed in the system.

  • ingo

    Franz, I know how you feel about the indoctrinated British, they know very little as to how Europe, never mind Germany, works. Thanks to the non interest of the establishment, the lack of journalists with nous, the dumbing down process over Europe is ingrained, the result of three decades feeding on bent bananas.

    Thigh slapping Lederhosen are only to be found in the south of Germany, although I owe up to having had one as a Hamburg lad, just the sort of tough gear you want as a boy. Mine were the short type, they come in different lenght you know.
    Thats how far it went, no thigh slapping up north, we were Prussians after all.

    I’m also worried about the troop buil up in Jordan and off the coast of Tartus, all seemingly unattached to Assads etnic cleansing, but well advanced. Would be good to find out what alert status the US sixth fleet is under currently, cause the Ladny, leadship of the black sea fleet is meeting up with aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetzov and a special anti submarine vessel from the baltic fleet Chabanenko, an allround capability all heading for the eastern Med.
    Israel is at the same time stepping up the harrassment of Ghaza, goading everyone who spoke out against their blockade, not a good sign at all.

    The quiet period, when the west is turning to gluttony and excess, when the media is on half mast, is just what our military planners want, no supervision and very little attention from us.

  • Jon

    Mary/Mark/Crab – don’t worry about the odd server error at the moment. Tim Ireland is very kindly seeing if we can improve our spam control – we get a *lot* of automated messages on past posts, and it would be good to knock that on the head 🙂
    .
    @Azra – agreed, pure arrogance. It’s not “can we have our ball back please”, it’s “can we have our spying equipment that we’ve been using against you”. Tough cheese, Mr. President. I tend towards Craig’s view of not supporting the Iranian regime, but nevertheless I hope they keep it. Or maybe they can manufacture a copy and send that one back!

  • Azra

    Nuid, John Bolton is another basket case. As though Iran is next State and they can just walk in and take the drone! If Iran had the capability to bring the drone down undamaged, they will have the capability to defend the country.. USA politicians get more and more stupid or desperate or both..

  • ingo

    Nuid John Bolton is the mouthpiece of US warmongers, he who does not hold back, truth is not his strong point and such lamentations have to be expected.
    I much more hope that Russia will deliver the anti aircraft system Iran longed for. Some air activity today, most of it high level. I suspect that some air capapbilities will already be shifting to other NATO countries, Greece and turkey would both be perfect.
    Thanks for the link to Pilger Azra, another god article from him, I like the detail Pilger provides.

  • OldMark

    The link to the Pilger article is excellent- thanks Azra.

    His quip about Pentagon press releases masquerading as journalism is spot on; it describes the bulk of Con Coughlin’s output at the Telegraph, for instance.

  • nuid

    “Nuid John Bolton is the mouthpiece of US warmongers, he who does not hold back, truth is not his strong point and such lamentations have to be expected.”
    .
    He’s a fruitcake, Ingo. He’d bomb the whole world into submission, if he got half a chance.
    .
    By the way, my comment about the guy who says the BBC censored his part in “Question Time” has now appeared (just before Fedup above at 12 Dec, 2011 – 11:41 pm.) It’s really worth reading. Here, I’ll post the link again:
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/214937.html
    .
    Apart from BBC Question Time, he also talks about the ‘brainwashing’ going on about Syria.

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