I BLAME my colleague Mike Pearce. I go to France for a week and when I come back the world has gone mad.
I can only assume that the collective mental aberration that led to seven Thanet Ukip candidates gaining seats in the KCC elections was down to the electorate misguidedly attempting to prove the grumpy old devil wrong when he predicted the Tories would retain control (he was right of course) or reeling in horror as he revealed why they shouldn’t. But for heaven’s sake! A protest vote is one thing – if it involves Jedi Warriors or the Raving Monsters – Ukip is a step too far.
We in Thanet need all the sensible support we can get, fighting our corner up at County Hall, not a motley collection of the blinkered to the frankly bonkers from a party whose recent national news coverage features members accused of making Nazi salutes, facing revelations of their previous membership of the National Front and claiming that extra PE lessons in schools prevent homosexuality (you couldn’t make it up, could you!).
I am appalled and not a little alarmed. Or to sum up: I don’t make a habit of quoting David Cameron but when it comes to describing members of Ukip as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists,” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Scary election results were not all I came back to. My teaching stint at Chez Castillon in the Dordogne was delightful but came at a time when I was already behind on almost everything.
Bank Holiday Monday saw me looking at a small mountain of domestic and administrative tasks, two neglected manuscripts and the deadlines for three columns, including this one. I viewed the washing that needed sorting, the plants that wanted feeding, the post that should be opened and the half-unpacked suitcase I’d fallen over twice, and did the only thing one can do in a state of rising panic. I declared a day off and went for a walk.
This took me four miles round the coast to Margate, where I had a coffee in the Harbour Café Bar, played a brief game of Spot the Weekender (I’d suggest you tried it with the children if it posed any sort of challenge) and returned along the beach.
My wander took me across the busy sands of Joss, Kingsgate and Stone Bays, past the ski-jets and packed cafe, the stream of visitors to the Turner, lots of tables and chairs and sunshades, families cycling, couples strolling and a pack of fearsome-looking grannies with walking boots, sticks and haversacks who were look set to make it to Land’s End (good on yer!).
The sun was shining – I actually burned – the sky was blue, the sea calm and enticing and I thought, for about the 1,000th time in my adult life, so what is it that goes wrong?
Our coastline is stunning, we have attractions galore.
There are bars and restaurants aplenty, easy links to sea, road, rail and air.
We’re close to the capital, a spit from the continent and nothing costs too much.
Visitors are coming but why aren’t all the hotels bursting and the restaurants full?
Why is there still deprivation and unemployment when we can boast so much?
Why aren’t Thanet’s coastal towns, despite appearing on the must-see lists and being featured in the glossies, booming on a par with Falmouth, Aldeburgh and St Ives? Or even Whitstable?
Why hasn’t our cuteness/culture/maritime splendour/shabby chic – pick your corner, take your choice – turned our poor fortunes around too? I have my suspicions but I’d love to know yours.
Answers– on a post card, naturally – please.
Read the original article on: http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Plain-Jane-Jane-Wenham-Jones-beaches-like/story-18947331-detail/story.html#ixzz2SsiZjLMH
Follow This is Kent: @thisiskent on Twitter