County Councillor Karen Constantine Seeing Red: If you think it is bad now…

Cllr Karen Constantine

You think it’s bad now? It can get a whole lot worse. Perhaps it’s because I’m recovering from Covid (horrible virus!) and maybe because I’m scrolling through Facebook, but honestly U.K. PLC has such an air of doom and gloom.

Maybe it’s the fragile and needy elderly whose families have contacted me incredulous that their loved one has been discharged from hospital without any care in place. Yes, that happens far too frequently. There is no easy fix. Families struggle to provide care themselves whilst managing ever complex and stretched ‘support’ services.

And whilst I don’t strictly deal with housing as a Kent County Councillor, where’s there is an interface with health (and when doesn’t health depend on a decent living conditions?) I wade in. No-one in Thanet needs me to explain that housing need long ago outstripped supply. I could honestly weep when I hear of peoples struggles. The forthcoming mortgage rise is going to hit renters in the private sector like a tidal wave.

Water bills have gone up and up since privatisation. We are in fact the only country in Europe, possibly the world, that has sold off our water for other countries and shareholders to make vast profits from. They’ve been taking around £2B per year. And the top bosses have been rewarding themselves huge wages and bonuses.

When I called a public meeting last year with the then Chief Executive of Southern Water Ian McCauley, he was quite clear when he said, based on his experience of working in water companies around the world, he thought water in the U.K. was too cheap! And if we wanted infrastructure improvements (and clean seas) we’d better be prepared to pay! At least he told us straight.

Apparently we can look forward to a 40% increase in our bills?

And as Thames Water starts to sink, I wait with bated breath to see the current Tory leaders (and I use the word extremely loosely) cough up the cash to save it. Money that they have been denying they have. I bet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak isn’t extolling them to ‘hold their nerve!’

But will this be the same drill as with the post Covid railway bailout I wonder? That public funded ‘scam’ where we put our tax money into a rescue plan, and pay extortionate rail fares, and eye watering bonuses are still paid out. Even though the failure of privatisation is 100% proven.

And sticking with railways… £39M has now been spent on Thanet’s favourite spanking new white elephant, Ramsgate Parkway. Opening soon, with a little free car parking for a while. Of course you’ll have to drive there, as there’s no public transport. (Don’t mention the additional preventable carbon emissions.) Parkway will not staffed, and there’ll be absolutely no help on hand for anybody in any kind of need. Ditto if you arrive home late at night… Departures from Ramsgate Town station will now also take slightly longer to get to central London. What else could we could have done with all that money if only we’d been able to creatively divert funds and actually match them to real need…

It’s ironic isn’t it that total population of Thanet is deemed insufficient to support a vital HASU, but somehow needs 8 railways stations to facilitate journeys to London, echoing working practices that have at long last been replaced with hybrid and home working! Post Covid, all bets are off as to how the new 9 – 5 will settle down. But it won’t be five days a week up and down to London!

Last but far from least. Britain has lost its leadership on climate action and yet more political failure means progress has stalled. The Climate Change Committee have heavily criticised the U.K’s lack of progress on climate change. Still – there are people who imagine that an air cargo hub (not airport) is still on the cards and the answer to Thanet’s economic decline. It isn’t. We are missing climate targets on almost every front. This is one reason local campaigners are raising money, to fight through the the courts to stop this madness. Heroic action in my opinion. But this legitimate use of the Judicial Review process has been criticised by our absent Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay who describes it a decision “not liked by disgruntled few..” Little doubt at the next General Election he will realise his error.

Meanwhile if you have a few pounds please donate


  1. Parkway station has no apparent advantages and has cost £39M of our money . So what are the advantages? Another Tory mystery like Brexit . Cui bono – who profits?

    • Your right Dick, and it would be a useful exercise to count how many passengers actually use this white elephant train station, to see if its actually paying for itself!

  2. Water cheap.I lived and worked in France for 6 years and water,trains,council tax,insurance gas and electricity were nearly half the price it is here. For every £5 spent on a train in UK the equivalent price in France is a £1.They dont just have one HS1 they have 36 linking every city.
    My local taxes cant even get roads swept, litter picked and weeds removed.The whole area is totally neglected in all aspects.

  3. There will be plenty of people to sweep the streets when they put the barge with 500 migrants in the old ferry terminal.

  4. The reason that we are in such a state has nothing to do with politics. Save the vast number of people now with university degrees, but no practical skills.
    Do you remember the first manifesto promise Blair broke, a week after getting elected in 1997? Abolishing tuition fees. 50% (now 70% in his latest comments on the subject) to go to university, but all to be funded by loans. All the City financers rubbing their greedy little hands together. What percentage of national debt is now student loans?
    The apprenticeships that would have given us useful members of a diverse workforce were sidelined. Former polytechnics now providing us with non-wealth generating mediocre social scientists instead.
    Then the PFI(NHS) Act. Major & Clarke had deliberately steered clear of including the NHS in PFI deals. Not Blair & Brown. The Left of the Labour Party called them out on it at the time, but were unceremoniously silenced. Those deals have hobbled the NHS ever since and will continue to do so until Doomsday. There is nothing any subsequent government could ever do about it and the level of secrecy surrounding the deals is so high that even the Secretary of State is not privy to many of them. All documented by The Guardian amongst others at the time.
    If Starmer gets elected next year, Blair will be the one in the driving seat. In precisely the same way Putin was in Russia when Medvedev was elected President.

    • Well said Karen, thanet parkway is NOT a safe place with no staff or live security. You and your car will not be safe . You have been warned

    • Can’t disagree with your comments HW, the country has broken because of Blair.

      Conservative and Labour are just two cheeks of the same ar*e these days a different political direction is needed soonest to rid the country of tyranny.

  5. I have heard some conspiracy theories but really,Tony Blair as Putin do me a favour.I think you have been drinking too much sewage laden Southern water and it’s going to your brain.
    Blair may have been a dissembling ratbag, but he never lied to parliament continually and deliberately like Johnson.

    • Cognition not your thing George?
      Blair is to Starmer what Putin is to Medvedev. Simples. You are politically naive if you believe otherwise.
      Let’s not forget the “Dodgy Dossier” – upon which the U.S. Congress agreeing to attack Iraq relied – and, the coincidentally timed rural demise of both Dr. Kelly & the RT. Hon. Robin Cook M.P.!
      How many U.K. service personnel died and were maimed as a consequence of that dossier? Not to forget all that has passed in Iraq in the two decades since!🤔

      • No Harry it’s not simples, it is deranged.Yes I know about the dodgy dossier and all the other malarkey.We had no business being in Iraq, and a lot of people died needlessly,but that makes Blair a useful idiot for the US defence dept and the CIA,not Putin.
        I may be old but I do have cognition and I don’t need some wet behind the ears conspiracy theorist with a paranoia over Tony Blair to tell me right from wrong.
        As a matter of fact we have form in Iraq,as I had an Uncle in ‘Mespot’as it was known then durin WW1, and we lost a load of men a Kut-al-amara in 1916.The RAF got its wings bombing Iraqi villages to pacify the inhabitants in the interwar years, and of course there was Rashid Ali coup of 1941, so was Blair involved in all those little incidents? No?
        So, instead of venting your spleen about alleged wrong doing back along,why not comment about what’s going on today, or are you a reactionary Tory seeking to make a right out of two wrongs.
        Sounds like it to me, and I don’t like your songs much anyway.

        • Oh crikey another history lesson from Professor Noakes the walking encyclopaedia. You ever thought of going on the Chase? I’m sure Anne Hegarty or any of them would sort you out.

          • Yes when comments like that are made it is out of a feeling of inadequacy.Rather than answer the questions one tries to diminish the other party by a cheap comment.
            Knowledge is useful but only if it is correctly applied.l think I can skip the game show.Who is Anne Hearty anyway.
            We still have a branch library network instead of watching game shows,join the library and you too can be a walking encyclopedia.
            By the way I went to a very secondary modern so anyone who benefited from the magnificent Kent education service can find out why the world works as it does by reading and diligent study.

        • Like I said George. Cognition is obviously not your thing.
          Putin was the power behind the throne when Medvedev was Russian President.
          Likewise, if Starmer is the next P.M., it will be Blair calling the shots.

          Nothing more. Nothing less.

          That said, I suspect the combined death tolls in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria & Libya dwarves Putin’s contributions in Chechnya, Syria and Ukraine.
          And Kosovo’s about to blow up again too. A place regarded as a nation state by only about half of U.N. members.

          • Go on Harry,tell us about COVID or the gold standard.So what am I a walking encyclopedia,as suggested by Laurence or not very bright accord to you.
            Like all bonkers conspiracy theorists you shout allegations with either no facts or fake facts as they do in Russia.
            I hope you are just bonkers and not a security threat.
            I don’t think you will be able to spend your roubles here sunshine.
            Fortunately the world doesn’t care what you think of Tony Blair.I agree he is an annoying git but Putin nah!

  6. I mostly agree with Harry B. Sarah Bentley departure from Thames Water after a couple of years at the helm is a typical example of overpaid under-acheivement. She was pathetically over her head in this ridiculously overpaid CEO position, leading a phase of turnaround transition for the company. My arze!
    A degree in English and Theatre Studies does not cut the mustard when dealing with the public’s health.

  7. And meanwhile tenants in Rick Everetts ward have been living in a TDC property at risk of fire and electric shock for nearly a quarter of the year and TDC are doing nothing …

    • You realise that the colour of the tie doesn’t suddenly mean they have millions to spend.

      You haven’t held Tories responsible for years but a few months of Labour and you are on them if everything isn’t fixed? It’s not gonna work like that.

  8. I don’t think you understand politics or the issues with Medvedev and his ilk.

    Starmer is nothing like him.

    You are using ridiculous examples to try and make a point.

    I hate Blair and always have. I’m not sure Starmer is the right person to lead the country either but…… he is 100 times better than Rishi and this lot.

    And right now that’s all that matters

  9. In terms of housing shortages Karen, what’s your view on people buying up second homes in areas they don’t live in ? This surely places more pressure on local housing markets and restricts supply to local people wanting to get on the property ladder – whether they are holiday homes or investments.

  10. George Noakes well aware you went to secondary school you banged on about it enough last year from memory described yourself as an iron child . As far as cheap comments are concerned you are the master of them on here. Already a library member and read quite a range of books but I don’t brag about it like you. Plus suggest you get a sense of humour my comment on the Chase was tongue in cheek.

    • Not enough by the looks of it.
      Its Nokes not Noakes and don’t give up the day job for a career in comedy.
      My point is there are enough nutters,looney conspiracy theorists and misogynists in East Kent,as there is,and I wouldn’t have to be a walking encyclopedia as you call it, if people stopped listening to their ravings.Call me a fact checker instead.You may not like it,but the Isle of Thanet news, will become just like ‘the light’or whatever that dreadful conspiracy rag is called.
      Every time jokers like you support this lunacy you will will have to deal with inconvenient facts.
      As for Karen.She is a woman, get over it! Women obtained the vote and the right to sit in parliament in 1918, so disagree with her by all means, and offer critical feedback,but forget the misogny (this means you Democrat).I am not going to even ask what is unravelling round the world means.Saddam Hussein was not exactly a wise and benevolent leader.
      As for tyrants, even Putin, would have to go some to beat Stalin.Some historians suggest that Russia’s population would be as much as 25% larger than it is today.I think we all got the message that some of you don’t like Tony Blair, and that is not unreasonable,but give it a rest.As for the lockdown,obviously none of you lost friends and relatives,but it would be a kindness if you would stop banging on about it.Let Lady Hallett sort out those responsible,she seems a redoubtable woman and jurist.

      • Crikey! You have certainly lost it Noakes! Oh sorry your Nokes aren’t you. You state Karen is women. Well noticed! Glad to be called a joker rather than a bitter and and twisted individual who has a chip on his shoulder about his early education in the state system. Keep festering it eats you up in the end!

        • George Nokes is right about conspiracy theorists and misogynists. This is the only social-media site that I read and it’s very depressing.

  11. Constantine’s column has the air of ‘Dad’s Army’s’ doomed about it. Don’t think anyone in the divide and rule main parties has the ability or ingenuity to raise people’s spirits. They mostly all voted for the bankrupting, unsafe, ineffective and destructive lockdowns plus experimental jabs and PPE. That’s what’s done the most damaging (after Bliar’s Iraq war of course). A rather large elephant in the room that is unravelling just now across the world.

    • Given that the pandemic was sweeping the world, and bringing people and economies to their knees, governments world wide had to do something until effective vaccines were identified available.
      So, for a virus that spread by human contact, the thing to do was obvious: reduce that contact as much as possible.
      And this they did, to greater or lesser degrees, by governments round the world.
      Once effective vaccines were available, lock downs were relaxed to greater or lesser extents.
      There is no doubt whatsoever that lockdowns, followed by effective vaccination, has saved millions of lives worldwide, and has ameliorated the effects of long covid for many many million more.
      The vaccines, particularly mRNA, were very well understood and tested, based, as they were, on vaccines developed decades ago MERS and SARS.

  12. i don’t think anything Democrat writes here is “well said”. He/she has evidently been sucked into the strange world of conspiracy theories.

    • And do you know the origin of the phrase “Conspiracy Theory”?
      It didn’t evolve over centuries. It’s a relatively new phrase.

      • I’m reading a book about the phenomenon of “Conspiacy Theory”. The expression as currently applied neatly labels people who ascribe to and promulgate ideas that, without any shred of credible evidence, go against the findings of conventional science.

        • The question I asked was where the phrase originated.
          As for “conventional science”. Galileo Galilei & Copernicus had to deal with the conventional science of their time. Does the Sun revolve around the Earth? Is the Earth flat? Context is everything.

          “Those who are searching for the truth will not find it by following the masses.”


          “Those who see through the lies and shadows of their society will rarely be listened to and never believed.”


          The “conventional” folk of Athens didn’t like those two guys very much either. Or Aristotle. Anyone remember the names of any other Ancient Athenians today?😂🤣

          Btw. “Conspiracy Theory” first appeared after the assassination of JFK. I’ve got a copy of the document. Do you know why Oswald was killed?

          • Actually, Galileo Galilei was having to contend with the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church.
            Scientists observe phenomena. They make observations and draw conclusions. They publish these results in peer reviewed journals of international repute. Their conclusions can be examined, replicated, challenged.
            That’s how science works.
            Pseudo Science is a different kettle of fish. People labelled as “Conspiracy Theorists” use pseudo science to bolster their claims.

          • Funny how Andrew’s last, trying to evade the questions post, gives me no option to reply to it.🤔
            Suffice to say, I’ve said all I need to say. It’s all there in black & white for those who have the eyes to see.

          • Of course there are plenty of people who remember the names of “Ancient Athenians” today! And if they don’t, researching them online is very quick and easy.

          • “To be is to do” – Plato
            “To do is to be” – Socrates
            “Doo be doo be doo” – Sinatra.

  13. Well said, Carol. But blimey, Thanet really has become home to the conspiracy theorists, what-about-ists and pseudo-scientists. Quite frightening to the progressives among us, but unsurprising considering the model of behaviour that the current government gives us of lying, half-truths and hate-mongering (ably assisted by their cohorts in the right-wing media) that some people take as gospel (while simultaneously ignoring the gospels in the various religious tomes). The reality, as I see it, is that this government, in its various guides over the last few years, has exposed its overwhelming greed for money and wealth and showed how that behaviour has undermined our society. Blatant uncontrolled privatisation of our infrastructure is now seen as very bad news. The gradual on-going removal of our rights and the degradation of our various quality regulations are being seen as anti-social and very damaging. The encouragement of hate of foreigners (which most of us were a few generations ago) is now seen as detrimental to the well-being of our country (we really do need the skills and effort those asylum seekers bring with them). The damage that was wrought by them via Brexit that will take decades to recover from. The feudal system that this government still supports needs to be removed to bring a fairness to our currently skewed society. The only way to do all that is to remove for good the Tories as soon as possible and replace them with a government that actually cares about the people and manages the country’s finances to support the average person, not just the rich, and often stupid, elite. It’s time for a change, a real change that cuts out the cancer that has grown in our country. Bring on the needed general election as soon as possible. (BTW not seen Craig on here for a while…. I wonder why?)

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