Five days before a critical council by-election, UKIP brought in Nigel Farage to try to boost their vote. Members of local far right parties including the Kent National Front turned up.


Outside a Nigel Farage meeting in  Ramsgate, UKIP’s Martyn Heale talks about the prospects for his party at an impending council by-election. Mr Heale disassociates himself from the National Front when they turn up. Mr Heale was himself once a member of the National Front…




Shock news. The famous Nigel Farage who once had hordes flocking to his meetings across Thanet could barely muster a knot of UKIP diehards in Ramsgate on Saturday. One ex-UKIP supporter said she’d seen more UKIP councillors go in than local voters.

The meeting was called in a desperate attempt by the Kippers to shore up their vote for the Newington by-election on Thursday. Unfortunately the party is hampered by a widespread belief that the Kippers cynically reneged on a promise to reopen Manston airport which they only made to grab people’s votes.

Oh that and a candidate who is so disliked internally that even one of the leading Kippers, Trevor Shonk, Mayor of Ramsgate, has declined to canvass for him.

Far right hard lads, including at least one member of the fascist, racist National Front, turned up to act as bouncers for the Farage meeting. To his credit UKIP’s Martin Heale told them they weren’t wanted.  But when a Thanet Watch reporter asked Martin whether he thought the Front had changed since he was a member back in the 1970s, most surprisingly the voluble Mr Heale didn’t have an opinion…


old mole

duncan smithson

Duncan Smithson

So why did Thanet’s UKIP star, mayor of Ramsgate, Trevor Shonk REALLY not endorse (or say even half a word in support of) his party’s candidate for the critical Newington by-election, fun-loving Duncan Smithson?

I’m sure there are many good reasons, but is it possible one may have been dashing Dunc’s poor record on crystal ball gazing?

A couple of years ago Dunc, before he was a Kipper, speculated in learned terms on which party was going to win the parliamentary seat of Thanet South.

“Thanet South has always been a swing seat,” he wrote on a local blog, “and often a close run thing… The question is – how big will the UKIP swing be? It’s difficult to tell. The polls put it as a three way split. The word on the street is UKIP – as much a vote for change as vote for the party. If Farrage [sic] stands, I think it’s a done deal.”

Done deal? Oh dear! Not exactly was it? Nidge lost Thanet South by almost 3,000 votes, with hordes of Labour voters deciding to vote Tory rather than let the Kipper in.

So is that why Trev isn’t singing your praises, Dunc – your electoral judgement?

Or has he got other reasons? Come on, Trev – dish it!



old mole

duncan smithson

Fun-loving Dunc Smithson



Old Mole can hardly sleep in his hole for all this talk of the Newington by-election and Nigel Farage’s UKIP.

Back in May Thanet became nationally famous as the place our Nidge tried and failed to grab a seat in parliament.

Though the Crinkly One got some consolation when the Kippers won control of Thanet council – his party’s first such victory.

But since then of course it’s all gone giant-marrow-shaped for the Kippers.

Huge internal punch-ups over the party’s unfulfilled promise to reopen Manston Airport have led to numerous defections among its members and lost it control of the council.

That’s why the Newington by-election (caused by the emigration of UKIP’s sitting councillor to Thailand!) has got all the local politicos excited, with most seeing it as a critical two horse race between Labour and the Kippers.

So when a rumour reaches Thanet Watch Towers that not all Kippers are entirely thrilled to bits with the party’s choice of fun-loving Farage blue-eyed boy Duncan Smithson to fight the seat for them, we naturally whizz off an email to senior UKIP councillor and distinguished mayor of Ramsgate, Trevor Shonk.

What’s his view of Dunc as a candidate, we ask him?

We of course expect him to offer a glowing endorsement of Dunc’s talents.

So you can imagine how gob-smacked Moley was to receive not one word of approval from Trev for Dunc.

Instead we got the following – in Trev’s own delightful grammar and spelling:

“The best person will win whom ever wins this seat ,we at RTC [Ramsgate Town Council] will have to work with the elected councillor ,to much division in all parties so Ramsgate is the priority at all times

I will and always work with all political colours and that has been me from day one !!
Might upset a few ,the only way forward is working with each other for Thanet and all things local and we have so much stacked against us…”

Trev then, quite rightly, goes on to give as an example of what Thanet’s got stacked against it – the recent shocking closure of the Royal School for Deaf Children Margate.

But does he give us even one word in support of his close colleague Dunc Smithson in this vital election for his party?

Absolutely nothing.

Not believing its eyes, the Watch writes off to Trevor to double-check he’s got the point. We ask “Do you truthfully consider Duncan the best person to stand for Newington? Are you happy to canvass for him?”

Answer came there none.

But if Moley hears anything he’ll let you know…



In the new issue of Thanet Watch is news of a book launch about the immigrant experience by Jackie Walker. Jackie also writes about her involvement in the campaign to stop Nigel Farage becoming a Thanet MP. Here’s a corrected version of the news piece…


An extraordinary book about the immigration experience gets its launch in Thanet this June.

The book Pilgrim State, published by Hodder, is by Jackie Walker, who first moved Broadstairs five years ago.

In 1960s Deptford seven-year-old Jackie got a crash course in racism.

“You smell wog,” said a little blonde girl she thought was going to be her friend. “Don’t you ever come near me.”

When it was first published in 2008 Guardian called the book: “a survival tale to warm the chilliest heart.”

It tells how Jackie’s family came to this country from Jamaica in the 1950s.

Jackie’s mother Dorothy had an abusive father and experienced recurring mental illness, poverty and racial discrimination.

But she set out to keep her family together – and, despite all the odds, she did.

Says Jackie: “People become immigrants to improve their lives. And while they do that, they improve the quality of all in our society. My book is a testament to that struggle, to the bonds that keep a family together and a tribute to all who are prepared to risk everything for the betterment of the people they love.  It’s a story which raises issues extremely relevant to what’s happening in Thanet today.”

Jackie will be reading extracts and answering questions at the launch which is at 7pm on Saturday 27 June at the Red Hall, 11 Grosvenor Road, Broadstairs CT10 2BT.



The new issue of Thanet Watch is out this week. And things are changing. From this edition on Thanet Watch is going quarterly.

Says Norman Thomas: “From now on we will split our coverage of what’s going on in Thanet. We will be using our website to include more topical news and events about the isle, while we reserve the magazine for longer, more in-depth investigative articles.

“The magazine will still, of course, include it’s usual mixture of satirical sideswipes, skits, scandals and explorations of local history.”

The new issue

–investigates why Nigel Farage failed to become MP for Thanet but UKIP won the council

–lifts the lid on the outrageous “dirty tricks” which marked the election

–and digs into the history of the nearest thing Thanet has to a medieval castle….