Great piece by Clive Aslet in the Telegraph today – Can Farage pull up the drawbridge on Thanet? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/nigel-farage/11059167/Can-Nigel-Farage-pull-up-the-drawbridge-on-Thanet.html – which evoked memories of the weird and wonderful Isle of Thanet where I grew up and first worked as a journalist.
If Farage wins the Thanet South seat and represents the people of Ramsgate and Broadstairs he will be following in the footsteps of other political big hitters with links to the area, including Jonathan Aitken who was the MP between 1974 and 1983 and Edward Heath, the Conservative Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974, who did not represent the constituency but grew up in Broadstairs and studied at my old school in Ramsgate.
Beyond politics Aslet reminded me that Thanet is indeed an island (albeit separated from the mainland by a ditch) with an island mentality and the French coast is visible from the cliff tops of Ramsgate. Both reasons, perhaps, why UKIP is targeting the seat.
He also wrote about the jailing in March of the Conservative leader of Thanet Council Maurice ”Sandy’’ Ezekiel, the Conservative leader of Thanet council who was sentenced to 18 months on four charges of misconduct involving property transactions. No laughing matter, of course, but it brought a smile to my face thinking about one of Ezekiel’s predecessors – the original Fake Sheikh. In 1982 the late Derek Dolding, accompanied by friends and relatives pretending to be business associates, dressed up as a rich Arab and toured the Port of Ramsgate in the hope that supposed interest from the Middle East would encourage investment in the area. Not surprisingly he was rumbled. Will the same fate befall Mr Farage?