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Manston: testing times

Some thought-provoking entertainment for you – your end of year examination paper, specialist subject:

“The orchestration of mass delusion by public story-telling and aggressive fact avoidance, with reference to the “save” Manston Airport campaign in the year of RogerOak 2014-2015.”

Instructions – please answer the questions below, referring to source documents and supporting evidence.

  1. What benefits would a cargo airport bring to Thanet?


  1. In what way are these benefits better than the benefits offered by the employment, housing, community facilities, leisure facilities and open space benefits that feature in the owners’ plans for the site? Please make reference to economic, social and environmental benefits. In providing your answer, please remember that the airport plan needs to be better than the owners’ plan if a CPO is to go forward, as the default legal position if both plans are equally good is that the owners keep their land.


  1. By what criteria are 39 initial potential airport jobs that are dependent on one employer better than 320 jobs (a mix of actual and potential jobs) spread across several employers and ready to come to the site now?


  1. Why did the Government allow Cartner and Musgrave to take over the old Pfizer site and obtain Enterprise Zone status for it if they have a poor track record of regeneration?


  1. Why, given that Cartner and Musgrave are praised by Government Ministers and Conservative MPs for what they have achieved at Discovery Park, are Thanet’s two Conservative MPs attempting to “block” their plans to achieve similar outcomes at Stone Hill Park? For extra points, please set out the timeline by which the Conservative Party adopted its new “anti-jobs; anti-development; anti-investment” policy.


  1. What is the basis for suggesting that a “national asset” should be owned by a US private equity fund that has no track record in aviation and that is registered in Delaware, outside the reach of English law? You may use as examples any other UK “national assets” held by Delaware-registered companies with invisible investors.


  1. Define “national asset”.


  1. What market reasons are be behind the absence of any credible airport operator to come forward as a bidder for the former airport at Manston?


  1. Mini case study – RiverOak’s “plan” for a cargo airport at Manston relies on the aviation experience of Mr Tony Freudmann. Mr Freudmann’s plan failed at Manston between 1999 and 2005. The same Freudmann plan failed under Mr Freudmann’s management at a number of other airports around the globe. Mr Freudmann’s involvement at Lahr airport left workers not being paid their salary. Mr Freudmann’s Manston-Virginia route failed and KCC’s investment in it was lost. Mr Freudmann has overseen a number of other company failures. Mr Freudmann was struck off as a solicitor for helping himself to client funds. You are the team responsible for running Thanet District Council. Faced with the prospect of Mr Freudmann spearheading the reopening of Manston as a cargo airport, should you:
  • Embrace the idea with open arms. What’s a track record of business failure and a striking off between friends?
  • Remember your duty to run the Council in a financially prudent way and reject any business “plan” that has Mr Freudmann as its aviation expert?


  1. It is said that 98% of Thanet wants an airport to reopen at Manston. Please demonstrate how this figure was arrived at. You must use traditional definitions of Thanet (i.e., you may not include support from people who live outside Thanet nor may you include people who live outside England). You must also use traditional definitions of percentages. Please also submit clean workings – i.e. strip out any people who have signed more than one petition or who appear on both a petition and a page. You must also specify exactly how many people responded positively to this question when a doorstep survey was carried out in parts of two Thanet wards. Please provide evidence of the question that was put to Thanet residents.


  1. Describe the role of Messrs Joshi, Soards and Maggs in the campaign to open a cargo airport on the Manston site.


  1. In the 2015 elections:
  • Thanet North was won by the Conservative candidate with a 4% fall in support whereas the UKIP candidate failed;
  • South Thanet was won by the Conservative candidate with a 10% fall in support whereas the UKIP candidate failed as did the only candidate standing 100% on a “save” Manston Airport platform;
  • the Conservatives won nine fewer seats on Thanet District Council than they won in 2011, whereas UKIP increased its Council seats significantly;
  • All the Conservative and UKIP candidates, and the Independent Manston candidate, came out strongly in favour of a CPO to develop cargo airport on the old Manston site.

In what way can this set of results be validly used to suggest that voters for the successful candidate in each case were voting in favour of a cargo hub on the old airport site?

Courtesy of Manston Pickle

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  1. Oh so true & oh so ironically funny. If only we could trash Gale et al, if only, if only….

    • Mike Lockwood

      Dear old Rogeroak strikes again!! On last nights SE News he stated that the road infrastructure surrounding Manston was inadequate to support its use as a Temporary lorry Park.
      If that is the case how then is it adequate to support the commercial transport, which will be of a similar size and nature, seving a giant Cago Hub Airport??????????

  2. dennis franklin

    In order for a Compulsory Purchase Order to succeed to buy Manston airport off the rightful owners, there must be evidence of “Overwhelming Public Interest” , what proof of overwhelming public interest is evident, bearing in mind every aviation company in 15 years went bust there?

  3. I have said right from day one there will be an absolute minimum of jobs created by a cargo hub at Manston. The diversified nature of the alternative proposals can and will bring many more real jobs. Jobs that will grow in number over time.
    Given the more upbeat things such as Dreamland opening with as stated on SE News some 200 jobs and proposals by Weatherspoons to develop a derict Theatre at Ramsgate, more jobs. Who wants an airport with all its attendant noise and pollution, very few jobs and any imagined profite going direct to an unknown company in the USA???
    And yes it is time Gale stepped down he is too old and holds too many blinkered views shrowded in cronyism for the good of Thanet.

  4. Why Oh why did people vote for Gale? I live in Herne Bay and am thoroughly fed up with his support for Manston airport. I do not live in thanet and do not wish to have their huge noisy planes flighing over my head cargo or passenger!

  5. Now we are in November and Roger’s (no)news letter still fills my inbox with sycophantic slobbering for all things airport related at Manston.