Before they go into Wetherspoons on Preston Street, Faversham Eye readers should recall the dreadful behaviour of Tim Marten, the company’s founder and chairman during the coronavirus pandemic. First of all, he objected to the closure of pubs saying they did not help spread coronavirus, a claim not shared by any medical expert anywhere in the world. As soon as closure was announced, he then stripped the staff of bonuses they had already earned and laid off all 42,000 at short notice, refusing to support them until the government furlough scheme kicked in. He claimed that Wetherspoons could not afford to pay them. This was a lie. The company weekly wage bill was £12 million a week, an average £285 a week per employee. At the end of the previous year, Wetherspoons had operating profits of £132 million and had £43 million in cash, sitting in the bank. But rather than be patient and help soften the blow, as many other companies did, he told them to go and get a job in Tesco. According to the Sunday Times, Tim Marten has a net worth of £448 million.
Former Faversham councillor, Andrew “Irritable” Bowels has once again pressed the racist button, this time Tweeting in support of a bunch of football hooligans complaining about the British team taking the knee and supporting Black Lives Matter. With no evidence whatsoever, he sent a Tweet implying the players were not “given any choice.” He clearly has not seen England play football in recent years as half the team have come from black or mixed-race families. Some of the Twitter accounts he supported have now been suspended. They were from the same group who, fuelled with drugs and alcohol, marched on Whitehall, picked fights with the police and then showed their patriotic fervour for all things English by giving Nazi salutes. Had they done this during World War Two, they would either have been shot or hanged as traitors. One of them was photographed urinating next to the memorial dedicated to Keith Palmer, the police officer who was stabbed to death during the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack in 2017. He was sentenced to two weeks prison.
Last year, Bowels was briefly suspended from the Conservative Party for re-tweeting an image of far-right leader Tommy Robinson, describing him as “a patriot.” Robinson was subsequently given nine months prison time for contempt of court.
As always, you judge a man by the company he keeps, whether that is everyday life or online.
With an annual turnover of £11 million the trustees of Leeds Castle are moaning about now having a hole in their balance sheet, following the COVID-19 shutdown. As one of its greatest fans, Helen Whately MP will no doubt already have sent them a cheque for £553 to help them out in their hour of need.
Readers of the Faversham Eye will recall that in 2017 she spoke out against the development of a local business park in front of the castle as it would spoil the approach to what she described as “one of our greatest assets.”
Last year, the charity treated her and her millionaire husband to a slap-up dinner where the couple enjoyed the “intimate look and feel” in the Castle View Restaurant, with its “unrivalled views of the Castle lit at night.” The bill came to £258. As starters were around £8 and main courses cost around £20, the Faversham Eye can only assume the wine list took a bit of a heroic spanking.
After dinner, the couple retired to one of the castle’s rooms which cost a further £295, though this did include breakfast, bringing the bill to £553.
As they say, every little helps.
In October 2019 Faversham Post Office was effectively privatised and is now operated by ZCO Ltd. Staffing has been cut, and their conditions of employment have been worsened. The Post Office claims to be open until 17:15, but commonly the doors are closed well before 17:15. Customers are told to wait and that they will be served if this can be done by 17:15. When they are not served confrontations arise between angry customers and distressed staff.
This confrontation between customers and staff is ugly, but please remember that the denial of service is not the fault of the staff. It is the consequence of profit maximising and uncaring management by ZCO. The Victorians understood that the Post Office should be a public service vital to the functioning of our society. In October any notion of service was removed. The staff in the Post Office do the best they can; the situation is worse for them than it is for us as customers. Only a private sector monopoly would lockout customers in this way
The Faversham Eye will be taking up the issue – if you work there or are a customer, please contact us. More in the next edition.