28th December was a lovely day and I decided to have a walk around Ramsgate harbour. The south-east has been hit with a lot of unusually strong storms this Christmas but on this day the weather was quite pleasant!
Ever since I was a boy I have enjoyed the atmosphere around the harbour. In those days it was much busier though, with a constant bustle of fishing boats queuing to unload their catches and pleasure craft moving around.
I remember one magical night, sitting on the edge of a platform in the outer harbour at about midnight to watch a crew unload their catch. A whole shoal of flatfish rose from the harbour floor to circle their boat under the yellow cast of the artificial lighting; it was an almost surreal moment.
Today the fishing fleet is very depleted but the harbour is getting plenty of use by Fisheries, Pilots, Lifeboat and assorted survey vessels. It is still a busy place for pleasure craft but somehow they don’t seem as glamorous as they did when I was growing up.
Ramsgate was in many respects a tough town to grow up in. Over the years, when compared to most of the rest of the south-east region, it seems to have become even more deprived and degraded. This leads (in part) to a fierce outlook on life and very direct, harshly strong views being held. There can be strong prejudices and long memories over past political follies.
I noticed this freshly painted graffiti while walking towards Port Ramsgate. It seems that even ten years later, the February 2003 “dodgy dossier” used by the Blair government to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq is still casting a long shadow over the Labour Party’s credibility.