Friday, 9 November 2012

DFL-ephant in the Room

Lisa Richards, owner of local restaurant Great British Pizza, has stirred up a hornet’s nest by writing an article about the regeneration of Margate. Described as a 'love letter to Margate', the article appears to perpetuate some negative and rather patronising stereotypes about local people – something which, let's be honest, I'm sure we've all been guilty of at some point – and the resulting public backlash has gone viral.

I feel very bad for Lisa. Even though she’s apologised, she’s rapidly become a victim of cyber bullying and I don’t think she deserves such vitriol. I once emailed her asking for an interview about how her use of social media had helped promote her business and she was kind enough to respond. Regrettably, with this incident, it seems like her Midas touch has backfired somewhat!

However, Lisa’s article does confirm what some locals have feared about DFLs for years - that they regard local people as 'lowlifes' and that before rich Londoners came to save the day our town was a 'no-go area, full of drunks waiting for their benefit cheques to clear.' There's a word for that, and it's 'snobbery', sadly. I doubt whether Lisa meant it to come across like that, but it does make Margate seem like it's nothing more than a slum tourist destination for the 'well-heeled'.

However, I do hope Lisa's business survives this media furore. Great British Pizza is an asset to the town, so let's hope that the phrase 'no publicity is bad publicity' holds true! I am yet to visit Lisa's restaurant and this incident certainly won’t put me off doing so. However, I’ll probably avoid asking for a can of Stella at the bar!

Image © John Mallon via Flickr and licensed for reuse. The inclusion of this image is not an endorsement of this post.


  1. Luke, Thanet has its issues, and Lisa points them out perfectly. She also points out how it's going to succeed by bringing in outside investment and ideas. Insular businesses, towns, countries lag behind if they don't embrace change and ideas from elsewhere.

    Ignoring drug use, as the police has, creating benefits ghettos, killing the towns with Westwood cross, closing dreamland/ - all this has happened at the hands of local investors, not dfls.

    If you think was Lisa is saying is snobbery, how would you categorise the destruction of three vibrant seaside towns in a generation by regional and local government, local businessman and local people?

  2. I found the article highly amusing (and mostly accurate) myself, even as someone who loves Thanet and most of it's people. However I won't be using the shop, as I don't like pizza!

  3. She's a snob.
    If the DFL's don't like it here then they should do one.

  4. That's the thing, the DFL's DO like it here, it's most of the locals that don't!

  5. I can certainly agree with the comment regarding bigoted cab drivers! Why don't they become TDC Tory councillors instead? ; )

  6. Mountain out of a molehill as usual being used by Cllr Ian (Self Serving) Driver to use to elevate his standing within the local sphere!

    Don't attack Lisa for what she says, attack the elements she is talking of, fix them, do the job you were elected to do Cllr Driver, rather than causing even more harm by running to the press with your dilusions pertaining to who you are going to get this company boycotted and possibly closed down!

    Clown isn't strong enough in my opinion!

  7. Have you actually seen this 'restaurant'?
    Chairs that appear to have been rescued from a skip. Coffee that is even more expensive than Turner's Cafe and is served in paper cups! We took one look through the grubby window and guess what? It looks as if it has been designed by one of the low-life inhabitants that Lisa loathes. London chic? Aw! C'mon! Get over yourself and get real ... then, welcome to Margate. [I am an ex London low-life who CHOSE to come to Margate/Cliftonville in 1972 and have enjoyed it since - including a two year stint as a minicab driver when I was between consultancy assignments!
    Being a successful entrepreneur means never having to say 'sorry'.

  8. And now who sounds like a snob Col ? We lve in area of zero deprivation if you believe the comments coming from certain quarters! Rather than attacking the messenger we should be posting the message in extra large bold font at both local and national politicos and demanding that they sort the situation out! We should be thanking Lisa for having the guts to do a "warts and all" exposé of Margate life and not be running off to the press and making matters worse. If Driver had thought more about Margate/Thanet and less about getting his face in the news he could have seen the article for what it was and not an out and out attack piece done by the national press... Pieces that he does nothing about when they come from the Daily Maul or other tabloid rags!

  9. Margate's newer DFL best draw lessons from what happened in nearby Whitstable when that town was overun by arrogant flashy DFLs and angered the local people to the point of violence and destrution of property. Tread carefully, Margate does not want to be an extention of London surely not. Nor a divided community of the showy haves and looked down upon have nots.

  10. If margate doesn't want to become an extension of London, how do you think it's past glories were reached? The Thanet coast has always been a draw from those in the big smoke, and it's future prosperity relies on it.

    While margate h been left to its own devices over the past 20 years, it hasn't exactly flourished has it?

    If the locals rebel against newcomers, then it's obvious who the problems with, isnt it?

    Perhaps you'd like some more released prisoners or looked after children?

  11. I think Lisa's article well wriiten and spot on. Go into Morrisons and you get ferral mothers screaming at their offspring effing and blinding at them its been the same since the centre was built so hardlly a new DFL phenonomen. Driver should be doing something about getting investors like Lisa into Thanet but as usual he has submited to his vanity and got his face on TV. If people think he represents Thanet they will stay away,