Today, Thanet has the highest level of child poverty in the county, and is ranked among the most deprived 10% of all English regions.
When people talk about levelling up, they assume that when it comes to the south-east, everybody is doing fine, said David Stevens, a retired teacher who is now vice-chair of the Save Manston Airport Association.
But believe me, Thanet is not doing fine.
After years of austerity overseen by the governing party to which Mackinlay belongs it looks to many here as if RSP are throwing Thanet a desperately needed lifeline.
Last month Ramsgate football club, sponsored by the airport, held a half-term holiday camp for local children on free school meals providing them with food, career advice and the chance to ride in a flight simulator.
For supporters of the airport, a reopened Manston would not only provide future generations with some economic optimism, but also pride in a region that is too often overlooked in Whitehall and mocked in the national media; one Sunday Times columnist described Thanet as bilious, forlorn, and desolate, and dismissed it as a little bit of throbbing gristle.
Thanet is seen as a bit of a basket-case, a laughing stock on the news, Deb Shotton, vice-chair of the Thanet Green party, told me.
The coastal towns have always attracted some wealth, and theres always been a great deal of impoverishment, and because of that demographic divide its easy to stoke division.
The rubbish that Mackinlay spouts is going to get an audience.
The Guardian requested interviews with Craig Mackinlay and RSP for this story; Mackinlay declined to answer any questions, and RSP did not respond at all.
It would be easy to frame the Manston dispute as one that pits indulgent environmentalists blissfully unaware of Thanets economic plight against ecological vandals, divorced from the reality of our climate emergency.
But the vast majority of airport supporters I spoke to insisted that tackling climate breakdown was a major priority for them, and that they were convinced that technological advances such as the advent of electric planes would enable Manston to reopen without threatening the countrys net zero transition.
The airports owners have made repeated claims about the new hub being environmentally friendly.
At the same time, opponents of Manston are painfully aware of Thanets urgent need for new jobs; they just dont believe that these should come in the form of a carbon-belching project that, according to RSPs own projections, will be responsible for nearly 2% of Britains aviation emissions by 2050.