Controversial

I regularly post Youtube links onto my Twitter account. These are mostly music videos ; I enjoy music and post anything that takes my fancy. It is a fairly eclectic mix, although I confess that it is heavily skewed towards the nostalgic. I am in my fifties, after all.

Yesterday I put up a link to a Top Of The Pops performance of “I Love You Love Me Love” by Gary Glitter. This attracted comment; not on the music, but regarding the artist. To be honest I had some doubts about posting it – after the comment I decide to delete the tweet and Facebook entry. But, it did get me thinking.

None of us are saints, although I accept that Gary Glitter’s sins scale heights not usually seen by most of us. (To be honest, I know little about his crimes. I rarely read about the foibles of celebrities, and am certainly not keen to examine the details about sex crimes.) Many artistes are flawed, and it is a judgement call as to who is still acceptable.

Being of a nostalgic bent at times I enjoy the old editions of Top Of The Pops shown on BBC4. They are repeats from 1979, my favourite chart year. There are gaps in what is shown because some of the presenters are embroiled in sex abuse scandals (Operation Yewtree). Whilst I can understand why some episodes cannot be shown, it is somewhat frustrating – the musical acts that appeared on shows presented by Jimmy Saville et al are largely innocent.

The same could be said of the Glitter Band, backing Gary on “I Love You Love Me Love”. Their contribution is now tainted by association.

Should you stop listening to tainted acts? Is the music tarnished when the artiste is caught out? What is acceptable, and what is not?

I saw Gary Glitter perform in 1988. He was thoroughly entertaining, and whilst much of his output could be described as naff and camp, it certainly got the Cliffs Pavilion crowd going.

I am as appalled as everyone else by the crimes of people like Glitter. I do not currently own any of his music, and am in no hurry to acquire any. But I am troubled by a blanket ban. Scratch beneath the surface and you will find contentious issues in the pasts of many musical acts. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, and The Rolling Stones – a random quartet where self-censorship could apply.

I deleted the tweet in case it offended anyone. I utterly condemn anyone guilty of sex crimes, but am genuinely puzzled as to where this leaves me as regards to their output.

Round and round

The last few days have seen me become a bit of a minor bureaucrat as I chase around ensuring nomination papers are completed. This is not an onerous task, but the implications behind a mistake verge on catastrophic. This makes for a nervous few days for those of us tasked with running a borough-wide campaign.

Nominations opened yesterday, and in ten days nominations close. At that point we will discover who is standing and where. It is a fairly straightforward question for the three main parties – all (or almost all) seventeen wards will have candidates. It is the presence of the minor parties that is always a little intriguing. How many from the Green party will be standing, what Independents will there be, have UKIP managed to improve their local organisation, is the far-right showing its face anywhere?

The Liberal Democrats have been in the local press talking up their chances. I guess they have to. I think an honest assessment of their prospects leaves little cause for optimism from them, though. I have heard some predict a total whitewash for them – I do not think this very likely. Some are talking of a gain in West Leigh – possible, but dependent on what is happening to Conservative support, and what UKIP is doing, as much as it has anything to do with the Lib Dem campaign.

It is interesting to consider that Lib Dem incumbents, Westborough and Cllr Paul Collins aside, are under pressure from their national coalition partners. It could easily be a case of who is least unpopular in places like Leigh, Blenheim Park, St Laurence and Prittlewell – Clegg or Cameron? It may not be fair that national politics play such a big role in local elections, but it is the way it is.

The Conservatives are set for a disaster on May 22nd. Remember that in every national election they have contested, every single one, they have either won or been second. Third place awaits them, unless a remarkable improvement in fortunes comes their way in the next five weeks, in the European elections. Quite what this means for the local elections in Southend-on-Sea remains to be seen, but you can easily envisage some very nervous Tories who are seeking re-election.

Southend-on-Sea’s Travel Centre – Labour say it is just not good enough

There are long-standing issues with Southend-on-Sea’s Travel Centre.

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane says: “This centre has been beset by problems. The signs are often malfunctioning, and the doors are frequently not working.”

Cllr Anne Jones added: “I am a regular user of the Travel Centre. The toilets are often in an appalling state, and the neglect and squalor do not make it an inviting and appealing experience when visiting. On many occasions I have had to report faults; often the same fault on many occasions.”

“The doors at the northern end have been out of order for a few weeks now.”

With the approaching summer and the promise of many visitors to the town the local Labour Party is hoping that proper long-term repairs to the Travel Centre can be made, rather than the short-term fixes that are evidently preferred by the Conservative Administration.

The building and the toilets are the responsibility of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and it is unfair that staff at other companies (who rent offices and kiosks in the centre) are bearing the brunt of passenger complaints.

It is not acceptable that the Travel Centre’s staff do not have direct dial numbers to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for basic needs, such as cleaning, and have go through the customer service system.

The doors at one end are currently not in use, and Labour is calling for an immediate and lasting fix for these. Labour is also calling for regular inspections of the toilets, as well as guarantees that the signs will continuously work.

Cllr Ware-Lane, Cheryl Nevin, and Cllr Anne Jones

Cllr Ware-Lane, Cheryl Nevin, and Cllr Anne Jones

If you want the EU to change then you will have to look like you really want to be involved

ToriesEUThe Conservatives consistently sit on the peripheries of Europe, thus minimising their input. To have any real prospect of influencing the EU one has to be engaged.

This is the East of England Conservative leaflet for the European elections, which fall on May 22nd (the same day as the local elections). There are currently three Tory MEPs representing our region, a number that is bound to shrink.

The Conservative message seems to play on stranger danger, thus they speak about a referendum, immigration, the single currency, national borders, etc. It is a very negative read, and not one that would leave anyone believing that “only the Conservatives can deliver real change in Europe”.

There are a number of ways that the European Union can be improved, but I think only a positive, encouraging and involved presence will truly succeed. The Tories consistent desire to be neither fully with the project nor completely out has never been satisfactory. They are much like someone stuck in a revolving door – neither truly in or out. This has led to much of their problems over the last twenty years.

There is one sentence in this leaflet that I can endorse:

UKIP are neither credible nor competent and they can’t deliver for Europe.

Unfortunately, until the Conservative Party really commits itself to the EU they will struggle to deliver too.

Cheryl Nevin for Milton

The Labour candidate for Milton ward has answered a few questions:

Full name
Cheryl Jean Nevin

Age
51

Occupation
e-Rostering Administrator in NHS

Where do you live?
Moved to Leigh, Belfairs Ward in 1993

Where were you born?
Born in Liverpool, raised in Rayleigh, moved to Milton Ward 1986.

Have you stood for election before?
Previous Labour candidate in Belfairs Ward

Why are you Labour?
Showed a keen interest in Economics, Government & Politics & Social History at school and college attending Fitzwimarc & SEEVIC. Grew up in a Political family with Christian Socialist influences. Was invited to the House of Commons by the Labour Party Shipping Minister Stanley Clinton-Davis in Jim Callaghan’s Government to see the Merchant Shipping bill go through parliament aged 17, which had been a lifelong campaign of my Father’s, this bill enshrined in law the notion of “Corporate Responsibility” which protects the individual employee against their employers asking them to act in a way which would result in illegal behaviour. Saw my Father use his influence in Parliament to help the Alzheimer’s Disease Society raise it’s profile to attract research funding, in tabling the first Hansard recorded question about this previously unknown disease, after close family members were diagnosed. I have since watched with interest the ripple effect that this question had within the media, medical profession and finally within the Pharmaceutical companies. Joined the Labour Party aged 18 after watching several documentaries about Fascism and Anti-Semetism during the second world war. Joined campaigns for the release of Nelson Mandela. Left my first employment after being told that as a woman I would never be paid the same as a man and felt this was unjust and undervalued my contribution to this company. Found another employer. Became Chair and Secretary of Milton Labour Party in late 1980′s when I successfully ran campaigns to introduce Swings and a Slide in Milton Gardens, introduce residents parking (north of the railway line), campaigned to save the No 6 bus route subsidy which served the hospital from the bottom of Hamlet Court Road. Currently Chair of Labour Party Local Campaign Forum Executive and Vice Chair of the Southend West Constituency Labour Party Executive. Have been active in politics in Southend in all that time.

Why are you standing?
I am a strong voice for Milton who is passionate about injustice and inequality. I believe I can help residents gain more influence for improvements in the ward, whether it be green spaces, housing issues, buses, places for young people to play, education and health inequalities, or speaking up when planning issues impact on their environment.

What are your hobbies?
Music, History, Swimming, Surfing, Sailing, F1 and Tennis.

Are you active in the community?
Active in my local community liaising with council to arrange litter pickers, rubbish bags, gloves and Cory pick up for Burdett Ave residents street clean day, getting trees pruned in Alexandra Road, reporting & getting cleared rubbish and fly tipping, attending neighbourhood police panels to report issues, writing to my local paper about poor pavements. In Belfairs I am active member of my local church, getting involved with projects supporting HARP and Christian Aid.

Contact telephone number
01702 619868

Email address
Cheryl.nevin@southendlabour.com

Twitter id
@CherylNevin

Music with moving pictures

For some reason or another, music videos and DVDs that I have owned across the years started to intrude into my consciousness. Perhaps it was listening to Suggs’s autobiography that did it. Anyway, not being someone to avoid the possibility of creating a list I decided to try and recall the artistes that I have invested in as regards to their visual output.

Fully aware that the biggest stumbling block in any enterprise like this is my indifferent memory. Maybe it is selective, exorcising the truly naff. I have tried to be comprehensive. The first, and most obvious, thing is just how small my list is. I have an extensive music collection. I can only assume that cost and a preference to listening rather than watching has driven my consumption.

The second thing is how devoid of punk and sixties guitar rock it is. No Beatles or Elvis either. This can, in part, be explained by my second-hand and bargain basement habits when it comes to actually opening my wallet. Also to be factored in is that I have had TV recording equipment for close to three decades, and so have taped music shows, MTV, rockumentaries, etc over the years. Waiting to be viewed at the moment are The Kinks and The Rolling Stones, two artistes that I have deigned to avoid spending money on when it comes to moving pictures.

So, here they are: musical acts that at one time or another I owned on video or DVD. This list does not include extended CDs, the trend nowadays to include bonus tracks and footage on an otherwise all-music medium (although it would be interesting to see that list – hmmm, maybe another day!)

Abba
Bananarama
Blondie
Britney Spears
The Jam
Kate Bush
Madness
Madonna
Metallica
Nirvana
Roxette
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Wham!

I almost included The Clash as I did at one point own a copy of Rude Boy, their rather indifferent 1980 film. I also had nagging doubts about Led Zeppelin and the Sex Pistols, as well as the Who – I just could not be sure I actually owned The Song Remains The Same, The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle, Quadrophenia or Tommy.

Nothing by The Stranglers, who remain the only artiste that I actually joined a fan club of.

Planning application in Milton this week

APPLN. NO: 14/00528/PA3COU

Officer: Sophie Glendinning Date Valid. 26 March 2014

Change of use from office (B1a) at rear of 30 Hamlet Court Road to dwelling (C3) (Amended Proposal).

28 – 30 Hamlet Court Road Westcliff-On-Sea Essex

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