Yakety yak (trash)

Cllrs Ware-Lane and Nevin, and yet more trash

Cllrs Ware-Lane and Nevin, and yet more trash

There are some places where you just know that a visit will result in a conversation with Council officers. One such is the Ceylon Road car park.

One small victory I think I can claim some credit for is that it is not as dangerous as it used to be. I wonder through quite safely at all times of day. It cannot be said, though, that it is a place that is much cleaner, despite the best efforts of the two Labour councillors for Milton ward. It does occasionally look lovely and clean, just after a spate of emails from Cllr Nevin and myself. This is followed in pretty short order with the next batch of trash to festoon both the car park and the walkways that lead from it. To be frank, it is often quite disgusting. Still, we shall never surrender to stupid and irresponsible actions.

This car park is not the only place within the ward where there are regular litter issues, and I have to wonder at the mindset of some people, and it is clear that much of this must be down to regular repeat offenders. There are some, it seems, who just view the world as one big trash can.

Recently I went to a CAST meeting. There is an event on Thursday (8th October) where I will be one of the speakers talking about the refugee crisis in the Middle East.

Also had an Essex Fire Authority meeting this week where the independent cultural review was discussed. It is no exaggeration to say that this was a very damning report.

And to my doorstep engagement, the most enjoyable aspect of politics as far as I am concerned. Jeremy Corbyn came up twice, once favourably, once not so – so honours even. I have to say that I am hearing reports that suggest his impact is not quite so even elsewhere. Ed Miliband also came up in conversation, and I find that those who dislike Labour and its brand of democratic socialism/social democracy will find any reason to be critical.

I am seeking re-selection this year in Milton ward, and next Saturday is decision day. I welcome challengers, no-one should be immune from the democratic process. I hope I have done enough over the last three and a half years to merit being allowed another go, although I am hearing rumours of a far-left attempt to have me de-selected – an irony for this Marxist brought-up former Communist who apparently, according to some, does not belong in the Labour Party. I guess my championing the homeless and migrants is just too right-wing for some!

Syrian Refugee Resettlement Councillor Briefing – 17.09.15

Southend-on-Sea’s current position:

We have drafted a response to the LGA putting forward an initial figure of 10 refugees in total with a preference for families.

This is based on the fact that details of the resettlement scheme including the funding element are yet to be confirmed. Also we are already working with the Home Office on the expansion of the Asylum Dispersal scheme and the impact of that on local services is yet to be seen.

In the response we have raised a number of questions about the process and the funding and have stated that once more information is released about the scheme we will reassess the numbers we would be able to support.

All the regional responses are being compiled nationally by the LGA.

(Not my words!)

CAST one world film festival


July 2015 crime figures

Here are the latest crime figures for some of the communities in Essex. Those in Southend-on-Sea are highlighted in red. Neighbouring local authorities are shown in green.

Once again, the area that I represent, which falls within Southend Central, comes out on top; or perhaps that is bottom. The aspiration is to have little crime – as it is Kursaal, Milton and Victoria wards see more crime that any other area in Essex.

I live in Blenheim, which also rides high (low) in this chart.

The communities (areas) are not equal sized, or necessarily similar. Nonetheless, this list does show the challenges we face.

I last wrote about local crime figures here.

850 Southend Central
396 Clacton Central
334 Harlow Central
319 Canvey
311 Colchester Town
307 Blenheim
271 S W Thurrock
271 Clacton West
246 Southchurch
238 Brentwood North
236 Harlow West
232 St Andrews St Annes
230 St Martins
227 Clacton East
215 Leigh
205 Harbour Berechurch
196 Highwoods Mile End & St. Johns
195 Marconi
189 Tilbury
185 Fryerns
182 Shoebury
177 Lee Chapel North
175 Grays South
173 Waltham Abbey
165 Harlow North
163 Loughton
157 Brentwood Town Centre
155 Harwich
153 Epping Town
151 Nethermayne
148 Rayleigh
134 Ockendon
131 Rochford
130 Eastwood
130 Springfield
126 Laindon Park
110 Vange
93 Corringham West
84 Grays Central
82 Hadleigh
78 Thundersley
74 Hockley
72 Benfleet
69 Billericay East
58 East Tilbury
52 Billericay West
40 Chelmsford Town
29 Corringham East
27 Wakering
26 Hullbridge
21 Ashingdon & Canewdon
5 Thorpe Le Soken

It is a good job that we are not facing police cuts …. oh, hang on ….

Victoria Voice Summer 2015


Tom and Jerry demonstrate the need for AWS

Perhaps one lesson learnt from the recent leadership elections is that without positive discrimination women have a difficult task in attaining senior positions within the Labour Party. Both leader and deputy are white middle-aged males, and whilst this demographic deserves representation as much as any, it does rather continue a long-line of such types.

Two of the four leadership contenders were women, and they came third and fourth. Three of the five deputy leadership contenders were female; here at least second, third and fourth spot were their lot.

Labour has never had a female leader, although both Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman (twice) have temporarily held that position. They, of course, remain the only two female deputies (from a list of seventeen who have held that position).

Eighteen leaders of the party, eighteen men.

It has been noted that the really big jobs in the shadow cabinet have gone to men, although what constitutes the big roles is a subject of some discussion. Nonetheless, the rules that apply to constituency parties and local authority groups do not seem to apply at the top of the party. This is not a phenomena of the Corbyn leadership – it was ever thus.

We, in CLPs up and down the land, struggle with All Women Shortlists and rules that mean half of our winnable seats must have women candidates, half of our executive committees must have women officers – rules that whilst sometimes frustrating I do go along with. We even have questions on our assessment forms which have to be completed if we wish to be candidates in local elections that specifically ask what we have done to ensure gender equality (“Describe how you have promoted equality of opportunity within the council – in employment and service delivery, and state how you have assisted with the recruitment of representative councillors for the party”, for example). It is galling to find that whilst we, locally, go through all sorts of hoops to encourage women into senior positions it seemingly is not something that troubles those in Parliament.

I accept the argument about choosing who is best for the job, but note that this argument is not used in the grassroots of our movement. The leadership election shows just how innately conservative (note the small C) party members are, opting again to ignore women.

Perhaps we ought to consider a rule alternating gender for the most senior roles – Jeremy this time, a women when his time is up. For a party of fairness to have never has a woman leader seems almost incredible; we really should have had nine woman leaders by now. Whilst women are contending for senior positions, there is no sign that they are about to break through. Like it or not, I suspect that without positive steps to ensure a woman leader in the near future we may be in for a long wait.

St Luke’s Voice Summer 2015



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