Shoebury News

ShoeburyNewsThere is going to be quite a tussle in Shoeburyness ward. Labour are working hard, the Conservatives fancy their chances, and the defending member of the Independent Group won’t go without a fight.

The first thing you notice about Anne Chalk’s leaflet is that there is no mention of her fellow Independent Group ward councillors, and only a passing reference to the Joint Administration that she is part of. Anne clearly believes her best chance of remaining a councillor lie with her showing true independence.

I think it has been a broadly successful year for the Joint Administration, although I know that Anne has had her gripes. I confess to be a little puzzled by her strategy – we will not have to wait long to see whether it is successful.

This leaflet has no imprint.

Labour’s plan to tackle tax avoidance

Labour is setting out the measures it will take to tackle tax avoidance in the first months of a Labour Government.

With campaigners and NGOs backing calls for a “Tax Dodging Bill”, Labour’s first Finance Bill will act to tackle tax avoidance. Labour will set out the measures in an Opposition Day Debate on Wednesday 11th February.

Labour’s motion also notes that just one out of 1,100 people who have avoided or evaded tax have been prosecuted following the revelations of malpractice at HSBC bank, which were first given to the government in May 2010.

It also calls upon Lord Green and the Prime Minister to make a full statement about his role at HSBC and his appointment as a Minister in 2011.

Labour will act in our first Finance Bill to:

  • Introduce penalties for those who are caught by the General Anti-Abuse Rule
  • Close loopholes used by hedge funds to avoid stamp duty
  • Close loopholes like the Eurobonds loophole which allow some large companies to move profits out of the UK and avoid Corporation Tax
  • Stop umbrella companies exploiting tax reliefs
  • Scrapping the “Shares for Rights” scheme, which the OBR has warned could enable avoidance and cost £1bn and is administered by HMRC, and so ensure HMRC can better focus on tackling tax avoidance
  • Tackle disguised self-employment by introducing strict deeming criteria
  • Tackle the use of dormant companies to avoid tax by requiring them to report more frequently

Labour’s measures to tackle tax avoidance will also include:

  • Ensuring stronger independent scrutiny of the tax system, including reliefs, and the government’s efforts to tackle tax avoidance
  • Forcing the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to produce publicly available registries of beneficial ownership
  • Making country-by-country reporting information publicly available
  • Ensuring developing countries are properly engaged in the drawing up of global tax rules

Another year in books

Here is what I have tackled in 2014. I guess it is an odd assortment, which rather mirrors my undisciplined approach to reading.

Highlight? I would plump for The Second World War by Antony Beevor, with honourable mentions for A Greedy Man in a Hungry World and The God Delusion.

Alexander McCall Smith The Sunday Philosophy Club
Alistair Cooke Letter From America Collection
Ann Widdecombe Strictly Ann : The Autobiography
Antony Beevor The Second World War
Beverly Donofrio Riding in Cars with Boys : Confessions of a bad girl who makes good
Billy Connolly Billy Connolly’s Route 66
David Attenborough Quest under Capricorn
Guy Walters The Real Great Escape
Helen Simonson Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Jay Rayner A Greedy Man in a Hungry World
Kate McCann Madeleine
Laurence Shames Welcome to Paradise
M. C. Beaton Agatha Raisin and the Fairies Of Fryfam
Mary Soames A Daughter’s Tale : The memoir of Winston and Clementine Churchill’s youngest child
Peter Moore Damn His Blood
Peter Robinson Before the Poison
Pip Grainger Alone
R. H. Tawney Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
Richard Dawkins The God Delusion
Robert Dimery (general editor) 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die
Robert Sellers An A-Z of Hellraisers : A Compendium of Outrageous Insobriety
Robert Service Lenin : A Biography
Robert Wilson Astronomy through the ages : The story of the human attempt to understand the Universe
Ruth Rendell The Monster In The Box
Stephen Fry Fry’s English Delight Series 3
Suggs That Close
Susan Ottaway Sisters, Secrets and Sacrifice

Together we must act

careandsupportallianceSome numbers for Southend West:

9304 constituents are providing unpaid care

22613 constituents are over 60

9487 households are living with at least one family member who has a long term illness or disability

15829 constituents have a condition that limits their activity in some way

(Numbers from

The Care & Support Alliance represents over 75 of Britain’s leading charities campaigning alongside the millions of older people, disabled people and their carers who deserve decent care.

Trading Standards Institute

Ella Vine (board member), Mike Le-Surf (Labour Candidate, South Basildon and East Thurrock), Melissa Dring (Policy Officer), Julian Ware-Lane (Labour Candiadte, Southend West)

Ella Vine (board member), Mile Le-Surf (Labour Candidate, South Basildon and East Thurrock), Melissa Dring (Policy Officer), Julian Ware-Lane (Labour Candiadte, Southend West)

I recently spoke with the Policy Officer for the Trading Standards Institute. Amongst the things that the TSI is interested in is the subject of food, product and toy safety. They are a useful friend when it comes to consumer protection, and the protection of the elderly and vulnerable from scams and doorstep nuisance.

In the mail this morning


My fave Hitchcock films

One of last night’s dinner party conversion was the topic of everybody’s top three Alfred Hitchcock films. Being largely housebound at the moment I have been watching a few recently, and so some are very fresh to my memory. So, here is a top five.

1, The 39 Steps

For a long time my favourite film of all time. It is a tremendous story (loosely based on John Buchan’s novel) and in Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll has a superb pairing. The supporting cast are wonderful, and as a period piece alone it is a wonderful peak into the world as it was in 1939 (autogyro and all). I guess those not used to black and white and primitive filming techniques may find it a chore, but I think this proves that if you have a good story and great actors you do not need fancy special effects. Favourite scene? Possibly the one where Hannay and Pamela are handcuffed in a guesthouse.

2, Psycho

Still scary more than fifty years after it was made. Made on a shoestring budget, this is a fine example of a great plot and fine performances. The shower scene must rank amongst the greatest in cinematographic history – and those violins must rival the Jaws music as being the most simple yet effective accompaniment of all time. Anthony Perkins is really sinister, and Janet Leigh is great. Favourite scene? The shower scene is exceptional – and it manages to convey what is going on without being graphic.

3, Spellbound

This is the one I watched most recently, and I rate it so highly just because Ingrid Bergman is so entrancing. Gregory Peck is fine too, portraying someone who impersonates the new head of an asylum, who goes on to be convicted for the murder of the person being impersonated. The story does not end there, though, and I shan’t spoil the denouement for those who have yet to see it. Best scene? I am tempted to say every one featuring Ms Bergman, but I will opt for the Salvador Dali dream sequence instead.

4, North by Northwest

I just love Cary Grant’s acting, and this amongst the finest of his performances. The famous crop-duster scene is wonderful staged – I like the unrushed way it is introduced. I cannot recall another film that features Mount Rushmore – but this is as likely owing to a combination of poor memory and not having watched enough movies. This film captures the feeling of the fifties ending and the sixties beginning and as a period piece alone it is worth watching.

5, Rear Window

Having got to number five I realise that there are a number of very good films I have omitted. But Rear Windows is an intriguing idea – a murder uncovered by someone confined by a broken leg to breaking the monotony of his existence by spying on his neighbours. Best scene? Grace Kelly breaking into one of the neighbouring flats – and getting caught in the act. It is a wonderfully claustrophobic film whose story-telling entrances the whole way through.


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