An incident at Barringtons

011Out for an evening stroll as I am oft wont to do, and lo – an incident.

“A major multi-agency incident” was how the man-in-charge described it to me. A crime scene, with the southern spur of Sutton Road (that which connects directly with Southchurch Road) taped off.

I saw am apparently incapacitated male lying on the canopy over the entrance to Barringtons.

Two fire engines, three ambulances, and half a dozen police cars; something like thirty to forty emergency services personnel present.

I called Cllr Jones (Barringtons being in Kursaal ward) who hot-footed it from her bed. She got a representative from South Essex Homes to attend – it is they who manage Barringtons.

The incident occurred somewhere between 9 and 9.30pm, and was likely (so I was told last night) to mean the road being inaccessible all night. Although all were tight-lipped, it seemed that a serious incident had taken place.

It certainly attracted a fair amount of attention from passers-by and near-neighbours alike.

Labour: Getting the best deal for Kursaal


Kursaal Voice – Spring 2015


On cloudy expectations

007In 2008 and 2010 the Conservatives won in Kursaal ward. If there had been an election in 2009 it would be safe to assume that they would have got that seat too. There wasn’t, and so their zenith here was to have two out of the three seats available.

Those two victories were attained against the backdrop of an unpopular Gordon Brown Government. The majorities were slim (seven votes in 2008, and 24 votes in 2010). This year the electoral weather is a lot more favourable for Labour, and we are back to two seats in this ward following victories in 2011 and 2012.

Alex Bright is fighting a lost cause here. Of course he will argue that anything could happen, and he would be right. But the Tories will struggle to hold onto all that they are defending this year, and a gain in Kursaal really does look a distance prospect for them.

The latest Kursaal Voice


True colours: a nasty shade of purple

Two meetings tonight; I had Place Scrutiny followed by Full Council. Both were fairly undramatic affairs.

Cllr Davies (UKIP, Kursaal) likes to raise the issue of immigration with alarming frequency. I am fully expecting a question along the lines of “would the portfolio holder agree that tea tasted a lot better when it was produced in the Empire” at some point.

His second question to Full Council (as a councillor on this occasion) was succinct: Can the Portfolio Holder inform me what the impact of EU immigration (in particular those claiming benefit) has been on Council services?

His supplementary question went on to mention care home workers with a poor grasp of English – a bit rich from someone who regularly struggles to utter a comprehensible sentence himself. Cllr Davies may worry about care home residents who are supported by nurses with poor English – when he reaches old age he will have to find a nurse fluent in gibberish.

Our care homes, and hospitals, GP practises, dentist surgeries, etc, have many foreigners working in them. Without them we would see services suffer, and in many cases effectively vanish. I hope he explains this to his Kursaal residents.

Cllr Davies still appears to not understand how the Council works. In his rush to exercise his thinly-veiled bigotry he clearly takes little time to prepare his thoughts, or to consider what is actually being discussed.

For the record the 2011 census showed that 3.1% of Southend’s population were born in EU countries outside of the UK, of which 281 were unemployed. Cllr Davies may believe that there has been a ‘flood‘ of immigrants into the Borough since 2011 (I do not happen to think that is the case) but it most certainly is not the job of the Council to maintain such statistics.

The uncosted pipe dreams of UKIP in Kursaal

KursaalUKIPLawrence Davies has a number of priorities which leave me a little puzzled as to where he imagines the money for these will come from.

He wants professional staff in libraries (these are already in some, so I presume he refers to Southchurch and Westcliff Libraries only as these will soon have no full-time staff) which seems a reasonable aspiration. However, he also wants to reduce parking fees – which will deliver a sizeable hole in the budget. (His wish to review the decision to close the Council’s Care Homes is not without cost either, particularly if it is reversed.) He also wants to focus on debt reduction.

I can only presume that the money will come from cuts elsewhere or a hike in council tax. Either way, he conveniently avoids including his contact details – I guess he does not want the voters in Kursaal to ask these sorts of awkward questions.

He also wishes to extend the tourist season (why the change of font for ‘season’?) – is he suggesting that traders deliberately pack up early? Unless he can change the weather the season is governed by commercial factors.

The reverse of this leaflet is generic; it has the same nonsense that Tino Callaghan had on his.

It does state at the top ‘5 reasons to vote UKIP in St Laurence’ – has Mr Davies forgotten where he is standing? Or did he forget to proof-read this piece of recycled rubbish? He also manages to misspell ‘grammar’ schools!

Wot she ain’t learn’d

LadnerIt is not until you reach the bottom of the leaflet that you see a mention of Jane Ladner’s (Conservative) party. There definitely is a theme developing here. Another is that she is somewhat confused as to what election she is contesting (q.v. Cllr Cox) – she “loves the town she hopes to represent”. Jane will be elected to represent Kursaal ward if she manages to defy electoral gravity, not Southend.

That number she quotes for those who “need a lift” looked suspicious so I tried it – yup, 01701 600460 is an invalid number. She also manages to get the times that the polls open wrong (polling commences at 7am). Jane is a former teacher – she gets a D minus for this pitiful effort.

Among the reasons Jane gives for voting Conservative is education – yet education in the borough is a disaster. Southend schools are often in Special Measures, and we fall below national averages in all areas of educational attainment. She boasts of working as a “Manager within the Department of Children and Learning at Southend Borough Council” – something I would have been inclined to have been quiet about.

Back Charles Willis in May


Kursaal ward intouch – Cllr Louise Burdett Announces Her Retirement

KursaalintouchWhatever happens in May there will be a new face representing Kursaal ward. I think it will be Labour’s Charles Willis and I think he will be beat Tory-hopeful Jane Ladner. Jane is looking to replace Cllr Louise Burdett who announces her retirement. Louise retires because of motherhood.

I suspect that Louise has realised she will lose anyway, and I do not doubt should would deny this. Yet it is undoubtedly very difficult to combine motherhood and local politics, and I think this is regrettable. We have young mothers in my local party who are able to combine this role with political activism, but we have others who find it an impossible task. I do not agree with Louise’s politics, but she should be able to contribute.

Combining being a councillor with working can be challenging. Maybe we need to look at what the role involves, because if we cannot accommodate young parents and workers then we will have a very grey-haired chamber.