Southend’s Victoria Gateway, and the “Shared Space”


I pass the Victoria Gateway “shared space” twice a day every weekday, on my way to the train station in the morning, and on my way home in the evening. For those who aren’t familiar, the stretch of road passing Southend Victoria station is on the same level as the pavement and very similarly paved. Not identically, but certainly making it more of a challenge to differentiate.

The obvious flaws in this design are, as I say, obvious; but essentially there is a reason why pedestrians and traffic are usually kept separate.

I wasn’t, then, surprised at the news of the young schoolboy hit by a bus on the shared space earlier this week. I do not know his status, but my heart goes out to him and his family. It is, without any doubt, a horrible tragedy to befall anyone, and having seen the speed at which buses come round that corner, I can unfortuantely picture just how such an accident could happen.

Unfortunately for those who would like to see it torn up and replaced with something adhering a little more to common sense, it cost an absolute bomb. So in these austere that is not likely to happen, however much sense I agree it might make.

That isn’t to say that some measures cannot be taken to improve the safety of this corner. Perhaps instituting a lower speed limit, or some way of demarcating the “shared” part. I don’t know, but it needs to be looked into.

I do know that the shared space was a poor idea when it was implemented, and time has not improved it.

Southend UKIP Civil War: First blood to Waterworth; Moyies is suspended


southend ukip civil war

When in a hole, the proverb goes, stop digging.

Clearly not a proverb known to Southend UKIP, as the civil war which has broken out between their parliamentary candidate Floyd Waterworth and leader of their council group James Moyies, continues to rage on. In the first battle between, the victory seems to have gone to Waterworth’s Roundheads*.

James Moyies, yesterday’s Echo told us, has been suspended by UKIP for six months.

Read on…

Kipperwatch! Mark Reckless and UKIP: more extreme than the BNP


reckless farage and carswell

Tomorrow, on Thursday 20th November, the people of Rochester & Strood will be voting in a by-election caused by the defection from the Conservatives to UKIP, and subsequent resignation.

Asked yesterday at a hustings about what would happen to the exemplar Polish plumber who had lived and worked in the UK for years, this was Mark Reckless’ response:

I think in the near term we’d have to have a transitional period, and I think we should probably allow people who are currently here to have a work permit at least for a fixed period.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a repatriation policy. Immigrants who have made their home in the UK, who work and who contribute to the tax take (and, statistically, immigrants claim less in benefits than do UK citizens) and who have been here for years, would be allowed to stay temporarily, before being forced to move on. Presumably herded onto planes and sent back to Poland, in the mind of Reckless and his leader Farage.

If that sounds familiar and far-right, then that’s because it is. The BNP have long had a similar policy of repatriation, though actually the one voiced by Reckless is more extreme. The BNP at least claimed that theirs would be voluntary:

The BNP will introduce a system of voluntary resettlement whereby immigrants and their descendants are afforded the opportunity to return to their lands of ethnic origin, assisted by generous financial incentives both for individuals and for the countries in question.

So there you go. UKIP are borrowing BNP policies and churning them out more extreme, more right-wing, and even nastier. Next time a Kipper gets all upset at being associated with fascists, remind them of this.

Rochford & Southend East has the worst fuel poverty in Essex


burning money

Being a bit of a stats nerd, I generally find myself immured to shocking revelations from statistics. Occasionally, though, when numbers are bound up with a strong human or social element, I do find myself astounded and even horrified.

A few months back, for example, when I ran the numbers on police cuts in Essex and discovered the dizzying numbers of officers, PCSOs and backroom staff which had been lost to budget cuts.

This dwarfs that, though.

With thanks to Julian Ware-Lane for crunching the numbers, Rochford & Southend East (the constituency in which I live) is ranked worst in the whole of Essex for fuel poverty.

Read on…

Garston’s Alive!


jonathan garston leaflet

Having been knocking on quite a number of doors in Milton ward, Southend, over the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of people recognise Labour Councillors Julian Ware-Lane and Cheryl Nevin. Indeed, there seems hardly a person who doesn’t know Julian.

Very few, though, seem to have seen or heard from Cllr Jonathan Garston.

As the last Tory left in Milton, Jonathan is something of an endangered species. Indeed, most of the time you wouldn’t know he was there. He has reappeared, now, with a decidedly glossy leaflet. At least it isn’t motivated by an election he has to fight being six months away.

Oh…

Read on…

Edge of Tomorrow – A Review


edge of tomorrow

I’m not much of a fan when it comes to Tom Cruise. It’s not just the Scientology, but for a long while he has been doing the sort of mindless glossy action films which don’t much appeal to me. So my expectations for another Tom Cruise SF action film weren’t actually that high.

It was, though, sold to me as a cross between two films that I love: Groundhog Day and Starship Troopers. The latter I’ve always liked as a send-up of over-the-top military SF — and, indeed, of its own source material. Groundhog Day is just a simple idea, effectively executed.

So can Edge of Tomorrow change my mind on Tom Cruise films?

Read on…

Kipperwatch! Where was the other absentee Southend UKIP councillor?


lawrence davies ukip

In all the excitement of a kipper-on-kipper conflict in Southend, it’s easy to overlook that Southend UKIP’s answer to Robert E. Lee, parliamentary candidate Floyd Waterworth, wasn’t the only UKIP councillor to miss a key vote at the recent council meeting.

The change from cabinet to committee system, a UKIP local election pledge, was lost by two votes. And missing were UKIP’s Cllr Waterworth, and councillor for Kursaal ward Lawrence Davies.

Lord knows what Waterworth’s reason for missing the meeting was — though judging from his letters in the Echo, he seems to have no problem breaking promises to voters — but I do have some idea of where Davies was.

I am always loathe to rely solely on rumour, but I do not rule out reporting it especially when I hear the same thing from different sources. Here, my little birds tell me that Cllr Davies was unable to attend the full council meeting and honour his election promises because…he was on holiday.

I wonder if Kursaal residents feel particularly well-served by a UKIP councillor who can’t even attend meetings to represent them?

04 “A Feast of Friends” (Constantine season 1) [SPOILERS]


constantine title

The name of this week’s episode set off alarm bells in my head as soon as I read it. For anyone who hasn’t read the comics, the first storyline features a hunger demon on a rampage…

Given how closely the series has cleaved to the feel and character design of the comics, I have been keeping an eye out for developments like this. Introducing Zed as the female lead was a big red flag that they intended to head down the same — or similar — narrative path as the source material.

So what would “A Feast of Friends” be a reference to, then?

Read on…

Kipperwatch! UKIP thugs trash Labour street stall in Corringham


corringham labour street stall trashed
The image above shows the state of a Labour-run NHS street stall in Corringham, run today by Labour candidate for South Basildon & East Thurrock Mike Le Surf, after a group of thugs identifying themselves as from UKIP attacked it.

The group apparently came out of nowhere, shouted insults, trashed the stall, and disgracefully kicked an elderly woman on a mobility scooter. Interestingly, they were reportedly recording the whole thing; a classic BNP tactic from their heyday.

I have always thought that the Kippers who claim that they exclude far-right BNP/National Front/etc elements protest too much. Certainly there should be no place in modern politics for this sort of base, violent intimidation and thuggery.

Today South Basildon & East Thurrock UKIP have utterly disgraced themselves, and given voters another reason to steer well clear.

UPDATE: The chairman of Eastern Region UKIP has apparently disavowed this, and claimed that he:

…cannot believe they were representing UKIP, we do not promote this kind of attitude.

I am 100 per cent sure it has nothing to do with our party members – who have had very good discipline through very tough circumstances themselves.

100% sure is a bold claim. For myself, I can’t see how anyone can be certain of this. It seems unlikely that it’s a frame job, as some kippers seem to want it to be, and I struggle with the idea that this is not connected to UKIP in some way. I just don’t see who would try to frame UKIP, and why.