On Wednesday, the Development Control Committee (Planning committee, to you and me -Ed) met as it always does, at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, to decide on the planning applications before it.
Well, most of it did. One of the councillors sitting on the committee was a little late. Nearly three hours late, in fact. Which councillor could this have been?
Surely it couldn’t have been the councillor who missed the council’s budget-setting meeting, because he was gallivanting off on holiday? The councillor who has only just been appointed to the Development Control committee, replacing the parliamentary candidate that his party group kicked out? The councillor who, if rumour is to be believed, fancies himself as his party’s next leader in Southend?
You might very well think so, but I couldn’t possibly comment…
I don’t think it would be considered election-time fluff for me to make the claim that in Blenheim Park ward, only myself and James Courtenay are actually making a proper effort at campaigning. Lib Dem, UKIP and Green; candidates from each are standing in the ward. But aside from some generally unimpressive literature, nobody I’ve spoken to in the ward has heard from yellow, green or purple.
So with three weeks left to go, it‘s fairly apparent who is actually working for Blenheim Park.
James’ latest leaflet is going out now — see above, and he kindly donated a copy to me for the purposes of this blog (A word to the wise: my little birds will bring me copies of leaflets. At least the donated ones are in good nick -Ed)
So having selected a candidate very late in the game, UKIP have finally managed to get a leaflet out in Blenheim Park.
Their candidate, a Mr Paul Lloyd, may seem familiar to residents of Eastwood Park ward, given that he was their candidate there last year. Given that he came within 200 votes of taking a previously safe Tory ward, one wonders why he didn’t stick it out there.
Nonetheless, onto my patch he wanders, with his A5 leaflets across at least part of ward. A ward which UKIP have been steadfastly ignoring for the entire past year, whilst I’ve been working hard since I was selected.
(I know what you’re thinking; “Has he put out six leaflets, or only five?” To tell you the truth, in all of this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being these are Southend Labour Party leaflets, the best written leaflets in the borough and would blow your majority clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well do ya, punk? -Ed)
There are not enough houses.
I’ve tried to start this blog ten times or more, but it all comes back to that. There are not enough houses. Everyone blames someone different for it, everyone has a different solution to it, but it all comes back to the same thing: there are not enough houses.
You don’t have to look far to find the effects. Rents are sky-high. House prices are higher still. 4.9 million families cannot afford one or the other and need help to house themselves. There isn’t even close to enough social housing to provide for them, so the state foots a housing benefit bill of nearly £17 billion a year to private landlords, many of whose properties are in an embarrassing state of disrepair.
For many, many of my generation, buying a home of their own is a distant pipe dream, or an impossibility.
As I said, everyone has their different thoughts on the causes and solutions. My own are that the myth that this country is overcrowded has made us scared to build, and the solution is a housebuilding program the likes of which would make the post-war boom seem paltry.
One solution which I haven’t heard mooted before is to sell off what little social housing we have. And yet that’s the one which the Conservative manifesto is putting forward.
Not to go all hipster on you, but it wasn’t that long ago that I could mention A Song of Ice and Fire, and would be still be greeted by a room of blank expressions. That is still, to a degree, true, but if I mention Game of Thrones almost everyone has a theory and opinion.
It’s not, no matter what anyone tells you, a bad thing. Game of Thrones has thoroughly earned its popularity, by being incredibly bold for a mainstream TV show. It has kicked (…and stabbed. And shagged -Ed) its way into common cultural awareness.
My praise for it isn’t unfettered. I think that season three, for instance, dropped the ball on the story, turning into a plodding, dull lead up to the Red Wedding. If nothing else, Game of Thrones needs an urgent direction to its story, rather thank just to kill time.
So there we go. Thirteen episodes of 12 Monkeys been and gone. A whole new SF series, passing its infancy by in — what feels like — the blink of an eye.
When this started, readers will recall that I was rather sceptical of whether adapting one of the best time-travel themed films…well, ever, a) could be done, and b) was a good idea. I freely admit that I was wrong.
What we’ve ended up with is a darkly innovative series, confident in its bizarre but entertaining twists. I have been gripped since the start, and am a definite aconvert. And thankfully, it has already been renewed for a second series.
So will it end on a high note, or a bum note?