Southend Energy Company: a Labour Southend is a greener Southend


fuel poverty

One of the things which makes all the hard work in local politics worthwhile, which justifies all the bargaining, all the trivial arguments, is when you can actually achieve something for the people you’re fighting for. And Southend Energy Company is one of those times.

The energy company launched yesterday, offering low-end of market rates to Southend residents. Not only that, but the tariffs are 33% green energy as standard, with a 100% green energy tariff available. Have a look and see if it could cut your energy costs.

With climate change an ever-present threat to our future, measures like this are becoming more and more essential. And with the sharp end of fuel poverty particularly potent in Southend, this will make a real difference in people’s lives.

This is a measure from the joint administration, which would not have happened without Labour pushing for it. This is the difference Labour is making, and will continue to make, for the people of Southend.

A Labour Southend is a greener Southend. A Labour Southend is a better Southend.

What on earth happened in Leigh?


old leigh

“What on earth happened in Leigh?”

That is the question that, on 8th May, everyone was asking. The Lib Dems, the Tories, and the residents of Leigh woke up to find that for the first time in I-don’t-want-to-look-up-how-long they had elected a Tory councillor. (Woke up isn’t exactly right — it was around lunchtime that the result was announced -Ed)

Indeed, the Lib Dem collapse has been pretty much nationwide, so on one level it can’t be surprising that the only council seat that the party were defending at this round of local elections was at risk. I had heard reliable reports earlier in the campaign that they had pulled everyone out of everywhere else in order to try and hold it — the fact that even that wasn’t enough tells a sad story of yellow fortunes.

Read on…

07 “The Gift” (Game of Thrones season 5) [SPOILERS]


game of thrones season 5

How many Game of Thrones viewers do you reckon have also read the books? A third? Fewer?

I don’t mean, how many started watching the series, picked up a copy of A Game of Thrones, and are presently marooned midway through A Clash of Kings, whilst the series picks over the bones of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.

The truth is that, however good the books are (And they are very good -Ed) the fact that they tend towards the sprawling epic side of fantasy fiction (And they are epically sprawling -Ed) will always make a five-series-and-counting TV series more accessible to 90% of people. That’s a criticism of neither, but a fact of life.

The fact is also that the distance between the books and the show is growing with each season. There are several storylines in the TV series which do not, directly, stem from the books. Others are being truncated, abbreviated, accelerated, to make up for the fact that whilst George R.R. Martin can take as long as he bloody well likes to finish his story, TV execs are a lot less patient.

So if there seems to be a lot going on in Thrones, spare a thought for those still labour through the books (And waiting for the next one to be published, which to be honest takes the bulk of the time -Ed).

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

In the aftermath of a failed Southend Conservative coup


Southend Tories we don't have a clue small

Yesterday I blogged the list of the Conservative shadow cabinet on Southend Borough Council, and left it deliberately without comment.

I spent last year rather confused as to who was in the shadow cabinet, and what they were doing (Bugger all being the standard response to that particular question -Ed). So this year I made a special effort to find out who these people were, and the result was posted up for the whole world to see.

Now, there are some observations to be made about the names on that list. There are more pertinent observations, perhaps, to be made about the names which aren’t on that list. For one thing, after he managed to get re-elected, poor Derek Jarvis is out on his ear. More perplexing, though, is that having gotten the heavyweight they sorely needed back on the Tory benches in the form of Tony Cox, he’s been given…err, diddley squat.

This, I suspect, is the aftermath of an attempted coup at the top of the Conservative Party in Southend.

Read on…

The Tory shadow cabinet on Southend Borough Council


southend civic centre

Tory Ward Brief Shadowing
John Lamb West Leigh Leader of the Opposition Cllr Woodley
Ann Holland Southchurch Community and Organisational Development Cllr Gilbert
Nigel Folkard Chalkwell Children and Learning Cllr Jones
Steven Habermel Chalkwell Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Development Cllr Longley
Mark Flewitt St Laurence Housing, Planning and Regulatory Control Cllr Norman
James Courtenay Blenheim Park Public Protection, Waste and Transport Cllr Terry
Lesley Salter Belfairs Health and Adult Social Care Cllr Moyies

Already picked Labour’s new leader? Then you’ve probably chosen wrong


labour leadership candidates

Have you already decided who you’re backing in the Labour leadership election? If so, I’d say you’ve probably chosen wrong.

Not that you’ve picked the wrong candidate. I’ve no idea who will win the election, much less who would be the leader we need to repair our party and get us back into power. But neither do almost any of the membership.

And that’s the point. If you’ve already chosen, you’ve probably chosen for the wrong reason.

Read on…

Post-election, Indie infighting resumes in Shoeburyness


shoeburyness east beach

With the election done, and the joint administration secured (Just about -Ed) back in control of the council, we’re starting to settle back into normality in the weird world of Southend politics. Which means, as ever, my little birds have begun again to sing.

One particularly interesting take regards the odd politics of Shoeburyness. Apparently, a certain former Independent Party Group councillor, licking their wounds, is eyeing up the possibility of a comeback next year. Except, as eagle-eyed readers will already be aware, the councillor up for re-election in Shoeburyness next year is Mike Assenheim of the, err, Independent Party Group.

The bad blood between Anne Chalk and Mike Assenheim is not exactly news, and their divisions may well have helped Roger Hadley back onto the council this time around. But one Independent running against another, especially when there can be no ambiguity in whether they were part of the same grouping, would be a definite escalation.

The 2016 elections are still a way off yet, but these whispers surely serve as reassurance that Southend local politics will continue on in the same bizarre vein as usual.

Interstellar – A Review


interstellar

So it’s taken me rather a while to get around to seeing Interstellar.

I missed it when it was in the cinemas, mainly due to it being a stonking (Unnecessary? -Ed) 170 minutes long and simply being unable to find the time to spare to go and see it. But thanks to the wonders of home DVD, that has now been rectified.

When it came out I recall competing voices branding it either the triumph of modern science fiction cinema, or a waste of time. In my experience, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

But who knows? Maybe it is the best thing since 2001

Read on…

Who’s doing what in the new cabinet on Southend Borough Council?


southend civic centre

Introducing the new make-up of the Cabinet on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council:

  • Cllr Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe) — Leader of the Council
  • Cllr Ian Gilbert (LAB – Victoria) — Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Community and Organisational Development
  • Cllr Graham Longley (LD – Blenheim Park) — Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Development
  • Cllr Martin Terry (IND – Thorpe) — Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport
    Cllr David Norman (LAB – Victoria) — Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning and Regulatory Control
  • Cllr Anne Jones (LAB – Kursaal) — Executive Councillor for Children and Learning
  • Cllr James Moyies (SIG – West Shoebury) — Executive Councillor for Health and Adult Social Care

That makes 3 Labour councillors, 2 Independent councillors, 1 Liberal Democrat councillor, and 1 Southend Independence Group councillor.

I’ll leave it up to readers to decide who they think is driving this administration’s agenda…

Better a bastard government than being governed by bastards


southend civic centre

So the news is, apparently, out. The Joint Administration seems to have the numbers to enter its second year in charge of the council, with the addition of the Southend Independence Group joining its ranks. That this has been cobbled together from the available numbers.

This may be a “bastard” administration, but it is a completely legitimate one.

The new arrangement has caused a little upset in some quarters. Understandably — I do not hold with the policies of UKIP, or indeed many of the people under their banner. This has been discussed internally to death by Southend Labour Party, and whilst we are not overjoyed to welcome the former Kippers into the administration, the near-unanimous decision has been that, for the time being, it is the best option on the table.

Read on…