Day: 12/08/2014

Victory for Victoria?


victoria avenue

When Ash and I moved to (or back to, in her case) Southend almost a year ago, we moved into Victoria ward, practically in the centre of town (Milton ward, I would say, has the honour of being right in the centre). This is a town centre area, hugely convenient for my own commute into London, and with all the incumbant advantages for a young professional couple who could do without the expense of a car.

It being a town centre area, though,it is not without its own issues. One of the big ones is Victoria Avenue.

This dual carriageway runs down towards the high street, and past the Civic Center, and is lined along one side with a great many empty office blocks. It is, honestly, not a good look. From the window of my flat’s front room I can see one great derelict hulk, all dark and broken windows like black eyes. And the letters FTP graffitied at the top (if the meaning is unclear, I will mention only that it sits opposite the police station).

It’s a sad state for the gateway to Southend town centre, and one which I understand has stood neglected for a long time even as people have pushed and pushed to get a plan in place.

Read on…

Duddridge of Arabia!


Duddridge of Arabia

You can picture the scene, can’t you?

10 Downing Street. The lights down low, to show how serious it is. Iraq is in crisis. Gaza is in flames. Vladamir Putin is eyeing up  everything west of the Crimea. And now, another of the ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has quit, unable to get by on starvation wages.

The Prime Minister hunches low over his desk, deep in thought. “It’s time,” he murmurs eventually. “We’re out of options. Make the call.”

“Prime Minister, things can’t be that desperate!” the Foreign Secretary says, desperation in his grey eyes.

“They are. Get him here, now. Bring me…James Duddridge!


Yes, in this hour of darkness, David Cameron has made the courageous choice to appoint Rochford & Southend East MP James Duddridge to be the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. A man whose foreign policy experience is seemingly limited to his African banking connections, and more notable for holding exclusive surgeries for Halifax Bank customers, is now representing Britain on the world stage.

Putin must be terrified.

I can think of no crisis, in foreign policy or any other area, to which the answer is “James Duddridge”.