Recorded by yours truly at the BBC Radio 5Live Labour Leadership Hustings, 25th August 2015, in Stevenage.
My little blogging hiatus of the last few weeks has seen me fall rather behind on my watching and reviewing of Defiance. Given that we’re in the home straight, then, time for a sprint through the two episodes I’ve missed.
From the Labour Party rule book…
Chapter 2 Membership rules
Clause I. Conditions of membership
A. A member of the party who stands for election, subscribes to a nomination paper of or acts as the election agent to a person standing for election, in opposition to a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member…
B. A member of the party who joins and/ or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the party, or supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate, or publicly declares their intent to stand against a Labour candidate, shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member…
Good science fiction should be aware of the world it inhabits.
I mean that both in terms of the fictional world which the story weaves around itself, and the real world in which the story inhabits. There is always analogy wrapped in meaning, with at the very centre a kernel of truth. Otherwise what’s the point?
Defiance does itself a great service by trying to tackle a number of important themes, and despite still being a relative unknown, is earning its place in SF history.
Yes, I’m going to keep going on about the fact nobody but me seems to be watching this show until that fact changes, Goddamnit!
“We can’t just luxuriate in our own righteousness out on the side lines. That’s not a luxury the most vulnerable in Britain can afford. It’s not enough to be angry at the world. We’re the Labour Party, we have a responsibility to change the world or what’s the point of us at all.“
This is the most Prime Ministerial any of the Labour leadership candidates have looked in the contest thus far. This is what a brave, but very necessary speech looks like. This is principle.
This is why I am voting for Yvette Cooper.
Back in the 2014 election campaign, I remarked that the Independent candidate for St Luke’s, Caroline Endersby, had not said much at all throughout her campaign. Her one campaign point seemed to be the slightly League of Gentlemen-esque slogan “Local Politics for Local People” (There’s nothing for you here… -Ed).
Now that she is Cllr Endersby, it could be argued that despite the fact that she has yet to utter a word in a council meeting, nor make much of a visible impact at all since her election, she hasn’t breached any of her pledges because she didn’t actually make any.
I don’t, actually, think that being the Council mute makes for a good councillor. It may well be that she is extremely busy with ward business, but I actually know a fair few people living in St Luke’s, and whilst most can name Paul Van Looy, and some can name Brian Ayling (Though not necessarily in a flattering context -Ed), I have yet to find anyone who responds to “What about Cllr Endersby?” with anything but “Who?”
Cllr Endersby did, though, make one statement which could charitably be called a promise. She sold herself as the “local” candidate. One can debate, generally, what “local” means, but the meaning here was clear: that she lived in the ward. Except, it seems, she does not any longer.
So I can raise the dead, it seems.
After three and a bit years, I have raised Brian Ayling’s blog from it’s dusty resting place. And all it took was to tell the truth about his behaviour on councillor allowances.
Unfortunately, it is only to demonstrate his poor grasp of both reality and numeracy. Still, I’m always keen to help. Let’s teach Cllr Ayling to count, shall we?
Interesting songs from my little birds, last night.
At a residents’ meeting to discuss the proposed expansion of HARP’s Bradbury Centre, there was a gatecrasher in the form of the erstwhile Green candidate for Rochford & Southend East at the last election, Cross Simon.
The HARP proposals are to extend the site, a homeless centre, and the meeting to discuss the impact on the local area. Once HARP had finished their presentation, Cross Simon strode to the front and loudly treated the attendees to a lecture on how to raise any objection against the proposals would be immoral.
The lecture did not go down to rapturous applause, to say the least. My little birds report that he nearly caused a riot, with residents shocked that he would turn up to hector a residents’ meeting, despite living nowhere near the development.
And anyone who saw Cross Simon’s performances at the various hustings in the run up to the elections will know his style: turn up, loudly announce his opinion as gospel, and shout down anyone who disagrees. There was a point at the Milton ward hustings where I wish I told him, given that he was neither a Milton voter nor a candidate, to sit down and shut up.
Now, the merits of the Bradbury Centre expansion aside — and my gut instinct, without having seen the plans, would be to support HARP — residents have a right to air their views on planning proposals impacting them and their neighbourhood. That’s how the system works. In fact, most of our democratic and governance systems exist with the aim that all voices be heard without one loud voice drowning them out.
And in that light, I can completely see why Cross Simon is continually contemptuous of due process.
In these dark times of austerity, good news should — it is this blogger’s opinion — be jumped upon and celebrated. So when two good news stories drop into my inbox on the same day, I’m starting to wonder if it’s Christmas.
I am an environmentalist at my core, though it is rooted in the same pragmatism as my socialism. I have little time for blind idealism; principle is worthless if it does not translate into action.
And the translation of principle into action is what these two pieces of news represent. Firstly, the roll-out of energy-efficient LED streetlights across Southend is being accelerated. Secondly, the Southend Energy Company has already saved Southend Residents over £100,000 since it started.