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.