Month: September 2015

Blenheim Park saved! (For now…)

matt dent for blenheim park

So I’ve touched on the proposals to build a pavilion on Blenheim Park previously, and the reasons that I’m against it — loosely boiling down to the fact that I am not keen to see a precious green space and piece of public land given away on a whim to a private entity.

The issue has been bubbling away over the summer, and I’ve heard from a fair number of residents — both contacting me directly, and when I speak to them on the doorsteps — raise that they are really not keen on the proposal. So serious has this become that even the part-time UKIP representative, Cllr Floyd Waterworth, has emerged from his inter-election hibernation to string a few words together on the topic.

As well as canvassing the views of residents — which, despite what the Council consultation might claim, my experience says they are largely against it — I have been lobbying behind the scenes on the subject, to the point that Cllr Gilbert, leader of the Labour group and Deputy Leader of the Council, is well and truly sick of me talking about the subject.

It has clearly done some good, though. At the meeting of the Cabinet this week, the decision was taken to delay the development for further consultation.

Read on…

01 “The Magician’s Apprentice” (Doctor Who series 9) [SPOILERS]

doctor who peter capaldi

So the Doctor is back. Thank goodness for that.

The previous season, Peter Capaldi’s first in the leading role, was a hit and miss affair, but it did rather end on a high note with Michelle Gomez’s fantastic “Missy” (The Mistress… As in, The Master, but female. Geddit? -Ed) as the perfect villainous counterpoint for Capaldi’s mad Scotsman. One of the finest climaxes, in fact, since the BBC resurrected the series.

This, though, is the difficult second album of the Twelfth Doctor. In some ways a little more hopeful that it might be a little smoother this time around, given that the episodes here have all been specifically written for the Capaldi, rather than Matt Smith’s leftovers.

And, having had a glance down the episode list, it looks to me like the episodes are actually structured as a series of two-part stories. Which, from my perspective, sounds great. What we need from this new Doctor is some exploration of the particular character of this incarnation. And Capaldi is just crying out for a darker, grittier sort of Doctor.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

By-election imminent in Rochford

rochford district council

News reached your blogger this weekend of the sad death of Gillian Lucas-Gill, a councillor on Rochford District Council.

Now, I’m not very intimately involved in the politics of Rochford District (Though I am not without my Rochford-based little birds -Ed), so I wasn’t familiar with Cllr Lucas-Gill. My general belief, though, is that the vast majority of elected councillors give their time and their effort out of a sense of public duty. I didn’t, as I say, know Cllr Lucas-Gill, but I am saddened at her death and thankful for her service.

This does, though, mean there will be a by-election in Rochford ward for Rochford District Council (Keep up… -Ed) in the coming months. As far as I know, no date has been set for the poll, and whoever wins will only serve until all seats are up for re-election in May due to boundary changes.

Nevertheless, the by-election will serve as a useful political barometer, in advance of the main event next year. More details as I receive them.

13 “Upon the March We Fittest Die” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


Defiance, by and large, does pretty good season finales.

Granted, the preceding two are not a particularly big sample, but both of them capped the preceding seasons well, closing off a section of the story whilst leaving a plethora of paths ahead for the next season. There’s an art to the season finale, which straddles the past and future, needing to both give a sense of fulfilment to what has come before, and to give a sense of urgency to lead the audience into the next season.

And whilst I do feel that season 3 misstepped rather sharply mid-season, it both started strongly and regained its stride into a strong climax. Well, hopefully strong.

Read on… (and mind the spoilers!)

Is the Southend Independence Group still full of Kippers?

kursaal ukip

I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised, on the whole, with how the Southend Independence Group have risen to the challenge of being a party of serious local government, rather than a purple tied brigade geared at causing and effecting outrage. Even if I am disappointed that they didn’t use my suggested name of NewKIP.

Cllr Moyies, in particular, seems to have grasped that running a unitary council isn’t quite the easy ride he may have anticipated. James is someone I have respected since I first met him, even if our politics differ radically on a number of key points. He has adapted well to the challenging brief of Health & Adult Social Care.

There is, though, a question mark remaining still over the political loyalties of the Southend Independence Group councillor for Kursaal ward.

Read on…

12 “The Awakening” (Defiance season 3) [SPOILERS]


Penultimate episodes are easy.

No, really. Well, if the series preceding them has been awful, it’s a bit late by that point to pull it out of the fire. But provided that the series has been reasonable, then any mistakes that the penultimate episode makes are the finale’s problem.

That said, with the climaxes of the previous two seasons I’ve felt that Defiance handled the pacing well. From the personal level of the first season finale, to the planet-wide catastrophe in waiting of the second, and now something which threatens, through the Omec, all the races on Earth.

What Defiance needs is a climax which balances the stakes with the characters who drive the soul of the story.

Read on… (and mind the spoilers)

Southend Conservatives’ own night of the long knives

tory tree on fire

It seems it’s been a bloody summer, for the Conservative Party in Rochford & Southend East.

Getting all their selections out of the way very early on for the May 2016 local elections has thrown up a bit of internal bloodletting. The exact nature of the labyrinthine internal politics of Southend Conservatives is not, I’ll admit, exactly clear to me (Case in point: I expected the Courtenay/Cox putsch to succeed in May -Ed), but I expect there are some personal grudges being played out here.

The list of candidates which my little birds tell me for the east of the borough throws up relatively few surprises, with the honourable exception of Southchurch.