Month: October 2015

Donna Richardson for St Luke’s 2016


Donna Richardson St Lukes blog

Politics, particularly local politics, is built on passionate people. That is one of the reasons that I am so pleased that Donna Richardson is going to be the Labour candidate for St Luke’s ward. She is new to council politics, but has so much enthusiasm for making a difference to her community that you can’t help but get caught up in it yourself.

Regular readers will know that I haven’t exactly been enthused with the performance of the Independent Party Group trio presently representing St Luke’s. The newest addition, Caroline Endersby, I have heard very little of and even less from. Paul Van Looy’s biggest contributions have been some unflattering and poorly-punctuated comments about yours truly. And on Brian Ayling’s money grubbing ways, I have written aplenty.

So I do think that St Luke’s residents deserve a change, that they deserve better. I think that they would be excellently served by a councillor with Donna’s passion, enthusiasm and dedication, and I look forward to her election in May.

06 “The Woman Who Lived” (Doctor Who series 9) [SPOILERS]


doctor who peter capaldi

It occurs to me, setting out to write this review, that although both Peter Capaldi and David Tennant are Scottish, only the former has been allowed to keep his accent in the role of the Doctor. I am astonished that this has yet to feature in an angry press release from the SNP, actually.

So hiting the midway point, where are we? Surprisingly, with an unusually good series, so far. That might not be everyone’s view, and granted I am a fan, but I haven’t written any episodes off yet, and usually by this point I would have expected at least one review to consist mostly of sighs. But that hasn’t happened yet.

Of course, my very stating that in the preface of a review has doubtless jinxed it. But here goes (Allons-y! -Ed)

Read on…(and mind the spoilers)

Wishing Cllr Graham Longley a speedy return to health


graham longley

One of the more serious points at last week’s full council meeting at Southend Borough Council was the news delivered by council leader Ron Woodley, that Graham Longley (LD – Blenheim Park) had suffered a recent accident at his home and is recovering in hospital.

I have only met Graham a handful of times, and actually of the three Blenheim Park councillors he is probably the one with whom I have interacted the least. On all of the occasions when we have spoken he has been personable and pleasant. Whilst there are a great many things on which we disagree, what I have seen of Graham in the joint administration has increased my respect for him greatly, as he has worked diligently for the good of the town.

I send my best wishes to Graham and his family, and sincerely hope that he will be back to full health very soon.

05 “The Present” (Minority Report season 1) [SPOILERS]


minority report tv series

I think Minority Report‘s card may be punched.

I realise I seem like a continual prophet of doom on this subject, but Fox have cut the series order from 13 to 10 episodes. That, generally speaking, is not the sort of thing you do when you think you have a runaway hit on your hands.

Is it fair? Well, I don’t know. Part of me still sees the vast potential of what a Minority Report TV series could explore, the places it could go and the ideas upon which it could expound. That part of me wants this to be a piece of extreme over-caution on Fox’s part.

There’s another part of me, though, which I suspect is the bigger part, that knows that Minority Report has not punched as hard as either it could or needs to. And TV is not a game where you can afford to pull your punches. New series fall by the wayside often enough that their corpses should be road signs for the up-and-comers.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers…)

Matt Dent for Blenheim Park 2016


Blenheim Park Labour campaign launch blog

In what has to be one of the worst kept secrets in Southend local politics, I am truly delighted to announce that Labour Party members in Blenheim Park ward have re-selected me to be their candidate for the 2016 local elections in Southend.

Apparently those members didn’t grow entirely sick of me throughout the 2015 campaign, so I will redouble my efforts with even more emails about campaign days, fundraising events, and requests for new additions to my seasoned network of leafleters.

I won’t dwell on my campaign plans, as they will emerge in good time, but I will say that whilst I am pleased with how the last campaign went, I am very definitely aiming for victory this time. As the Conservative government looks to inflict more cuts on Southend, the people of Blenheim Park desperately need a strong voice to stand up from them. They have not found this in the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives or UKIP.

My aim is to be that voice for Blenheim Park.

04 “Fredi” (Minority Report season 1) [SPOILERS]


minority report tv series

I hate to say it, but Minority Report has not won me yet.

That isn’t to say that I’m not enjoying it. I haven’t outright hated any of the episodes so far, and there are clearly a lot of worthwhile ideas being proposed here. What I can’t shake, though, is that it lacks a little bit of something holding it together as a series and giving it a spark.

Really, we’ve reached the point where we need to be going beyond pure worldbuilding — which the series has done very well so far — and into building some significance into the narative web and the characters. I like the world, I even like the people we are following around it. But, at the moment, I don’t care if everything goes to hell for them.

Which I really need to.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

02 “Chutes and Ladders” (American Horror Story: Hotel) [SPOILERS]


american horror story hotel

American Horror Story is all about the big bang. Not necessarily loud, but it should hit you in the gut like a sledgehammer. It’s not altogether encouraging, then, that the opening episode of Hotel felt a little…weak.

The pieces were all there, particularly the aesthetics, which I have to say showed an attention to detail. But there was little in the way of overarching plot linking it together. Really, it felt like a lot of glamorous and good-looking people  simply moving around in front of some amazing sets.

And that is just not what American Horror Story is about. True enough, it has those facets. It uses them for dramatic effect and to dress the window, but the importance is that window reflecting onto the darknesses of the human soul.

The second episode remembering that fact would be very welcome.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

What is this, and what is it doing in Blenheim Park?


blenheim park hole

Is it in impact crater from a crashed UFO? A new swimming pool? Something more sinister?

In all honesty, I’m not sure. I suspect it is something to do with drainage issues, but this…thing has appeared recently in Blenheim Park. It doesn’t seem either like it is supposed to be there, or particularly safe, and after being alerted to its existence by a resident I will be following it up with the council.

One councillor who will remain unnamed suggested putting a pavilion on it. I am fairly sure that they were joking.

Southend local politics, summed up in one gloriously mad image


cllr aylen and sooty(Image courtesy of Ashleigh Condon)

There was a lot that went on at last night’s full council meeting in Southend, and much that I will come onto later on. But if I had to sum up the whole of Southend local politics, then it would be the above image. The moment when Cllr Stephen Aylen (IND – Belfairs) whipped out a Sooty hand puppet in the middle of full council to ask a question.

Sadly, the town clerk ruled that as Sooty was not an elected member of the council, he could not ask a question. Just another day in Southend

Luddite Southend Councillors want to waste thousands on printing


southend civic centre

Back in the summer, Southend Borough Council took what I considered a long overdue step to bring itself into the 21st Century.

You see, as things stand, Councillors receive printed copies of all council reports, agendas and documentation ahead of meetings, couriered to them wherever they may be in the town. In the case of important, sensitive documents — such as the annual budget — this might make sense. But for every last document, this is wasteful and needless.

So the decision was taken to move into the digital age, and instead send such documents to councillors by email. As I said, this is long overdue. Of course, as with any change there are those who react against it, those who cling to the old ways even when they no longer make sense. And here is no exception

Read on…