Southend Echo, late to the party

james duddridge halifax surgery

The fun of leading a political media story was something I rediscovered a few weeks back, over Southend MP James Duddridge’s Halifax customers only constituency surgery. It even got me on the local radio, and onto the BBC News website.

It didn’t, however, make it into Southend’s local paper, the Echo. I noted this at the time as something of an oddity, but presumed that they didn’t find it of sufficient interest for their pages. It being a local story gaining national prominence, this was strange, but life goes on.

Except, it seems that they didn’t opt to miss it. Instead, they were just taking their time getting to it. Two weeks of time, to be precise. I noticed, on Friday, this story upon the paper’s website: “MP James Duddridge holds ‘community’ surgery exclusively for bank customers”. My story. Complete with the photo I took. And a credit? Nary a sight.

I don’t actually mind — though a credit would have been nice — but it’s certainly an odd way to conduct a news organ. You have to question whether news is even the right word for events two weeks old, heavily discussed at the time.

An update – James Duddridge and the Halifax surgery

james duddridge halifax surgery

Well, it’s certainly been an odd week. I started out blogging a photograph I took on my phone at the weekend, and ended up at twenty to seven this morning on BBC Essex talking to James Whale. It even reached LabourList, my old haunt at Political Scrapbook, and even the BBC News website.

Hardly your average week.

James Duddridge’s “Halifax customers only” community surgery seems, at first glance, like a fairly trivial issue. But really it goes to the heart of the idea of representation. With concerns about corporate and large scale lobbying diluting the access of voters to their MPs, Mr Duddridge putting himself in a position where he seems to be turning his representation into a service for sale to corporations looks about as wise and well informed as Grant Shapps’ latest Twitter campaign.

Read on…