James Duddridge: don’t you think he looks tired

Now this is interesting. It looks like the ministerial duties of Rochford & Southend East MP James Duddridge are being delegated to Michael Green Grant Shapps, due to James’ illness.

Regular readers might remember that James Duddridge suffered a rather nasty bout of illness a little while back, which left him hospitalised and out of action for a number of months. Has he suffered a relapse?

I also note that Mr Duddridge has recently been active locally, both blocking on Twitter anyone who dares to ask him questions about his voting intentions, and attacking the homeless in the local paper.

A mystery indeed.

UPDATED:  Apparently Mr Duddridge has been admitted to hospital. I have not verified this beyond my little birds, but regardless of political disagreements, I wish him a speedy recovery so that we can cross blades once more. Get well soon, James.

A saga of a spambot – a conclusion, but no answers…

user suspended

Last week I blogged about the strange Twitter account that had appeared, with my profile picture, my screen name, and following a good deal of my own followers, to the cause of no small confusion.

Well, sinister as that little development was, it appears to be over. The account is now suspended, following a report to Twitter by myself and some other kind persons. I’m relieved, yes, but also a little disappointed. There is absolutely no closure. I don’t know what it was planning, who was behind it, what in the hell it was.

Somewhere out there, my social media nemesis waits, plotting, scheming, waiting for it’s chance for revenge. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Constantine cancelled

constantine title

So in all the election excitement I missed this little piece of bad news: Constantine has been cancelled.

I can’t say I’m particularly surprised. It hadn’t done well in terms of ratings, and when NBC’s other shows were renewed, it wasn’t. Which is a shame, really, because although it wasn’t perfect it had potential, and had been on an upward trajectory throughout.

It’s not “dead” dead yet, apparently; there’s an outside chance that it could be picked up by another network (A campaign backed by Captain Kirk, no less -Ed), but it remains to be seen whether anyone will pick it up.

For now I’m not holding my breath. Time to bring out the last rites, I think.

Which Southend councillor turned up 3 hrs late to planning committee?

cllr davies on holiday

On Wednesday, the Development Control Committee (Planning committee, to you and me -Ed) met as it always does, at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, to decide on the planning applications before it.

Well, most of it did. One of the councillors sitting on the committee was a little late. Nearly three hours late, in fact. Which councillor could this have been?

Surely it couldn’t have been the councillor who missed the council’s budget-setting meeting, because he was gallivanting off on holiday? The councillor who has only just been appointed to the Development Control committee, replacing the parliamentary candidate that his party group kicked out? The councillor who, if rumour is to be believed, fancies himself as his party’s next leader in Southend?

You might very well think so, but I couldn’t possibly comment

What Green surge? Southend Green candidate aims just to “keep deposit”

green party hiding from reality

The Green Party in Southend, at least, has always seemed to me to have a taste for armchair activism, as opposed to actually knocking on doors. When I see their activists around in Southend, it’s more often me knocking on their doors

I’ve spoken on the doorstep to two local Green Party members on the doorstep this weekend. The more interesting of those conservations was in Rochford & Southend East, where I was told:

Our aim is to hold onto our deposit.

Now, for the uninitiated, a deposit of £500 is required from anyone wishing to stand for a parliamentary election. Said deposit is returned, provided the candidate gains at least 5% of the vote. In the 2010 general election, this amounted to a little over 2,000 votes in Rochford & Southend East.

And that is, apparently, what the Green Party’s Simon Cross is aiming for. I don’t know about a Green surge, that barely qualifies as a gentle wave. What’s clear is in Rochford & Southend East, a vote for the Green Party is a wasted vote.

If voters want to kick out James Duddridge and the Conservatives, the only choice is Labour.

UKIP Southend candidate goes home early, misses council budget vote

Meet Floyd Waterworth 2

Apparently taking his cue from fellow UKIP councillor (Well, maybe — it’s all gone a bit People’s Front of Judea with Southend UKIP -Ed) Lawrence Davies, Floyd Waterworth disappeared at last night’s vote on the Southend Borough Council budget for 2015/16.

He was definitely there early on, sitting with an extremely glum look on his face whilst his group leader (Well, probably not -Ed) made a speech.

I guess staying and representing the people of Blenheim Park ward was too much to ask, for the man who wants to be the next MP for Rochford & Southend East…


Why wasn’t Kursaal’s UKIP councillor at the budget meeting?

cllr davies on holiday

Anyone tuning into the Southend Borough Council budget meeting might notice the absence of Cllr Lawrence Davies, the UKIP councillor representing Kursaal. If any voters in Kursaal ward are wondering why their councillor isn’t at one of the two most important council meetings of the year

…my little birds report that Cllr Davies is on a weeks-long holiday in South America. With several thousand pounds a year of allowances out of your taxes.

Money well spent?

Essex responds to Farage’s UKIP campaign launch by voting Labour

nigel farage

Yesterday, Nigel Farage launched UKIP’s parliamentary campaign in Essex. Canvey, to be precise. It’s telling, perhaps, that he stayed away from the Kent seat he himself is trying to win (South Thanet).

But how did the people of Essex react to the purple-and-yellow messiah’s appearance on their own turf?

Well, in Harlow they reacted by electing a new Labour district councillor in a by-election to replace a UKIP councillor.

Nigel Farage visits Essex, and hours later he has lost a council seat to Labour. That looks to me like a very good omen.

Wishing Southend’s James Duddridge MP a speedy return to health

I had been hearing about James Duddridge’s battles with illness for the last few months, Rochford & Southend East’s MP seeming to have disappeared overnight from the local scene.

The account in today’s Echo of his tribulations after having his gall bladder removed, though, was harrowing, and my sympathies go out to James and his family as he recovers his strength. Politics should not be personal, and I hope that he’ll be recovered enough for the debates and election campaign to come.