Friday, 18 December 2009

A Tribute to Sue Murphy

On Tuesday night Shoeburyness High School put on a tribute to former Head Teacher Sue Murphy who sadly passed away earlier this year.

I was delighted to be invited to the event at the Shoeburyness & Thorpe Bay Baptist Church for what can be described as a celebrtion of her life. Those who participated, pupils, staff and former pupils were absolutely fantastic and certainly did the life of Sue Murphy proud.

The next head has a hard act to follow as it is was down to Sue's energy and persistance which got local councillors involved in the affairs of the school and achieved the results it has.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Lib Dems just Plane Stupid?

An interesting motion was put up by the Lib Dems at the last full council suggesting that Full Council should have the final say on the Airport planning application to extend the runway.

It seems very democratic to suggest this but in reality it is a non starter as there is a specialised Development & Control committee which is highly equiped and had specilist training on planning applications.

Due to crazy government rules no councillor which will have a direct infulence on the eventual outcome of a planning application should predjudice the result by speaking out either for or against an application prior to the meeting.

After full council a resident sent me the following link from the Echo website in May this year. It seems from this article, which is correct as there hasn't been a printed retraction, suggests that the 11 strong Lib Dem group will oppose the extension of the runway at Southend Airport in line with National Party Policy.

For me, a simple lad who grew up on a council estate in Tottenham, seems to be clear pre determination and therefore all 11 Lib Dems should be prevented from passing judgement on the planning application at the Development & Control committee.

What concers me is that some of the reader comments also pick up on this fact. My fear is that should any Lib Dem councillor sit on Development & Control and pass judgement on this planing application then it could lead to a judicial review of the decision or at worst instigate a complaint to the Standards Board for bring the council into disrupte.

Lib Dem leader Graham Lonley is no fool but I can't believe that he would make such a comment because of the problems that it can cause.
If Cllr Longley was a principled, if not responsible, leader then he should publicly announce that none of his 11 strong group will sit on Development & Control because of the iportance of this planning application..
Just in case as I suspect this isn't forthcoming, I have asked the Brough Solicitor to provide judgement on this matter.

No slowing down in the run up to Christmas

The slogan 'working all year round' has pretty much been true. With the wet weather hampering delivery of our winter In Touch in West Shoebury, catching up with family that we haven't seen for a long time and preparing for Miss Cox's first Christmas it has been a busy few weeks.

I was also busy last week preparing for the meeting of full council last Thursday. I was delighted to be able to hand in the petition for the Four Rivers Estate on behalf of the residents but my work didn't finish there.

Since the last Children & Lifelong Learning scrutiny I have been conducting some research into the use of biometric data in Schools across the UK.

I had decided that strong opposition to the use of biometric data in Southend schools was needed but was disappointed that only two other councillors spoke out aginst this practice. I am pleased that the Echo have recognised the imporance of this issue by reporting the debate in today's issue.

My full speach in the debate can be found here

Monday, 7 December 2009

What Does Disneyworld and Swindon have in Common? Answer: Magic

An amusing story announced earlier today was that Walt Disney World was to twinned with the glamourous location of.....Swindon.

Swindon is an unremarkable place and the only thing magic about the place is its magic roundabout opened in 1972 and 7th most feared junction in the England.

As some of you may know Southend is twinned with Sopot in Poland and many moons ago with Calais. I am still unsure of the benefits that twinning with with other places although I have used Sopot as examples of how inovative European seaside locations.

Still, I suppose Disney World will make a nice little jolly for someone each year.

150 Days to go before Gordon leaves

Sunday the 6th December you would think normally is an unremarable day to launch a General Election campaign but for James Duddridge it had more significance than you think.

It was exactly four years to the day since David Cameron became leader of the party but also it marked 150 days to go before the widely expected General Election date of 6th May.

The campaign launch was widely attended by local Conservatives but it was pleasing that James chose Shoeburyness as the venue for his campaign launch.

I was asked to do a short uplifting speech to raise the spirits of party activists. It seemed to go down well in the hall and some did congratulate me afterwoods. The full version of my speech can be found here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Britannia Rules the Waves - Not According to the BNP

The BNP have always claimed that they are true party of the British people, never giving away Britain's rights....except if you live in Gibraltar.

An interesting story from the Gibraltar Chronicle claims thatin a sop to Spanish Facists it would hand over Gibraltar and it's 30,000 inhabitants to Spain.

So much for standing up for Britons, the Gibraltans are more patrotic than many on the mainland! What next, the falklands back to Argentina? Who knows with Nick Griffin.

I'm still here

Blogging has been a bit thin recently as all my energies recently have been put into campaigning in West Shoebury but also for the general Election.

There are a good set of candidates for the local elections this time round and I have never been more optimistic about elections here in Southend.

The latest West Shoebury newsletter has been well received with lots of positive comments and feedback. Canvassing returns have also looked very good on the national election front as well.