Wednesday, 31 October 2012


With a dry night predicted and it being half term week, many more people than usual will be participating in Halloween this evening.

Halloween should be a fun event and not an excuse for anti-social behaviour. Recently Essex police have been doing a lot of work in communities across Essex urging people not to let the fun get out of hand.

To ensure that Halloween can be enjoyed in safety whether you are participating or not, Essex Police have issued some very good safety advice.

Some helpful safety tips for those who are planning to go trick or treating have also been produced and are well worth a read. For those residents who would rather not be bothered by trick of treaters and do not wish to be disturbed this evening, Essex Police have also produced a poster which can be printed and displayed.

Even though their will be a Police presence this evening, Essex Police are still urging everyone to use the appropriate number if they need to contact officers during the Halloween period. 

Residents should never hesitate to call 999 in a genuine emergency such as where there is a crime or serious incident in progress, a serious risk of injury or a risk of serious damage to property or the 101 number if you need to raise a concern or get in touch for advice.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

An Introduction to the Supplementary Vote for the PCC Elections

Since there are six candidates to become Essex’s Police and Crime Commissioner a supplementary vote system will be used.

This will mean that you can vote for a first and second choice of who you want to win. The ballot paper will list all the candidates standing in Essex. Next to the list of candidates there will be two columns.

You will be asked to vote for your first-choice candidate by marking a cross (X) in the first-choice column, and vote for your second-choice candidate by marking a cross (X) in the second-choice column.
As long as you mark one cross in the first-choice column, your vote can be counted.
You should not mark more than one cross in the first-choice column and you should not mark more than one cross in the second-choice column.
If you have marked a first choice, you can choose whether or not to mark a second choice. But if you only mark a cross in the second-choice column, your vote won’t be counted.
You should not put any other mark on the ballot paper or your vote may not be counted.
How the winning candidate is decided:
The winning candidate is the one who receives 50 per cent plus one vote (or more) of the first preference votes. If no one reaches that tally the two candidates with the highest number of first preference votes go forward to a second round of counting.
In the second round of counting, ballots with a first preference for a candidate that did not get into the top two will be reallocated according to the second preference indicated in the ballot paper. Whichever of the top two candidates has the most votes after these second-preferences have been allocated is declared the winner.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Is There a Future for the BBC?

I have this evening managed to catch the BBC Panorama programme into the Sir Jimmy Savile child abuse allegations. Whilst left scratching my head as to how such an 'open secret' went unpunished for  over 40 years it does beg the question wether this is the end of the BBC as we know it.

You seriously have to wonder what the hell is going on at the BBC just recently. In the past few weeks we have seen tax avoidance on an industrial scale by some of its highest paid stars, the revelations that one of nations largest paedophile rings was possibly operating on its premises, the reported cover up of the Sir Jimmy Savile child abuse allegations topped off with a sick joke about 9/11 victims on Have I Got News For You.

I know HIGNFY is a pretty near the knuckle satire show but this went beyond the taste of decency. I do not necessarily blame Claire Balding as it was clear she was reading from an auto cue, but what was the shows editors thinking about to think that a joke about 9/11 victims was acceptable.

What's more, the BBC try to ram their political correctness down our throats at every given opportunity. Still think you get value for your £145? I have yet to mention the long running accusations of bias in their news reporting!

Towards the end of his grilling by the select committee, I was actually starting to feel sorry for Director General George Entwistle as he was hopelessly out of his depth bearing in mind that he has only been in the job barely a month.

As the Jimmy Savile allegations continue to unravel, I am struggling to see how he can remain in post. To use a cricketing metaphor, it is like walking into bat only to be bowled out in the first over.

Most Western nations long did away with their state broadcaster, the concept of a state broadcaster belongs to despot regimes like Syria and North Korea?

As we are now in a multi-channel digital age with this week seeing the end of terrestrial television in the UK, the license fee is now effectively a telly tax in all but name. With many politicians calling for a reduction in taxation, maybe abolishing the TV License Fee is a good place to start.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

PCC Elections - The Essex Runners and Riders

With November elections not really conducive to campaigning, I suspect many residents will go to the polling stations unaware who their candidates are.

To assist those going to the polls, this week saw the closure of nominations and the runners and riders or the new Essex Police and Crime Commissioner are as follows:

Nick Alston - Conservative
Linda Belgrove - Independent
Val Morris-Cook - Labour
Andrew Smith - UKIP
Mick Thwaites - Independent
Robin Tilbrook - English Democrats

The Battle of the Bishopsteignton Polling Station

Earlier, I read an interesting post by Cllr Julian Ware-Lane looking to see if the number of polling stations in Southend could be reduced after a list of polling stations in operation for next month's PCC elections was released this week.

This got me thinking back to a little dispute that my fellow ward colleagues and I got into a few months ago with electoral services, when it was suggested that we should do away with the portable polling booth on the corner of Bishopsteignton and Maplin Way North and merge it with another polling station in Delaware Road.

The reason sited was that the weather in November would more than likely be inclement, possibly causing access to the portable polling station to be hazardous. This argument was quickly defeated when we pointed out that there was by-election in West Shoebury held in December 2006 in what was probably the worst conditions I have ever known an election to be held in and we never had one solitary complaint.

I suspected the real reason for the suggestion was as Cllr Ware-Lane suggests was to cut down on costs. The reason why a portable polling station was sited on the corner of Bishopsteignton and Maplin Way about ten years ago was because turnout was so woeful in that particular polling district.

Since the introduction of the portable polling station, it has had the highest turnout out of all of the polling districts in the ward. I suppose it is a simple equation: you take politics to the people and they will participate.

With participation in elections likely to plummet to new depts for the PCC elections,  I believed we need to do all we can to encourage turnout not decimate it! Fortunately, following our intervention common sense prevailed and the portable polling station will be in use on the 15 Novembet.

Credit Where Credit is Due

It was interesting to read the article on the successful Echo campaign on getting CCTV in the lifts at four tower blocks in the town centre. The article mentions that the Echo started its campaign in March but fails to mention that it was Victoria Conservative candidate Del Thomas, who back in January, got this issue on the agenda by launching a petition which he handed into Southend Council and has also campaigned for a concierge service to improve security.

Whilst I accept that most successful campaigns need the backing of the press, what was more galling was the sheer opportunism of Victoria ward councillor Ian Gilbert trying to jump on the bandwagon by having his photo taken by an offending lift in the article and no doubt will try and claim the credit. More so, back in April, Cllr Gilbert kindly lists all his 'achievements' and 'campaigns' yet campaigning for CCTV in the town centre tower blocks lifts were not one of them. One can only assume that he did not think that there was problem.

Not wanting to be accused of misleading his residents, I'm sure Cllr Gilbert in his next Labour Victoria Rose will mention that this success only came about following a local Conservative campaign. Then again, I hope Spurs win the Premier League every year!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Happy Birthday Palace Theatre

This year see's the Palace Theatre is celebrate its 100 birthday. To mark the occasion, today the Palace theatre has an open day from 11:00 - 15:00.

There will be entertainment from local community, arts groups and the Palace Writers’ Group as well as games and quizzes based around items from the theatre’s vast archive.

In addition, there is a chance to see the “Palace 100” film made by local school children which will be screened several times throughout the day. If you are in the area why not pop in and join in the fun.

Royal Mail Delivery Office Closures - The Opposition Grows

The decision by Royal Mail to close local delivery offices in Shoeburyness, Leigh, Rochford, Great Wakering and Canewdon and move the operations into Short Street has been met with considerable public anger, with over 125 residents signing the online petition and hundreds more signing the petition in local shops as part of the local Conservative led campaign to save the Royal Mail Delivery Office in George Street, Shoeburyness.

Over the weekend, I have been made aware of a similar campaign in Leigh which deserves wider attention. A facebook page has been set up to highlight the campaign as well as a petition for local residents to voice their objections. From the discussions that I have had on the doorsteps over the past few weeks on this issue, Royal Mail has seriously misjudged the public mood on this. 

I do realise that with email, text messaging and other message sharing systems that Royal Mail has to change to make it profitable but closing the Delivery Offices forcing some Shoebury residents into a 10 mile round trip to collect parcels and signed for mail is the wrong area to make change, as this is the area where Royal Mail have a real advantage over it's competitors as with the current arrangements residents do not have to sit in all day to wait for a parcel of go to Basildon if they miss a delivery.

I urge residents to get behind the campaign as Royal Mail will only reverse this decision if you make your voice heard. 

Trivial Matters

The award of 'politics of the trivial' used to belong to the Liberal Democrats but it seems locally that there is a new holder for the award in 2012 - step forward Belfairs Independent Party councillor Steve Aylen for leading the 'campaign' to get all 51 elected councillors to be provided with safety boots and high viz jackets.

Other high profile campaigns of Cllr Aylen include providing a crossing for horses on the A127 Progress Road junction.

You may remember that Cllr Aylen shot to fame last year for declaring in a meeting of Full Council that he didn't care if smokers got cancer and died and was promptly de-selected by local Conservatives before May's local council elections before being taken in under the Independent Party wing.

I can assure residents that this isn't a priority for me and my colleagues on the cabinet but if Cllr Aylen wishes to attend visits wearing safety boots and a high viz jacket then I have some advice - buy your own!

You do seriously wonder at the thought process and joined up thinking of Cllr Aylen when he doesn't care that people get cancer and die but get sleepless nights if a councillor cracks a nail on their big toe when on a council visit.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The South Essex Homes Debate

On Wednesday, The Community Services & Culture Scrutiny Committee met to discuss the future of South Essex Homes (SEH), the body which manages the council’s housing stock.

Whilst I am not a member of this scrutiny committee, in my own ward, there are over 500 homes which South Essex Homes manage on the council’s behalf and I was interested to hear the views of members on the Community Services & Culture Scrutiny Committee.

Seven years ago, the decision was taken at the time to set up South Essex Homes, an arms length management organisation (ALMO), which was a requirement to access the Government’s decent homes standard funding. At the time this was the right thing to do to access significant funding to improve the council’s housing stock and was support by tenants in a public ballot.

With the decent homes standard funding ceasing, I feel that it is right and important that we have the debate now as to whether we continue with SEH managing our housing stock or now is the right time to bring the management back in house.

It was an interesting debate which lasted over 3 hours and all members gave valuable contributions but interestingly, from comments made by Cllr Longley, it would appear that the Lib Dem members of the committee were under a three line whip!

It is important that any decision that is made, what is best for tenants is at the heart of it. I am sure that my cabinet colleagues want to ensure that we give the best possible service to council tenants at an appropriate expense to taxpayers.

What was evident from the debate was even the recognition from SEH themselves that if the council do decide to keep SEH as the organisation to manage the housing stock that there does need to be reform of the organisation to generate income and look share services where there is clear duplication.

I do believe however that we should avoid an expensive consultation exercise if the decision is to retain SEH as the managers of the council’s housing stock but rightly go out to consultation if the preferred option is to move the management of the housing stock back in house.

Proposed Fair Havens Hospice - Rejected

Earlier this week, the Development Control Committee met to determine the Fair Haven planning application to build a new Hospice on Green Belt land on Belton Hills, Leigh.

It was always going to be a difficult decision for the Development Control Committee members due to the sensitivity of such an application even through the case for building over vast amounts of Green Belt land had not been made which was made explicitly clear in the officers recommendation.

The decision to recommend refusal was unanimous by members of Development Control which is comprised by councillors of colours across the political divide. In my opinion I think the decision was the right one.

I can only echo what many have already said in that I hope Fair Haven do not seek to appeal the decision as I believe it will only re-open old wounds in what has been a very, very damaging issue.

There is no escaping the fact that from Shoeburyness to Leigh, this is already one of the most densely populated towns outside of London and we must do all that we can to protect our Green Belt and remaining large open spaces. It is for this reason why I would never support any application for housing on the land North of Bournes Green Chase.

I only hope that the management of Fair Haven’s can sit down with officers and identify a suitable site for a new Hospice in the town.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Armed Robbery in West Road

I was made aware of an appalling incident in West Road yesterday. At around 09:30 two men wearing balaclava's, armed with crowbars, entered Andrews Jewellers stealing Diamond Rings and other jewellery items. Fortunately nobody was injured.

According to the Southend CDRP website, the two men then walked out and got into a waiting blue Citroen Picasso which was parked near to the vet surgery on Richmond Avenue. This vehicle was recovered near Thorpe Bay Yacht Club on Barrow Sands a short time later.

According to the Police, they believe the two men transferred to a Saloon car. As well as looking for witnesses to the robbery, the Police are keen to hear from people who saw the Blue Picasso yesterday morning before and after the robbery and anyone who saw the men drive off in the transfer car near the Yacht Club.

If anyone has any information which could help the police and put the offenders behind bars, please contact detectives at Southend Police Station on 101.

Boundary Commission's Revised Proposals Published

Back in September last year, as part of the Government's aim to reduce the number of MP's from 650 to 600, The Boundary Commission conducted a review which proposed a number of changes to the current Rochford & Southend East and Southend West seats which cover Southend.

As part of the review, it proposed that the wards of Leigh and West Leigh would join Castle Point with Milton, Victoria & St Lukes moving from Rochford & Southend East to join with the remainder of Southend West. Rochford & Southend East would have been swelled by Hockley & Hawkwell. This would have meant that Southend would be represented by 3 MP's rather than the current 2. 

Following a consultation on the proposed changes, the Boundary Commission yesterday issued revised proposals. The suggestion to move Leigh and West Leigh wards into Castle Point have been dropped and it is proposed that only Victoria ward moves to the remainder of the current Southend West seat. This means that the wards of Milton and St Lukes stay within the current Rochford & Southend East seat with only Hawkwell transferring to Rochford & Southend East as part of the proposals. Interestingly, the revised proposals suggest the cosmetic name change to Southend East & Rochford from Rochford & Southend East.

Whilst I believe it is sensible to have only two MP's cover the town, this could however all prove academic as the Lib Dems are threatening to throw their toys out of the pram and scupper the move as they did not get their own way on House of Lords reform.

The revised proposals are currently out to consultation until December.   

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Taxi 'Mafia' Row Continues

I have just seen the following statement on the Southend Licensed Taxi Drivers Association facebook page:

This is brief statement from the Southend Licensed Taxi Driver Association (SLTDA) in response to the comments made by Lib Dem councillor Peter Wexham at a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday 11th October 2012:

The SLTDA are aware of Cllr Wexham's comments made at a meeting of Full Council and are shocked and appalled by them. To suggest that when calling for a Taxi in Southend is like dealing with the Mafia, a highly dangerous group of criminals, is nothing more than an outrageous and uncalled for slur.

Whilst we accept things can be said in the heat of the moment, we are disgusted that Cllr Wexham chose not to retract his comments when invited to do so by executive councillor Tony Cox.

We are delighted that Southend Council recognise that travelling by Taxi is an integral part of Southend's transport network and that we are the only mode of transport to operate on a 24/7 basis.

To suggest that the Taxi trade are take, take, take shows incredible stupidity and naiveity on the part of Cllr Wexham, as the proposed High Street Taxi rank that he is so opposed to, was one of the key reasons along with the other programme of measures in the Taxi rank review why Southend achieved Purple Flag status. As a trade we also do a considerable amount of work in the community with the Southend Taxi Drivers Fund for under privelidged children and just recently nearly £3,000 has been raised for Help for Hero's.

What this outburst from Cllr Wexham has shown is the need for Full Council meetings to be streamed live and on demand over the Internet as a wider audience deserve to be able to see the nonsense which some of their elected representatives say and do in their name and we add our full support to introduction of this initiative.

This type of behaviour is unacceptable from an elected representative and former parliamentary candidate. Whilst the residents in Leigh will have the opportunity to pass judgement when Cllr Wexham is next up for re-election, we believe Cllr Wexham's position has become untenable and urge him to do the honourable thing and resign with immediate effect.

In the meantime, we believe that the Lib Dem leader Cllr Graham Longley needs to show real leadership on this issue and remove the whip from Cllr Wexham.

Ouch! Over to you now Graham...

Friday, 12 October 2012

An unjustified Slur...

After a marathon four hour plus full council last night, a few hours kip and then an early start this morning for a regional transport meeting in Ipswich, I have had a chance to reflect on the events of full council last night.

I was genuinely surprised at the comments by Cllr Wexham in comparing the town's taxi trade to the mafia, but stunned when I offered him the chance to retract his comments that he chose not to.

Whilst I am sure this story will rumble on over the next few days and the trade will make a robust response to Cllr Wexham's comments I do wonder if such comments would have ever been said about the bus or train service in the town.

The fact is the taxi trade play an integral role in Southend's public transport service as they are the only mode of public transport in this town providing a 24/7 service. I mean, without them, who would take home the drunks and the late night revellers this evening!

Again, what this episode has highlighted is the urgent need for live and on demand streaming of council meetings over the Internet, so more residents can access what is being said by its elected representatives on their behalf.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Police & Crime Commissioner Hustings

With the Police & Crime Commissioner elections just over a month away, residents may not be aware of two up coming hustings meetings in Southend where they will have the ability to question all the candidates on their views as to how they would Police Southend.

The first hustings is tomorrow evening at 20:00 at St Hilda's School Hall which is hosted by the Chalkwell Residents Association.

The second hustings is on Saturday 3rd November at 10:00 in the Main Hall at Southend High School for Boys, which is hosted by the Southend Ethnic Minority Forum. Hat Tip to Cllr Julian Ware-Lane for alerting me to this date.

Young Blood

Every weekend councillors up and down the country will have delivered their copy of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) First magazine and occasionally there is an article or feature which captures my imagination.

Last weekend was one of those occasions with an excellent and thought provoking feature on young councillors and the barriers that they face whilst undertaking their duties.

According to the LGA's annual census of councillors, the average age of elected members rose from 55 in 1997 to 60 in 2010. What stops young people from becoming councillors, and what makes younger councillors less likely to stand for re-election?

It seems from the case studies featured that some of the constant barriers for young councillors are around not being taken seriously, that they are often treated differently and their comments are brushed to one side.

As I was first elected at the age of 27 it got me thinking to see if these were some of the issues that I had faced and I have say they are a resounding no. Within my own party I can hand on my heart say that age has had no barrier with a number of the younger councillors in our ranks serving on the cabinet and holding roles as Chairman and Vice Chairman on various scrutiny committees.

Whilst I can not speak for the other parties we certainly run on the principle that if you are good enough you are old enough.

Regardless of age, from my own experience, I believe that the main barrier that councillors face is attending meetings whilst also holding down a full time job. Whilst officers offer levels of flexibility so meetings can be held in the evenings, councillors working full-time face a huge challenge in balancing the conflicting demands of their council and employer.

With the demands of full time work and council duties there are some weeks when most of my days are 14-15 hours long. It often surprises residents that I also hold a full time job as well as being a councillor.  

Whilst I have remained at my current place of work since being elected in 2006, there has been no doubt that being a councillor has damaged my prospects of progression with my current employer.

If I was to ever leave my current employer, even though I have gained a lot of skills and experience being a councillor I'm not sure that I would risk putting it on my CV, because it might result in not being offered the job as the interviewer might think that I would be distracted and not prioritise my job. I do believe that we do need to find of persuading employers that councillors add value to their firm.

I am fortunate that I do have a flexible employer which helps meet the employer – councillor balance but more importantly, you need to have a very supportive family!

Whilst it's relatively easy to persuade people in their 20s to stand for election, the biggest challenge is to hold on to councillors in their 30s and 40s, when the pressures are greatest.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Campaign Gathers Momentum

The campaign to save the Shoeburyness Royal Mail delivery office in George Street has gathered pace this week with over 40 residents signing the online petition.

This issue has dominated most of my weekends campaigning activity and I was joined by Cllr Roger Hadley in launching the petition in Shoebury High Street yesterday morning as there are fears that if the Delivery Office were to close the Post Office could soon follow suit.

This would be a absolute disaster for the local businesses in the High Strret as the businesses in West Road within my own ward suffered considerably when the Post Office there closed sometime back.

As the businesses in the High Street recognise the importance of the issue they were only too happy to have the petition in their shops to urge their customers to lend their voice and support to this important cause.

Whilst talking to he businesses, it became evidently clear that they were perplexed as to why Cllr Chalk has remained quiet on this important matter considering that she lives in Shoebury High Street. One businesses, completely unaware of the Royal Mail proposals, couldn't understand why she hadn't mentioned the proposals in passing.

We are constantly reminded that the Independent Party are supposedly willing to work with councillors of all political colours for the good of the town.

In fairness, some of them have stepped up to the plate since May and Shoeburyness Independent Party councillor Mike Assenheim did this week through the letters pages of the Echo urge residents to back the local Shoebury Coservatives led campaign.

Only last week did the Independent Party candidate for Southchurch in May's local elections, also a Shoebury resident, agree with me on this issue but has so far declined to add her name to the cause. I say to the Independent Party in Shoebury, now is the time to put your words into action, put your political differences aside and join us in the fight to save the George Street delivery office.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Labour Toffs Masquerading as Comrades

With the Conference season now in full swing this week saw the Labour Party gathering in Manchester for their annual shindig. I apologise for not giving my thoughts on the Lib Dem conference but I do find it hard to get excited by a conference which resembles a village fete.

Ed Milliband's speech did win some praise and has been widely accepted as his best so far, albeit from a low base considering the nasal tone and the weird facial expressions that we have become used to during Prime Minister's Question Time. 

At least during this speech we did not have to endure the questionable hand gestures from Ed Balls behind him when trying to portray flat lining of the economy which do look remarkably look like Nazi salutes! Still, I suppose he has form on this.

During his speech we had to endure the appalling lie of "Next April, David Cameron will be writing a cheque to each and every millionaire in Britain for £40,000." based on distorted statistics as highlighted by City AM editor Allister Heath.

A day after he made his audacious attempt to claim the ‘One Nation’ philosophy from the Conservatives, Ed Miliband was back making left-wing class war attacks. Despite his earlier claims that Labour would unite the rich and poor, he pledged to speak at a trade union march against austerity measures.

Mr Miliband won cheers from the union barons who bankroll his party when asked whether he would join the TUC’s march on October 20. ‘Yes, I’ll be there,’ he said. His willingness to join the protest raises questions about the authenticity of Mr Miliband’s pitch for the ‘One Nation’ mantle.

In fact the whole conference was a class warfare attack. I still believe that the public do not give a toss about the background of their elected representatives just as long as they are competent. It still amazes me of the hypocrisy of the Labour Party they’re just as rich as their Conservative counterparts in Parliament.

Tony Blair reportedly earned £20million last year from advising foreign governments and multi-national corporations, taking his net worth above £80million, and Gordon Brown now charges £70,000 for an after dinner speech.

Harriet Harman, the former deputy leader, is the first cousin of the Earl of Longford, making her every bit as posh as the Prime Minister, and Shaun Woodward, the ex-Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, once boasted that he was so rich even his butler had a butler. Power to the people, eh Shaun?

Still, at least these committed socialists have no wish to pass on their status to their children. Not like those beastly Tories who insist on sending their sons and daughters to England’s finest public schools.
When it comes to education, all good Labour politicians send their kids to the nearest, bog standard comprehensive, right?

Er, no. Blair moved heaven and earth to get his sons into the London Oratory, probably the best faith school in the country, and his two Labour predecessors at No10, Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, both educated their children privately.

Ruth Kelly, Labour’s Education Secretary from 2004 to 2006, sent her son to a fee-paying preparatory school, and Diane Abbott, the Shadow Minister for Public Health, packed her boy off to the exclusive City Of London School.

Ever so ’umble? I don’t think so.

Presumably, though, once the children of these tribunes leave their exclusive education behind they have to start at the bottom, just like everyone else? Wrong again. Last week brought the news that Euan Blair, the ex-Prime Minister’s eldest son, is circling the safe Labour seat of Coventry North West, while Will Straw, son of Jack Straw, is hoping to become the candidate in Rossendale and Darwen.

Not for them the salt mines of local government before launching a parliamentary career. In case you’re in any doubt that Labour is the true party of inherited privilege, I give you the Wedgwood Benn dynasty. Tony Benn, that old socialist warhorse, was the son of Viscount Stansgate, a Labour Secretary of State, and his son, Hilary Benn, went on to serve in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s Cabinet.

The latest addition to this fine, aristocratic line is Emily Benn, Tony’s granddaughter, who was selected to stand as the Labour candidate in East Worthing and Shoreham in 2007. To cap it all, this was when she was 17, before she was old enough to vote!

No doubt in future the Benn clan will just put their children down for Labour constituencies at birth in much the same way that so called toffs do for Eton.

To top it all off poor Joan al-Assam, a teenage girl who came to Britain as a refugee, was heckled while describing the lessons and activities at Paddington Academy, a semi-independent state school in north-west London.

If this had happened at a Tory conference the Great One Nation of Labour hypocrites would be bellowing in outrage all over the BBC and demanding resignations and taxpayer funded inquiries. Despite what they want you to believe from this conference it is still evidently clear that as a party Labour don't like aspiration, don't like striving and detest success.