Saturday, 20 April 2013

At Least There Are Ethics In Local Journalism

Last week at the Economic & Environmental Scrutiny Committee up for discussion was the council's Environmental Enforcement Policy as a pre-scrutiny item. I believe a town is designed by the quality of its street scene and believe that all people want is to leave in a clean, safe and pleasant environment and be left alone to get on with their lives.

The Environmental Enforcement Policy is designed to ensure that boundaries are set against those who wish to spoil it for the rest and take the appropriate enforcement action. Under the Clean Neighbourhoods Act 2005, council have the ability to issue £80 on the spot Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN's) to U17's and also to Children as young as 10.

Despite this ability, we have taken the view that a persistant offender under the age of 17 will be referred to our Youth Offending Team to educate and advise and set this out on page 9 of the draft policy that was debated.

I was therefore surprised that in the Southend Echo this week was the front page headline that we plan to fine kids £80 for dropping litter.

I mentioned in a previous post about the quality of some of the political journalism in the national press but have to commend the Echo on realising their error and  and printing a retraction the following day.

It is just a shame that the Sun, who also decided to run with this story on Thursday, do not follow the Echo's lead a print a retraction.

West Shoebury/Shoeburyness Flooding Leaflet

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Good Luck Southend United

Shortly, I will be setting off to Wembley along with 30,000 others to cheer on Southend United against Crewe Alexandra in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. In the 107 year of the club it will be the Shrimpers first visit to Wembley.

Hopefully, they can bring the trophy back to Southend and write a new chapter in the clubs history. Keep an eye out on my facebook and twitter pages for up to date coverage and the latest from Wembley.

Shoebury Common Flood Defences

It was interesting to see former Southchurch Independent Party candidate Claire Bibby use her occasional posting on her blog this week to criticise me and my fellow ward colleagues for wanting to protect residents against the real threat of costal flooding.

In a previous post on the subject, Claire has appallingly compared the proposed embankment to people escaping communism in East Germany via the Berlin Wall to protecting homes and lives from flooding at Shoebury Common.

If she agrees with the authors of the leaflet who believe that there isn't a flood risk at Shoebury Common, I challenge Claire to sign an indemnity to that effect. Considering that her party colleagues in Shoeburyness and Thorpe wards are in complete agreement with the proposed sea defences, will she also be urging residents to vote them out of office at the next opportunity?

Is This is What Political Journalism has been Reduced to?

It was this story in Daily Mirror last week which reinforced why I do not buy any national newspapers and despise the Daily Mirror. God I hate the Daily Mirror. 

The Mirror are having a pop at George Osborne because someone has sent them a picture of Osborne’s car parked in a disabled space. Perfect. Evil chancellor not only fleeces the disabled, but he steals their parking spaces too except:

1. It is a police car.
2. Osborne isn’t driving it
3. A police security officer is driving it
4. He parked it there after dropping Osborne off to buy a McDonald’s.
Now, apart from George Osborne not being too posh to get a McDonald's from a service station! I wonder how many people who sit in a passenger seat get out of a car when it is parked and think to themselves: “Hang on, I must just check if the driver of the car has parked in a disabled space.” Exactly, no one. 

Ed Balls, revelling in the aftermath of the story rather conveniently forgot that he was fined during the 2010 general election campaign driving whilst on his mobile phone. With Ed Balls being a government law maker and breaker at the time, guess what page this story featured in the Daily Mirror? It didn't!

This story would have been the equivalent of a local journalist, hypothetically for example, saying all my neighbours black sack waste in my block of flats was mine after I have publicly said that, one average, I have only one bag of black sack waste. It would be nonsense.

Going back to the story and Ed Balls driving misdemeanours, Ed Ball was spotted this week going into a Holiday Inn for a driving awareness course after being clocked doing 56mph in a 50mph zone on a motorway to avoid 3 penalty points on his license. Still, I suppose the only saving grace is that he did not ask his wife to take the points!