So, while those of you who are in a position to celebrate Christmas this year, please spare a thought for those who will be lucky to make it through the winter alive. Be kind and reach out to those in need because one day it could be you.
STILL jet-lagged and in New York City for the week as it is my 50th birthday (Nov 24th), I got up at 4.30 am to write, edit and publish some stories. I noticed a tweet from St Luke’s Hospice telling us that there was still places left for the Brighton Marathon in April 2012.
The issue of the high staff turnover at Grays Hall was brought to the attention of the Chief Executive of South Essex Partnership Trust (SEPT) about a year ago by my very self and yet, despite being given assurance that the matter would be looked into personally, there has still been no hint of an investigation, let alone any findings.
IT HAS been over a year since we last spoke to Tattoo John. He has been away recently, Five weeks in Belmarsh. There is a Groundhog Day element to John’s life but you get the feeling that come the nuclear war, only three things will remain standing and one of them is Tattoo John.
We have won the argument regarding the need to tackle government debt and borrowing, but beyond this we are losing the narrative regarding the broader aspects of the coalition’s programme. The result is that, yes, more than at any other time we are viewed as the party of economic competence, but we risk being seen as being all about money.
ON SATURDAY, THE BBC asked the country to record what they were doing as part of a mass observation project. They will take all the video footage and weave it into a documentary to be published on the BBC in 2012. YourThurrock has been making films every day for over three years.
She justified her absence from the council committee meeting by nominating another councillor to fill her place. I am informed that her nominee made no contribution to the business of the meeting and seems to have been there simply to make up the number present.
Most of us want to lose a few pounds but when it comes to it, we’ll more often than not make those tempting excuses so nothing ever seems to change. But sometimes it’s that we don’t know what to do: with all these apparent contradictions how do we know what and what not to eat?
AS I began wondering what to write for this article a few initial thoughts came to my head (If you have seen the Boondocks you can relate, if not go watch it after you read this article you won’t regret it!). First, with the voice of Riley Freeman ‘Why we only get a month though?!’, then Huey Freeman calmed me down ‘The month is a great time for reflection’.
Back twenty years ago, there were first time bankrobbers using their own car to pull of heists and now there are people hocking their blackberrys to Cashconverters in Romford and then reporting that they have been robbed the next day. Yes, they are desperate acts but these are desperate times for many people.
On behalf of the Mayor, I attended this event at the Grays Registrar’s office on Saturday 24th September 2011 from 9.45 to 11am. Twenty two local residents received their certificates of British nationality from the Home Office. I had an opportunity to welcome them to Thurrock and exchange views with them over a cup of tea.
What I think would have some comedic value would be public transport. The drip of spilt coffee cascading onto the Underground tracks as workers hurry in their voguish suits doesn’t seem that amusing, but seeing all the different personalities on the train promises to be something of a laugh. I’ve heard of the hilarious stories from my grandmother as she brushes through the doors of her early morning train everyday. So why not turn your camera on as you travel into work? That is of course what Britain is most famous for, aside from the publicity powerhouse that is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
As I looked across the Council Chamber, from my seat in the Public Gallery, my eyes were drawn to a rather pensive looking Deputy Mayor, Cllr Yash Gupta MBE, sitting alongside the Mayor Cllr Charles Curtis. I could not help but wonder if Cllr Gupta was thinking of a previous Deputy Mayor who had twice been denied probable elevation to Mayor, I speak of ex-Councillor Eddie Hardiman, who must at times felt that he was in the words of the old saying “always the bridesmaid never the bride”.
I distinctly remember one English lesson at William Edwards when my teacher, Mrs Stevens, told us there is a theory that there are only eight original novels ever penned; that the remainder are partly copied, have been emulated, or are almost sheer replicas.
An ongoing fallacy that persists during the onset of every election is that the Conservatives only care about the rich. All political parties care about the rich because they have more money to put back into the economy. They earn more, which means they pay more income tax; they can afford to have more than one car, which means they pay more road tax; they can afford to take out private health insurance, which is yet more money to the government and they can afford to send their children to grammar schools where league tables are infinitely better, allowing them to go on to higher paid occupations where they too can put more money into the economy.
As I heard David Cameron’s speech sternly warning the looters they would “feel the full force of the law” even as a proud Conservative, I was still a little skeptical. Perhaps it was my lack of faith in the British justice system living vicariously through my strong appreciation of the Tory Party.
I first became interested in writing when I was five or six years old. I would write fragments of sentences that probably didn’t really make sense in my little notebook and I truly treasured every word because it was something that was mine, the power to write what I wanted was with me and something no one else could take it away.
But it was obvious to Margaret Thatcher when she took over the Conservative Party in 1975 that in order to push through difficult reforms you needed to have the police with you and in numbers. Instead we in Essex have 383 less officers. Officers having to reapply for their own jobs and the worst of the cuts yet to come. Thurrock Council alone has to make £13 million in savings and no matter what you say, somewhere along the line there needs to be an impact.
The debate about euthanasia and assisted suicide, where it exists at all, is led by, or influenced by, the sensationalist media who want to sell papers or get viewers or listeners rather than having a well thought out, rational debate between all the different interest groups, both for and against. There are, however, many good and rational arguments on the subject and now is the time to listen, in a calm and reasonable manner, to all these arguments with open minds and compassionate hearts, with a view of the larger picture of the potential benefits for society of legalising euthanasia and assisted suicide.
SEPT are a mental health provider who seem to be more efficient at Public Relations than they are providing a good service to the service users of Thurrock. A well-oiled PR machine, SEPT publish a magazine called One In Four News that is really nothing more than a SEPT love-in and seems predominently concerned with the newly aquired areas of Bedfordshire and Luton rather than the South Essex area for which it is primarily responsible. If you read their magazine, you would believe that SEPT has no problems but that is a false impression. If you look more closely at the provision in Thurrock, you will find an alarming inconsistency of care.
AS we enter the summer months, the majority succumb to the golden glow of heat and its kaleidoscopic hues, but for many young people, those blissful summer months are replaced with the constant recoil of exams. I would immediately challenge a person who claims exams are leisurely and undemanding. Even those most academically gifted cannot affirm such a absurd statement. This is why I found myself utterly indignant, as well as ireful, when I came across an article stating that Watchdog are claiming exams are “too easy”, alleging that there is a perception exam standards “aren’t what they used to be.”
A considerable number of people turned out to vote for candidates other than Labour/Conservative and are entitled to have their vote taken seriously and not ignored by councillors as if they did not matter. When the number of people who, for whatever reason, did not vote is also taken into account then perhaps Councillors would be wise to ask themselves why they and their Party are not as popular as they supposed. Labour Councillors should take heed of the words Ed Milliband with regard to how the Labour Party is perceived not just by the public but by its own membership.
Culture in Thurrock; the new heads at William Edwards and Gable Hall; who will run Thurrock Council after Wednesday and the perception that it is open season for criminals in Thurrock all come for scrutiny in our sunday comment page.