Sunday Comment: The quiet revolutions in Thurrock

The Revolution will not be televised

The BBC were given access to Southampton Council’s deliberations over the cuts. They filmed both cabinet and council meetings as the parties fought over the issue of front line services. What was noticeable was the number of protesters outside the council offices. The councillors really ran the gauntlet. These scenes have been replicated across the country……except Thurrock.

While revolt spreads throughout the Arab street; whilst #ukuncut protestors invaded 40 Barclays Banks, there appears to be a conspiracy of silence in Thurrock.

Single issue protests have been very effective in the borough: Chadwell primary; No masts on Chafford; Horses on the Ham; Corringham car parking charges and Save the Tilbury Ferry but when it comes to the cuts in the borough, there has been nothing. A line of librarians looked mournful as they attended Friday’s cabinet meeting to hear of 20% cuts across the board but that has been it.

YT likes to think that we know a few people in the unions and pressure groups that can comment on Thurrock issues: Tony Rayner of the Essex Police Federation; Jerry Glazier of the National Union of Teachers or Jeremy Dear of the National Union of Journalists but we have no idea who the Unison reps are and even if they have been marginalised why are they so inert.

With further cuts to come, council officers and members will be sure to have taken note that, should they choose to, Thurrock is there for the taking.

The Academy revolution

The visit of Michael Gove to Gateway Academy was hugely significant in the history of education in Thurrock. There has been a quiet but distinct revolution in the borough to the extent that Thurrock Council education boss Jo Olsson must feel like Mikael Gorbachev in 1991 when the leaders of all the Soviet countries led by Boris Yeltsin came to his office and said: “We’re off” leaving him still president of nothing but a name.

In the next few years, all senior schools will be “independent” semi-autonomous” call them what you will. The next big question is: what about the primary schools. There was a huge political agenda at the Gateway on Friday and it was all about liberation.

The next big question is will the primary schools follow suit? Only primary schools graded “Outstanding” by Ofsted have taken up the offer of becoming academies but there may be more than one way to the skin this particular cat.

The senior schools, in whatever guise, could start to be like an educational borg, moving along and absorbing the primary schools.

Tilbury could well be a test case for the rest of the borough. Watch this space.

Culture Secretary consults YourThurrock

It was a huge compliment for little old us to be invited for a meeting with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Olympics and Sport Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

He has held two round table meetings with the movers and shakers in the media industry (and us) as he shapes his plans for local TV in the 21st century.

The minster wonders why there are six local television stations in Birmingham, Alabama and none in Birmingham, England.

The details of the meeting were private but suffice to say, when Internet Provider TV comes in a few years, YourThurrock hopes to be a the forefront of delivering local news.

How to be a youtube “star”

YourThurrock has made nearly 3000 films in the two-and-a-half years. We are approaching 930,000 views. Not bad but then a drunken teenage girl’s drunken behaviour in the C2C train going through Grays is filmed, stuck on youtube and in three weeks has 190,000 views.

The Tilbury teen may well end up on the youtube’s most viewed films show at Christmas. Heavens………..

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