Sunday, January 29, 2023

Is it time for a gentler, kinder form of politics in Thurrock?

LAST week, the portfolio holder for health and education, Cllr James Halden used social media to refer the the former leader of Thurrock Council as an “out of work printer”.

Some say, one man’s cheap shot is another man’s political banter.

Screenshot 2019-08-04 at 13.00.08

It may be for others to ask cllr Halden why use a person losing his job as a form of insult. They could also ask if he thinks people who are unemployed are less entitled to an opinion?

We have no idea what the day was like when cllr John Kent left the printing industry. We also reckon that cllr Halden does not either. It could have been a day of great pain.

All we know is that last time we look the was in gainful employment and has been for the thirteen years this reporter has known him.

In the thirteen years that this reporter has been covering Thurrock politics, there has been great debate from all sides of the chamber and there has been a lot of gentle ribbing. Labour’s Gerard Rice always gets it in the neck when he refers to Maggie Thatcher as the Tories did with their “Clean It Cut It Fill It” boasts of “Six Hyde Parks, Four Wembley Stadiums” etc.

But these are fractious times and so politicians may need to have a little think. We have seen ongoing spats on Facebook between politicians of all colours.

Of course, if you think we are wrong, let us know.


  1. Regarding Cllr John Kent’s opposition to the closure of Orsettt Hospital and the NHS proposed plans for future NHS services in Thurrock.

    Cllr.Halden “tweeted”; “Can John Kent, (out of work printer – not a medical expert), explain why he keeps telling the NHS they are wrong about the change being good and why he keeps calling them liars over keeping and improving the services in Thurrock? Seems the party of the NHS keeps attacking them”.

    The fact that Cllr Halden felt it necessary to highlight that Cllr John Kent was “out of work” is nothing more than a cheap jibe and speaks volumes about his attitude to the unemployed. Mr. Kent, like many thousands of others, was made redundant, possibly as a result of the “austerity” measures imposed by a Conservative Government, which Cllr Halden enthusiastically supported. Maybe Cllr Halden, having publicly divulged Cllr John Kent”s employment status, would be prepared to declare his own.

    Cllr. Halden is a mocker who delights in spitefully mocking those he considers his inferior, such as the unemployed, the working class and members of trades Unions. During his eight years as a Councillor he has morphed into both mockingbird and popinjay.

    Cllr Halden would do well to recall that in 2015 he just scraped in with a single figure majority and should take heed that mockingbirds tend to meet with untimely ends.

    Note to the Editor: Judging by subsequent “tweets” by Cllr Halden about Cllr John Kent, the answer to your question is apparently NO.

  2. Firstly, it was not mocking the unemployed. As I said in a speech in the past, I too have been unemployed. I was mocking the fact that he was once a printer and therefore should not dress his opinions up as medical wisdom given he has never worked in any capacity to suggest he has greater medical knowledge than NHS experts, certainly not if he is attacking those experts. If I gave an impression I looked down on him for losing a job, this is not the case.
    Secondly, the main thrust of my tweet was regarding the dishonest nature of Cllr Kent attacking NHS backed plans to reform the Orsett Hospital offer while claiming to be a part of the “party of the NHS”. You can’t have it both ways. NHS England, EPUT (NHS mental health arm), NELFT (NHS community care arm), all clinical commissioning groups in South Essex, Thurrock social care, Thurrock public health all say this is a good move for local people – services brought closer to where people live, in modern facilities, co-located with mental health and GP services. Cllr Kent needs to acknowledge that everyone in health circles thinks his opinion is wrong at best, dishonest for political gain at worst.
    Finally, I did not “scrape by” with single figures in any of the three elections I have contested. My 2014 majority was 135, increasing to well over 600 in 2018 after Labour ran a personal and vitriolic campaign against me….. over Orsett Hospital……


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