Digest-October 2021

Digest-October 2021


October 2021

“Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake”.  Jo Brand

David Amess

You no doubt have heard and read about him after the barbaric act that took him from us.  Across the board I’ve seen nothing but praise.  A laudible constituency MP and tireless at involving him in local affairs.  A week when he was not featured in the Echo was rare.  From time to time he was mocked for never having had a ministerial job.  Having been in Parliament for 40 years I suspect he had offers but turned them down in favour of his constituency work.  He was an MP who would always respond to you.  Well, not quite.  I bombarded him on the subject of euthanasia.  Several years ago I put five points in favour to him.  He had no answer and signed off with, “we must agree to differ”.  Very recently I asked him if he had changed his mind as Dignity was reporting that many MPs have done so along with the BMA.  Regrettably I got no reply and now never will.  He will be a hard act to follow and the likes of him will not be repeated.  I hope his family will get all the support they need after such a shock.


In the wake of the sad event here is a definition I saw in the Echo:

“Once they have convinced themselves they are entirely righteous, they can justify any action, as the end will always justify the means”.

September Talk

Was by Claire Victory from the Council.  A main point was the government imposed target to build 23,500 dwellings in the by 2025.  This is 3 times the present rate of delivery.  Also to put it in context it is adding to the present population of 188,000.  If the average occupation of the new houses or flats is three then 705,000 more people will be living in Southend.  Obviously this calls into question the infrastructure.  Schools, doctors and leisure need to be catered for. Claire said that builders are levied for infrastructure but that doesn’t increase the land available.

Secondary schools in particular need land.  Space for kids to run around and burn off their energy is essential.  My whole life benefitted from doing just that.  Next can you imagine the increase in traffic?  There are times when it is difficult to get about so as pensioners we can plan to avoid.  But at rush hour (what a misnomer), roads in and out of town are permanently congested.  On top of that the seaside and Adventure Island attract thousands of visitors.  The town will suffer when they find it gridlocked due to overpopulation and opt to go somewhere like Clacton. 

A lot has been said about the increase in capacity the Queensway development will bring.  But have you noted the horlicks the council is making of it?  To fill or not to fill the underpass is a question that will finally be answered shortly but if it is to be retained the present plan will take £40 million to redesign.

Over 75’s TV

I am indebted to Bob Howes for the following.  Unfortunately the opportunity to write to David Amess has past.  It will be a while before the by-election.

Over 75’s TV Licence “grace period” sparks fears!

Many people are worried about visits from collection agents. We have members in the Southend area who have phoned me to say that they are just above the Pension Credit threshold, and are not used to paying for their television licence.

The BBC has said that people over 75 will not face legal action if they refuse to pay. But those with low incomes are worried that they may receive home visits from agents who will try to persuade them to pay by instalments, even if they cannot afford it. People who are alone all day and perhaps more vulnerable than most, will need to be dealt with sensitively.  Strong letters are already being sent to non-payers and they are quite aggressive in tone.

We should write to our MP’s urging the government to take back control of this issue from the BBC, who should not be in the business of social care.You can write to your own local MP, care of the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA  with no stamp required.

New Lottery

Roll up please.  So far only 32 numbers have been bought by 13 people who have opted for the full year. 

Local News

Fascinating artefacts to go on display at new Southend Central Museum exhibition – An intriguing new exhibition is set to open at Southend Central Museum celebrating the history of collecting and humanity’s timeless desire to collect and view curiosities. ‘Wunderkammer: Southend’s Cabinet of Curiosity’ opened on Saturday 2 October 2021 and features an eclectic mix of objects from the museum’s collections that are rarely on display to the public. 11-5pm Wednesday to Sunday.  Note that staff shortages may reduce time availability.

Veolia’s Sustainability Fund – Do you have a project idea that will help transform your local community or environment? Veolia wants to hear from you! There is still time to apply! Launched on World Environment Day, 5 June 2021, Veolia’s new Sustainability Fund could help your project come to life with a cash donation or in-kind resources. The application deadline is 31 October 2021.

The new pier trains are now in place.

Rochford Tapestry depicting 1000 years of its history has opened at Rayleigh Town Museum.  Comprises ten panels mostly created during the pandemic by volunteers including school children.

Medical Records

We recommended you consider whether your records are to go into the public domain and gave you a template letter with which to instruct your GP. Well, it is now a fact that 11,432 people in Southend opted-out by end August.  Now NHS Digital says it is vital that patient data is vital to research into life-changing illnesses including cancer, diabetes and long covid.

Now, according to an article in last Thursday’s Echo there are two opt-out options and the one preventing harvesting GP data has attracted an unknown number of actions.

The NHS Bill

As reported in your copy of Campaign! 165 the NPC is trying to influence MPs to throw it out.  They along with the BMA consider it will do nothing to solve the NHS crisis.  I sent the suggested letter to David Amess.  His reply says it will be scrutinised “line by line” on 2 November.

Dates for your Diary

Ongoing:  Exhibition on the story of the Thames Barge at Priory Visitor Centre.  Free

Ongoing:  Leigh Farmer’s Market @ Leigh Community Centre, Elm Road.  First Saturday and third Friday morning. 9am to noon.

Ongoing:  Leigh litter picking on the last Sunday.  Strand Wharf, Old Leigh.  8:30am

Ongoing:  The Canvey Island Transport Museum is now open again.

Every Monday @ 7:30pm.  Ron Spack’s jazz quartets @ The Oakwood, Rayleigh Road, Eastwood.

Ongoing:  Rayleigh’s Dutch Cottage is now open again.

SOUTHEND FIREWORKS DISPLAY 2021 – every Saturday to 4.12.2021 – 19:30 to 19:45 – Marine Parade Southend-on-Sea

Late October:  Authentic South American food at the White Horse, Ramsden Heath.  Owner, Steve Haslam says expect strong flavours.

3rd Nov Fund Raising lunch.  Noon

Shorehouse, Shoeburyness    Call Jean 341047 to book your place.

17 Nov & 5 Dec:  Jack Dee the inestimable successor to Humphrey Littleton @ the Cliffs. 

01702 351135 or southenddtheatres.org.uk

18 Nov:  Pancreatic cancer day.  This disease widowed Tina Assenheim.  She is looking to see purple on the day and will be at the Royals collecting for the charity.

17 Nov:  Members meeting at Balmoral Centre. Brian Billins “Essex Smugglers” 2 – 4pm.

© JDS/ October 2021 Tel 01702 472670


Email:  bartonpye@aol.com