Southend Borough Council have lost the plot

Above is the latest brain fart from the hapless, hopeless Southend Borough Council. Build a car park under the cliffs and if it generates enough revenue, use that to build their vanity project, the Thames Estuary Experience on top of it. No one who lives in or visits Southend on a regular basis needs reminding that the cliffs are unstable and prone to landslips. Yet the council want to tunnel into those very same unstable cliffs and build an underground car park. What could possibly go wrong with that idea?

The elections are coming up this Thursday (3rd May). As good little (currently non-aligned) anarchists, we’re not supposed to have any truck with elections. However, being good little pragmatists, we think an exception should definitely be made and we fully support these sentiments from our friends at SKIPP.

The local elections are on Thursday, if you want to save our town from a plunge into desolation then the election is your chance to help do something about it by voting to remove the current incompetent and morally bankrupt administration… Sack the council, save our town….
The SKIPP Committee


Just imagine what could happen when Trump visits the UK

The working visit of Trump to the UK on 13-14th July has predictably generated a lot of excitement in many sections of the left and also in a fair few sections of the anarchist movement as well. There’s already discussion and debate about what form the protests against Trump’s visit should take. Suffice to say, it looks as though there will be a variety of actions and protests to mark the occasion. It’s also a reasonable assumption that whatever takes place on the streets in central London will be met with a heavy police presence. One that could well drain police resources away from other areas of the capital and from surrounding counties.

Let’s play a game of imagining what could happen with a mass of cops in central London and the rest of the capital somewhat short of cops on the streets. What if there were enough motivated class struggle activists across the capital who could see the opportunity provided by the distraction of the protests against Trump, and the cops diverted to police them, to use the 13-14th July to undertake actions that will aid our class? It’s not hard to draw up a list of issues that could be highlighted by a series of nimble, well planned, creative actions if you want a bit of a thought experiment.

Purely as an exercise, these are these are the ones we’ve thought of. Abandoned council estates awaiting the right offer from a developer that could be re-occupied. High end estate agents complicit in the agenda of making London a welcome home for the super rich while ordinary people are socially cleansed from the capital – could it be that they may experience some creative ‘inconvenience’? Housing associations actively complicit in socially cleansing people from London being paid a visit by people who refuse to be moved away from friends, family and support networks? Exploitative outsourcing companies who treat their precarious workforce like dirt perhaps being given a lesson in manners? The list could go on if you really want it to…

The point we’re trying to make, without getting done for incitement, is that a) in situations like this, the left and a fair number of anarchists could do with being a lot less predictable and knee jerk reflexive and b) we need actions that advance our class interests rather than those that make the participants feel good about themselves but have no impact on the real world.

The same old council lies

SKIPP press release (27-04-18)

Southend Council true to form are still rolling out the same old favourite vanity project in yet another desperate attempt to convince the public that their seafront carbuncle could actually happen. For ten years now they have fanatically stuck with the same sham rhetoric unable to admit that their commercial building masquerading as a museum will never happen.

It would be funny if it wasn’t for the fact that over the ten years that this farce has been going on they have wasted millions of pounds of tax payer’s money with absolutely no result. Now here we go again; new architects have been employed at massive expense to the people of Southend, a new planning application has been submitted, a process that they have to go through because the original planning permission has run out with not a single workman ever appearing on the site. When will they give it up? How much money are they prepared to waste before they admit that they will never have the money and the carbuncle will never be built?

As for the money, why are they still persisting with the blatant lie that it will cost £40m? It has never been £40m and they know it, we know it and the original architects knew it as well. In 2010 AEW the original architects stated quite clearly on their website that the construction costs would be £50m and that was 8 years ago. Do the council think that the public and for that matter any potential investors are stupid? Do they think that we have never heard of inflation? Why are they still lying?

The SKIPP Committee
Patsy Link
Sheena Walker
Mark Sharp

21st century living conditions

Image taken from Brooke House Residents Basildon Facebook group

The above image is of the top of a window falling away from the wall in one of the flats in Brooke House, the residential tower block in the middle of Basildon town centre. This window is in the bedroom of a child. Not only is it a potential risk to the residents of the flat, it lets the wind in. The higher up the tower you go, the worse the effects of the wind are. This is the 21st century yet people are forced to live in conditions like this in a block managed by Basildon Council. It does make you wonder what the council’s priorities are when residents have to endure this.

It’s not often we praise local councillors on here but Andrew Buxton, the councillor for the ward Brooke House is in, St. Martin’s, is on the case with issues in the block. However, he knows he’s up against constraints. One being the suspicion held by a lot of people that there’s a policy of managed decline being applied to Brooke House with the aim of forcing residents to seek transfers to alternative accommodation. The aim of managed decline being that of flogging the block off to a developer and trousering the cash.

Once again, the living conditions of residents and tenants come a poor second to pandering to developers who see regeneration in terms of revenue as opposed to any material improvement to the lives of existing residents. This is symptomatic of the skewed priorities of the political, economic and social system we have to endure where people’s needs come way below the profit motive and fiscal greed.

Sorry is the hardest word, for a councillor

SKIPP press release (23-04-18)

Yet again Cllr. Anne Holland is unable to admit to being in the wrong and instead has elected for denial and a feeble attempt to mislead the public. Speaking in the Echo (23-04-18), in response to our criticism of her refusal to pledge support for the Leigh Folk Festival on the grounds that the council will not support events that are “badly organised”, the executive councillor for enterprise tourism and culture denied saying this and has instead implied that we misunderstood her due to the length of the meeting.

Well, we can say with absolute certainty that we did not mishear, misunderstand or misinterpret her. She was asked a direct question concerning the Leigh Folk Festival and in response she stated that “We do not support badly organised events”. Furthermore this took place, as Cllr. Holland knows full well, at the start of the Council meeting. in the questions from councillors’ session which is always at the start of the council meetings.

If she did not mean what she said, then fair enough, she should admit that she is wrong and issue a public apology. Don’t try to wriggle out of the situation with lame denials and bungling misdirection.

The SKIPP Committee
Patsy Link
Sheena Walker
Mark Sharp

Naysayer must go

SKIPP press release (19-04-18)

Southend’s Minister of Destruction, Cllr. Anne Holland has made her official position clear with regards to the Leigh Folk Festival.

At Thursday night’s council meeting Cllr. Holland who is in charge of tourism and culture was asked directly by another councillor if she would financially support the Leigh Folk Festival. Her response left nothing to doubt when she said “we don’t support badly organised”. Why could she not unequivocally given her support to this amazing free festival?

Surely it’s time for this person to go? How many more events can she discourage? We cannot afford this level of negativity from an executive councillor who is responsible for this town’s largest industry, tourism.

The SKIPP Committee
Patsy Link
Sheena Walker
Mark Sharp

What does it take to get a blocked drain cleared?

Residents doing it for themselves, that’s what it takes! Two women, both with disabilities to be precise. Using improvised equipment to do the job. This happened on the ¾ estate in Vange which is on the southern fringes of Basildon.

With Basildon not being a unitary authority, the responsibility for paths and roads on estates is split between Basildon Council and Essex County Council. Which means that on an isolated estate on the southern fringes of Basildon, it’s easy for authorities to a) ignore problems or b) try to fob them off onto someone else. We all know that in the 21st century with the information systems that are potentially to hand, it shouldn’t be possible for a drain in a close to be blocked for seven years. However, we don’t live in an ideal world and both Basildon Council and Essex County Council have a long record of ignoring or failing to deal with numerous problems on the ¾ estate.

Which is why two residents who’d had enough of banging their heads against a brick wall decided to take matter into their own hands and do the job themselves. Even though they pay Essex County Council through their council tax to supposedly do the job. We suggest that both residents bill them for the work done – we’d be more than happy to publish the bill on here.

This is the way things are going though. Residents starting to take on more maintenance jobs because the authorities can’t be bothered. While it’s a pain to do a maintenance job you’ve already paid someone else to do, it’s also the start of the growth of people power as residents start to take on more of the maintenance and running of their estates.