We’re moving…

This blog was born out of a series of misunderstandings in the early stages of building for the Southend Radical Fair, held in May 2017, that led us to pulling out of organising the event. These led us to conclude we had to scrub the predecessor of this blog, the South Essex Heckler, which was closely associated with the early stages of building the fair and start anew with this blog. The problem was that alongside this, we also started two other blogs – The Estuary Alternative and On Uncertain Ground. All had their specific functions but to be honest, it was a bit messy and many people looking at our range of blogs were, quite rightly, left wondering exactly what we were about. Also, this blog had been straying from it’s original remit, thereby adding to the confusion.

The Estuary Alternative and On Uncertain Ground blogs have been deleted. This blog is being terminated after this post and will remain online as an archive. As a number of people have linked to or re-blogged material from this blog, it would be a bit rude of us to delete it!

We’re starting a new blog with a class struggle anarchist / community activist perspective which in tandem with the South Essex Working Class Action Facebook page and Twitter feed, is a considerably more straightforward proposition. This is the new blog:

The Heckler – https://thehecklersewca.wordpress.com/

Yes, we’re bringing the Heckler name back! Hopefully, it’s onwards and upwards from this point…


There’s a solution to this issue…

Over the decades, various brownfield parts of Thurrock have been attractive to off road scrambler and more recently, quad bikers. It could be argued that it’s part of the culture of the region. The latest manifestation of this in the area we cover is happening in Stanford le Hope: Biker menaces top of the agenda at Stanford-le-Hope street surgery. This report is about a ‘street surgery’ attended by the Essex plod plus the two local Tory councillors (Cllr. Hebb and Cllr. Piccolo) and the local Tory MP, Stephen Metcalfe.

The two of us who make up the editorial team for the Stirrer live in Stanford-le-Hope and can confirm that yes, the quad and scrambler bikers can sometimes be a nuisance. We can also confirm that this is not a new issue round here by any stretch of the imagination. Back in the 1980s and 90s, a walk along the path across Stanford Warren or down on the seawall would frequently be punctuated by us having to stand aside to let a scrambler biker go past with us getting smothered in dust if they didn’t slow down enough!

The quad and scrambler biker presence around Stanford-le-Hope has been getting more noticeable since the middle of 2015. It’s no coincidence that this has happened since the one facility catering for quad and scrambler bikers in the region, Action Park was closed down by Basildon Council. The operators of Action Park are working behind the scenes to try and get the facility up and running again. Being north of the great divide in Basildon known as the A127 and up against the edge of the greener, leafier Tory voting areas, we’re not sure how much luck Action Park will have in their endeavours.

Why are we as radical anarchists interested in this issue? Because this shows what a combination of a lack of joined up thinking and obstructive planning can do in creating a problem. It’s part of human nature to want to take a few risks and have some fun in the process. That’s why some people get on quad and scrambler bikes and ride them off road to test their skills and endurance. What gets us is that there was a facility for this to take place that has now been closed down, thereby creating the issue there is at the moment. Perhaps Messrs Hebb, Piccolo and Metcalfe could have a quiet word with their mates in the Tory Mafia over in Basildon to suggest they support the re-opening of Action Park and see if that resolves the issue.

What will not work is hassling the quad and scramble bikers away from one area because as sure as night follows day, they will find another location to ride off road. If Action Park is not permitted to get up and running, then with a bit of imagination and flexibility, some kind of informal, ‘at your own risk’ arrangement on the still numerous brown field sites that are scattered across the region could be reached.

Basildon, Mid Essex and Southend postcode lottery

From Save Southend NHS Facebook page

Last year we fought and achieved success preventing #Southend A&E being downgraded. This is a stark reminder of the scale of service transfers which are being imposed by the Government led Mid and South Essex STP in order to save £££ by 2021. Any time now we are expecting confirmation that these service transfers have been ‘signed off’ following a token public consultation which received only 4000 responses out of a catchment of 1.5 million people. Most people in our community don’t even know that these specialities are due to be shipped out from Southend Hospital. Our huge town needs a full, district general hospital but instead we are set to lose the most out of the three in the new amalgamated super trust (Basildon, Mid Essex and Southend) which will see critically unwell patients travelling all over Essex. #OurNHS remains under constant attack as more and more centralisation and downgrading of hospitals takes place. We will fight on regardless. Please share our posts, support our campaign, write to your elected representatives and if you can, attend our twice weekly regular presences 12-1pm opposite the hospital every Monday and Friday.


Save our NHS?

From the Anarchist Communist Group

Healthcare in the UK is by no means “socialised”, as critics in the US claim. Though healthcare in the UK is undoubtedly better than healthcare in the US – just as other countries have better healthcare than the UK – it is still subject to the pressures and dynamics of capitalism, existing as it does in a capitalist society. It has also been increasingly marketised over recent decades, with attacks on both social provision and NHS workers coming under the cover of “privatisation” – the introduction of payment by results has introduced a market in health services, many non-frontline services have been privatised or contracted to companies like DHL, the introduction of wholly privately owned and operated “NHS treatment centres”, the rollout of Private Finance Initiatives etc all represent part of the same project of “rationalising” social provisions to the benefit of the overall capitalist system. Even the NHS in its classic form, as the centrepiece of the post-war welfare state, came as part of the attempt to stave off prewar-style class conflict and integrate the working class more closely into the state following the end of the war, and to provide a healthy working class that could fight and die for the bosses in their wars (our masters struggled to find enough fit cannon fodder for their First World War) and healthy enough to slave for their profits in paid jobs, and in unpaid childcare and housework, as well as from the needs for capitalism to stabilise itself after the turbulence of the 1920s, in a change of tactic well-known as the post-war settlement.

See here for the full article.

Who Owns Havering?

If you want to know what’s in store for the area you live in, start looking at who owns the land. You’ll be surprised what can be unearthed…


With a population of around 65 million and a land mass of 60 million acres, in theory every person in Britain should have about one acre of land each.  But as I’m sure most of us here already know, in real life things are very different – with one recent study claiming that 69% of this nation’s land is in the hands of a tiny 0.6% of the population.  Those diligent folk over at the Who Owns England? blog have produced an interactive map showing us who exactly is laying claim to large swathes of the country (or at least the English part of it).  This is quite some feat, when you bear in mind the murky and secretive nature of many landowners and investment firms.  Looking at the Havering part of the map reveals a few curious things – with a surprising number of overseas-based owners.  So…

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From the New Town Utopia Facebook page…

We’re incredibly pleased to be coming back to screen in Basildon again! We’ll be at The Towngate Theatre on Thursday 26th July.

The night will feature live performances alongside a screening of the film. It would be great to see you there. You can get tickets here: https://towngatetheatre.co.uk/new-town-utopia/

It’s here at last. The companion book to New Town Utopia is fresh from the printers and ready to be released into the wild.

It’s an anthology of poetry, photography and thought about Basildon, new towns, working class communities and much more. To kick off we printed a limited first edition of 100 numbered and signed copies. You can get hold of one here: http://newtownutopia.com/book

The book was edited by Christopher Ian Smith and designed by Mark Beechill. The cover was designed by Guy Hulse at dn&co.

A huge thank you to all those who contributed – including:

Phil Burdett
Ralph Dartford
Ölmo Lazarus, Poet
Vince O’Connell
Mike Parker
Ben Williams
Christopher Beanland
Gillian Darley
Dennis Hardy and Colin Ward
Owen Hatherley
Magnus Granath
John Grindrod
Katy Lock
Jonathan Meades
Dr. Helena Rivera
Ken Worpole

A suggestion:)

Below are a couple of memes we’ve created in the hope of encouraging some resistance to the wave of social cleansing in the name of ‘regeneration’ across London. Click the link below the image for an A4 PDF of each one. Please feel free to use, share and ideally, implement:)

Broadwater Farm version

Carpenters Estate version