Thursday, 30 November 2006

Tonight is the Night

Tonight is the open primary for South Basildon and East Thurrock to choose their new candidate for the next general election. If you want to come and have not registered please call 01375 642397. South Basildon and East Thurrock is a wonderful place to live but together we can make it better. I wish all the candidates the best of luck this evening and will give my full support to whoever is chosen.

A final reminder about what I want for South Basildon and East Thurrock

Low Crime - so you can walk down the street after dark without fear
First Class schools and first class hospitals. Not just for us but for our children's future too.

Homes for people to live in not houses all over our green fields.
Fairer, Lower taxes, a government that doesnt waste money and businesses that thrive.

Sensible controlled immigration and freedom from the nanny state.

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Tax and Crime

Rather a late blog this evening as I have just returned home from Thrurrock Council's monthly meeting. Councillors unamimously expressed their outrage at the proposed hike in the Dartford Tunnel fare from £1 to £1.50 - It makes rises in council tax under labour look moderate! Its not just about the money (though the extra £1 a day for people going to work, to visit family or to go to hospital on the other side of the river will be a burden for many). It is also about air pollution - Thurrock suffers some of the worst air pollution in the country and they dont want the queues to be longer. AND it is also about keeping promises. When the toll was first introduced residents were promised that it would stop when the bridge was paid for - that happened long ago but the tax has continued. Politicians should not make promises they have no intention of keeping.

I believe that taxes should be low and simple. That those who earn least should pay least and that each of us should be able to choose how we spend the money we earn. This sort of stealth tax hits the least well off worst. Perhaps this blog should be titled "High Taxes are Criminal." I want to make sure that the tax policies of the next Conservative government help the hard working people and not just big businesses. I've been helping work on those policies - go to if you want to know more.

This is me, spending my own money in Pitsea market!

I also had a conversation with David Amess today. He was MP for Basildon for so long and really fought for the town. He still keeps a watchful eye. We discussed the policing situation. Before he was MP there was only one police station in his constituency - by the time he left there were three. Sadly last week when I drove past Pitsea Police station in the middle of the day there were 6 squad cars outside but a sign on the door saying "closed". I want to see more local policing. Why was and Angela Smith one of only two Essex MPs who did not sign the pledge to oppose the police force mergers?

David and I also discussed immigration, development plans, travellers, the sewage works and the third route off Canvey Island - but you can see my views on that elsewhere on this blogsite.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Getting the Knowledge

Today a local taxi driver offered to “give me the knowledge” about Basildon from a cabbies eyes. He said he would be delighted to do the same for any of the candidates if they asked – and for free.

Before going out I had a coffee with some of the staff from the taxi office. They spoke about crime. Recently two of their drivers have been attacked. We do need more police on the streets. They said that drugs are a really big problem. We also discussed immigration. They see the pressure that extra people are putting on services.

In the cab we went to Felmore and Vange. Areas where many houses and roads are in dire need of repair. I heard how a neighbourhood pub had been pulled down for housing – robbing the area of a meeting place. I was taken to where 2 recent murders have happened. But all the cabbies were full of praise for some of the headteachers.

We went past the sewage works, which still cause a stench for residents, and up to John Barron MP’s constituency to see where the new Gardiners Lane South development will happen. Lots of South Basildon people work in this part of town. I was delighted to see the Bowling Alley in Bazvegas (my children love bowling but I am rubbish at it and need more practice!). I heard concerns about having to relocate the Rugby and Football clubs. Basildon is full of green places – it will be very sad to see any of them go.

Back through the town centre and past the station into Kingswood. The trains are better now but they need more fast ones. The cabbies are delighted that the bus services aren’t better! (By the way good news for the rest of us about bus improvements from Essex CC today – lets see how that develops).

On to Pitsea Hill where I heard the driver’s concerns about the proposed travellers site and finally back to Pitsea itself where we discussed all the areas for new building that we had passed. Obviously we hadn’t been everywhere but it was incredibly helpful.

Thank you Steve and all the crew for letting me see the town through your eyes. I hope that whoever is selected on Thursday will keep in close contact with their cabbies. They do a great job.

Monday, 27 November 2006

Crime - where next

Today I went to Horndon-on-the-Hill where I know there has been a spate of burglaries recently. I met Mrs T*********. She is a widow and a pensioner. She explained that a couple of weeks ago the police had come to a meeting in the village and told residents that they just did not have enough manpower to have a proper police presence in the village.

Within 24 hours, in daylight, Mrs T was burgled. The thieves levered open a window and cut through the locks. "They took everything" she said. Her money, her watch even family photos. Memories that Mrs T will never be able to replace.

Mrs T will not be coming to Thursday’s meeting. She is too frightened to leave her house any more. We must stop this happening. Even the police say there are not enough police.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

A Grand Plan or Cloud Cuckoo Land?

Sunday - A bit of time today with the family and to catch up on some paperwork. I wanted to have a really good look at the Thames Gateway Interim Plan released this week with a high profile speech by Prescott's successor Ruth Kelly. I agree that we want "homes not houses" but after reading the 164 page "prospectus" I agree more with Basildon's Conservative Council Leader Malcolm Buckley's description of parts of the strategy as "cloud cuckoo land".

Around 30,000 new homes are planned in the Districts of Basildon and Thurrock. All over the country Labour has built thousands of new homes without increasing schools, hospitals or putting in decent road or transport links. I wanted to see what the documents said about these things.

In the whole 164 pages education in the area gets 3 paragraphs. In Thurrock education is described as "weak", a university campus is promised but there is no mention of schools.

Healthcare gets two paragraphs. Thurrock patients are to go to Basildon - and much is made of the new Cardiac unit at Basildon. That is great if you have heart problems but healthcare is much more than that. This week I went to Basildon hospital to find out what patients thought. They were full of praise for the hard working staff but already think the hospital has out grown its site (especially the car park!).

If the government are to force new homes into the area then we must all stand up and fight for more schools, hospitals and other services too.

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Changing Political Weather

Spent today with some friends delivering leaflets to invite people along to Thursdays meeting. Greeted very warmly everywhere, despite the showers. A beautiful rainbow over Corringham is perhaps an omen of changing political weather. So many people are saying to me "I don't know anyone who votes labour any more"

Issues raised today were crime, development, the hospitals and healthcare and education. We must give all children the access to first class schools - or who is going to be running British businesses in the future?

Friday, 24 November 2006


Today I wanted to do some research into local “Traveller” issues. I went to Dale Farm at Cray's Hill - I know it’s just outside the constituency but I’m told part of it is the UK’s largest illegal traveller site and many people had told me about it. This is not a couple of caravans in a field. It is more like a whole village. The “site” has streets, homes, electricity and quite a few expensive looking cars! Why should Travellers be able to build in places where the rest of the public are not?

Then I went to Pitsea station to see “Terminus Drive” where it is proposed the travellers might move to. OK it’s not a very glamorous location (right under the flyover beside the railway line). Should a Travellers site be located right beside the station? Basildon district has more Traveller sites than most other areas. I think it is time that other areas played their part.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Together we can make Basildon and East Thurrock better

I stopped off at the station in Stanford Le Hope and was lucky to bump into Tony. Tony is in charge of cleaning on the C-2-C. He took me to see the graffiti on the railway bridge. All of this in only 2 weeks. Graffiti become a big problem in the past couple of years and obviously Tony has send cleaners to tidy it up. The season ticket is £1,888. It’s a lot of money – I want that money to go towards trains that run on time. It shouldn’t have to be spent on cleaning up graffiti. Anti social behaviour is a real problem and must be stopped.

I then popped down to Tilbury to have a walk along the river. This is historic England. Queen Elizabeth I stood on the docks at Tilbury and spoke to the English navy about to face the Armada. She said “I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman but I have the heart and stomach of a King and a King of England too!” We need leaders like that again.

Tens of thousands of new homes are planned all over the Thames Gateway. How are our schools, hospitals and roads to cope?

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Come and choose your candidate on Thursday 30 November

More details are out about the "Open Primary" for South Basildon and East Thurrock.

The meeting will take place at the function room of Langdon Hills Golf Centre, Lower Dunton Road, Stanford-Le-Hope starting at 7pm on Thursday 30 November.

I hope as many people as possible turn up to the meeting. It's an exciting new way of choosing a Conservative Candidate.

Any resident of the new constituency who would like to vote must register by calling 01375 642397 or by sending an email to

Crime, Immigration and the NHS

I'm fed up with MPs who just moan about problems - I want to be an MP who sorts problems out!

Between now and the open primary in Basildon and Thurrock I promise to meet as many local people as possible so I can understand their problems.

At Basildon hospital I met Val and her twin sister. They had been visiting Val's husband who has just had a major operation. They were full of praise for the doctor but say parking at the hospital is a nightmare. Val has a disabled badge but there is never a disabled place available for her to park in. The car park costs £2 each time they visit. Many pensioners these days just can't afford that sort of money. The NHS finances are in a complete mess so the hospital is trying to make ends meet by charging for parking. Last year Basildon patients paid over £1 million in car park fees. It is outrageous. Gordon Brown has poured money into the health service. Where has it all gone?

In Horndon-on-the- Hill I met Pat. She is concerned about local businesses. British businesses used to be top of the world. Too many of them have folded. I believe we should support our own companies.

Pat was also concerned about immigration - I agree. How can you possibly run a country when you have no idea how many people there are in it!

In Pitsea I spoke to the Community Safety Officers. It is good that they are around. They were looking out for children playing truant - but if they spot one they aren't allowed to march them back to school. They aren't even given a camera so they can identify kids later. If we dont make sure our children get a decent education then how are they going to be able to cope when they grow up? We talked about anti-social behaviour. Its a huge issue. I think Community Officers should be given powers like real policemen.

I stopped in the market to buy some fruit. I was warned to keep a tight hold on my purse as there have been a lot of pick-pockets. There should be more police on the streets.