Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Barking's dogged resistance to dog poo

Barking and Dagenham council is to become the first UK council to DNA-test dog poo left on the streets. Once all the borough's dogs have been chipped and DNA sampled then any rogue poo merchants can be caught and fined. Some poor council official is going to have to take a sample of the pavement poo and then analyse it with Pooprints (this is a copyrighted name) technology. Such canine capers could represent the turd way in council politics. And poo-testing will surely take off in Pupminster and then travel all stations to Pooburyness.

BBC goes coastal in Essex

The BBC continues to be obsessed with the voting habits of Essex men and women, particularly in the coastal areas where Ukip stands a chance. There's an interesting video on Jaywick Sands, the most deprived area in the country, on, while Carolyn Quinn visited the Castle Point constituency for Radio 4's PM on St George's Day, taking in the Hoy and Helmet pub in Benfleet and the hair salons and skateparks of Canvey Island. Click on the links to hear the full reports.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Mortgage bills in Harold Hill

With the Conservatives promising to give housing association tenants the right to buy, there's been a lot of looking back at one of the first council houses sold by Margaret Thatcher's government in 1980, in where else but Essex. The BBC News filmed outside 39 Amersham Road in Harold Hill, while the Daily Telegraph had a feature on the housing history of the property. Margaret Thatcher was famously filmed handing over the keys to the new owners, the Patterson family, although the pressure of paying a mortgage eventually resulted in their marriage breaking-up. It was sold for £8000 and has since increased in value hugely to more than £186k in 2004 and mirrors the history of housing in Britain. Click on the link to read the Telegraph piece.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Basil Fawlty hits the Essex Riviera of Thurrock

The media has had a lot of fun with the fact that Nigel Farage's Ukip launched their manifesto at the Thurrock Hotel in Aveley. In addition to easy access to Lakeside, the Arterial and the A13, the Thurrock Hotel offers three-course Fawlty Towers dinners for £37, where professional actors offer "comic mishaps, manic mayhem and major mischief" based on John Cleese and Connie Booth's brilliant 1970s TV series. Cue lots of jokes from the hacks about a Fawlty manifesto. Not sure the Ukippers would approve of hiring cheap waiters from Barcelona. Though they might agree with Basil's views when Mr Johnson asks if there's anywhere they do French food. Basil answers: "Yes, France I believe. They seem to like it there, and the swim would certainly sharpen your appetite."

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Chelmsford: what election is that, then?

Got a quote in the Essex Chronicle last week commenting on the fact that 20 per cent of people in Chelmsford don't know there's an election on. So much for the information age… and also on the premise that Essex Man is no longer connecting with the Conservatives in the way he did under Maggie Thatcher. Click on the link to read.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Essex: The final frontier

Harlow, we have a problem… Essex has its own Space Agency it seems. Project HeliumTears has established twitter contact about its plan to send a giant weather balloon carrying a camera into space. The project plans to photograph the Earth from the edge of space and retrieve the camera and data upon its return. It’s all the work of Sky at Night fans Matt Kingsnorth from Warley and Phil St Pier from Romford. “We’re more Jupiter mining corporation than Starfleet fella,” declare the county’s answer to Aldrin, Armstong and Collins. They told the Brentwood Gazette: “We’re just a couple of geeks with acess to the internet and YouTube and a desire to say that Essex isn’t just about Towie and drunken people fighting on a Saturday night." The pair even have their own Essex Space Agency notepaper. One small leap for man, one giant leap for Essex. Follow their progress through the link and via twitter @ProjectHeT. Engage!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Top cat Joey

Enjoyed the fact that the Liberal Democrats' website changed their logo to read "Liberal Democats" in honour of Joey Essex's interview with Nick Clegg, in which Joey thought that Democats was the party's name. The Lib-Dems also replaced their soaring bird logo with a cat. Liked the way Essex established common ground with Clegg by quipping, "I sort of rule Essex!" Never mind the Daily Telegraph piece lamenting the "shameful dumbing down" of politics. People like politicians who are not pompous and don't take themselves too seriously. With Joey set to interview Ed Miliband and David Cameron for his Educating Joey Essex series, it might yet be Essex that decides the General Election.