OK. I buggered off, said it was ‘definite,’ and now I’m back. I hold my hands up and admit that.
However, after two weeks or so without the Chief Reporter mask on, something happened. To be fair, it was only going to take one Southend Borough Council travesty to bring Southend News Network back from the dead. Lo and behold, on 15th February 2017, it happened.
It was announced that the return of the Southend Marathon to raise much-needed funds for Havens Hospices had been cancelled, and all of the official statements being peddled out left right and centre didn’t really give too much away.
We understand why. As a reputable charity, Havens Hospices need to maintain a good working relationship with Southend Borough Council. Nobody wants to see them get shafted after all.
However, over the course of the day it emerged that the 12th March event depended upon the road closure on a small section of Southend Seafront, and this was refused by the council after, and here’s the important bit, representations were received from local traders (‘stakeholders’).
In simple terms, there were concerns from seafront businesses about a drop in trade for that well-known peak retail period that happens every year on a half-warm half-miserable Sunday morning in the middle of March.
Thankfully, the FTSE 100 Index has already shown signs of recovery since the cancellation was announced.
To make matters worse, we have actually spoken to a couple of local traders on the seafront, and they have hinted that they have no idea who these ‘local traders’ are who objected to the road closures and therefore the marathon taking place.
It makes you wonder just exactly who is responsible for this sorry mess.
People are only angry about this because the circumstances are very similar to that other well-known Southend Borough Council ‘it wasn’t our fault’ tourism incident – the cancellation of the revived Southend Airshow.
Once again, we have all parties releasing nicey-nicey statements saying ‘oh well, never mind, we’re disappointed but that’s life,’ but somewhere there is something very, very wrong in action. Something rotten.
Southend News Network was only set up in the first place because we live in a town where those in charge seem to have a fantastic ability to ensure that nothing of note ever happens, while simultaneously removing every last trace of cultural identity. Before you all pipe up, being an Alternative Capital of F*cking Culture doesn’t count – hang your heads in shame!
All over the UK other councils seem to have a magical ability to make events work. The Clacton Airshow, the Brighton Marathon, and so on. Meanwhile, Southend On Sea has become a total laughing stock, where the usual suspects rule the roost and the almighty pound sterling trumps all.
This is why we are trying to organise an ‘unofficial’ Southend Marathon on the 12th March. It is 0.4 miles from The Kursaal to The Pier, and so by walking, running, jogging or crawling between these two points 65 and a half times you would have covered a marathon distance. Check out the event here.
That’s 65 and a half times past the very ‘stakeholders’ who didn’t want the Southend Marathon to happen. Unless of course, someone at the council has decided to pass the buck. Perish the thought.
We’re not encouraging civil disorder or anything like that, we are just saying that you cannot stop people going for a run. People don’t even need to complete the whole ‘course’ – they just need to turn up or even simply register their interest in the Facebook event to say that they are fed up with their beloved home town being turned into an utter shambles.
A home town where those in government get excited almost to the point of climax about a bit of paving that can be used by cars and people at the same time.
A home town where a new stadium for the local team got planning permission before the ark.
A home town where government said ‘no’ to an annual spectacular that brought hundreds of thousands of people into the town, with money. You hear that, MONEY. CASH. SPONDOOLICKS. MAZUMA. READDIES.
We looked at a number of economics textbooks and made a HUGE discovery. Apparently, John Maynard Keynes once said: ‘Lots of people attending an event spend money in shops, which means that the shops make more money than if lots of people didn’t attend the event, which in turn leads to profits.’
We’re not going to bang on about this for too long, but one more thing. If you are in any doubt about there being ‘dark forces’ at work when it comes to putting on events in this town, just have a look at this Freedom of Information request that has been refused.
This meeting was all about getting the revived Southend Airshow up and running, and it would be great to get to the bottom of it. They might as well just stamp a flaming red ‘F**K YOU PLEBS’ graphic on the front cover.