Bob Resorts To Americanisms In His Press Release – So He Can Claim To Be An Armed Forces ‘Veteran’

IT APPEARS THAT, as far as Bob Spink (our local MP) is concerned: there is no looming general election – just as there is apparently no issue over his fraudulent office expense claims. Readers of his press release, issued yesterday, are led to believe that Bob will still be ‘representing’ constituents in June, when the next Castle Point Armed Forces Parade is due to be held on the island.

Wrapping himself in the Union Flag, as most politicians are want-to-do at election  time, Bob proclaims:-

MP Bob Spink is, for the fourth year in succession, holding an Armed Forces Day for Castle Point to honour its veterans and serving forces.

Last year over 5,000 people took part and the event which [sic] was made a great success by the efforts of Canvey Town Councillors who supported Bob. Castle Point received wide national coverage as one of the best in the country and was mentioned by the Prime Minister at Prime Ministers Questions where he joined Independent MP Bob in congratulating all involved.

Bob, himself a Forces Veteran, says:

“We must never forget the sacrifice given by our veterans and those serving now. They are simply the Bravest and the Best.

I have bid for and now been formally granted £2000 by the MOD to support this year’s event.

I am particularly grateful to Canvey Island Town Council and the Royal British Legion for their wonderful support in organising and running the event.

Our next Armed Forces Day will be on Saturday 26th June and the Chelsea Pensioners, Gurkhas [sic], Royal Anglian Regiment and all cadet and youth organisations will I hope be attending to make it another wonderful day. I hope you will accept my personal invitation to attend.”

Now, the word ‘veteran’ can only be used two ways in the English language. The first is to describe a person or thing that has given long service in some capacity; but the second, in the context that Bob uses it here, is: an Armed Forces member who has seen considerable active service.

Bob is carefully using the word here in its US usage: a person who has served in the armed forces.

There can be no doubt that he actually donned a uniform; just as there can be no doubt that he undertook basic training. But Bob was never in harm’s way. He was, (according to his CV) invalided-out whilst receiving basic training at RAF Cosford and Uxbridge. So even the abysmally lax definition of the word’s US usage somewhat overstates his claim – since training does not constitute service.

Armed Forces veterans are easy to distinguish. At the very least they have been presented with, and are entitled to wear, a campaign ribbon. It is the force’s way of recognising the mental and, sometimes, physical scars that they will be forced to carry with them for the rest of their lives. And the military have long reserved the term ‘veteran’ for only those armed forces personnel whom have actually participated in combat. New recruits, and most civilians, hold veterans in high esteem and provide them with the respect they deserve – particularly those whom were forced to receive their meagre reward posthumously.

There is something particularly despicable about someone passing themself off as a veteran and claiming a share of our Heroes’ Glory. Moreover, it is sickening to think that such a pretender should lead an armed forces’ parade or present themself for press photographs in front of such honourable men and women.

If you are around this year, Bob, do us all a favour: learn how to spell ‘Ghurkhas;’ confine your ‘marching’ to the rear of the procession; and, when the inevitable group photographs are taken: make sure you are at the back…

CPBC To Host ‘Voice Of Business Briefing’

CASTLE POINT BOROUGH COUNCIL and Essex Federation of Small Businesses are joining forces to hold a special Voice of Business Briefing for local businesses at the council offices in Kiln Road, Thundersley, on the evening of Wednesday, 3rd March 2010.

South East Essex FSB Branch Chairman, Terry Taber, said: “The Castle Point Voice of Business Briefing is a new partnership event between Essex FSB and Castle Point Borough Council with the aim of providing local businesses with information to help them prepare for the end of the recession.

“Representatives from Banking on Essex will be speaking about the loans and overdrafts they are offering viable businesses to help them cope with the shortage of finance from High Street banks, and we are hoping that Jobcentre Plus will be present to talk about the financial and other support they can provide for businesses.

“The Castle Point Borough Council Economic Development Team will also be outlining the work they are doing and the support available locally.

“Main speaker for the evening is Steve Clarke of Eureka Sales Solutions who will be giving his new presentation on how to prepare your marketing strategy so that you are ready to attract new customers and encourage existing customers to buy more from your business as the recession begins to end.”

Castle Point Borough Council Leader Cllr Mrs Pam Challis OBE said: “The programme for this briefing is packed with practical information and help for businesses and we hope that we will see a lot of Castle Point firms book in to attend.

“Working with partners such as Essex FSB and Essex County Council means that we are able to bring together a wide range of expertise which means the programme is very full; but is also very useful in signposting businesses to people which can help them.”

Places for the Castle Point Voice of Business Briefing can be booked at www.fsb.org.uk/essex/castle-point-seminar

Bob Reminds The Echo That They Have Not Published Details Of His ‘Listening Panel’ Event On Friday 5th March

BOB SPINK, our local MP, has, it seems, decided upon adopting a strong local business position for this year’s general election campaign.

His latest press release ‘calls on local people to support local businesses’ and provides a considered analysis of the benefits from doing so.

Bob outlines some of the practical areas residents can help achieve this:-

  • Shopping for food at local grocers and convenience stores
  • Using local tradesmen, plumbers, electricians, heating engineers and gardeners
  • Purchasing shoes and clothes from independent and second hand retailers
  • Buying cars and white goods locally

(Bob does not say if he actually buys from ‘second-hand retailers;’ but the evidence suggests he does not.)

And there are wider benefits as well, Bob says:-

  • Exercise and keep fit by walking to the shops
  • Meet neighbours and friends and have a chat
  • Costs you less, given the price of petrol
  • Saves the environment
  • Builds a stronger community for vulnerable and elderly people

(Is it the word ‘patronise’ you are searching for, Bob?).

And Bob’s press release goes on to claim that Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, supports his ideas.

Bob quotes the LibDem Leader as saying:-

‘Thriving high streets are at the heart of local communities.

‘But it has been our high streets that have borne the brunt of this recession, with boarded up shops scarring towns and villages across Britain…’

Strong support indeed. (And it is just like the LibDems to take their leader’s comments regarding Bob’s ideas completely out of context and claim they were made at the launch of their Party’s plans to revitalise British High Streets, on Friday. Shame on them!).

But Bob is determined to get his message across (and fish for more campaign ideas) by reiterating the contents of his previous press release concerning a local ‘Listening Panel.’

Apparently annoyed at the lack of any mention in the Echo, Bob takes the trouble to copy and paste all its details to them again:-

Independent MP Bob Spink’s ‘Listening Panel’ will be held on

Friday 5th March at 7.30pm

At his Constituency Office Meeting Room

At 75 Downer Road Benfleet SS7 1BQ

On the junction of Bowers and Downer Road in the unmade section of Downer Road

Bob wants to hear the views of businesses, residents and councillors

Bob says:

“I’ve had small businesses; I understand their difficulties and am fighting for them. They get a poor deal from local and national government.

Independent retailers are particularly hard hit by changes to the high street, planning rules and the recession.

I want to hear what I can do to help and what message I can take back to the Government of whatever colour.

As an Independent MP, I’m free to do what is right for you rather than the party whip.

Most local retail spending takes place outside our borough. This is bad for our local economy and bad for our environment. I want more friendly policies from the Government and local councils to change this.

I have been campaigning for years for:

  • Lower rates
  • Fairer small business rate relief system
  • Removal of some car parking charges (Tories, in part accepted my demand on this one)
  • Careful planning to stop unfair high street competition
  • Rejection of new out of town supermarkets, higher rates for existing ones
  • A secure post office network
  • More attractive and regeneration of local shopping areas
  • Better public toilets and other facilities
  • Improvements to trading/industrial estates like Manor, Rayleigh Weir and Charfleets

We must fight for our communities and that means supporting our local businesses.”

Let us hope that Bob’s extra efforts, to ensure that all local ‘businesses, residents and councillors’ attend his ‘Listening Panel,’ are suitably rewarded…

‘Bob Wants To Hear The Views Of Businesses, Residents And Councillors’

BOB SPINK, our local MP, will be holding a ‘Listening Panel’ at his Downer Road constituency ‘office’ meeting room, at 7:30pm, on Friday 5th March.

Bob must be late faxing the details of this one to the Echo – because I cannot find it mentioned on their Website.

However, Bob has this to say on his:-

I’ve had small businesses; I understand their difficulties and am fighting for them. They get a poor deal from local and national government.

Independent retailers are particularly hard hit by changes to the high street, planning rules and the recession.

I want to hear what I can do to help and what message I can take back to the government of whatever colour.

As an Independent MP, I’m free to do what is right for you rather than the party whip.

Most local retail spending takes place outside our borough. This is bad for our local economy and bad for our environment. I want more friendly policies from the government and local councils to change this.

I have been campaigning for years for:

– Lower rates
– Fairer small business rate relief system
– Removal of some car parking charges (Tories, in part accepted my demand on this one)
– Careful planning to stop unfair high street competition
– Rejection of new out of town supermarkets, higher rates for existing ones
– A secure post office network
– More attractive and regeneration of local shopping areas
– Better public toilets and other facilities
– Improvements to trading/industrial estates like Manor, Rayleigh Weir and Charfleets

We must fight for our communities and that means supporting our local businesses.

That is the great thing about being an Independent MP, with no party whip; no party manifesto to promote; no formal policies of one’s own and absolutely no idea of local residents’ concerns or the issues facing them. Instead of mounting a soapbox and declaring a personal vision for the constituency, the nation, and what you stand for, you simply dig around for a suitable bandwagon on which to base your local campaign.

But we already know where he stands, do we not? He wants to send all the immigrants back; he wants out of the European Union; he is against more local housing and is against any third road off the island that would alleviate the pressure on the A13. He is against forestry husbandry; against proper council financial constraints; against helping the Tory council; against conversing with Tory councillors; against his having to be civil in his dealings with members of the public; against having to substantiate any of his wild allegations in the house; against providing constituents with full details of his position on important matters; and against answering any questions over the small matter of his office expenses.

Numerous Early Day Motions reiterate his overwhelming personal view: he is most definitely ‘against.’

The only thing we know he is actually for, is a substantial rise in MPs salaries to take account of all those over-claims, which he and other poor souls have been forced to apply for through poverty.

Why is he not for new affordable housing? Well, apparently he believes the housing problem will resolve itself when he sends all the immigrants back. (Even the BNP admits to the impossibility of that one).

And what is his position on Government debt and the state of the British economy? You would expect a qualified accountant to have a position; but our Bob is strangely reticent. Economics, it appears, is not his strong point. And neither are his accounting skills if his office expenses are anything to go by…

…or maybe they are…

… (15/02/2010) – Bob Reminds The Echo That They Have Not Published Details Of His ‘Listening Panel’ Event On Friday 5th March

Canvey Island Town Council Meeting

IT APPEARS that Canvey Island’s Town Council has a lot to discuss at its meeting of the Environment and Open Spaces Committee to be held at the Paddocks Community Centre in Long Road on Monday, 2nd February. (They are only devoting 10 minutes to its public forum in which residents can raise matters of concern).

The agenda does not mention the important matter of security fencing around the island’s King George V playing fields; but time will be devoted to considering alternative locations for six additional planters and purchasing nine additional signs for the new lamp columns in the Town Centre.

Other items on the agenda are: to consider supporting projects with working groups; to consider actions required for surveying paths; and to consider commencing the consultation process regarding dog-fouling.

The meeting commences at 7.30pm; but residents wishing to attend should check the above details with the town clerk before attending. The letter to councillors requested their attendance on Monday, 2nd February; but February 2nd is a Tuesday…

They probably mean Monday, February 1st – or Tuesday February 2nd.

I will update this piece when the actual date is confirmed…

… which, I am told, is in fact: Monday, February 1st.

… (Echo, 26/01/2010) – Council is reluctant to pay for fence

… (Julian’s Musings, 26/01/2010) – CIIP: up a cul-de-sac – navel-gazing that delights the local Tories

County Hall To Host ‘Meet The Lenders’ Event For Local Businesses

LOCAL BUSINESSES seeking finance this year are being urged to visit County Hall, on Thursday 14 January, when a Meet The Lenders event will be held in the Atrium from 9.00am until 5.00pm.

Essex FSB Education, Skills and Business Support spokesman, David Miles, said: “There is no doubt that businesses are still finding it difficult to access finance from traditional High Street banks, even though we are told we are coming out of recession, which is why Essex FSB is encouraging businesses to come along to this event.

“The main exhibitor  is the team from Banking on Essex who will be able to explain how to access the funds they have available for Essex businesses.

“Other exhibitors include: Business Link; Colchester Business Enterprise Agency; East of England Development Agency; Essex Innovations; Essex Apprenticeships and
UK Trade and Investment.

“We hope that as many businesses as possible, which are looking for finance in 2010, will come along to this event and take advantage of the information and advice available.”

Echo Polishes Bob’s Image By Re-Writing Hansard

Bandwagon Bob

Bandwagon Bob

BANDWAGON BOB, our local MP, was busy chasing his Parliamentary statistics again on Monday. On his first day back, Bob managed 25 Parliamentary written answers and, to no doubt take his mind off Legg’s impending letter, he managed four questions as well. Two were used in making a contribution to the debate on tobacco purchase on behalf of children and one was used to present a petition from residents regarding Barratt’s proposal for 150 homes in the Chase in Benfleet.

Interested readers can follow the links; but there were no interesting answers to report.

Bob’s other question was reported today by the Echo, in a piece announcing a public meeting, called by Spink, to discuss residents’ concerns about the operation of the Continuum Group’s new school in the former Leigh Beck Doctors’ Surgery. But the story is not in the meeting (to be held in the Paddocks on Thursday, 22nd October at 7.30pm) it is in the way the Echo has re-written Spink’s Parliamentary question to remove his reference to ‘nasty kids’ and lay some of the blame on ‘taxis.’

Here is what Spink actually said, along with the reply from Ed Balls (Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families):-

Bob Spink: ‘What can we do to ensure that special schools that are opened for the most difficult and sometimes rather nasty kids in society are opened in proper and suitable locations, not unsuitable locations, and that, for instance, the kids from throughout Essex who are taken to the school that Essex county council has just opened on Canvey Island, go to the school, not to the town centre, where they are causing mayhem?’

Ed Balls: ‘I was with the Schools Minister at Huntercombe young offenders institution only last week, and that visit convinced me that we need to do more to intervene early to ensure that children with learning difficulties or young people with behavioural problems get the extra support that they need. That is integral to the way in which we plan our secondary school provision and take forward Building Schools for the Future, and our behaviour partnerships will ensure that such provision is at the centre of people’s thinking, rather than on the periphery or excluded, as it sometimes has been.’

Bob Spink makes perfectly clear what he thinks of the youths involved, and he makes no mention of ‘taxis;’ only the Echo report associates them with the apparent problem. Moreover, Ed Balls does not actually answer Bob’s question, and Spink does not press the matter any further. The Echo‘s headline, MP quizzes minister over location of special school, is therefore somewhat misleading.

Residents could be forgiven for thinking that the Echo is not a newspaper; but that it is just another part of Bandwagon Bob’s image-making machine.

… (Echo, 23/10/2009) – Residents demand problem school moved from Canvey