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If we continue to ask for little, we will continue to get less.

I recently received a few negative responses about my perceived negativity emanating from my article kindly published in the excellent Oracle magazine, observing how potholes have become the height of ambition where once it was building the world's longest pleasure pier.

The residents I recieved emails seemed to be offended and took it as a personal affront to their contribution to Southend. They did not like to hear some arrogant upstart tell them just how bad everything is when good people are in actual fact doing great things.

My view on their view is there is most certainly truth in what they are saying!

I was glad that they did take the time to write in because they have given me the opportunity to think harder about what I put out in the world. I will say that I had re-read the article and had already toned it down and balanced it out, but unfortunately my later version (published here: was too late for the deadline and the original article was published. It is what it is!

It could be argued highlighting faults is not productive.  Targeting those in power in Southend without a true understanding is ignorant and easy to do.

But I do wish to differentiate between all those that keep the city going and those that do hold the keys to the future of Southend.

To the person that volunteers, cleans the beaches, empties the bins, cuts the grass, plants the trees, writes reports, votes for policies, runs businesses, teaches, polices, heals and helps, I am not talking about you when I talk about ambition, and I apologise to anyone that has taken it the wrong way.

Having said that, I do wish to make a further comment about the internal ambition and expectation of Southend residents. Because when I speak to residents and ask them what they want or need, most have said potholes fixed. Now, I couldn’t agree more!  They do need to be sorted out.  But when our primary desire is to fix potholes we maybe should ask ourselves about our ambition and why it is where it is.

Because it is low. 

Cracked pavements are being mended by black asphalt and it looks wrong.  Dimmed street lighting when dark is wrong.  Once a year grass cutting is wrong.  Criminal activity such as drug dealing is wrong. Long NHS waiting times, large class sizes are wrong. Sewage in our seas and demolishing assets to the community are wrong.

Yet we take it, so why is it wrong to say it?

I’ve lived here all my life and whilst there is plenty to shout about, I know what needs to be changed - as do we all.  Southend is good, but is it wrong to say it could be better?

What I am trying to express is that potholes should be the very basics of what we should expect. Somehow, over a number of decades, our expectation has eroded and we if we continue to ask for little, we will continue to get less.

I apologise to those offended by my previous article and I hear you. I genuinely thank you for making your voice heard. Believe it or not, we are a party of positive conflict and I would love for you to raise your voices at our meetings.

Our singular goal is Southend and I know the more voices heard, the more Southend stands to benefit.

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