Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Labour doesn't like St. George

In Basildon at least. The Conservative administration on the Council replaced the EU flag with the Cross of St. George alongside the Union Flag for Council meetings. Apparently our local Labour party don't like this. In particular Lynda Gordon, the Labour leader, has connected the EU with trips to MIPIM.
She said it was "two faced" of the Conservatives to jet to Cannes in the south of France and try to lure foreign investment to Basildon without recognising the benefits of being in Europe
If you don't know, MIPIM, which is held in Cannes, is the largest property development conference in Europe and Conservative Councillors have attended for the last two years in order to bring investment to Basildon. However, it is nothing to do with the EU, being entirely privately run. Anyway, why is that if any objection to anything to do with the EU if automatically equated to a dislike of all things continental European? We just think it is better to fly the English flag in, well, England.

The good news for Lynda is that Associated Press have picked up on the story and so in may get some national coverage. So, do you think that Labour HQ will be pleased at Basildon's Labour's firm rejection of English patriotism, regarding it as a surefire vote winner? Or do you think that she might be getting a pointed phone call sometime this evening?


Onlinefocus Team said...


How much investment to Basildon have these visits to Cannes produced?

Steve Horgan said...

In terms of direct investment, somewhat over £2m directly attributable and maybe £30m where our presence at MIPIM was a factor. In terms of exciting interest in our regeneration portfolio that is more difficult to measure, as some deals may have been done without attending the conferences. However, we currently have schemes of over £1.5bn in value and at least part of that would not exist without the contacts and profile we get from attending MIPIM.

Not bad for a spend of a few thousand pounds.

Onlinefocus Team said...

And the councillors have gone purely on behalf of Basildon?

Could you explain a bit more please about what they do at Cannes?

Who else is there from Essex?

Should Rochford be getting involved with this?

Thanks, Chris

Steve Horgan said...

We have sent a small group of Councillors and officers for two years now on behalf of Basildon District Council. Last year Cllr. Castle of ECC was also there, but this year we were the only Councillors from Essex, though there was also some non-Councillor representation from Southend Renaissance and Thames Gateway South Essex. The only reason to go to MIPIM is if you have something to sell. We have an ambitious regeneration programme that we want to advance both to the public and private sector. The question for Rochford is do you have such a programme? If so, MIPIM one of a number of ways to generate interest in it. If not, then the trip would just be a good way to get a sun tan.