“I’ve Been There 3 Times”

The Echo has a report about senior people from the Thames Gateway quango and Basildon Council going off to the South of France, They are trying to attract investment to this corner of Essex:

INTERNATIONAL companies are being encouraged to invest billions of pounds in south Essex to help the dream of regeneration come to fruition.

Judith Armitt, chief executive of Thames Gateway, is travelling to a worldwide property summit in Cannes, France, this week to set out her case for greater private investment in the area.
Mrs Armitt will join south Essex councillors at the conference to tempt big developers to the area.
The Government says it has invested ?7billion in the regeneration of the Thames Gateway, which runs from Canary Wharf to Southend on the north side of the estuary and to Sheerness in Kent to the south.
But it estimates it will be able to generate ?38billion in private investment to carry out all of the regeneration plans it forsees taking place.

Well, perhaps it is essential to go off to Cannes to get this investment…. But what seems really odd is that Mrs Armitt, the unelected bureaucrat in charge of the Thames Gateway is quoted as follows:

Mrs Armitt said: “Southend is really important.

“I have visited there three times and there are particular projects I am impressed with such as the University of Essex building right next to South East Essex College which is really about bettering skills so that new, high quality, jobs can come to Southend.

“Southend is really important. I have visited there three times” – are we supposed to be impressed by that ? If we still had democratically elected people steering local government , they would have been to Southend rather more frequently than that! In fact, they might even live in the town… How often does she visits the parts of the Thames Gateway that aren’t “really important”?