Friday, 23 May 2014

A different view!

After the last 8 years as a West Leigh councillor and 7 years as Leader it does feel a little strange this morning knowing that I do not have to spend time at the Civic Centre, deal with an endless stream of e mails and telephone calls, or concern myself with ward problems or council decisions. My paper recycling will certainly reduce significantly with the absence of a constant pile of council papers and documents. I feel lucky that having stood for election successfully 4 times, on the 2 occasions that I have decided to stand down I have been able to do so at a time of my own choosing. My sympathy goes out to those sitting councillors of all parties who have stood unsuccessfully for re election and who now face a significant and unplanned gap in their diaries. Local councillors like my colleagues Tony Cox, Roger Hadley and Sally Carr and Lib Dems such as Ted Lewin, Mike Grimwade and Paul Collins have been conscientious and hard working ward councillors but like so many other hard working councillors over the years have been swept from office on the back of national swings over which they have no control. I wish them well and hope that we see Tony and Roger back on the council in the not too distant future. I have decided to continue this blog which I suspect will accordingly be less well informed on council activity but also less inhibited! As for yesterday (and I will comment on the outcome shortly) 2 particular moments stick in my mind. Firstly the entertaining speech by that old warhorse Labour’s Reg Copley following the announcement of the St Lawrence result showing that he has lost none of his usual vim and style. Although there was a slightly ironic feel to his glee at the “knackered horse” he felt the Lib Dems had become being immediately followed by his somewhat precarious dismount from the dais. The second is more alarming. I was telling at a polling station in West Leigh at about 7.30am yesterday when an expensive car stopped and a well dressed and obviously intelligent woman in her mid to late 30s asked whether we “were open”. When I confirmed that the polling station was indeed open her husband pulled up on the pavement and as they walked past they asked if there was a problem in that they did not have their polling cards. I said not as they could give their names and address to identify themselves. Shortly after they came out saying that they couldn’t vote as they lived on Canvey. I do worry how we can hope to connect with sections of the electorate who seem completely out of touch with the system and with little interest in participating. They also volunteered who they would be voting for when they got to the right place but I will allow you to speculate on that.

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