Friday, 4 May 2018

Elections 2018

Since stepping down from the Council I have taken a step back from the cut and thrust of local party politics (or rather in the case of attacks from our opposition parties - the thrust of a stick of wet celery) although I do continue my active involvement in Southend West Conservatives and more particularly West Leigh Ward so I had my reminder of the "fun" of it all at last night's local election count.

First it was great to see West Leigh Conservative candidate and current Mayor Fay Evans pull of a comfortable and well deserved victory. Fighting elections as the sitting Mayor always poses particular challenges as it involves a difficult balance between important mayoral duties and campaigning - however her continuous hard work on behalf of residents was clearly recognized by voters and in a week's time she will have reached the end of her mayoral term and the ward will be back to full strength to build on this result over the coming months.

Particular congratulations to James Moyies who made creditable start in rebuilding Tory support in Thorpe. I am sure that this progress will be a great foundation for a potential victory in the seat next May.

It is interesting that the diminishing strength of the Southend Independent Party is build on Thorpe and more particularly the Burgess Estate Residents Association and the impression from this side of the town is that this relates more to Ron Woodley's previous work as a Residents Association Chairman rather than anything he and his colleagues have achieved on the Council.

As I have said before I cannot see how an Independent "Party" offers any long term solutions in local government and contrasts with the usual independents in the past who are often one issue individuals or collectively represent a single residents group or other organisation. If they are a "party" and have shared policies (which would seem to be the case in Southend from the election material distributed over the last few weeks) then their candidates are not any more "independent" then any other local party group which, certainly so far as the Conservatives are concerned, operate independently from any central party control. If there is no central belief or ethic then the voters are signing a blank cheque for a potential Councillor with no clear understanding as to what they will do simply because they like the concept of "independence"!

Finally my golden turkey award for the worst post declaration speech of the night must go to Martin Terry. (Anyone who wins this award when one of the other potential candidates is Howard Gibeon has certainly hit new highs - or rather lows). Firstly to bleat about negative campaigning is gloriously ironic bearing in mind that Cllr Terry and his party colleagues have turned negative campaigning in to something of an art form. But even better was his proud reference to his long period as a councillor and how this must indicate what a good job he has been doing. That would be slightly more credible if he acknowledged that having been elected and reelected as a Councillor in Westborough he chose to do the chicken run to Thorpe a few years ago no doubt worried that he would be unable to retain his seat and anxious to seek the protective arm of Cllr Woodley and his comfortable majority. Oh well that's a politician for you - even an "Independent".

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