Nov/Dec 2012 Blenheim Focus
December 31, 2012 4 Comments
It won’t be often that I say that Southend’s Liberal Democrats brought me a modicum of joy, but yesterday saw a Blenheim Focus delivered to my door. Joy because it gives me something political to get my teeth into at a time of year when campaigning slows to a virtual standstill.
Cllr Duncan Russell is next up for re-election in my home ward, and the Focus features him and his various campaigns. His will be a tough re-election fight, for whatever his personal virtues he has to contend with falling national support for his party. My expectations are that Lib Dems across Southend will be fighting a rearguard action, attempting to defend what they hold. No matter what they will say publicly, I think it will be miraculous enough if they manage a full slate of candidates in 2014, and gains are out of the question. They won five seats in 2010, and one of those five is a near certainty to fall – Cllr Paul Collins will be looking at his party’s sixth place in Westborough last May and wondering what he can do to turn it around. I think the Lib Dems will hold Blenheim Park and Leigh. St Laurence is problematical, and Cllr Ric Morgan’s defection opens up all sorts of possibilities in Prittlewell.
Anyway, to the Focus: The headline about the ‘rat run’ in Broomfield Avenue is interesting. I campaign for safe motoring, but am worried when residents start asserting that their once quiet road should not be used. None of us, in my opinion, can claim exclusive use of any public road, and if a route suddenly becomes popular I cannot see why this should see traffic calming (invariably involving some kind of speed hump) installed. I profess an intense dislike for speed humps anyway. By all means take measures to ensure the rule of law is upheld by car users, but do not attempt to make your road unusable.
The Focus also includes gripes about planning: whilst not belittling any resident’s concerns in Blenheim Park ward, they cannot compare to the misery foisted upon some of my residents in Milton.
I note that Duncan voted against the Havens application for the green belt in West Leigh, but welcomes building on the only real greenery in Milton (for the Cliffs Museum). I am not about to re-visit the arguments against the Cliffs Museum, but do wonder why he can defend the Leigh greenbelt whilst ignoring the wishes of many in Milton who wish to preserve the Cliffs as it was. That Leigh is seen as fertile territory for the Liberal Democrats cannot have anything to do with it.
The Focus talks of the cuts and the difficult budget decisions to be made early in the new year. If they had not sat on the fence we could have ousted the Tories from power in Southend (in May’s leader of the council election). They chose not to even try to remove them, and whilst the numbers made it problematical (especially with Cllr Grimwade’s convenient holiday) they cannot complain with straight faces. The mess we are in is of their making, both nationally and locally.