Not from central casting but valuing principle over posturing

Ed Miliband made a speech yesterday setting out the standards against which he will ask to be judged as Prime Minister. Here is an extract:

“When people say ‘you’re all the same, you’re in it for yourself, you don’t care about my life’, they are talking about us: the politicians. Millions of people think that for us, it actually is all about us, that we are in it for ourselves, for our own success, not the country’s.

“They believe we value posturing more than principle, good photos or soundbites more than a decent policy, image more than ideas. Unless we stand up now and say that we want to offer people something different, more and more will simply turn away. And if we allow that to continue to happen, we will also rob people of the debate they deserve, about the things that matter.

“David Cameron is a very sophisticated and successful exponent of an image-based politics. He made his name as Leader of the Opposition for some fantastic photos, like hanging out with huskies in the Arctic Circle.

“Even my biggest supporters would say I haven’t matched him on that. It is not what I care most about. And it’s not where my talents lie —as you may have noticed.

“I am not from central casting. You can find people who are more square-jawed, more chiselled, look less like Wallace. You could probably even find people who look better eating a bacon sandwich. If you want the politician from central casting, it’s just not me, it’s the other guy. If you want a politician who thinks that a good photo is the most important thing, then don’t vote for me.

“But I believe that people would quite like somebody to stand up and say there is more to politics than the photo op.”

“If politics is going to respond to the distrust people have, it has to begin to respond to talking about you.

“The current Prime Minister might take a good picture but he can’t build a country that works for you. It is not what interests him. And it is not who he stands up for.

“Here’s what I think matters. The leadership you need and the leadership this country needs is one that has big ideas to change things, with the sense of principle needed to stick to those beliefs and ideas even when it is hard, and with the decency and empathy to reach out to people from all backgrounds, all walks of life.

“For me, those qualities are the gold standard for what a modern leader should offer. I will sometimes fall short of that gold standard. But it is what I aspire to.

“I know the qualities I have talked about don’t just matter to me. They matter to you. They are the bedrock of this party.

“Let’s show people that we have new ideas to address the problems the country faces, that we seek to offer principles that prove that politics can be about more than what is expedient and convenient, that we believe decency and empathy are crucial values not just for our communities but for our country.”

Southend West Labour Party AGM

I have been Treasurer of Southend West Constituency Labour Party for eight years, split into two spells: 2003 – 2007, and 2010 to the present. At last night’s annual general meeting I was re-elected and will (barring accident) get to nine full years. I was also elected as IT Officer (having previously held this post for four years from 2006 to 2010); I was re-elected as the Trade Union Liaison Officer, a post I have held since 2010.

Charles Willis remains Chair of the CLP. Tony Borton moves from Secretary to Vice Chair and the secretarial duties will now be in the hands of Cllr Kevin Robinson.

Thanet Labour

As the crow flies Thanet is not that far away. The Thanet Labour website/blog is worth a peek at –

The under-assistant Westborough promotion man

Sylvia, Linda, Kevin and Lydia - the rest of yesterday's Westborough team

Sylvia, Linda, Kevin and Lydia – the rest of yesterday’s Westborough team

When not painting Milton red I like to help comrades elsewhere. Recently I have taken to my ward of birth to assist there. It was a pleasure to be out with the team yesterday.

South Thanet

I cannot pretend to have a great deal of knowledge about South Thanet. I think my paternal grandmother was born there, and many years ago I twice visited Bembom Brothers White Knuckle Theme Park. I have some ancestors (Goldsack, on my maternal line) from Deal, which is not too far away.

It is a politically interesting place. It was a safe Conservative seat until Jonathan Aitken perjured himself. It went red in the Blair landslide of 1997, and stayed that way until 2010.

year Con % Lab %
1983 56.5 19.4
1987 54.3 20.9
1992 51.7 28.1
1997 39.8 46.2
2001 41.1 45.7
2005 38.8 40.4
2010 48.0 31.4

Laura Sandys is the current MP, but she is standing down. There will be no incumbency factor for Craig Mackinlay who CCHQ hope will replace her.

In 2005 a certain Nigel Farage stood, getting a modest 5% of the vote. In 2010 UKIP’s vote share leapt (sic) to 5.5% (not Farage this time). Nigel has expressed an interest in contesting this seat again, leading Mike Smithson of to state: My money’s now going on LAB in this tight 3-way marginal

Will Scobie is Labour’s candidate here.

Out, always out, and sometimes about

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane, Ami Willis, Cllr Kevin Robinson - part of the team in Milton today

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane, Ami Willis, Cllr Kevin Robinson – part of the team in Milton today

A casual conversation that somehow lasts half an hour with a couple of residents that is somewhat typical. The chatter includes the news that the lady tripped on an uneven pavement and spent some time at A&E, and experience that she was very positive about. Her husband then appears and starts to complain about the local hospital, which just goes to show that our experiences are unique and different even with the same household. Another resident, a teacher this time, who had very little positive to say about the Government’s education policy. One resident showed an interest in joining the Labour Party, another had no time to converse.

The Matryoshka post: I write about Gray writing about St Luke’s

Gray Sergeant has written thoughtful account of his campaign in St Luke’s (St Luke’s Result 2014). I would add a couple of points.

Firstly, it must be remembered that this seat was being defended by a Conservative, a popular Conservative. Gray beat her, ensuring third spot for the blues.

Secondly, in 2012 the Independent Group had a 336 majority – this year that was reduced to 302. (In 2011 it was 601 – there certainly is a trend developing.)

Thirdly, democracy does not exist without opposing views and candidates representing those views. Whatever the St Luke’s residents thought of Labour at least Gray presented them with a socialist alternative.

We must, as democrats, accept the will of the people, and so I offer my congratulations to Cllr Endersby and hope she serves her four years with distinction.

As for Gray, he surely has a bright political future in front of him.

The result:

Caroline Endersby Independent 965 38.6%
Gray Sergeant Labour 663 26.5%
Sally Carr Conservative 557 22.3%
ABC Independent 246 9.8%
Pamela Waldie Liberal Democrat 70 2.8%

Two-thirds red – Cheryl wins it for Labour in Milton ward

In my victory speech in 2012 I said: “one down, two to go”. This could have been said in reverse by Cheryl Nevin in her speech in the early hours of Friday morning, her fabulous victory means that wonderful Milton now has two Labour councillors.

Cheryl has worked very hard for her success, and whilst she has had the support of Southend’s Team Labour, Cheryl has lead from the front for months and months.

It was obvious from the start that Cheryl was having a real impact, and I have no doubt this will continue now that she is Councillor Nevin, and I am absolutely delighted to have a Labour comrade in Milton to assist in making Milton better.

A big thank you to all who voted Labour this year – I hope we can repay your trust. However you voted, Milton’s Labour councillors are there for you.

The result:

Cheryl Nevin Labour 848 36.1%
Vic Lee Conservative 582 24.7%
Edward McNally UKIP 486 20.7%
Mark Sharp Independent 259 11.0%
Bob Howes Liberal Democrat 156 6.6%

Labour promises – ten reasons to back us tomorrow

  1. Freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 and reform the energy market
  2. Get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020
  3. Stop families that rent being ripped off and help them plan for the future with new long term predictable tenancies
  4. Cut income tax for hardworking people through a lower 10p starting tax rate, and introduce a 50p top rate of tax as we pay off the deficit in a fair way
  5. Ban exploitative zero-hour contracts
  6. Make work pay by strengthening the Minimum Wage and providing tax breaks to firms that boost pay through the Living Wage
  7. Back small businesses by cutting business rates and reforming the banks
  8. Help working parents with 25 hours free childcare for three and four year-olds
  9. Tackle the abuse of migrant labour to undercut wages by banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers and pressing for stronger controls in Europe
  10. Back the next generation with a job guarantee for the young unemployed and more apprenticeships

Chalkwell Voice



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