If you say stupid things

” You may as well just tax me on this glass of water.”

There is something called VAT Notice 701/16: water and sewerage services

This includes the following :-

2.4 What is the VAT liability of water supplied for non-industrial use?

• Distilled or deionised water and water of similar purity - standard-rated
• Mineral, table and spa waters in bottles or similar containers held out for sale as a beverage - standard-rated (see VAT Notice 701/14 food)

Sorry, Cllr Flewitt – wrong again! (see “You can’t just point at things and tax them….”)

Like a dog without a bone, an actor out on loan – from the shadows, emerging now his election is around the corner, the one and only Tory left in Milton

GarstonleafletI guess when you go from three down to one councillor you are left with the option of still calling your leaflets ‘In Touch’, or accept that you are on your own.

I have to say I find some of the terminology odd: ‘crossing facility‘, er, isn’t that a ‘crossing’.

Jonathan makes some curious claims. For instance he says “I will look carefully at all planning applications and judge the needs of the ward and the effect the plans may have.” Apart from the somewhat mealy-mouthed nature of this statement I think most residents will recall that Jonathan was portfolio holder for planning that did almost nothing to defend his ward. He wanted a coach park in Warrior Square, for instance, fortunately an injudicious idea now dumped because of Labour pressure.

Jonathan also told me that I could not challenge many of the planning applications in Milton ward – I ignored him and am pleased with the successes I have had.

Jonathan will also look at licensing applications; why did he scrap the cumulative impact strategy?

Jonathan suggests that the Joint Administration is about to scrap weekly rubbish collections, which is untrue. I do remind him that he helped scrap the distribution of black sacks – a move I voted against.

The reverse of this leaflet has a calendar and some contact telephone numbers. The useful number for the Police (431212) is really not that useful – the Police would prefer everyone to use 101.

Not one mention of David Cameron, the Coalition Government, or any of the wonderful (sic) things they have done.

I’d rather be in Ed’s shoes than Mr Cameron’s (a myopic view from Nelson Street)

At the moment Southend’s Conservatives chief blogger is their former leader, the man who stepped down from the Council in May. Nigel Holdcroft is someone I can profoundly disagree with much of the time, can agree with some of the time, and can almost always look forward to his writing. If politics is the battle of ideas then we need people like Nigel to at least counter what is coming out from the centre-left along the northern edge of the Thames estuary. Tony Cox appears to be enjoying being away from the chamber too much, Cllr James Courtenay is an infrequent writer, and Cllr Mark Flewitt is a better advertisement for his opposition than I am sure he intends.

Occasionally Nigel name-checks me, most recently just over a week ago. He writes of The challenge for Labour candidates, an article that also mentions my fellow Labour parliamentary aspirant, Cllr Ian Gilbert.

I have noticed recent tweets from our own candidates Cllrs Julian Ware-Lane and Ian Gilbert questioning the existence of any leadership challenge or doubts as to Ed’s performance.” Thus wrote Nigel. He adds: ” We are told that it is all mischief making by a couple of disenchanted mps and the wicked national media. Oh come on boys you know as well as the rest of us that Ed’s leadership is doing a good impression of a car crash. You would garner far more support if you were honest and accepted that there is a problem.

Of course I am a loyalist, and I am bound by my loyalty to support the leader. But, as far as I can see, there is no widespread discontent with the leadership of Ed Miliband. The Conservatives may wish for an unhappy Opposition, but it is just not happening.

Whilst we may wish for better polling, for instance, the flux that we are witnessing in national politics means that whoever was in charge would see only narrow leads.

Where it matters, in actual policy announcements, Miliband is doing as well as anyone could.

When talking about Labour leaders it is often said that Michael Foot was the worst; this ignores his major achievement – holding the party together when the SDP was gaining a lot of traction. In 2010 Labour suffered a dreadful defeat, and the fact that within one term we are seriously in contention again speaks volumes for Ed’s leadership. We have not fractured, we are not riven by splits, and we are determined to end the catastrophic Cameron premiership.

Mr Holdcroft may wish for a “malaise affecting the Labour Party“, yet I think there are real problems a lot closer to home for Nigel. This Thursday we are likely to see UKIP make its second gain from his beloved Conservative Party, and one can only guess at the jitters this will create within Conservative quarters. The leader with real problems is David Cameron, and there are serious questions being asked of his leadership. Whilst there will always be isolated individuals questioning Labour Party tactics and policy, there is no debate regarding the job in hand. This is not true of the Tories for whom there is a battle royal between those who wish for one-nation Conservatism and those who favour a rightwards lurch towards policies hostile to Europe, immigrants, and human rights.

Back? Still waiting

Anna Waite used to be a big noise in Southend-on-sea – despite not actually living in the borough. She was the Leader of the Council before the electorate’s verdict delivered her more leisure time. She writes a blog about the borough, although one has to say her output is best described as sporadic.

Her latest post is called Back!, although she isn’t – not really.

This post was written on October 15th – a full twenty-seven days ago. She writes: Well it’s just over a year since my last post and I have decided to return to blogging again because there is so much going on that I think needs mentioning. Over the next few weeks I will be writing on the town, the seafront, the pier, yet again, some highway ‘improvements’ and much else.

I guess ‘next few weeks’ could mean anything, but rather like her former councillor colleagues this Tory does seem to be struggling to say anything (let alone make it readable and relevant).

All promise and no delivery; much like the state of her party in the borough.

A mad moment or a serious misjudgement?

The Conservative candidate for St Luke’s ward shows himself on his Twitter page as Cllr James Cottis. He describes himself thus: Conservative Councillor for Rochford Parish Council & Chief Executive of Dirty Bootz Ltd – Tweeting in a personal capacity, all tweets & views my own

He also includes a link to his website which only shows this:

Cllr James Cottis
This website is under construction, in the meantime please follow James on Twitter or connect with James on Linkedin
Email; james@jamescottis.co.uk

James certainly gives the impression that Rochford Parish Council is a priority, which makes me wonder why he is standing in the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council elections next May. Still, perhaps he has other priorities, as this Facebook status shows:

Cottis_FacebookAs David Garston comments beneath the picture: Was it a mad moment or a serious misjudgement?

Telephone Line – Mo’s delayed thanks (Belfairs In Touch Autumn 2014)

BelfairsINtouchA copy of latest leaflet from the Conservative Party in Belfairs ward arrived in the post today. It is a somewhat curious affair. It must be the first Tory leaflet in Belfairs since May’s elections, and thus its main article is a “BIG THANK YOU FROM MO“.

Cllr Butler starts with an apology – the delay in thanking everyone, she says, is down to a delay in the installation of a dedicated telephone line from Southend Council.

I find this curious. For starters, I am not comfortable with council resources being advertised on political literature. I do not think councillor email addresses and council telephone numbers should adorn any leaflets distributed by political parties.

I also find it odd that the absence of a telephone should prevent Cllr Butler writing to residents. In the run-in to May’s elections Mo was happy to advertise both her private telephone number and email address (01702 510016 or 07804 274502 and mobutler33@gmail.com) – she could easily have continued with these in the short term.

I have council line too, which has not gone on any literature. If anyone is interested it is 01702 472144.

I have written to David Amess on the subject of Lord Freud

Dear Mr David Amess MP

I am writing to ask whether you agree with the comments of Lord Freud, your government’s Minister for Welfare Reform.

Lord David Freud, talking amongst friends at Conservative Party Conference, said he thought there was “a group” of disabled people who are “not worth the full wage”.

In my view, Lord Freud’s remarks were completely unacceptable, and it is also unacceptable that someone with these views remains in charge of such an important post in your government.

This is not just my view, but also that of Ester McVey, your government’s Minister of State for Employment, who said, “those words will haunt him. I cannot justify those words, they were wrong.”

It seems, however, that David Cameron does not agree. He did not speak to Lord Freud personally and yet gave him a clean bill of health to allow him to keep his post.

It is incredible to believe that, while leading disability charities have said that Lord Freud’s comments were offensive and shocking and called on him to reflect on his position, the leader of your party is seeking to duck the issue. This is a lack of moral leadership at best. It is unclear how far a member of your government or party would have to go in offending disabled people in order to lose their job, when in many other walks of life the comments by Lord Freud would have led to a resignation.

Can I ask you whether you agree with Lord Freud’s statement that there is “a group” of disabled people who are “not worth the full wage” and that some should work for as little as £2 per hour?

If you do not, will you ensure you vote in favour of a vote of no confidence in Lord Freud on 29 October?

If you do agree that Lord Freud’s views should be government policy and that he should remain in post, you must urgently justify these views to the people of Southend West.

By supporting a vote of no confidence, you have the chance to show that compassion is not yet completely dead in David Cameron’s Conservatives.

If you cannot support this vote and in turn back such heartlessness comments, you will show that David Cameron’s Conservatives cannot stand for the majority in Britain today.


Cllr Julian Ware-Lane
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Southend West


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