Alexandra Yacht Club fire

Cllrs Nevin and Ware-Lane by the burnt remains of the clubhouse

Cllrs Nevin and Ware-Lane by the burnt remains of the clubhouse

Milton Councillors Cheryl Nevin and Julian Ware-Lane were saddened to see the burnt remnants of Alexandra Yacht Club clubhouse today. Alexandra Yacht Club is amongst the oldest Yacht Clubs in the world. The clubhouse was earmarked for demolition next week after subsidence caused the yacht club to relocate to the nearby Naval and Military Club.

Cheryl quickly spotted the breaking news on @YourSouthend twitter feed, rang fellow councillors, cabinet members and press contacts to find out more. “It was clear that a major blaze was underway. I was concerned for residents living nearby, but had a source on scene updating me“.

Julian had been holding his rolling street surgery in Royal Terrace and Clifton Terrace yesterday afternoon, just hours before the blaze. “It is a bizarre coincidence that I was within yards of the building, and talking to residents about the condemned building, only a few hours before this terrible inferno.

Cheryl and Julian met with Yacht Club members today who were putting on their Annual Commodores Race Day to offer their help and support. Cheryl said “As a ward councillor and former dinghy sailor I am keen to offer any help I can. I hope we can facilitate the Club’s recovery and I will be liaising with Council and Club Officers over the coming weeks. I hope they can find a new and permanent home soon.

The anonymous route

I get the occasional anonymous letter – usually a rant from someone somewhat to the right of my politics. I read carefully, and would politely respond if I could. The trouble is, anonymous letters do not allow me to respond.

I do not know why some choose anonymity – I am not violent and am polite even to those whom I strongly disagree with. Maybe the anonymous route allows them to vent their frustrations without fear of being challenged or corrected.

I am not keen on anonymous responses on this blog, although I do allow them. At least I can reply to comments made here.

I think anonymity undermines the strength of any argument and somewhat challenges the integrity of the hidden author.

So, by all means challenge my views. I enjoy dialectic debate – it really is the only way forward for those whose views differ. But please give me a way to respond. Those that bother to put pen to paper would be best advised to give me that chance.

Let’s stay together

letsstaytogetherAs the Commonwealth Games begin it seems somewhat appropriate to sign this

A UK-wide campaign that gives a voice to everyone who doesn’t have a vote in the decision to break up Britain.”

Vote Green get UKIP

For some reason I am to blame for the lack of reporting of Green Party figures by the pollsters. A Green activist chooses to interpret this as my not giving the true picture. Aside from the question of why I should promote the Greens, I am far from selective in my reporting. I do not control the polling companies – if you do not like what they report complain to them, not me.

Anyway, so I tried to find where the Greens have been included in the reported opinion polls, and out of thirty-one since the May elections I found five. Here they are:

Lab Con LD UKIP Grn
12/06/2014 YouGov 36 34 6 14 5
18/06/2014 Ipsos MORI 34 31 8 14 8
21/06/2014 Opinium 35 31 7 17 5
23/06/2014 Ashcroft 33 28 9 17 7
23/06/2014 Populus 37 32 9 13 3

Now, whichever way you look at it the Green Party is fifth. They tie fourth on one poll, and in the others they are some way behind the Liberal Democrats.

If you want some actual numbers, as aside from polling, look at these –

I think you get the picture.

For more numbers, take the Kursaal result this year.

612 UKIP
576 Labour
375 Conservative
170 Green
95 Liberal Democrat

If the Green Party had not decided to stand we may well have got our Labour candidate in, a classic example of vote Green get UKIP if ever there was one.



This week I took my second trip from London Southend Airport. It is a revelation to be able to journey from somewhere close to home. This time I ventured to Kraków in Poland, a most impressive city and one I hope to re-visit.

Whilst in Kraków I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, something that I had mixed feelings about. For years I had been wanting to go, but as my trip approached I started to feel increasingly apprehensive. I am glad I went, and I do believe it vitally important that such places are preserved.

I have read survivor’s accounts, and a number of World War Two histories, and am aware of the full horror of the Nazi regime. Seeing the place where over a million were murdered is incredible, moving, and for me and anger-inducing experience. I could not but feel angry at those who perpetrated those terrible crimes, and at those who allowed it to happen.

The Nazi crimes stand out in their monstrous magnitude, but theirs is not the only instance of man’s barbarity to man. Those who strive for peace, compassion, and toleration have to be ever vigilant. Not long ago I worked with a gentleman from Rwanda whose family suffered in that country’s recent genocidal episode. Just one recent instance in a long brutal line of atrocities.

Go to Auschwitz-Birkenau, witness for yourself the sites where barely imaginable brutality was carried out on an industrial scale.

One myth that I was able to debunk for myself on that trip, the one about no birds singing over the site of the death camps. It was a warm summer’s day, and of course nature carried on – including the birds with their songs.

Joe Reeder

Information on this site about Joe Reeder relates to his time as a Labour and Cooperative Party member.

I am informed that he has now resigned from both parties.

Onwards, and eastwards

We have a change of administration in Southend-on-Sea, officially. Tonight (Thursday) Cllr Ron Woodley (Independent Group, Thorpe ward) was voted in as leader 31 – 18 over Cllr John Lamb (Conservative, West Leigh). There was one abstention (the mayor) and one absentee.

UKIP backed Cllr Woodley, although they remain in Opposition – a role they share with the Conservatives. However, it should be noted that many in the Independent Group were very pally with UKIP tonight, somewhat disturbingly in my opinion. The UKIP leader was gifted an outside body appointment by Cllr Martin Terry – doubtless in appreciation of their electoral pact.

Cllr Woodley leads a Joint Administration consisting of the Independent Group, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats. The seven person Cabinet contains three from the Independent Group, three Labour, and one Liberal Democrat.

I had argued for Labour to be a part of this Joint Administration, despite realising that working with other parties will be a test in itself. Labour has its chance to implement some of its policies, possibly all from the manifesto if it wields its influence wisely. You enter politics to make change happen, and the chance to do this cannot (or should not) be ignored.

The Labour Group will have to ensure that it carries the local parties with it on this new venture. There will be members who will feel uncomfortable with us aligning ourselves with our political foes – even for just a year – but I am confident that they will see the benefits. We must ensure that we retain our distinct voice, and I will endeavour to take my part in this.

One interesting fact – the political centre of gravity has moved eastwards. Six in the Cabinet represent wards in the east of the borough – Thorpe (2), Shoeburyness, Victoria (2), and Kursaal. The west has one representative, from Blenheim Park.


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