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.


Vote Labour
Vote Labour

Vote Labour

Vote Labour

Vote Labour


Vote Labour

Once upon a time

Imagine a ballot paper with five candidates on it, all describing themselves as ‘independent’. Who do you choose?

You could meet all five, but even the most assiduous of doorstep campaigners meets more empty properties than actual residents. You could go to a hustings to hear them speak – but even well attended hustings rarely break two dozen in the number of unaligned attendees. Most voters will never see or speak to one, let alone all, of the candidates in their area.

You can read whatever leaflets pop through your door. These are not exactly balanced and unbiased, and the vast majority of leaflets are recycled unread.

The candidates could add of description of their general ethical stand: socialist, capitalist, environmentalist, anti-European, fence sitter. These short-hand descriptions allow the majority of voters an insight into which of the independents to support.

The independents could aggregate themselves in groupings of like-minded individuals. The socialists could form a team, as could the capitalists, environmentalists, anti-Europeans, and fence sitters. Within each team the individuals could support each other, share resources, agree a common agenda, maybe even design a logo so as to aide identification. They could democratically elect a leader and other positions that they feel are necessary.

Sometime later another group of independents could come along. They describe themselves as true independents with a major issue for them being opposed to the teams created by the other independents. To combat the teams, the real independents form their own group – an anti-team group.

“We are opposed to teams” says their newly elected leader on literature paid for and distributed by the anti-team group. “Our independents are real independents, and we vet them and officially appoint them”. You can tell the real independents by their unique rosette. “There is no place for teams in local politics” says the group’s leader.

Sunday pm

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

This afternoon I paid a visit to the Hindu temple in my ward, the only one in Southend-on-Sea. They were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. As much of the service was conducted in either Gujarati or Sanskrit I was grateful for the assistance of Darshan Ashier who explained to me what was going on.

This was my second visit to the temple – I went to Diwali in 2012.

This evening I was leafleting in St Luke’s ward when I struck up a conversation with one resident. They complained that they only ever saw their councillors at election time. There is only one answer to that – vote them out!

Oh no!!



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