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.

And the Southend West campaign begins …. in Prittlewell

Cheryl, Matt and Kevin, this morning, Prittlewell ward

Cheryl, Matt and Kevin, this morning, Prittlewell ward

Dreadful? My thoughts exactly – a dreadful leaflet from St Laurence’s Tory twosome

StLaurenceInTouch1 St Laurence Conservatives know how to produce a truly awful leaflet, and once again they are unstinting in their drive to lower the quality of political debate in their corner of Southend-on-Sea.

The leaflet is largely the work of former Havering Labour councillor Mark Flewitt (who tried to get elected as an Independent before adopting the blue rosette). His active, if somewhat erratic, imagination allows for interesting reading.

He is fighting a one-man campaign to get a new acronym adopted. He constantly refers to the Joint Administration as ‘LiL’ (“Labour Independent LibDem” as he describes it) – I cannot help but think he misses a trick by not opting for ‘ILL’. Anyway, since no-one else cares for his acronym this particularly fight is lost already.

Mark’s gymnastic abilities go beyond his ability to flit between political parties – he now opposes what he once promoted in the Council chamber. He seems to believe that he can execute these U-turns without anyone really noticing. Wrong.

He rubbishes a “so called specialist report” (initiated under the previous Conservative administration); describes it as “227 pages of largely technical detail“, and then makes the astonishing claim that it “reaches … an incredible conclusion and without explainable evidence.

Does Mark ever proof read what he writes? He complains about the quantity of technical detail and complains about a lack of evidence. This logic defying stance is enough in itself to justify why he does not deserve another term in the Council chamber.

He name checks Barling Parish councillor Adam Jones (forgetting to include his title on each occasion), but the picture that accompanies this piece has this year’s failed Conservative candidate Jonathan Hodge in it. Uh?

Cllr Flewitt is an irony-free zone, not only does he complain about the Ekco site re-development ( a brown field location), but the goes on to whine about (so called) proposals to build on Bishop House gardens.

He includes an item on Dementia friends – interesting. I have been at two Dementia Friends events and have only seen one other councillor there (not a Tory). If Flewitt insists on careering into any passing bandwagon he could at least turn up at the supporting events.

Claims that the Conservatives are the only opposition are wrong. The Joint Administration also excludes UKIP, a party who constantly out-Conservative the Conservative Party.

This leaflet is so poor that I am tempted to offer to deliver it for them – its ineptitude speaks for itself. The Tories were rejected in St Laurence this year, and I will be working to see them rejected in 2015.

Roll over David Amess, and tell James Duddridge the news

Ian Gilbert congratulates Julian Ware-Lane

Ian Gilbert congratulates Julian Ware-Lane

Among the first to congratulate Julian Ware-Lane on his selection as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Southend West was Ian Gilbert. Ian is contesting the Rochford and Southend East seat for Labour.

Ian said: “I am very pleased that Southend West chose Julian, he will be a strong voice for his constituency.

Julian Ware-Lane said: “Ian and I represent the alternative to the Conservative-led Government. We will be working for real change.

Ian and Julian, who are both Borough councillors, will be challenging the Government’s record. This is a record where working people are £1,600 per year worse off than they were under Labour, where family energy bills have been allowed to rise by almost £300 since the last election, and yet the very richest are getting tax cuts.

This year’s local elections show us that Southend is no longer in thrall to the Conservative Party. They have lost power locally, and next year we hope they will be out of Government” said Julian.

Ian Gilbert added: “We are the growing force in Southend whilst the Tories are in decline.

The Labour Party active membership in Southend is growing, whilst the Conservative Party is a party in decline here. It is believed that the Labour Party is now the biggest party in the borough.

The latest Victoria Voice

VictoriaVoice

Julian Ware-Lane selected to fight the General Election for Labour in Southend West

Julian with supporters

Julian with supporters

Leigh-on-Sea resident Cllr Julian Ware-Lane has been selected as the Labour Party’s candidate for Southend West at the next General Election, scheduled for May 2015.

Westcliff-born Julian will be running a campaign highlighting how the Conservative-led Government has let down residents in Southend West.

It is a tremendous honour to have been chosen to represent the Labour Party in my home constituency. I live within a mile of where I was born, and am committed to making my town a better place.” said Julian.

I will be aiming to get Labour’s message out to as many residents in Southend West as I can” added Julian. “There is an alternative to Conservative failure in Southend West, and that alternative is the Labour Party.

Chair of Southend West Labour Party, Charles Willis, said; “we are really pleased that Julian will be fighting for Labour in Southend West. He brings experience and energy, and is strong advocate for a fairer society.

Julian has appointed Cllr Kevin Robinson as his agent.

Indie contemplations of divorce and new partners will have to be put on hold for another year at least

The Joint Administration is a working relationship based on a desire to take Southend-on-Sea forward, and to provide better leadership than was shown when the Conservatives ruled the roost. As a marriage of convenience it works, but all three partners in the arrangement would prefer to have not had to manage the relationship with their partners; having enough members to go it alone is the aim of all parties after all.

The Independent Group appears to eyeing up other partners already; to continue the marriage allegory – they are considering divorce even whilst still in the honeymoon.

The Independent Group’s electoral pact with UKIP, whilst apparently unofficial, was very much in evidence in recent elections. UKIP are not in the Joint Administration owing to objections by Labour and Liberal Democrats, and the numbers do not add up to an Independent-UKIP only administration.

Yet there clearly is a relationship between Martin Terry’s somewhat disparate band of members, and the quintet led by James Moyies. You cannot help but imagine that should the numbers ever make it possible, Cllr Terry would be proposing to Cllr Moyies whilst bidding adieu to Cllrs Gilbert and Longley. A four-way administration would be unwieldy, and I cannot envisage anyone wishing partnership with UKIP (Independent Group aside).

Currently the Independent Group have thirteen councillors, UKIP five, making a grand total of eighteen. Twenty-six are needed to form an administration with a majority, although being one or two short may make a minority administration feasible (that would depend on the determination of the remaining groups).

There are seventeen wards and the Independents are defending four of them next May, theoretically making thirteen gains possible (UKIP are defending none). Here is a table showing recent elections results, particularly those on or near a General Election – which is the backdrop to next May’s elections. (This year’s and 2011 (when the defending councillors next year were last elected) are also included).

2001 2004 2010 2011 2014 2015
Belfairs Con Con Con Con Con ?
Blenheim Park LD LD LD Con UKIP ?
Chalkwell Con Con Con Con Con ?
Eastwood Park Con Con Con Con Con ?
Kursaal Lab Lab Con Lab UKIP ?
Leigh LD LD LD LD LD ?
Milton Con Con Con Con Lab ?
Prittlewell LD Con LD LD UKIP ?
Shoeburyness Con/Lab Con Con Ind Ind ?
Southchurch Con Con Con Con Ind ?
St Laurence Con Con LD Con UKIP ?
St Luke’s Lab Con Con Ind Ind ?
Thorpe Con Con Ind Ind Ind ?
Victoria Lab Lab Lab Lab Lab ?
West Leigh Con Con Con Con Con ?
West Shoebury Con Con Con Con UKIP ?
Westborough Lab/LD Ind LD Ind Lab ?

Eight wins from thirteen is an unlikely scenario. I think any gains for the Independent Group are improbable, and losses would not surprise me (Prittlewell, Shoeburyness and St Luke’s seem vulnerable to me in a General Election year). UKIP had slim majorities in three wards this year, and this when turnout was low and their supporters most motivated. Their vote will weaken, and increased turnout (probably double what it was in May) makes success for them anywhere improbable – and certainly the likelihood of eight gains appears almost impossible.

Like it or not, Cllr Martin Terry, it looks like you might be stuck with Labour and the Liberal Democrats for a couple of years at least.

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