Labour aghast at road damage payouts – and promise to work for better roads in future

My latest press release:

Reg Copley and JUlian Ware-Lane discussing pothole problems

Reg Copley and Julian Ware-Lane discussing pothole problems

When it was revealed recently that Southend-on-Sea Borough Council had paid out over £300,000 in compensation because of defects with its poorly maintained road, Reg Copley (Labour’s spokesperson for St Laurence ward) was aghast.This large amount was paid out during the last five full years of the previous Conservative administration.

“This compensation, presumably paid out to recompense for the damage to vehicles caused by Tory neglect of our roads, is money that ultimately comes from the pockets of tax-payers,” says Reg. “One wonders what else this money could have been used for,” he added.

“I suspect that this only reflects the most serious cases – one can imagine many not bothering to claim. As it is it amounts to more than £1000 per week on average, every week of the year.”

Labour’s spokesperson for Transport, Public Protection and Waste, Clr Julian Ware-Lane, has frequently highlighted the poor state of Southend’s roads, a real nuisance for motorists, cyclist, and pedestrians.

Julian said: “This is more financial waste from a Conservative controlled council, at a time when budgets are under pressure. I will work with the new administration to promote the needs of road users.”

Westborough walk the ward

Some of those who walked

Some of those who walked

Cllr Mike Royston, Cllr Kevin Robinson, and Julian Ware-Lane

Cllr Mike Royston, Cllr Kevin Robinson, and Julian Ware-Lane

Westborough Community Association has held their first ‘Walk the ward’ event. This involved walking around the boundary of the ward to raise money for The Stephen Everett Fund, and the community association.

The colourful event was supported by association members, local residents and ward councillors Kevin Robinson and Mike Royston.

In perfect walking weather over 20 people walked the 3 miles and finished with a buffet lunch and those who walked the ward were given a certificate.

I had earlier spent the morning campaigning in Milton ward, and so arrived at the end of the walk to show my support.

No door ever closed, but another opened

Will UKIP have to change their name if Scotland votes Yes?

The answer is, of course, ‘No’. UKIP’s name is already an anachronism as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is independent as it is.

The UK will cease to exist if it is a Yes victory on Thursday, and this will require all sorts of changes, not just to the Farage-led party. Our country may remain the UK in name, even if a chunk of Great Britain is no longer a part of it.

It does make me wonder about UKIP’s infatuation with all things indigenous. If Scotland votes Yes, then some might argue that any Scots now resident in a UK that excludes their homeland may be politely asked to move if UKIP get their way. Cllr James Moyies will be faced with a dilemma; this Scottish leader of UKIP on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will become a foreigner if Scotland chooses independence.

Cha d’dhùin doras nach d’fhosgail doras.

Votes@16 now

supertethered_1046On Thursday (September 18th) we have the most important vote within these isles for many years – some say since the union three hundred years ago. The future of the United Kingdom as we know it today is at stake. This vote, on Scottish independence, is significant for electoral reformers too as sixteen and seventeen-year olds are being allowed to take part.

I have long been an advocate for votes@16, and I am calling for the voting age to be lowered for all UK elections.

It is redolent of the American Revolution where the rallying cry was ‘no taxation without representation’.

At 16, young people are considered old enough to get married, start a family, pay taxes, and can join the armed forces – yet they cannot choose their democratic representatives.

If Scottish sixteen-year olds can be entrusted with a say as to the future of their nation then so can their English, Irish and Welsh counterparts. If we want our young people to be responsible citizens then we need to trust them to be a part of our society.

Citizenship lessons have been compulsory at all schools since 2002, and an Electoral Commission poll found that over 70% of 16 and 17 year olds were in favour of voting. In Scotland, where younger voters may sway the referendum results, more than 80% of 16 and 17 year olds had registered to vote.

At a time when we are seeing apathy in electoral politics, and ever lower turnouts, it makes no sense to shut out some of the most enthusiastic Britons from the democratic process.

Westborough intouch Autumn 2014 – as delivered in Prittlewell

AmessInTouchWestboroughI picked this odd beast up in Prittlewell ward. Aside from questions as to whether Westborough Tories understand where their ward begins and ends, I find this a somewhat amateurish effort. (It is also dated Autumn 2014 – Summer may be near to ending, but it is still with us.) It looks like it was created in Word and printed on a standard computer printer. Perhaps this was the effect Westborough’s Conservatives were after.

This newsletter has a proliferation of font types and oddly worded headlines. What does ‘STOP! the fortnightly waste collection’ mean? – Westborough enjoys a weekly collection in common with the rest of the borough. This is either scaremongering or stupidity – take your pick; either way it is wrong.

The reverse includes three photographs of places outside of the ward (and one not even in Mr Amess’s constituency) – not one picture of Westborough in the whole thing.

Mr Amess’s letter manages to be factually inaccurate in relating the results of May’s elections. He describes it as if all fifty-one council seats were being contested, whereas the truth is that only eighteen contests were staged. They won four out of eighteen, are far less impressive ratio than nineteen out of fifty-one.

It contains little in the way of real news, and certainly no celebration of all that the MP has done in Parliament. If I was an MP I would be reporting back on what my Government was doing to make lives in Westborough better. That Mr Amess does not refer to his Government speaks volumes in itself. Of course, he raises questions on such topics as the EU, immigration, and the benefits system – and not one mention of education, employment, the cost of living, workers’ rights, public services, etc.

Ella for Chair of Labour Women’s Network

A while back Ella Vine did some work for us at Southend Labour. I got to know her pretty well. She has moved on (only as far as her home in Thurrock) and is now seeking a prominent role in the Labour Women’s Network.

There are two candidates for the position of Chair. One is from London, the other is Ella.

Ella has sent me this in the hope that some readers of this will vote for her -

See what I am up to, my latest campaigns and policy work: http://ellavine.co.uk/

Elections for the Chair of Labour Women’s Network: http://ellavine4lwn.wordpress.com/

Labour Friends of Poland: http://labour-lfp.eu/

My Company: http://www.ella-vine-consultancy.co.uk/

Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/elzbieta.vine

Twitter @ElzbietaVine

Charity: Help for Poles in the UK Foundation/ FUNDACJA POMOCY POLAKOM W WIELKIEJ BRYTANII

Company Limited by Guarantee No 8587553

www.helpforpoles.org

info@helpforpoles.org

www.facebook.com/FundacjaPomocyPolakom

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