I was probably the only guy on the beach in a suit today

Some of the Warrior Soup Kitchen people

Some of the Warrior Soup Kitchen people


I realise this makes me sound hopelessly square, but in my defence I did have earlier engagements which I thought required a reasonably tidy appearance.

This afternoon I popped down to the seafront (in a suit) to attend the Warrior Soup Kitchen Tent Awareness Day For Our Towns Homeless. It was my chance to talk to some volunteers about what they are up to, and why they are particularly drawn to help to homeless.

I have stated my desire to do what I can, which really amounts to helping raise awareness. It seems pretty feeble besides what I see others do, but we all can help in own small ways. (This is my widow’s groat.)

It is a fact, a shocking fact, that whilst we live in the sixth or seventh largest and wealthiest economy in the world, twenty-first century Britain has a growing poverty problem. Something like a million people a year visit food banks, and homelessness is rising.

I met many wonderful people today (Peter, Julie, Jo, Caren, Sam and Bernie, to name just a few). I also bumped into two Green Parliamentary candidates (Simon Cross and Sarah Yapp) and we had a good political chat, on the beach, in the blazing sun, with me in the suit.

The Facebook page for today’s event explains what it is about.

I picked this up this afternoon

warriorSoupKitchen

Stop loan sharks

793In my role as Deputy Leader of the Labour Group on Southend-on-Sea Borough council I was delighted to be able to sign up to Zero Tolerance to Loan Sharks. You can just about make out my scrawl at the foot of the Partners’ Agreement. I attended to formal ceremony for this yesterday (at the Hub in the Victoria Shopping Centre).

Representatives from four of the six groups on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council were there to add their support; for some reason neither the Liberal Democrats nor UKIP attended.

You can report a loan shark here.

Blenheim Park Voice summer 2015

blenheimParkVoice

We may have to get used to the idea of a Corbyn-led party

Whilst an election conducted using the Alternative Vote system means that being ahead on first preferences is no guarantor of success, there comes a point when that lead is strong enough that it becomes more than possible – it becomes likely. The two recent opinion polls (conducted amongst Labour members) show the following :-

Burnham Cooper Corbyn Kendall
28 July Mirror 20 22.6 42 14
21 July YouGov 26 20 43 11

By any measure this is a commanding lead. However, it is only a poll, conducted on a most unusual electorate.

Nevertheless, there is no getting away from the fact that the campaign that has had the most impact is Jeremy’s. In my, admittedly biased, view the campaign that has the most new ideas belongs to Liz Kendall, but if this polling is at all accurate her campaign is gaining little traction.

I have struggled to envisage a Jeremy victory, but when his poll leads are so great then that has to be considered. Of course, it will always come down to how the second preferences are allocated. Is it likely that Corbyn will get enough second (or even third) preferences? When he is so close on first preferences then this does not seem at all improbable.

I think we may have to get used to the idea of a Jeremy win and a Corbyn-led Labour Party.

What will this look like? I do not think anyone can accuse Jeremy of not being clear on where he stands, although I think he will have to revisit some of his ideas when faced with actually running the party. He will also have to somehow argue that despite years of lacklustre loyalty to the Party, the Party should do as he says (and not as he did). The temptation for some to argue that he has no claim on loyalty should be resisted – not only would this signal anarchy, it would wreck any chances of making advances in the long run-in to 2020.

His campaign has attracted new members, and I hope they will be encouraged to become activists. The left has always been better at marching than door-knocking, and yet if they want Jezza4PM then they will have to embrace the concept of actually engaging (and not lecturing) the electorate.

I also think that those who have stated that they will not serve in a Corbyn administration need to think again. It is not Jeremy who will suffer, it will be Labour – and it will be those who need us as an effective Opposition.
I am not voting for Jeremy Corbyn, but if he wins I will work as hard for him as I would if Liz Kendall wins.

Aylen quits the Independent Group

The fallout from the Place Scrutiny Committee 13th July is that the Independent Group is down one.

Cllr Stephen Aylen (Belfairs) has resigned from the Group. In his own words:

I have been elected to represent the residents of Belfairs and I can no longer do that to an acceptable standard to my residents under the independent group control.
I was forced to make a choice between my residents and supporting the leader of the council.
Supporting the leader of the council would I believe seriously affected the residents of Belfairs and adjoining areas.

Cllr Aylen remains in the Joint Administration, although whether he remains Chair of the Public Transport and Buses Working Party remains to be seen.

This leaves the political composition of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council as follows:

22 Conservative
10 Independent Group
9 Labour
4 Liberal Democrat
3 Southend Independence
2 UKIP
1 Independent

It is clearly a fractured picture, with Labour within touching distance of being the largest group in the Joint Administration. This will make next May’s elections very interesting.

Flint (Caroline, not the hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz)

cFlint

Caroline 4 Deputy

Caroline’s vision for the party:

Our party is not a pressure group. We exist to win elections to improve lives and make the world a better place:

• We need support from all classes, all backgrounds and all corners of the UK. As someone who chaired a constituency party in a marginal seat, Caroline knows we will only succeed if Labour rediscovers its voice, providing real community leadership, especially where we do not have a Labour MP.

• Caroline will work closely with local councillors; she’s even married to one! They have a vital role to play. Labour must be a grassroots movement, not a Westminster elite.

Caroline’s background:

• Caroline was born to a lone parent at 17. She has never known her real dad.

• Caroline was the first in her family to go to university.

• Caroline joined the Labour Party at 17, in 1979. She ran her university Labour Club and was Labour’s student national women’s officer. Caroline was also chair of a marginal constituency in London.

• Caroline worked in local government, the voluntary sector and for a trade union before becoming an MP. In local government she was a union workplace rep.

• Caroline was chair of a marginal constituency in London.

• Caroline was first elected as the MP for Don Valley in 1997. She has been been re-elected four times, and in 2015 she almost trebled her majority, consigning UKIP – who held their party conference in Doncaster – to third place.

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