Candidates and Agents Briefing

I do not often go to the Candidates and Agents Briefing put on each year by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, despite my heavy involvement in local elections for many years. I did go yesterday.

This briefing, effectively the starting gun for the short campaign, is a chance for the local authority to re-state the rules that govern elections, and for candidates and agents to collect nomination papers. It also is a chance to see how the various party teams are shaping up.

The largest block of councillors, candidates, and agents belonged, unsurprisingly, to the Conservative Party. Whatever happens on May 22nd it is almost certain that they will remain the largest party in the chamber. Amongst their number was Denis Garne, coy in his conversations with me regarding his new allegiance (despite my knowing this for over a year). Denis was a Labour councillor in Kursaal at one point and he was a leading light in the local Labour and Cooperative movement. It looks like he will be contesting Victoria for the Conservative Party in an attempt to unseat Labour Cllr Margaret Borton. It seems some leap to go from Socialist to Tory – I leave it to Denis to explain.

Labour had a significant presence too. We will have the youngest team in May (five candidates are under 30 years old: Gray, Jess, Matt, Matt and Sean). We are hopeful of gains.

The Independents and Liberal Democrats had about equal numbers. I am curious as to whether the Independent Group will field a candidate in Westborough, but since UKIP have already expressed an interest there then perhaps we already know the answer to that particular question. Undemocratic-SKIPP Independent candidate Mark Sharp sat with Brian Ayling and the Independent Group, thus questioning his claim to be ‘truly independent’.

I recognised one UKIP person, although he was sat with someone I did not recognise and so they may have had two present. This rather mirrors there campaigning so far – almost non-existent.

This blog does influence somewhat the local political scene, and this was in evidence again last night. The Chief Executive talked about photograph-taking at the count and the fact that he has to approve it – I think this was prompted by something I wrote earlier this year (An ill-advised photo).


One Response to Candidates and Agents Briefing

  1. Tony Wright says:

    I am extremely surprised with your news about Denis Garne’s defection. I have known him for quite a long time and cannot understand. Anyone, who is able and willing to become a Conservative at this time, needs his bumps feeling!

    Tony Wright.

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