There’s saying you know, and there’s actually knowing

I guess there are several examples of literature straying out of the ward or constituency it was intended for, but tonight I found a candidate whose leaflets have gone out in THREE wards.

Richard “Blenheim man” Herbert is also Belfairs and Prittlewell man it would appear, judging by where his Blenheim Focus laughter sheet is being delivered.

It could be that he is standing in all three wards – perfectly allowable in electoral law, although should he be successful in more than one place he will have to explain why he has lumbered hard-pressed tax-payers with a costly by-election.

I suspect, though, that he is only standing in two places (his commitment to Blenheim Park being so strong that not only does he fail to get the ward name right, but he is also standing in the Leigh Town Council elections for a different ward). His delivery team really ought to acquainted themselves with where the ward boundaries are.

I cannot recall ever having a resident so delighted with my delivering a leaflet that they gave me a campaign donation on the spot. That’s another score for party funds. “It’s Julian” they exclaimed, before pumping my hand. That’s one vote then.

There are still a lot of people yet to decide how they are voting. However, in the areas I have been it will be a remarkable turnaround if either the Liberal Democrats or the Greens score significantly. It could happen, but it really seems unlikely. I do detect a slight movement towards the Tories, which mirrors what the national opinion polls are showing. I still think it is very tight and anything could happen. I expect we shall see the odd shock, possibly in my neck of the woods.

Stand Up to Racism and Fascism

Stand up

The photographer’s finger

Me - Polly - finger

Me – Polly – finger

I am an all-weather activist, although rain usually finds me skulking about indoors. This weekend’s sunshine has been welcome though, I think sunny weather makes for sunnier conversations.

My day, yesterday, was split between South Ockendon and Westcliff-on-Sea. Both canvassing sessions were positive.

It is undoubtedly a gross generalisation, but whenever UKIP come up in conversation (a regular, but not dominant theme over a few hours) then it is clear that they rarely illicit indifference. There are those who are going to vote for them (and it is surprising how often their fans are our more senior citizens), outnumbered by those who, whilst not necessarily Labour, are determined to vote for anything but UKIP.

Bearing in mind the relatively small snapshot I am able to witness, it is also true that Liberal Democrats are thin on the ground (there may be reluctance to confess support for them), and the Conservatives are not found in large numbers either. Of course, where I am working does skew the results, and explains the regular blanks as regards to numbers of Green Party supporters unearthed.

What is important to stress to voters is that on May 7th every one of us will be choosing the Government for the next five years. Ballot papers will contain other parties, but ultimately it boils down to maintaining the current administration, or electing the alternative – it will either be Conservative or Labour that takes this country through to 2020.

To those who do not want to see David Cameron remain as Prime Minister have to be reminded that it is only Ed Miliband’s Labour Party that can stop him. Every cross marked for anything but Labour makes Cameron’s task of hanging that bit easier.

In Thurrock I feel that it is a three-horse race. It should be a shoe-in for Polly Billington, clearly the front-runner in terms of ability. The Conservative MP is not popular, but her task is being aided by those who are usually Labour but who are feeling inclined to protest by voting UKIP. Aside from the fact that UKIP is a more right-wing version of Conservatism, a UKIP vote from someone who will only benefit from a Labour Government is going to help the Conservative Party hang on to power.

Protest may seem an attractive proposition, until you realise that you are left with the outcome until 2020.

Human rights

I am a member of Amnesty International and was, at one point, the local treasurer. I have been a member for quite a few years now and fully support their campaigns.

I have written letters in support of campaigns that AI have run, although I have to admit that time pressures do not allow me to participate that much nowadays.

I can categorically state my commitment to human rights, and the Human Rights Act.

I can also state that I do stand up to stop torture across the world.

I am opposed to capital punishment, and am an advocate for freedom of speech, worship, and political affiliation.

Solid Gold Blenheim Park Action

006I was out again this morning, delivering leaflets. This time it was in Blenheim Park ward, and our team included Matt Dent. Whilst it was certainly fresh, it was dry and the sun was out.

If I make a list of wards where we have been delivering recently I get to a healthy seven: Belfairs, Blenheim Park, Milton, Prittlewell, Shoeburyness, St. Luke’s, Westborough. Since I know that there is further campaigning going on this week I know this list will grow. You could get the impression that it is only Labour that is taking the impending elections seriously in Southend-on-Sea. I accept that my information will not perfect, but I believe that the Conservatives have done a bit in Blenheim Park and Milton, and UKIP have been out in Prittlewell and Milton. I have seen no evidence of recent activity from either the Liberal Democrats or the Independent Group.

Milton is shaping up to be a real bun fight in May. We are hopeful of completing a Labour hat-trick, but the Tories will be desperate to retain the seat and UKIP (and possibly an independent) will certainly make the contest a close call. I do not expect much of a Lib Dem presence.

Blenheim Park has a history of marginality, and I sense that despite a low profile here UKIP will be hoping to double their presence in the ward. This is being defended by Conservative Cllr James Courtenay, who cannot be sitting comfortably. It could go any one of four ways, and I know that the Labour candidate, the aforementioned Matt Dent, is determined to make a big impact.

Prittlewell ward is another where the result could go any number of ways. Cllr Ric Morgan was elected as a Liberal Democrat in 2011, and if he defends his seat he will do so as a member of the Independent Group.

It was mentioned to me the story of canvassing a while back when a colleague was discussing the local elections with a Milton resident who said that they had always been Labour until they had had a conversation with me. I recall this because it does illustrate that you cannot please everyone. Politicians inevitably fail their residents at some point; this is not to say that you should not try to accommodate all views – and seek compromise. What has frustrated me over the years is that whilst I try to be honest, I am aware that there are those who will say whatever they think the resident wants to hear. I mention this because as the elections draw ever nearer we will seeing a lot of politicians engaging in doorstep conversations, some of which will be designed to seduce a promise to vote for them. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this per se, I do have concerns about what is being said. This is one of the reasons I commit my thoughts to this blog – no-one can accuse me of saying one thing and doing another.

Blenheim Park’s Labour Candidate is also an assiduous blogger, and Blenheim Park voters will have at least on candidate whose views will not change from door-to-door.

Cold, but out

Cllr Kevin Robinson, Westborough candidate Charles Willis, and Cllr Julian Ware-Lane - wrapped up and eager

Cllr Kevin Robinson, Westborough candidate Charles Willis, and Cllr Julian Ware-Lane – wrapped up and eager

It was good to get outside, even if it was decidedly chilly. It was a few hours spent on the letterboxes of Prittlewell and Westborough wards. Should be out a few times this week, spreading the message. I am also using this quiet time to write some leaflets and to tackle my inbox. Canvassing recommences in a week’s time.


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