What do UKIP and the Tories have in common?


Daryl Peagram’s drivel – Conservative quality control on holiday

westboroughInTouch2 westboroughInTouch1The competition for worst Tory leaflet in Southend is usually a competitive affair – not this year. Daryl Peagram’s effort for his Westborough campaign is an assortment of misinformation and lies. There is so much rubbish here that it is difficult to know where to begin. I can only imagine that Mr Peagram wrote this after a long day in the hot sun, it really is dire.

Ok, a few corrections.

• Westborough does not “have the biggest population of any ward in the borough“. it is number six of the seventeen.
• No youth clubs have disappeared under the Joint Administration.
• The Liberal Democrats and the Independent Group are not full of socialists. Some of the Independent Group may have once described themselves as such, but they are a hotchpotch of disaffected party members from all quarters. Ron Woodley, Council Leader, describes himself as Conservative, as does Marimuthu Velmurugan.
• We have not voted to nationalise the High Street. Impossible even if we wanted to (the clue is in the name – nationalisation requires national government).
• There are no plans to concrete over Two Tree Island.
• The unhappy record of local schools in special measures is an inheritance from the Conservative administration.
• No toilets have been shut.
• Labour won two seats here last time.

There is more. He makes all sorts of wild claims that can only be described as irresponsible. He is oblivious to the reality of police cuts foisted onto Essex by his Government. Makes stupid claims about the rubbish collections. He apparently “hates bank bailouts” – which runs counter not just to common sense, but his own party’s policy.

He manages to blame the failures in the NHS on the Joint Administration locally, seemingly unaware that the NHS is being run (down) by the Conservative-led Government.

He also boasts about the local Conservative manifesto (their first, and Labour have been producing one for years) then claims he can vote independently – which makes the manifesto worthless anyway.

It really is shockingly poor. Any Tories reading it must cringe in embarrassment.

A cheap holiday in other people’s misery


On a number of holidays I have enjoyed a trot around cities in horse-drawn carriages. Seeing the local Conservative candidate choosing to tour a part of Southend West in similar fashion I am reminded of those trips.

Sir David Amess impersonates a tourist in his own backyard. It makes you wonder how well he really knows the place.

Is it ironic that whilst the Conservative candidate indulges his taste for extravagant transportation, this Labour candidate was writing something about the Bedroom Tax?

I am fighting for the poor and disadvantaged. I am hoping that we can see the very richest pay a little more to help the rest of us. I am campaigning for a fairer and more inclusive society. I am definitely not planning to tour Southend West in a horse-drawn carriage.

Sir David Amess may not have intended it, but he has shown why the Tories can’t build a better future for working people because they stand up only for a privileged few. With a recovery which works just for a few, working families can’t afford five more years of David Cameron.

Fractures in St Laurence

burzottaIt was tempted to entitled this piece ‘David Burzotta, mangler of the English language’. It is so badly written that its purpose will elude many of its target audience. It really is poor – click on the image to enlarge and see for yourself.

This, I believe, was largely (if not entirely) distributed by paid deliverers. This speaks volumes about the state of the Conservative Party in Southend-on-Sea.

I can understand why Steve Buckley’s leaflet did not mention the second Tory candidate – it was probably written before the late announcement by Lee Burling of his retirement. I cannot understand why David Burzotta does not mention his running mate – as the second candidate he does not have the excuse of not knowing about Mr Buckley’s candidature.

One can only presume that all is not contentment in the St Laurence Conservative camp.

St Laurence – a tale of quitters

stLaurenceToryLeafletPageOneThis one was produced before Cllr Lee Burling called time on his political career (one that lasted a year too long for my liking). Therefore it has just the one Conservative candidate named.

By the standards of recent leaflets by St Laurence’s Tories this is a work of genius, but let’s be honest – the bar is set very low.

Some pedantry: whilst UKIP may have voted with the administration (those that bothered to turn up and stay), the budget was the work of the Joint Administration. UKIP are in opposition.

Steve is proud that Cllr Adam Jones voted to FEEZE council tax – I feel obliged to point out that as Cllr Jones does not reside in the borough he does not pay the local council tax. Adam quits for the charms of Barling, and Cllr Lee Burling just quits; St Laurence will see new faces (or returning faces) as its council representatives. There are two votes on May 7th as a result of the by-election here.

The reverse of this leaflet has a number of photos, amongst which are pictured SKIPP. At least we now know their loyalties. I wonder how many of SKIPP’s followers would also be content to be pictured on Conservative literature? And to think that they used to complain about the Tories.

On inheritance tax

At present inheritance tax is charged on estates worth more than £325,000 (£650,000 for couples). The Conservatives want to increase this to £1m for couples. This is another give-away for the rich.

There are some who would scrap inheritance tax altogether. I think it a very fair tax. Inheritance is unearned income, and since we must have taxation this would appear to be the least punitive or disincentivizing.

The bulk of many estates, as far as I can tell, lies in property.

The Land Registry House Price Index for February 2015 shows that the average house price in England and Wales is £180,252. For the East of England the average is £202,394, and for Southend-on-Sea it is £172,024.

The threshold at present is generous enough, given that for a single person it is still over 50% above average house prices. For a couple the current inheritance tax threshold is more than three times the average house price.

Raising the inheritance tax threshold will do nothing for average families in average homes. It is a give-away for those not content with having more than the rest of us, they also want to be taxed less on it.

Blenheim Park Ward – intouch Issue 8

blenheimParkInTouchThe evidence on the ground suggests that in Blenheim Park the Conservative campaign is the second-most hard-working. There is little from anyone else, except Matt Dent who is working like a Trojan.

James Courtenay is another who cannot help himself when it comes to the rules – he uses his council email and telephone number on this election leaflet. The Tories are losing all credibility when it comes to playing by the rules.

He claims, on the reverse of this leaflet, that he is a regular blogger. I suggest everyone read this particular post – 1,017 Thankyous!

In this he writes: I made some pledges in my election campaign and I will stick to them all. One of them was to do a monthly “E-newsletter”.

He has issued not one E-newsletter – mark that down as a broken pledge. His blogging is also intermittent.

I am intrigued that this shiny leaflet is ‘Issue 8‘ – I make that one every six months at best. I do not think that is very regular at all, especially as most of the others have been issued at election time.

As one of your local councillors, I feel it is very important to make myself as accessible as I can to residents” writes James. Hmmm, I think that is another failure.

Jonathan Garston cannot follow rules either

Garston letterGarston leaflet

Jonathan Garston is writing to residents. He is also using his council email address and telephone number – both against the rules.

This is yet another Tory two-fingered salute to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and the rules it has laid out for the use of its resources for electioneering purposes. Jonathan is so contemptuous of the rules he breaks them on both pieces of literature here.

The rules, in Tory minds, do not apply to them.

Jonathan plays rather loose with the reality of his time representing Milton. He was the Cabinet member responsible for Planning and did precious little to challenge some of the ugly developments that went up under his watch. He only began challenging when I arrived on the scene. He even told me, in one meeting, that I could not challenge all that I wanted to – fortunately I ignored this particularly bad piece of advice.

His letter is rather confusing, and attempts to conflate the General Election and local election results. He seems to suggest that Cheryl Nevin was not the positive choice last year – yet she seemed to get a convincing enough victory.

He repeatedly suggests that the weekly rubbish collection is under a threat – something he knows is not true.

He also (again) describes himself as a local shop owner. Untrue. His shoe shop is in Hadleigh, which is not even in the borough let alone the ward.

Again, Southend Tories snub Southend people

It is no news for me to restate that my election agent this year is Southend West resident Cllr Kevin Robinson. My Conservative opponent cannot make the same claim.

David Amess has opted for Castle Point resident Nigel Holdcroft. Southend’s Tories make a regular habit of choosing from outside of the borough – three of the last four Tory council leaders have not resided in the borough (Latham, Waite and Holdcroft). Only one-year leader Murray Foster was a Southend resident.

One can only speculate as to why they hold Southend people in such low regard. They regularly choose to have councillors from outside of the borough (Ann Holland and Adam Jones at the moment), which whilst not against any rules does leave wondering what they really think of the town and those that inhabit it.

Still, Nigel Holdcroft’s retirement from politics lasted less than a year.

Arithmetical mess, and a promise of instability

AmessWhat is noticeable in this leaflet is that David Amess is somewhat shy about his period as MP prior to 1997.

He starts: “I have been your MP since 1997“. He finishes: “Working for constituents for over 30 years“.

Each statement is true, but .. 1997 is a mere eighteen years ago. What of the other dozen years? Oh yes, he was in Basildon. He fled there when he noticed the writing on the wall. When he speaks of “working for constituents“, does this work include his flight from the fight with Angela Smith?

Between these two statements he writes little that can be described as accurate.

There is no threat of a Labour-SNP coalition. The country was in growth when we left office in 2010. An EU referendum promises instability at a time when we are still fighting to achieve a proper economic recovery.

He says that “only a Conservative Government would ensure that the recovery continues“, yet a two-year referendum debate threatens that recovery. Besides, it was the last Labour Government that oversaw a record period of growth and prosperity – a period only broken by the Tory’s friends in the banking community.