A word from Wier

This blog is in retirement.

I am now blogging here – a word from wier

A year in books – 2015

Here is what I read and listened to in 2015. If nothing else, I hope 2016 is a bit more productive in this field.

The best I tackled? Definitely A Child Called “It”, a remarkable (and awful) story, very moving. Honourable mentions also go to The Wasp Factory and Little Gypsy.

A. L. Morton The English Utopia
Agatha Christie Crooked House
Anna Sebba That Woman : The Life of Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor
Catherine Aird Henrietta Who?
Charles Dickens Great Expectations
Colin Brown Whitehall : The Street that Shaped a Nation
Dave Pelzer A Child Called “It”
David Attenborough Life Stories
Dawn French Dear Fatty
Guest edited by Karen Celis and Sarah Childs Representation : Journal of Representatove Democracy Volume 44 Number 2 July 2008
Iain Banks The Wasp Factory
Jay Rayner The Apologist
Jesse Armstrong Love, Sex & Other Foreign Policy Goals
John Mortimer Rumpole at Christmas
John O’Farrell The Man Who Forgot His Wife
Marina Lewycka Various Pets Alive & Dead
Max Hastings Bomber Command
Mick McDermott Speaking With Forked Tongues : An amusing & revealing insight into the modern bookmaking industry
P. D. James The Private Patient : An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery
Patricia Cornwell Portrait Of A Killer
Peter Millar All Gone To Look For America
Robert Peston Who Runs Britain? …. and who’s to blame for the economic mess we’re in
Robin Harris The Conservatives – A History
Roxy Freeman Little Gypsy
Sarah Waters The Little Stranger
Simon Louvish Stan And Ollie The Roots Of Comedy : The Double Life of Laurel and Hardy
Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic & Sister
Tom Holland In The Shadow Of The Sword : The battle for global empire and the end of the ancient world
Vince Cable Free Radical
Winston Churchill The Second World War : Book Four: Triumph and Tragedy

Tory activist complains because Southend is no longer run by the Tories

Estimable blogger Matt Dent describes Cllr Jonathan Garston as a lonely figure in Milton ward. It is not a description I entirely agree with as Jonathan managed to find an impressive number of Tories in May to give him another four years. Of course, special thanks was doubtless also given to Vida Mansfield, whose idea of progressive politics must include hobbling Labour’s chances of defeating the Tories in this marginal ward.

Garsty includes at least one Milton resident as his friend. Gavin Chambers (Cllr Chambers to give him his formal title) is a man aghast at the temerity of the homeless to be homeless. So appalled is this Milton resident that he is tempted by the delights of Leigh.

Hang on though, is he a Milton resident? He shows Loughton as his address on the Epping Forest District Council website. Mind you, perhaps he is as confused about his home address as he is about his politics. After all, this one time Liberal Democrat went Indie before seeking comfort in the bosom of the Conservative Party.

Of course, Cllr Chambers might consider looking into the policies of a Government that has seen homelessness increase under its watch.

Safer Places Men’s Services


Outreach Support Services for Men

A dozen for your delectation

Matt Dent, Taylor Barrall, Cllr Cheryl Nevin, Cllr Julian Ware-Lane

Matt Dent, Taylor Barrall, Cllr Cheryl Nevin, Cllr Julian Ware-Lane

The selection of Labour candidates for next May’s council elections in Southend-on-Sea is ongoing. So far, the following have been selected:

Blenheim Park Matt Dent
Chalkwell Taylor Barrall
Eastwood Park Elaine Wardrop
Kursaal Helen McDonald
Milton Cllr Julian Ware-Lane
Prittlewell Mike Fieldhouse
Southchurch Ros Sanders
St Laurence Reg Copley
St Luke’s Donna Richardson
Thorpe Rod Birks
Victoria Cllr Ian Gilbert
Westborough Cllr Anne Jones

Thus, five wards have yet to select, and I imagine that these will be done in the next couple of months.

Of this magnificent dozen (well, eleven of them are magnificent anyway) five are first-time candidates, five are women, two are defending their seats, and three are current councillors. One is a former mayor, one is eighteen. All would grace the council chamber with aplomb.

Five write blogs, and the four others include




Out in St Luke’s, and elsewhere

Cllr Kevin Robinson, Donna Richardson, Cllr Julian Ware-Lane - speaking to St Luke's residents

Cllr Kevin Robinson, Donna Richardson, Cllr Julian Ware-Lane – speaking to St Luke’s residents

This weekend I was out in a mere three wards: St Luke’s, Blenheim Park and Milton. I also know that we had teams out in Kursaal and Westborough.

It was a pleasure to join our St Luke’s candidate, Donna Richardson. If my snapshot is anything to go by then we are on for a Labour landslide here in May. However, that does somewhat fly in the face of the facts of recent elections, which have seen both Conservative and Labour vote shares plummet. This has enabled the rise of the Independents, whose lacklustre representation must worry residents. Their only contribution to debate recently has been Cllr Ayling’s whining about having to pay for paper and ink (currently provided for by the hard-pressed Southend tax-payers).

Cllr Ayling’s only contribution to the blogosphere in three years is a complaint about a reduction to his Special Responsibility Allowance. Come now , Brian, you were not elected for this.

Labour and Conservative vote shares in St Luke's ward, 2001 - 2015

Labour and Conservative vote shares in St Luke’s ward, 2001 – 2015

An incident at Barringtons

011Out for an evening stroll as I am oft wont to do, and lo – an incident.

“A major multi-agency incident” was how the man-in-charge described it to me. A crime scene, with the southern spur of Sutton Road (that which connects directly with Southchurch Road) taped off.

I saw am apparently incapacitated male lying on the canopy over the entrance to Barringtons.

Two fire engines, three ambulances, and half a dozen police cars; something like thirty to forty emergency services personnel present.

I called Cllr Jones (Barringtons being in Kursaal ward) who hot-footed it from her bed. She got a representative from South Essex Homes to attend – it is they who manage Barringtons.

The incident occurred somewhere between 9 and 9.30pm, and was likely (so I was told last night) to mean the road being inaccessible all night. Although all were tight-lipped, it seemed that a serious incident had taken place.

It certainly attracted a fair amount of attention from passers-by and near-neighbours alike.

Southend Sports Awards 2015

My evening, yesterday, included my third Southend Sports Awards. There are nine categories, and it was nice to see a couple of friends pick up awards. Kite surfer Richard Flindall collected the Sports Personality of the year. The councillor count was seven: three Tories (Folkard, Moring, Phillipps), two from the Independent Group (Assenheim, Stafford), two Labour (McMahon, Ware-Lane).

The Milton record

% vote share for Labour and Conservatives candidates in Milton ward, 2001 - 2015

% vote share for Labour and Conservatives candidates in Milton ward, 2001 – 2015

This graph shows the Labour and Conservative vote shares in Milton ward for every local election contested on the current boundaries.

The general picture is of declining Conservative vote share, whilst Labour’s has dipped and recovered. We are still not at the level we were in 2001, although in numbers of actual votes secured we went beyond 2001 this year. Had the Greens not secured 10.9% of the vote then the Conservatives would not have held on in May. The 1658 votes Gary Sergeant attracted would have won in any other year, and if one presumes that the majority of greens support would have come our way then a good majority would have been ours.

I have no idea whether the Greens will put up a candidate this year, my campaign must concentrate on what we will be doing and not be distracted by who the potential opposition is. I have got to concentrate and beating the Tory candidate, for this ward is a tight two-horse race, whatever the actual size of the field.

I am a long way from confident of success, but I know that me and my team will work hard. I am heartened by the huge increase in Labour membership since May, and this augers well for the mechanical side of winning elections.

I will also keep up my campaigning on those issues dear to me. Whatever residents may think of the causes I champion, and consequently what view they hold of me, they cannot accuse me of not being prepared to tackle some of the bigger issues.

CAST one world film festival