The Facebook leadership contest, the Likes count so far

If the Labour leadership was decided by online presence we might end up with a strange result.

Here are the candidates ranked by Facebook ‘Likes’ for their respective pages.

30,938 Jeremy Corbyn (JeremyCorbyn4Leader)
12,885 Yvette Cooper (YvetteCooperMP)
11,579 Andy Burnham (andy4leader)
3,278 Liz Kendall (LabourLiz)

17,367 Tom Watson (
5,486 Angela Eagle (angela4labour)
4,630 Caroline Flint (CarolineFlintMP)
4,582 Stella Creasy (Stella-Creasy)
2,056 Ben Bradshaw (Ben-Bradshaw)

I have gone for their most popular page, rather than the leadership campaign pages.

Of course, compared to the electorate in the actual election these numbers are quite small. Also, you can like a politician without necessarily being willing to vote for them, and can ‘Like’ more than one of them. However, I am sure those dreaming of a Corbyn/Watson leadership team will be cheered by this.

Are you still Blairite? The Southend Against The Cuts meeting this evening

SATCAt the Southend Against The Cuts meeting tonight I was greeted by one supporter with “are you still Blairite?” SATC is a broad church of lefties, and to the gentleman who made this inquiry I am the wrong side of this coalition – he being a Communist Party member. I am no Blairite, although I thought he an excellent Prime Minister – despite my disagreeing with some of the things he did in his decade in power.

I am on no wing of the party, although I guess I am too close to the centre ground for some. I am, in reality, a mix of different strands, and do have some left-wing views on some subjects. However, I am proud that I have always described myself as Labour, and not slavishly allied to a particular camp.

I belong to Compass and the CLPD at the moment, and have been a Fabian and Progress member. I have also been described as a Brownite. If forced to pick a label I’d go for Pragmatic Labour.

The meeting tonight was not a discussion on where I sit on the left-right spectrum but rather about the upcoming SATC AGM, and recent events. I have been SATC’s Treasurer since it was created in 2010, but I have decided not to seek re-election this year. This is largely to do with deciding to handing on the mantle and wanting to tackle new challenges. It has to be said that whilst definitely unhappy with the way the Tories have implemented the cuts, I think I am more prepared to take a realistic stance than some others. I also, as a councillor, have to implement the cuts whether I like them or not.

SATC is also looking for a new Secretary as Julian Esposito is too busy to continue in this role. Anyone fancy doing this role, or Treasurer, can contact me.

The AGM is scheduled for 14th July (see flyer) and I have asked that amongst the topics discussed is voter engagement.

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Upcoming Actions!


Lib Dems in the East

A look at the Liberal Democrat General Election performances in the East of England.

Top five Lib Dem performances in the East:

39.1% North Norfolk
34.9% Cambridge
27.5% Colchester
20.2% South East Cambridgeshire
18.5% St Albans

The worst performances:

1.3% Thurrock
1.8% Castle Point
1.8% Clacton
2.0% Harlow
2.0% Waveney

The worst performances see four from Essex (which has to be set against their Colchester performance), and this suggests they have a problem in my home county. The common link amongst these five (and others which are near contenders for this list) is that they all are seats which have had Labour representation in the recent past.

North Norfolk has the only Liberal Democrat MP for the East of England. This represents a loss of three.

The story of the May General Election is the story of a collapsing Liberal Democrat vote. Of the fifty-eight Eastern constituencies, twenty-three saw the Lib Dems fail to hold their deposit.

As regards to swings, the Lib Dems may take a little comfort from Cambridge and Clacton insofar that there were swings their way from the Tories – but then look at those results.

The biggest swings against the Liberal Democrats:

15.8% Chelmsford (to Labour)
15.1% Chelmsford (to Conservative)
14.6% North West Norfolk (to Labour)
14.2% Huntingdon (to Labour)
14.2% South Suffolk (to Conservative)
14.0% South Suffolk (to Labour)

Corrigendum, a weekend

With Cllr Nevin at the vintage fair

With Cllr Nevin at the vintage fair

I recall one conversation where the promise of a vote depended on my knowledge of Thomas Paine. This really was a unique conversation, and eleven years later it is still a strong memory. There have many memorable doorstep encounters over the years.

Recently I was seen off with “you only ever come around at election time”; this was some eleven months before the next election, so self-evidently untrue. Whilst many are welcoming, some, it would seem, have been storing up their prejudices in anticipation of a politician’s visit. I have been called a liar, a cheat, only in it (trying to serve) for what I can get out of it. These are rare, and never as frustrating as the seeming legion of disenchanted and disengaged for whom voting is something other people do. However, there are some who are so convinced by the accepted narrative that they will not allow the contradicting evidence to deter them from repeating what they’ve allowed themselves to be convinced of.

“Cheers, dude”; and thus one conversation ended thus. It was a conversation notable for the “what is it with UKIP?” comment; this resident was no fan.

I am trying to find out what put people off from supporting Labour this time. This is not a conversation to be had with those who backed us this time; those supporting us in our electoral nadir are the nearest thing to a sure thing in voting terms. It is the Tory and other parties supporters who interest me. Of course, many would never lend their vote to Labour, but nonetheless it is illuminating to hear their views. This is not a political comfort zone, but it is (in the humble opinion of this observer) a necessary discourse.

One thing I think I have detected is the unravelling of the shy Tory phenomenon. In the run-in to May 7th it is apparent (with the benefit of hindsight) that there were many Tories who were reluctant to admit as much. Cameron’s victory appears to have encouraged them to out themselves. This is how it seems to me, in my small snapshot.

This weekend I paid a visit to the High Street to watch the march for Armed Forces Day. I also went to Warrior Square Gardens for the vintage fair being held there. and to Old Leigh for the folk festival. Of course, the highlight was the overnight stay of my granddaughter, Nellie.

Leigh Folk Festival

Leigh Folk Festival

Milton Labour councillor calls for a new multi-storey car-park in the town centre

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane wants Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to consider building a multi-storey car park in the town centre. Cllr Ware-Lane has identified the current car park in Tylers Avenue as being a potential place for this.

Building a new multi-storey car park would allow the council to aggregate the parking from one or two other sites, and then allow the council to use the other sites to raise much-needed revenue.

“Creating a multi-storey will allow the Council to re-use other car parking space without losing car-parking spaces. ”

“We need to find new revenue streams because we are facing more cuts in the coming years.”

“I understand that multi-storeys are relatively cheap to build, and Tylers Avenue area already has tall buildings, so a multi-storey car park should not cause distress to residents.”

There are some multi-storeys already in the town, and one that was recently demolished (Farringdon Road). In many ways consolidating several small car parks would also make sense for those seeking a place to park, and could help in traffic planning.

Some car parking space would be lost during construction, but Cllr Ware-Lane believes that this can be kept to a minimum with proper planning.

“To be honest,” added Julian, “if we weren’t faced with yet more savage cuts I doubt I would have given this much thought. I am just trying to protect libraries, children’s centres, and other public services. I’d welcome other creative ideas.”

Yesterday at the Southend Central LCM

Southend-on-Sea is a safe town, but there is undoubtedly crime, and sometimes it is nasty. In my ward we had an (alleged) murder recently, and attending last night’s police meeting (more properly known as the Southend Central LCM) this came up. I am pushing for increased resources in the area which was the scene of this most violent of acts.

Apparently burglaries are up in Milton ward, with twelve reported in the last eight weeks. This compares to two in each of the neighbouring wards. Burglaries remain a policing priority, as does prostitution and begging.

We still have a dog warden in the borough, which surprised me because I thought it went some time ago owing to the cuts.

The stats (below) are interesting/worrying/illuminating/puzzling – take your pick. I think that again Southend Central has more crimes reported than anywhere else in Essex . However, I should point out that the various communities are not equal in terms of either physical size or numbers of inhabitants, and that Southend Central is not only very densely populated, it also has four rail stations, two high streets, many clubs, pubs, etc. Nonetheless, though, I would like to see this number shrink considerably.

Crimes reported in April 2015, by neighbourhood in Southend-on-Sea, Rochford, and Castle Point.

706 Southend Central
335 Canvey
267 Blenheim
243 Southchurch
211 Leigh
151 Shoebury
143 Rayleigh
109 Rochford
98 Eastwood
71 Benfleet
60 Hadleigh
58 Thundersley
39 Hockley
37 Wakering
20 Hullbridge
17 Ashingdon and Canewdon


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