My councillor roles this civic year (2015 – 2016)

Deputy Leader of the Labour Group on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

Place Scrutiny Committee

Place Scrutiny Programme Working Party
Public Transport and Buses Working Party
Waste Management Working Party

Essex Fire Authority
Homeless Action Resource Project
Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education

Thank you, all

A number of thoughts race through your mind on being told you have been selected as a Parliamentary candidate; amongst these is the enormous responsibility that has been placed on your shoulders. Your members want a campaign that makes them proud to be a part of a political organisation, and regardless of your chances your owe them to have at least given it your all.

I was selected last August, and I hope that I have worked hard enough. Despite the political climate that prevails in Southend West I think Labour did well. We finished a good second, hauling ourselves past the Liberal Democrats, as well as seeing off UKIP. Whoever follows in my footsteps, they will have the mantle of main challenger. Labour did well in the local elections, too, in this part of the borough of Southend-on-Sea, and we are well-placed in many wards now.

I must thank all my opponents and their workers for their campaigns. There is no democracy without choice, and despite my disagreements over what they each stood for, I at least acknowledge that the Southend West election would have been less diverting without their presence.

I wish Sir David Amess well in his role as my representative for the next five years. I also promise to play my part in challenging what he and his Government will be doing over that period.

I have the memory of a foot broken whilst canvassing, many charming and inspiring conversations, hours toiling over a keyboard, and the encouragement and hard work of all those who gave their time to help in my campaign.

I would finally thanks all those who voted, both for and against me. Democratic engagement is essential, and we only have to look to where in the world there is no democracy to see what a treasure we all have.

A sunny afternoon in Blenheim Park

Chris, Kevin, Matt, Ashleigh - out delivering the Labour message

Chris, Kevin, Matt, Ashleigh – out delivering the Labour message

A beautiful warm and sunny afternoon in Westcliff-on-Sea, and what better way to spend it than in the charming company of four Labour friends.

Our pledges, Labour’s pledges:

Balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS. None of our manifesto commitments require additional borrowing.
Freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £8 and provide 25 hours free childcare a week.
20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. We will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.
People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years and we will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.
Tuition fees reduced to £6,000, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for 5, 6 & 7 year-olds.
Biggest house building programme for a generation with priority for first-time buyers and their stamp duty cut to zero. Secure three-year rents capped by inflation.

Open letter against Conservative cuts to Essex front line policing

Dear Sir/Madam,

Neighbourhood policing is fundamental to ensuring the safety of communities across Essex. Going door-to-door over the past year and listening to the people in Essex, it is clear to us that policing is a key concern. People want to feel safe.

Conservative cuts of £50 million to the Essex Police budget, with a further £20 million of cuts to come, are undermining that safety. As a result, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex has undertaken a review into closing police stations across the county.

The review is now complete, yet the Police and Crime Commissioner will not share the findings until after the General Election – denying our communities a say in how their neighbourhoods are kept safe. The review’s conclusions should be made public immediately so that Essex can make an informed decision between Conservative cuts or Labour investment in frontline policing.

David Cameron promised to protect front line policing, but since becoming Prime Minister, 520 police jobs in Essex have been lost. With police forces warning that they are increasingly overstretched, further cuts in the service will put the safety of our communities in Essex at risk.

That is why we are speaking out against further cuts to front line policing. Under Labour, Essex saw an investment in policing. There were 595 more police offices in Essex in 2010 than in 1997 and 445 Police Community Support Officers were introduced to help protect neighbourhoods. Crucially, this led to a 23.05 per cent fall in police recorded crime in Essex.

This has been eroded under the Conservatives.

As Labour parliamentary candidates for Essex we will restore neighbourhood policing at the heart of our local communities. If elected, we will protect at least 750 police jobs from cuts in the East of England over the next three years. Labour has a better plan to back neighbourhood policing and restore confidence in our criminal justice system. This includes:

  • Committing to safeguard over 10,000 police officers over the next three years from extreme Conservative cuts.
  • Introducing a new “Local Policing Commitment”, which makes sure police forces guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area.
  • Abolishing the Conservative’s unpopular Police and Crime Commissioners, saving £250 million, and putting the savings back into frontline policing

Labour will provide a better plan for policing in Essex for a better and safer future.

Yours faithfully,

Gavin Callaghan, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Basildon and Billericay

Malcom Fincken, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Braintree

Liam Preston, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Brentwood and Ongar

Joe Cook, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Castle Point

Chris Vince, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Chelmsford

Tim Young, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Clacton

Jordan Newell, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Colchester

Gareth Barrett, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Epping Forest

Suzy Stride, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Harlow

Edward Carslon Brown, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Harwich North Essex

Peter Edwards, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Maldon

David Hough, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Rayleigh and Wickford

Ian Gilbert, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Rochford and Southend East

Dr Jane Berney, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Saffron Walden

Mike Le Surf, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock

Julian Ware-Lane, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Southend West

Polly Billington, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Thurrock

John Clarke, Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidate for Witham

St Laurence Voice


Vote for Julian Ware-Lane


Leigh and Westcliff Times article April 2015

Leigh and Westcliff Times article April 2015

I have vivid memories of polling day in the 1970 General Election – my classroom at Chalkwell Hall Junior School was being used as a polling station. It was no day off for me though as I can recall encouraging voters to support Harold Wilson from my playground vantage point.

My political journey began, arguably, some forty-two years before my 1959 birth – although radicalism may have come down to me through my St.John genes. In May 1917 Arthur Ware Lane died at Arras, leaving my grandmother a widow and my father a three-year old without a father. Penury ensued, and hardship during the tough inter-war years moulded my dad’s left-wing politics.

Poverty and under-employment gave my father first-hand experience of the injustices sometimes meted out in a capitalist society; when my father started to discuss politics with me he passed on the belief that the world could, and should, be a better place.

Equality – a one-word description of my politics, a belief that we all are equal. This is not just about discrimination, although I abhor prejudices of any description. It is also about life chances – I want a meritocracy, something that can only exist if we create a society where everyone is able to fully realise their potential.

Does a Westcliff-upbringing equip one for public office? Does more than two decades as a local football referee help, or the years in local sports administration? Does my career, which began in the civil service and ended up working for many blue-chip companies help either? Well, if you believe that living in and being brought in the community I seek to serve is a bonus, then yes. If you think a life spent outside of politics helps, then yes. If you think many recreational hours spent serving my community helps, then yes again.

I do not claim any special qualification for the role beyond caring for my town, knowing my town, working for my town. However, I can claim to have spent many years battling against injustice and tackling prejudice. I have also sought to serve, and am known for my willingness to seek roles, and perform well in them. These roles, for sporting bodies, political organisations, and charities, I have enjoyed doing, despite the many hours often involved.

I am also a parent and grandparent, and a husband of thirty-two years. I am an indifferent gardener who somehow managed to win an award last year.

Having a set of principles is, I think, important, and my democratic socialism guides me. I am, too, a pragmatist, happy to seek the compromise and aware that I have to represent those who may not share my outlook.

Voting is a compromise. It has to be. How can any party purport to represent every view of those who might vote for it? It comes down to choosing the one which shares most of your values. It is also about competence. It might be noble to vote for a minor party that champions a cause particularly dear to one’s heart, and it might be appealing to protest – but is it really worth the gamble? Unless a Government is competent personal and national wealth are at risk, as well as personal and national security. However, there is a place for ideology and for ideologues. If there is one thing wrong with UK politics it is the apparent lack of core values in some of those who seek to represent us. Seeking to be in power is a means, not an ends. We must have politicians with convictions, with principles that they can resort to when making judgements on our behalf.

Government is about running the country, preserving peace, creating prosperity, maintaining a lawful civil society. Government is management. For me, though, there is more. I hope we are heading towards a better place. I do not believe that the Conservative Party wants a world which serves the many; theirs is an ethos aimed at preserving elites and serving the few.

Some years ago, not long after the 2010 General Election, we were told that, “We are all in this together”. If only. When we are in a fix, as happened after the financial crash in 2007/8, then I believe that everyone recognises a need to pull together. Except…

Except that the last five years have not seen us all in it together. Instead we have seen millionaires rewarded whilst the poorest are paying for the ills of the bankers. Bedroom Tax, ATOS assessments, trebling of tuition fees. This illustrates the point that the Tories are not capable of serving the needs of the many. Vote them out on May 7th.

Southend West Voice


Labour candidate Julian Ware-Lane promises to fight for better roads in South Essex if elected

The Labour Party candidates in the west of Southend, both local and national, have called for greater investment in the roads to and within the town.

Matt Dent, candidate for Blenheim Park ward, said, “As part of my campaign, I’ve been speaking to people across the borough, and time and again the subject of the roads has been raised. Transport infrastructure across south east Essex is strained to breaking point, and for those who need to travel to work it has become an almost daily headache. The A127, in particular, as the pulmonary artery of south Essex, needs investment to ensure that it is fit for purpose, for those commuters who rely upon it.

Julian Ware-Lane, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southend West, a commuter who uses the A127, A130 and A12, wants to see a much better transport network.

Julian says: “I have been a commuter since 1989, when I left the my post in HM Customs and Excise to seek adventure far and wide. Unfortunately, such adventure as there was to be had was often delayed by traffic jams.

Julian added: “If I am elected as MP for Southend West one thing that I am keen to address is the road infrastructure locally. I want to see significant improvements. I believe there is a strong argument for a motorway traversing the south of Essex, one that would link the M25 with the east of the borough. I accept that this is easier to say than do, and there will be many arguments over route, and whether it should be an entirely new road or a major overhaul of existing routes.

This debate has been carrying on since at least the 1970s,when a motorway was suggested to link the proposed Maplin Airport with London. It really does appear that whilst jams have multiplied there has been little will amongst the local MPs to really get their teeth into this issue.

Julian Ware-Lane is also an advocate for public transport and will explore the possibility of a park-and-ride scheme for Southend. He also thinks that recent rail fare increases have been excessive.

The road infrastructure in South Essex has seen piecemeal improvements in recent decades that have barely kept up with increasing traffic volumes. Traffic jams are a regular feature, and it does not take much to create gridlock. There are two main arteries into Southend, as well as the road north from Rochford. The A13 and A127 cope manfully with their workload, although it does goes disastrously wrong from time to time.

Julian Ware-Lane for Southend West

Julian Ware-Lane for Southend West