A whiff of hypocrisy from the Victoria Tory candidate

When it comes to leaflets I have a soft spot for the unusual. Whilst there is much to be said for a consistent look and feel (if nothing else, the average lifespan of leaflet is the length of the walk from the front door to recycling bin, so any impact has to be immediate), but I like to see creativity. Where creativity is unwanted, though, is in the text. Political literature should be honest.

Denis Garne, the Conservative hopeful in Victoria ward, has an interesting leaflet. I refer to the design, of course, although interesting may also be applied to what he writes.

Headed ‘Neglect and Extravagance’ he begins thus: Residents of certain parts of our town will know all too well how it is to live in neglected areas.

There is nothing I could disagree with there; I have long campaigned about the huge inequalities on show across the borough.

Mr Garne then goes on to lambast the current administration, whose grip on the council chamber has yet to see its second birthday.

Now, as Cllr Garne (as he was at one point) could be argued to have had a hand in how the town was run (although as a then Labour councillor he would have been in Opposition). But he will know that the borough for the vast majority of the years of its existence, and certainly in recent times, has been run by the Conservative Party. Any fault regarding neglect can be fairly and squarely laid at their door.

He reports about spending plans, either ignorant or choosing to ignore his party’s lavish expenditure, and profligate waste.

Mr Garne also criticises the current trio of Victoria councillors for not living in the ward, failing to point out that neither does he. At least all of the Labour councillors in the borough actually reside in the borough, which cannot be said for his party. To use a word frequently touted by my friend from West Shoebury, Cllr Cox, there is a hint of hypocrisy here.

A reminder that things were not always so blue for Mr Garne

A reminder that things were not always so blue for Mr Garne

Victoria Voice Summer 2015


Shy Peter, UKIP in Victoria ward

peterBreuerThis will be Peter Breuer’s third attempt in Victoria for UKIP, having also stood in 2012 and 2014. I am puzzled by the lack of a photograph – perhaps Mr Breuer is just very shy.

Victoria Voice – Spring 2015


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Back Margaret on May 22


Dodgy Denis

Margaret Borton is the sitting councillor in Victoria ward and she is defending her seat on May 22nd. She rightly uses ‘re-elect’ in her literature.

Here is how the dictionary defines re-elect:

• re-appoint, re-select, pick again, choose again, vote in again
• to elect (a person, political party, etc) to an official post for a further term

She is the only person who can properly request re-election in Victoria, and thus it is improper that Denis Garne also uses this term.

Denis Garne was defeated as the sitting councillor for Kursaal ward in 2008, some six years ago. To ask to be re-elected is dishonest. He was never a Victoria councillor, and he is not defending his seat this time.

Labour has five ex-councillors in its team this year, four of whom have been councillors in Southend-on-Sea (Reg Copley, Jane Norman, Kevin Robinson, and Mike Royston). None are asking to be re-elected; they are asking to be ‘elected’.

Incumbency is an important electoral asset, and to masquerade as the incumbent in this way is an attempt to cheat the electorate.

Denis also describes himself as local which within the context of the borough he is not – he lives in Shoeburyness. One wonders what he is about to claim next.

Denis’s conversion from socialism to Tory has raised a few eyebrows locally; his dishonesty as regards to re-election has angered some residents.

Deceiving, dishonest, desperate – take your pick. Are things so desperate in the Conservative camp in Southend-on-Sea that they have to revert to con tricks?

Despite Del

One of the interesting campaigns in last year’s Southend-on-Sea Borough Council elections was that fought by the Conservative candidate in Victoria. For the first time in some years the Conservative put up someone who clearly wanted to campaign hard. Del Thomas managed to get quite a bit of traction with the local media, as well as seemingly many doors on the doorstep.

What made this interesting, for me anyway, is whether Mr Thomas’s industry would be matched in the outcome. Unfortunately for Del, it was not.

Candidates, and I am not immune to this myself, are often seduced into believing that people eager to see them when out canvassing will necessarily translate into votes. There is also the phenomenon, not unique to politics or politicians, in which our vanity allows us to forget the bad and boost the good. This allows the delusion that we are doing better than is really the case.

I have tried to dismiss the temptation to believe my own result in Milton was down to me, for however many column inches I attract and voters I have pressed the flesh with, ultimately my fortune as a local politician was carried by the tide of national affairs. My victory in May had more to do with David Cameron’s unpopularity than anything else. I accept that there are always exceptions, and that in marginals local campaigning can make a difference, but as a general rule you only have to look at national polling to get a good idea of how local elections are going to go.

Still, I encourage hard campaigning by our opponents. If nothing else this helps defeat complacency.

The table shows the performance by Labour, the Conservative, and aggregated others in Victoria for 2002 to 2012.Untitled

Working hard for Victoria Ward – all year round