Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Official: Lib Dems have no policies for Southend...says a Southend Lib Dem councillor

You may remember what Southend was like the last time the Lib Dems had a taste of power locally in a coalition with Labour.

Southend was in the doldrums and suffering from neglect. Remember the crumbling Palace Hotel at the top of Pier Hill, the Victoria Shopping Centre past its best and the ageing South East Essex Colleage building?

Compare that to the current Conserative administration. The Palace renovated, the new Essex University Campus with the planned new library, the regenerated Warrior Square Gardens, the St Johns Church gardens, Cuckoo Corner & Progress Road improvements, City Beach, The Victorias scheme. The list is endless.

Have the Lib Dems learn't their lession from 2000? Not so according to Southend Lib Dem councillor Ric Morgan. In an astonashing attack on the Southend Lib Dems in yesterday's Echo newspaper Cllr Morgan is quoted as saying:

"We are not putting forward clear alternative policies, neither us nor the Labour Party. We are not clear on the specifics of local government and what a Lib Dem council would do. That is a serious concern for me.

"There is no clear direction. It's a failure of the Lib Dem group".

Wow. Hard hitting stuff. Best of British to all Lib Dem candidates standing in Southend following this...


Town Centre Parking Reversal

At full council last Thursday, fellow colleague and portfolio holder for Planning & Transport Mark Flewitt announced that he is going to reverse the decision to extend car parking charges from 6pm to 9pm in the Town Centre following feedback from residents.

Mark was in a situation where he was dammed if he did and dammed if he didn't. If he didn't reverse the charges he would have been accused of not listening to residents. Now he has made the decision to reverse the proposed extension he is accused of buying votes by opposition parties in the run up to the local elections.

The truth is that when we consult we listen to what people have to say and reevaluate proposals in the light of their comments. A consultation is not a referendum but if valid objections are raised it is right and proper that we react.

Educashion, Educahion, Educashion

Our favourite Commie Anne Chalk the Independent/UKIP candidate for neighbouring Shoeburyness Ward has given her website a timely makeover for the local elections shortly upon us. Reading her latest this morning, it seems as a former teacher that maths and checking over pupils work wasn't one of her strongest points.

For starters, there are nine cabinet members not ten and yes I was the latest addition to the cabinet last year, but the cabinet will be reduced by one after the elections bringing the size of the cabinet down to eight. Comrade Anne also suggests that Southend Council do not need a executive councillor for Public Protection & Waste (The portfolio I am executive councillor for).

Maybe Comrade Anne doesn't think that refuse collection, recycling, crime, CCTV, dog fouling and the taxi trade are not important to the town?

This is not the first time Comrade Anne has put her big size nines in it and followers of this blog will remember last year when she wanted permanent travellers pitches on Gunners Park with skips and toilet facilities for them to enjoy...ah bless.

Another sum that former teacher Comrade Chalk has difficulity with is that of interest repayments. It is common place for local authorities to have a level of borrowing. At present Southend Council has borrowing of £218 million. £11 million will be spent on interest repayments in this financial year.

Comrade Anne claims that borrowing is out of control with 16% of our council tax spent on interest repayments.

This is blatent scaremongering.

Southend Council this year will have an annual budget of £472 million. £69 million of the annual budget is raised through collection of council tax with the rest of the budget made up of central Government grant. With £11 million to be spent on interest repayments, this is less than 2% of the overall budget.

Intrestingly, the figure of 16% was calculated by an Independent Party/UKIP councillor in Thorpe ward who was a financial controller for a  business that went bust! Says it all really

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Revised Collection Dates...

I would like to wish all Shoebury residents a happy Easter. This time is particularly busy and will shortly be out and about again in the ward delivering Cllr Jarvis's election address leaving little time to enjoy the sunshine.

This year, we will be having another extended long weekend due to the Royal Wedding in addition to the traditional Whitsun holiday which mean revised collection dates for refuse collections. The revised dates for Shoebury are worth noting to avoid bags being lined up in the streets:

1. Friday 29th April 2011 refuse will now be collected on Tuesday 3rd May 2011.

2. Friday 6th May 2011 refuse will now be collected on Monday 9th May 2011.

3. Friday 13th May 2011 refuse will now be collected on Saturday 14th May 2011

4. Friday 3rd June 2011 refuse will now be collected on Saturday 4th June 2011

If any of your refuse is not collected on these days  please get in touch

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Bell Un-Principles

The postal voters this week in neighbouring Shoeburyness Ward received some junk mail from our favourite leftie Comrade Anne Chalk.

In an expensive first class mailing, the poor Shoeburyness Ward residents had to suffer the usual annual election time rant. What was interesting was the endorsement from Independent Party/UKIP councillor Mike Assenheim.

In his opening gambit, cllr Assenheim claims that Comrade Anne only narrowly lost in the 2010 elections. Comrade Anne lost by 600 votes to popular local Shoeburyness resident Roger Hadley! I suppose this is close in Cllr Assenheim's world.

Further on Cllr Assenheim tells the residents that the 'Independent Group' on Southend Council only endorse Independent Candidates if they genuinely care for residents. Ommitted from the letter of support to Comrade Anne was the revelation in last Monday's in the Southend Echo that the 'Independent's' have formed an electoral pact with UKIP. Yes UKIP!

I presume the endorsement roughly translated means you can only join our gang if your face fits and you hate the Tories.

Cllr Assenheim then repeats the mantra that by definition Independents are free from Party Politics and each other. Lets look at Cllr Assenhiems actions on this statement:

1. Part of the 'Independent Group' on Southend Council which has a leader who draws a leaders salary from the council and holds party meetings at the Civic Centre at a cost to the taxpayer.

2. He is part of the 'Independent Group' which has formed at electoral pact with UKIP at this year's elections.

3. Stood for the Political Party Alliance Southend in the 2006 local elections

At the end of the diatribe, Cllr Assenheim claims that he and Comrade Chalk subscribe to the 'Bell Principles'. The Bell principle were those set out by former BBC jounalist Martin Bell. Martin Bell famously beat Conservative Neil Hamilton in Tatton over the 'cash for questions scandal'.

In 2005 Martin Bell, Dr Richard Taylor and Terry Waite the former Church of England envoy and assistant to the former Archbishop of Canterbury formed the Independent Network an online resource for Independent councillors or candidates.

The 'Bell Principles' were developed in 2009 by Martin Bell for the Independent Network and are the first code of conduct for elected representatives - they demand that independent politicians behave to those standards. The Independent Network asks that all endorsed candidates and supporters agree to the following principles.

1. Abide wholeheartedly by the spirit and letter of the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership

2. Be guided by considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, our constituencies and our consciences

3. Be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip How does Cllr Assenheim explain the UKIP pact

4. Be non-discriminatory, ethical and committed to pluralism. How does Cllr Assenheim explain having four different views on East Beach and using others work as his own in an article for the Southend Older Peoples

5. Make decisions transparently and openly at every stage and level of the political process, enabling people to see how decisions are made and the evidence on which they are based

6. Listen, consulting our communities constantly and innovatively 

7. Treat political opponents with courtesy and respect, challenging them when we believe they are wrong, and agreeing with them when we believe they are right Does this count as respect and courtesy when exposed over the Southend Older Peoples scandal 

8. Resist abuses of power and patronage and promote democracy at every level

9. Work with other elected independents as a Group with a chosen spokesperson Yep Cllr Assenheim certainly does this but intrestingly this was the only 'Bell Principle' left of the endorsement!

10. Claim expenses, salaries and compensation openly so the public can judge the value for money of our activities.

All noble principles you may think, but the Bell Principles are very hypocritical. How do principles 3 and 9 work together?
It is even surprising that the Independent Network's resources page even gives tips on how to form your own local 'Independent Party. In a page on how to campaign, one of the founder members Dr Richard Taylor even claims that:
 'You are only allowed the one word “Independent” on the ballot paper unless you have registered as a political party with a title, with or without a logo, with the Electoral Commission (EC). For example our title is “Independent Community and Health Concern” with a heart in hands logo. The word “Independent” is vital to separate us from the main parties and we believe that an extended title is helpful as it gives voters an idea of your aims and may create interest lacking from the single word “Independent”'

Dr Richard Taylor was the creator of the Independent Community and Health Concern Party!

We now know where the Independents in Southed get it from! It is always worth remembering Cllr Assenheim's wife, Evelyn, words in an email to a resident in West Shoebury last year - No single councillor can get anything done on theri own.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Southend Judicial Review Fails

Good news to hear that yesterday morning judgement on the application by Laura Millard for leave to apply for Judicial Review of the Council’s decision to grant planning permission (reference SOS/09/01960/FULM) for the runway extension at Southend Airport. This followed an oral Hearing held last week.
The High Court refused to grant leave and the judge ruled that all 4 grounds of challenge advanced on behalf of Ms Millard were unarguable.

Hopefully that is the end of the matter, unless Ms Millard attempts to pursue an appeal to the Court of Appeal or some type of action in Europe.

UKIP/Independents 2011 Election Pact

The local rag the Southend Echo, reported the electoral ‘pact’ between United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and the ‘Independents’ on Southend Council.

Not so ground breaking as I had previously exposed this grubby deal on my facebook and twitter pages over the weekend.

We know from previous experience that the Independent’s or not so Independent. They were formally Alliance Southend, signed Lib Dem nomination papers at last year’s General Election, formed a group on the council, have a leader who draws a leaders salary the list is endless.

What is interesting is that UKIP/Independents have so little support they think that they can say what they like, deliver nothing and don’t have a view on anything.

The local Southend UKIP branch leader is James Moyies who is the UKIP candidate for West Shoebury. It is also worth delving a little into his policies and views on all things Shoebury and Southend.

Firstly, in a deliberate attempt in this years local elections to conceal the UKIP brand to make them appear ‘Independent’. Gone from their literature is the UKIP logo, gone is their purple and yellow colours and replaced by standard ‘Independent’ white leaflets with lots and lots of claptrap.

Most people know the between United Kingdom Independence Party as good ole UKIP but in an attempt to dupe people Mr Moyies is calling himself UK Independence Party – note the emphasis on the word Independence.

I do wonder if Cllr Terry and his clan actually know what they are getting themselves into. On Mr Moyies twitter feed he calls residents ‘dimwits’, stupid boy, immature and ‘you strangely violated person’ to all those that disagree with him.

In his current election literature Mr Moyies claims that he has been working very closely with ‘Independent’ councillor Ron Woodley in Thorpe Ward. This is interesting as on the 24th April 2010, James Moyies posted on twitter:

“Independent Ron Woodley earlier this year "If I support a party candidate in the Election I will lose all credibility." He just lost it!” when Cllr Woodley signed the Lib Dems Rochford & Southend East parliamentary candidates nomination papers.

It’s also worth noting that I bumped into James outside the Co-Op in West Road three weeks ago and challenged him on UKIP’s pact with the Independents. He naturally denied it but claimed he would never work with Ron Woodley as he is the devil!

I will keep a close eye on their relationship leading up to the elections.

The article which appeared in yesterday’s Echo had a quote by Independents leader Cllr Martin Terry.

Cllr Terry claims that there was no official electoral pact. Does he really expect us to believe that? How then will Cllr Terry answer the fact that no UKIP or Independent are standing against each other if they were not talking. How will he answer that in a leaflet deliver by James Moyies two weeks ago claiming that if he or any UKIP candidate are elected then they will join the ‘Independents Group’.

Also how will Cllr Terry explain the tweet by James Moyies on the 5th January 2010 when he claimed:

“This General Election is the time to support a party you really believe in”

In the same quote Cllr Terry was also quoted saying “There is a lot of synergy between us and UKIP”

After reading this I thought I would do some digging and look at the UKIP policies. A google search led me to a Southend BNP activists blog Southend Patriot.

In this blog, the activist claims that UKIP are a ‘far right party’ along with the English Democrats, the BNP and National Front and compares policies. I wonder what synergy between UKIP and the Independents Cllr Terry refers to?

Finally it is worth looking at the latest UKIP literature that James Moyies is distributing.

In his latest leaflet he confirms he doesn’t know the authority he wishes to represent as he claims he is standing for ‘Southend Town Council’. Claims he has lived in West Shoebury ward for over 20 years when West Shoebury ward was only created in 2000 following a boundary commission review and that he is concerned about traffic in Shoebury and is campaigning for a by-pass.

Campaigning for a by-pass is commendable, but local Conservatives have been lobbying Central Government for years on this issue. It is also interesting to look closer at how concerned Mr Moyies is about traffic congestion in Southend.

Just last year in March 2010, Mr Moyies congratulating the Camp Cuckoo protesters on a ‘well made protest’ when he visited the illegal encampment protesting at the new Cuckoo Corner road improvements which have helped cut Shoebury residents journey times.

Residents thinking of voting UKIP/Independent on the 5th May should seriously think again.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

What the Government have done in the past year

It is almost one year since the Conservative led coalition Government was elected. It led me to pause for a moment to think about what the Government has achieved. Although not exhaustive, here is my list of the Government's achievements over the past year:

1. Corporation Tax - CUT
2. The Jobs Tax - AXED
3. Police Targets - SMASHED
4. Immigration - CONTROLLED
5. Personal Tax Allowances - RAISED
6. Home Information Packs - DROPPED
8. Quangos - CLOSING DOWN
9. £6 Billion in Government Spending - SAVED
10. Successive Budgets to balance the books in - 5 YEARS
11. For our pensioners - THE EARNINGS LINK RESTORED
12. For our Brave Armed Forces - OPERATIONAL ALLOWANCE DOUBLED

Still here blogging, but getting Derek Jarvis re-elected has taken up much of my time

Many have asked if I am still blogging, yes I am still hee but getting fellow ward colleague Derek Jarvis re-elected has taken up a lot of time - especially as I am his agent.

We have delivered two election special leaflets over the past few weeks to over 4,000 homes in the ward. Over the course of this week we will also be delivering a new full colour leaflet as well.

It has been a good exercise going around the various different parts of the ward where many issues have been picked up and reported for action to be taken.

This week also saw the list of candidates for West Shoebury Ward announced. As well as Derek, there are also candidates from UKIP, Labour and the Lib Dems. All the candidates for this years Borough Council elections can be found here.