At one point in last night’s epically disappointing council debate on the breach of purdah, one half of Southend UKIP’s answer to Ant and Dec, Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park), tried to make a point which was shot down by the Mayor as not being relevant to the subject at hand.
The story Cllr Waterworth was trying to tell was one regarding an Independent candidate who was part of the mass exodus from Southend UKIP during the civil war, and one which my little birds have been feeding me bits and pieces of over the last couple of weeks.
Cllr Waterworth was right that it’s an important public interest story. So too was the Mayor right that this was not the proper forum for it. Better, perhaps, would be a blog. Such as this one, perhaps. Not so awful now, eh Floyd?
I did so primarily for the vote on changes to the electoral arrangements for the Council — reducing the number of councillors by a third, and switching to all up elections — which thankfully failed.
Bizarrely, that was not the most drawn out of farcical part of last night. It was followed almost immediately for an opportunity for Conservative councillors to grandstand, take up time with manufactured moral outrage, and ultimately call for a vote of no confidence in the leader, Cllr Woodley (IND – Thorpe), which failed ultimately by the mayor’s casting vote.
What a deeply unedifying way to conclude the final council meeting before the elections.
Today is the last day to register to vote. If you want a say in the local elections then you need to be registered by midnight today.
Due to the recent change to individual elector registration, there’s an increased chance of people being dropped off the register and losing their democractic voice. To make sure that you’re registered to vote, go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Well, this is a point of interest.
Whilst picking over the statement of nominated candidates for Rochford District, a familiar name jumped out at me. With the ward boundaries having been withdrawn, the district next door to Southend is electing all of its councillors at once.
And one of those on the ballot paper as a Conservative candidate is Ann Holland. And yes, that is the same Cllr Ann Holland who currently represents Southchurch on Southend Borough Council and is the deputy leader of the Conservative Group.
I don’t tend to pay as much attention to Rochford on this blog as perhaps I ought, given that it’s the neighbouring district to Southend and part of it is within the Rochford & Southend East ward.
But this year Rochford is electing all of its councillors at once, owing to the boundaries being redrawn. This happens periodically, to take account of changes in population distribution, and the prevailing trend currently is to move to all-up elections rather than electing in thirds (Not a trend which your blogger is enamoured of -Ed).
So that means that there are thirteen wards electing three councillors each, meaning a total of 39 seats up for grabs.
Disclaimer: Your blogger’s views on Police & Crime Commissioners are unchanged from 2012. They are a waste of time and money, politicise the police (regardless of whether you vote for a party or an independent candidate), and have so few powers as to be useless in any meaningful way. However, elections are decided by those who turn out to vote, and by not voting you are only increasing the volume of the voices of others.
Along with the close of local election nominations, nominations have also closed for Essex Police & Crime Commissioner candidates. The incumbent, Nick Alston, is not seeking re-election, so whoever wins on 5th May there will be a new Commissioner.
Last night I attended the launch of the Southend Labour manifesto for the 2016 elections, which was a huge success, and seems to get bigger each year we hold it.
I am enormously proud of not only the manifesto, but the open and democratic way that we write it. It is a product of the ideas contributed by all of the local Labour members, and tempered with the experience and expertise of our Councillors.
Over the last two years this document has formed the core of administration policy pushed by Labour in the Joint Administration. It’s a list of things that all 17 of our candidates are signed up to, for the benefit of the whole of the borough.
So the nominations have closed, and we have the full and final list of the candidates for the Southend-on-Sea local elections.
To my surprise, there are four full slates — from the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens — and UKIP are only one seat short. There are also a few interesting Independent candidates scattered around, and an Indie-on-Indie battle in Shoeburyness, which changes the dynamic there.
As in previous years, Labour candidates are in bold, whilst defending incumbents are in italics. There are five wards this year where the incumbent is not standing for re-election.
With only a month to go until the local elections, and with nominations closing later this week, it has been all go in Southend Labour HQ. As well as our local election manifesto being launched on Thursday 7th April–and Labour have been the only party in Southend to consistently offer voters a manifesto of policy pledges–we are standing a full slate of 17 candidates again this year.