Over the past few weeks I have done a lot of blogging about Southend local politics, and the various offerings by the various parties (not to mention the definitely-not-a-party Independent
Party Group), their various candidates, and their various offerings to the electorate. In a lot of these cases I have found them wanting.
Most of my scrutiny has, admittedly, been focused on the Independent
Party Group and UKIP. That is not to say that other parties have been shining examples of good practice (indeed, there has been suggestions of some very worrying behaviour from the local Lib Dems), but when it comes to the likes of the Green Party and the National Front, there is a complete lack of visibility.
However, what about the the Conservatives.
The Conservatives, as I have said previously, have been running Southend for thirteen uninterrupted years. And, indeed, for most of Southend’s local government history, the Conservatives have been in charge.
So let me be perfectly clear ahead of tomorrow’s vote:
There is nowhere for them to pass the buck. Anything that is wrong with Southend, from a local perspective, is down to Conservative policy.
So if you think that’s going just dandy, then it’s clear who you should vote for.
Ah, but if you think Southend could do better…
I moved to Southend because it was somewhere I wanted to live. That has only been reinforced by my living here, but I can see that so much of the town’s potential has been unfulfilled, squandered. There is, in my opinion, no reason why Southend cannot rival any town or city in the entire country.
But that requires a brave approach to local government, an approach that Southend Conservatives have eschewed in favour of a managed decline philosophy. This, I believe, sells our town short. And given the lack of ideas being put forward by Conservative candidates at this election — not to mention a borough-wide offer from the party itself — it is an approach and a state of affairs likely to continue if Conservative control of the council persists after tomorrow.
So if you do think Southend can do better, and if you want to see the sort of place that Southend can become if we start working for a better future — tackling the housing crisis, the shortage of school spaces, the lack of youth facilities, and so many more issues — then voting for the Conservative Party should be the last think you want to do tomorrow.