Reaching a point, you have to wonder what certain people are thinking, exactly.
Of the new crop of UKIP councillors gifted upon Southend by a poor turnout in May, three of them are still pretty much complete unknowns to me. Though second-hand reports of Cllr Waterworth’s antagonistic conduct has reached my ears, Cllrs Callaghan and Burling are still inflatable question marks in my mind’s eye.
Cllr Moyies, my esteemed and victorious opponent in West Shoebury in May, is the UKIP councillor I have heard the most of. He chairs the People Scrutiny Committee, and has spoken the most out of the five in any public forum. I’m sure I will have plenty more to say about Cllr Moyies as his term continues, but so far he has not be the ‘KIPper about whom I have blogged most.
No, that honour belongs to Cllr Lawrence Davies, who only last week was the subject of a blog on his apparent lack of judgement. This time, though, the poor judgement is rather more than “apparent”.
Thursday evening saw the first full council meeting since the election — not including the meeting in which the new administration was elected, and which was by a long way the shortest since I started following Southend politics — and it was a fairly busy one.
But despite this, and despite what I would presume to be the extra excitement of being a newly-elected councillor, it didn’t seem to be holding Cllr Davies’ attention. Midway through the meeting, he was on Facebook (which given his history thus far is probably an unwise move) and planning a game of Monopoly (the board game):
(Again, as this screenshot was not taken by myself, there is some heavy blur work going on on this photo. I don’t want to breach the privacy of those bystanders, friends and family who may be caught in this; Cllr Davies holds public office, they do not)
So as we can see from the various timestamps, at around 8.50 p.m. onwards Cllr Davies was planning in earnest a game of the boardgame Monopoly with friends. The meeting, as we can tell from Southend’s excellent webcasting facility, went on from 6.30 p.m. until around 10.22 p.m. So this was right in the middle.
What’s more, that same webcasting can tell us precisely what it was that Cllr Davies wasn’t paying attention to. And oh dear, it was the review of the decision to close two council-run care homes in the borough, Delaware House and Priory House.
On the one hand, the review is the product of the new joint administration — of which UKIP are not a part — and neither are in Kursaal. But it was a priority of UKIP in Southend, with Cllr Davies’ own election literature listing amongst his priorities:
“Review the decision to close all of the Council’s Care Homes.“
It was actually one of the most reasonable of his pledges. Additionally, his group leader Cllr Moyies tweeted this weekend:
First Southend Council Cycle round up #UKIP demand No.2 Review of the decision to close Council care homes …AGREED
— James Moyies UKIP (@JamesMoyies) July 19, 2014
So it’s a priority for UKIP, and they are happy to take responsibility for it — impressive, given that they wield no power — but one fifth of their group couldn’t be bothered to pay attention during the debate… Doesn’t create a great impression, does it?
And for any who are interested, my little birds report that the Monopoly game did take place, but sadly Cllr Davies didn’t win.