Red herons and a blue herring

mark flewitt red heron

Like a dog with a bone (or perhaps a bird with a fish) Southend Tory Mark Flewitt is still fuming over Cory Environmental having lost the waste collection contract on Southend.

Now, Julian Ware-Lane has already pointed out some of the rambling incoherence of his latest blog on the matter — an open letter to Cory — and some of the more ridiculous pieces of nonsense, so I don’t mean to dwell on that (despite there being a gold mine of amusement in that red heron bit).

More and more Mark is sounding like a conspiracy theorist, increasingly divorced from reality. He is so desperate to be the voice of the Conservative Party in Southend, that I have to assume he doesn’t even think through his opinions enough to notice the glaring contradictions.

The first which leapt out at me was this. At the beginning of his letter, Mark says:

I understand that you do not know why you scored so poorly in the procurement process but shockingly, neither do the majority of councillors as information has become bound in secrecy and a red heron argument about your lack of success for re-cycling is rumoured to have been the reason.

Colourful birds aside, only a few paragraphs later he says:

You, (Management) are due to learn early this coming week of the “scoring”…

So…is it a big secret, or is the information release just on a timetable to ensure commercial fairness in the procurement process? Mark can’t have it both ways, and I tend to think the latter is more likely than his grand conspiracy theory.

And if this nonsensical drivel wasn’t bad enough, Mark’s open letter goes on to actually suggest, on no evidential basis at all, that the procurement process has been wrongly conducted:

…maybe you will simply accept defeat and that this contract has come to an end or you may conclude that this has been a poor decision and has failed to take some of your procurement evidence in to account or that any submission was misunderstood and resulted in poor scoring. You will be well aware of legal process open to you and of judicial review avenues.

This is absurd. Mark claims that he knows “waste collection from local authorities is commercially sensitive”, and yet he is happy to imply wrongdoing on the part of the council. And in doing so he risks exposing the local taxpayer of Southend to a potentially ruinous lawsuit. On the basis of what? Petty party politicking? His relentless need to blow his own trumpet?

Out of power, Mark is a rebel in desperate want of a cause. He seems to have resorted to making mountains out of molehills, in the absence of anything substantive. Having read this “open letter” though, I do hope he hasn’t actually sent this to anyone. Potential liabilities aside, the contradictions and tin-foil hat mentality contained within show Southend’s local politics in a starkly ridiculous light, which does no one any favours.



  1. Oddly enough, a mixed administration is not likely to be engaging in wilful mismanagement or corruption, because everyone ‘should’ be looking over their shoulder. A previously long-standing and recently ousted conservative party which dished out contracts like sour Smarties and sold off assets to well connected individuals as if they where loosing a game of monopoly at the family table… Well… That’s a different matter. I suppose we will have to file it under ‘conspiracy’


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