Having been knocking on quite a number of doors in Milton ward, Southend, over the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of people recognise Labour Councillors Julian Ware-Lane and Cheryl Nevin. Indeed, there seems hardly a person who doesn’t know Julian.
Very few, though, seem to have seen or heard from Cllr Jonathan Garston.
As the last Tory left in Milton, Jonathan is something of an endangered species. Indeed, most of the time you wouldn’t know he was there. He has reappeared, now, with a decidedly glossy leaflet. At least it isn’t motivated by an election he has to fight being six months away.
The leaflet is, to be honest, light in content. Jonathan has been on the council since 2000, and served on the cabinet with the planning portfolio, so I’m a little surprised that he doesn’t have much more to say. He will, he says, judge planning applications on their merits. Well good, that’s the job description of a councillor. That’s what any councillor should be doing.
It is a sign of the lack of ideas gripping the Conservatives in Southend more generally that the whole thing is light on ideas altogether. One of the points on the list, “Southend Conservatives always maintained a weekly waste and recycling collection and I would oppose any attempt of the new Labour Liberal and Independent council to change that“, is outright misinformation.
There are no such plans to move away from a weekly waste collection. Indeed, if one is minded to listen to Independent Cllr Martin Terry, present portfolio holder for waste, the only suggestions of a change came from the previous (Conservative) porftolio holder Tony Cox…
It is also a little ironic that he counts Warrior Square gardens as one of his achievements in the role. As Julian Ware-Lane notes, it was on his watch that a coach park at Warrior Square was proposed.
But more striking than any of the fluff-laden statements, in terms of showing up the lack of ideas, is the reverse of the leaflet. Why yes, that is a full page calendar. And the marked dates, which I naively took might be dates of planned councillor surgeries, are bank holidays. I…I don’t understand the point of this, really.
Particularly, I don’t get the list of notable dates, including such frequently-forgotten occasions such as…Christmas? New Year’s Day? April Fool’s Day is conspicuous by its absence, else I might be persuaded this is a joke, rather than a bizarre waste of print.
So whilst it’s nice to see that Cllr Garston is indeed still around, it would be rather nicer if he actually had something relevant to say about the ward he represents — and presumably still wants to after next May. At least his calendar is kindly letting residents know when they can vote for a new councillor, who actually has ideas for Milton.