Month: December 2014

A Mad Man With a Blog: 2014 in numbers

2014 wordpress summary

Another year down, and it’s been another year full of blogging. So how did I do in 2014? Let’s have a peak behind the scenes…


Well, Cllr Floyd Waterworth may not be a fan, but clearly some people are. 2014 saw over 43,000 views on the various posts and pages of this blog, an increase of 138% on last year, and by some margin the best year since I started this blog.

Visitor-wise, the WordPress elves tell me that some 23,400 people visited this blog in 2014, which equates to an average 1.8 posts/pages viewed per person. I’m not sure how accurate it is discerning individual visitors, but by the individual metric it has nearly doubled on 2013.


This year I published 333 posts (334 including this one). Which is nice, I think.

The top five most viewed posts from this year (excluding the home page, the about page, and the peri-peri veggie burger recipe from nearly two years ago that everyone apparently still loves) were as follows:

  1. Full list of Southend Local Election Candidates 2014 (April)
  2. 02 “The Lion and the Rose” (Game of Thrones season 4) [SPOILERS] (April)
  3. The Southend Tory MP, the expenses claims, and £11k of taking the p*ss (September)
  4. James Duddridge, MP for…Halifax? (March)
  5. Kipperwatch! UKIP thugs trash Labour street stall in Corringham (November)


WordPress apparently tracks the locations from which visitors are viewing the site. Which is nice.

Here are the top five countries from which people viewed this blog in 2014:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. France
  4. Germany
  5. Australia

In news which will surprise nobody, the UK was in first place by a huge margin.


2014 was good. Hopefully, 2015 will be better.

And a happy new year to all my readers!

The cold never bothered me anyway

blenheim leafleting

2014 is almost done, and the period between Christmas and the New Year is usually a time for relaxing and doing not much of anything. Not with Southend Labour, though. Continuing our streak of being the most active political force in the borough, it has been a very busy few days.

For some reason, the cold doesn’t especially bother me. Maybe it’s the doughty northern blood in my veins, or just as my Dad has always said, “No sense, no feeling.”

Whatever, both mornings in the last week that I’ve been out leafleting have been bright, dry, and a colder as hell. Perfect weather for it.

In Blenheim Park, Labour still seem to be the only party out working in the ward. Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southend West, Julian Ware-Lane, and I made good progress on Monday around the Mendips estate. I have yet to hear any “choice words” from residents, sorry to disappoint Cllr Waterworth.

I’ve yet to see any sign of Cllr Waterworth out talking to residents, either, for that matter…

Elsewhere in the borough, I know that Julian has been very busy. I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but over the festive period he has been campaigning in Blenheim Park, Westborough, Prittlewell, and St Laurence. A Labour team was also out on Sunday in St Luke’s and Gray Sergeant has kicked off his campaign for Milton.

2014 was a great year for Southend Labour, seeing not only the fall of the Tory administration, but our own role emerging in the new joint administration. I am determined that 2015 will bring even better developments, and Labour alone are already out on the streets, knocking on doors and working hard for the people and future of Southend.

Southend West MP David Amess to be knighted for services to comedy

david amess

Congratulations, apparently, are due to David Amess, MP for Southend West, who is being awarded a knighthood in the New Years Honours.

No, it’s real. I’ve checked. The question is for what is this honour being bestowed? David has many excellent moments to choose from, both in his time representing Southend West, and before his 1997 chicken run when he was Basildon MP.

Read on…

On Southend Borough Council’s use of zero-hour contracts


Whilst the joint administration at Southend Borough Council, I would argue, is an unambiguous improvement on the previous, tired, stagnating Conservative administration which until May had run Southend (Or rather, managed its decline -Ed) for some fourteen years, there are sometimes stark reminders that this isn’t a pure Labour administration, and there are some areas on which I would like it to do substantially more.

Yesterday’s piece in the Echo about the use, by the council, of zero-hours contracts, for example. 159 council employees, apparently, are on such contracts, out of a workforce of 1,899. That’s just shy of 8% — The Echo’s maths apparently not being great — which in this blogger’s opinion is a long way from ideal.

Whilst I am not pleased at the widespread use of such potentially-exploitative contracts, I can imagine that taking charge of what has been for nearly a decade and a half a Tory local authority, such legacy issues will pop up. What bothers me more is council leader, and Independent Party Group councillor for Thorpe, Ron Woodley’s lacklustre response.

Read on…

NHS crisis comes to Southend

david cameron nhs cut

Well, I hate to say we told you so…

The Southend Echo were yesterday evening reporting that Southend Hospital has run out of beds, entering the ominously named “black alert”. Whilst I don’t wish to be alarmist, and it does seem that non-emergency services are functioning to take some of the strain. But this is still terrible news for Southend.

SOUTHEND Hospital has run out of beds for new admissions after going into “black alert”.

Due to a higher than usual number of acutely ill patients requiring a hospital bed, the hospital is urging people to stay away from A&E unless they are seriously unwell or critically injured.

Read on…

“The Dent Treatment” revisited: Councillor Van Looy’s response

paul van looy

Before Christmas, I posted an email and a letter sent by UKIP councillor Floyd Waterworth to all Southend councillors which was, to say the least, a little critical of my blogging. Some of those councillors responded, including particular robust retorts from Labour councillors Julian Ware-Lane and Kevin Robinson.

But it was the reply from from St Lukes’ Independent councillor Paul Van Looy which caught my eye.

Offered (verbatim) without comment:


I totally agree with you About Matthew dent with him I see more brains in a baby nappy then what he got.

Cllr VanLooy

St Luke’s Ward

“Last Christmas” (Doctor Who Christmas Special 2014) [SPOILERS]

last christmas doctor who

I have always found Doctor Who Christmas specials to be a bit hit or miss. That’s probably a description you could apply to the series in general, but the required shoehorning of Christmas paraphernalia into the storyline tends to stretch the credibility that bit further.

David Tennant’s debut in “The Christmas Invasion” is probably the pinnacle of them, whilst offerings like “The Next Doctor” were no different than ordinary. And the likes of “The Snowmen” were just pretty bad.

And, it being Christmas, the viewership figures will be higher, and opinions will be divided. So this, humbly offered below, is mine.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

“The Dent Treatment”

floyd waterworth shrug

Amid the sales pitches from online viagra merchants and offers of money from Nigerian princes, I do occasionally get items of interest in my inbox. Today saw one such item: an email sent by UKIP’s Cllr Floyd Waterworth sent to all Southend councillors.

For your entertainment and elucidation, (and, yes, in the interests of transparency) I reproduce it here:

Dear All

At this time of year the political parties start to announce who will be standing for them in May and try to encourage fresh faces to get elected and join the Council.

What worries me is how many genuine people will be put off by the personal attacks made on councillors. I couldn’t encourage anyone to stand for Southend Council unless they have a very thick skin.

I would therefore call on all the parties to think twice before they encourage people in their ranks to make such personal attacks.

This particularly applies to the Labour group. I have reproduced below a letter I have sent to the press in this regard and I would call on long-standing councillors such as Cllr Norman (the blogger concerned describes you as ‘principled, hard-working and dedicated’) to attempt to reign-in some of the comments made. This should also be of concern to Cllr Gilbert, who I understand is the Labour group Leader.

I have no examples of these personal attacks coming from Independents or Liberals.

Nor are there many from the Conservatives, with the exception of Cllr Courtenay, who deals in fiction rather than fact. I have written to Cllr Lamb privately in this regard.

Surely at this time of year – ‘goodwill to all men’ – we should all be looking forward to fierce debate over policy and what is best for Southend, rather than making personal attacks, which may discourage a lot of very good people from standing in May.

The letter below may well not be published, due to the number of asterisks!

Seasons greetings and best regards,

Cllr Floyd Waterworth



Labour have selected Matthew Dent to stand in Blenheim Park next May. One wonders if he’ll be in the same election as everyone else, as he thinks it’s on May 8.

Rejected decisively by the people of West Shoebury last May (13.33% compared with UKIPs 46%), Mr Dent arrives with a street map and some choice vocabulary.

Here are some of his offerings from the internet: David Amess MP is described as ‘bat s**t crazy’, whilst political opponents have ‘f****ng stupid ideas’. Oh yes, young Dent has a way with words.

And he likes to specialise in personal attacks, often without having even met the people he comments on.

It will be no worry to James Duddridge MP that Dent describes him as a ‘puppet’ of the Conservative Party Chairman.

More worrying is that people new to politics, who have bothered to put themselves up for election, also come in for the ‘Dent treatment’. Cllr Nick Ward, elected last May as an Independent for Shoebury , is described as ‘a competence-vacuum in the shape of a man’.

Unhappy about comments written in a leaflet by Cllr Mark Flewitt (Conservative, St Laurence), Dent asks: ‘Was he drunk? Has he gone mad?’

What use will Dent be to constructive debate, if he ever made it to Southend Council chamber? He did turn up in the public gallery at the last main Council but was gone within five minutes. One of his favourite films must have been on – ‘Blessed are the Damned’ and ‘American Horror Story’ are the subject of his latest reviews. The latter is also ‘bat sh** crazy’ by the way – you will see that his ideas are limited.

What I find interesting is that Labour supporters, who claim to care about people, are happy to go for the man rather than the ball.

So if Matthew Dent comes knocking at your door, my advice would be to give him a few choice words of your own!

Cllr Floyd Waterworth

Ukip, Blenheim Park

Impressive, eh? I have to say, I’m pretty damn flattered.

Read on…

Maggie Kelly for Shoeburyness

maggie kelly friars library

With 2015 almost upon us, I’m going to carry on announcing selected Labour candidates for the 2015 Southend-on-Sea local elections. And Maggie Kelly will be contesting Shoeburyness ward on 7th May.

Maggie fought the same ward earlier this year, the first time she had stood for election. She performed, in my biased opinion, excellently, increasing the Labour share of the vote by some three percent. I’m delighted that she has decided to stand again.

Of her selection, Maggie said,

Living in Shoeburyness myself, I know what a great place it is to live in, and I am delighted to have been selected to stand again. I hope to be a strong, clear voice for my fellow Shoeburyness residents.

With Roger Hadley, the Conservative councillor defeated in May, standing again for the Conservatives, it seems like the same options are going to be on offer. Particularly given that Nick Ward, the Independent candidate elected in May, is essentially the puppet of Anne Chalk, the Independent councillor up for re-election next year.

Shoeburyness residents should look at the disappointment of their latest Independent councillor and come to the obvious conclusion: that the real choice for change is Labour and Maggie Kelly.

“Don’t Panic” Saturday in Blenheim Park

blenheim park canvassing

Yesterday was, apparently, “Panic Saturday”. That sounds, to me, like nonsense in the order of “Black Friday”. But whatever. I was, yesterday, not braving the high street, but getting started knocking on doors in Blenheim Park, where I am standing for election in May of next year.

I have been eager to get started on my campaign properly, after kicking off leafleting last weekend, before 2014 is out. So with Christmas only five days away, what else to do but put on a warm coat and find some pavements to pound?

Read on…