I’ve said before that the Conservatives in Southend are in a position where their best talent is outside the chamber. And before their heads get to swollen with compliments, neither Nigel Holdcroft or Tony Cox were exactly blogging powerhouses through December.
Tony has yet to make his triumphant return to the blogging scene (though with the report on the seawall review I don’t anticipate having to wait much longer), but yesterday saw Nigel put finger to keyboard again, with some interesting results.
I disagree with Nigel, the once (and future? -Ed) leader of the Tories in Southend on a great, great many things, but I cannot deny that he is a cool performer, both in the chamber and when it comes to his tone online. Improved, no end, I would say by the adoption of my suggestion that he uses paragraph breaks.
The blog I want to talk about particularly centres around an interesting anecdote about one of the council’s new UKIP contingent…
“This was brought home to me shortly before Xmas when I was picked up by a taxi on my way to a work social event. The cab driver was a recently elected UKIP councillor and we had a pleasant and constructive discussion about the town. However I was more than a little surprised when he mentioned that he had received a text from a party colleague earlier in the evening asking where he was as he had forgotten that the last full council meeting of the year had started at 6.30 pm. I asked why he had not gone and he seemed surprised that it was acceptable to arrive late.“
(Who texted him, I wonder? I’d guess either Moyies or Waterworth, with Moyies probably being the more likely as group leader)
There being only the five of them, it isn’t hard to work out which UKIP councillor this was (Look for which of them is a taxi driver -Ed). Nigel is quite sympathetic to the person in question, and I’m not unfeeling myself. Of all the meetings to miss, though, full council is the one you might be most expected to remember. There aren’t that many of them.
I do, however, note this response by a Southend UKIP councillor to criticism of Southend UKIP’s attendence record saying:
@warelane I hope i am not included in the poor attendance statement. I have hardly missed a meeting
— Tino Callaghan UKIP (@CllrTino) November 11, 2014
“Hardly” is a fairly elastic word, but even so.
There is a learning curve for councillors, undoubtedly, but a good election campaign should leave a victorious councillor in little doubt as to what residents want from their representatives. More than ideological politics, that’s usually just hard work and a listening ear.
This is a lesson UKIP need to learn quickly, in this blogger’s opinion. For example, Cllr Waterworth remains unrepentant that his absence from a meeting last year led to the failure of a UKIP election pledge. Some of the acrobatics he undertakes to blame anyone but himself are fairly impressive.
Then there’s the fact that his biggest concerns seem to be his campaign (Well… -Ed) for parliament in Rochford & Southend East and seizing control of his local party in a messy coup, all leading to my estimation that Blenheim Park ward is poorly served by its UKIP representative, and Southend poorly served by UKIP in general.