So having selected a candidate very late in the game, UKIP have finally managed to get a leaflet out in Blenheim Park.
Their candidate, a Mr Paul Lloyd, may seem familiar to residents of Eastwood Park ward, given that he was their candidate there last year. Given that he came within 200 votes of taking a previously safe Tory ward, one wonders why he didn’t stick it out there.
Nonetheless, onto my patch he wanders, with his A5 leaflets across at least part of ward. A ward which UKIP have been steadfastly ignoring for the entire past year, whilst I’ve been working hard since I was selected.
(I know what you’re thinking; “Has he put out six leaflets, or only five?” To tell you the truth, in all of this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being these are Southend Labour Party leaflets, the best written leaflets in the borough and would blow your majority clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well do ya, punk? -Ed)
There isn’t a great deal exciting about Mr Lloyd’s leaflet, to tell the truth. I’m a fan of the A5 format in general, but it only really works if you have some content.
There are six points under the heading “I Believe in Southend”, which may be pledges, but they’re pretty general to Southend. Nothing wrong with that, but if they are intended to be promises for how UKIP would make the town a better place, then they’re worryingly vague.
The tourism point, for instance. Nobody would doubt that the tourism industry is vitally important to Southend, and that the pier needs a long-term future (It’s been there since 1830, having survived fires, boat collisions and EastEnders; surely it’s pretty long term already? -Ed). How do you actually make this happen, though?
The joint administration has put up fees for the pier this year, which is a policy I’m not going to be popping Aldi’s own sparkling wine corks over. But maintaining it costs money, and the decision has been taken to make sure that we can maintain the pier. From this, I’ve no idea how UKIP would “secure a long term future for The Pier“, and to be honest I rather expect neither do they.
One bit which does catch my eye is the point on development:
“UKIP in Southend wants to see all large development proposals subject to an infrastructure impact assessment to ensure the necessary additional services are provided.“
Ah, planning law. This is one of the (Few -Ed) areas where UKIP has been more vocal since their entry onto the Council, and not particularly to anyone’s benefit. Regular readers may recall that when faced, at the Development Control Committee, with a group of residents wanting to enforce planning law against unlicensed use of a property by a business, Blenheim Park’s UKIP councillor Floyd Waterworth called them, err, “nosey” and “complainers”.
And when a group of Blenheim Park residents had just the same concerns about necessary infrastructure for a proposed school expansion, their UKIP councillor was every bit as silent as their Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors.
In fact, many of these points are redundant, as well as vague. UKIP want to keep librarians in our libraries, apparently. This is what will happen, but it’s thanks to the hard work of Labour councillors. UKIP, we are told, want to “ensure older people are given the help they deserve“, but once again it was Labour — as part of the joint administration — who saved Priory House care home from Tory cuts, not UKIP.
Paul Lloyd seems a perfectly reasonable man from his personal statement overleaf, though his party have proved themselves the very opposite in Southend. I don’t know which part of the planning process Paul particularly finds “backwards” and “obstructive” (Those “nosey” and “complaining” residents whose votes he wants, perhaps? -Ed), but I do notice that “as a small businessman [he] abhor[s] wasting taxpayer’s money“. In that case, he wouldn’t want to be wasting councillor allowances on UKIP councillors who can’t be bothered to turn up to meetings.
If Blenheim residents want “real change”, then they should vote for the party who has a track record of delivering it, and the candidate who has already proved he will work hard for residents; and that is not UKIP and Paul Lloyd.
As Labour candidate for Blenheim Park ward, it is I who am offering a resident-first approach, with strong and dedicated representation, and the policies to build a better Southend. Vote Labour on May 7th. In Blenheim park, vote for Matt Dent.