Something has been bugging me throughout this election. A phrase, coming up over and over again in the national debate as well as here in Southend. No, it’s not “Long Term Economic Plan” (Though there is a special place in hell waiting for whichever moron dreamt that up -Ed).
This is a phrase which has been used again and again, and each time I cringe inwardly and out. Somehow, despite it being demonstrably nonsense — and demonstrate, I will — it has become so ingrained in our social psyche that it’s like the “Fine,” we utter in response to the Monday morning “How are you?”, despite being very un-fine.
I’m calling time on it then. Let’s have no more of the phrase “professional politician”.
I can’t actually remember the first time I met Gray Sergeant. It would have been sometime soon after I moved to Southend, though, when he was hard at work fighting an election in St Luke’s, which he was desperately unfortunate not to win.
St Luke’s loss looks set to become Milton’s gain, though, as this year Gray is running to be the next councillor in the ward where I live.
Over my involvement with Southend Labour Party, I have worked alongside Gray and gotten to know him. In my opinion, he embodies the very best of our local politics.
Having been out on the doorstep with him, I can attest to his unfailing dedication and appetite for the hard work of being a local councillor. He hasn’t shied from the unglamorous jobs dealing with fly tipping, dog mess, and the chronic lack of parking in the town centre.
But more important for me, Gray knows that politics is not black and white. It is important that councillors work together, for the good of the communities they represent. I think that the two Labour councillors Milton already has are prime examples of the sort of resident-first representation which is so effective. I know that Gray will be an excellent addition to that team, adding the perspective of young people in the town centre to an already broad worldview.
On May 7th I will be placing a cross next to Gray Sergeant’s name. If you live in Milton ward, I urge you to do the same.