This is becoming a habit, Mark.
Last week, the Echo printed an article fronted by Tory Cllr Mark Flewitt, complaining that the Joint Administration was supposedly considering closing down sheltered accommodation across Southend.
Regular readers of this blog will know that this isn’t a particularly unfamiliar occurrence. An (Alleged -Ed) serial-leaker and (Somewhat more concrete -Ed) serial-scaremongerer, Mark has cried wolf a number of times, and has yet to be proven correct.
Still, I’m sure he’ll find a campaign hook eventually. Not this time, though.
There was the time that alleged plans to knock down tower blocks in the town centre (Which turned out to be unfounded -Ed) were leaked to the paper, prompting fears from residents that they would be made homeless. It was capitalised on by Mark Flewitt, who just so happened to have been on the email train which was leaked.
Then there was the time that he announced that Cory had lost the waste contract, before any of their employees could be informed. He and his party then opposed the change in provider, falsely claiming that it would mean a switch to fortnightly collections, and despite the £1 million saving it means for the town.
So readers might share my scepticism when on the basis of no evidence at all, he suggests that the Council is planning to close all of its sheltered accommodation. Never mind the lack of proof, never mind the actual likelihood, never mind the stress the suggestion places on the people who actually live in this accommodation
Mark Flewitt has an election to win, after all.
The thing that strikes me is, if this is such a big concern for Cllr Flewitt and the Southend Conservatives, then surely they should be bringing it up in a council meeting. The correct place would surely be at the Policy & Resources Scrutiny Committee. This committee last met on Thursday 16th July, coincidentally the same day that the Echo article appeared. Eight Conservative councillors sit on this committee. It is, in fact, chaired by Cllr Mark Flewitt.
And how many mentions did the alleged potential closure of sheltered accommodation receive at the meeting? Precisely none.
Your opposition, ladies and gentleman. More opportunistic than opposition, perhaps.
Mark Flewitt is not a stupid man. He knows what he is doing, or at least what he is trying to do. He knows that he needs some sort of purchase on the administration if he, next May, is to win re-election without a general election to get the Conservative vote out.
The thing with the boy who cried wolf, though, is that if you do it too many times everyone stops listening. There aren’t any wolves here. There are just increasingly desperate Conservative councillors.