This morning, BBC Essex are reporting what my little birds have been telling me for the last few days: that Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh), leader of the Conservative Group on Southend Borough Council, has struck a deal with Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park), leader of the UKIP group, to take control of the council.
To say that I’m disappointed at the news is an understatement, but after the elections the Joint Administration was on a knife edge, and Cllr Lamb clearly saw this as his last opportunity to achieve his long-held dream of becoming council leader — and was willing to do almost anything to make it happen.
The magic number on the council is 26. 26 councillors is a majority. The Tories have 24 councillors after the elections. The Joint Administration had 25 councillors (10 Labour, 9 Independent Party Group, 3 Southend Independence Group, 2 Liberal Democrat, 1 non-aligned -Ed). Thus the two UKIP councillors held the balance of power.
On Thursday 5th May 2016, the people of Blenheim Park did not choose to make me their new councillor. This is, of course, a disappointment. However, it is hard to remain disappointed given the increased numbers of them who chose to put their faith in this Labour candidate.
My share of the vote was up a staggering 7.5% on the election in 2015, putting me into second place, and making Labour the clear alternative to the Conservatives in 2018. In light of this, and the continuing woeful performance of the Conservative government, Blenheim Park should be a likely Labour gain the next time around.
But as well as the result, I am delighted with the campaign. I would guess that of all the candidates I spoke to the most residents, heard the most issues and personal stories, and had the most individual connections. I won’t let those connections fall by the wayside, and in the coming week I will be picking up the bits of casework which residents raised to me.
The campaigning, for a little while at least, will go back in the box, but I sincerely hope that I have more doors to knock in Blenheim Park ahead of me.
Today is election day across Southend, and if you have a vote then I implore you to use it for Labour.
If you live in Blenheim Park ward, then I ask you to use it for me.
Over the last year, I have been speaking to residents, keeping them informed via regular newsletters, and working hard to resolve the local problems and issues that they have raised to me. Whether I am elected or not, I intended to keep doing this — but it would be a lot easier as your councillor.
Working alongside a passionate and committed group of Labour councillors, I would work to deliver the policies outlined in our local manifesto, whilst making sure that the views of Blenheim Park residents were always heard and considered.
I want this ward, and this town, to be a better place to work and live. I believe that we can do this together.
Please vote Matt Dent for Blenheim Park ward, today.
This is a guest post, written by Labour candidate for Essex Police & Crime Commissioner, Chris Vince. As such, the views and opinions expressed may differ radically from your blogger’s own. Some of them may even make sense…
A while ago I had a brush with a local (Ish -Ed) Tory, whose Twitter activity displayed all the hallmarks of a troll. Attacks out of nowhere? Check. Aversion to facts? Check. Blocked me when I wouldn’t be intimidated? Check.
Despite deciding that poverty and homelessness (Made worse by the policies of the Conservative government -Ed) was spoiling his idyllic seaside holiday home and threatening to move to Leigh, Gavin Chambers had threatened to make a special effort to campaign against me in Blenheim Park. Like the rest of his party, I’ve seen barely anything of him, so it looks like it was an empty threat.
Except, a little bird brings me news that it could be that Mr Chambers is busy standing for election himself, in two different countries…