With the dust now having settled on the local elections, it seems a timely moment to look back at my ward of Blenheim Park.
The headline here is clear: I didn’t win. Which, yes, is disappointing, after running what I believe was the most active campaign of any of the candidates. But diving beneath the headline figures, there has clearly been an improvement in the Labour vote.
Looking at position alone, and as I said in my concession speech, a move from third place in 2015 to second in 2016 is progress in anybody’s book. When one looks a longer term breakdown, of vote share as well as base position, the picture gets even more cheerful.
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.
With the local elections only a month and a day away, I have today received official notification from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council that my nomination has been accepted as the Labour Party candidate for Blenheim Park ward.
We enter, then, the final stage of what has for Labour been a year-long campaign. In Blenheim Park I have been knocking on doors, speaking to residents, and delivering newsletters all year. I’ve yet to see anything of the other political parties, but I am sure they will be rolling out their only-at-election-time campaigns before long.
For my campaign, it’s very much business as usual: speaking to residents, finding out what matters to them, and explaining to them how a vote for me on 5th May is a vote for a better Blenheim Park. But we’re in the final stretch now.
The latest edition of the Blenheim Park Voice is still going out across the ward, with the last week having taken a bit of a backseat to helping our friends in Rochford to their glorious victory — huzzah for Cllr Softly!
Despite constant threat of rain, we managed to escape a drenching yesterday, though the wind made things a bit more interesting. Apparently Southend Pier was closed to walkers (The train was still running -Ed) due to 50mph winds. I’m not sure whether Blenheim Park reached 50mph, but we can’t have been far off.
Still, this is Southend Labour Party. We campaign in all weathers, and work hard for residents all year round.
One of the more serious points at last week’s full council meeting at Southend Borough Council was the news delivered by council leader Ron Woodley, that Graham Longley (LD – Blenheim Park) had suffered a recent accident at his home and is recovering in hospital.
I have only met Graham a handful of times, and actually of the three Blenheim Park councillors he is probably the one with whom I have interacted the least. On all of the occasions when we have spoken he has been personable and pleasant. Whilst there are a great many things on which we disagree, what I have seen of Graham in the joint administration has increased my respect for him greatly, as he has worked diligently for the good of the town.
I send my best wishes to Graham and his family, and sincerely hope that he will be back to full health very soon.
In what has to be one of the worst kept secrets in Southend local politics, I am truly delighted to announce that Labour Party members in Blenheim Park ward have re-selected me to be their candidate for the 2016 local elections in Southend.
Apparently those members didn’t grow entirely sick of me throughout the 2015 campaign, so I will redouble my efforts with even more emails about campaign days, fundraising events, and requests for new additions to my seasoned network of leafleters.
I won’t dwell on my campaign plans, as they will emerge in good time, but I will say that whilst I am pleased with how the last campaign went, I am very definitely aiming for victory this time. As the Conservative government looks to inflict more cuts on Southend, the people of Blenheim Park desperately need a strong voice to stand up from them. They have not found this in the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives or UKIP.
My aim is to be that voice for Blenheim Park.