brian ayling

Threaten all he likes, Cllr Ayling is a sub-par councillor and he knows it

brian ayling council allowances

So last week I posted a copy of the latest St Luke’s Voice, going out in St Luke’s ward from our Labour candidate Donna Richardson. It contained, amongst other stuff, this passage:

Labour’s DONNA RICHARDSON says, ‘After speaking with some residents living in and around LONSDALE ROAD, I have discovered that there had been a vehicle collision due to badly faded road markings. The residents informed me that they had spoken to an Independent Councillor about this issue but had no further contact and the problem remained. To try and help I reported the safety issue to the council and I am extremely happy to say that not only these road markings, but others in the area, are now due to be re-painted.’

And it is precisely this bit with which Cllr Brian Ayling (IND – St Luke’s) has taken issue with, in his typical charmless fashion.

Read on…

The top 10 maddest moments in Southend local politics 2015 (Part 2)

southend pier

You’ve come this far. Maybe you’re willing to come a little further...

Yes, the end of 2015 is truly upon us, and so as promised, I must offer the second part of my rundown of my 10 maddest moments in Southend politics.

Honestly, distilling it down to 10 was hard work. Deciding what got the top spot was harder still. It’s been a fun year, but looking back over it is more a cavalcade of the weird and wonderful. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, here is the first part, running through numbers 10 to 6.

Here is my top five, of the maddest moments in Southend local politics in 2015.

Read on…

Southend Independents aren’t so “local” once the votes are counted

caroline endersby address

Back in the 2014 election campaign, I remarked that the Independent candidate for St Luke’s, Caroline Endersby, had not said much at all throughout her campaign. Her one campaign point seemed to be the slightly League of Gentlemen-esque slogan “Local Politics for Local People” (There’s nothing for you here… -Ed).

Now that she is Cllr Endersby, it could be argued that despite the fact that she has yet to utter a word in a council meeting, nor make much of a visible impact at all since her election, she hasn’t breached any of her pledges because she didn’t actually make any.

I don’t, actually, think that being the Council mute makes for a good councillor. It may well be that she is extremely busy with ward business, but I actually know a fair few people living in St Luke’s, and whilst most can name Paul Van Looy, and some can name Brian Ayling (Though not necessarily in a flattering context -Ed), I have yet to find anyone who responds to “What about Cllr Endersby?” with anything but “Who?”

Cllr Endersby did, though, make one statement which could charitably be called a promise. She sold herself as the “local” candidate. One can debate, generally, what “local” means, but the meaning here was clear: that she lived in the ward. Except, it seems, she does not any longer.

Read on…

Poor maths aside, Cllr Ayling cannot avoid allowance scrutiny

brian ayling council allowances

So I can raise the dead, it seems.

After three and a bit years, I have raised Brian Ayling’s blog from it’s dusty resting place. And all it took was to tell the truth about his behaviour on councillor allowances.

Unfortunately, it is only to demonstrate his poor grasp of both reality and numeracy. Still, I’m always keen to help. Let’s teach Cllr Ayling to count, shall we?

Read on…

Letter to the Editor: Cllr Ayling needs to get his facts straight


The allowance that Cllr Brian Ayling (IND – St Luke’s) thinks has been unfairly cut is paid to him for chairing one of the Appeals committees. As things were, he received £4,000 yearly for this service. And given that the committee met only four times in the last year, that equates to £1,000 for every meeting. He clearly thinks that is fine. In an era of austerity, I disagree.

Cllr Ayling also claims in a that no Labour councillor had their allowance cut. Worryingly, this suggests that he has neither read the report he was so critical of, nor paid attention to the debate. Cllr Robinson (LAB – Westborough) is the chair of the Standards Committee, and Cllr Borton (LAB – Victoria) the vice-chair of Appeals. Their allowances were also cut on the grounds of a reduced number of meetings. Unlike Cllr Ayling’s grubby behaviour, Cllrs Robinson and Borton welcomed these cuts as the right thing in the current climate.

If Cllrs Robinson and Borton are who Cllr Ayling is referring to when he calls me a “typical Labour politician”, then I am flattered by the comparison. And I would suggest that residents of St Luke’s ward deserve more than a councillor whose main interest is his pay cheque, and who cannot get his facts right.

Matt Dent

Avenue Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

Letter to the Editor: Council allowance debate disappointment


Having watched some of council meeting last Thursday, I saw the debate on councillors allowances, and I have to say I am deeply disappointed.

In an year which has seen Southend’s budget slashed by the government by £11m, how unedifying to see councillor after councillor to stand up to defend their own allowances and benefits.

I cannot decide what was worse. Perhaps the Conservative Group voting nearly on mass to hold onto their taxpayer-funded printers, rather than travel in to the Civic Centre for their free printing. Or perhaps Independent councillors Mike Stafford and Brian Ayling fighting to keep their allowances as committee chairs, equivalent to some £1,000 per meeting.

If only they fought as hard for their constituents.

On the other hand, credit is due to the Labour group for voting as a whole not to reward themselves as Southend residents suffer cuts to vital services; and to the cabinet for rejecting a wholly inappropriate 5% rise in their own allowances.

I would urge all voters in Southend to watch the webcast, and see how their representatives respond when asked to make sacrifices themselves. The truth is very revealing.

Matt Dent


Cllr Brian Ayling should be ashamed of his allowance money grubbing

brian ayling council allowances

I already touched on this in my overview of Southend Borough Council’s debate on councillors’ allowances, but there were a few councillors who utterly disgraced themselves over the course of the night.

There was, for instance, the gross spectacle of the Conservative group voting almost en masse to cling onto their taxpayer-funded printer paper and ink, because they didn’t want the aggravation of having to come into the Civic Centre to print. These being the same people happy to close care homes, sack library staff, and inflict the bedroom tax on Southend’s very poorest.

But I expect no more from them. The callous, selfish cruelty they displayed is not a new occurrence.

For me, the most unedifying event of the night was Cllr Brian Ayling, an Independent Party Group councillor in St Luke’s ward, fighting tooth and nail not for his residents, but for his own “special responsibility allowance” as chair of one the Council’s appeals committees.


Caroline Endersby exemplifies the Independents’ idiocy


caroline endersby placard 2

Another day closer to the election, another example of the independents hawking their particular brand of contradictory political nonsense to the people of Southend. Today I snapped the above picture in St Luke’s ward, coming over the bridge over the railway at the western end of Eastern Avenue.

Placards like these are apparently a big way in which the Independents campaign. Results seem to suggest that this is a fairly successful method — there are nine eight independents on the council — but for the life of me I can’t tell why. There is no reason on this board for anyone to vote for Caroline Endersby. And from what I have seen of her leaflets, they don’t offer any reasons either.

Read on…