As I’ve already mentioned, I was at the full council meeting of Southend Borough Council on Thursday. I was in the public gallery for most of my time there, I’m at pains to point out, and not in the chamber beyond my starring role asking a question of the leader of the council.
Nonetheless, I somehow seemed to still be the centre of attention, with references to my blog being made under a number of items.
The prevailing view coming from the council chamber (And some outside of and subsequent to the meeting -Ed) is that those who are blogging about politics in the town are somehow doing something wrong, that opinions contrary to their own being expressed on the internet should not be permitted.
It will, I’m sure, not surprise readers that this blogger disagrees wholeheartedly.
I am, as we draw closer to the local elections, alive to the danger of this blog becoming solely dedicated to the exposing the nonsense, ignorance and untruths of the Tories’ comedy candidate for Westborough, Daryl Peagram. Indeed, I’ve contemplated setting up a separate blog to basically fact-check everything he says.
So I do try not to make him the focus of my scrutiny too often, as much as anything to avoid inflating his ego.
However, with Daryl now having added not only a Facebook page, but a blog to his repertoire, I think this is going to be unavoidable. Especially given one of his more recent contributions, on the subject of Heath and Carby House on Victoria Avenue — a contribution I can only brand a disgraceful show of ignorance.
Regular readers will know how much I enjoy the leaflets of Westborough Conservatives’ comedy candidate, Daryl Peagram. They have consistently provided the very best in paranoid ravings and Cold War-esque McCarthyist nonsense. So the news that he has embraced Twitter is music to my ears.
We’ve had a continuation of the same incoherent ramblings, including apparent Labour plans to build flats on all the green spaces in Westborough (If you asked “What green spaces?”, then you’ve got the gist -Ed) and threats to reveal a Lib Dem candidate’s “family-unfriendly indiscretion“.
But by far the most interesting thing is his new petition, where he calls on the council to scarp non-existent projects in order to compulsorily purchase private land in Westborough to make “micro-parks” and hire park rangers to keep an eye on them (Micro-parks being at great risk of micro-bears, of course -Ed). I’ve no problem with Daryl starting mad petitions (The internet being full of them anyhow -Ed), but I do have a slight issue with his blatant disregard of data protection in regard to the responses.
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.
Well it’s either the worst or the best, I can’t decide which.
“Dazzling” Daryl Peagram was the Tory candidate for Westborough in May, and regular readers may recall that he had a penchant for producing particularly bizarre election literature which more closely resembled dispatches from a post-apocalyptic alternate reality.
Fortunately (Umm -Ed) for residents and local political anoraks, Dazzling Daryl is the Conservative candidate for Westborough again in 2016, and his leaflets are unchanged in their absurdity.
Usually for election literature this bad, you have to head over to the Conservatives in St Laurence ward. But apparently their cousins in Westborough have been drinking the same Kool-Aid as Mark Flewitt’s band of merry men.
There is, of course, the ever-present possibility that Conservative candidate for Westborough, Daryl Peagram, is a refugee of some alternate universe where the cold war is still going strong. Because the language used in this leaflet (Where actually comprehensible -Ed) comes straight from some McCarthyist dystopia.
The content of this leaflet verges on the ridiculous at times, but so far as I can tell it wasn’t a joke. The Conservative Westborough team happily handed one over when our paths crossed yesterday afternoon, so presumably they are proud of it.