david amess

Sir David Amess MP, man of the people?

amess carriage
For anyone who missed this story, Southend West’s Tory MP decided last week that it would be a good idea to ride around Westcliff in a horse-drawn carriage driven by men in top hats, with Anne Widdecombe in tow, shouting at residents through a megaphone. For reasons unknown.

Meanwhile, 1 million people in the UK are using food banks.

Blenheim Park OutOfTouch

blenheim park in touch

I don’t think it would be considered election-time fluff for me to make the claim that in Blenheim Park ward, only myself and James Courtenay are actually making a proper effort at campaigning. Lib Dem, UKIP and Green; candidates from each are standing in the ward. But aside from some generally unimpressive literature, nobody I’ve spoken to in the ward has heard from yellow, green or purple.

So with three weeks left to go, it‘s fairly apparent who is actually working for Blenheim Park.

James’ latest leaflet is going out now — see above, and he kindly donated a copy to me for the purposes of this blog (A word to the wise: my little birds will bring me copies of leaflets. At least the donated ones are in good nick -Ed)

Read on…

Southend West general election candidates 2015

southend west

Nominations for the general election next month closed yesterday at 4.00 p.m., and the following is the list of the persons have been confirmed by Southend Borough Council as being nominated for the constituency of Southend West.

The election takes place on May 7th, and the deadline to register to vote is 20th April.

Meet the Candidates…

Southend West MP David Amess to be knighted for services to comedy

david amess

Congratulations, apparently, are due to David Amess, MP for Southend West, who is being awarded a knighthood in the New Years Honours.

No, it’s real. I’ve checked. The question is for what is this honour being bestowed? David has many excellent moments to choose from, both in his time representing Southend West, and before his 1997 chicken run when he was Basildon MP.

Read on…

You can’t trust the Tories on the NHS

nhs bill debate

I know, I know, it’s a pretty tired old refrain.

Usually I avoid this sort of a blog for that exact reason. Trouble is, the Conservative Party will keep conspiring to prove the old adage true.

On Friday in the House of Commons, Clive Efford’s National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill received its second reading. The bill would mitigate the damage done to the NHS by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (also known as “The Lansley Act”) and protect it from being picked apart by privatisation, especially from the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (“TTIP”).

The bill passed, by 241 votes to 18.

The low number of votes against, though, is not suggestive of support from all parties, but rather of the failure of Conservative MPs to turn up to the debate. As reflected in the above picture. I particularly note the absence of both of Southend’s Conservative MPs; James Duddridge and David Amess. I wonder what things they found which were more important than discussing the future of our National Health Service?

It’s worth remembering, then, as the election comes around just how little the Tories care about one of this country’s proudest institutions, and one of the most important concerns in modern politics.

Would a Southend MP ‘go kipper’?

amess farage duddridge

If Douglas Caswell’s meet the new boss, same as the old boss” routine in Clacton doesn’t give twitchy Tory MPs the nudge they need to jump ship, then Rochester & Strood might. In Clacton, Carswell’s personal appeal undoubtedly won out. Mark Reckless, however, has all the charisma of a two week old helium balloon. If he wins his by-election, then UKIP can actually claim to offer right-wingers a decent chance of re-election.

In such an event — which at this stage is far from a certainty — the fear that Grant Shapps can put into his ranks (Who on earth is afraid of Grant Shapps?!! -Ed) will dissipate, and Tories will start to examine their majorities and ideological leanings, and weigh up where they would be happier.

So what of Southend’s two MPs? Are they likely to abandon the yacht Cameron for the SS Farage?

Read on…

Labour are showing Southend voters the respect they deserve

ian gilbert and julian ware-lane

With Labour candidates now in place for the 2015 election campaign in both Southend seats (Ian Gilbert well-established in Rochford & Southend East, and the newly-selected Julian Ware-Lane in Southend West), one would well expect politicians on the other side to have had their say.

The Tory blogs are, thusfar, silent. Nigel Holdcroft, to be fair, has put himself on hiatus until September; hard to begdrudge, for the holiday season (Though this parish managed to give the appearance of life, despite its writer being in a field in Devon the past week – Ed). Tony Cox, sorry “Shoebury Blogger”, has been equally silent. And Mark Flewitt clearly prefers the sound of his own incoherent ramblings to anything meaningful or relevant.

So then to the “others”, which really means the Lib Dems’ sole voice online, Neil Monnery. Neil thinks that Southend Labour have made a grave mistake, because both candidates are, er, good.

Come again?

Read on…

Julian Ware-Lane selected as Labour candidate for Southend West


I am absolutely delighted to be able to report that yesterday the members of Southend West Constituency Labour Party chose my good friend (and fellow local politics blogger) Julian Ware-Lane as their candidate for next year’s general election.

For the past two years Julian has been representing Milton ward on Southend Borough Council, and has been one of the loudest cheerleaders for making Southend a better place to live, as well as one of the hardest working campaigners in the borough.

I think he’s a fantastic choice to take on David Amess, the sitting Tory MP. Like myself, Julian is a proponent of grassroots politics, and most weekends (and more than a few weekday evenings) will see him knocking on doors somewhere in the borough and discussing local (or national) issues with residents.

And unlike David Amess, he has never claimed thousands of pounds of public money to live the high life (and, equally, has never hidden from the local press in a hairdresser’s).

Southend desperately needs the change which Labour is offering in 2015; the rot of 14 years of Tory rule locally has already been stopped by Labour on the Council, but for Southend to truly prosper we need change in Westminster too. Julian Ware-Lane, along with Ian Gilbert as Labour candidate for Rochford & Southend East is the man to deliver that change.

I look forward to hitting the campaign trail with him in the months to come.