eu parliament

Vote now, Vote Labour

vote labour

As this post goes up, the polls are opening.

Yes, it’s time to go and vote. You. Yes, you. Get down to your polling station and put your cross in the box next to a name.

For the next fifteen hours you have the choice of who represents you, in Europe and in your local government. And frankly, you’d be a fool of Russell Brand proportions not to.

Obviously I would advise you vote Labour, particularly if you live in Southend — the best local candidates, with the best policy platform in the town. But whoever you are inclined to vote for, remember that it only matters a damn if you don’t actually vote. The results are decided by those who vote, and there has been enough news coverage of a certain party that all progressive, fair-minded people should fear what could come about if they don’t cast their vote.

So go. Vote. Vote now, and vote Labour.

Watch the wheels fall off the Farage bandwagon

nigel farage on the take

I imagine many will have already seen this video, of UKIP leader Nigel Farage being interviewed by LBC radio’s James O’Brien, but in my opinion everyone should watch it before heading to the ballot box. I’ve seen more interviews with Farage than I ever care to again, but this is the first time that an interviewer has put to him the questions which I shout at the screen each and every time.

Farage fails to account on numerous fronts: the various unsavoury members of his party seeking election to public office; the xenophobia and ofttimes subtle (and sometimes decidedly unsubtle) racism he and his party spread; and the lingering suspicion around his use of expenses and EU funds. Don’t forget, this is a man who takes some £78,000 of your money for a job that he can’t even be bothered to turn up to (more than) half the time.

Watch the interview in its entirety (minus the two minutes of adverts on the front), and see Farage finally be confronted and scrutinised as any politician should. And note just how much it seems to worry his spin-doctor…

UKIP – Taking the money, not doing the job

nigel farage on the take

Imagine I had a job (which I do), and that job required me to work five days a week (which it does). Imagine, then, that I only attended two days a week of that work. Or two. Or even one day. Imagine I did not show up for the majority or working days without a single good reason. You would expect me to be fired, surely?

I don’t, of course. I am, rain or shine, at my desk 45 hours a week, Monday through Friday. I also earn below the average wage, and pay my own train fares.

I am pointing this out not as some sort of “poor me” sob story — I enjoy my job, and consider myself very lucky to do so. No, I am saying this because I want to make a contrast with another job. This job is paid three times the average wage, alongside a plethora of expenses to cover travel and living costs.

This job is, of course, Member of the European Parliament, of whom, UKIP have nine. It is therefore striking that UKIP MEP’s record of turning up for work is so — frankly — abysmal.

Read on…

And we’re off!

southend civic centre

With the local elections this year being later than most due to the European Parliament elections (the vote usually occurs on the first Thursday in May), today has seen the publishing by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council of the notice of election. This marks the “official” start of the election campaign — I say official, but all parties have been laying the groundwork for months. Would-be candidates have now 10 days to get their nomination papers in — with the signatures of 10 nominators living in the ward and on the electoral roll — by 24th April.

There are eighteen seats up for election — one in each of the seventeen wards in the borough, and an extra in Westborough which Independent Martin Terry has vacated in his flight to Thorpe — of which 11 are Tory-held, 5 by the Lib Dems, 1 Labour and 1 Independent.

Most local political commentators — both enthusiastic amateurs like myself, and those sitting on the council — are expecting upheaval after this election. The Conservative majority stands at 1 presently, and they are almost certain to lose a number of seats on May 22nd. What this means for post-election Southend will depend on how the dice ultimately fall, and what alliances can be made as a result.

So there is a lot to play for; expect a lively campaign.

38 days to go.