graham longley

Wishing Cllr Graham Longley a speedy return to health

graham longley

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.

Who’s doing what in the new cabinet on Southend Borough Council?

southend civic centre

Introducing the new make-up of the Cabinet on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council:

  • Cllr Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe) — Leader of the Council
  • Cllr Ian Gilbert (LAB – Victoria) — Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Community and Organisational Development
  • Cllr Graham Longley (LD – Blenheim Park) — Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Enterprise, Tourism and Economic Development
  • Cllr Martin Terry (IND – Thorpe) — Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport
    Cllr David Norman (LAB – Victoria) — Executive Councillor for Housing, Planning and Regulatory Control
  • Cllr Anne Jones (LAB – Kursaal) — Executive Councillor for Children and Learning
  • Cllr James Moyies (SIG – West Shoebury) — Executive Councillor for Health and Adult Social Care

That makes 3 Labour councillors, 2 Independent councillors, 1 Liberal Democrat councillor, and 1 Southend Independence Group councillor.

I’ll leave it up to readers to decide who they think is driving this administration’s agenda…

Meet the Lib Dem candidate…for a ward which no longer exists

blenheim focus

The phrase “I don’t know where to start” is rather overused, but having sat here staring at the latest gift from my little birds, I really don’t.

The gift, of course, is the above leaflet from Southend Liberal Democrats, which announces in the traditional (But not necessarily the most helpful -Ed) way their candidate for Blenheim Park ward, Chairman of Leigh Town Council Richard Herbert.

So where do I start? With the glaring typo on the front page? (Word to the wise: “its” means “belonging to it”; “it’s” means “it is”. Southend Lib Dems should invest in a spellchecker. Or an understanding of the English Language. Or, preferably, both -Ed). Maybe I should pick at the fact that the same photo of Richard is used no less than four times in the space of two pages?

Or maybe I should start with the fact that they demonstrate that they actually don’t know where they are trying to campaign, by consistently getting the name of the ward wrong and citing a ward which hasn’t existed for fifteen years?

Yeah, that sounds like a good starting point.


Blenheim Park in 2015 is a two-horse race: Labour or Conservative

two horse race

There are 79 days to go until the local elections in Southend-on-Sea, 79 days left for the candidates from the various parties to sell their pitches to the voters, and lay out their vision for the future of the town and the wards which it comprises.

The curious thing is, though there are only 11 weeks left, in Blenheim Park it is a two-horse race.


The only candidates so far declared are myself and sitting Conservative councillor James Courtenay. Other parties are giving every impression of not being bothered.

Read on…

“Don’t Panic” Saturday in Blenheim Park

blenheim park canvassing

Yesterday was, apparently, “Panic Saturday”. That sounds, to me, like nonsense in the order of “Black Friday”. But whatever. I was, yesterday, not braving the high street, but getting started knocking on doors in Blenheim Park, where I am standing for election in May of next year.

I have been eager to get started on my campaign properly, after kicking off leafleting last weekend, before 2014 is out. So with Christmas only five days away, what else to do but put on a warm coat and find some pavements to pound?

Read on…

Blenheim Park deserves better

matt dent for blenheim park

This weekend the Labour Party campaign in Blenheim Park got started, with yours truly as the candidate.

Blenheim Park is an area which is currently represented by one councillor each from UKIP, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, and none have given residents the strong representation they need in local government.

Read on…

Matt Dent for Blenheim Park

blog photoI have, this weekend, been internetually challenged as a result of moving flats (still within Southend). As a result, Julian Ware-Lane has beaten me to breaking the news: yes, on 8th May 2015 I will be the Labour Party candidate for the ward of Blenheim Park in the borough of Southend-on-Sea.

Read on…

All Change! The new movers and shakers on Southend Council


southend coalition

Well, it’s done.

The first meeting of the new council has happened, and the vote for leader has been cast. Congratulations to the new leader of Southend Borough Council, Councillor Ron Woodley.

The actual votes were as follows:

Cllr Woodley (IND) 31

Cllr Lamb (CON) – 18

Absence – 1

Abstention  – 1

The abstention was the mayor, and the absence was Labour’s Cllr Royston, who is still recovering from an operation. All five UKIP councillors backed Cllr Woodley, which is mildly surprising. They aren’t a part of the joint administration, and I had wondered if James Moyies would be a little bitter at the failure of his pact with the Independent Party Group. It’s actually a bit unfair to blame that on the Indies — it actually comes down to lacking the numbers.

But the result means that the joint administration has taken power, and there is a now a whole new executive team in place.

Meet the new team…