He claims not. According to James Cottis, he is too busy with personal projects to run an election campaign. Quite what he expected to be the result of becoming an election candidate would be, is not readily apparent.
Those who have been paying attention may recall that James isn’t a Southend resident. Rather, he lives in Rochford, where he sits on the parish council. Given that he’s not standing down from that, St Luke’s voters could be forgiven for reading this as a declaration of his priorities; James Cottis is just too busy with Rochford to bother about St Luke’s.
No official word as to who the Tories will be replacing him with, but my little birds are pointing to Friday as the selection date.
Of course, the best choice residents could make on May 7th is to vote for Jess and the Labour Party, who aren’t afraid to work hard for the ward.
If you are a failed Rochford district councillor, making a chicken-run to stand in a local council ward in Southend, you’d think you might be grateful enough to the neighbouring branch of your party to cause them as few problems as possible, right?
Not in the case of Conservative candidate for St Luke’s ward, James Cottis, who put the above “selfie” taken with Nigel Farage on his Facebook page. Normally, in such a situation, I would ask if said Conservative politician was intending to defect to UKIP, but I just don’t think that’s likely in this case.
Rather, I suspect, Mr Cottis has just not thought through how damaging it looks to his party, the above mentioned rumours it will inevitably breed, and UKIP’s woefully backwards views on gay rights.
As Capt. Mainwaring might well say: “Stupid boy!”
(Unforgivably, I forgot to mention that this picture, and the story, was Julian Ware-Lane’s initially, and all credit is due to him)
So the Conservative party in Rochford & Southend East have selected their council candidates for the local elections in 2015. It’s not especially surprising, Southend Labour will be doing the same shortly. The list, too, is not terribly surprising.
This year, the Conservative Party won a grand total of zero seats in the nine wards up for election across the constituency. This time there are ten wards up for election, which surely gives them an opportunity to not win an extra one. It has become increasingly clear that Conservative fortunes in Southend, particularly in the east, are in full-scale retreat.
What is somewhat surprising is the content of the candidate list.
There are always rumours floating around about declining party membership numbers within the Southend Conservative associations, with some estimates I’ve heard suggesting that they have less than 100 members. That might be a severe figure, but it’s illustrative of the problem; declining membership, and what is left growing demographically older.
This is, I strongly suspect, a big contributor to the free-fall decline which Conservative fortunes are experiencing in Southend-on-Sea at the moment. It’s far from the only factor — or even the biggest; not listening to residents, for example — but it hampers their ability to campaign.
But it’s something else when they seem to be drafting in election candidates from outside the borough. Not only that, but failed former-councillors from neighbouring authorities.