So the news is out. This weekend, Julian Ware-Lane was re-selected to fight Milton ward in next May’s elections.
Frankly, I would have been astounded at anything other than the unanimous backing he received from a room full of Milton Labour members. Before Julian started campaigning in Milton it was a solidly Conservative ward. Within two years he had turned it into a marginal. In 2014 Cheryl Nevin won it with a thumping majority of more than 250. And in 2015 Gray Sergeant was dreadfully unlucky not to make it a hat-trick of Labour victories — something which was down more to the general election than to any deficiency in Gray’s campaigning.
So Julian will contest for a second term. One which, as a Milton resident, I can say he richly deserves. In the three and a half years he has been a Milton councillor, he has led on local issues that the Conservatives preferred to ignore, and I’m sure he must have knocked on very nearly every door in the ward.
Knowing how hard he works, how hard he campaigns, I am certain of a Labour victory in Milton next May. Julian will have my vote.
When Jonathan Garston won re-election last month in Milton ward, nobody was more surprised than he was. Right up until the final moments, Jonathan was sure he had lost.
Equally, I don’t see that anyone can believe that his 51 vote majority is a result of his dynamic campaigning and magnetic personality, as much as the national swing of a general election. His surprising success, though, seems to have gone to Jonathan’s head.
I’m not sure which part of his thank you leaflet I like the most. The bit where he promises to “prevent Labour and the coalition from misrepresenting your interests“, despite the fact that he’s partial to misrepresenting the work of Labour Cllrs Julian Ware-Lane and Cheryl Nevin in solving local parking issues as his own. Or maybe the bit where he claims he “works tirelessly on your behalf“, despite the fact I’ve never known him knock on my door, or even seen him on my road…
But the best bit is the part where he calls on residents to “Help us get the ineffective Labour Councillors out of Milton!“
Milton doesn’t have any ineffective Labour councillors. Milton has two of the most hardworking and successful councillors in the borough, who have achieved more than the lone remaining Conservative in the ward. I would rather have councillors who listen, who work, who I see more than simply when they have an election on the horizon. If Jonathan Garston thinks Cllrs Ware-Lane and Nevin are ineffective, I hate to think how he must view himself.
Rather than throwing rocks at his ward colleagues, Jonathan could do with taking a leaf out of their book, rolling up his sleeves, and doing some work to earn the trust which the voters of this ward have placed in him.
Julian Ware-Lane was not the first person I met from Southend Labour (A somewhat dubious honour belonging to Rob Brown -Ed), but he was one of the earliest activists I met, at the Labour Party conference in 2012. By that point he had just become Labour’s first councillor in Milton ward.
Now he is standing for election to parliament, in the constituency of Southend West.
Julian is a good friend of mine, as well as being the councillor for the ward I live in. For the past six months I have had the pleasure of campaigning alongside him, and in my not un-biased opinion the people of Southend West could do no better for their next MP.
Bringing his activist campaigning style which has served Milton ward so well, I doubt that any of the other candidates have had quite so many conversations on the doorstep with voters as he has. His socialist principles of equality and fairness underpin everything he does.
I do not have a vote in Southend West tomorrow, but if you do, then I strongly suggest you vote for Julian. You could not ask for a more principled, dedicated and hardworking MP to fight your corner in the House of Commons.
The last weekend before the election was one of those times that the Southend Labour campaign team would be out come whatever weather. Thankfully, it turned out to be rather nice, and a lot of leafleting and door-knocking was done. This has felt like a long campaign, and I’d love to be able to work out quite how far I’ve walked in the last six months.