For those fans of Conservative oathbreaking in Southend, it really was not a long wait for the first election pledge to go out of the window. In fact, it was literally the first act of Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) after he won the leadership of the council.
As predicted, the appointments meeting of Southend Borough Council saw an alliance of UKIP and Conservative councillors oust the Joint Administration of Labour, Independent
Party Group, Liberal Democrats and Southend Independence Group that has been running the council for the last two years.
Thus begins, then, the new Conservative administration, and the reign of Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) as the leader of the council. Dark times ahead…
The following outlines the holders of various council roles, decided at the Appointments meeting of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, on 19th May 2016.
Southend Borough Council has it’s full council meeting on Thursday 25th February — this coming Thursday. As this is the meeting where the budget for the 2016/17 financial year will be decided, everything else has essentially gone unnoticed.
But there is (At least -Ed) one measure for debate which is particularly vital to the future running of the council.
I am talking about the proposal by the Leader of the Council, Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe), to cut the number of councillors by a third, in order to save money. The proposal is on the table as a money-saving measure, with estimated savings being in the region of £205,000.
The trouble, it seems to me, is both that the savings are too meagre and the cost to the effectiveness of the councillors representing Southend residents is too high, and ultimately the sacrifice is just not worth it.
News reached your blogger this weekend of the sad death of Gillian Lucas-Gill, a councillor on Rochford District Council.
Now, I’m not very intimately involved in the politics of Rochford District (Though I am not without my Rochford-based little birds -Ed), so I wasn’t familiar with Cllr Lucas-Gill. My general belief, though, is that the vast majority of elected councillors give their time and their effort out of a sense of public duty. I didn’t, as I say, know Cllr Lucas-Gill, but I am saddened at her death and thankful for her service.
This does, though, mean there will be a by-election in Rochford ward for Rochford District Council (Keep up… -Ed) in the coming months. As far as I know, no date has been set for the poll, and whoever wins will only serve until all seats are up for re-election in May due to boundary changes.
Nevertheless, the by-election will serve as a useful political barometer, in advance of the main event next year. More details as I receive them.
What’s all this then, Ron?
Because it looks, to me, like a leaflet. Like a branded leaflet, going out across Southend.
There’s an election coming (You may have heard- Ed) so in many ways this isn’t surprising. But what I am surprised at (No you’re not -Ed) that the group which has repeatedly insisted that it isn’t a party has produced this. A unified leaflet, for all of the Independent
Party Group candidates across the damn borough.
Now, call me out if you like, but that sounds to me like the trait of a party.
Can you picture £11 million? I mean, actually picture it? In cash, in change, in whatever denomination you like. Can you see it in your mind’s eye?
But the number is one which I haven’t been able to escape. £11m is how much Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s funding has been cut for the 2015/16 financial year. £11m is how much less that the council have to spend on local services for Southenders.
So when you’re writing your Christmas thank you letters, don’t forget to thank the Tories and Lib Dems, and especially Uncle Eric at the DCLG. Because of them the council will have to make some tough decisions next year, and won’t be able to fulfil as much as it would like to to make your lives better.
Cheers for that.
One of the many fascinating things about Southend is surely the discovery, in 2003, of a Saxon tomb nearby Prittlewell Priory, in the north of the borough. The body within is believed to be one of the Saxon kings of Essex, and he has his own pressure group.
They call themselves SKIPP (Saxon King in Priory Park), and though they initially started as a campaign group to get a museum built on the site of the tomb, they nowadays lobby on a whole plethora of issues. One of which is the Independent
Party Group’s pet policy, replacing the council’s cabinet system with the older committee system.
So understandably they were a bit miffed at the decision of the Council the other week to retain the cabinet system. And for some reason, they aimed their displeasure at the Labour councillor for Milton ward, Julian Ware-Lane.
In the run up to the elections in May, I warned that UKIP did not make for good representatives. In the European Parliament, their attendance has been nothing short of dreadful. They consistently rank amongst the worst absentees, whilst taking home all the same pay and claiming all the same expenses as those MEPs who do the job.
It does not surprise me therefore, and should not surprise anyone who pays attention to Southend local politics, that at last night’s full council meeting in Southend two fifths of the UKIP group were absent.
What pushes this even further into the realms of absurdity, is that the absence of those kippers meant that a policy that they supported — changing the council from a cabinet system to a committee system — failed.