maggie kelly

The real alternative to the Tories in Shoeburyness is Maggie Kelly

maggie kelly friars library

On Monday night, there was a hustings for the local elections in Shoeburyness. I wasn’t able to make it, more out of work commitments than any greater urge, though I had debated on Twitter whether it was worth attending.

Those few regular readers who I’ve managed not to annoy away may recall that I was meant to be taking part in a very similar hustings last year. The Labour candidate for Shoeburyness couldn’t make the date, so it was agreed that I, as West Shoebury candidate, would stand in for her. Agreed until about ten minutes before the event, when Independent Party Group councillor Anne Chalk decided that I would outshine her chosen candidate the now-Cllr Nick Ward, and excluded me.

What grated the most, though, was the way that it was presented that Labour hadn’t bothered to turn up.

This year Maggie is our candidate again, against Anne Chalk herself. This year she made it to the hustings, and although I wasn’t there, she demonstrated that she is the only alternative to the Conservatives for the people of Shoeburyness.


Maggie Kelly for Shoeburyness

maggie kelly friars library

With 2015 almost upon us, I’m going to carry on announcing selected Labour candidates for the 2015 Southend-on-Sea local elections. And Maggie Kelly will be contesting Shoeburyness ward on 7th May.

Maggie fought the same ward earlier this year, the first time she had stood for election. She performed, in my biased opinion, excellently, increasing the Labour share of the vote by some three percent. I’m delighted that she has decided to stand again.

Of her selection, Maggie said,

Living in Shoeburyness myself, I know what a great place it is to live in, and I am delighted to have been selected to stand again. I hope to be a strong, clear voice for my fellow Shoeburyness residents.

With Roger Hadley, the Conservative councillor defeated in May, standing again for the Conservatives, it seems like the same options are going to be on offer. Particularly given that Nick Ward, the Independent candidate elected in May, is essentially the puppet of Anne Chalk, the Independent councillor up for re-election next year.

Shoeburyness residents should look at the disappointment of their latest Independent councillor and come to the obvious conclusion: that the real choice for change is Labour and Maggie Kelly.

Ian Gilbert and Southend Labour kick off the 2015 campaign

ian gilbert and co in shoeburyness

My feet have just about recovered from walking up and down those absurdly long avenues in Westborough ward on election day. And of course, in the barmy logic of the world we live in, that means it is time to get campaigning again.

So this morning saw me, wearing decidedly better shoes, once again walking up and down residential streets knocking on doors. This time we were out in the east of the borough, in Shoeburyness, where PPC (and new Deputy Leader of the council) Ian Gilbert was firing the first shots of election campaign.

It might seem a bit early to be back out campaigning for an election still a year away, but Rochford and Southend East constituency has more than 70,000 voters, and we want to speak to as many as we can by May 7th. Knocking on doors in Shoeburyness saw a generally positive reaction, but Ian is a good candidate and a lot of people have very little time for Tory James Duddridge.

We were also out with Maggie Kelly, Labour’s candidate for Shoeburyness ward at the elections just gone. She didn’t win the ward, but increased the Labour vote, and I hope she will consider putting herself forward to stand again in 2015.

How Labour was cut out of the Shoebury hustings

shoebury hustings

When I blogged about Monday’s Shoebury hustings, back on Tuesday, I focused on the questions (question?) asked, and the answers given (or not) given by the two candidates. In short, I focused on the debate that actually happened.

What I didn’t dwell on, and perhaps I should have done, was the debate which didn’t happen.

Read on…