nick ward

Are the Southend Independents now in turmoil too?


anne chalk

Whilst everyone — myself included — have been focused on the extraordinary implosion of UKIP in Southend, the Independent Party Group on the council have quietly been undergoing their own woes.

It’s easy to forget that the switch from cabinet to committee system was the pet issue of the Indies as well/before UKIP. And yet they scarcely did any better when the vote came up at the last council meeting. The Independent councillors in the cabinet either voted for it or abstained (Turkeys? Christmas? -Ed).

And now, the already loose alliance of cliques seems to be fracturing itself.

Read on…

Friendly fire


mike assenheim and roger hadley

The above photo depicts Mike Assenheim, councillor for Shoeburyness and portfolio holder for Regulatory Service, outside Shoeburyness High School alongside former councillor for Shoeburyness Roger Hadley. Nothing innately interesting there, but Mike sits with the Independent Party Group and Roger Hadley a Conservative. And this picture seems to be causing a little trouble.

In the May elections, Roger was beaten rather decisively by Independent Party Group candidate Nick Ward. This was a bit of a shame, not because Roger was a brilliant councillor — he wasn’t — but because his replacement is a competence-vacuum in the shape of a man. Still, Roger was punished by the voters for slavishly following his party line and not listening to Shoeburyness residents. You can’t really argue with that.

But what is interesting here is the reaction of the third Shoeburyness councillor Anne Chalk (Independent) — who seems so embittered of her defeated foe that she is laying into Mike, ostensibly her friend.

Read on…

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…

A mess of a hustings


southend civic centre

Firstly, an apology. It is, I suspect, not an apology owed by myself, but I will give it nonetheless. To anyone who attended the hustings last night at Hinguar Primary School in order to see and listen to me, you would have been disappointed.

I arrived at Hinguar at ten to seven, only to be told by Cllr Anne Chalk that I wouldn’t in fact be speaking. It had changed, apparently, from the West Shoebury and Shoeburyness hustings that had been advertised, to a Shoeburyness only debate. And as such, only Conservative Cllr Roger Hadley and Independent candidate Nick Ward would speak.

Now, I don’t know when this decision was made. I do know that I had discussed my intentions today and last night with senior Labour councillors, and no such communication had reached any of us. I do however know that the decision served to make it an Independent vs Tory battle, and that the accusation that the Labour Shoeburyness candidate had not turned up was entirely spurious. Maggie Kelly was never intended to come, as she was working.

But actually, having sat through the spectacle ensued, I’m not sure I’m not glad to have been little part of it.

Read on…