Nominations for the general election next month closed yesterday at 4.00 p.m., and the following is the list of the persons have been confirmed by Southend Borough Council as being nominated for the constituency of Southend West.
The election takes place on May 7th, and the deadline to register to vote is 20th April.
I feel like I’ve written this blog before.
I have, in fact — at the start of the year. Then, I wondered why the Liberal Democrats in Southend were still without a parliamentary candidate, mere months from the election. The local Lib Dem activist got very upset at me pointing out the bleeding obvious, and lo and behold mere days later they had miraculously remembered that there was an election coming.
Thing is, it’s now 37 days until the election, and whilst the Liberal Democrats have a parliamentary candidate in Southend West, and a smattering of local election candidates, they still don’t have a parliamentary candidate for Rochford & Southend East.
It’s like they’ve forgotten about the whole eastern half of the town. This being a town which they used to run — as senior partner in a coalition administration with Labour. This being a town where they form part of the present administration. This being a town where they used to boast that they, not Labour, were the real opposition to the Tories.
If any one-time Lib Dem supporters are still undecided, look at the disorganisation which has gripped the local party. They have one lacklustre candidate in the west — a former councillor who mashed into sixth place last year by Labour’s Kevin Robinson — and can’t even find anyone to volunteer for the chopping block in the east.
The last five years have shown that, far from being an alternative to the Tories, the Lib Dems have been enablers to the worst instincts of the right-wing. Those in Southend who want a positive, progressive party to kick the Tories out need to be looking to the red rose of Labour, not the dead bird of the Liberal Democrats.
It looks like my friendly reminder last week helped: Southend Liberal Democrats seem to have remembered that there’s an election in May, and have selected Paul Collins as their candidate for Southend West — with only 109 days left until polling day…
Paul, some may remember, was a councillor for Westborough ward until last year, when he suffered a pretty heavy defeat to Labour’s Kevin Robinson. His was the name my little birds consistently brought back to me as the Lib Dem candidate-to-be — though, interestingly, Leigh councillor Carole Mulroney was also mentioned — and to be fair to him, he wasn’t a bad councillor. Certainly there was much on which I agreed with him during his time in the chamber.
But voters of Southend West would do well to look at Paul and his party’s rhetoric, and compare it to their propping up the Tories in government and voting for the bedroom tax; trebling tuition fees; slashing benefits for the disabled; and a host of other illiberal, unfair measures. They would do well to look at the Liberal Democrats’ record in government, and then go and vote for Labour’s Julian Ware-Lane, the real alternative to the Conservatives and David Amess in Southend West.