Last night’s nomination meeting Rochford & Southend East Constituency Labour Party is, by a long way, the fullest I’ve seen the Labour Hall in Southend. 43 people, in all, turned out to make the decision for who we, as the local Party, should nominate for the leadership and deputy leadership race.
.@grantshapps is temporarily taking on FCO minister James Duddridge’s duties, due to the latter’s illness
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) July 15, 2015
Now this is interesting. It looks like the ministerial duties of Rochford & Southend East MP James Duddridge are being delegated to
Michael Green Grant Shapps, due to James’ illness.
Regular readers might remember that James Duddridge suffered a rather nasty bout of illness a little while back, which left him hospitalised and out of action for a number of months. Has he suffered a relapse?
I also note that Mr Duddridge has recently been active locally, both blocking on Twitter anyone who dares to ask him questions about his voting intentions, and attacking the homeless in the local paper.
A mystery indeed.
UPDATED: Apparently Mr Duddridge has been admitted to hospital. I have not verified this beyond my little birds, but regardless of political disagreements, I wish him a speedy recovery so that we can cross blades once more. Get well soon, James.
Some interesting numbers in yesterday’s Southend Echo, pertaining to the spending of each of the parliamentary candidates in the recent elections.
Given that all candidates have to file election expenses by law, it makes for quite an interesting look at how each campaign was financed. The accompanying article in the Echo highlighted concerns about the Conservatives buying the election, and having seen the eye-watering numbers they spent across the whole of south Essex, there’s some cause and justification I think.
So letting out my inner stats wonk, I decided to have a look at how each candidate’s expenditure stacked up compared to the votes they won, in the three south east Essex seats.
The following is a letter sent on 11th June 2015 by myself to James Duddridge, MP for Rochford & Southend East; my MP. It was written in response to indications by Mr Duddridge that when a free vote comes before Parliament on the repeal of the fox hunting ban. I will be posting his response here, as and when I should receive one.
If, like me, you believe that the ban should be retained, then you can write to Mr Duddridge yourself, and/or sign this petition calling on him to keep the fox hunting ban.
I’ve already blogged some of my thoughts on how the general election panned out, but I wanted to look at Southend separately, because the same truths don’t all apply.
Whilst I wouldn’t describe Southend as being a Labour landslide, the truth is that the local party did buck the trend. In the two constituencies we performed well, increasing our share of the vote in Rochford & Southend east by 4.4% and in Southend West by 4.9%. Given that the national picture was one of a Labour wipeout everywhere outside London, the Southend team are feeling justifiably pleased.
I’ll break it down by party, I think.
I actually met Ian at the same time as I met Julian, at the Labour Party conference in 2012. And when I moved to Southend a few years later he was my councillor for the first year I lived here.
Honestly, voting for Ian is a bit of a no-brainer. He is the only progressive candidate on the ballot paper who has a hope of unseating James Duddridge. But even he he wasn’t, he would be my choice.
If you want an MP who is out for themselves, to climb the career ladder, then vote for Tory James Duddridge. If you want an MP who will fluster and shout, but ultimately be out of his depth, then vote for the Green candidate
Cross Simon Simon Cross. If you want an MP who likely won’t even turn up, and not say anything even when he does, then UKIP’s Floyd Waterworth is your man. If you want… Actually, I can’t think of who exactly would want a Liberal Democrat MP…
Ian is a man with a record. As leader of the Labour group in Southend he has not only led the party into administration, but succeeded in building the first council house in the borough since the 1980s, keeping paid staff in libraries, saving care homes from closure, and all under the cloud of a £11m cut from the Tory-led government.
A vote for Ian represents a chance to put an end to the cruelty of the coalition’s policies, to move towards a better future for the people not only of Southend, by the whole United Kingdom. Ian is a compassionate man, and a commensurate hard-worker. I know that he would make a fantastic MP, and so I urge you to do as I will be doing, and cast your vote for Ian Gilbert in Rochford & Southend East.
I like to leave a little space between a debate and giving my thoughts on how they went.
Partly, that’s related to my attempt to more widely document such debates, by recording and publishing them. As I discussed with fellow local politics blogger John Barber recently, I think my own views and commentary should remain separate from the actual recording itself, so that people can make their own minds up.
But also, I do like to digest what I’ve witnessed, to give a more thoughtful analysis (Some may disagree on that point -Ed). To that end, getting on for five days later, let’s take a look at the Rochford & Southend East hustings on Wednesday 22nd April 2015, held at Bell Vue Baptist Church.
The first thing I’d like to say, before looking at the candidates, is how well hosted I thought it was. The candidates were mic-ed up, it was all clear and audible, and the questions were wide-ranging and challenging. The evening was, in total, attended by somewhere between 100-150 people, if I had to guess. Most even lived in the constituency, I believe.
If you haven’t had a listen yet, I implore you to do so before reading my own views. Make your own mind up.