simon cross

Cross Simon for Green Party Leader!

green banner

I wouldn’t normally get involved in the internal business of other political parties, but after the kind assistance of so many members of the Green Party in the last Labour leadership election, it would feel rude for me to not offer an opinion.

Fortunately, someone has arisen whose bid I can wholeheartedly and unreservedly support. Someone who can take the Green Party in exactly the direction I want to see it go.

I am proud and delighted to endorse Cross Simon, for Green Party leader.

Read on…

The top 10 maddest moments in Southend local politics 2015 (Part 1)

southend pier

Politics in Southend is, to be honest, a joy. You never know what’s going to come along next.

I don’t know if it’s something in the water, but politics seems to be particularly…weird around here. So in the spirit of the end-of-year listicle, I decided what better way to round off the year than with a rundown of my personal favourites of the lot (And split it over two posts to boost traffic -Ed).

Here it is then. Numbers 10 to 6 in my top 10 rundown of the maddest things that happened in 2015 in Southend local politics.

Read on…

On the Rochford & Southend East election hustings (Bell Vue Church)


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.

Read on…

LISTEN: Rochford & Southend East parliamentary hustings 22/04/15

(Note: This is an ambient recording, and as such won’t always be fantastic. Luckily, Bell Vue made their own recording of the microphone feed. So if there’s bits of this which are inaudible, try listening to theirs.)

Rochford & Southend East general election candidates 2015

rochford & southend east

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 Rochford & Southend East.

The election takes place on May 7th, and the deadline to register to vote is 20th April.

Meet the candidates…

End of the Green surge? Southend Green Party crowdfunder fail

southend green party only fools

At the candidates’ and agents’ briefing for the local elections, at Southend Civic Centre the other week, the Green Party were very well represented. I’m not sure that they quite outnumbered the Conservatives, but they certainly came a close second.

They are definitely a more visible force this year than they have been previously, fielding 17 candidates next to the three they managed to muster last year. Their PPC for Rochford & Southend East (double-jobbing as their candidate for Kursaal ward) seemed a little put out when I pointed out that whilst there are 17 wards in Southend, 17 candidates does not a full slate make, when Liz Day’s resignation in West Shoebury means there are two seats up for grabs there.

What interests me, though, is less their slate of candidates than their attempts at funding the campaign.

Read on…

What Green surge? Southend Green candidate aims just to “keep deposit”

green party hiding from reality

The Green Party in Southend, at least, has always seemed to me to have a taste for armchair activism, as opposed to actually knocking on doors. When I see their activists around in Southend, it’s more often me knocking on their doors

I’ve spoken on the doorstep to two local Green Party members on the doorstep this weekend. The more interesting of those conservations was in Rochford & Southend East, where I was told:

Our aim is to hold onto our deposit.

Now, for the uninitiated, a deposit of £500 is required from anyone wishing to stand for a parliamentary election. Said deposit is returned, provided the candidate gains at least 5% of the vote. In the 2010 general election, this amounted to a little over 2,000 votes in Rochford & Southend East.

And that is, apparently, what the Green Party’s Simon Cross is aiming for. I don’t know about a Green surge, that barely qualifies as a gentle wave. What’s clear is in Rochford & Southend East, a vote for the Green Party is a wasted vote.

If voters want to kick out James Duddridge and the Conservatives, the only choice is Labour.

Did Southend Greens exclude UKIP from debate – then lie about it?

green ukip

My little birds (Which, yes, is a Game of Thrones reference -Ed) are clearly gaining a measure of fame, being recently mocked by Southend’s Lib Dem activist. They do, though, give me some very interesting little tidbits from time to time.

Like the fact that the Green Party parliamentary candidates for the two Southend constituencies apparently voted to exclude their UKIP opponents from an election debate.

When Southend Against the Cuts made the decision earlier this month, I couldn’t have been much more forthright in my disagreement. I have little time for the idea of “no platform” — if you are not confident enough in the strength of your own beliefs, then you need to seriously examine them. Not to mention that the only people who this helps is UKIP — who now get to claim martyrdom — and the Tories — who no longer have to face a challenge from the right.

At the time, Simon Cross — Green Party candidate for Rochford & Southend East — tied himself in knots trying to agree with both sides.

Despite Simon Cross’ protestations, my little birds report that both he and Jon Fuller voted that UKIP candidates should not be invited to participate in the hustings. Now, I stress that I wasn’t there, but I have heard this report from more than one source — some of whom also voted to keep UKIP out.

Whether or not you believe that the UKIP candidates should be included — and I think it’s quite clear that, on a point of principle, I do — someone standing for election should have the strength of their convictions. Whatever their beliefs, if the Green candidates are going to present themselves as worthy of representing Southend in parliament, then a little backbone wouldn’t go amiss.

(And the irony, after the outpouring of wrath and fury when the Greens were excluded from the general election party leaders’ debates, has not been lost on me. Fans of intellectual consistency may remember that I also opposed their exclusion, and after yesterday’s sneak preview from Natalie Bennett, I am very much looking forward to the whole circus).

At the time I challenged Simon Cross to clearly state how he and Jon Fuller voted. Despite belligerently playing both sides in the discussion up to that point, he went mysteriously silent after my challenge.

I offer them both the chance, here and now, to declare themselves: Simon Cross and Jon Fuller, did you vote to exclude UKIP from the Southend Against the Cuts hustings or not?

Read the non-denials…

Green Party ‘trade unionist’ PPC “doesn’t need to join a union”

simon cross

For all the points of disagreement between myself and the Green Party candidate for Rochford & Southend East (and there are many), I do not believe that our views on trade unionism is substantially one of them.

Those who are friends with Simon Cross on Facebook — which is where he seems to do the bulk of his “campaigning” these days (mumble mumble armchair activist mumble -Ed) — will know that he frequently attacks the Labour Party as not supporting the unions, rants usually containing his slogan “Who cares? Greens care!”.

Readers may be surprised to learn, then, that Mr Cross is not a member of a trade union. They may be more surprised that he sees neither problem nor inherent contradiction in that position.

Read on…

On Jon Fuller, and the Green Party in Southend

jon fuller

The Green Party in Southend are, to be honest, a bit of an odd bunch.

I know, pots and kettles. But this is a blog which I’ve spent a good long time trying to get right. See, there’s an election coming up (You may have heard something about it… -Ed), and as I have repeatedly stated, my aim with the political wing of this blog is to shine a light on what those who will be on the ballot paper are actually offering.

This is because there are some groups who actively benefit from a lack of awareness of what they want. UKIP, for instance. Their gains in May came, I would say, from a general lack of awareness of their policies, beyond the obvious, and of their people. Since then I like to think I have shed a light on who the purple-and-yellow band in Southend actually are. I leave readers to make their own judgements based on that information.

The same general ignorance is true, I would say, of the Green Party. They are fielding candidates in both Southend constituencies: Simon Cross in Rochford & Southend East, and Jon Fuller in Southend West. I will turn my beacon of scrutiny on Simon in good time (for now, this provides an interesting view), but I want first to focus on Mr Fuller.

Jon Fuller is chiefly an environmental campaigner, so far as I can tell. He is heavily involved with South East Essex Friends of the Earth, and a vocal voice against Southend Airport. That seems, though, only tangentially related to his standing for election.

Read on…