For those fans of Conservative oathbreaking in Southend, it really was not a long wait for the first election pledge to go out of the window. In fact, it was literally the first act of Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) after he won the leadership of the council.
As predicted, the appointments meeting of Southend Borough Council saw an alliance of UKIP and Conservative councillors oust the Joint Administration of Labour, Independent
Party Group, Liberal Democrats and Southend Independence Group that has been running the council for the last two years.
Thus begins, then, the new Conservative administration, and the reign of Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) as the leader of the council. Dark times ahead…
The following outlines the holders of various council roles, decided at the Appointments meeting of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, on 19th May 2016.
Last week I reported on the deal struck between Southend UKIP and Southend Conservatives, which now seems to be common knowledge, including that Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park) would get chair of Development Control Committee.
Now, never minding the horse trading still going on behind closed doors–including the sheer number of Conservative councillors suddenly realising that they have their leader Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) over a barrel and can demand plum jobs for themselves–there seems to be a groundswell of scepticism as to whether Cllr Waterworth is up to what is — in effect — the most senior non-cabinet role on the council.
This morning, BBC Essex are reporting what my little birds have been telling me for the last few days: that Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh), leader of the Conservative Group on Southend Borough Council, has struck a deal with Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park), leader of the UKIP group, to take control of the council.
To say that I’m disappointed at the news is an understatement, but after the elections the Joint Administration was on a knife edge, and Cllr Lamb clearly saw this as his last opportunity to achieve his long-held dream of becoming council leader — and was willing to do almost anything to make it happen.
The magic number on the council is 26. 26 councillors is a majority. The Tories have 24 councillors after the elections. The Joint Administration had 25 councillors (10 Labour, 9 Independent
Party Group, 3 Southend Independence Group, 2 Liberal Democrat, 1 non-aligned -Ed). Thus the two UKIP councillors held the balance of power.
I did so primarily for the vote on changes to the electoral arrangements for the Council — reducing the number of councillors by a third, and switching to all up elections — which thankfully failed.
Bizarrely, that was not the most drawn out of farcical part of last night. It was followed almost immediately for an opportunity for Conservative councillors to grandstand, take up time with manufactured moral outrage, and ultimately call for a vote of no confidence in the leader, Cllr Woodley (IND – Thorpe), which failed ultimately by the mayor’s casting vote.
What a deeply unedifying way to conclude the final council meeting before the elections.
Even as George Osborne misses his own fiscal targets, here at Castle Dent the last couple of weeks have seen another round of belt-tightening (Shopping around -Ed), resulting in the sort of savings if which HM Treasury can only dream.
Well, maybe not. But one of the savings that I’m particularly proud of is the long-overdue switch to the Southend Energy Company. The end result of this is a saving of £27 a month on my gas and electric bills, which is not to be sniffed at.
I’ve periodically banged the drum for SEC, a partnership with Ovo that is one of the best initiatives that has resulted from Labour being in the Joint Administration at Southend Borough Council, and it really is a great scheme to save residents money on their bills, and to fight fuel poverty. It’s extremely quick and easy to get a quote, so why not take five minutes out of your day to see what you can save?
As I’ve already mentioned, I was at the full council meeting of Southend Borough Council on Thursday. I was in the public gallery for most of my time there, I’m at pains to point out, and not in the chamber beyond my starring role asking a question of the leader of the council.
Nonetheless, I somehow seemed to still be the centre of attention, with references to my blog being made under a number of items.
The prevailing view coming from the council chamber (And some outside of and subsequent to the meeting -Ed) is that those who are blogging about politics in the town are somehow doing something wrong, that opinions contrary to their own being expressed on the internet should not be permitted.
It will, I’m sure, not surprise readers that this blogger disagrees wholeheartedly.
On Thursday evening, I was at the full council meeting of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to ask a question of the leader of the council.
This is actually quite a fun little feature. Any member of the public can ask a question to any member of the cabinet at any full council meeting. All you have to do is email it to email@example.com clearly marked as question to the executive. You get to go along and ask it yourself.
Anyway, I went along on Thursday, and asked a question to Cllr Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe).
I am, as we draw closer to the local elections, alive to the danger of this blog becoming solely dedicated to the exposing the nonsense, ignorance and untruths of the Tories’ comedy candidate for Westborough, Daryl Peagram. Indeed, I’ve contemplated setting up a separate blog to basically fact-check everything he says.
So I do try not to make him the focus of my scrutiny too often, as much as anything to avoid inflating his ego.
However, with Daryl now having added not only a Facebook page, but a blog to his repertoire, I think this is going to be unavoidable. Especially given one of his more recent contributions, on the subject of Heath and Carby House on Victoria Avenue — a contribution I can only brand a disgraceful show of ignorance.