So last week I posted a copy of the latest St Luke’s Voice, going out in St Luke’s ward from our Labour candidate Donna Richardson. It contained, amongst other stuff, this passage:
“Labour’s DONNA RICHARDSON says, ‘After speaking with some residents living in and around LONSDALE ROAD, I have discovered that there had been a vehicle collision due to badly faded road markings. The residents informed me that they had spoken to an Independent Councillor about this issue but had no further contact and the problem remained. To try and help I reported the safety issue to the council and I am extremely happy to say that not only these road markings, but others in the area, are now due to be re-painted.’“
And it is precisely this bit with which Cllr Brian Ayling (IND – St Luke’s) has taken issue with, in his typical charmless fashion.
So the news is, apparently, out. The Joint Administration seems to have the numbers to enter its second year in charge of the council, with the addition of the Southend Independence Group joining its ranks. That this has been cobbled together from the available numbers.
This may be a “bastard” administration, but it is a completely legitimate one.
The new arrangement has caused a little upset in some quarters. Understandably — I do not hold with the policies of UKIP, or indeed many of the people under their banner. This has been discussed internally to death by Southend Labour Party, and whilst we are not overjoyed to welcome the former Kippers into the administration, the near-unanimous decision has been that, for the time being, it is the best option on the table.
You have to, on some level, feel for Southend Conservatives. Not only have they been roundly rejected by the Southend electorate, lost control of the council for the first time in fourteen years, but they do keep getting kicked by their national counterparts.
The efforts of James Duddridge to single-handedly alienate every Conservative activist and voter in his half of the borough are laudable, but you can’t fault the work of the national party as a whole who seem intent on taking their local policy positions apart from the top downwards.
From Duddridge’s declaration that the sea wall was clearly a terrible idea — conveniently coming just after Tory councillors had lost their seats over it — to the recent decision by Eric Pickles to ban the use of so-called “spy cars” to enforce parking regulations, you wonder if there will be anything left of the local Conservative platform at all.
What a difference a few weeks make, eh?
Prior to the local elections this May, Southend Independent
Party Group leader Martin Terry was one of the loudest voices shouting about the lack of scrutiny, and the undemocratic way in which the ruling Tories ran Southend. He wasn’t wrong, exactly, though arguably a little prone to hyperbole.
One would expect, then, Martin to be encouraging alternative points of view now that he sits at the cabinet table. He would surely welcome honest, forthright and democractic scrutiny of himself, as a part of a healthy local government.
Except, the new portfolio holder for Public Protection, Waste and Transport seems to have developed a rather thin skin of late.