southend independents

The Southend Indie candidate, and the unpaid 2015 election expenses


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At one point in last night’s epically disappointing council debate on the breach of purdah, one half of Southend UKIP’s answer to Ant and Dec, Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park), tried to make a point which was shot down by the Mayor as not being relevant to the subject at hand.

The story Cllr Waterworth was trying to tell was one regarding an Independent candidate who was part of the mass exodus from Southend UKIP during the civil war, and one which my little birds have been feeding me bits and pieces of over the last couple of weeks.

Cllr Waterworth was right that it’s an important public interest story. So too was the Mayor right that this was not the proper forum for it. Better, perhaps, would be a blog. Such as this one, perhaps. Not so awful now, eh Floyd?

Read on…

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The Rumour Mill: Anne Chalk WILL stand in Shoeburyness in 2016


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File this one under “unconfirmed” and “liable to change”, but my little birds sing to me songs of a former Independent Party Group councillor for Shoeburyness, who plans to stand for election next May against sitting Independent Party Group councillor Mike Assenheim.

It doesn’t take a great deal of sleuthing to realise that this is none other than Anne Chalk, who lost to Tory Roger Hadley in May. Finding strife in the Independent Party Group these days is no great achievement, but Anne was never that keen on the leadership of Cllrs Martin Terry (IND – Thorpe) and Ron Woodley (IND – Thorpe), not indeed her ward colleague Cllr Assenheim.

I don’t know what banner she will stand under, but I think it’s safe to say that it won’t be under that of the Independent Party Group. If she does indeed follow through her threat, I foresee more squabbles about who is the “official” Independent candidate for Shoeburyness.

How I (accidentally) kept Cllr Terry in the Southend Council cabinet


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Regular readers may recall a few weeks back that I reported a tip from one of my little birds that Cllr Martin Terry (IND – Thorpe) had left his cabinet role as portfolio holder for Public Protection, Waste & Transport.

Attentive reasons may have noted that, in fact, Cllr Terry remains in his post. So what happened? Was my source wrong?

Well now I can tell you all the story…

Read on…

BREAKING: Has Martin Terry left Southend Council cabinet?


martin terry

Unconfirmed as yet, but my little birds are whispering to me that Southend’s Cllr Martin Terry (IND – Thorpe) has left his cabinet post of portfolio holder for Public Protection, Waste & Transport, to be replaced by Cllr Mike Assenheim (IND – Shoeburyness).

Read on…

Introducing Martin Terry, supercop!


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Martin Terry, the Independent Party Group councillor for Thorpe ward and portfolio holder for Public Protection, Waste & Transport, has announced his intention to stand for the position of Police & Crime Commissioner for Essex.

I tried to think of something witty or funny to preface it with, but there really is just that. Cllr Terry wants to be the next Police & Crime Commissioner.

Good grief.

Read on…

Southend Independents aren’t so “local” once the votes are counted


caroline endersby address

Back in the 2014 election campaign, I remarked that the Independent candidate for St Luke’s, Caroline Endersby, had not said much at all throughout her campaign. Her one campaign point seemed to be the slightly League of Gentlemen-esque slogan “Local Politics for Local People” (There’s nothing for you here… -Ed).

Now that she is Cllr Endersby, it could be argued that despite the fact that she has yet to utter a word in a council meeting, nor make much of a visible impact at all since her election, she hasn’t breached any of her pledges because she didn’t actually make any.

I don’t, actually, think that being the Council mute makes for a good councillor. It may well be that she is extremely busy with ward business, but I actually know a fair few people living in St Luke’s, and whilst most can name Paul Van Looy, and some can name Brian Ayling (Though not necessarily in a flattering context -Ed), I have yet to find anyone who responds to “What about Cllr Endersby?” with anything but “Who?”

Cllr Endersby did, though, make one statement which could charitably be called a promise. She sold herself as the “local” candidate. One can debate, generally, what “local” means, but the meaning here was clear: that she lived in the ward. Except, it seems, she does not any longer.

Read on…

Coup or coronation? Meet the Southend Independents’ new leader


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I’ve said before that one thing that unifies Southend Independent Party Group is an inability to play well with others. Represented in their number is former Labour candidates, former Lib Dem candidates, and until very recently a former Tory.

The news that Cllr Steve Aylen has left the Independent Party Group after a falling out with Ron Woodley is scarcely news. Conservative blogger Cllr Mark Flewitt already covered it in his stream-of-consciousness style, and the Southend Echo in something a little closer to English.

I don’t want to get too deep into Cllr Aylen’s accusations (Putting it simply, I have heard that he was rather brusque to an officer, but that Cllr Woodley threatened him in open committee -Ed), but whilst I don’t agree with Steve on a great deal of subjects — not least culling deer in Belfairs Wood — I have always found him pleasant to deal with and entertaining in the council chamber.

But one of the points Cllr Aylen made when quitting the Independent Party Group was how much like a political party it had become. Hardly a surprise to most of us, but strenuously denied by Messers Woodley and Terry. But given that my little birds this morning report to me that Martin Terry has stepped down as the leader spokesperson of the Independents, to be replaced by Cllr Mike Assenheim, this blogger wonders how much longer the fallacy can continue.

Read on…

Anne Chalk: rewriting Independent history in Shoeburyness


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Rubbish. That’s what Independent Party Group leader Martin Terry branded my revelations of infighting amongst the Shoeburyness independents.

I trust he will be describing Anne Chalk’s latest leaflet doing the rounds in the same terms, given she roundly turns on her former colleagues now that she has been relieved of the burden of being on the council.

Read on…

Post-election, Indie infighting resumes in Shoeburyness


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With the election done, and the joint administration secured (Just about -Ed) back in control of the council, we’re starting to settle back into normality in the weird world of Southend politics. Which means, as ever, my little birds have begun again to sing.

One particularly interesting take regards the odd politics of Shoeburyness. Apparently, a certain former Independent Party Group councillor, licking their wounds, is eyeing up the possibility of a comeback next year. Except, as eagle-eyed readers will already be aware, the councillor up for re-election in Shoeburyness next year is Mike Assenheim of the, err, Independent Party Group.

The bad blood between Anne Chalk and Mike Assenheim is not exactly news, and their divisions may well have helped Roger Hadley back onto the council this time around. But one Independent running against another, especially when there can be no ambiguity in whether they were part of the same grouping, would be a definite escalation.

The 2016 elections are still a way off yet, but these whispers surely serve as reassurance that Southend local politics will continue on in the same bizarre vein as usual.