Politics, particularly local politics, is built on passionate people. That is one of the reasons that I am so pleased that Donna Richardson is going to be the Labour candidate for St Luke’s ward. She is new to council politics, but has so much enthusiasm for making a difference to her community that you can’t help but get caught up in it yourself.
Regular readers will know that I haven’t exactly been enthused with the performance of the Independent Party Group trio presently representing St Luke’s. The newest addition, Caroline Endersby, I have heard very little of and even less from. Paul Van Looy’s biggest contributions have been some unflattering and poorly-punctuated comments about yours truly. And on Brian Ayling’s money grubbing ways, I have written aplenty.
So I do think that St Luke’s residents deserve a change, that they deserve better. I think that they would be excellently served by a councillor with Donna’s passion, enthusiasm and dedication, and I look forward to her election in May.
In what has to be one of the worst kept secrets in Southend local politics, I am truly delighted to announce that Labour Party members in Blenheim Park ward have re-selected me to be their candidate for the 2016 local elections in Southend.
Apparently those members didn’t grow entirely sick of me throughout the 2015 campaign, so I will redouble my efforts with even more emails about campaign days, fundraising events, and requests for new additions to my seasoned network of leafleters.
I won’t dwell on my campaign plans, as they will emerge in good time, but I will say that whilst I am pleased with how the last campaign went, I am very definitely aiming for victory this time. As the Conservative government looks to inflict more cuts on Southend, the people of Blenheim Park desperately need a strong voice to stand up from them. They have not found this in the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives or UKIP.
My aim is to be that voice for Blenheim Park.
So the news is out. This weekend, Julian Ware-Lane was re-selected to fight Milton ward in next May’s elections.
Frankly, I would have been astounded at anything other than the unanimous backing he received from a room full of Milton Labour members. Before Julian started campaigning in Milton it was a solidly Conservative ward. Within two years he had turned it into a marginal. In 2014 Cheryl Nevin won it with a thumping majority of more than 250. And in 2015 Gray Sergeant was dreadfully unlucky not to make it a hat-trick of Labour victories — something which was down more to the general election than to any deficiency in Gray’s campaigning.
So Julian will contest for a second term. One which, as a Milton resident, I can say he richly deserves. In the three and a half years he has been a Milton councillor, he has led on local issues that the Conservatives preferred to ignore, and I’m sure he must have knocked on very nearly every door in the ward.
Knowing how hard he works, how hard he campaigns, I am certain of a Labour victory in Milton next May. Julian will have my vote.
There’s a long standing curse, which despite popular belief is not Chinese in origin (So says Wikipedia… -Ed), that goes, “May you live in interesting times”. However you feel about Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide election as leader of the Labour Party and the present direction upon which the party is embarking, it’s impossible to deny that these are certainly interesting times.
In these dark times of austerity, good news should — it is this blogger’s opinion — be jumped upon and celebrated. So when two good news stories drop into my inbox on the same day, I’m starting to wonder if it’s Christmas.
I am an environmentalist at my core, though it is rooted in the same pragmatism as my socialism. I have little time for blind idealism; principle is worthless if it does not translate into action.
And the translation of principle into action is what these two pieces of news represent. Firstly, the roll-out of energy-efficient LED streetlights across Southend is being accelerated. Secondly, the Southend Energy Company has already saved Southend Residents over £100,000 since it started.
I am no fan of the Registered Supporters scheme, which let’s anyone have a vote in the Labour leadership election for a fee of £3. I’m all for opening up democracy, but it seems to me that it manages to both devalue membership and open the gates far and wide for people who have no intention of backing the party to have a say in who leads it.
There are stories everywhere of Derek Hatton trying to rejoin, and the “Tories for Corbyn” campaign. Some are bound to get through. But there are one or two who will get caught, simply because CLP membership secretaries tend to be familiar with some of the other side.
So which once and future candidate for Southend Conservatives has paid his £3 and tried to sneak in under the radar? All the more perplexing given that the person in question was, at one time, a Labour councillor, no less.
My little birds bring me the name of this particular infiltrator (George Smiley, they ain’t -Ed), but where’s the fun in that? Feel free to have your guess in the comments.
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.