southend liberal democrats

What on earth happened in Leigh?


old leigh

“What on earth happened in Leigh?”

That is the question that, on 8th May, everyone was asking. The Lib Dems, the Tories, and the residents of Leigh woke up to find that for the first time in I-don’t-want-to-look-up-how-long they had elected a Tory councillor. (Woke up isn’t exactly right — it was around lunchtime that the result was announced -Ed)

Indeed, the Lib Dem collapse has been pretty much nationwide, so on one level it can’t be surprising that the only council seat that the party were defending at this round of local elections was at risk. I had heard reliable reports earlier in the campaign that they had pulled everyone out of everywhere else in order to try and hold it — the fact that even that wasn’t enough tells a sad story of yellow fortunes.

Read on…

Better a bastard government than being governed by bastards


southend civic centre

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.

Read on…

The Leigh Lib Dem double act


leigh lib dems focus march april 2015 small
Yesterday I looked at the Conservatives’ leaflet in Leigh ward, and it’s underwhelming approach to its candidate and the facts. The Lib Dems also have a leaflet out in the ward, and naturally, I have a copy.

Peter Wexham has been a councillor for rather a long time. 1991, says the council website, though I haven’t trawled back through the election results to see if the voters have kicked him out at any point in those 24 years.

That Leigh alone of Lib Dem held wards has been impervious to the cliff-edge over which their vote has disappeared since 2010 might explain why they feel able to put out such a lacklustre leaflet out in the only ward they stand any possibility of a win in this year.

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The Lib Dems choose their candidate for Rochford & Southend East


lib dems broken promises principles for sale

It’s deja vu all over again.

Back in January, I blogged about the lack of, basically, any Lib Dem candidates in Southend. A few days later, a candidate miraculously appeared in the form of former Southend Borough Councillor Paul Collins. A few days ago, I blogged that despite being less than 40 days out from the general election, there was still no candidate for Rochford & Southend East.

Well, surprise surprise, they have now picked a candidate. Step forward Peter Gwizdala. Though, probably, your local party would rather you didn’t.

Read on…

Have Southend Lib Dems given up?


lib dems broken promises principles for sale

I feel like I’ve written this blog before.

I have, in fact — at the start of the year. Then, I wondered why the Liberal Democrats in Southend were still without a parliamentary candidate, mere months from the election. The local Lib Dem activist got very upset at me pointing out the bleeding obvious, and lo and behold mere days later they had miraculously remembered that there was an election coming.

Thing is, it’s now 37 days until the election, and whilst the Liberal Democrats have a parliamentary candidate in Southend West, and a smattering of local election candidates, they still don’t have a parliamentary candidate for Rochford & Southend East.

It’s like they’ve forgotten about the whole eastern half of the town. This being a town which they used to run — as senior partner in a coalition administration with Labour. This being a town where they form part of the present administration. This being a town where they used to boast that they, not Labour, were the real opposition to the Tories.

If any one-time Lib Dem supporters are still undecided, look at the disorganisation which has gripped the local party. They have one lacklustre candidate in the west — a former councillor who mashed into sixth place last year by Labour’s Kevin Robinson — and can’t even find anyone to volunteer for the chopping block in the east.

The last five years have shown that, far from being an alternative to the Tories, the Lib Dems have been enablers to the worst instincts of the right-wing. Those in Southend who want a positive, progressive party to kick the Tories out need to be looking to the red rose of Labour, not the dead bird of the Liberal Democrats.

Prittlewell Lib Dems focus on 2016, because they’ve given up on 2015


prittlewell focus spring 2015

Pictured above is the Lib Dem leaflet which has been creeping out across Prittlewell ward.

This was a Lib Dem stronghold at one point in the not too distant past, but like all of the other wards fitting that description (Except Leigh. So far -Ed), their support has dropped off a cliff.

Presently the ward boasts one remaining Liberal Democrat, an Independent, and a UKIP councillor. The Independent is, of course, Ric Morgan, who was a Lib Dem once himself. Now he’s a member of the Liberal Party, and sits in the council with the Independent Party Group. He’s standing down this year, so chances are fancied by the Tories, UKIP and the Lib Dems — as well as Labour’s own Tony Borton.

Like Julian Ware-Lane, I can’t see this seat going back to/staying with the yellow party, but if their leaflet is anything to go by, they’ve already given up on 2015 and are fighting 2016.

Read on…