Today is election day across Southend, and if you have a vote then I implore you to use it for Labour.
If you live in Blenheim Park ward, then I ask you to use it for me.
Over the last year, I have been speaking to residents, keeping them informed via regular newsletters, and working hard to resolve the local problems and issues that they have raised to me. Whether I am elected or not, I intended to keep doing this — but it would be a lot easier as your councillor.
Working alongside a passionate and committed group of Labour councillors, I would work to deliver the policies outlined in our local manifesto, whilst making sure that the views of Blenheim Park residents were always heard and considered.
I want this ward, and this town, to be a better place to work and live. I believe that we can do this together.
Please vote Matt Dent for Blenheim Park ward, today.
Well, this is a point of interest.
Whilst picking over the statement of nominated candidates for Rochford District, a familiar name jumped out at me. With the ward boundaries having been withdrawn, the district next door to Southend is electing all of its councillors at once.
And one of those on the ballot paper as a Conservative candidate is Ann Holland. And yes, that is the same Cllr Ann Holland who currently represents Southchurch on Southend Borough Council and is the deputy leader of the Conservative Group.
Last night I attended the launch of the Southend Labour manifesto for the 2016 elections, which was a huge success, and seems to get bigger each year we hold it.
I am enormously proud of not only the manifesto, but the open and democratic way that we write it. It is a product of the ideas contributed by all of the local Labour members, and tempered with the experience and expertise of our Councillors.
Over the last two years this document has formed the core of administration policy pushed by Labour in the Joint Administration. It’s a list of things that all 17 of our candidates are signed up to, for the benefit of the whole of the borough.
Read the manifesto…
So the nominations have closed, and we have the full and final list of the candidates for the Southend-on-Sea local elections.
To my surprise, there are four full slates — from the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens — and UKIP are only one seat short. There are also a few interesting Independent candidates scattered around, and an Indie-on-Indie battle in Shoeburyness, which changes the dynamic there.
As in previous years, Labour candidates are in bold, whilst defending incumbents are in italics. There are five wards this year where the incumbent is not standing for re-election.
Meet the candidates…
With only a month to go until the local elections, and with nominations closing later this week, it has been all go in Southend Labour HQ. As well as our local election manifesto being launched on Thursday 7th April–and Labour have been the only party in Southend to consistently offer voters a manifesto of policy pledges–we are standing a full slate of 17 candidates again this year.
Meet the candidates…
With the local elections only a month and a day away, I have today received official notification from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council that my nomination has been accepted as the Labour Party candidate for Blenheim Park ward.
We enter, then, the final stage of what has for Labour been a year-long campaign. In Blenheim Park I have been knocking on doors, speaking to residents, and delivering newsletters all year. I’ve yet to see anything of the other political parties, but I am sure they will be rolling out their only-at-election-time campaigns before long.
For my campaign, it’s very much business as usual: speaking to residents, finding out what matters to them, and explaining to them how a vote for me on 5th May is a vote for a better Blenheim Park. But we’re in the final stretch now.
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).