southend west

Southend’s Conservative MPs hold the town and its people in contempt


amess woodley duddridge

The problem with living in a so-called “safe” seat is that there’s not a great deal of reason for your MP to feel they have to work for their constituents. That’s by no means true of all MPs in safe seats, but if re-election is all but assured, the danger is that these MPs are more bothered about the interests of their parties or themselves than the places that they represent.

The two present Southend parliamentary constituencies — Southend West and Rochford & Southend East — have never returned anything but Conservative MPs. Indeed, for anything different you have to go back to 1945, when the seat of South East Essex covered part of Southend and returned Labour’s Ray Gunter.

So given that it has been 70 years since anything but a Tory MP represented any part of Southend, and present MPs Sir David Amess and James Duddridge both sit on hefty majorities (14,021 and 9,476, respectively), it seems fairly clear to me that both constituencies are Conservative safe seats.

Like I said, that doesn’t mean that MPs have to be disinterested in the town. Which makes it all the more disappointing that they apparently are.

Read on…

Advertisements

Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir David!


brave sir david

Your blogger’s little birds bring him word of the foremost social event in Southend this weekend. Apparently the newly-knighted recovering comedian and Tory MP for Southend West David Amess hired Porters, the 14th century house used by the Mayor for civic functions.

And the purpose of this soiree? Sir David treated his guests to a showing of the DVD of his investiture at Buckingham Palace. Which, I presume, is the chivalric equivalent of subjecting friends and family to your holiday photos.

To crown the event, my spies report that Sir David turned up to the event in a St George’s outfit (Rented cheap after England’s rugby world cup exit? -Ed), riding on a horse.

No word yet as to whether Cake was served…

Buying the election: the cost of votes in South East Essex


money

Some interesting numbers in yesterday’s Southend Echo, pertaining to the spending of each of the parliamentary candidates in the recent elections.

Given that all candidates have to file election expenses by law, it makes for quite an interesting look at how each campaign was financed. The accompanying article in the Echo highlighted concerns about the Conservatives buying the election, and having seen the eye-watering numbers they spent across the whole of south Essex, there’s some cause and justification I think.

So letting out my inner stats wonk, I decided to have a look at how each candidate’s expenditure stacked up compared to the votes they won, in the three south east Essex seats.

Read on…

Spoilt Ballots


ballot box

I am in favour of spoilt ballots.

Not as an alternative to voting (Or, indeed, voting Labour -Ed), but as an alternative to not voting. But for those people who tell me that they don’t plan to vote, that they can’t — or won’t — support any of the parties or candidates on the ballot paper, then my advice is always to spoil their ballot.

The simple reason is that spoilt ballots are counted. The number is recorded in the results. The number of those who abstained, who didn’t turn out, is not. It fades away into the background.

Active protest always trumps passive protest.

There were 14 spoilt ballots in the Blenheim Park election, which is a fairly standard number. In Southend West there were some 145. Most are unremarkable things, but one sticks in my mind. On one of the Southend West ballot papers some joker had drawn a representation of male genitalia. They had done so next to the name of the Labour candidate, Julian Ware-Lane.

And because it was drawn within the box next to his name, it was decided as decipherable a vote for Mr Ware-Lane. So irony of ironies, the cock-in-the-box was counted as one of Labour’s 8,154 votes.

You do, it turns out, have to spoil your ballot correctly.

As the dust settles pt 2: the picture in Southend


ballot box

I’ve already blogged some of my thoughts on how the general election panned out, but I wanted to look at Southend separately, because the same truths don’t all apply.

Whilst I wouldn’t describe Southend as being a Labour landslide, the truth is that the local party did buck the trend. In the two constituencies we performed well, increasing our share of the vote in Rochford & Southend east by 4.4% and in Southend West by 4.9%. Given that the national picture was one of a Labour wipeout everywhere outside London, the Southend team are feeling justifiably pleased.

I’ll break it down by party, I think.

(more…)

Why you should vote for Julian Ware-Lane in Southend West


vote ware-lane small
Julian Ware-Lane was not the first person I met from Southend Labour (A somewhat dubious honour belonging to Rob Brown -Ed), but he was one of the earliest activists I met, at the Labour Party conference in 2012. By that point he had just become Labour’s first councillor in Milton ward.

Now he is standing for election to parliament, in the constituency of Southend West.

Julian is a good friend of mine, as well as being the councillor for the ward I live in. For the past six months I have had the pleasure of campaigning alongside him, and in my not un-biased opinion the people of Southend West could do no better for their next MP.

Bringing his activist campaigning style which has served Milton ward so well, I doubt that any of the other candidates have had quite so many conversations on the doorstep with voters as he has. His socialist principles of equality and fairness underpin everything he does.

I do not have a vote in Southend West tomorrow, but if you do, then I strongly suggest you vote for Julian. You could not ask for a more principled, dedicated and hardworking MP to fight your corner in the House of Commons.

Sir David Amess MP, man of the people?


amess carriage
For anyone who missed this story, Southend West’s Tory MP decided last week that it would be a good idea to ride around Westcliff in a horse-drawn carriage driven by men in top hats, with Anne Widdecombe in tow, shouting at residents through a megaphone. For reasons unknown.

Meanwhile, 1 million people in the UK are using food banks.