st luke’s

Southend Labour local election candidates 2018

Belfairs – Taylor Barrall

Blenheim Park – Laurie Burton

Chalkwell – Sean Jones

Eastwood Park – Ros Sanders

Kursaal – Matt Dent

Leigh – Michelle Williams

Milton – Cllr Cheryl Nevin

Prittlewell – Jennifer Beck

Shoeburyness – Greg Keane

Southchurch – Martin Berry

St Laurence – Janet Phillips

St Luke’s – Ian Pope

Thorpe – Jack Reason

Victoria – Cllr Margaret Borton

Westborough – Cllr Kevin Robinson

West Leigh – Hillary Scarnell

West Shoebury – Tom Murray

The Fox revealed…


An artist’s impression of Southend Fox Del Thomas.

In the light of the recent announcement that has rocked the Southend political blogosphere (Err -Ed), I have a confession to make. I have known the truth for some time, that Southend Fox was in reality Del Thomas.

Despite our political differences, Del is a good friend of mine, and I think it is demonstrative of the very best character that he has chosen to reveal his identity, now that he is standing as Conservative candidate for St Luke’s ward in the May local elections.

Anonymity can, I believe, have its place in political blogging. I don’t, though, believe that is true when the blogger is standing in an election to public office. So I salute Del’s decision, signalling as it does both his own virtue and the start of the long campaign.

Threaten all he likes, Cllr Ayling is a sub-par councillor and he knows it

brian ayling council allowances

So last week I posted a copy of the latest St Luke’s Voice, going out in St Luke’s ward from our Labour candidate Donna Richardson. It contained, amongst other stuff, this passage:

Labour’s DONNA RICHARDSON says, ‘After speaking with some residents living in and around LONSDALE ROAD, I have discovered that there had been a vehicle collision due to badly faded road markings. The residents informed me that they had spoken to an Independent Councillor about this issue but had no further contact and the problem remained. To try and help I reported the safety issue to the council and I am extremely happy to say that not only these road markings, but others in the area, are now due to be re-painted.’

And it is precisely this bit with which Cllr Brian Ayling (IND – St Luke’s) has taken issue with, in his typical charmless fashion.

Read on…

Donna Richardson for St Luke’s 2016

Donna Richardson St Lukes blog

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.

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…

Poor maths aside, Cllr Ayling cannot avoid allowance scrutiny

brian ayling council allowances

So I can raise the dead, it seems.

After three and a bit years, I have raised Brian Ayling’s blog from it’s dusty resting place. And all it took was to tell the truth about his behaviour on councillor allowances.

Unfortunately, it is only to demonstrate his poor grasp of both reality and numeracy. Still, I’m always keen to help. Let’s teach Cllr Ayling to count, shall we?

Read on…

Letter to the Editor: Cllr Ayling needs to get his facts straight


The allowance that Cllr Brian Ayling (IND – St Luke’s) thinks has been unfairly cut is paid to him for chairing one of the Appeals committees. As things were, he received £4,000 yearly for this service. And given that the committee met only four times in the last year, that equates to £1,000 for every meeting. He clearly thinks that is fine. In an era of austerity, I disagree.

Cllr Ayling also claims in a that no Labour councillor had their allowance cut. Worryingly, this suggests that he has neither read the report he was so critical of, nor paid attention to the debate. Cllr Robinson (LAB – Westborough) is the chair of the Standards Committee, and Cllr Borton (LAB – Victoria) the vice-chair of Appeals. Their allowances were also cut on the grounds of a reduced number of meetings. Unlike Cllr Ayling’s grubby behaviour, Cllrs Robinson and Borton welcomed these cuts as the right thing in the current climate.

If Cllrs Robinson and Borton are who Cllr Ayling is referring to when he calls me a “typical Labour politician”, then I am flattered by the comparison. And I would suggest that residents of St Luke’s ward deserve more than a councillor whose main interest is his pay cheque, and who cannot get his facts right.

Matt Dent

Avenue Road, Westcliff-on-Sea

Southend-on-Sea local election results 2015

southend civic centre

Party Votes Percentage Seats before Seats after Change
CON 34,725 39.0% 19 22 3
LAB 16,963 19.1% 9 9 0
IND 12,560 14.1% 13 11 -2
UKIP 9,023 10.1% 5 5 0
LD 8,796 9.9% 5 4 -1
GRN 6,181 6.9% 0 0 0
Turnout 88,953 62.17%