stephen aylen

The top 10 maddest moments in Southend local politics 2015 (Part 2)


southend pier

You’ve come this far. Maybe you’re willing to come a little further...

Yes, the end of 2015 is truly upon us, and so as promised, I must offer the second part of my rundown of my 10 maddest moments in Southend politics.

Honestly, distilling it down to 10 was hard work. Deciding what got the top spot was harder still. It’s been a fun year, but looking back over it is more a cavalcade of the weird and wonderful. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, here is the first part, running through numbers 10 to 6.

Here is my top five, of the maddest moments in Southend local politics in 2015.

Read on…

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Southend local politics, summed up in one gloriously mad image


cllr aylen and sooty(Image courtesy of Ashleigh Condon)

There was a lot that went on at last night’s full council meeting in Southend, and much that I will come onto later on. But if I had to sum up the whole of Southend local politics, then it would be the above image. The moment when Cllr Stephen Aylen (IND – Belfairs) whipped out a Sooty hand puppet in the middle of full council to ask a question.

Sadly, the town clerk ruled that as Sooty was not an elected member of the council, he could not ask a question. Just another day in Southend

Coup or coronation? Meet the Southend Independents’ new leader


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I’ve said before that one thing that unifies Southend Independent Party Group is an inability to play well with others. Represented in their number is former Labour candidates, former Lib Dem candidates, and until very recently a former Tory.

The news that Cllr Steve Aylen has left the Independent Party Group after a falling out with Ron Woodley is scarcely news. Conservative blogger Cllr Mark Flewitt already covered it in his stream-of-consciousness style, and the Southend Echo in something a little closer to English.

I don’t want to get too deep into Cllr Aylen’s accusations (Putting it simply, I have heard that he was rather brusque to an officer, but that Cllr Woodley threatened him in open committee -Ed), but whilst I don’t agree with Steve on a great deal of subjects — not least culling deer in Belfairs Wood — I have always found him pleasant to deal with and entertaining in the council chamber.

But one of the points Cllr Aylen made when quitting the Independent Party Group was how much like a political party it had become. Hardly a surprise to most of us, but strenuously denied by Messers Woodley and Terry. But given that my little birds this morning report to me that Martin Terry has stepped down as the leader spokesperson of the Independents, to be replaced by Cllr Mike Assenheim, this blogger wonders how much longer the fallacy can continue.

Read on…