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The most obvious sign of a convergence of Southend’s Independent
Party Group and the UKIP exiles is the name Alex Moyies on the West Shoebury ballot paper as an Independent candidate. It’s a little less obvious that Margaret Haydon, the other Indie in West Shoebury, is James Moyies’ mother-in-law.
It’s hardly surprising, really. The sudden supremacy of Floyd Waterworth seems to have put a lot of noses out of joint, both amongst those who were elected for UKIP last year and those who might have stood for UKIP this year, not least of which Moyies Jr.
The joint leaflet issued by Moyies Jr and Haydon is an interesting read. Like most indie literature, it uses an impressive number of words to say very little. But it’s the bar chart which grabbed my interest. I love a good political bar chart, and it’s usually the Lib Dems who excel in this field. Here the bars seem, broadly, accurate to the West Shoebury results last year, but take a gander at the axes.
LD, Lab, Con….and Moyies? Funny, I thought James Moyies had won last year as a UKIP candidate, not an independent.
Now clearly the Moyies name is Alex’s best chance at actually winning, but this makes an interesting suggestion to me, one which chimes with the whispers that I’ve heard from the dispossessed Kippers: that post-election we’ll be seeing the anti-Waterworth faction — led by Cllr James Moyies — joining the Independent
Given that the outcasts’ leader has been expelled from UKIP, and condemned personally by Nigel Farage as not being “team players“, it doesn’t seem like there’s any way back that way for him. And given that the only requirements the Indies put on its councillors is to bend the knee to Ron Woodley and Martin Terry…
If you’re still in doubt, though, have a look at the imprint on the Haydon/Moyies Jr leaflet:
The times are changing, we are told. The “new politics” means that the smaller parties are a serious force, rather than just a protest vote or an unfunny joke. Their branches in Southend, though, haven’t seemed to have gotten the message. For the local elections, only three parties are fielding a full slate of 19 candidates: The Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, and Labour.
This is the second Labour slate of which I have been a part, and I am once again struck that we have the very finest people in the borough. Southend Labour Party are committed to offering a fairer, progressive choice, grounded in reality, to make this town the very best it can be.
With Labour as part of the council administration for the first time after fourteen years of Tory rule, we are getting things moving in the right direction. New housing stock is being built. Vital services like libraries, children’s centres, and care homes have been protected. And with schemes like the Southend Energy Company we are taking action to help people struggling with the cost of living crisis.
There is only one choice, on May 7th, for a better Southend. Vote Labour.
Nominations for the local elections in Southend-on-Sea closed at 4.00 p.m. yesterday. A third of the council seats are up for re-election in addition to two by-elections. This means that there are 19 seats up for election in total. The election will take place on May 7th, and the deadline for registering to vote is 20th April.
Below is the breakdown of the numbers of candidates standing by party, and the full list of nominated candidates.
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(A note on Independents: some independents are more independent than others. Not all of the independents on the ballot paper are part of the official Independent
Party Group. Some are genuine independents, such as Lucy Courtenay in Chalkwell, and some seem to be Independent UKIP, such as Alex Moyies in West Shoebury. I will be looking into and trying to clarify this.)
The news that Liz Day is standing down from her council seat in West Shoebury a year before she is up for re-election isn’t exactly news, in the traditional sense. I’d wager that most of those connected to Southend politics in any informed or meaningful way have known that Liz has been battling illness for a while. For anyone who did not know, and who wondered why her absences from the council chamber were not being remarked upon, there you have your answer. Some things are not for politicking.
I have never met Liz Day, but if a politician is to be judged by their esteem in the eyes of their colleagues and constituents (Which they are -Ed), then West Shoebury residents have done well by her service over the years.
I send my best wishes to Liz and her family, as well as my thanks as a resident of Southend for her service.
It feels a little redundant to describe the Shoebury sea wall debate as the defining issue of the last local elections in Southend — at least in the ward where I was the Labour candidate, West Shoebury.
At the time I was, I feel, more moderate than my opponents on the matter. Whilst UKIP’s James Moyies (who went on to win) damned the council’s preferred scheme as wrong and unworkable, and Conservative then-Cllr Tony Cox backed it to his last electoral gasp, I took the middle way.
I said, whenever asked, that the decision should be reviewed. That the process should be scrutinised. That the choices should be looked at afresh. But given that sea defences are vital — and I still believe that — I could not, I felt, dismiss the then-administration’s preferred plan, given that it was the most cost effective.
That, however, has now been brought into question. In the review initiated by the new joint administration, the preferred scheme has been found not to be the cheapest, but indeed the second most expensive.
Dear residents of West Shoebury,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you. To thank the 2,675 of you who turned out to vote on Thursday, and in particular to thank the 355 people who voted for me. It is always humbling when anyone shows such faith in you as to make you the recipient of your vote, and so I feel especially privileged that 355 residents have done so.
Though I’m never sure whether it is appropriate to admit it, I have enjoyed the campaign. I have been lucky enough to be supported by a number of capable, dedicate and enthusiastic local Labour Party members, and though I did not get the opportunity to speak to as many voters as I would have liked, those I did speak to were switched on, aware and interested in what I had to say.
I would also like to thank my opponents, Tony Cox, James Moyies, and (though I saw nothing of him) Charlie Row. It has been a battle of radically different views for the future of West Shoebury and Southend, but I am assured that they were as committed to what they perceived were the best interests of the ward as I was. James, in particular, I wish the best of luck and wisdom as he sets out as your new councillor.
Although I was not successful in winning the contest, I still believe passionately in the area, and that Labour policy could help it achieve the greatness that we all know it is capable of. I will still campaign for fairness and prosperity across Southend, and look forward to the challenges that the future will bring.
Yours with thanks,
Matthew S. Dent
Labour candidate for West Shoebury, 2014
On Monday evening I attended the local election debate at Hinguar Primary School for West Shoebury and Shoeburyness candidates, advertised in your pages (Southend Echo, 9th May). You can imagine my surprise, then, where upon arrival and with no notice I was informed that the terms had been changed and it would be just for Shoeburyness candidates.
The effect was to create a debate only between the sitting Conservative councillor and the Independent candidate (whose group had been involved in organising the event). It was a shame that the debate was so needlessly constrained, particularly given that the main subject of discussion (the sea wall) is primarily in West Shoebury ward, where I am campaigning to represent the residents after the election.
But what angered me greatly was the assertion that the Labour candidate for Shoeburyness had “decided not to turn up”. This was absolutely not true. Maggie Kelly was unable to attend due to the short notice and her working commitments, which is the very reason that I – as the candidate for West Shoebury – was to take part in the debate.
Labour’s voice was deliberately cut out of the debate and I am very disappointed that the organisers resorted to this, as Labour is the only party in Southend with an optimistic and forward-looking plan for the borough. A cynic might wonder if this was the reason I was not allowed to participate.
Matthew S. Dent
Labour candidate for West Shoebury
When I blogged about Monday’s Shoebury hustings, back on Tuesday, I focused on the questions (question?) asked, and the answers given (or not) given by the two candidates. In short, I focused on the debate that actually happened.
What I didn’t dwell on, and perhaps I should have done, was the debate which didn’t happen.
We are a week away from the local elections, and campaigning is in full swing. All parties are throwing themselves at this, in the knowledge that up for grabs is control of the council itself. As I have said many times before, there is a high likelihood that the Tories will lose their hold on the council.
In fact, after seeing the reception that Roger Hadley received at the Shoebury hustings on Monday night, I wouldn’t be surprised if the count on Friday sees a cull of Tory councillors.
My Conservative opponent in West Shoebury is particularly vulnerable. So I have to ask, where on earth is Tony Cox?