I think people of all political persuasions will acknowledge that I fight cleanly. I don’t think I’ve ever named a political opponent let alone slated one in a leaflet!
But reading the Southend Echo yesterday made me think that it is time for me to make an exception and put a few facts out there about Southend’s Conservatives and, in particular, the Independent Group (basically a party) in Southend.
Now let me start off by saying I respect the right of anyone to vote for whatever candidate they want, be it Labour, Liberal or even BNP or other extreme parties. It is the responsibility of the main stream political parties to ensure that the extreme votes are a small percentage of the total ballots cast.
However, Southend’s Independents are duping people and they know it. They are, to all intents and purposes, a party. They have a Leader (who calls himself a spokesman), who gets paid an allowance of £7,560 (2011/12 municipal year), in addition to his basic allowance (that all councillors are entitled to). They go to each other’s wards to help each other out, to try and get elected. They have private meetings to discuss what their group’s view is – although they often cannot agree.
Do I have a problem with the above? No, not at all. There is nothing wrong with the leader of a party getting remunerated, recognising the extra work he has to do. Is there a problem with like-minded people getting together to support each other? No. Is there a problem of getting together in private to thrash out ideas and then forming a general view? Not at all. But what I do have a problem with is when people do one thing and say another.
Christine Hills said in Tuesday’s (8th May) Southend Echo that “The difference with the main political parties is they have funds for elections.” You often hear the Leader of their group saying “Oh yes, but you have a party machine behind you”. If only they knew. In Blenheim Park there was me, Julie and her agent. We had a couple of helpers who live in the ward who wanted to see Julie get elected. How is that different to what the Independent’s have?
Christine had to pay for her own leaflets?! Oh no. Standing for election costs money. It is a fact of life. Perhaps she thinks members of the three main political parties should fund her election? All campaigning material for Southend West Conservative candidates was paid for by LOCAL party members – those who live in the wards the candidates were standing for.
A lot of the campaign material was paid for by the candidates personally. None of it came from taxpayers’ money. The same cannot be said for the Independents – their leader often says that he spends his allowance on election material – well perhaps Christine needs to go and ask for her share of £7,560 of Southend Council Tax payers’ money?
Southend Conservatives have listened. We take what the electorate says very seriously. I for one will go back out onto the street and listen to my employers – the residents of Blenheim.
But Southend Conservatives, in a bad year for the Conservatives nationally, won more seats than any other political party in Southend. (Tory 6, Ind 5, Lab 3, Lib 3). There is one reason and one reason only that Southend Council’s largest group is Conservative….. Because that is what the electorate WANT. Those who put us down all the time and say party politics is dead should remember what the electorate have said in this and previous elections.
Stand up and be proud to be a Conservative! Explain your views and beliefs. And those who support us don’t be shy – there really are more of us than you are lead to believe!
Time to shut up now – I’ve done a ramble and a half!
Back to Blenheim Park issues in the next post! 🙂