Thursday, 29 October 2009

Experiences of talking to people who vote for the BNP

We sadly have a real problem with political debate when elected politicians, political journalists or politicos refuse to accept that others may disagree with their views and resort to accusations that are just silly and immature.

For example, an article appeared on Liberal Conspiracy that Boris Johnson wants to kill children, the New Statesman article which claims that Cameron has borrowed a facist statement and Cllr Assenheim's assertions that my campaigning taticts are bully boy tactics of the BNP.

These examples just show how extreme some in politics can be. Some of us for a number of years, from all parties, have been working to stave off the BNP in our wards.

The examples above were unwise and can stoke racial tensions when none exist. For the likes of Cllr Assenheim that use the BNP to make racist slurs, it makes me wonder if these people who talk about BNP and its voters know what the BNP is about.

For a number of years I have been talking to people about politics in places as diverse as East London and I have talked to and listened to many people who have said that they would vote for the BNP not just in West Shoebury but around the country.

Roughly, there are 3 types of people who say this (there may well be more, but these are the ones that I instantly recognise):

(1) there are people who, when they realise that you are from a 'mainstream' party, want to shock you by the extremes that they will go to to impress on you their dissatisfaction with politics and politicians in the UK.

(2) there are people who are very concerned about immigration in their community and the percieved advantage that immigrants have over the 'native' population in terms of housing and jobs.

(3) there are people who sign up to unpleasant racist and authoritarian views that makes my skin crawl. The number who fall into this category is, thankfully, very small.

There is a common theme in all of this - these are people who feel as if they have no access, no say and are not listened to.

As politics has been professionalised, we have grown used to seeing our politicians on television, hearing them on radio and having coverage in the print media, we have seen less and less of them in person on street corners.

During the last round of local elections in 2008, I cannot tell you how many times people told me that it was the first time they had met a councillor or candidate in person.

The oft-heard complaint of voters on doorsteps is that we only get to hear from politicians 'when you want our vote'. The days when it was acceptable for politicians to turn up periodically and sporadically are over.

My view is that it is through engagement that we will overcome the prejudices people have - about politicians, let alone about people who come from different races and credes.

As a candidate, my aim is (and, with luck, will be) to communicate - to listen, to learn and to explain - as a person, I am imperfect and I have imperfect knowledge about the things that I experience, let alone the things of which I have no experience.

As a result, for me, the primary aim of politics is to listen and to learn and to apply that listening and learning to find ways to improve our lot. I suspect that most people on all sides of the political divide will agree with that - but there will be some who say that this is racist BNP bully boy taticts campaigning!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Lies, Damed Lies & Comrade Anne

Another day, and another porkie from Comrade Anne on her Independent Party Shoebury News website.

This time their website claimes that a poll on Shoebury Conservatives shows that 84% were against the East Beach improvements, yet the full result showed that 66% were actually in favour whilst 32% were against.

The results were published in the Southend Echo and even has a quote from her regarding the results. You just couldn't make it up.

What our little porkie did was take a snapshot of the poll on just one day and portray this as the result. Just like her politics, Comrade Anne has been caught RED handed!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Crumbling under scrutiny?

Over at the fledging Shoebury News website Cllr Assenheim has decided to send a Dear Comrade Anne letter to Shoebury News containing a racist attack on me as Cllr Assenheim and his party crumble under the mounting scrutiny.

With seven councillors and some limited electoral success they deserve the same level of scrutiny as the three main parties - something that they believe to be above.

It is worth taking a brief look at the history of the so called Independents. During the middle of this decade, Martin Terry, a disgruntled Labour party member, decided to stand as an Independent in Westborough ward. The public spoke and Martin Terry was elected.

The following year, another disgruntled Labour party member, Marimuthu Velmurugan, decided to stand as an Independent in Westborough and again was elected.

Following this electoral success two disgruntled Conservative councillors decided to defect and along with the two elected councillors for Westborough formed the political party Alliance Southend. Despite claiming that they were an 'alliance of Independents' they were:

1. Registered with the electoral commission as a political party
2. Had a party leader
3. Held party meetings
4. Had a party logo

In 2006 Cllr Assenheim included, all former Independents stood for the Aliance Southend party. Facing mounting criticism based on the facts above they dropped Alliance Southend for a 'group of Independents'. People with only average intellengence will realise that they are both the same thing and because of its wording can not be Independent if you form a group.

Sinice this 'grouping' they now have:

1. A party Leader who draws a leaders salary from the council
2. Hold Political meetings in the Civic Centre
3. Collective voting - On the issue of Dog Control Orders the 'group' all voted against this measure, the only party to vote all the same way

This effectively means that all bar one of the 'Group of Independents have either belonged to or stood for a political party at some point.

What Comrade Anne and Cllr Assenheim don't realise is that with seven councillors they should be open to scrutiny. As this is a blog Independent of Shoebury Conservatives I will not take dictacts as to when I can have a view. Freedom of speech is something that is sacred and is taken for granted but this is the Independent Party all over - do as I say and not as I do.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Is the thing blue line getting thinner in West Shoebury?

The government has recently forced all police authorities to publish the lastest crime figures to the public. The good news is that crime is overall down throughout Southend but I was interested in the figures for West Shoebury ward.

West Shoebury is generally a low crime area but the latest crime figures for April, May and June compared with the same period for 2008 do not make good reading. Overall crime is up nearly 22% in West Shoebury ward. Burglary is up nearly 73%, robbery is up 100%, violency is up 3% and anti-social behaviour is up 7%. Only vehivle crime saw a reduction.

I believe that crime is down across Southend because of some very good policing initatives but has this been at the expence of West Shoebury?

Despite the large increase in crime, crime is still rlatively low. From previous attendence at Residents Association metings the public are still largely supportive of the local police but if crime rises as sharply as it has done you have to question for how much longer.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Question Time? More Like Jerry Springer

Apart from Nick Griffin and Unite Against Facism the other big looser in last nights edition of Question Time was honest political debate itself.

With a cherry picked audience and the whole panel rightly against the BNP it turned into nothing more than a Jerry Springer slanging match. With Royal Mail on strike, the Home Office loosing 40,000 imigrants and the mess that this country is in right now political debate was what was needed.

The BBC in my opinion were right to extend the invite to Nick Griffin and for somebody who is Oxbridge educated gave a lamentable performace last night which is what I thought would happen once the BNP leader was subjected to scrutiny - even though he was challenged on his 'favoured' areas. I dread to think what his performance would have been like had he had been taken out of his comfort zone and gave his views/policies about the issues of the day.

It was left to Baroness Warsi to actually try and at least turn the imigration issue into a sensible debate. As an avid viewer of Question Time Baroness Warsi's previous performances have left a lot to be desired but deserves a lot of credit for being moderate and sensible on the issue.

Jack Straw's defence of the Government's policy made him look and sound like a wet blanket and was clearly flummoxed when NIck Griifin in effect called him the son of a coward.

The Lib Dem's Chris Huhne, an old hand at Question Time, was bizzarly trying to out do the BNP on immigration! Typical two faces you may say, especially as they supported the Government in allowing unrestricted entry to the Eastern European accession states.

For me it was a sad day for good honest political debate. Whilst I fully support the aims of Unite Against Facism their behaviour only made them to look and sound as thuggish as the BNP itself.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

First With The News

Back in May Shoebury Conservatives decided to set up a website to keep all Shoebury residents informed of the latest news, events and how the big issues of the day affect Shoebury.

No other political party had attempted to create a website solely for Shoebury. Following on from the initial success Comrade Anne Chalk, well known to readers of this blog, decided to set up her rival Shoebury News website for self gratification and as a mechanism to peddle her mistruths to Shoebury residents.

Recently, as viewers of her website have dwindled, Commie Anne has resulted to publishing stories from as breaking news or as ideas from the Independent Party.

For example, a few days ago Anne publishes on her website 'that she is reliably informed' that new Changing Rooms are to be provided at Shoebury Leisure Centre. Yes Anne was reliably informed - by local Conservatives back in May!

Local Conservatives were also delighted to bring you the news that Shoeburyness Park was to have a new outdoor gym facility in the form of an adiZone. Yet knock me down with a feather duster it appears on Shoebury News a day later with almost the same wording! But wait, Cllr 'says a lot but does nothing' Assenheim has campaigned for a long time to get an adiZone. The first resident to provide me with evidence of Cllr Assenheim campaigning for an adiZone in Shoeburyness Park will receive a bottle of Champaign.

They say copying is the best form of flaterry but I supposed Comrade Anne has been used to coming second for sometime now.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Millennium Beacons in Shoebury

One of the legacies left to many areas of the millennium celbrations are the little known Millennium Beacons. Sadly many of these across the country have been left to go to rack and ruin and sadly are becoming an eyesore in most parts of the coutry.

An interesting news story has appeared on the Southend Lib Dems website regarding Millennium Beacons being brought back into use for the London 2012 Olympics. Cllr Graham Longley who is the Lib Dem parliamentry candidate for Rochford & Southend East is backing the cause to get the Millennium Beacon in Shoebury restored for the 2012 Olympics.

There is a snag to this - Shoebury doesn't have a Millennium Beacon! There was a beacon used on the Pier for the Y2K celebrations but was taken down after. If Cllr Longley came out of Leigh bunker once in a while instead of every four of five years when there is a General Election on he would know these things.

What a Waste of Money

There are on occasions round robin emails that are sent to all councillors. Most are not worthy of a comment and just get deleted. Over the past couple of days however there has been a interesting conversation brewing with one of two councillors getting a little bit hot and bothered.

There has been some refurbishment works happening at the Civic Centre to replace some old windows. It transpires that the glazers have put in standard glass when frosted glass should have been installed.

Sensing a passing bandwagon Shoeburyness ward Independent Party councillor Mike Assenheim decided that the Conservative administration was wasting money by now deciding to have frosted glass. Without checking the facts and establishing that the installers had made a error and that there were no extra additional costs, Cllr Assenheim was quickly rounded upon.

What seems strange is that all of a sudden Cllr Assenheim has now become the defender of taxpayers money. It is intresting that prior to becoming a councillor Mike Assenheim wasted nearly £4,000 of taxpayers money refering six Shoeburyness Councillors to the Standards Board of England on a pathetic claim that 'we had hurt his feelings'.

Maybe Cllr Assenheim should have developed some feelings when over a £1,000 of that total was spent on reporting a Shoeburyness councillor to the Standards Board when he had terminal cancer and then appealed the decision when he only had days to live and died having this claim on his mind during his final hours.

I will certainly remember this when Mike calls for personal attacks to be kept out of politics because he is a poor little 'Independent'.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Porridge at the Palace

It was difficult weekend for me and Mrs C as it was the first time that our daughter stayed at Nan and Grandad's for the weekend and the flat felt large and quiet.

Whilst the little one was away Mrs C treated me to an evening out to watch the stage production of Porridge at the Palace Theatre. I was a little worried as the last two events that I was due to see was Michael Jackson at the o2 and the 5th day of the final Ashes test - enough said!

It is sometimes the case that stage productions of films/tv shows can be a bit of a let down when you love the original. Porridge, however, was excellent and very enjoyable and Shaun Williamson (Barry from EastEnders) was fantastic as Fletcher.

As Porridge was mainly cast indoors, the transition from small screen to stage was seamless. I do feel that this could have a huge run in the West End.