It seems that since I first started blogging and embracing social media a number of my computer literate colleagues from all parties have cottoned onto this medium as a good way to communicate with residents.
It is also interesting to note how many stories first broke on local blogs, facebook and twitter which have subsequently made the local media.
Some months ago I was made aware of a new blog called Kursaal Voice. As blogs go it is generally quite entertaining. I have also recently been made aware of another blog called Tory Pier . I became more interested in this blog due to a scathing post about former Labour Kursaal councillor Judith McMahon.
It would seem that on the face of it Kursaal Voice is a blog run a by local resident concerned about the neighbourhood they live in. Given a little investigation by Tory Pier, it would appear that the blog is the work of the above mentioned former Labour councillor Judith McMahon although the blog doesn't confirm this.
There are however a few things that give the identity away when you look closer, e.g. all posts are by Judy, takes the name of the blog from Victoria Voice a blog run by Labour councillor Ian Gilbert and only allowes anti Conservative comments on there.
What seemed to irate Tory Pier more was the lies and sheer hypocriticism of the now ousted former Labour councillor in this particular post.
The blog post in question starts with former council comrade pointing out that neither Cllr Robin nor Cllr Burdett live in the Kursaal ward and goes on to say:
“If you don’t live here, how do you know what it’s like? Tory councillors don’t live here.”
The implication being you can’t represent a ward properly if you do not live there. I know I am fortunate enough to represent the ward that I live in but I don't think that living in the ward should be a pre requisite for someones capabilities to be able to represent residents.
If Comrade McMahon has such a big issue with this, why does she not raise this within the Labour group in Southend? For example, the current Labour Councillor in Kursaal, Stephen George, lives in Leigh-on-Sea, several miles from the Kursaal ward. Not only that, but none of the three Labour Councillors in Victoria live in the ward they represent.
Could this be why rumours are rife that Cllr George was knifed in the back for the Labour nomination in Kursaal? I would like to know their response to Comrade McMahon’s concerns and opinion that they can’t represent their wards!
The rant which really took the piss for Tory Pier concerns the increase in the councillor’s allowance that was recently voted through. This increase of 1.2% for all members was designed to stop members from claiming for in borough travel expenses - a move which overall saves the council money.
According to the alledged posting from Comrade McMahon, Cllrs Burdett and Robin voted for this increase was “because now they cannot claim expenses to travel to the place where they don’t live”.
This takes the biscuit for three main reasons. First, the accounts available show that during his time as councillor, Blaine Robin claimed a total of zero for travel expenses. Second, Cllr Burdett has not been elected long enough to be included in an up to date set of accounts.
so where did Comrade McMahon find the figures for the travel expenses that it is suggested Cllr Burdett has claimed? So to say that Cllr Burdett and Cllr Robin voted because they could not claim travel expenses is a complete lie perpetrated by a prospective candidate in the 2011 Local Elections. Neither Cllr Robin or Cllr Burdett has claimed travel expenses from what I can gather.
Last, and by no means least, is Comrade McMahon’s own record as Kursaal ward councillor. Of course, McMahon would never claim travel expenses. It would be the height of hypocrisy, had she claimed travel expenses during her time as a Kursaal councillor.
But wait. What’s this? Turn to page 100 of the accounts of Southend Borough Council for the year ended 31 March 2008. What do we learn? That one Judith McMahon claimed £228.80.
Oh Dear, it seems that New Labour is alive and well.