Sunday, 19 October 2014

One thing in opposition, another in power

Readers of this blog will know that one thing I dislike the most in politics are hypocrites. I have more time for people who are consistently wrong in my eyes but at least have the conviction to stand true to their principles and beliefs.

The latest case of double standards falls to the new Independent Party leader of Southend Council Ron Woodley. Back in December, parts of the town were graced with the Conservative looking leaflet from Ron Woodley on their doormats claiming, as he has done repeatedly, that borrowing under the previous Conservative administration was 'out of control'.

You can imagine my surprise when looking at 6.6 of the Treasury Management report which went to Cabinet recently, in Cllr Woodley's name, which contained the following line:

"The current level of borrowing is also in line with the Council's prudential indicators and is prudent, affordable and sustainable"

As this report covers quarter1 of the current financial year - a period when the Conservatives were in control of the Council, shows the outrageous lengths that Cllr Woodley went to deceive the public on the issue of Council finances.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Trouble At Mill

It would seem all is not well in the Southend UKIP camp. Still smarting from not securing his party's nomination for the Rochford & Southend East seat no doubt, the UKIP Group Leader James Moyies took to the Echo to bizarrely criticise local businesses for securing grants to boost new local jobs and apprenticeships.

Just a few days later, a readers letter appeared from UKIP councillor Lawrence Davies completely disagreeing that grants to businesses are a bad thing. A somewhat thinly veiled attack on Cllr Moyies. With such divisions now public, it is clear why Cllr Moyies didn't secure the nomination. It will be an interesting spectator sport to see if the UKIP divisions grow.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Shoebury Libraries

After the new Independent Party led coalitions first real decision was to axe Cory, the town's refuse collector, their second decision, after all the fanfare of a review, was to, er, agree with the last Conservative administration on library provision in Shoebury.

I am pleased that Shoebury will receive a new library and the elderly and vulnerable will still have access to the mobile library - it is just a shame that thousands of pounds of taxpayers money was spent on a review to come up with the same decision.

What this whole episode has shown is the hot air and lack of moral compass from Shoeburyness Independent Party councillor Anne Chalk. When as a councillor, I had to endure the endless hours of her pointless tripe that she espoused on saying that she would fight to save Friars Library and through her leaflets, how she would be taking this through Council. Anne even managed to find time to write a rare blog post on the issue.

When the Cabinet rubber stamped the decision last month, Anne had the opportunity to ask the Scrutiny Committee to review the decision and ask for Cabinet to have another look. A quick glance at the agenda for Monday's meeting shows that the item isn't even up for debate. So much for Anne taking this through Council.

This decision not to pursuit the matter comes as no surprise as from the correspondence I have seen, she has been slapped down by the leader of the Council on this issue. So much for being an Independent! So everyone, after me, let's sing follow the leader, leader, follow the leader.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The NHS Needs Saving - But From Who?

It never ceases to amaze me that political parties seem to 'own' certain areas of policy. The NHS is one of those areas which will be one of the key issues over the next seven months.

There is no escaping the fact that current opinion polls suggest that the public currently trust Labour the most on the NHS when all recent evidence should suggest the contary. For example, Labour have not one current MP with clinical experience. The Conservatives have Seven - five GP's and two nurses.

The main Labour attack line is 'the NHS is not safe in Tory hands' is often used to try and insinuate that a Conservative government would privatise the NHS, whilst conveniently forgetting that it was the last Labour government that brought private enterprise into the NHS.

To get an idea of what the NHS under a Labour government would be like you only have to look at Wales, where the NHS is a devolved power to the Welsh Assembly - currently under Labour control.

For the last four years they haven't hit an A&E target. Waiting times are up, waiting lists are up and quality is down too.

The last time the urgent cancer care treatment was met in Wales was 2008. There is no cancer drug fund and recent figures suggest that 14,000 Welsh cancer patients seek treatment in England every year because of Labour's NHS cuts. To top it off, the Welsh ambulance service has missed its call-out target since 2012.

Let's not forget the Sir Bruce Keogh report which uncovered failings at 11 hospitals under the last Labour government where thousands of patients needlessly died. Or Mid Staffs, the hospital where up to 1,200 died on filthy wards with patients begging for water and drinking out of vases.

Yet the Labour government operated culture of ‘cover-up’ where targets were more important than people and ministers’ reputations more important than care.

This is sadly, what we will get under Labour. Cuts to our NHS, longer waiting lists and all the problems we saw at Mid Staffs Hospital repeated all over again.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

2015 Local Election Candidates Selected

At a recent selection committee, Rochford & Southend East Conservatives have selected the following candidates for the 2015 Local Government elections:

Rochford District Council

Barling & Sutton - Cllr Mike Steptoe
Foulness & Great Wakering - Cllr Colin Seagers
Rochford - Cllr Keith Gordon

Southend Borough Council

Kursaal - Alex Bright (Former Southend Youth Mayor, who if elected, will be the first person to have served on both Southend Youth Council and Southend Borough Council)
Milton - Cllr Jonathan Garston
Shoeburyness - Roger Hadley
Southchurch - Cllr Ann Holland
St Luke's - James Cottis
Thorpe - Jon Bacon (The owner of Ocean Beach restaurant)
West Shoebury - Cllr Derek Jarvis
Victoria - Denis Garne (Former Southend Labour councillor)

Following the selection, James Duddridge MP commented:

"I am delighted that the local Conservative Association have selected a strong team to fight the 2015 local elections.

We are fortunate that not only are we seeking to return some exceptionally experienced councillors, we also have new candidates joining our local team who will work extremely hard for the local community.

I look forward to joining candidates on the campaign trail to return a Conservative Government and Conservative administrations locally in Rochford and Southend".