Friday 30 September 2016

Urgent Motion to Council – Calais Children

Press Release

Urgent Motion to Council – Calais Children

Milton Ward Labour Councillors Cheryl Nevin and Julian Ware-Lane have submitted the following  motion to Southend Council:

We call on the Council to write to the Secretary of State at the Home Office to urgently send officials to Calais refugee camp to process legitimate asylum claims allowing unaccompanied children access to Britain and to safety.

The government is committed to helping these children, many of whom have family in the UK, with school terms starting in days, now is the time to act.

Britain should be following Germany's lead, of accepting more than one million refugees last year, distributed across hundreds of cities and villages in the country.

This government claims to be socially just, but letting these minors suffer alone one more day of squalor, desperation and destitution can only be viewed as a failure of leadership.

Councillor Cheryl Nevin said:  ”Southend Residents working with charitable organisations in Calais , from all political persuasions, have been contacting  us to ask for additional support in putting pressure on Government to act urgently. There are 65.3 million forcibly displaced persons across the world, most are hosted in developing countries; 40 million are displaced in their own country. Distressingly  51% of all refugees are children.”

Cheryl further commented: “ I’m told the legal paperwork is complete, the requirements all met, the Prime Minister needs to listen to the public and  let these 387 most vulnerable children come to a place of safety, joining their families in the UK”.

Cllr Ware-Lane added: "Vulnerable people need help, and the Government should honour its promises. The delays and inaction are not acceptable. I am pleased to second Councillor Nevin's motion to Full Council, and hope that the Council chamber will back us and those in the community who also want action."


Tuesday 27 September 2016

Carriage and Wagon Shed in Shoebury Garrison


Carriage and Wagon Shed in Shoebury Garrison

The Southend-on-Sea Labour Group believes that the borough's heritage assets must be maintained for future generations. Therefore, it has been pleased that the Council has sought to look after the Carriage and Wagon Shed in Shoebury Garrison.

We are disappointed that owing to a number of factors what was promised in 2011 has failed to materialise.  Economic pressures has meant that the promise of a visitor centre and community facility have failed to materialise.

The Council is faced with a number of options, including leaving the building to decline. The Labour Group does not want this to happen and wants the building maintained.

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane says: "The Borough is currently facing the loss of a number of heritage assets, and I hope that this does not join that sorry list. We must preserve the best of our heritage - and I believe that Carriage and Wagon Shed, owing to its listing, is amongst the best."

"The sums involved in maintaining it are quite modest" added Cllr Ware-Lane, "and the alternative is the loss of another piece of history. We owe it to future generations to maintain these sorts of buildings."

Southend Labour believes that the original intention of creating a visitor centre and community facility still has merit, and that this should still be pursued.

The Council recognises the potential loss to the borough, and Labour hopes that the Conservative-UKIP administration faces up to its duty of care to history and heritage within Southend-on-Sea.



·         This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest. Name: CARRIAGE / WAGON SHED, HORSESHOE BARRACKS List entry Number: 1322322
·         The developer (Avant Homes)  took an obligation under an S106 agreement to refurbish the Carriage and Wagon Shed for use as a visitor centre and community facility.

Monday 26 September 2016

Southend Labour Group pleased about Queensway development but has some doubts regarding Tory plans


The Labour Group in Southend-on-Sea is pleased that the Council is continuing with the plans for a Better Queensway. This project was initially set up by the Joint Administration that Labour was a part of.

The new stock of social housing should address issues with  the current stock that is scheduled for demolition and replacement. The Better Queensway Project should also see additional social housing created.

However, the Labour Group has concerns that the Conservative-UKIP administration is planning for taller structures than were in the original proposals. The current plans show some buildings at twelve storeys high, whereas in the Joint Administration plans the planned maximum height was expected to be eight or nine storeys.

The Labour Group is encouraging the current administration to ensure that the road infrastructure is able to adequately cope with the increased traffic volumes.

Cllr David Norman said of the latest plans: "It looks like we are replacing one set of tower blocks with another." He added: "I would be interested to see what the ratio of social to private housing now is - I hope that the Conservatives and UKIP have not watered this down."

Cllr Julian Ware-Lane said: "I have had concerns about the road layout at the top of Victoria Avenue for some time. This project, with developments planned for the Seaway car park and Marine Plaza, will likely see huge increases in traffic volumes. I hope our roads can cope. I will be encouraging the Council to ensure that improvements are planned in."

Congratulations to Mr Corbyn

Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn. For the second time in a year he has won an impressive victory in a leadership contest, and he has managed to improve his vote share. Let's hope that unity and comradeship can now descend on the Labour Party.

I think the contest was ill-timed. However, I did support Owen Smith who I think would have made a fine leader. I do have reservations about Mr Corbyn, which revolve less around policy and more about his style of leadership. He has to change - we cannot continue as we have done. We have to be electable and win elections. We also have to be seen as a credible Government-in-waiting.

To make change we have to be in power; this involves compromise. We cannot just please ourselves and expect that the majority of the electorate will fall in line. We have to understand what Middle England wants, and find the policies that deliver that. Anything else and we are irrelevant.

I will continue to support Labour and campaign for the issues that are important to me. I will continue to do my best to see that Labour represents the wishes and aspirations of working people. I will continue to try and be an effective Labour councillor for Milton ward and for the Borough of Southend-on-Sea.

I will also continue to voice my opinion. We have to be a party that allows room for differences.

Monday 19 September 2016

You cannot be both friend and foe

The Labour Party has committed the outrageous act of expelling people who have acted against its best interests in recent years. Outrageous? Well, actually no; it is a reasonable response to those whose loyalty can most charitably be described as flaky.

If you have allowed opponents to stand against the party (by signing nomination papers, for example) then you cannot be surprised that this attracts a ban. Labour, the party of working people, can only represent those working people by having its representatives elected. Supporting the nomination of an opponent means that our job is that little bit harder.

Similarly, making public pronouncements in favour of opposing parties also undermines Labour's attempts at creating a better world for working people.

One cannot expect to be allowed to join a party, and vote for its leader, after publicly undermining the party.

Labour is seeking to protect itself from entryism, whereby people with agendas that conflict with the aims and values of the Labour Party join in an attempt to move the party towards their worldview. The Labour Party as a vehicle for improving working people's lives would soon invalidate its own existence if it did not root out these people.

The bans, which are usually only for five years, will allow the miscreants to reflect on their actions. If they can avoid working against the Labour Party then they will gain admittance.

Some are crying 'foul', seeing this as some sort of plot to undermine the leadership contest, and especially Jeremy Corbyn's attempt to remain in post. If Mr Corbyn has to rely on the votes of those whose recent behaviour was decidedly anti-Labour then we are in a sorry state. Toxic elements have no place in Labour, and to be believe that undermining Labour will be forgotten or forgiven is delusional.

Those who now seem themselves excluded will have ample time to reflect, and this reflection should include owning up to their guilt.

St Luke's Voice Winter 2018/19 edition