Sunday 6 May 2018

Another campaign is over

Another election campaign is over, and Labour can celebrate some successes in Southend-on-Sea. However, the Conservatives increased their majority and will be pleased enough with that. Next year, though, should prove quite a bit more fruitful for the Labour with the potential for quite a number of gains.

Labour will be hopeful to remove the remaining Tories in Milton and Kursaal, and now that we have a presence in Blenheim Park will will be aiming to double our presence in that ward. St Luke’s and Prittlewell are also within striking distance. Five gains is certainly not impossible.
One of a dying breed - a garden board

Every campaign is different. This one, to this observer, seemed a somewhat subdued affair at times, although it was clear that there were some right battles going on in some wards. Where were the garden-boards and posters? I genuinely cannot recall anything from the Tories in this respect. My unscientific guess was that the poster war was won by Labour, with the Independent Group and the Liberal Democrats trailing; I saw nothing from the Greens, or UKIP.

I was told by one resident that I “only turn up at election times”. This may be true of some councillors and candidates, but it is definitely not true of me. The resident closed the door as I was protesting my innocence as to this particular accusation. The truth is that I am out speaking to residents all year round, and will soon be out again doing just that. However, there will be some who will believe that I only show up when a poll is imminent, and there is not much I can do about that besides just doing what I always do.

I can, and do, take solace and satisfaction in an increased Labour majority in Milton ward. Aside from 2015 when the local elections coincided with a General Election, the Labour majority has increased every year since 2012 – that is four victories with our majority growing each time. In 2012 I took the seat from a Tory with a 68 vote majority, the Labour victory margin now stands at 473. This is a testament to the hard work put in by the Milton team. This ward was a safe Tory ward, and now boasts Labour’s biggest vote across the borough. We also have the largest Labour membership (I believe) and I am convinced that in twelve months’ time the ward will have three Labour councillors.

In the cut and thrust of political battle it is easy to forget that we are all human, and there is a human cost to elections. I make it that we are saying goodbye to seven councillors this time around, which seems like quite significant churn t me.

Gone are: Mo Butler, Tino Callaghan, Lawrence Davies, Caroline Endersby, Derek Kenyon, James Moyies, Floyd Waterworth.

In 2014 there were five UKIP councillors elected in Southend-on-Sea; every one of them has now gone. David McGlone was elected in 2015 as a UKIP councillor, and he has survived. UKIP’s goose is well and truly cooked, and those who think that changing party allegiance is a guarantee of electoral safety will have to re-think that strategy.

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St Luke's Voice Winter 2018/19 edition