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Thoughts on the night Southend-on-Sea Borough Council went from blue to grey

I’ll deal with my embarrassing and pathetic result again another time but this blog will just be about the other races and thoughts on the results from across the borough.

Let us start with the races that weren’t even races. Chalkwell, Eastwood Park, Leigh, Shoeburyness, Thorpe, Victoria and West Leigh all went comfortably as expected elected Tory, Tory, Lib Dem, Indy, Indy, Labour and Tory councillors respectively. None of these results were ever in too much doubt.

St. Laurence saw the Lib Dems attacking for the only time in the borough and they gave Mark Flewitt a bit of a scare before going down by 153 votes. The two seats the Lib Dems were defending in real battles (Leigh was always comfortable) they just about got home as Mary Betson won in Prittlewell by 73 votes from the Tories but the UKIP’s 589 votes may well have saved the seat for Mary Betson. I was out and about in Prittlewell on Thursday knocking on doors and getting the Lib Dem vote out and this victory makes me happy as Mary is both a good egg and a bloody good councillor. I think Prittlewell should be happy with their three councillors not just because they are all Lib Dem but that they are three good councillors.

Up the road in Blenheim Park Graham Longley – who never eases to victory scrapped home by 24 votes from the Tories – again quite probably thanks to the strong UKIP vote which would have taken away from the Tory. So all in all a solid night for the Lib Dems although the peripherals do not look great.

Over in West Shoebury the Tory Liz Day got home but UKIP really got close as they were within 100 votes of taking the seat. UKIP have seriously affected the make-up of Southend Council thanks to fielding candidates in Blenheim Park and Prittlewell but they really got close to taking a seat over in West Shoebury.

The general consensus was that Labour would win in Kursaal and Anne Jones duly delivered by 118 over the standing Tory councillor. Southchurch was one of three seats the Tories were attacking in and after failure over in Blenheim Park and Prittlewell, the party got their lone gain in Southchurch as they took it from the independents, who were putting up a new candidate. Claire Bibby fell 51 votes short which disappointed me as in my brief chat with her she seemed like a lovely lass.

My seat of Westborough was tight at the top (not so much at the bottom – *small tear* – but Dr Vel held on against Kevin Robinson and Labour. The low turn-out here I think crushed Kevin as had the turnout been 25%+ then I truly believe Kevin would’ve taken it as no doubt those loyal to Dr Vel would go out even in the shabby conditions more than those loyal to Labour. Obviously a nice day would have brought out all my supporters. Going after all those allergic to rain was my downfall – *yet another small tear*

So as things stand the Tories have a majority of five so the three remaining seats all need to go against them. The Tories are defending them all…

We’ll start in St. Lukes where former Lib Dem Brian Ayling swept to victory an as independent. Last year (as a proposed Lib Dem candidate) he wanted to make an electoral pact with the Indy’s where he told all Lib Dems to vote Indy last year and then this the Indy’s would repay the favour. Well this year he was an Indy and waltzed in. The defending Tories were third behind Labour as well.

So now we are down to two. Belfairs was next up and the Tories held this in 2008 but the Tory councillor was kicked out of the party a few weeks back for apparently so says the talk on the floor of the count not having gone to any Tory meetings in eons. He always towed the party line in votes but never participated in meetings. So he stood as an Indy and took the seat by 73 votes. The fact the English Democrats scored as many votes as the Lib Dems here sickens me to my soul but such is life.

It all came down to my new best friend (after a brief ten second conversation at the count) Julian Ware-Lane and could he win Milton to give the Tories a bit of a headache and make the next few days at the Civic Centre a bit more interesting. He could and came home by 67 votes to end the Tories hopes of keeping majority power. The Lib Dems absolutely crushed the English Democrats here though by a whole vote. Yeah take that…

The non-Tories could gang together and govern but the likelihood is surely the Tories will run the council as a minority relying on one or two independents to get them home in any votes but we’ll see how it shakes out.

With no elections in 2013 it’ll be two years before the people of Southend vote again on the make-up of the Civic Centre. The budget is going to be squeezed even harder next year and the people of Southend will not be happy whatever happens but that is just the way it is. Is it the start of a labour resurgence in Southend? That I doubt. If the independents really could find some finance and some strong candidates they could actually take control of the council within the decade. Only the real western wards are safe from the Indy’s.

So how will it all shake out? We’ll see over the next few days…

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  1. […] of the post-mortems on Thursday night’s results. Neil Monnery has written intelligently here (Thoughts on the night Southend-on-Sea Borough Council went from blue to grey) and although I do not agree with everything he has written his thoughts are nonetheless worth the […]

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