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Day: May 10, 2012

Lib Dems tell Southend Tories to clean up their own mess

Following on from an earlier post the Lib Dems in Southend have issued the following Press Release which I have re-posted ad verbatim. Make of it what you wish:

Lib Dems tell Southend Tories to clean up their own mess

Southend Liberal Democrats Council Group told the Tories today that they must take responsibility for clearing up their own mess and refused to join what would be an unstable bid to seize control of Southend Council.

Cllr. Graham Longley, leader of the LibDem group said that the Tories had not been beaten out of sight in the local elections but had been sent a warning by Southend’s electorate that they needed to pull their socks up and improve the way they were running the town or they would suffer the full consequences in the elections in two years time.

The LibDem group had decided that the best course of action for the Town was to abstain from the election for leader today which was effectively being turned into a personality contest between the Conservative and Independent leaders but made it clear that their members were free to act independently if they wished to. This was not the time for gesture politics by the Independents or others he said.

Abstaining did not mean that the Lib Dems did not want to see change but the numbers making up the groups (Tory 25, LibDem 10, Independent 10, Labour 6) which would need the three opposition groups to join together for a majority of 1 (one) which would leave the council in an unstable situation which would be bad for our town. A Tory lead minority administration where decisions could be challenged and the Tories held to account would be better for the Town and allow all other parties to have a say. The Tories had to accept that they would need to involve people of all parties in running our Town and not cling to a tight grip on the towns development themselves.

Cllr Longley went on to say that leaving the Tories in control would be a disappointment to some but the low turnout (30%) in the local elections were inconclusive and although the Lib Dems and other parties had done well the number of changes were not high enough to allow significant changes to the way the council was administered. Lib Dems will be keeping a close watch on the Tory’s and looking for major concessions on the way the town is run.

This is a realistic approach to achieve stable local government for the town at the same time as forcing the Tories to clear up their own mess and involve others in our town.

ENDS.

I must say that the moment Dr. Vel abstained it put the Lib Dems in a tricky situation as even had they voted en masse for Ron Woodley the casting vote would have still gone the other way. Also the Tories running the show but not being able to push through everything and listening to the other members in the chamber is probably in reality a more realistic probably than the Labour, Lib Dem and Independent groups all working cohesively together.

However as I said earlier. Perception and reality are two very different things…

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I guess I wanted you more…

This has all the signs of being a teenage emo type post but I can assure you that it isn’t. Yesterday I was watching the final of The Voice USA I had recorded the previous night on a friends TV in New York whilst he was on holiday in Utah climbing mountains probably with his wife (have I ever said just how amazing technology is?) but anyway in the final (which my girl Juliet Simms did not win – no justice) a band called Lady Antebellum played their latest single ‘Wanted You More’ and I just thought it was quite wonderful.

I have printed the lyrics below and I think they are quite striking and would hit home for many people, those who are in relationships or have been where they have felt they care more for their partner than vice versa. Relationships are funny things – or so I’m told anyway – and no doubt they are difficult at the best of times but when one partner needs or feels more than the other – yikes.

Anyway you can read and listen deeply to the lyrics or you can just sit back and enjoy. I chose the latter but I’m not one to tell people what to do (unless they are biting polo mints – seriously DPM…?)

Live on The Voice

Single version

I kept waiting on a reason
And a call that never came
No I never, saw it comin’
Somethin’ in you
Must have changed

All the words unspoken
Promises broken
I cried for so long.
Wasted too much time
Should have seen the signs.
Now I know, just what went wrong

I guess I wanted you more
And looking back now I’m sure
I wanted you more
I guess I wanted you more

All the nights we spent just talkin’
Of the things we wanted out of life (out of life)
Makin’ plans and dreams together
I wish I’d seen I was just too blind
My heart was open
Exposed and hoping
For you to lay it on the line
But in the end it seemed
There was no room for me
Still I tried, to change your mind.

I guess I wanted you more
And looking back now I’m sure
I wanted you more
I guess I wanted you more

Ohhh, I don’t need you
I don’t need you anymore

I guess I wanted you more
And looking back now I’m sure
I wanted you more
I guess I wanted you more

I don’t need you
I don’t need you anymore

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Lib Dems and Dr. Vel allow Tories to retain control of Southend Council

Today was the day when Southend Council voted on a new leader after last weeks election took the Tories out of a majority. The logical conclusion would be the Tories forming a minority government at the Civic Centre with the help of one or two independents but things didn’t exactly go down like that. The local rag reports the story behind this link

The choices were simple. Either independent Ron Woodley leading a coalition of independents, Lib Dems and Labour or Nigel Holdcroft leading a minority Tory government. There were no other names on the table. The 25 Tories voted for the Tory in a move that probably didn’t shock anyone. Labour all voted for Ron Woodley. All the independents voted with Ron Woodley bar one – Dr Vel – who in a move that shocked no-one abstained as deep down he’s a fan of the Tories despite being a former Labour councillor. This meant the scores on the doors were 25-15 with ten Lib Dems to vote. What would the Lib Dems do?

Nine of them would join Dr Vel in abstaining with only Ric Morgan voting for Ron Woodley. This means that Holdcroft carries on in the top job and forms a minority government using the cabinet system. Has he done a deal with the Lib Dems to give one of the cabinet portfolios to the Lib Dems? That I don’t know. We’ll find that out imminently.

What it does do is once more is show the Lib Dems as a party who are unwilling to challenge the Tories at a local level. Yes with Dr. Vel abstaining then the vote could have only gone 25-25 and then it would have come down to the mayor’s casting vote. The mayor is Labour up til now when Conservative Sally Carr takes over the position so the casting vote would have gone the way of the Tories and Holdcroft.

So it may be possible that due to Dr. Vel not voting for one of his own group it meant that no matter what the Lib Dems did they couldn’t stop Holdcroft today. When it comes out in the wash it might be the best thing for the Lib Dems in Southend but looking from the outside in you have to wonder. The perception is awful and the Lib Dems will get all the blame for propping up the Tories even though had Dr. Vel not abstained then it would have meant the Lib Dems votes actually mattered.

We’ll see how it all shakes out but the average voter will not care about Dr. Vel’s abstention as they’ll only see the Lib Dems letting the Tories get away with it. Someone no matter the reality the perception will always be the thing that resonates with voters. More on this as the cabinet appointments shake out etc…

One last thing. Here is one of the comments on the Echo’s story:

lol i dint evan bothervoteing dont see the point in wasting my time lol so basicly the toris lost power but got it straite back so everyone ho voted lose hahahah just like who the hell voted for a colition goverment did you did i no??? so they take it up on theres selfs lol its funny we are being controlled wake up lol we have no say in anything we are sheep bahhhh bahhh

I just don’t know what to say…

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Nick Clegg bites his polos. Time for a new leader?

You might think it is a wee bit dramatic but during the #clegginar this afternoon whilst stealing one of Helen Duffett’s polo mints we were treated to a quite clear crunch as he bit the mint instead of sucking it. This is a worrying state of affairs as everyone knows that the best way to enjoy a polo mint is to suck it and soften it up.

So what have we learnt from this revelation? Well first Nick clegg probably has pretty good teeth. He may even bite on hard candy and not soften that up. This isn’t known at this juncture but if true it might be more newsworthy than Vladimir Putin’s photo shoot showing off his bare chest. Imagine if Nick Clegg is that hard he bites on hard candy. If that doesn’t get people to vote for him then I don’t know what would but that is a big step from biting polos but we’ll see.

I have an inherent distrust of people with certain characteristics. Those that eat mushrooms. Those that enjoy mushrooms. Those that would happily order a dish at a restaurant whose primary ingredient is mushrooms. I think you might catch my drift that I’m not entirely down with mushrooms. They are fungus people and have a hideous smell and look worse than I do after I’ve done five minutes of exercise. All the signs are there to warn people but yet some people just won’t be told.

Back to the polo thing and Nick Clegg. I don’t think this is such a big thing that ‘m going to withdraw my support for him but these are the little things that Lib Dems really care about. Gay Marriage, House of Lords reform, Act of Succession changes, how their leader eats his stolen polo mints. These are the things that might define Nick Clegg’s place in history. The economy, students, welfare reform, the NHS are all secondary.

In all seriousness the web conference with Nick Clegg this afternoon was worth listening to and although none of the overly critical questions got through it did show Clegg in his best light – when he is allowed to talk unfiltered. His passion for the Pupil Premium and Social Mobility are clear for all to see if they listen with an open ear and not a closed mind. This is why I always defend Nick Clegg from people who say that he is a Tory in Lib Dem clothing. Nick’s passions, the things that make his fires burn are liberal ones and not Conservative ones. That is who Nick Clegg is.

Is he perfect? Hell no but I’m just hypothesising here but I don’t think he has the easiest job in the world. Most political commentators say that the Lib Dems are having a disproportionate say in how the country is being run. The people on the doorstep think the polar opposite. It is one of those strange things that seems to be the case. Tories are moaning left, right and centre about the Lib Dem influence but the electorate think that the Lib Dems are propping up a Tory government in exchange for a few ministerial cars. The disparity between the political commentators and the electorate is vast.

This is the biggest problem facing the Lib Dems as a party. They have few bigger challenges as part of the government and in running the country but looking inward they have to get people to realise the influence they do have. This obviously isn’t an easy question to answer. It is in fact an extremely difficult question to answer but if someone can find an answer to that question then I think we’ll be fine.

So for now despite his polo mishap I’m still sticking with Nick, however Nick please start sucking your polos and when you leave I expect/hope that any future leader is far more normal when it comes to sticking a small mint with a hole into their mouths.

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