Skip to content

Tag: westborough

Polling Day is but three weeks away and my local election special Focus is all but finished

Scary stuff.

As this is as they say my first rodeo it has been a bit of a leap into the unknown. As some of you will know due to personal matters my campaign has been slow to get going as I have been dealing with more important things. No matter how important this campaign is family has to come first and that as they say is that.

So anyway the funeral was last week and at the weekend I got together with my agent and Cllr Paul Collins to discuss the strategy. When I agreed to run I had a couple of very simple aims and I would not be swayed. Firstly I would only talk about what I stood for and not get involved in what the other candidates are doing or not doing, saying or not saying. That stuff irks me. In election campaigns we all see leaflets that say Cllr X says this or Candidate Y is the only person who can stand up for Z etc…

Often the matter of the fact is these statements are not true. Whether they are outright lies or just stretching the truth is debatable but what isn’t is if you see a leaflet talking about someone else other than the candidate the leaflet is trying to endorse then it probably isn’t 100% on the money.

So I am happy to say that I have now concluded my final leaflet for the local election in three weeks bar getting a photo and a couple of phone numbers but all the actual content is written. I’m even happier to say that not once does it mention any of my opponents nor even any other party. It only speaks about what I think I can bring to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council should the people of Westborough ward back me and elect me as one of their councillors on May 3.

I have only talked about issues that I can realistically influence at the Civic Centre. There are other leaflets out there from all over the town and from all parties and independents that talk about things they don’t really ave a hope in hell of influencing at local level. I think this is not how it should be done. Talk about what you can hope to achieve not what you hope to achieve. They are two very different things altogether. I can hope to achieve finding a nice girl and falling in love. I hope to marry Sophie Ellis Bextor. You can see the difference. One I can hope to actually do. One is but an unrealistic dream.

The other issue that led to me agreeing to stand was to give a different voice in the council chambers. Rightly or wrongly the vast percentage of councillors are either retired or professionals towards the end of their working lives. Yes there are are a few in their 40s and I understand one in their 30s but the voice of the younger generation is not well represented in the town. Now I’m not a teenager but I am but 28 and do see the issues that face a different generation.

I won’t be the voice of young people as it were and I would never attempt to brand myself as such. However I think it would be fair to say that I would have a greater understanding of the issues my generation face compared to the majority of elected officials in the town. I think it would be great if in the next two to three years the council saw a good handful of people in their 20s and 30s enter the chambers at the Civic Centre.

So they are my two main reasons for agreeing to run. To help bring a different voice to the debates and to how the town is run and to install a sense of positive politics to the local scene. I don’t care what candidate X said about Candidate Y because Candidate Y no doubt says something about Candidate X as well. It’s all ‘blah blah blah’ and I choose to never to trust someone whose priority is to talk about someone elses bad points rather than their own good points.

So when my leaflet starts dropping through the letterboxes in Westborough hopefully people will get to see and read about what I stand for and why I believe I can be a good councillor for not only the good people of Westborough but also for Southend-on-Sea as a whole. What people won’t read is why they should vote for me over anyone else. What they’ll see is why I think I could be god for them full stop. I have no doubt some of the other candidates would be very good. I just hope that my case is good enough to stand up on its own two feet without needing to resort to tell-tale tactics that sadly infects politics on all levels.

One day we’ll be able to move on from that I hope and I hope my attempts are a very small step in that direction.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Those who scream loudest might not represent the majority – why the death of the Lib Dems has been greatly exaggerated

I have struggled over the past few days to write anything substantial. I just haven’t been in the mood as it were. I may go into this more in another blog but something that I have noticed recently is the amount of people with opinions. The opinions who read on the internet are nearly always those who are unhappiest. They are the most dissatisfied.

Those who are happy or those who are fine with things rarely kick up too much of a fuss but those who want to vent their spleen with do so more vigorously. I wrote a blog a couple of weeks back entitled 26 comments on why the Lib Dems are in big big trouble about comments on a Comment is Free blog post about how someone had chosen to leave the Lib Dems. The comments were scathing but the correlation between anonymous internet people and those you meet on the doorstep just isn’t there.

It isn’t just a political thing though. I lurk on the Digital Spy forums and there are a few threads I read a lot. One is the F1 discussion thread which I have read for many years now. At the moment we have both F1 on Sky and F1 on the BBC and the opinions are vast but mostly people are complaining about the bad points and not praising the good points. David Croft is too ‘shouty’ say many people but Murray Walker was shouty and we loved him. Ted Kravitz sounds a bit negative say a few whereas a few months ago when he was with the Beeb he was the greatest thing ever. Martin Brundle does too much, Georgie Thompson is pointless, Simon Lazenby is too formulaic and Damon Hill adds nothing. These are just some of the opinions that are floating around. All perfectly allowable but all of them negative.

They hated Jonathan Legard when he commentated to the point where people were openly hoping James Alen would return – and they hated him to. The only person they love is Ben Edwards who is now lead for BBC F1 and they do love him. If you say a bad word about him you are looked down upon. He has God like status. Many say they don’t watch it on Sky even though they have it and prefer to wait several hours and see extended highlights just because of Ben Edwards and how awful the Sky coverage is.

If I thought that this internet forum was an accurate representation of public opinion then I’d think that Sky was doomed. However their coverage peaked at 1.5million on Sunday for the Grand Prix despite being on in the morning and most people who I’ve actually spoken to about it are more than happy with Sky’s coverage. They don’t feel the need to say how great it is because they are content. Those that want more or don’t like Sky on ideological grounds are vocal in their unhappiness and this is something all us politicos must remember.

When it comes to politics those that are unhappiest will yell loudest but those people probably wouldn’t vote for you anyway. Like in many aspects of life politics is down to momentum. The Lib Dems got a groundswell of momentum after the first leadership debate in 2010 but that momentum couldn’t be sustained because the party didn’t have the funding or any media outlets. The other two main parties have more money and more media outlets who sympathise with them.

So for Lib Dems up and down the country who’ll be campaigning over the next few weeks is to find a way to build up that momentum and not believe everything you read in the newspapers and on the internet. Not everyone hates the party and the reception on the doorstep is generally positive and yu won’t be chased off with a broom with profanities ringing in your ears.

The internet has given us a screwed view of many things and one of the most glaring it is has given a forum to haters. Yes some will dislike us but many more will want to hear what we have to say. They may or may not like it and may or may not vote for us but most will actually listen. If I believed what I read on the internet I’d think that the Lib Dems had already punched a one-way ticket to oblivion but that isn’t the case and as long as we don’t fall into that trap ourselves then the future isn’t as bleak as what everyone says.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

A local (Lib Dem) success story – Little Treasures is saved!

As some readers may know I am standing for Southend Council in May and the ward which I am standing in has been in the news today. The Sure Start centre Little Treasures in Electric Avenue was set to close under that guise in the budget but that changed following parent power and a bit of common sense.

The centre will still officially be closed as a Children’s Centre but the Council along with the Elim Church will work together to ensure that the services currently provided by the centre are maintained. Whilst the 23 hours of weekly Sure Start care would be decreased to between 8-12 hours a week, that is by far a better alternative than closing it down altogether.

Now whilst the Echo are (rightly) saying that the Centre has been saved due to parent power I think it would be remiss of me not to point out the quite excellent work the Lib Dem councillor in the ward did. Paul Collins spent a lot of time organising a petition and spent even more time in the ear of the Tory councillor who is responsible for Children & Learning under the cabinet system of Southend Council.

He isn’t the only reason the centre will stay open but he did play a major part in ensuring that the services provided by the centre wouldn’t be lost forever and that is something that I think should be celebrated and commended.

These are the things that local councillors can do to help make life better for people locally. We often get worked up about the big national issues but for many people Sure Start is just as important as taxes and what the foreign policy is.

So a huge well done to all involved – from all the parents to Cllr Paul Collins and give Cllr Mark Flewitt his due for listening to what everyone was telling him and working out a way to ensure Little Treasures stays open.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

So a Labour candidate says I am a Tory and Tweedledum. I do love negative politics….

Kevin versus three Tories; the contest in Westborough exclaims the latest headlines on Julian Ware-Lane’s blog. The blog is largely considered to be one of the very best in Southend – certainly when you are talking about local politics. So it disappoints me when you see such a biased and misleading (at best) headline. Some would even go as far to say that it is a flat out lie.

I have no comment to make on any of my opponents. I don’t know any of them. Therefore I feel like it is unwise and uncalled for to make any comment on them or their politics. However Julian has decided that despite having never met me he feels in a position where he can make a comment on me and my politics. I suspect this is solely because I am a Liberal Democrat and because at a national level the Lib Dems are in a coalition with the Conservatives that must equate to the two parties and everyone in both parties being exactly the same.

Yeah Peter Bone and Nadine Dorries have the same political ideologies as Mike Hancock and Sir Bob Russell. Give me a break. Had the Lib Dems gone into a coalition with Labour would all Lib Dems suddenly be Labour now? Just because of a decision based on numbers of MPs the Lib Dems have shifted to the right whereas had the numbers been slightly different they would have all shifted to the left.

Seriously how pathetic and lazy is that thought process? I mean honestly. Are we so blinkered that we believe there can only be two viewpoints, the right and the left and those who are in the centre must secretly be one or the other? Do Labour and the Conservatives deep down detest the Liberals for being a genuine alternative and disrupting the political ping-pong that means one of those two parties will always have power and when the public gets annoyed with one they go straight back to the other and vice versa.

He says about me, ‘Neil Monnery, who has recently announced his candidature, is the Liberal Democrat’s choice. Neil is Tweedledum to the Conservatives Tweedledee, to paraphrase Graham Longley from the last General Election’.

I don’t know the quote to which he refers but to intimate that I look and act like the Conservative candidate is probably inaccurate unless the Conservative candidate is a closet liberal. If that is the case then I probably do act like him. I doubt I look like him. Since I wrote that sentence I have googled the Conservative candidate and I don’t look like him. Therefore Julian’s assertion is well wide of the mark.

The sad thing is this is generally accepted in politics. Write something inaccurate and people will bitch and moan and then write something inaccurate back. I wrote that I was going to run solely a positive campaign. I will concentrate on what I believe and what I believe I can bring to the people of Westborough and in turn the people of Southend as a whole. That is something I will do. I won’t attempt to scare people into voting for me.

I won’t be composing statements such as, ‘This leaves Kevin Robinson as the only sensible alternative (to the three ‘Conservative’ candidates)’. I won’t be doing this because that is old school politics and a form of politics that I detest. I stand on my own two feet as I firmly believe the other candidates will and should do.

There are at least four candidates in the ward. The defending independent and the three major parties have all selected a candidate and plan to run in the ward. I hope that the electorate in Westborough choose to listen to what everyone has to say and vote for the person they want. Whether that person is me or not. I won’t tell someone who has deep rooted right-wing values that I’m the person for them because I’m not. I won’t tell someone who has deep rooted left-wing values that I’m the right person for them because quite simply I’m not.

I am the classic liberal in every sense. I believe in equality for all. I don’t just represent one supposed ‘class’ of society. I think when all is said and done we are all equal and deserve the same basics in life. What we decide to do with that is up to us – we are all individual but we all deserve that same basics, to have good health care, a good level of education, to feel safe, to live in a clean environment etc…

That is my philosophy pure and simple.

To write that the Labour candidate is the only sensible alternative (to the Conservatives) is a lie. It is a political lie but it is a lie. There is a Conservative candidate, there is a Labour candidate, there is a Lib Dem candidate and there in an independent candidate. All four of these people are different and no doubt have different views on life, the world and more importantly in terms of this election local politics and what is best for Westborough and Southend as a whole.

So all I’d say is not believe spin from anyone when they come to talking about people they do not know on any level. This is the old way of politics and is the way that has led the public to disliking politicians and politics as a whole. Write about you and your party and your colleagues. Don’t talk about things and people that you do not know. That is flat out dumb.

If Julian believes that misleading his readership is the right thing to do then so be it. If he thinks that bending the truth to a vast degree is the best way to support his fellow Labour candidate in the ward then so be it. I believe in telling the truth and talking about things that I know. I know where I stand in the political spectrum. I know my thoughts on politics at both a local or national level. I don’t know what the other candidates think therefore I don’t write or talk about it.

When it comes down to it I hope people back me if they believe in me and my politics. I hope they vote for whoever they vote for because they believe in that person and not because they were scared into it or that they are the best of a bad bunch. In May they’ll be at least four different people standing on four individual platforms in Westborough and all I sincerely hope is that the winner is the person that the majority of people truly believe is the best person to represent them, whether that is Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan, Kevin Robinson, Neil Austin or myself (or anyone else who stands). I just hope people vote for who they want based on what they can do – not because of what other people say the other candidates say or do.

Politics doesn’t have to be full of murky waters and mistruths and misleading statements. It can be open and honest. I do believe this and even if I lose in May I will continue to push for more openness and honesty within politics. Without moving to positive politics, the trust in politics and politicians by the general public will only continue to go down.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

It’s Official. I’m the Lib Dem candidate for Westborough ward in Southend for the May elections.

It has been unofficial for a while but that all changed following two new pieces of information over the past few days. Last Thursday I had a interview with five local Lib Dems to decide whether or not I could be approved to run for Southend Council as a Lib Dem. I passed this interview. Then two days later whilst sitting on London Bridge platform I got an e-mail saying that I had been chosen to stand in Westborough for the forthcoming election.

It had been unofficial for a couple of months but now as they say it is all legit and we can get the wheels in motion.

First up has been the move of me to Lib Dem Focus editor for Westborough and the production of my first Focus. I wrote it last Sunday and after some feedback things were changed relatively dramatically and that Focus has gone to print. That should be done by the end of the week so delivery will start in earnest next week or possibly over the weekend. Here’s hoping that the weather holds.

Secondly has been my decision on how to campaign. I have made the unilateral decision to focus solely on what I can do and not on national issues or what the other parties say they want to do or in fact do. I can’t influence national policy on the NHS for instance but I can campaign to plant more trees in the ward or to get more PCSOs patrolling the ward. They are issues I can legitimately try to deliver.

I won’t be saying ‘don’t vote for x y or z because they suck’ because I don’t think that is the right way to do things. Call me naive but I detest negative politics. Scaring people into voting for you by saying the other person is worse than you. I think that puts people off politics. My plan is to inform people what I believe I can realistically do as a Councillor and if they think I sound like the type of guy they think will do a good job then that is great. If not then everyone is entitled to their opinion and if one of the other candidates is right for them then they should vote for that candidate.

I cannot promise the Earth. I cannot promise to change everything overnight. All I can say with any certainty is that I will listen to the thoughts and opinions of the electorate and try to get the small things changed for the better because if you get the small things sorted then the big issues will sort themselves.

Westborough as a ward and Southend as a place have two distinct and different set of problems. Being a Councillor will be about marrying the two to get the best for both sets of people. Whether it is regards to getting improvements in the long battle of parking in Westborough ward or sorting out what to do with the Cliffs. If elected I will try and make both the ward I represent and the town as a whole an even better and more prosperous place to live.

If you have any issues that you would like to contact me over with regards to Westborough then my contact details are in the right-hand navigation bar.

Have a good one folks.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.