Update 01/05/2019: It has been nearly a month since I first posted and not much has changed in that time when it comes to how I see things. I have made one modification though in my predictions (Independent rather than Labour to win Blenheim) but otherwise I will stick with what I had originally. Things have heated up but not by much in what still seems a generally lack lustre campaign. There has been a mixture of some active campaigning and none at all, as well as targeting efforts where a candidate has a good chance to win, but that is how it always has been except there is nowadays a lot more activity on social media and with the sad added edge of Conservatives appearing anything but winners. As far as the parties goes it looks even more dire than what I first thought for the Conservatives, with a number of upsets on the cards, and with Indies and Kippers hopeful of cashing in. Sadly, I have seen the further decline in hustings and telling, but with the Count, which I plan on attending, being a lively and fun event for someone like me with no axe to grind, and it remaining in my view the best show in town. I expect more fun to happen right after the results are known, with deals being made in order to form the next administration.
So now we know who will be standing in each of the 17 Southend wards in the May 2nd Local Elections (see here).
It happens I know several of the candidates and know about many more. But in the interest of peace making and impartiality I will only reveal that knowledge if I feel it is relevant. The prospect is for some intriguing battles, personality interactions and ward pertinent issues that I may touch on. The main parties have all to my knowledge fielded candidates in each ward and so have the Greens, who if they win any seat it will be a major surprise but they have worked hard and will have an impact on the results even if by splitting the vote on the left. While I am not a tree hugging commie, I recognise many of the Green candidates are intelligent, committed and community minded. I don’t have a view on the LibDems other than they are no longer the force they once were. There is a fair smattering of Independents (of the Alliance variety and pucker) and variants on the UKIP theme, which based on past experience might be expected to do well given where we are on Brexit right now and many voters who will vote on national rather than local issues. Because of current disillusionment with the Conservative Party nationally, I expect them to do less well and reckon the resurgence of a Rainbow coalition, just like two years ago, to be a strong possibility as well as that of UKIP being king makers because of the Brexit debacle. I don’t have a strong view whether Rainbow is better or not than Conservative but my concern expressed last time round that in the main the local Conservative is complacent and out of touch remains as well as a thought that Labour and Independent are unlikely bedfellows. Just to spice things up, I am going to predict the outcome in each ward, but readers can breathe easy as my success as a pundit up to now has not been all that good. Whether arrogance or resignation I can’t say but I get a sense the Conservatives aren’t in it to win it as they might be expected to be. I would like to think, while wanabe councilors are of all shades of opinion etc., that most put their heads above the parapet for the right reasons – and that is to serve those they hope to represent, and for that I salute them. Sadly, I don’t expect there to be a good turn out and many voters will vote based on their views on Brexit and other issues not related to the local scene – but then that is local democracy for you!
Prediction: Lesley Salter – Conservative
Having done well last year, Labour might expect to win, unseating sitting councilor James Courtenay. However, and this is the one change since I originally posted, the Independent guy has run an impressive campaign and might just squeeze in.
Prediction: Keith Evans – Independent
Prediction: John Habermel – Conservative
Good to see old friends Paul Collins and Judith MacMahon (now Conservative, was Labour) contesting.
Prediction: Joyce Lawer – UKIP
Good to see old friend Simon Cross back contending in a ward that while these days is more Labour has returned Conservative and UKIP councillors in recent years.
Prediction: Maggie Kelly – Labour
Nice to see old friend Jason Pilley running, although legalizing pot isn’t quite my thing. I expect a tight contest.
Prediction: Bernard Arscott – Conservative
Always a fascinating ward which in recent years have returned Labour candidates. It will be tight this year with the vote on the left split (I have been impressed by the Green lady, Vida Guildford) but I expect a Labour victory with the long serving sitting Conservative candidate being ousted.
Prediction: Kay Mitchell – Labour
Prediction: Meg Davidson – Conservative
Toss up between Independent and Conservative
Prediction: Steven Wakefield – Independent
The Conservatives would normally be expected to win this and the Independent guy who has impressed would fancy his chances too, but these are extraordinary times …
Prediction: Grant Dennison – UKIP
Some interesting battles here, and some have been quite viscous with the Labour guy making his presence felt. But I fancy Oakley (Steve Buckley’s cat) if he were to run, but …
Prediction: John Rowlandson – UKIP
I have given my views (here). Now we know who the Conservative and Lib Dem candidates are, and neither have given the impression they are any more than paper candidates. As far as activity and who looks in with a chance, it is between Labour and Independent, although I expect the Indies will continue to hold sway.
Prediction: Paul Van Looy – Independent
Difficult to look any further than the current incumbent
Prediction: Ron Woodley – Independent
Some heavyweights contending. With the veteran Labour councilor now retiring they do so against his newbie replacement, but then this has long been a Labour stronghold.
Prediction: Jennifer Beck – Labour
Prediction: Georgina Phillips – Conservative
West Shoebury – Tony Cox
I already gave my views (see here). I note that one of the main opposers to Off the Streets having their shelter where it is, is standing – current incumbent Charles Willis. It is good to see an old friend, Dr Vel, standing. Always an interesting ward at election time.
Prediction: Dr Vel – Independent