Southend chooses a new leader and administration (1)
Today I am going to shoot from the hip on an intriguing subject – nothing new in that, you might think!
But I am going to try to be careful with what I am going to say. Firstly, I will try not to get personal unless it meets the true, necessary and kind criteria I imposed on myself when I first got into social media all those years ago. Secondly, because I talk to people from all sides of the political spectrum and like the priest, unless someone is about to kill someone, what is said in the confession box stays there, unless in the public domain. But tomorrow is going to be interesting because Southend City Council selects a new leader and with it a new administration, with no doubt all sorts of back-room deals taking place, including what individual members and parties can get out of it and something that is unavoidable – individual chemistry. I should add the Rainbow (Labour, LibDems and Independent Group) administration, who are currently in power, only came about because of backroom deals and the Conservatives, who have always had more seats in the Council than any other party, have done such deals prior to that to retain power.
Here, I have to be careful but I’m pretty sure, despite my trying to be circumspect and probably not succeeding, what readers may be interested in will be the juicier bits. Despite doing well in the local elections just gone (see here and here), Labour hanging onto power looks increasingly less likely. Them changing their leader from Stephen George to Daniel Cowan (who I do not know) may not have helped. Stephen did his best to unite the different factions (Momentum and Keir’s fan club) in the party but not succeeding, if according to the words of Tricia Cowdrey, who according to the Council website is now aligned to Residents First whereas before it was Labour, he promised to do everything in his power to address the toxicity and bad behaviour within the council and did he utmost to do so. My two penneth is Labour would do well to have someone like retired councillor David Norman, well respected by those inside and outside his party, at the helm or, now he is no longer mayor, the well-intentioned Kevin Robinson. While I suspect he may prefer not to be in the limelight, why not my own councillor, Martin Berry? And if you are looking for someone with teeth who can play the game, rather than select someone my spies tell me has contributed to the toxicity, why not Aston Line (although I suspect he has higher ambitions), or bring back master of one-liners, Ian Gilbert?
Funny thing Tricia joining Ron Woodley in Residents First, as I see him and her like chalk and cheese. Ron was recently leader of the Independent Group but now no longer (I’m told they just grew apart). I don’t know his views on Daniel but seem to recall he didn’t like the other rotweiller, him of the right, Tony Cox. However, checking the Council website, I find it is veteran John Lamb who is now leading the Conservative group, although I am now told it is back to the Tony and Meg team. So is it either Daniel or Tony, or maybe neither he will be supporting? I also understand he is now deputy mayor, albeit based on seniority. Sadly, Ron blotted his copy book for me when suggesting those who didn’t take the jab should pay for their NHS treatment. Just as the chap who took over as leader of the Independent Alliance, Martin Terry, for his going after a decent ex-councillor, Mark Flewitt, for making a racist comment that wasn’t racist, thus wasting everyone’s time. As for LibDems, while they have some councillors who I respect, my reading of LibDem history is they will get into bed with whoever gives them the best deal. Sadly, their leader, Carole Mulroney, did herself no favours with her trying to please everyone comments concerning 15 minute cities, although I understand they are now led by the honourable Paul Collins. Who will lead the Council I cannot say (personally I would like it to be Conservative’s Meg Davidson, who was Tony’s deputy and once again now is – an interesting balance!) but it is likely to be that of a minority administration.
Which administration, Rainbow led or Conservative led, who can say? As before, the Indies (split 3,3 between aligned and unaligned) and LibDems may be the king makers and not to forget the newbie Green councillor. Which way these will vote, including abstaining, it is a matter of let’s wait and see. I don’t have strong views who I want to lead, for I don’t know enough to have one. But I am with my unnamed ex-Councillor friends who have provided me useful info. The rainbow experiment does not appear to have been a resounding success on the basis in order to find common ground not much gets done, and what we need (excuse the imnotforanyparty campaign speech), is for decisive leadership that can provide a worthy vision for the City, who will make officers in the Sir Humphrey Appelby school of not doing anything radical, as well as jumping to the tune of our hapless central government, accountable, who are truly in love with the residents of Southend and not their own egos.
Just before I conclude, I should give a mention for the Confelicity Party, whose performance in the recent local elections was frankly disappointing. Such is the malaise of our “system” that most people vote for one of the main parties, despite from a local perspective it should be about local issues and who will do the best for Southend-on-Sea residents. To give credit to the Indies, they do have six seats but, given their bubble looks like it may have burst, it might be time to give the new kids on the block a chance. While sceptical that trying to please everyone is the way to go, I like a lot of their ideas and their fresh approach that is not beholden to the mainstream parties. The latest is their opposition to the bringing in of 5G towers (that is part of the dastardly plot to bring in 15-minute cities) – something I don’t recall representatives of the major parties raising concerns over or even providing credible alternatives, rather than jump to the tune of political puppets controlled by globalist elites.
Here endeth the lesson. All that remains is to say I hope to watch tomorrow’s fun on the Council’s webcast and talk about the outcome of the meeting in the sequel to this blog. I will be raising the matter in tonight’s church prayer meeting. While we can all help ourselves and make a difference (thus this blog), what really is needed is the hand of God to give the people of our City the right outcomes.