Deeds Speak Louder Than Words

EditorialAS AN ISLAND COMMUNITY we often choose to forget that our local economy is intricately linked to the mainland. In just three years we have established our own political party; formed a new town council and, with the notable exception of Ray Howard, populated it with members of that new party. We have also been keen to reject mainstream parties when electing our borough councillors, with only the Canvey Island West seat remaining in Conservative hands.

On June 4th we will have an opportunity to insulate ourselves still further from the mainland when, in the Canvey West seat, we are given the opportunity of ousting the Conservative Ray Howard with Peter May, the Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) candidate. But do we really want a CIIP candidate to represent us at County level?

Politics is the art of civilized argument and compromise to ensure the common good; but, in its one claim to fame, the CIIP has shown that it is unable to contribute to debate in the accepted fashion. By its own admission, the CIIP states, on its Website:-

The first item on our policy document has always been to protect Canvey Island and its people, and so if this is ‘playing politics’ then it is a game we will continue to play, albeit a different game to everyone else.

Its statement makes clear its isolationist attitude to the island and its residents. An uncompromising position of protecting the status-quo at all costs, with no mention of local business in its policies, or furthering the ambitions of our island’s inhabitants. Even our children are placed one from last at the bottom of its list.

Where was the CIIP when it came to protecting local traders from the impact of Lalani’s 99p Store in our High Street? And what has been its response to our local CAB’s desperate needs for additional premises and access to increased funds? The CIIP has given us tree planting; High Street planters; tree planting; lake clearing and, yes, yet more tree planting. All, let us be clear, using voluntary labour at the expense of the local economy (apart from the fortunate suppliers and contractors employed to maintain the island’s cosmetic makeover).

Cosmetics in the face of the worst recession since the 1930s, which, the CIIP apparently believes, is only affecting the mainland. While Essex County Council takes the bull by the horns and directly addresses business’ need for emergency funds, where has been the CIIP’s support for the initiative? Where was the CIIP in promoting the new ‘Banking on Essex‘ facility to local businesses and traders?

Desperate times call for leadership. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that only one in five companies plan to hire 16-year-olds due to leave school this year. And a third of firms said they will cut their graduate employees in 2009.

Some 45% said they did not aim to recruit from either group this year, underlining the extent of the slowdown.

At the other end of the spectrum, figures from the Office for National Statistics show that over the past year, unemployment among people aged 50 or above has risen by 47%.

‘These figures paint an extremely bleak picture for millions of over 50s whose working lives are at risk of being cut short by the recession,’ said Michelle Mitchell, charity director for Age Concern and Help the Aged.

‘Those who do lose their jobs will face significant obstacles to getting back into work, leaving them financially vulnerable as they approach retirement.

‘For many over 50s, one of the lasting legacies of this recession will be a retirement blighted by poverty.’

These are the real issues facing Canvey Island. Issues that, at County level, politicians have the ability to address.

Use your vote wisely on June 4th. We need representatives whom are imaginative, with a proven ability to get things done.

Planting more trees is just not an option.

… (Telegraph, 26/05/2009) – Essex county council local elections

… (Telegraph, 27/05/2009) – Local council elections 2009: How they work

… (01/06/2009) – MPs’ Expenses Distract From Recession

… (17/06/2009) – UK Jobless Reaches 12 Year High

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