Canvey Island’s Idiot Party

WHILE ISLANDERS ARE STILL SMARTING over the comprehensive defeat of their elected Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) councillors in the Council Chamber on Tuesday evening and blaming the defeat on being out-numbered by the ruling Conservative group, this is probably a good time to point-out that, in fact, the CIIP stood an excellent chance of defeating the Conservatives.

The fact is: the reason they were defeated was because they failed to convince just three waverers to support them.

Had the CIIP pressed home the attack begun by John Anderson, there is an extremely good chance that at least three of the ruling group would have voted with them.

There are those in the Conservative ranks whom agree that John Anderson raised a valid point, and could have been persuaded to exercise that view. But the CIIP did not even attempt to present a cohesive argument. They degenerated into an unseemly gaggle of geese, flapping their wings on a beach of sand that they alone had created.

Only Anderson took to graceful flight.

For those who remain unconvinced, and still blame the numbers, the facts are these:-

The Conservatives hold 25 seats; but three of those sent their apologies (which can be read as being against the motion and giving the others the nod that they stood a fighting chance). Two others disqualified themselves by declaring a prejudicial interest leaving a total of 20 for the ruling group.

On the other side remained 12 CIIP (two had disqualified themselves); one Labour and one Independent. A total of 14 members sharing a common view.

Had the CIIP used normal democratic argument and intelligent debate to pursue their cause, and convinced just three Conservatives to vote with them: the result would have been a tie (17:17). And, had their arguments been good enough to convince just one more: the CIIP would have won (16:18).

Tuesday evening’s spectacle of a number of arrogant, incompetent, narcicistic ‘politicians’ preening themselves before a largely uninformed audience was nothing more than a farce.

Islanders need to take a deep breath and think about what they have done to this island by electing a raft of well meaning; but inexperienced and totally unqualified individuals to represent them in matters of such importance. They need to take stock of what it means to elect individuals whom have no powers of political analysis or persuasion; no debating skills; no abilities to ‘make friends and influence people’; no political contacts in a position to get things done quickly; and no willingness to compromise.

Politics is not a game. It is not a job that ‘anyone can do.’ And it is not just some kind of job to take because you cannot find another. Politicians require people skills and a brain able enough to analyse situations and others to influence them in the way their constituents demand. Above all, politicians need the ability to distinguish between constituency desires and the common good. They need the metal to be able to vote against their constituent wishes when necessary, and be honourable enough to explain why.

Politics is not about pleasing most of the people all of the time. It is about doing right by one’s constituents (even if that means upsetting them from time to time). It is about age-old principles and honour. It is about serving the people and putting aside personal desire.

It is about Democracy. And that is something that those ill considered island votes have tested to the very limit here in Castle Point.

Canvey Islanders should consider themselves fortunate that they are part of Castle Point, and led by someone with stature, intelligence and political savvy in the shape of Pam Challis.

Democracy is not about parties. That is just the way it operates.

Democracy and politics is about people who can keep their promises and get things done.

Apologies to Dave Blackwell and Lee Barrett of the Canvey Island Independent Party

The reporter should be shot for not getting off his arse and attending the Council meeting. My sincere apologies go to Dave Blackwell and Lee Barrett of the Canvey Island Independent Party for having questioned their integrity in a previous version of this, and the previous, article. I withdraw, and have removed, my ill-considered remarks.

Please access the comments section on this article for full details of my errors.

… (05/10/2009) – Dear Sir,..

2 Responses

  1. Dear Mr. Pugh,

    I love your website and the enthusiasm with which you offer truth and loyalty to the residents of Canvey Island – I am truly a fan.

    Respectfully, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to your libellous reporting.

    In the interests of ensuring that you can maintain the integrity of the points contained on your ‘Statement of Purpose’ webpage, I would like to make the following statement of truth, which can be verified by viewing the archived video footage of the Council meeting on September 29th 2009 (as referred to in your article ‘Canvey Island’s Idiot Party’) for which I have added the URL at the end of my response: I had been advised (by the Castle Point Monitoring Officer and against my own judgement) that I ‘should’ (read ‘must’) declare a prejudicial interest in all debate regarding the Local Development Framework, including the Core Strategy Plan. With a prejudicial interest, under the code of conduct for councillors, I am obliged to leave the council chamber for the duration of the debate and cannot vote on any motions. Therefore, I did not vote either way – neither for, nor against the Core Strategy Plan, and neither did I abstain from taking part. I feel that the documents comprising the LDF which guide the long-term future planning strategy for Castle Point, are the most significant documents that Castle Point council has dealt with in decades. I am gutted that I, as a CIIP councillor, cannot take an official part in the future of our community. However, please do not think/suggest that I haven’t consulted with a number of my constituents nor read all of the relevant documents and legislation that provide me with an unbiased opinion. I still stand proudly in support of all CIIP policies for which I was elected (especially those which concern the protection of green and open spaces) and will continue to voice the opinion of my constituents – even when it does not reflect my own. You may note that I still have not officially stated my opinion of the LDF as I do not wish to lose my right to further important votes on the subject of development within Castle Point.

    I do not know whether Cllr. Dave Blackwell has had the opportunity to respond, but I can safely say that his statement would be very similar to my own. He was also ‘advised’ to declare a prejudicial interest and sat with me outside of the council chambers while this important debate took place.

    Mr. Pugh, after viewing the video of the meeting, I do hope that you will find justification in correcting your article so that the integrity of your website can be upheld. I generally find your website a good source of public opinion and would not like to think that the sources of your information are not substantiated. As an example, I draw your attention to your statement ‘Unless stated otherwise in an article, all published facts will have been corroborated by two independent sources (at least).‘ As you haven’t stated otherwise in the article, I assume that your published facts have been corroborated by (at least) two independent sources. I also assume that you were not at the meeting otherwise you would have seen Dave Blackwell and myself leave the council chamber and not partake in the debate or voting. I would like to advise that you check your sources and I offer you the option to review your article and make any necessary edits after taking note of the Castle Point webcast – all in the name of historic accuracy, of course. We don’t want the residents of Canvey Island to think that their elected councillors have turned against them.

    Mr Pugh, irrespective of your political allegiance, I believe that we are both in pursuit of democratic and transparent local governance. I am fully aware that politics and media have a somewhat fickle relationship and should never be fully independent of each other, especially when important communications are necessary for public awareness. I would prefer for us to respectfully have faith in each others intentions when writing potentially misleading comments. In addition, I think you would greatly contribute to the community of Canvey Island if you were to stand in future local elections.

    The ‘video of truth’ can be observed on the Castle Point by following the URL

    Yours faithfully, Cllr. Lee Barrett

    • Hi Lee,

      You are right, and I apologise unreservedly.

      I must admit to being a little confused when I wrote the voting portion of my previous post:-

      I am not going to excuse myself; but the reason for my confusion arises from just having a tape recording of the proceedings – and the part where members names are called to vote is a little fuzzy.

      At the end of the vote, on the tape, the announcing officer appears to say ‘ 24 – and 14 against.’ And that is how I transcribed it. It is still a little vague on the Webcast; but there it is possible to distinguish the returning officer as saying ’20 FOR and 14 against.’

      I therefore (in the interest of deadline haste) ‘balanced’ the figures.

      It was inexcusable.

      Your point about corrobration is well made; but Council Meetings are privileged (in other words: I didn’t bother).

      I will immediately alter the two posts concerned so that they accurately reflect the facts.

      Once again, my sincere apologies.

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