Bang Goes The Gun To A Dirty Election Campaign

JULIAN WARE-LANE, whether intentionally or not, yesterday fired the starting gun on this year’s local election campaign, which will culminate on May 6th.

As widely anticipated, the sitting MP, Bob Spink, met the challenge by calling upon his friends at the Echo to ensure they printed his stream of press releases designed to attack the local Conservative Borough Council and, by association, the Conservative parliamentary candidate, Rebecca Harris.

This is destined to be a very dirty campaign, orchestrated by the Spink camp and Canvey Island’s Independent Party to detract residents attention from the expenses issue and the profligate waste of residents’ funds pursuing policies which few support. Already, Spink has begun circulating emails, venting his spleen on the party that withdrew their political whip because they could no longer tolerate his behaviour.

Full of bile and blatant misrepresentation of the truth, Spink today drew recipients’ attention to what he declares as fact.

The record shows that Bob is one of the most successful MP [sic] on questioning the Prime Minister and holding the Government to account.

Bob will be raising an issue of great local concern and seeking another Parliamentary delegation to resolve a local difficulty caused directly by inappropriate council policy leading to young thugs terrorising elderly local people.

Unlike other MPs, Bob is Independent and therefore can question bad policy from wherever it comes.

Yesterday in Parliament Bob worked from 6.45 am to after midnight, sending his final constituency email at 11 45 pm.  These are just two items Bob raised.

He questioned Castle Point Borough Council’s policy of refusing priority for local returning heroes and their families and therefore making them homeless.   

He questioned the incorrect priority of the Borough Council in refusing to grit dangerous accesses to local GP surgeries, putting elderly and frail people at great risk.   The council refused to even sell grit to the doctors so they could do it themselves.

Whips stop Party MPs simply saying and doing what is right; they don’t stop your MP, Bob!

Time for more Independent voices in local and national government

Severe Weather (Transport and Public Services)

Monday 11th Jan 2010   The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mr. Khan):

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Ind): You will be astounded to learn, Mr. Speaker, that my local council gritted the access to the local Conservative club but totally refused to grit the access to a doctor’s surgery, which is a long and dangerous access so elderly and frail people were put at risk. The Council is still refusing to help. How can we get some common sense in how these local councillors prioritise using their grit?

Defence

Monday 11th Jan 2010  The Secretary of State was asked

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Ind): In my constituency returning veterans and their wives and children are made homeless by the Borough Council. That is no way to treat them. Will the Minister take steps to force recalcitrant councils to give housing priority to our returning heroes and their families? 

Mr. Kevan Jones: The housing priority is already in place (and Castle Point should apply it), but I shall roll out the welfare pathway, which was launched in Kent in November. That is about councils working together with other agencies, the Ministry of Defence and service charities to bring together maximum help for veterans, service personnel and their families. There is now one phone number for anyone who needs help; it is 08000 223366.

Mr. Khan: Some of us believe that access to a doctor’s surgery is more of a priority than access to the Conservative club. I am disappointed that there is not agreement on that across the Chamber.

ENDS

You couldn’t make this up!    Just a little public spirited common sense is so desperately needed.

I have written again to the Cll Leader Pam Challis to ask why she has such polices and I hope I will again be successful in forcing change.

A senior Castle Point Councillor told this blog: ‘I have asked the CEO of the Council to respond in public to these lies.’  But is that what residents want? Do we really want this campaign to degenerate into an ‘accusation and denial’ charade in which real issues do not get debated and have no time to be examined?

Spink’s strategy is clear: to inundate the Echo and GatewayFM with favourable press releases and accusations against the Tory council, which he hopes will force them to respond in public – no matter how puerile or flimsy his ‘evidence’ might be. For in ‘snow storming’ the local agenda in this manner he will ensure that no candidate will be able to get their message across – and real issues will become bogged-down in the quagmire.

Do residents really want the real issues buried in this way?

Whatever the other candidates try to focus upon, Spink has already laid the ground. He will be able to point to some Early Day Motion or Parliamentary Question he has raised, at taxpayers’ expense, and say: ‘I have already supported that.’

But the real ground on which he should be judged is his performance.

What has he achieved?

A luxury lifestyle, funded by the taxpayer and his constituents, is the only thing that comes to this journalist’s mind…

… (19/01/2010) – No Follow-Up Then, Bob?

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7 Responses

  1. How refreshing that a journalist in this area is actually stating facts and giving an opinion freely and at length.

    Having thought about it I agree with you Ted that the Council should not refute his pathetic lies but allow the Electors of Castle Point to judge him for what he is .

    I note he is sending e-mails to anyone who has ever given their address to him on any subject that supports Bob Spink. I am of the opinion that according to the law he is not allowed to issue such mails without the approval of the recipient.. ?

    (I cannot question it in court as my legal fees are paid by me personally not by the taxpayer, as his are).

    Roll on the 6th May ..

    • Given your party’s experience with Spink you might be advised to keep copies of those communications, Bill. And his coverage in the Echo and GatewayFM’s website.

      I believe all residents would be behind you if you were to institute a libel action over these claims in court.

      (What we would not forgive you for though, would be to launch such an action this side of the election).

      Let him pay for his own legal fees this time…

      It is interesting that he is playing this game. He obviously believes whatever he says or disseminates, outside the house, is subject to parliamentary privilege.

      I don’t believe that is the case – and the Echo and GatewayFM should beware…

      • Yes. Privilege applies in the house, and Spink is careful to mount his libellous attacks there where he knows he cannot be held liable.

        Let us hope he and his CIIP chums slip-up so that he can be given a taste of his own medicine.

        If Spink has his way, this will indeed be a dirty campaign. It will be up to the main parties, and the local electorate, to ensure that the hustings do not degenerate into a slanging match.

        I think Bill has made the right choice. This evil man and his contrived utterances do not deserve any comment. They are the ravings of an embittered man whose time has come to go………………..

        • Cynical, you are brilliant!

          For months I have been wondering what possible objective Spink could have in presenting so many spurious petitions to the house; asking so many ridiculous questions; and laying down so many questionable EDMs.

          I had been trying to think of some way in which all these efforts could possibly help Castle Point residents; but now your comment has solved the riddle. It is not about acting in his constituents’ interest – it is all about cloaking himself and his statements in parliamentary privelge so that he is immune to a charge of libel or slander!

          David Price really did advise Spink well!..

          I have long been a proponent of free speech and the right for MPs and councillors to be able to say what they like without any legal restraints – and for the press to be able to report what they say with similar indemnity. But I have never considered that this democratic corner-stone could be used by a corrupt individual to contaminate the democratic process itself.

          I’ve been a fool not to have seen the real purpose behind Spink’s actions earlier!

          Cynical: so many thanks for that…

  2. It will be interesting, Ted, to see how Bob Spink reports his “achievements” at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. His contribution was not picked up by any of the national media coverage, but I found myself watching the Parliament channel.

    His question was, predictably, not about holding the Prime Minister or his Government to account. It was a criticism of Essex County Council and its alleged lack of consultation over a special needs school on Canvey.

    Gordon Brown looked a bit perplexed, and assumed – given that it was his question time – that Spink must be making a bigger point about Labour policy on education and broken families. Brown defended Labour’s record, but – to his credit, really – completely missed the opportunity which Bob Spink was presenting him – the opportunity to have a go at a Tory-run County Council.

    • He actually made use of it immediately – as soon as he had sat down…

      GatewayFM reported this at 1.12pm yesterday:-

      Spink Tackles Brown On Controversial Canvey School Proposal

      Castle Point MP Bob Spink today tackled Gordon Brown during Prime Minister’s Questions on the controversial proposal to open a education establishment for anti-social youths on Canvey Island.

      Referring to problems of youths, who had been expelled from mainstream schools terrorising local residents, and what he feels has been a lack of consultation with the locals regarding the setting up of the new school, Mr. Spink asked “Does he (the Prime Minister) agree that people should always be properly consulted and that the location of the establishment should be very sensitively and carefully considered?”

      In reply the Prime Minister stated “No one should be expected to suffer and that is why we have created neighbourhood policing units that handle responsibility for anti-social behaviour as well as dealing with crime.

      It is why also we are targeting those families that he is mentioning, whose lives are so chaotic that they’re disrupting the lives of those people around them.

      No pensioner, in particular, should be expected to suffer from that, and that’s why next month we’ll be announcing new measures to help those people who are victims of anti-social behaviour, so that we can get quick action to them as well as deal with the problems at source.

      So I hope he can be assured that we are taking what action is necessary but recognise this is a problem for many people in the country.”

      I think we can expect similar from the Echo.

      This is the Hansard report, which includes the outcry from the house when Spink tried to turn his question into a sound-bite at Essex County Council’s expense.

      Q8. [310403] Bob Spink (Castle Point) (Ind): Essex teenage tearaways are being sent to a sensitive residential area in Castle Point by Essex county council without any consultation whatsoever. They are terrorising residents, elderly frail people and businesses with extreme bad behaviour. Does the Prime Minister agree that people should always be properly consulted, and that the location of those establishments should be sensitively and carefully considered? Essex county council should be ashamed of putting it-

      Mr. Speaker: Order. We have got the thrust of it. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

      The Prime Minister: No one should be expected to suffer from antisocial behaviour. That is why we have created neighbourhood policing units that have a responsibility for dealing with antisocial behaviour as well as with crime. It is also why we are targeting families such as those that the hon. Gentleman mentions, whose lives are so chaotic that they are disrupting the lives of people around them. No pensioner, in particular, should be expected to suffer from that. That is why next month we will be announcing new measures to help people who are victims of antisocial behaviour, so that we can get quick action to them as well as deal with the problems at source. I hope the hon. Gentleman can be assured that we are taking the action that is necessary, but recognise that this is a problem for many people in the country.

      What I find particularly sickening about this is that neither Essex County Council, nor Castle Point, have any powers to prevent the school’s establishment – or to move it somewhere else. The premises were previously a doctor’s sugery and there has been no ‘change of use’ under the law. And the alleged incident, regarding local thugs, happened – and was dealt with – months ago.

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