Bye, Bye, Bob – Hello, Rebecca

CASTLE POINT RESIDENTS struck a blow for Democracy this morning, just before 2:00am. Rebecca Harris was elected as the borough’s new MP with a convincing majority of 7,632 over her rival, Bob Spink.

The full results were as follows:-

  • Rebecca Harris (Conservative): 19,806
  • Bob Spink  (Independent): 12,174
  • Julian Ware-Lane (Labour): 6,609
  • Brendan D’Cruz (Liberal Democrat):  4,232
  • Philip Howell (British National Party): 2,205

… (07/05/2010) – Canvey Island Votes For Independence

… (Ted Pugh, 25/05/2010) – A New Political Era For The Country – But The Same Old, Same Old For Canvey

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Time To Regain Democracy

BACK IN JULY, last year, you asked me to provide coverage of our MP and local politics, and I fulfilled that request.

Now is your chance to use that information, which I uncovered, to restore Democracy to this island and its borough by rejecting Bob Spink and his two ‘independent’ parties at tomorrow’s polls.

Few residents, it seems, were surprised to find that their parliamentary MP, Bob Spink, was actively engaged with the Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) in a concerted bid to destroy Democracy in the borough; but their suspicions lacked positive proof.

Similarly, they were concerned that their MP was lining his own pockets with taxpayers’ money; but lacked the proof that this was the case.

All that proof is now documented throughout this blog as a matter of public record.

Bob Spink is both dishonest and a serial liar. Moreover, the former quality is shared by members of the CIIP.

Residents have been seriously misrepresented and manipulated by Spink and his close associates to create an artificial air of incompetence and corruption surrounding the borough’s Conservative majority – in order to have themselves installed in lucrative civil posts by fuelling public protests.

The political strategy is not new. It is the same as adopted by the far-right in Spain in 1936, and in the successful rise to power of Hitler four years earlier. But the new dimension added by Spink and Blackwell, drawn from the success of Labour’s militant tendency to infiltrate that party, is to conduct a clandestine campaign in which their objectives are not publicly declared. Moreover, both individuals have taken to adopting online aliases in public forums to mislead the public over their individual support.

Their dishonesty knows no bounds.

Such people and political organisations are unworthy of your support and represent a direct threat to Democracy; both on the island and in its borough. And there are those otherwise honest individuals, like Colin Letchford, Tom Jea, and Liz Swann, who are unable to face up to the fact that they are being personally manipulated for political ends.

It is time to face the facts: there is serious corruption in Castle Point and island politics – but it does not lie in the Conservative majority or that party.

If there is any justice, Castle Point residents will reject Spink in the polls tomorrow, along with his two local parties; but the point to consider, in the local elections, is whether an apologist or sympathy vote for the harassed Conservative party is a suitable reason upon which to base your selection.

During the past year, the Canvey Beat has been pursuing the Spink story; his relationship with the local press; and allegations against the ruling Tory group. It has left no time to cover the local Labour party, which has hardly featured in its articles at all.

Residents would be forgiven for thinking that the only two parties fighting local elections on this island are the Conservatives and the CIIP.

At the Castle Point level, of course, only one Labour councillor holds a seat – and that has put Brian Wilson (of St Mary’s Ward) in an unenviable situation. The presence of the CIIP and its argumentative, blocking tactics, have prevented the calm, inquiring voice of democratic socialism to be heard in the chamber.

For Democracy to work, it is important that all views be appropriately represented. And, in the circumstances now facing this country, and this borough, residents need to ensure that they do not overlook the opportunity of electing the best minds that the borough offers to guide them through the desperate times ahead.

In these local elections, please reject Spink and his parties; but, before you vote, take a close look at your local Labour candidate.

A 25% cut is planned (by all parties) to local council budgets after the general election – and that will mean very hard decisions being taken by council. We are not talking tidal pools here – or corruptly managed local transport ‘charities.’ We are talking severe cuts to residential housing budgets; youth facilities; school transport; meals on wheels – the vast gamut of local services that we have all become used to and upon which many rely.

This is not about more protests – although that is the route down which Spink and his cohorts will take you. This is about bringing the best minds to bear upon an impossible situation that we will all have to endure.

The Conservatives have proved that theirs is a safe hand on the tiller; that they are prepared to suffer criticism when unpalatable decisions must be taken; but what council lacks is a moderating voice that is able to point-out alternatives, whilst accepting the majority’s decision.

Neither the CIIP, nor the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party, can offer voters an intelligent opposition that is prepared to work with others to ensure suitable compromises can be made. But Labour are fielding some excellent candidates in this local election whom would.

So before you place a cross against the local Conservative candidate, this year, take a close look at your Labour candidate and ask yourself: who is the most experienced? And who would represent my family’s interests best in the wake of extensive cuts?

Please use your votes wisely this year…

… (07/05/2010) – Bye, Bye, Bob – Hello, Rebecca

… (07/05/2010) – Canvey Island Votes For Independence

Two Different Campaigns

Candidates sharing a Web platform with Spink

I USED TO THINK that elections were all about selecting a candidate whose views most closely matched one’s own. Bob Spink, I am sure, would be one of the first to agree with me; because, throughout his political career he has done everything he can to represent himself as supporting whatever public position has made headlines in the press. But Bob is a media whore: he is not a conviction politician. His only objective in life is to create a safe parliamentary seat for himself from where he can indulge his egotistical fantasies and enjoy a taxpayer funded lifestyle. This was never more evident than in his latest statement (broadcast by Southend Radio) that a hung parliament would give him even more power, if elected, to put a stop to immigration; withdraw from the European Union; and deal with MPs’ expenses. Poor Bob remains oblivious to the fact that he has no influence in parliament; would not be called upon by any party to present his opinions – and would continue to be a subject of ridicule by his fellow MPs.

As the inset list of present members shows, even the Election Book domain failed to recruit any serious parliamentary candidates once Bob Spink had signed-up to use their facilities.

But, while ‘Spink-the-Spiv’ does his best to convince residents that he represents their views, neither his Canvey Island Independence Party  or Independent Save Our Green Belt party makes any such claims. Residents are given no idea of where either party stands on local or national issues. It seems that the CIIP is content to rely on a simple position statement: that they are against anything proposed by a borough majority; they are against anything that a Conservative or Labour majority might propose; and are totally against the mainland. They paint the Conservatives as liars; Labour as ‘only coming out at election time;’ and continue to focus on Canvey Island’s tidal pool without once mentioning what they intend to do about it (despite being in talks to take-over its management).

During its last session, Castle Point Borough Council had been preparing itself for up to a ten percent reduction in the funds supplied to it by government. But, the fact is, the state of the country’s finances is so dire that, whomever is elected, will see that cut rise to some twenty-five percent.

While the Conservative-led Borough Council has been managing its finances responsibly, preparing for bad times ahead, the CIIP majority on the Town Council will be spending twice its annual precept this year. On what we have yet to discover. All we can be certain of, at this time, is that: this is an election year.

Such is the competence of the CIIP that they would direct precious resources, at this time, to planting shrubs; planting trees; erecting lamp-posts to hold hanging baskets; acquiring high-street planters and displaying plaques promoting the Town Council. Residents’ money has been spent on cosmetics – and not one penny towards ensuring the safety of Canvey’s tidal pool; improving island playground facilities or centres for the island’s youth. Furthermore, when local charities or organisations apply for a grant addressing such matters: they are dismissed with a paltry cheque for £100.

‘THEY [the majority] MAKE PROMISES, WRITE WISH LISTS, BUT ULTIMATELY THEY GIVE US NOTHING’ proclaims the CIIP’s election leaflets. No mention is made of the new Adizone in Kismet Park; the Bumble Bee statue; the opening of Canvey’s West Marshes to the public; improvements to Waterside Leisure Centre or the Paddocks’ improvements and new Health Centre. And no mention of the complete makeover planned for Canvey Town Centre, which the CIIP accuse the council of leaving ‘to die.’

Unlike Spink, the CIIP does not actually lie in its election leaflets: it just omits telling the truth…

The Hard Choice Facing You In The General Election

FOR THE FIRST TIME in British politics, the electorate have been given the chance to witness their next potential Prime Ministers take part in a live TV debate. And, if nothing else, those events have made clear that there are only three parties that have any hope of achieving a mandate to lead this country out of its desperate financial crisis.

The choice facing us all at the general election is clear: it is between the three main parties. The likes of the BNP, and the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party, only offer an opportunity to register a negative protest vote and, moreover, neither of those candidates – or their respective political parties – offer any solutions to the difficulties facing this country and their consequent effects upon this borough.

Whoever wins the next election will be forced to introduce severe austerity measures. Measures far tougher than those introduced following previous recessions – because the UK’s finances have never been in a worse position.

There is only one question facing us all at this election: ‘Whom do you trust to make the best of a bad situation?’

This is not an election in which to cast a vote for uncertainty. If we are to navigate our way out of this crisis: we will need a government that has a clear mandate to act on our behalf. As much as many may like to see a hung parliament and send a clear message to politicians in the wake of the expenses scandal, a coalition or minority government will only hinder the type of decisive action needed to alleviate the situation.

None of the party leaders are providing a detailed economic policy in this election campaign. The Labour party could – because it holds the country’s books that contain full details of the situation; but they have chosen not to reveal those details to the opposition. The fact is that, releasing that information, would lead to widespread panic in the markets and a fatal run on the pound – the likes of which Greece is currently experiencing. But the main reason why Labour is not releasing the figures is because it knows it would stand no chance of winning the election were they to be published.

We can argue all day as to whether Labour is to blame for the current state of affairs, or if it is all due to the collapse of the sub-prime market; but it brings us no closer to solving the problem. Britain’s current situation is like that of a family which has exhausted its cash and bank accounts to rely entirely on credit-card spending to pay for essential food – whilst still maintaining their expenditure on entertainment and luxuries.

When the family runs-out of credit, they will have no choice but to beg from family and friends to bail them out. And the first action that will need to be made by any new PM is to ask the International Monetary Fund for help.

Two more crises are rapidly approaching for which the country has no funds left. The first is the impact of the Greek crisis on Europe and the knock-on effects it will have on Britain. The other is the second mortgage credit crunch that will send house prices into a tailspin from the beginning of next year.

Britannia’s ship is already holed below the water-line – and the two approaching waves will combine to produce another tsunami.

Whom you vote for in this election is likely to be largely decided by where you stand upon an appropriate strategy for the financial crisis.

Labour’s strategy is to do nothing until next year. It believes that making cuts now would remove precious funds from the economy, which could then lead to a double-dip recession. It proposes to continue nursing the economy this year and postpone cuts – along with a National Insurance hike – to next year. The strategy is equivalent to our example family continuing their profligate spending – and putting their tenant’s rent up to help compensate.

The Conservative strategy is to implement a limited package of cuts immediately, with a view to reducing the National Insurance hike due next year and provide more help to business. They argue that increasing National Insurance is a ‘tax on jobs’ that will hinder any economic recovery we may see in 2011. It is equivalent to having our hypothetical family cut-back on unnecessary expenditure and leave their tenant’s rent alone to ensure he does not leave.

The Liberal Democrats propose to introduce a fairer tax system which would mean that the first £10,000 of an individual’s income would be tax-free. To fund it they would look to cutting back on large capital projects and doing away with the UK’s nuclear Trident deterrent. The Lib Dem family would renege on sprucing-up the tenant’s accommodation and cancel their insurance policies to help stretch their income.

None of the above strategies provide a solution; but they do permit voters to judge the type of government that might be expected by electing  a particular party.

The Labour strategy is for more of the same laisez faire policies, which, it could be argued, are the main cause of our current position. The party continues to rely upon optimistic forecasts of the economy as a reason for doing nothing – just as our Labour family chooses to do nothing in the belief that their incomes will rise. During this recession, every forecast that the Labour government made for the economy was revised downwards.

Labour could be right. The economy may be returning to growth; but what if it is not? And their do-nothing strategy does not take into account the 2011 tsunami that will be breaking upon our shores.

The Conservative strategy indicates a government determined to take control of the situation and begin paying-down the country’s debt. It is the only strategy, amongst all political parties, that recognises the importance of planning for the unforeseen. Moreover, it is the only strategy that recognises the intimate connection between swingeing cuts, unemployment, and the necessity to ensure employers can afford to take-on staff. It also suggests a government that is prepared to be autocratic to deal with the situation it is faced with.

The Liberal Democrat strategy does not appear to be a real strategy at all. Instead it appears to be a promise of ‘committee’ driven, intellectual, government, which is mainly concerned with tinkering around with current legislation to produce a more equitable society. Such ambitions may be laudable; but they do not address the fundamental problem that this country now faces. It suggests a government that would spend most of its time discussing various options – rather than getting things done.

While Rebecca Focuses On Local Issues, The Echo Gives Its Front Page To Bob

THIS YEAR’S GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN is likely to be remembered by residents as that in which the main party candidates struggled to have their messages heard above Spink’s clamour for attention from the local press.

On Tuesday, the Echo duly obliged – choosing to ignore a national perspective on its Save Canvey Pool campaign that the Conservative candidate, Rebecca Harris, had provided the previous day.

While Rebecca was explaining to the Shadow Justice Secretary, Dominic Grieve, how fears over excessive Health and Safely legislation – and the growing compensation culture – had threatened the future of one of Canvey’s tidal pools; Gail Boland, Spink’s partner, was on the phone to the local police demanding that they arrest Bill Sharp over a ‘public order offence.’

It seems that Bill Sharp had waived an A3 poster of the Conservative candidate at Bob and Gail when they drove past him in their ‘battle-bus’ (proclaiming Bob Spink as an independent) on Sunday.

The two conspirators must have thought long and hard about using the incident when they returned home that night – and made their decision to get the police involved the following morning.

It appears that, to Spink and Boland, waiving Rebecca’s campaign poster at them is equivalent to a traditional English bowman’s salute, which I, and many other residents, may have performed in similar circumstances.

Of course, the Echo had a duty to report the incident – and had they had time they might also have considered the other point that Rebecca was making about a Conservative government: that it would bring an end to the culture of excessive litigation, while, at the same time, giving legal safeguards to those who really need them. But the appropriateness of her remark was apparently lost upon them as they devoted their whole front page, and a page-two column, to their ‘Tory’s arrest after spat with Spink’ leader.

On Wednesday, Sarah Calkin (an Echo staff reporter) decided to take-up space at the top of page-five to throw her own support behind Spink.

Casting around for a theme, she chose to report on UKIP’s support-ad for Spink in the Southend Standard. Bob could not have wished for more. UKIP had paid for the Standard’s advert – and now Calkin was reiterating its statements here (for nothing). She was even good enough to quote him in one of his biggest lies. (Can you spot it?.. Oh, no… There’s another one… Better make it: can you spot them?).

One thing is for sure, Bob Spink is spending a lot of money on his campaign. Unless I have been singled-out for special attention, his campaign literature was delivered to me by second-class post in a white Christmas-card envelope. (All my other candidate literature has been painstakingly delivered by hand to save on costs).

Is there a story here? His glossy A4 literature, which neither the Tories or Labour can match, certainly contains some whoppers – so perhaps he has no choice but to keep the envelopes’ contents concealed from postmen. But I particularly like the way in which he continues to promote his endorsement by John Mann MP.

Peas and a single pod come to mind…

Now That The TV Debates Are Over: How Do You Intend To Vote?..

47 UK Candidates Endorsed By Martin Bell’s Independent Network

SOME RESIDENTS wishing to cast their votes for an independent parliamentary candidate in this year’s elections may still be under the illusion that Bob Spink is a valid independent candidate. However, the fact is he has not been endorsed by the Independent Network, an organisation set-up by Martin Bell to vet all independent candidates on the public’s behalf.

Endorsement applications closed on Tuesday, 13th April, and a full list of the independent candidates standing in this year’s parliamentary elections are now available on the organisation’s Website.