Has Canvey’s Armed Forces’ Day Been Abandoned?

JUST LAST MONTH Bob Spink was announcing to residents that, through his efforts, Canvey Island would again be celebrating Armed Forces’ Day on Saturday, 26th June. Indeed, the recently filed accounts for Bob’s Independent Save Our Green Belt Party, financed by himself for some £2,500, uses an A4 reproduction of the event’s promotion poster – inviting anyone who has not received a Veteran’s Badge to contact him directly. But the only event promoted on the Town Council’s Website, for the 26th June, is its previously reported Night of Nostalgia (being sold for a limited audience at £7.50 per ticket).

It seems that the Canvey Island independent Party (CIIP) has withdrawn into silent retreat regarding its ‘Fantastic Projects’ announced on its Blog in March. Despite promising further details, none have ever been forthcoming – just as promises regarding further information, made by Neville Watson, to contributors on the party’s message board have never been fulfilled.

‘They only come out at election time,’ was the criticism laid at the local Labour Party by the CIIP during the election campaign; but the latter’s Blog has only lasted the duration of the long campaign, beginning in March and ending on May 7th. There have been no further posts, nor any fulfilment of the party’s promise to keep residents ‘updated with our latest news right here on our blog.’

Following Spink’s defeat in the polls, the CIIP appears to be in some disarray. Unconfirmed sources suggest that the public claims of support declared by Watson and Anne Wood for Dave Blackwell are not shared by all the party’s councillors. And it also appears that some were dismayed over Wood’s handling of the Adizone matter last week. If the reports are true, Bob Spink may no longer be posing for photographs alongside CIIP councillors as the party tries to distance itself from the once MP.

It is understood that an announcement regarding Canvey’s Armed Forces Day will be made once the organisers decide if Spink will be a welcome participant or not.

You Can Never Trust An Inde

Policy breakers - Lee Barrett and Anne Wood

IT WAS Anne Wood, the Deputy Leader of the Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP), whom received the most reader attention this week.

In the matter of Kismet Park’s Adizone, Wood demonstrated just how reluctant she was to comply with her party’s policies – when she could instead gain some welcome local media attention by supporting a 41-weak resident petition to none other than Castle Point Borough Council’s Cabinet.

That is the same Cabinet that Wood and her CIIP colleagues, together with Colin Letchford and the Swann sisters, have continuously accused of being undemocratic; meeting behind closed doors; and taking all decisions in secret.

On Tuesday evening, the Cabinet met as usual in the Council Chambers – along with general members of the public and non-Cabinet members wishing to raise questions on their electors’ behalf. And, as in the case of all other Cabinet meetings, it was Webcast for the benefit of any resident unable to attend.

Following David Marchant’s presentation of the Adizone petition, a confused Lee Barrett (CIIP, East Ward) used his question to call upon Cabinet member Peter Burch to postpone any decisions over the Adizone equipment.

Peter Burch (Conservative, Cedar Ward) was forced to explain to him that it was impossible to postpone a decision that had already been taken and enacted.

That Barrett was so out-of-touch with political reality will come as no surprise to residents who will remember his vague proposals, made to council, regarding the provision of youth facilities in the Paddocks (which would have not received the cursory rejection it did, had he made any attempt to put forward a detailed proposal – rather than a nebulous idea).

But Barrett did not seek to raise any of the anti-social behaviour aspects, which would be later alleged by Wood. He addressed only the petition’s first point – that its signatories did not want it. ‘Our councillors were not consulted,’ the petition read. ‘We were not consulted and we do not want it [the Adizone].’

Wood used her question to paint a graphic picture of local unruly youths throwing stones, bricks and eggs at local resident’s houses; smashing bottles and urinating.

The Adizone, she said, had become a magnet for all the island’s unruly youth.

‘What action are the Cabinet going to take?’ she demanded.

A surprised Godfrey Isaacs (Conservative, St James) explained that he was unaware of any such problems. Nor was he aware of any increased level of complaints regarding anti-social behaviour to the local police. He would, he assured her, look into the matter and come-back with a proposal she might accept.

Neither Wood, nor Barrett, sought to highlight the petition’s concluding reason to have the Adizone removed: that, ‘There are no public parking and no public toilets.’

Had Wood and Barrett been paying attention to the wording of the petition they were supporting, a case might have been made for restoring part of the £60,000 budget savings (made by Council from installing the Adizone – and constantly criticised by the CIIP) to address the toilet issue. But neither co-operative, nor intelligent, politics, through which CIIP policies might be achieved and community lives and facilities improved, are part of the Indes’ strategy.

The CIIP would rather trash three of its seven policies, upon which it was duly elected, and disregard its responsibilities to residents in order to obtain some meagre column inches in the local press.

Throughout their local election campaign, the CIIP cried Freudulently from their Website: ‘You can never trust a Tory;’ but events this week illustrate that the exact opposite is true.

It is the Canvey Island Independent Party that cannot be trusted – and their actions this week have proved it…

CIIP In Full Retreat From Island Yobs

Anne Wood

RESIDENTS WERE DISMAYED TO READ, in today’s Echo, that the Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP), just 18 days after having won all contested island seats in this month’s local elections, immediately reneged on three of the seven policies they had been elected upon.

Into the waste-bin went the party’s Community Safety and Policing policy in which it promised to ‘promote any strategy or initiative that will ensure that residents enjoy living in the borough in good health and free from crime or the fear of crime.’

Its Leisure, Sport and Public Amenities policy, promising to ‘maintain and improve the Island’s existing leisure and sports buildings, facilities and equipment, also its public amenities,’ saw a similar fate – while its Our Children policy, stating that the party would ‘promote and actively support any strategy or initiative to establish and/or enhance the facilities for the Island’s children and youth,’ was cast unceremoniously into the party’s shredder.

Anne Wood, deputy leader of the CIIP, was promoting a petition from a small number of 41 householders living near Kismet Park to have the £150,000 Adizone centre, designed to help teenagers and adults keep fit, to be removed.

Paid for by Adidas and the Veolia ES Pitsea Cleanaway Marshes Trust, the Adizone was only erected two months ago as a bonus from Castle Point’s involvement in the 2012 Olympics. But it seems that Wood is objecting on the grounds that local ‘yobs,’ whom have always accumulated around the Kismet Park site, have not moved-on since the centre was provided.

The Echo quotes her as saying: ‘I hope the council leaders take this petition seriously, but I fear they won’t.

“I’ve had constant calls from residents, complaining about teenagers smashing bottles, throwing stones, and throwing eggs at people’s windows.’

Then why haven’t you done something about it, Anne? Aren’t we paying you enough?

Anne Wood is not only the CIIP’s deputy leader, she is also the island’s local Town Councillor for East Ward and borough Councillor for Canvey Island East. She is also a member of the borough Standards Committee and, surprisingly, on the borough’s Policy and Performance group. Surprising, in this instance, because she has failed to comply with no fewer than three of her own party’s policies in the Adizone matter.

Wood has averaged some £4,050 in each of the past four years for her Borough Council position. The Town Council has not seen fit to publish its Councillor allowances for the time it has been established – and the CIIP still has not filed last year’s accounts. Therefore, it is not possible to say by just how much the taxpayer subsidises her annual income.

What can be said though, is that, as both a town and borough councillor, she is free to use any one of their phones. It can also be revealed that the Local Neighbourhood Police team actually publishes a telephone number for residents to get in touch.

If you have a pen and paper handy Anne, the number you need is: 0300 333 4444 ext 460100.

Now, can you stop your political posturing and, instead, use your elected position to sort things out?..

Methane Mud & Memories: What Happened To Your ‘Anne Wood’ Post?

The correspondence between Colin MacLean and Anne Wood

THE POST entitled Independents are our most avid readers, concerning Anne Wood and another party, called Christine, who Colin MacLean noted were leaving comments on his blog from the same IP address, has mysteriously disappeared from the Methane, Mud & Memories blog site tonight.

Such disappearances are often the first sign of a publisher being served a Libel injunction.

Neville Watson, himself apparently an avid reader of this blog, has been asked if he has any knowledge of the matter; but, at the time of writing, remains silent.

Colin MacLean has also been emailed (but he may be unable to reply).

More information as it becomes available…

… Colin MacLean has now responded. He explained that he was concerned that Anne Wood and the Canvey Island Independent Party would portray himself and James Parkin as ‘bullying,’ so he decided to voluntarily remove the post concerned.

The correspondence between Anne Wood and himself, which led to his decision, can be seen via the inset image. It is a salutary insight into CIIP and far-wing venom, which is always accompanied by allegations of being a liar (and often a legal writ that, fortunately, was not the case this time).

In this case, one is tempted to ask, just who the liar is…

… (06/04/2010) – Readers will note that the inset .jpg, detailing the conversation between Colin and Anne Wood, has now been redacted to remove the personal email addresses of Anne Wood, Neville Watson and Martin Tucker. This was at the request of Colin MacLean, which, I understand, is in response to further harassment from Anne Wood.

Contact details for Cllrs: Wood, Watson and Tucker, are all available via the Castle Point Borough Council’s Website, here.

‘Like children refusing to play a game because their arch enemy is more popular than they are’

THE QUOTE IS STOLEN from a comment made by a regular contributor to this blog, Cynical Observer, whom was referring to the Canvey Island Independence Party (CIIP).   

This week Bob Spink, our local MP, has maintained an uncharacteristically low profile whilst the CIIP and Neville Watson have been keen to muster the local press and disrupt local online forums. While Dave Blackwell, the CIIP’s leader, was misrepresenting himself here in an attempt to manipulate resident opinion, it now transpires that Anne Wood, the deputy CIIP leader, was abusing the Methane, Mud and Memories blog in a similar fashion.   

Meanwhile, in the Echo, Janice Payne was reported scorning the idea of any part of Canvey being used for 48 hours as an Olympic Park and Ride station; Dave Blackwell and John Anderson were photographed side-by-side in a piece about an ‘ex-cons’ hostel’ in Second Avenue (that both were apparently unaware of despite being town and borough councillors with their ears devoted to residents’ concerns); Nick Harvey had his photo taken with the backdrop of a sign he was complaining about, which the borough council had erected; Dave Blackwell made another print appearance attacking ‘the council and Natural England’ (Blackwell is keen to shorten his phrase to ‘council’ when the county council is concerned – just so there can be some confusion) over its plans for an invertebrate reserve; and Colin Letchford (Concord Pool report man – and totally unconnected with island politics) decided to start a petition for an elected Castle Point Mayor.   

The latter piece is interesting, because, as the Echo states in its article:-   

Elected mayors may choose their cabinet and then decide how much power they want to share with other members, but the buck ultimately stops with them.   

Here we go with the CIIP’s second front. If they cannot seize power via the election box they will again conspire with Spink (in the same way as they did for establishing a Canvey Town Council) to subvert the majority’s wishes. No doubt, if Spink is not re-elected, we will see him installed as mayor. The conspirators’ plan is obvious – wrench power at any cost.   

What Colin is apparently unaware of is that his proposals do nothing to change the current position where some decisions are taken by Cabinet. In other words: an elected mayor would appoint the Cabinet (in the same way as the Prime Minister appoints his) – rather than having full-council elect a leader whom then appoints their Cabinet, as is currently the case.   

The current system, because the leader is chosen by full council, is, in most people’s mind, more democratic.   

Now, I am not a political journalist. But what frustrates me, in this island’s politics, is the constant whining of the CIIP about the Cabinet – as though they have been denied some ‘right’ to participate in it.   

It is complete, utter, nonsense. And, were the CIIP ever to form a majority in the borough, you can be sure that their Cabinet would consist only of CIIP members.   

Margaret Thatcher had no Labour or Liberal members in her Cabinet. Gordon Brown has no Conservative or Lib Dem members in his. That is how British Democracy works. The majority are given the power to implement their manifesto, which the public has democratically chosen. And local government is no different in that respect.   

Letchford’s petition is a distraction; but, if he does obtain enough ‘signatures’ to force a referendum and residents vote ‘yes’ to an elected Mayor, we know who the ‘Independents’’ candidate for mayor will be: a defeated Bob Spink or his puppet Dave Blackwell.   

As the CIIP’s support begins to drain away, their thoughts now turn to seizing power by other means. They know they cannot win with empty pledges and a blank manifesto, so they attempt to introduce the alternative: a personality contest to elect an all-powerful mayor (and save themselves the trouble of establishing a new front with an Independent Save Our Green Belt Party force).   

Bob Spink may have been uncharacteristically silent in the local press; but he has been busy begging for funds to support his re-election campaign. The interesting point, in his email, is that he will apparently be standing as an Independent. He makes no mention of his new Independent Save Our Green Belt Party; but readers should note that his message was sent on April 1st (April Fools’ Day) – so anything could happen, I guess.   

Spink's Yellow Advertiser Advert

Apparently, Spink’s proposed press conference, for the 20th March (don’t set too much store by readers’ voting in the link – it has been heavily modified by the CIIP) did not go ahead. So he and his new ISOGBP candidates were spared the indignity of being questioned by journalists. Moreover, the anticipated follow-up for Bob’s new party in the Yellow Advertiser, planned for the 25th according to his email, did not materialise. Instead he seems to have changed his mind and launched himself on a purely independent platform. In his advert he resorts to using the same ‘What part of [X] don’t you understand?’ sound-bites that proved so successful for him in his last campaign – when standing for the Conservatives – on immigration.   

So what has happened to the ISOGBP? It appears that Spink and his cohorts have discarded the idea of another party altogether in preference to Colin Letchford’s campaign. The strategy would allow them to rule the borough with a single mayor appointing just eight other like minds to the Cabinet. (And you can be sure that ALL decisions would then be taken there – particularly concerning members’ allowances; salaries; and the council’s own Constitution).   

This is such an obvious ‘flanker’ that I am surprised at Colin Letchford’s involvement.   

Colin: you are an intelligent man. Please do not let yourself be used by these people. How can anyone vote for, and put their trust in, any party that refuses to answer all questions put to them by the people’s representative, the Press?..   

Meanwhile, Spink, on his site, berated Cameron and Brown for, apparently, not agreeing to debate with him. Bob has this to say:-   

Like David Cameron, Gordon Brown has now refused to debate issues that affect Castle Point people with Independent MP Bob Spink   

Bob says:
“Last month David Cameron said he was going to visit Castle Point during the election but he bottled out when I challenged him to a public meeting to face the questions that local people feel are important. Questions such as:
-Improving the state pension and a bit more respect for pensioners
-Our local NHS hospitals, dentists and doctors.
-Cutting Immigration
-Protecting our greenbelt and flood plains
-Canvey Island’s new road which the Conservatives are blocking
-Removing politics from Local Government and passing power back to each Castle Point community to make their own decisions [separation]
Neither David Cameron nor Gordon Brown have the guts to debate these with me. They have no answers to the important questions, they’re both running scared.”
Bob has often debated with Brown and Cameron at Westminster but they must feel unable to debate with him on his own turf. They do not want to take the risk of being embarrassed by a straight talking, honest, Independent MP, who believes that serving the people is more important than serving a political party.   

It is interesting to see how Bob is admitting to supporting Canvey Island’s separation from the mainland – without admitting to it. (If you see what I mean).   

But Bob does like the new Nature Reserve on Canvey Marshes. He gives no credit to the Tory-led Borough Council for instigating and championing the development, of course – Bob would rather let readers assume that he was the driving force for that particular project.   

Independent MP Bob Spink today congratulates all the partners who work together to make the West Canvey Marshes Reserve such a fantastic asset for all to enjoy.
Bob says:
“I particularly congratulate the RSPB and area manager David Hedges who worked tirelessly to create this new environmental asset that will raise the profile of Castle Point for years to come.
“Two windmills, (not wind farm), will sustainably pump fresh water to maintain the lakes and wet grassland for breeding waders.
“On the site I saw British Kingfishers, a fantastic sight, they are one of the most beautiful of our birds. Of course the key attractions will be the breeding lapwings, redshanks, oystercatchers, knots, dunlins, godwits, sandpipers and little egrets. There will be many breeds of birds and ducks and also many small mammals, including the renowned great crested newt.
Work has been delayed somewhat by the wet weather but I am hoping the site can open informally in April and I am very much looking forward to the official grand opening just before summer”.   

I feel it is appropriate to leave Bob Spink hereaway with the birds, as usual…

Silly Season Is Here

Anne Wood

I WILL NOW BE ACCUSED by the Canvey Island Independence Party (CIIP) of plagiarism and infringing their copyright by ‘stealing’ one of their blog’s post titles.

As it happens, Silly Season Is Here was the title given to that blog’s very first post, and its prophecy proved correct. While other political blogs concentrate upon party policies and where they differ with those of their opponents, the five posts, which the CIIP have managed so far, are a mixture of incestuous self congratulation; meaningless back slapping; and re-works of protest pieces published by the Echo in response to Bob Spink’s re-election machine.

There is not one word about policy or their vision of the future.

In their first post on March 18th, Neville Watson takes pride in the island’s Armed Forces Parade of last year – and the attendance of our MP, Bob Spink. They missed the opportunity of incorporating a picture of the Union Flag – but perhaps Neville bottled-out of presenting that particular link, given that the party has chosen to present its words on an ominous black background.

Shiny, black, knee-high boots, glittering in the midday sun, would serve as complementary art-work; but the party chose not to use that particular picture either.

The statements are the same though. Winston Churchill gets a mention in Neville’s piece (exactly the same tactics as Spink) and the rhetoric is all about ‘democratic’ opposition disguising a deep hatred of the majority Tory view in the borough and a willingness to mobilise resident protest towards another ‘Night of the long knives.’

The CIIP's thread

Residents, it appears, have decided to withhold their comments. Apart, that is, for one ‘canveylassforever’ who appears on the party’s third post, entitled ‘Fantastic Projects,’ which simply said:-

Thanks to all the Councillors who have helped with these projects over the weekend.

It’s been a very busy few days and it’s great to get a couple of new items simmering in the project pot. Knowing how much the residents appreciate our hard work and determination makes it all the worth while. Great Team Work

Canveylassforever wrote:-

What are these projects?!

i have just posted on the message board the same thing as i will post here. Why arent we told whats going on?

I can see this blog is here, but why wont you tell us what the “projects” are?
Is this something the public cant know yet?



In the trade, such plants are known as ‘draws;’ inserted to draw readers into future ‘bulletins’ where all will be revealed.

‘Plant?’ I hear the party retort. ‘What “plant?”’

Why, canveylassforever, of course.

Anne Wood replies:-

Sorry canveylass i have been off line as I have been ill with chest infection. We will be issuing full details of our projects in the near future.

And guess who replies to Anne Wood?

It was not canveylassforever – the screen name the enquirer had posted under. It was: canveylass (the other screen name that, it seems, Anne Wood had erroneously created when constructing the bogus thread).

Was that a specific facility, which you asked to be especially included in your blog’s design, Anne?.

You cannot do that type of thing on a WordPress blog – in the same way that you cannot influence your own blog’s stats.

No wonder you chose to spend all that money on a bespoke design!

It seems that you and your party leader have a lot in common when it comes to intentionally misleading your constituents…

… And about that copyright issue: there is no copyright in titles, Anne. (Sorry about that).

… (30/03/2010) – CIIP Site Hacked By 1923Turk Grup

Dear Sir,..


I think some of your editorial was rather rude to the councillors of the CIIP (except it seems for John Anderson whom you praise?). We ALL tried our best to stop the tories voting ‘yes;’ but we all know, and people of this Island know, it was a done deal. 

Please do not criticise people who are only trying their very best for this Island. I used to sit at home and criticise, write letters, etc; but then I joined the  CIIP. I went out and got elected and re-elected and I do my very best. I give 110% for the residents I represent; but I cannot always get the result they or I want and, as the saying goes, ‘you cannot please all of the people, all of the time.’ BUT at least we are out there trying and fighting. 

Please Sir, I do not want praise nor medals; but neither I nor my colleagues deserved the severe, harsh words you blasted upon us. You could remove it completely if you so wish and tell the Islanders the TRUTH: we tried our best, the fight is NOT over, and we will do whatever we can to STOP the Tories concreting over this island.

Anne Wood
Councillor for East Ward