Never Mind The Cost To Residents, Just Keep Voting For An Increase

YESTERDAY’S REVELATIONS regarding the Town Council’s finances exposes the myth behind the Canvey Island Independent Party’s slogan, ‘Canvey for Canvey.’ If residents want to separate Canvey Island from Castle Point: it is going to cost them – big time.

With Bob Spink temporarily removed from the local picture, this week’s Echo coverage was the first, since this Blog’s inception, not to include any reports about protests on Canvey. Despite angling their Castle Point stories from protester viewpoints, the paper’s coverage has only been of Borough Councillors quietly getting on with the job of debating local matters and implementing their promises under the public’s eye.

Nothing has changed in the Council chamber – residents have just not been confronted with Spink and Dave Blackwell posing for the Echo’s cameras and dispensing their stream of lies.

Dave Blackwell, it seems – despite being an avid reader of this Blog – is back in hiding. When questions are raised here, he chooses not to answer – just as his party chooses not to be open about its separatist aims, or to be truthful about how much those ambitions would cost. But readers now know why the CIIP led Town Council has failed to publish an Annual Report on its Website since its first year in 2007/08 – to have done so would have revealed the extent to which pursuing un-costed policies have led to a pumped-up Parish Council’s imminent insolvency.

But Blackwell and the Town Council’s chairman, Nick Harvey, are not concerned with bankruptcy; because, unlike any private organisation, they can simply vote for islanders to contribute more. They know that, next year, they can simply tell the Borough Council to increase Canvey’s Town Council levy by 84% – and there is nothing that anyone can do about it. (If you refuse to pay: you will simply be pursued through the courts and face possible imprisonment).

It is a win-win situation for the CIIP – and one from which they have chosen to spend some three-and-a-half percent of the TC’s precept (over a quarter-of-a-million pounds) on their own remuneration.

The Town Council ploughs on. Posted today, on its Website, is the Spring 2010 newsletter, finally announcing the Armed Forces Day Parade on 26th June and stating their intention to take-over the management of Canvey’s seaside pool from the Borough Council. Moreover, a statement by the new Town Clerk, John Burridge, hints at further plans by the Town Council: ‘to provide ever improving services to our residents.’

At the moment, the Town Council provides no services – they are all provided by CPBC – but it is clear that the TC has that ambition. Furthermore, it is becoming frighteningly clear that neither the CIIP, nor the Town Council, have any idea of how much their ambitions will cost.

Islanders are being forced to write a blank cheque to a financially incompetent administration…

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Bob Resorts To Americanisms In His Press Release – So He Can Claim To Be An Armed Forces ‘Veteran’

IT APPEARS THAT, as far as Bob Spink (our local MP) is concerned: there is no looming general election – just as there is apparently no issue over his fraudulent office expense claims. Readers of his press release, issued yesterday, are led to believe that Bob will still be ‘representing’ constituents in June, when the next Castle Point Armed Forces Parade is due to be held on the island.

Wrapping himself in the Union Flag, as most politicians are want-to-do at election  time, Bob proclaims:-

MP Bob Spink is, for the fourth year in succession, holding an Armed Forces Day for Castle Point to honour its veterans and serving forces.

Last year over 5,000 people took part and the event which [sic] was made a great success by the efforts of Canvey Town Councillors who supported Bob. Castle Point received wide national coverage as one of the best in the country and was mentioned by the Prime Minister at Prime Ministers Questions where he joined Independent MP Bob in congratulating all involved.

Bob, himself a Forces Veteran, says:

“We must never forget the sacrifice given by our veterans and those serving now. They are simply the Bravest and the Best.

I have bid for and now been formally granted £2000 by the MOD to support this year’s event.

I am particularly grateful to Canvey Island Town Council and the Royal British Legion for their wonderful support in organising and running the event.

Our next Armed Forces Day will be on Saturday 26th June and the Chelsea Pensioners, Gurkhas [sic], Royal Anglian Regiment and all cadet and youth organisations will I hope be attending to make it another wonderful day. I hope you will accept my personal invitation to attend.”

Now, the word ‘veteran’ can only be used two ways in the English language. The first is to describe a person or thing that has given long service in some capacity; but the second, in the context that Bob uses it here, is: an Armed Forces member who has seen considerable active service.

Bob is carefully using the word here in its US usage: a person who has served in the armed forces.

There can be no doubt that he actually donned a uniform; just as there can be no doubt that he undertook basic training. But Bob was never in harm’s way. He was, (according to his CV) invalided-out whilst receiving basic training at RAF Cosford and Uxbridge. So even the abysmally lax definition of the word’s US usage somewhat overstates his claim – since training does not constitute service.

Armed Forces veterans are easy to distinguish. At the very least they have been presented with, and are entitled to wear, a campaign ribbon. It is the force’s way of recognising the mental and, sometimes, physical scars that they will be forced to carry with them for the rest of their lives. And the military have long reserved the term ‘veteran’ for only those armed forces personnel whom have actually participated in combat. New recruits, and most civilians, hold veterans in high esteem and provide them with the respect they deserve – particularly those whom were forced to receive their meagre reward posthumously.

There is something particularly despicable about someone passing themself off as a veteran and claiming a share of our Heroes’ Glory. Moreover, it is sickening to think that such a pretender should lead an armed forces’ parade or present themself for press photographs in front of such honourable men and women.

If you are around this year, Bob, do us all a favour: learn how to spell ‘Ghurkhas;’ confine your ‘marching’ to the rear of the procession; and, when the inevitable group photographs are taken: make sure you are at the back…

Islanders To Celebrate Armed Forces Day

Event(Echo) – VETERANS AND SERVING SOLDIERS from the ranks of former Gurkhas, the Chelsea Pensioners and The Royal Anglian Regiment, will be welcomed by the united residents of Canvey, on Saturday, as the town celebrates the UK’s first Armed Forces Day.

The day provides islanders with the opportunity to show their respect for the military, and the many sacrifices its members have made, in their names, throughout the years.

The parade, which will begin at 10:00 am at Furtherwick Park School, will head through the town centre to complete a 700 metre march, ending at the Paddocks, in Long Road.

It will be led by Canvey’s Air Force Cadet Band and, bringing up the rear, will be two vintage buses from the Canvey Bus Museum for those unable to walk the route.

At the conclusion of the parade, a service will be held by Falkland’s veteran, Reverend Dave Pickett, of the Thundersley Congregational Church.

Bob Spink, MPBob Spink, our Castle Point MP, said of the parade, last month:-

‘I am welcoming the Gurkhas to Castle Point on Saturday 27th June when they will march with me and other veterans in the Armed Forces Day Celebration held jointly by me and Canvey Town Council.’

Are you sure you want to risk it, Bob?..

… (Echo, 29/06/2009) – A day to show how really proud we are of our armed forces