Changes To Police Stations’ Opening Times

(Echo) – CANVEY POLICE STATION has changed its opening times to coincide with their busiest periods.

The front desk at the station in Long Road, Canvey is now open from noon until 8pm every weekday, and between 9.00am and 5.00pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Chief Inspector Keith Davies, of Castle Point police, said: “Research of our high demand times at both Canvey and Benfleet police stations have influenced these revised opening hours.

“If the public need to reach us on non-emergency issues it is important that we are available at times convenient to them.”

The front office at Benfleet police station in the High Road, Benfleet is open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and closed on Saturday and Sunday.

It will however be closed from Monday April 26 until Friday April 30 to allow for maintenance work to be carried out. Normal opening times resume on Tuesday, May 4 following the Bank Holiday.

While the Benfleet front office is closed for the work to be completed, Canvey front office will open at the earlier time of 9.15am and close as usual at 8pm.

When front offices are closed the public can still contact the stations via 0300 333 4444. The nearest 24-hour station is Rayleigh, at 119 High Street, Rayleigh.

How Accurate Can A Straw Poll Be?

WELL, the first straw poll to be conducted on this blog, regarding readers’ voting intentions, has now closed – with surprising results. If the straw poll is to be believed, Castle Point could be in store for a Conservative landslide similar to the 2003 local elections.

It totally confounds my personal opinion that Canvey Island would reject the Canvey Island Independent Party in favour of its traditional Labour support. Perhaps it is the case that residents still remember what it was like under a local Labour administration pre 2003.

However, it is difficult to place much confidence in a straw poll produced from the opinion of just 88 machines in the hands of readers. As a regular contributor has pointed-out: a family sharing a single machine account can only vote once in the poll; so any result is going to be skewed if a family is split in its voting intentions.

I believe some scepticism of the results is warranted, with the only conclusion, which can be safely drawn, being that the Conservatives seem to be comfortably ahead – at the moment.

Spink’s fly-posting, it seems, has been particularly ineffective. It is understood that his campaigners have been illegally erecting campaign posters on private property and telephone poles throughout the borough. I am told that John Riley, the Electoral Commission Representative, has had to arrange for their removal – at further expense to residents.

If the individuals responsible are reading this: please stop breaking the law and causing residents this hassle. You are only making your case worse…

More Lies And Misrepresentations From Spink

Spink's Yellow Advertiser advert 15/04/2010

BOB SPINK‘S Yellow Advertiser campaign became more desperate yesterday when he published a list of Echo photo opportunities; failed Early Day Motions (EDMs) and local minority petitions, which were all rejected by parliament, as examples of his work for this constituency.

The 36-point list is impressive – particularly since it contains not one single personal achievement in all his parliamentary years; but Bob is careful not to imply that it does. Like his now defunct MP’s Website, he chooses his words carefully and states that this is ‘just a sample of Bob’s work.’

The inference, of course, is that there are many more examples of his successful representation of this borough; but what he is actually saying is that, at some time or other, he has actually voted for some of these positions; raised an EDM, or been quoted as supporting those residents’ campaigns that he mentions. He has never, ever, taken a single one of these issues, garnered national MP support and ensured a successful outcome.

Once again: how many lies can you spot?..

Your Voting Intentions – Straw Polls

NOW THAT THE MAIN PARTIES have launched their manifestos (and others decide to say nothing substantial) it is time to conduct a straw poll of local reader opinion.

This evening’s TV debate is likely to influence voters and it will be interesting to see how this blog’s straw poll differs from those results. As readers will know, this blog was set-up as an experiment, and I am keen to discover if its readers’ opinions actually reflect those held locally.

The other thing I hope to find out is just how many individual readers this blog has – so it would help me enormously if all local visitors could please ensure they ‘vote.’

These two polls will close at midnight on Monday – permitting some four days for votes to be cast. I have done this because the blog’s stats suggest that many readers just visit here – to catch-up – once or twice a week.

I will post further polls, next week and the week after, to coincide with the other two TV debates.

Many thanks for your help…

Polling Card Times Printed Wrong

(BBC) – CASTLE POINT BOROUGH COUNCIL has admitted making a mistake on polling cards – telling voters the wrong times.

Local residents have been told they can only vote until 1000 BST rather than 2200 BST on Thursday 6 May.

Candidates in the South Essex constituency of Castle Point have criticised the printing error.
David Marchant, chief executive of Castle Point Borough Council, admitted the incident was embarrassing and they would rectify the situation quickly.

“We will deal with the political agents and the printer to make sure everyone is satisfied, so everybody has the information that they need to get to the polls at the right time, on the right day,” he said.

BBC Essex spoke to one local resident, Valerie, who said: “I’ve voted many times and I realised this was wrong.

“My point is that, yes – we know the polling station is open all day. But there are lots of first time voters who work, will look at the card and think they cannot vote and put it straight in the bin,” she said.

Parliamentary candidates for Castle Point for the main parties were quick to condemn the mistake.

Labour’s candidate Julian Ware-Lane said: “I would hope that the returning officer will instruct his staff to issue a statement to all voters pointing out the mistake.

“If the election is a close run thing, then the possibility of a legal challenge is very real.

“Castle Point Borough Council’s reputation for communicating with its residents is already low – this will not improve that situation,” he added.

Conservative candidate, Rebecca Harris said: “My first reaction is I’m horrified. This is such an important election for the country, that if anyone is deterred from taking the opportunity to vote it will be a disaster.

“I’m especially worried about first time voters, they need to have the correctly issued card with the right date on, but the problem we have is a very short time span.”

Brendan D’Cruz, for the Liberal Democrats in Castle Point, said: “It appears to be really unfortunate that they have made this mistake on the cards, if this is the case, I can understand people being very confused.

“The key thing is that people vote, and the worst thing they can do is to reprint the cards. But some sort of information should go out to people to tell

Independent candidate Bob Spink, the former Conservative MP for the seat, said: “It shows that the council cannot be trusted to even get important jobs like voting information out correctly.

“People will be deeply worried about this as it strikes right at the heart of our democracy. I think they should reissue all cards immediately.”

Candidates standing so far are: Conservative, Rebecca Harris; Labour, Julian Ware-Lane; Lib Dem, Brendan D’Cruz; Independent, Bob Spink and BNP, Phil Howard.

Spink Fires Another Salvo

BOB SPINK, our local MP, ‘fired another salvo’ yesterday. It apparently marks the beginning of his re-election campaign, and sets the tone for what is to come.

Spink's latest salvo

I would have liked to provide readers with Bob’s full email, sent to his supporters: but I am afraid that Britain’s current Libel Laws prevent me from doing so.

I have therefore redacted those particular statements that my legal advisers tell me may be libellous.

Julian Says…

Dear Rebecca,

Thanks for your full response, and I already see some agreement. There are also some areas where our views differ.

Clearly you and I are immune from the accusations surrounding MPs’ expenses, but not immune from the fall-out. I suspect that you, like I, have had some frank discussions on this issue on the doorstep.

You correctly pointed out that the immediate response on expenses dealt with the over-claims. However, I do not believe it fully dealt with the issue of confidence, and it does nothing to address the issue of accountability.

You have misrepresented my argument for change to the House of Commons voting system. I think you have come to the mistaken view that what I and the Government are advocating is the Jenkins formula, that is AV plus. Please be assured that I, too, believe in the importance of the constituency link and am also concerned about having two types of MP – hence my support for the Alternative Vote. This, I remind you, is the system where each candidate is ranked in order of preference, and where every MP will be able to claim that the majority of their constituents have voted for them.

The Alternative Vote is not truly proportional, and arguably leads to stronger government.

As to having some appointees in the second chamber – sorry, but as a passionate champion for democracy I can accept nothing less than a fully-elected body. Those wise heads you referred to should be able to secure nomination and election.

As for reducing the number of MPs – I confess to being happy to look into this. I worry that this will make each MP a little more remote, I would also like to examine the detail on your proposal regarding transfer of powers to MPs, which strikes me as an argument for more, not less MPs.

I am not a fan of hair-shirt politics, and want our MPs and ministers to receive proper pay. It may make a good headline to advocate ministerial pay cuts, but I do not see how it delivers better government.

As to referendums and your accusations of cynicism: I do not think this is the proper place for a discussion on the pros and cons of the Lisbon Treaty, but I do remind you that Conservative governments so far have given the British no referendums, ever.

Those with a passing knowledge of the origins of the American War of Independence will be aware of the rallying cry “no taxation without representation”. As sixteen-year olds can work and be taxed I subscribe to this two-hundred year old argument.


Julian Ware-Lane