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…

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Lies From Spink; Lies From The CIIP – And Now Lies From Canvey’s ‘Save Our Pool Campaign Group’

THE LEAFLET SAIDPrinted At Below Cost By DESIGN 4 PRINT’ – and it immediately had my attention. After all, that is the local firm that prints the vast majority of Spink’s campaign literature (as revealed in his expenses claims). But the leaflet did not purport to be from Spink or either of his parties. The rhetoric was consistent, the phraseology the same; but it would appear that the person behind this is Tom Jea, producer of the Concord pool protesters’ Website. (The leaflet does not actually provide that linked address; rather it just mentions the site’s homepage – in order to ramp-up the hits).

‘How strange that I should find this in my letterbox now,’ I thought – as I removed it from the batch of political flyers with which it had been folded. And how strange that a group that professes to be non-political and ‘not for or against any party’ should not protest against the Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, chaired by the Leader of the Opposition, Dave Blackwell, for agreeing with the Cabinet’s decision, on safety grounds, to close the Concord pool.

But then this issue is not, as it should be, about public safety or the Council’s liability for any accident that may occur to an unsupervised child. It is all about taking a current local issue and trying to turn it into the type of mass protest once seen on the island over Calor Gas’ plans. And residents should also remember that the only reason this issue is ‘current’ is because the Canvey Island Independence Party, in the shape of the Town Council, have consistently been unable to attend meetings with Borough councillors to solve it.

Spink and his parties are unable to present one idea for this borough – and their only recourse is to create a local political issue that might enable them to harvest some protest votes.

So perhaps Spink really did need that £16,000 for ‘his’ election campaign. As Julian Ware-Lane pointed-out, on his blog, Spink would be breaking the rules if he spent that amount of money. But perhaps Bob did not need it all for his own campaign…

Oh yes; what lie?..

The lie that: ‘Just 8 people had the power to decide this [the closure of the Concord pool].’ That was the number of Cabinet members; but what about the power invested in members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC), chaired by Blackwell (but too busy to attend the meeting) whom called the cabinet’s decision in?..

On this blog, Neville Watson said that the OSC had no powers, because the Conservatives have a majority on the committee. (Well, what do you know: maybe that is because the Council has a Tory majority).

Spink and his parties would have you believe that the opposition is impotent because the Conservatives employ a 24hour whip; but the truth of the matter is: the opposition is incompetent – unable to muster a logical argument against any Conservative proposals – and, when they have the opportunity to defeat them, they simply sit back and let the proposal through (to give themselves something to campaign about).

They have been adopting the same tired tactics, for the past six years – because they have seen that it provides them seats. And they will be adopting exactly the same tactics in this campaign; because it is the only way they will achieve any votes.

The borough’s Green Campaigners have been quick to distance themselves from Spink and his cohorts, highlighting, on the Echo’s Website, how they have been used.

It is about time that the Concord pool protesters did the same…

… (26/04/2010) – Is It Your Intention To Continue Misleading The Public, Tom?

No, Bob Is Not An Independent Candidate

PPC for the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party

THIS YEAR, Bob Spink will be standing (as his nomination form shows) as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party – whose manifesto for government (or even local politics for that matter) has yet to be published.

At last, Spink has revealed his intention to attempt a political coup of the mainland – and also position himself for becoming Castle Point’s first elected mayor.

As first revealed on this blog, and now further confirmed by Dave Blackwell’s support for Spink on the latter’s nomination form, the two leaders are intent on carving-up the borough between themselves. Their purpose? To ensure lucrative government posts for themselves from which they cannot be easily deposed.

Do not expect to hear much of the issues facing the country, or this borough, from either of the independence parties. And do not expect to see much coverage of this campaign’s real issues in the local press.

The Echo has already indicated its intention to pursue ‘its’ Save Our Pool Campaign as a means of bolstering both camps’ support (despite the Borough and Town councils being in private talks) – and we can probably be sure that, in the coming weeks, Bob’s picture will again be adorning their pages.

However, how that paper will be able to justify so much Spink coverage, now that he has adopted the clothes of an unknown political force, remains to be seen. There are strict rules governing the amount of press coverage that can be devoted to individual parties in an election campaign – and Spink may have cut his own political throat.

Had he maintained his independent status, he could have pointed to his support as a Conservative candidate and argued the case for the largest slice of the political coverage pie; but, under his new circumstances, candidates for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party would be entitled to more. (And they at least have a manifesto for government).

Spink Launches Leaflet Campaign

AFTER ABUSING THIS BLOG in the shape of his biggest supporter and local campaign assistant, Bill Baker, our local MP has at last confirmed that Canvey Island’s separation from Castle Point is at the fore of his personal agenda.

His strategy, first revealed on this blog, is to split the borough into two political ghettos and install himself, effectively, as ‘King of the Hill’ in both national and local politics.

On the mainland he will control the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party (ISOGBP) and, on the island, he will control the Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) – as he does now.

The ambition of the man has no bounds; but his motive is clear for all to see. It is to wreck Conservative and Labour representation in the borough to create a Bob Spink State.

He successfully seduced Labour candidates away from their democratic party on the island to present nothing but implacable opposition to the borough’s elected majority and fuel public protest against the Conservatives. He replaced the Labour Party, which he could not control, with his own CIIP – and he even ensured the creation of an Island Town Council as a reward for his protégés support.

Each CIIP councillor has cause to celebrate Bob Spink as the reason they now enjoy taxpayer bestowed funds and privileges – and they now look to their leader to cement their civic positions for the future and to increase their annual rewards via power in the council chamber.

Neither Spink; his CIIP; or his new ISOGBP party have a single policy or vision for this island, the borough or its inhabitants. Their campaigns are not about remedying social problems; generating wealth; caring for the disadvantaged; providing opportunities for our youngsters or improving residents’ lives. Their campaigns are motivated purely through greed and personal aggrandisement – at the expense of those whom they might be elected to serve.

Trying to install an elected Castle Point Mayor, and change the way that local politics has always been conducted in this borough, is just another ploy to create a highly lucrative post for Spink should he lose an election.

This blog stands as a testament to Spink’s personal deceit, his political spin and his lies. Its contents have never been challenged and every fact has been carefully researched and confirmed. And, with his leaflets this week, Bob Spink, himself, now confirms this blog’s speculation over his plans.

The elections on May 6th will be the most important elections that this borough has ever held. The choice facing you will be simple: it will be between Spink and Democracy.

If you value your democratic right to elect a candidate of your choice who will represent your views; work with others to improve this borough’s facilities and create additional opportunities for all its residents: you will reject Spink and his two political parties when you enter the voting booth.

A vote for Spink or any of his cohorts will be to return this borough to a feudal system in which Baron Bob Spink will administer all power and control.

It is your choice this year.

For all our sakes: make sure it is the right one…

Will He? Won’t He?.. Will He? Won’t He?..

BOB SPINK, our local MP, has until 4:00pm on the 20th April to declare himself for re-election; but the ‘short campaign’ begins on April 13th.

Perhaps his reticence to commit himself to another election reflects the fact that some of his strategy’s components still need putting in place.

Rumour has it that Lee Scarisrooke, Bob’s Independent Save Our Green Belt Party (ISOGBP) candidate for Castle Point’s Victoria Ward, has withdrawn ‘through ill-health’ – and that the petition for an elected Mayor is still some way off from achieving its required number of signatures.

It is understood that Bob was hoping to be around to present the Mayoral petition to parliament – and to quickly find a replacement for Scarisrooke; but time is working against him.

Will Bob declare himself as an independent candidate? Will he declare himself under the ISOGBP leader’s banner? Or will he take the money and run?

Bob’s supporters; the Canvey Island Independence Party; and the ISOGBP anxiously await his decision. But Bob is saying nothing.

Even Bill Baker is remaining quiet

… (09/04/2010) – ‘Very democratic Pugsie’

‘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…

Castle Point Or Passport To Pimlico?

IN THE FIRST cross-party discussion to be held in the comments section of this blog, Neville Watson, Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) councillor for the island’s Winter Gardens ward, appeared to suggest that his main objective, and that of the CIIP, is to obtain the island’s complete political separation from the mainland.

Asked: ‘Is this the pact you have with Spink? Is this the purpose of the ISOGBP? to infiltrate the borough council and align itself with the CIIP to pass a separation resolution?’ Neville did not reply; but, if true, residents would at last be able to understand the motive behind the CIIP’s radical opposition to the majority on the Borough Council and the reason why Spink is not fielding any ISOGBP candidates, in the local May 6th elections, on the island.

Neville’s statement also raises the question why the CIIP purposely chose the less controversial term ‘Independent’ in its title, rather than adopting the ‘Canvey Island Independence Party’ as its political brand. Had they done so, islanders would have been able to easily recognise their political strategy as no more than a cynical power ploy to establish safe seats from which they could not be deposed by their then recently rejected Labour Party.

Under the present system, voters for the main political parties have some control over their representatives by being able to complain to their local association. But the CIIP offers no such facility for the electorate to have an errant candidate replaced.

Dave Blackwell, local garden centre manager and leader of the CIIP, has this as his welcome message to that party’s Website:-

Welcome to the Canvey Island Independent Party’s website. The Canvey Island Independent Party was formed in 2004 because I felt Canvey Island was being neglected by the main political parties. I have lived on Canvey Island all of my life and my family have lived on the Island since 1936. My auntie and uncle were both past members of the old Canvey Urban District Council.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s Canvey Island was a lovely place to live; clean and safe.

Where has all of that gone?

Well it seemed to have started when we joined the main land. I still find Canvey Island a nice place to live and I love it and that is exactly why I am so passionate about giving Canvey what it rightfully deserves. A cleaner, safer and greener place to live with a group of dedicated councillors to help shape Canvey Island into the way you, the residents, want it to be.

I am certain we can achieve this goal if we all work together. Canvey for Canvey my friends!

All the best

Dave Blackwell
Party Leader

Carefully phrased, like Spink’s recent Yellow Advertiser advert, few islanders would perceive any threat from such a party. But Watson’s remarks, on this blog, now put that sentence referencing the mainland into an entirely different light.

Now reading between the lines, it is evident that Blackwell and his party is actually pursuing political separation. But they do not have the honesty to say so. They continue to promote the lie that they are ‘Independent.’ The fact now emerging is that CIIP councillors are pursuing a common strategy – and that strategy has both public and clandestine components.

One does not expect anti-democratic extremism to be present on a small, peaceful, English island in the Thames estuary. But that is exactly what we have here. Not some political terrorist group infiltrating the political establishment to wage a war from within; but, nonetheless, an attack on British Democracy using the very same tactics employed by the far-left, which once riddled the Labour Party, and which seeks not to represent residents; but to spin public opinion and use its power-base to influence voters towards goals that are not made public.

So what would separation mean?..

Let us take the constitutional issue first.

In the thread, Julian explains that separating Canvey from the mainland would not give rise to a further parliamentary seat. The Electoral Commission sets a baseline of around 72,000 voters to form a constituency (and the total population of Canvey Island is just some 40,000 – well below that required).

But what it would do is carve-up the Borough on historical political lines. A Tory mainland and a Labour island. Mainland Labour voters would likely be unable to elect a true representative of their views to act for them locally; and Tory voters, on Canvey, would be in a similar predicament.

The strategy is one of social engineering, designed to create two geographic areas where the political landscape is purposely weighted to ensure candidates are routinely returned to office. And it is one in which, by influencing a free press, opposition will never be reported – because it will be the ruling politicians whom control what is said.

It is already evident, in this Borough, that the local press is unduly influenced by our MP – and that all investigative journalism is absent.

So what is in it for Spink?

Bob has been planning this strategy for some time. Since being thrown-out of the Conservative party, Spink has tried to undermine the local Tory majority on every occasion. He has purposely spread dissent against the ruling group, both on the mainland and the island.

Together with the Echo’s complicity and his adverts in the Yellow Advertiser; Spink has done everything he can to manipulate public opinion. And he has seen the strategy to be a success. His Canvey Island Independent Party romped home in the last Borough Council elections by simply attacking the Cabinet. Residents did not ask the question ‘What are we voting for?’ – they were purposely conditioned by the local press and the opposition, whom they trusted,  to simply ‘vote against.’

Since then they have continued to be conditioned. Democracy has effectively been replaced by engineered public protest. Engineered, because all the island protests could have been avoided had the CIIP been doing its job of representing its electorate. And no mainland protest would have been needed had Spink done his job of mediating with councillors on his constituents’ behalf. Instead he used taxpayer funds to fuel the protests further, whilst, on the island, CIIP councillors purposely led the Tory’s to trip-over their political feet by presenting nothing but meaningless opposition to any proposals, and forcing the majority to impose a political whip in order to get anything done.

As soon as that happened, Spink and the opposition won. It was a political gift that the Tories must deeply regret.

Spink’s next move could have been predicted by any military person: ‘divide and conquer.’ It was the obvious move to make after that of ‘instil confusion in the enemy’.

After attacking the Tory council, Spink could not afford to allow the public to come together under one independent banner (except his own). Had he allowed the CIIP to expand to the mainland, and their campaign be successful, he would no longer have any political control over it. Blackwell would have had the power to remove his party’s localwide support for Spink and achieve his goal of  Canvey independence on his own. Hence Spink’s need to separate disaffected Conservative and Labour voters by presenting a new, ‘independent’ party with which mainlanders could protest against the Cabinet: the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party (ISOGBP).

Once again, the word ‘independent’ is at the fore.

Spink’s aim is to create another local landslide in his new party’s favour on the mainland – presenting his new troops as independent thinking individuals whose election would put a stop to Tory ‘mismanagement’ and public dissent.

It is the same strategy used by the CIIP to win Borough Council seats in the last elections. And the same strategy that the party will adopt this year to retain them.

By not fielding new party candidates against CIIP members, Spink is able to keep CIIP support – promising to repay them when the time comes.

If sufficient ISOGBP candidates are elected, they and the CIIP councillors will combine to force a separation resolution through council – with Spink, this time, wielding an ISOGBP whip.

In this election, Spink will be all over the local press. And he has effectively ‘bribed’ some residents into doing his promotion work for him. Along with their blank manifestos and no pledges, both the CIIP and the ISOGBP will be asking residents to express their anger at the local Tory cabinet by voting for themselves and Spink.

They will offer no policies; but, like the CIIP in the last local elections, will promise strong opposition.

It is Spink who has organised, trained and indoctrinated these candidates. And it is Spink who is providing them with the opportunity of becoming local councillors; masterminding their campaign; and providing them with finance.

Honest people, unfortunately, often see that same honesty reflected in others. And honest people are often extremely loyal. They are the last people to believe that they are being manipulated.

Spink’s smoke grenade, in this election, will be the local press to keep residents’ eyes off of the local elections while he carefully constructs an atmosphere conducive to his ‘indpendent’ party campaigns. We are unlikely to see any local coverage of CIIP or ISOGBP campaigning – simply because they have no policies or pledges to report.

If he loses this year, Spink will not be down-hearted. Provided he obtains local ‘independent’ representation from which he can continue to attack any possible Labour or Tory majority: he can continue to use precisely the same disruptive tactics to engineer his return in four year’s time.

Locally, he will continue to pull press and political opposition strings – and his shade will continue to darken this Borough for many years to come.

If you value Democracy, you will reject Spink, the Canvey Island Independent Party, and the Independent Save Our Green Belt Party when you visit the polls.

This has not been a good time for politics, and many residents will be wishing to abstain this year. But that is precisely what Spink and his cohorts are specifically hoping for.

A low turnout will favour Spink and his two parties.

A vote for either of those two parties will be a vote for separation.

Separation will deny you the opportunity of electing local candidates whom reflect the spectrum of main party politics. It will produce political ghettos on the mainland, and on the island, from which there will be no democratic return.

Please do not let that happen.

Please use your vote wisely this year…