Where Do You Stand On This Week’s Town Council Issues?

FIRST exposed on this Blog in April, Canvey island Town Council’s political agenda and financial competence have come under scrutiny this week. Residents have been shocked to find that the vast majority of Town Council (TC) spending has not been safeguarded by formal contracts – and dismayed to learn that the contributions they make to the TC may need to rise by as much as eighty-four percent, next year, if the current shortfall of over £200,000 (between what the TC plans to spend, and what it receives) is to be avoided.

In a letter to this Blog, Bill Sharp proposed a radical solution to the Town council’s imminent demise and invited reader opinion; but where do you stand on the issues?

Do you believe that the Town Council should be disbanded? Or do you believe it should be retained? Do you agree with the TC’s agenda of taking-over control of island assets from Castle Point Borough Council (CPBC)? Or do you believe the TC should plough its precept back into the community to address the island’s poverty and deprivation issues?

Do you believe that Canvey Island is a special case, deserving of additional CPBC funds, over and above those amounts spent on our mainland neighbours? Or do you think Castle Point should try to distribute its resources evenly throughout the Borough?

If Canvey Island Town Council is to be disbanded, another petition will probably need to be raised. Is that what you want? Or are you prepared to trust that Democracy will provide its own solution to the problem in next year’s Town Council elections?

These are fundamental questions that need answering by islanders. Huge cuts are on their way as the Coalition Government reigns back on its public spending; and benefits, upon which many islanders rely, are to be reassessed. Local charities will come under increasing pressure for their scarce resources, while the majority of islanders will be unable to continue providing them financial support.

Bleak times are ahead. Can we still afford the luxury of a Town Council pursuing its own political agenda? Or can we rely on electing a new swathe of councillors who will work with local businesses, charities and church leaders to mitigate the harm that inevitable spending cuts will have upon the island’s vulnerable?

Please take part in this straw-poll…

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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…