IT IS what we call one of those Blue Peter moments. We had just finished filming at the South Ockendon Residents Association and were heading for Aveley versus Hastings United. As we drove past the shops on Romford Road, there was former Tory Mayor of Thurrock, Colin Churchman on the campaign trail.
Colin strikes an imposing figure: sunglasses on his shaven head, ear-rings and tattoos but don’t let that fool you. Colin is an articulate and perceptive man who knows every issue and every agenda that has affected the ward over the last twenty years.
When he talks about landfill, he is referring to the big question of what exactly is under the ground and in the water in Aveley? When he talks about London moving into Aveley, it isn’t about new communities and racial tension, it is about the paving over of Aveley and the possible dire consequences.
You can see that he has a lot of support and that his campaign, on an independent ticket, resonates with many people. The Independent candidate could be the future of the borough or indeed the saviour of Thurrock politics.
It, however, has to be stated, that what state are the Thurrock Tories in, that former members such as Colin and former Portfolio Holder for Transport, Leo Milan-Vega felt so alienated from the local group that they have ploughed different furrows.
Whatever happens in the local and national elections, it is hoped that there must be a fundamental restructuring of the Thurrock Tories otherwise one by one, ward by ward they will find independents and disaffected former Tories standing against them. The east side of the party looks fine, it is all about the west side Tories.