Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Councillor Kiely: Remembering Whitney and Smiley…forgetting the people of Ockendon?

AH, the looney left. It is a funny old phrase. It brings us back to the good old eighties with stories of coffee without milk and jam jars, black flags hanging outside the GLC, Sandinista, Verenceremos and Greenham Common.

Thurrock Tories are keen to describe newbie Ockendon councillor, Aaron Kiely as a new breed of “loonie left” Some would say: “you mean defenders of social justice. You mean concerned with the erosion of liberty and rights. You mean concerned with poverty and police, both locally and globally?”

But at times you just wonder if young Aaron doesn’t help himself? Since he was elected in May, we have not received a single press release about any project he is involved with in his ward. We have asked a few times but to no avail.

Of course, senior Labour members say: “Just because he isn’t courting the press doesn’t mean he isn’t working on case work.” Fair point.

But there have been frustrations (vented privately) among council officers that they haven’t seen him for some time and his name doesn’t come up when you speak to residents (and voters). They all make reference to Tory councillors Lynn Carr and Amanda Arnold (anti-social behaviour on Flowers Estate, planning application near Ockendon station, friends of Brandon Groves, lorry routes etc.)

Indeed on Tuesday night, we went from a scrutiny committee where we saw Belhus councillor Wendy Curtis to a neighbourhood action panel where another Belhus councillor Sue Gray was taking minutes. We then went along to the launch of the Friends of Brandon Groves where we saw another Belhus councillor, Mr Mayor Charlie Curtis plus Ockendon councillor, Amanda Arnold. Also there were prospective parliamentary candidate, Polly Billington, former councillor Barry Johnson and possible contender for May, Martin Kerin.

There is also the question of Facebook and Twitter. Aaron’s is a really keen tweeter and facebooker but it all seems to be to do with advancing his London left wing credentials. It is Aaron supporting Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Hugo Chavez.

Indeed, Aaron’s twitter profile is: “NBSA & SBL @nusUK Executive member, @nusBSC activist. @HackneyAbbott & @SalmaYaqoob are my heroes. Left-wing anti-racist, anti-imperialist.”

Aaron’s facebook profile is: as a National Executive Councillor at the National Union of Students.

No mention of Ockendon or being a councillor at all.

These are all noble causes and you may say, you cannot have it both ways. You can’t say on the one hand that young people are disengaged with politics and then criticise a young man who is clearly very passionate about social justice.

We did contact Aaron on Thursday and ask for five minutes of his time, any time on Friday, Saturday or Sunday to record an interview on his first ten months as a councillor. It is something we do every year. This year we interviewed Labour’s Victoria Holloway and the Conservative’s Shane Hebb.

Aaron declined to be interviewed, informing us that he would be very busy studying. However, according to his facebook, he was in London at the University of London student elections on Friday night. He then had time to publish a blog on homophobia and transphobia and at time of writing seems to be writing in depth on the death of Whitney Houston.

He has also reprinted a poem written by the nephew of reggae singer, Smiley Culture, who committed suicide in the middle of a police raid on his home last year.

Young Aaron is obviously a Conservative dream but then again, they have offered up enough material to Labour. And let’s be honest, the good people of Ockendon are worried about their jobs, crime and getting their houses repaired and not a young trots twitters. But Labour have been putting a lot of work in that ward because it is a key bell weather ward and may have been the difference between winning and losing the 2010 General Election.

In conclusion, it just appears to us, (and we could be wrong and often are) that this young man worked really hard to win the seat. It would be a shame if that was all undone.





  1. The people of Ockendon elected him because he was able to call upon his many friends and colleagues in these many organisations to come and deliver his leaflets and spread his lefty propaganda.

    I wonder whether, given the choice, voters would want more of the same – a loony lefty, heavily pro-union, pro-strike teacher (Martin Kerin) or hard working local resident Barry Johnson back?

  2. Surely TBC are able to remove this person from his post? he obviously does not give two hoots for the local residents that were fooled into voting for him, maybe a bit of people power is needed to kick him out of the position.

    He certainly likes to court controversy and maybe he should be arm in arm with Mr Livingstone in London rather than pretending to be a councillor in Ockendon, step up to the plate Thurrock Labour Party and either throw this waste of space out or get him to actually do what he is being paid to do in the local area…..

  3. I can’t believe the garble coming from the comments from the likes of Ben Gadsby –
    We have to feel sorry for Barry don’t we hear Barry had (NO FRIENDS) to do his delivery of his silly leaflets? – I Mean even Amanda and Lynn were out supporting Barry wasn’t they? NOO
    I mean the record of a former councillor and his party doing what they did when they were in power with the councils finances and the corrupt directors. – Promises of protecting services and then slashing them to nothing – typical.
    However like all politicians say one thing before the power and another when in the hot seats they follow there own way. – that’s why they come up for election for the electorate to decide if thats who they want to represent them.

    On the matter of the interview with YT he doesn’t have to stand and speak to the media he only has to tell his residents what he is doing/done – weather campaigning for red ken or not, a councillor get an allowance which is a part time job not full time like a member of parliament that gets a well paid salary – why isn’t JDP or Stephen Metcalfe doing all these interviews? they should be doing them not local backbench cllrs!

  4. Grays88 post explains everything you need to know about how come Aaron Kiely got elected. As I have said before, a monkey wearing a red rose would get elected in some places. Grays88, This post is nothing to do with the competence, or otherwise, of Tory Councillors. It’s all about Mr Kiely not representing the peple he was voted in to represent. His performance in the post so far (or should that be non-performance?) is unacceptable. You may not like the the Tory councillors but at least they were visible in the community and doing their best for the wards they represent. Mr Kiely needs to start doing the job he was elected to do or he should stand down. He won’t, of course, do either.

  5. Sounds to me like he’s using his councillors allowances and expenses to fund his studying and marxist political activities elsewhere and doing nothing that he should be doing to earn that allowance. Strip him of his allowance and look into how much of his expenses has to do with business he carries out for the council and how much is used to back any cause that is anti establishment, anti British and right on PC brigade causes. What a sick young man he is. Up the revolution brothers, and sisters of course.

  6. Is it any surprise, as like all the labour councillors not one of them are sincere, its who can score the most points. So please mike casey stop writing about the Belhus councillors as if they are doing so much for the residents, you know full well not one of them have done anything for their Belhus residents and never will, so write it as it is, the whole truth and nothing but the truth you are indepenent or so we thought, has this changed?

  7. It really is not fair to judge any councillor by his/her lavk of press releases, however there does seem to be some truth to this article as I have heard local people refer to councillor Kiely as “the invisible man”, and that does suggest that his commitment is lacking. The editor states that “he worked hard to win the seat and it would be a shame if it were all undone”
    There is a pattern here with the labour incumbents in both Belhus and Ockendon wards as they all seem to be failing in helping their residents!!
    Good campaingers- poor councillors?

  8. This is an example of village politics where a councillor who is involved in politics or social issues outside of Thurrock is written about as if this was a bad thing. The more mature politics understands that to generate influence you need a voice outside of Thurrock. As for the social justice credentials of Kiely only in thurrock would the idea of a politician being committed to social justice find himself written into an article in a negative manner.

    I assume that Grays88 refers to Cllr Barry Johnson who had the unfortunate experience of finding out that being a conservative meant that when elections came around you were on your own. He was a genuine politician more on the left of the normal local tory far right. Also committed to social justice and actually making a difference for Thurrock. Since when has the idea of social justice been a bad thing. Clearly this demonstrates how the local conservatives are anti : community, equality, social justice, human rights and anything else that seems like the right thing to do.

    We already know the political ineptitude of many conservatives like Cllr Redsell, Cllr Revell and why do all these far right extremist councillors all have names that start with ‘R’. I will be looking out for any names starting with ‘R’ on polling day. To be honest there is a general problem with politics in Thurrock it has the intellectual rigor of the magic roundabout with about as much actual real life content as a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

    To be fair to both sides of the argument i have rarely seen a local politician that stands up for what is right and can tell us about something they have achieved for this area. The only names that come to mind are Yash Gupta, Tunde Ojetola Gareth Davies, Amanda Arnold, Tony Fish and Barry Johnson these names cover both sides of the political fence, this gives us 4 conservatives and 2 Labour so doing the right thing is neither a conservative or labour issue. it is about principles. I think Mr Kiely may well join the distinguished list of Cllrs who couldn’t care less about party politics and scoring points and getting into the local media but is rather committed to the bigger picture and making a difference for Thurrock.

  9. This article is fair comment and is what one expects from local media reporting, it also, I suspect, reflects the opinions and concerns of many of the Ockendon residents especially those who actually voted for him. This is another case of a Cllr “biting off more than he can chew” i.e, in this case, having to.decide which is more important his student union interests or his responsibilities and duties as an elected Councillor.
    jmw118 you are right he needs reminding of what he said during his election campaign, perhaps “Your Thurrock” will repeat the interviews he gave during that campaign. Maybe a kick up his backside is more needed than “a poke in the ribs”.
    Grays88 you are missing the point local media such as “Your Thurrock” and local newspapers report on “local” issues particularly with regard to the Council and Councillors. The local media do not demand, they invite, interviews with or comments from Cllrs. The members of Parliament [MPs] represent Thurrock at Westminster. Councillors voluntary offer themselves for election and before doing so should ensure that if elected they will be able to devote sufficient time to their duties as a Councillor. People do not vote for “part time” Councillors.
    Grays 64 your comments regarding Cllr Kielys’ performance so far have a deal of validity as he is noted more for his absence from the Council than his presence.
    upthe reds you may well be right as to how he is using his allowance and expenses.
    Ben Gadsby there is nothing wrong with being “pro-union”, I presume you are referring to the Trades Unions. I would prefer that the Labour Party be supported by the donations from the pockets of honest, hardworking trades union members who live in the UK and pay their taxes than be funded by rich people who fund the Conservative Party who do not live in the UK in order to avoid paying taxes, take their buisnesses abroad in order to employ cheaper labour thus contributing to the lack of jobs in this country. As for your contemptable and unfair remark about Martin Kerin I would remind you that “strike” action is a democratic right and is a “weapon” of last resort for the “working class” when seeking to improve their work conditions and seeking a fair deal e.g. ” fair pay for a fair days work”. But then I should not be surprised at your sentiments as you and your Conservative colleagues regard the working class, the sick and disabled, the unemployed as the “unwashed” members of society to be exploited for the benefit of the well-off..
    To conclude, Master Kiely, you would do well to devote more of your time, as an elected Cllr, to your duties and responsibilities to the people of Thurrock and in particular those who voted for you in South Ockendon.

  10. The argument should not be about party politics. Kiely was voted in to serve the people of South Ockendon and other than his uni work that should be his priority. While I commend his passion for politics he needs to stop protesting about everything and anything or defending clowns such as Dianne Abbott and should be getting to grips with the problems in his ward. The fact he gained the ward by a tiny margin was the electorate telling him that they will give him and Labour a chance. So far this chance has been thrown back in their faces while the two Conservative councillors for Ockendon have continued to work hard without him.

    Unfortunately when people are so far left (and far right) they are uninterested in anything other than causes dedicated to that section of the political spectrum and helping make Ockendon a better place is very low on the priority list of the hard left.

    Peter Perrin makes some valid points but I have to disagree with you when you state that Labour are the party for the working classes as thats rubbish. Labour are the party of the middle class public sector worker, various ethnic minorities and the ‘working class who don’t actaully work’ or ‘non-working class’. They stopped being the party of the working class years ago. Lets not forget that it was working class folk all over the country that allowed Thatcher to dominate 80’s politics and it was with working class people that the Conservatives did best with in 2010 so I think its time to put to bed that Labour are the party of the working class.

  11. Bernard87, I did not state that the Labour Party was the Party for the working classes and I am inclined to agree with you that the Labour Party is no longer the Party of the working class. Since you chose to raise the issue, I do believe the Labour Party are more concerned and sympathetic to the less well off, such as the unemployed, the old, the sick and disabled and all the other vulnerable members of society, than the Conservative Party who regard such people as parasitic, workshy and “unwashed”. I would make the point that most of the milliions currently unemployed, far from being workshy, are without a job as a result of the measures taken by the coalition government in the current global economic crisis and would like nothing better than to be employed and able to support their families without having to claim state benefits. However, I fear we digress from the subject i.e. Cllr Kiely and his record as a Councillor and the fact that he is paid from the public “purse”.

  12. Grays64 – I could argue back that a monkey wearing a blue rose in some conservative areas would get elected but I won’t, however the point regarding his performance cannot be judged by somebody who doesn’t live in the ward in which is being stated i.e. Ockendon – why should he stand down he is the only 1 of the three that has a surgery for people with issues to go to the other two don’t – however I am not saying they don’t or do work but once again if you haven’t tried to contact him regarding an issue/issues then you can’t judge

    Gary Heart – I couldn’t agree more with that – but the only way a politician can be jusge is when they come back to the polls and I am in no way saying Barry was a terrible cllr but it is down to the electrate Barry lost by 87 vote to cllr Kiely but he won in 2007 by 14 votes so Ockendon is a battle ground where both party’s need to put there rescources and put forward there proposals, I would say the only cllr that would also win in Ockendon would be Cllr Arnold because she works hard for lynn carr I think she won because the general election and the peoples hate of Gordon Brown and CO

    Peter Perrin – I have already answered my view on the subject of cllrs and MP’s as for cllr kielys performance and attendance on the council meetings from the Just on the basis of just full council
    Cllr Kiely has attended 8/9 of the council meetings to date giving a percentage of 87.5%
    Cllr Arnold has attended 7/9 of the council meetings to date giving a percentage of 75%
    Cllr Carr has attended 6/9 of the council meetings to date giving a percentage of 62.5%

    So this proves otherwise doesn’t it – and if you were to look at committees they sit on extra then it would show Cllr Kiely has done better than the only other person with a committee on them and that’s Cllr Arnold

  13. Grays88, I don’t think that the ‘Monkey’ rule works both ways, I think you will find that disillusioned Tory voters chose either not to vote at all or vote for somebody like UKIP instead. On your other point, I do live in Ockendon so I think I am fully entitled to comment on Mr Kiely’s efforts as a councillor.


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