Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A toxic brand? What next for the Thurrock Tories?

THEY COULD HAVE WON this you know. They could have bucked a trend as Boris did in London.

But it started badly with a calamitous manifesto launch which put council officers and police officers noses out of joint after publishing their photos as part of the promotional publicity.

It didn’t get any better.

It ended with an expensive wrap around in the Thurrock Gazette which ended up winding up Stephen Metcalfe as he seemed to also be totally excluded from the publicity and gave the impression that Thurrock just had one MP.

They could have and should have won Aveley but the chickens came home to roost. Alienating former loyal Tory councillors such as Colin Churchman, John Cowell and Amanda Prevost did not help. Claiming the chair of the community forum and independent candidate, Alan Field was not a real reverend was a pretty low blow and must have led the Tory candidate, Colin Adams, to wonder what type he had fallen in with.

For many Tories, cllr Terry Hipsey is the devil incarnate. You would have thought that they would have moved heaven and earth to remove him from Stanford West. Instead, they conspired to end up with a situation where a local Conservative ends up standing as an independent candidate, polls 379 votes, letting Hipsey through on the rails.

Such poor decision-making will end up with questions being asked of Tory leader Phil Anderson, who cut a peripheral character throughout the campaign. The campaign was taken off him by the MP’s office and it undermined his authority. It looked exactly as it does in the council chamber when the same people are passing notes to each other, behind his back.

The example of good practice has to be Ockendon candidate Barry Johnson. He was a well respected councillor and portfolio holder who believed that campaigning is all about the local man on local issues and being judged on that. He lost last year but said: so be it. He did the same this year and won.

He may well now make a leadership bid as he was planning to do last year. Perhaps Barry is the man, along with new councillor Andrew Roast and voice of reason Simon Wootton, who can bring sense to this. At the moment, the Tory group seem to be controlled by people who had their bike stolen every day when they were at school and still bear the scars.

They also have to look at the long list of the Tory disaffected.

Anne Cheale, Ian Harrison, Terry Hipsey, Kay Hipsey, Terry Piccolo, John Cowell, Amanda Prevost, Gareth Davies, Colin Churchman, Tim Aker, Ed Woods, Stuart St-Clair Haslam, Amanda Redsell to name a few.

The Tory mantra seems to be” Failed Tories, not one of us.” How many does it take for you to change your view? Or have the Tories (as a group) crossed over and started behaving less like a party and more like a cult?

What the Tories may want to consider is whether they need to develop a political philosophy and shape policy around that. It looks like most of them wouldn’t know Robert Peel from orange peel and that is why some policies, such as the campaign against the “re-alignment” of libraries made no political sense.

Of course, the Tories will say that this is mid-term blues and the Tories took a pasting all across the country but we go back to the assertion that they could have won this election.

Worryingly, the voters of The Homesteads, Stanford East and Corringham Town and Stanford West stayed at home with the Tories polling over a 1092 fewer votes in those three wards in 2012 than they did last year.

They now have a two year run to the next election. Spend the time wisely, re-engage the business community, develop a coherent political raison d’etre, drain the swamp and their time will come again.


  1. I’m sorry, is Cllr Kent running the council or spending money he doesn’t have? Ohhh I see! He’s running the council by spending money he doesn’t have!

    Phil Anderson was a fantastic, diligent campaigner. He made mistakes but didn’t let them consume him – he carried on for the benefit of the community and candidates.

  2. This has to be one of the most bizarre articles I have ever read on YT. 15 people changing their minds in Stanford West would have denied Labour the overall gain in Thurrock, despite the fact on national figures it should have been easy. Polly Billington seems to have nothing to show for the 5 members of the shadow cabinet she persuaded to come to Ockendon – or should we overlook this?

    You mention 3 wards where the Conservative vote dropped by 1092 on last year, but decline to add that the Labour vote dropped by 756 in the same wards in the same time period.

    And to cap it all off, you have thrown three new names into the ring for a Tory leadership bid. I seem to recall a few weeks ago, YT was alleging the Tories were all begging for a Mike Revell-James Halden leadership bid.

    Incidentally, I can confirm that Phil spent a great deal of time campaigning in Stanford East, the marginal ward we were aiming to win, and that he represents as a councillor. Far from peripheral, he was at the heart of my campaign.

  3. Ra ra rasputing
    After reading the above I can’t stop giggling.
    It was actuly James Holden who stood up in full council and said I’m the leader of this group
    Please don’t me laugh this boy is desperate to be the leader.
    We all no that Cllr Revell won’t get enough votes to win the leadership, so he will put up one of his friends,god help us all.
    What a breath of fresh air it will be to have good old realible Barry back. Come on Barry let the first job you do be to put your name as leader.

  4. It is true that the Tories could have won it. Without Independents polling so well in Stanford West, or in Aveley and Uplands, I’m sure we’d be looking at two extra Tory seats. The high UKIP vote cost the Tories Stanford East, and as we know won over Aveley. With hindsight perhaps the prevailing wind was always going against the Tories.

    But it’s only a one seat majority – so no resounding mandate for Labour, even if more of one than the Tories could claim. The real message from this is “a plague on all your houses”, whether justified or otherwise. This is reflected in the dire turnout – it was encouraging to see the winning Homesteads candidate highlight this in her acceptance speech.

    I did feel that strong, committed candidates stood from all parties – Claire Jones in Blackshots came across outstandingly well in her interview, as did Richard Speight in Stanford East. As mentioned the winning Homesteads candidate came across well in her acceptance speech. So there are strong, competent people to go and vote for in our area.

    Obviously the coalition won’t inspire anyone to really come out and vote as due to the financial deficit it is largely a functional government – geared to delivering on one, pretty important priority. A lot of the Tory vote seems to have gone to UKIP, or perhaps they have taken the former BNP vote.

    It’s not one persons fault (i.e. the Thurrock tory leader) but a range of factors ranging from the national to the often poor image of the Tories in Thurrock (Joy Redsell saga/ apparent infighting, apparently as above calling the Aveley Independent not a real reverend, former members standing against them) that has allowed Labour to slip through without necessarily overwhelmingly proving themselves. So far Labour seem to have steadied a ship that was dangerously listing, so let’s see what the next two years bring.

  5. Is this what Thurrock politics has become? A slanning match.
    It’s quite a pitty that the so called leader of the Tories didn’t spend his time sorting out the riff raff of so called councillors.
    We have had The Redsell saga
    The Hardiman Nickland & Holden saga & probly more that have been brushed under the carpet.
    How much more do we have to take.
    What a pity this so called leader doesn’t sort out his own mess of a group, before he stars to try and sort out the mess this

  6. Apologise
    Before he try’s to sort out this boroughs mess. Caused by his government.
    These people are so full of there own self ethos it’s quite sickening
    This leader should back his bags and go taking with him the dregs of his group.the truest words I have read on this blog tonight is.
    Thank god Johnson is back.well here here There are still a few god men about.
    I did think a few years back that councillor Hipsey and councillor Johnson would of made a great leader ship team.then Hipsey found Labour.such a shame Johnson hasn’t as yet done the same.

  7. Ben the great Gatsby I think not before you go tripping over your beard again you know the old saying because you have got hair around your mouth it doesn’t mean you have to talk like a prat. 
    If as its stated in this story the MP’s office run this champagne then all I can assume Cllr Anderson should be thoroughly ashamed of himself and stood up to the poisoned dwarf.
    John Kent should send mark coxshall  a crate of champagne around because he couldn’t of run the champagne more in John Kent’s favour if he was paid to do so,what idiot decided to let mark coxshall run the champagne ultimately he should carry the can back for his dismal and short sighted attempt to win it let’s hope he does the same for Jackie Doyle price and steve Metcalfe.

  8. Hot Press, my name is Ben Gadsby with a d not a t, and you appear to have had a little too much champagne yourself, judging by your incoherent rambling! Furthermore, the MP’s office did not run the campaign. And I have shaved.

    Hope these points help clarify things.

  9. Hot press
    You may of confused your words but your underlining statement is all well said.
    One must remember this is the one & all great great his been spendingvhis time
    travelling around different parts of the borough trying desperatly to win. Yet just keeps loosing.
    As I see it Ben you should try one of the other approaches.
    Get your self elected as chairman thus then able to put yourself in to a safe seat or give a good donation & you’ll be put in to one.

  10. Mr Gadsby
    You seem to come across as a very obnoxious young man indeed. Perhaps this is the reason you did not win the above mentioned seat. I too have met Councillor Speight. This was when he knocked on my door during this campaign, he came across as a very pleasant chap who indeed knew his stuff. You may well do good to follow his example you to could win a seat with as big a majority as h did. On the other hand you could just follow the examples you have been a be another casualty of these pompous Tories twits you hang out with

  11.   Abbey “Phil Anderson was a fantastic, diligent campaigner. He made mistakes” your comments this is where he made the mistakes 

    1- Not making James Halden and Danny Nicklen resign from the group after the incident at castle point council where they stole the wine then in the local public house threatened the land lady.

    2- A group of conservative councillors were meeting with the company ICG and lobbing for this company, who by the way have many illegal buildings on there site but the conservatives chose to turn a blind but attacked other companies like Howard tenants.

    3- When the controversal Cllr Redsell was accused of the hamper gate,Cllr Anderson should of suspended her while the investigation was going on.

    4- Cllr Redsell again meeting with a developer John Isobel with maps across the table,but that’s ok as Thurrock council believe that it was innocent as they wasn’t talking about planning .

    5- Yet again Cllr Redsell accused of stealing a picture from from the council offices. Cllr Redsell’s daughter reported this to your Thurrock that her mother had given her the picture(still no comment from Cllr Anderson or Thurrocks legal department).

    6- Sorry to mention the dreaded Joy Redsell again but she’s on YouTube with her friend looking all cosy drinking champagne because she knew two weeks later that he would be putting in an application for twenty-four flats, she didn’t declare that he was her friend but voted it through yet no comment again from Cllr Anderson, I think this woman should of been made to resign long ago instead of keep dragging the Tories name through the mud,what example does this set to our children?

    7- Cllr Anderson should of stood  up to Mark Coxshall and run his own campaign this shows how weak he is,how can you have a councillor from another ward dictating to his leader. The sign of a leader is to lead not to be lead by someone who’s incompetent like Mark Coxshall, he has proved he’s incompetence running this campaign.

    8- The conservatives should have never refused to talk to your Thurrock a month before there campaign  as there interviews might of got them more votes and got the message out to the residents on there polices,but no they listen to Mark Coxshall again,so I think he should resign as well 
    And if they keep of allowing this Ill-gotten advice to “no comment” to your Thurrock how on earth are they going to get there side of it to the general voting public. isn’t exactly a no brainer.

    9- Cllr Anderson preaches values, when he took leadership of the conservatives he called Anne chelae a judas but surely he is the biggest judas to all the residents of Thurrock for allowing the likes of  Redsell, Halden, Nicklen to remain as councillors. A strong leader has to set an example and make hard decisions as well as having principles, morals and integrity now the only thing he looks like is Douglas Bader looking for a spitfire 

  12. Archie
    If your not already a councillor or an officer than please please got get yourself a position. I applaud the above blog. I just can not understand how these people can be allowed to keep manipulating the gental public.
    Mark Cockshall is nothing more than a jumped up little…, who suffers from a bad case of little man syndrome.

  13. Ben sorry about spelling mistake have had a couple of glasses of brandy
    Champagne should have been campaign so sorry!! glad you had a shave and I doubt if James Halden can run as leader because he must be in bed by 9 and it was a light hearted joke calling you Gatsby after the film. Because you love a bit of commentary and you have a vivid imagination

  14. Archie – As I said in my comment, yes he made mistakes, and it’s very easy for us to sit here in hindsight debating what should have been done. Sometimes certain options aren’t always available.

  15. Rain mac I wouldn’t work for the council and I am not a Counciller because I am not bent enough if you want me to I’ll work on it.
    I like your blog as well laughing my arse off at hot press I suppose we will all get told off by mike tomorrow

  16. Abbie, he’s had plenty of time to rectify these mistakes and that’s what he gets paid for unlike me and you and the man who is supposedly leading the tory party in Thurrock, but we know that not to be true now because that’s obviously mark Coxshall, so therefor Abbie he should get in his aeroplane and fly off somewhere to irritate another load of voters in another borough where they haven’t heard of him. 

  17. Archie – So in your opinion, what exactly could he have done to rectify his mistakes?

  18. Abbie I think Archie and Horndon have made good points , to be a leader you have to make hard decisions even if all your group are not in support of you, I don’t think it’s just Councilor Anderson who makes the decisions but the selection committee should of never of asked Cllr Redsell to stand after the latest footage on YouTube, can the Tory group take any more humiliation down to this woman Redsell. Abbie, I know there are bullies within this group but once he stands up to them he would gain so much more respect from members of the public .when he took over leadership I thought he would be a breath of fresh air and stamp down on corruption in my opinion with certain members of his group,but seeing as so many of the old school are there which are toxic he is mearly a puppet for those who pull the strings, I know he was left with the problems caused by Gary Hague, Ben maney and joy Redsell but he should of stood strong against these and the revels.Why have so many conservatives left they can’t all be wrong something very sinister is happening within this group and I’m sorry to say the blame stops at andersons door as he is the leader, and graham Farrent as the chief executive should of sorted out these problems long ago.

  19. Lets look at the facts of the local election, not one of the parties can realistically claim a victory as over 70% of the overall eligible voters decided to stick their two finders up to their local candidates, this has to send a clear message to all those who stood for election in Thurrock that they are all doing something wrong.

    Maybe if the local councillors and those who were in control during the last term had actullay listened to the public voice rather than having their political hissy fits in public then people may have stood up for those candidates.

    None of the parties come out of this well and until things start changing in Thurrock then things will get worse, a simple message to those who have just been elected by a minority turn out, Stary listening to your constituents, Stop telling blatant lies, Stop acting like a bunch of spoilt children with your political point scoring at every turn, Start running the council for the people rather than to further your political careers or feathering your own nests.

    Maybe TBC can change their ways, if not then we really need to concider getting rid of the Unitary status and go back to being part of Essex County Council.

  20. “Maybe TBC can change their ways, if not then we really need to concider getting rid of the Unitary status and go back to being part of Essex County Council”

    I can never quite work out why Thurrock was made a UA in the first place.

  21. Very Good Article. Tory campain poorly managed. Glossy literature but everything became hollow and stale when it came to conveying to the public policy. Sorry Phil the buck stops with you not good enough. Congratulations to John K and Team.

  22. Perhaps the rules should be changed, so that councillors are only paid expencess.
    Wonder how many would still stand for election.

  23. Unfortunately sallyb that idea was considered but when other areas of UK looked at who introduced scheme there were problems within a few years. Especially when it came to implementing performance targets. Sadly most Labour Members Groups and Conservative Assns are weak on forceful members now and Councillors tend to get their way or in same cases cross the floor. Politicial parties must encourage younger people to join (this is happening in Thurrock) and for once parties should break tradition and campaign all year round. Manifestos should also be compulsory at Election time. Councillors should also attend Community Forums. Many do not.

  24. So what’s next for the conservatives ?, where do they go from here ?, it’s obvious Anderson couldn’t lead a horse to water let alone lead by example a political party. As the boroughs MP, I often wonder if she is confused what her role is, running the country or borough ?. Elections in 2 years should see ukip romp home in Tory wards and dear old Phil the forgotten man who once upon a time led the Tories.

  25. I believe joe h you have written Phil A’s Epitaph ” Dear old Phil the forgotten man who once upon a time led the Tories”


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