“A Word in Your Ear” from Mr Peter Perrin
“I came away from the count, at the Civic Hall, with mixed emotions. On the one hand I was pleased that the Labour Party managed to take control of the Council on the other hand I was disappointed at the low turnout, along with little or no opposition, which enabled some Councillors with an already poor record and of questionable ability to retain their seats.
In view of the appallingly low turnout the candidates, with the possible exception of Labour Cllr Yash Gupta and Mr Robert Ray the UKIP candidate for Aveley and Uplands, have little cause to celebrate. None of them can claim they were given a resounding “personal” vote. Most voters probably voted for political Parties not for personalities.
My sympathies go to Martin Kerin, the Labour candidate for South Ockendon, who, despite the disgraceful conduct of Cllr Aaron Kiely and a Conservative candidate [Barry Johnson] with a proven good record as a Councillor, put up a good “fight” and only lost by a narrow margin. Congratulations Mr Johnson your return to the Council Chamber is well deserved.
As a resident of the Belhus Ward I cannot conclude without making mention of the candidate for Belhus, Cllr Sue Gray, who prefers to be known primarily as the Chair of the South Ockendon Residents Association [SORA] and secondly as a Councillor for South Ockendon rather than attending to her duties as a Councillor for the Belhus Ward.
Her victory was achieved, not by any effort on her part, but by lack of any effective opposition. She made little effort to make contact with the people of Belhus; either by leafleting or knocking on doors, as she arrogantly ignored them and took the Labour voters for granted. In view of her lack of effort it was particularly nauseating to witness her doing a victory jig and waving her arms in the air and then compound her unseemly conduct, when the result was formally announced, by contemptuously walking off without making a “thank you” speech to those who voted for her.
I fear for the next four years the sky over Belhus Ward is going to be “Gray” and cloudy with little prospect of fairer “weather” to come.