The Sweyne Park Battleground





Chris Black writes:

One good thing about our council chamber in the past 10 years has been the way the Lib Dem councillors have been treated with respect and courtesy by the ruling Tory group. There have been no personal attacks. But one of the worst things has been watching the Tory whip in action. Year after year each Tory councillor has had to follow the party line , even on issues like ‘mother and child’ parking spaces in council car parks.

It’s hard to convey to residents what it’s been like. But imagine you worked in an office with 38 other people, and a small group in the office decided what hot drinks you all have. If the ruling group wants everyone to have Earl Grey tea with three sugars, then nearly everyone has to raise their hands and vote for Earl Grey tea with three sugars, even if they’d privately prefer a black coffee!

In the past we’ve seen some disillusioned Tories think about leaving the Tory group, but they usually think again and stay in the group, or quietly resign or step down. However in the last 12 months Toby Mountain, Phil Capon and Tracy Capon have gone independent. What’s more they are sticking to their guns and trying to get re-elected as independents.

These are three very important election contests. If the Tories can knock Toby, Phil and Tracy off the council they will celebrate more than if Mark Francois is re-elected to parliament!

Sweyne Park ward , where Toby Mountain is standing, is particularly significant, because of all the development proposed to the west of Rayleigh. If the Tories can win back Sweyne Park, despite all the public anger over development and infrastructure, they will be ecstatic. They will think that the public will ultimately accept anything that the Tories want to push through in Rayleigh and Rawreth.

About the author, admin

  • I would like to wish all the non Tory candidates the very best of luck in the election. If they take seats from the ruling Junta it will send a clear message that even the most pig-headed of them can’t continue to ignore.

  • This is a significant watershed not just for Rayleigh, Sweyne Park Ward, but for the whole of Rochford District.

    There are 8 Independent candidates who will make excellent District Councillors who will put their residents first rather than any political party locally.

    I know that this is what I have been saying for years, over 30 years in fact, and electors have the chance to back Independents working together right across the District.

    When I say that it is a watershed I mean it.

    These people have put themselves on the line and all they are looking for is residents to do at the ballot box what they have been saying and writing.

  • Oz, yes other majority parties can definitely behave differently. I’ve seen three majority groups in action. The first was the Tory majority group in the 1980s , led by Alan Harvey. It wasn’t unusual for Tories to vote with the opposition , I can remember Richard Foster, then chairman of the Planning Committee, doing so on more than one occasion.

    When the Liberal Democrats ran the council for a while in the 1990s we also did things with a different attitude. I can remember one occasion when I was a backbench councillor in a minority of one on an issue. The Deputy Leader, Vic Leach didn’t try to shut me up, he actually seconded my motion even though he disagreed with it so that I could have my say and force a vote! When I was leader for a while myself, my attitude was “I’m your leader, tell me where you all want to go and I will try to lead you there…”

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}