onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003


Archive for Elections

A Grand Coalition?

red blue

Colchester Lib Dem Nick Barlow writes on his blog here about how, if the SNP are excluded from power, we may end up with a Grand Coalition of Conservatives and Labour:

…The interesting thing about Britain is that the structure of competition has blown wide open since 2010, with the old two-party structure seemingly gone. We’re in a position where a new – and possibly much more open – structure is being formed, and this election will be crucial in that process. However, while we may get an open structure, it will also be a very skewed one if one party remains locked out of power because all the potential partners for them won’t come to any agreement with them. That doesn’t have much effect when it’s a small fringe party with a handful of seats but when it’s a party with a significant number of seats it has a major effect on government formation. You can ignore them all you want, but they can still vote in Parliament.

As examples, consider what’s happened in Sweden and Germany recently. Both have relatively large parties that are excluded from being part of government formations (the Sweden Democrats on the right in Sweden, and Die Linke on the left in Germany), but taking them out of the equation makes it very hard for traditional groupings of parties to form a majority. In Sweden, neither left nor right could get a majority, and Germany had to have a CDU-SPD grand coalition because nothing else would form a workable majority.

Beyond the whole issue of telling the people of Scotland that their votes don’t count if they cast them for an unapproved party, excluding the SNP from any say in power runs the risk of leaving no workable coalitions except for a grand coalition between Labour and the Tories. I still think it would take us two inconclusive elections to get the point where one could be formed, but we’re going to get to a point where that’s the only logical solution left on the table. Well, we could go for electoral reform and an entirely new system that reflected the people’s views much better than the current one, but that would be really crazy talk.

We had a Tory- Labour coalition on Rochford District Coucnil some years ago…

“18 General Election Leaflet Mistakes That Will Make You Fear For Democracy”

One of the big worries in an election campaign is whether you make an embarrassing mistake in your leaflets. Get a street name wrong for example, or use the word ‘now’ when you meant to write ‘not’… and it’s even worse when you have 40,000 leaflets printed in a general election…

The Independent newspaper has 18 unfortunate leaflets to show you.

Sereena Davey – Our Candidate In Castle Point

sereena water

Sereena Davey was born in Essex and attended her first primary school in Chelmsford. She grew up in north Hampshire but returned to the county to study for a degree and Masters at the University of Essex.
Sereena has had a long career in public affairs helping companies and organisations campaign for change. As well as working in Parliament, she worked for the NSPCC where she helped strengthen the law on sexual abuse, the RAC where she worked on road safety issues, and a major global IT services company where she gained business experience supporting the delivery of government contracts.
She also worked on the Lib Dem project team – led by Nick Clegg – which conceived the Pupil Premium policy over a decade ago. Now implemented by the coalition, Sereena is proud that the Premium supports the most disadvantaged children and the schools which educate them.
As a firm believer in public service, Sereena has volunteered regularly throughout her life, from working in a WWF conservation camp as a teenager, to becoming Vice-Chair of charity of supporting adults with learning disabilities in her late 30s.
Sereena would work hard to represent the residents of Castle Point, combining an understanding of how policy and laws are made, with a firm grounding in life as a busy working Mum and all the challenges that presents.
She is married with two daughters aged 3 and 4, and a keen runner and yoga enthusiast.

Mike Pitt On the NHS

A Downhall and Rawreth resident (not one of our team) asked Mike Pitt “Will you keep the NHS free at the point of use?” – and received this response:

mike pitt rosette

Yes. I will be alongside my Liberal Democrat colleagues in fighting to keep NHS services free at the point of use.
We have made the NHS one of our priorities at this election: we are committed to increasing the funding by £8billion by the end of the parliament, and are the only party to have provided a clear and costed plan for this funding. I am pleased some of the others agree it is needed now.
If you would like more detail I am happy to do so, but I thought a short answer to a short question would be appreciated.
Thanks for getting in touch,

Bob, The Campaigning Squirrel


If you are seriously interested in nature issues, have a look at the RSPB’s campaign for the election here.

No Time To Write….

No time to write tonight… lots of leaflets to sort out….

Not registered to vote? You must act now

polling station sign

From the District Council website:

Rochford District residents who have not yet registered to vote must do so by Monday, April 20, to be able to cast their vote in the May 7 Local and Parliamentary (General) Elections.

If you have recently moved house – whether you have moved within the District, or are new to the District – you need to register to vote at your new address. You are not automatically registered even if you pay council tax.

There is still time to register, but you must act now. To register to vote you can:

1. Go to to register online – you will need your National Insurance number

2. Visit the Council Offices in South Street, Rochford or Rayleigh Civic Suite, to collect a form

3. Phone the Elections Office Helpline on 01702 318187

Registering to vote gives you a chance to elect your Member of Parliament and District and Parish Council representatives – don’t miss out on your chance to have your say about how your country and district are run.

For more information about the upcoming elections visit

Some Questions That UKIP Really Ought To Answer

question marks

Independent Councillor Toby Mountain aims his fire in an open to letter to UKIP here.
It’s too long to summarise… You might like to leave any comments on Toby’s website rather than ours..

The List of Candidates

You can find the list of parliamentary candidates for Rayleigh and Wickford, & Rochford and Southend East, here.

The Main Lib Dem Policies

Mark Pack writes:

The full set of Liberal Democrat policies for the 2015 general election will appear in the party’s manifesto, which is due to be published shortly. However, the front page of the manifesto, setting out the top Lib Dem policy priorities, has already been released….

policiesClick on the image to enlarge it.

Rayleigh And Wickford Parliamentary Election- Mike Pitt

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We have a really good candidate. His name is Mike Pitt and he is definitely worth voting for.

Mike has a very strong background in education and business. After attending a comprehensive school, Mike went on to Cambridge University where he obtained a degree in mathematics. After gaining business experience he re-trained in education and now teaches maths –  in a comprehensive school.  He currently lives in Cambridge and is also a Cambridge City councillor. (Incidentally he wasn’t impressed about how Rochford run their cabinet system when we explained it to him).

He’s somebody who’s very bright, hardworking and with a social conscience. He’s easy to chat to, understands how councils work and how to improve them.

Over the last five years the coalition has been clearing up the financial mess left by the last Labour government. (Remember the note left by the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury - “There’s no money left”). Having a stable coalition was crucial, because it helped the government to keep borrowing costs low – maybe the lowest interest rates ever .  Now we can concentrate more on maintaining and improving services. To quote our candidate:

Like most of us I am proud of the NHS, and acknowledge its pressures. Under Liberal Democrat spending plans Health Service funding will be at least £8bn higher per year in real terms by 2020. The Liberal Democrats are the only political party to set out a credible road map for how we will safeguard the NHS over the next parliament. We can’t however do this without finishing the job of deficit reduction: not cutting services for the sake of it but ensuring a fair share of the load being met by a contribution from the richest in society through targeted tax changes. In particular we will continue progress made on tax avoidance and target £6billion more by 2017/18.

mike and chris



7 Illegal Things NOT To Do In An Election

More from the same guy tomorrow, but about something totally different – pedestrian crossings….

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April 2015
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Latest Comments

  • Oz the Positive: A little bit of light relief, how about from the High Street down Crown Hill to Rayleigh...
  • admin: Hi Jim, yes I saw that and was going to link to it today. Will do so later on after Ron and I done our...
  • Jim Cripps: The Echo has been running a piece on the recent ( recurring ) local Highway problems for the last week or...
  • admin: Good point Geoff, as you know we reported it in February, I will make a phone call on Monday…
  • Geoff: If there is any paint left any chance of marking the junction at Harbets Way/ Downhall Park Way ?, I will send...
  • Oz the Positive: Folks, as we all just can’t get enough of the election this is a useful site ( from the BBC )...
  • Ron Oatham: The email detailing the changes went to Rawreth Parish council, not Rayleigh Town Council and to Stephen...
  • Ron Oatham: I note the bit about “maximisi ng the efficient use of brownfield opportunities&# 8221; Is that why...
  • Jim Cripps: This seems at odds with the Royal Town Planning Institute’ ;s rose coloured view in the item listed...
  • Chris Black: Oz, I’m grateful for your concern, but things are OK. Besides – and this shows that some...
  • Oz the Caring...: Chris, I can only echo James’s post @ 13. I have not met anybody that does not value the work...
  • Christine Paine: If they are among the best I hate to think what he worst are like
  • Jim Cripps: A truly stunning manipulation of the facts – you have to admire their ability to talk it up and get...
  • James Newport: Chris, you’re an excellent councillor and have my upmost respect, but seriously save your money...
  • James Newport: It’s not April fools is it?
  • admin: :)
  • Steve Tellis: I would certainly agree that Kingley Wood and adjacent parkland is a beautiful open leisure area. There...
  • Jim Cripps: Admin – I assure you it has’nt been forgotten , we have four teams of three people , each...
  • John Mason: RAG have a large team of residents working on the four main reasons for refusal just in case that The...
  • Chris Black: It’s important that we don’t forget about this appeal just because there’s an election...
  • Chris Black: Christine, I’m not sure how one defines ‘serious& #8217; here. Certainly Mike is capable of...
  • Oz the Positive: I think we can all safely say Pitt the Invisible will not be moving any time soon….
  • admin: Christine, yes if Mike overturned Mark Francois’ 22,338 majority at the last election and won he would...
  • Christine Paine: NHS should free at point of use for all British citizens. If others need medical...
  • Jim Cripps: Not living in the constituency is not that unusual for MP’s ( neither the Labour or Green...
  • Oz the Positive: Admin, depends if you have paid in or not…..alt hough what that’s got to do with Pitt...
  • admin: Meanwhile Oz do you agree that NHS services should be free at the point of use? (apart from prescription...
  • admin: Candidates can either show their full address or show the constituency. I don’t know of any particular...
  • Oz the Positive: Admin, do you know why other candidates addresses are, quite correctly, listed on the electoral web...
  • Tom: What happened with the notice of intent that was published months ago? Still no action taken I see. Still idiots...

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There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

Reporting A Problem

If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

Food Hygiene Ratings

To find the food hygiene rating for eating places and other businesses in our district , click here.

Essex Political Blogs

Geography, History , Science

Lib Dem Websites

Local Council Websites

Local History

Local Info

Non-Political Stuff

Other Lib Dem Blogs

Planning Issues

Join Your Local Team

If you read onlineFOCUS for a while you can see the kind of things we are trying to achieve locally. Maybe you would like to help us?

If you fancy helping us deliver leaflets, or actively campaigning for us at election time, or simply just helping behind the scenes with paperwork, please contact the onlineFOCUS team here.

“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

Join the National Team

If you would like email updates on what the Lib Dems are doing nationally, click here.
If you would like to join the Lib Dems click here.