FOR 1,500 YEARS, since the fifth century AD, Canvey Island was predominantly used for sheep rearing; but now it consists of a small, urban sprawl of some 40,000 residents - whose voting majority, judging from the latest local election results, shares much in common with those docile, bleating creatures. On 5th May, 2011, there was no change in Castle Point Borough Council’s landscape – and all the existing Canvey Island Independent Party (CIIP) blaggers retained their seats.
It was a disastrous result for Democracy and the island, which has now firmly set its sails at achieving full independence from the mainland. The majority have spoken; the CIIP have won – and yet they do not have a single idea about how to achieve their now stated ambition. (Last year: the party denied having any such aims).
Venturing into local political reporting, for me, has been an eye-opener. I had not realised just how easy it is to sell the public on what they want to hear – and then, through a cynical combination of political spin and disparaging all opponents, gain political power. On mass, it seems that the general public are, in fact, no more than a herd of docile sheep.
The revelation, after having been convinced of the direct opposite for 60 years, has come as a shock. I had always credited the British public with more intelligence.
What next? The introduction of SDST?
The Canvey Beat has said all there is to say about local Canvey politics. My main regret is that I started a local Blog on the issue, convinced that there was no feature article to be had. It just goes to show how blinkered one can be about stories that lie on your own door-step when the local press make a strategic retreat.
For all that, the Canvey Beat has been fun to produce (albeit somewhat time consuming). And its subject matter led me to discover that there are still some principled politicians willing to stand-up and be counted. So the time spent has not been a total loss.
It will be interesting to see how Canvey Island Independent councillors set about their task of achieving island independence – or not. But I am pretty certain it will not be worth Blogging.
A Sunday feature supplement, however, may very well be worth a shot…