Well there is no better way to start writing a local blog without writing some predictions for 2014.
Shoebury – I think this is a straight fight between Independent Nick Ward and Roger Hadley. I think Nick will win this purely on the strength of the hatred of the seawall. If ever a local party wanted to shoot itself in the foot, the Conservatives have done so here. Conservative loss – Independent gain
West Shoebury – Again a straight fight between Tony Cox and James Moyies of UKIP. Labour’s Matthew Dent might do well in terms of Labour’s usual performance as he is a more visible candidate than most esp with his blog but I dont think he will win. Again the Seawall will play big here and could be enough to give James victory I suspect that Tony’s campaign style and knowledge of the area will see him through – just – Conservative hold
Thorpe Bay- the coward Martin Terry and the unpopular Alex Kaye will contest this and it is hard to see anything less than an Independent victory here mainly because of their control of the Burges Estate – Conservative loss – independent gain (PS it will be interesting to see the Dynamics between Terry and Super Ron)
Southchurch – A fight between Conservative Sue Abrahams and Independent Derek Kenyon here – Sue almost won Prittlewell in 2012 and this was the seat where the Conservatives made their only gain in 2012. I think they will hold on here this year too, Conservative hold
St Lukes, my ward. The Conservative candidate Sally Carr has been missing as much during her campaign as she has during her 4 years as councillor (she did however make a good mayor). I think she will come a distant third. Now in my opinion out of all the candidates, Gray Sargent of Labour should win but the Independents are so strong I think the very weak Caroline Endersby will win easily. –Conservative loss – Independent gain
Kursaal Ward -The Conservatives only ever won this on the personal vote of Blaine Robin and will be wiped out here. Labour’s Charles Willis to win – Conservative loss – Labour win
Victoria Ward – a Labour stronghold and you can put up a donkey with a red rosette and they will win – something Margaret Borton tries to prove regularly. She is missing as much as Sally Carr. Easy win for her – Labour hold
Milton Ward – an interesting ward. I would normally plump for an easy Labour win. Julian Ware Lane is a very active campaigner and blogger and enhances Labours electoral chances even if he has a history of failing personally (apart from winning in 2012) which may help Cheryl Nevin . Vic Lee is the Conservative candidate and he may just benefit from a split anti Conservative vote between Labour and SKIPP’s Mark Sharp. This is the most interesting election and too tight to call but I think Cheryl will nip it by a handful of votes. – Conservative loss – Labour gain
This means in the South East the Conservatives will end up with a net loss of – 4, Labour will gain 2 seats, Independents will gain 2 seats.
This comes with a health warning as I am not as knowledgeable of Southend West
Belfairs – fight between Barry Godwin and Mo Butler – must be a target seat for Conservatives as the sitting Lib Dem is not standing and I predict a gain Lib Dem loss – Conservative gain
Blenheim Park – a lot of big hitters here but again this will be a Conservative/Lib dem vote. I have no way which way this will go and so will opt for Cllr Russell to retain his seat even though James Courtenay is strong. – Lib Dem hold
Chalkwell – interesting if Independent Lucy Courtenay wins and is pitched on the opposite side of the chamber to her stepson! I suspect though that Nigel Folkard (Con and an ex councillor) will push it hard this will be a Con hold. Con hold
Eastwood Park – Sitting councillor (Cons) Andrew Moring should be fairly comfortable in this safe Conservative seat. Cons hold
Leigh- a straight 3 way fight and a fairly safe Lib Dem seat. I expect them to hold it. Lib Dem hold
Prittlewell – this almost went blue in 2012 and I suspect that this time it will be very tight again. I think there may be a surprise COnservative victory here for Meg Davidson Lib Dem loss – Cons gain
St Laurence – some big hitters here in the current Lib Dem councillor and also Reg Copley of Labour. It has voted Conservative recently and Adam Jones is popular so I think another Lib Dem loss and Conservative gain here. Lib Dem loss- Cons gain
West Leigh – another interesting battleground. Usually Cons and is the retiring Leader of the COuncil and Conservatives party seat. They won a by election but all parties put in a lot of time and resources. I hear that a lot of the cabinet have been out canvassing in this one and I think that they may just survive but only by a handful of votes – Cons hold
Westborough – The coward’s resignation means 2 seats up for grabs. I expect the current Lib Dem councillor Paul Collins ( a pity as he is one of the few Lib Dems I like) and Independent party will lose their seats to Labour. Lib Dem and Ind loss – 2 x Lab gains
This will mean in the west I predict Cons will gain +3, Lab +2, Lib Dems to lose a total of 4 and independents to lose 1.
In terms of overall this means Cons will lose 1 seat, Lib Dems 4, Independent gain 1 and Labour gain 4. That will make post Thursday a very interesting battle indeed.