Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Anna Cleves

Perusing the list of candidate for the forthcoming Kent County Council elections I was intrigued that an Anna Cleves is standing in the Malling Central division.

However, I was unable to find such a person living in Kent, nor was I able to find her address.  Indeed I went so far as to visit the postcode area where she claims to live and of her property not a sign.

So who is she, where does she live?

A study of her consent to nomination form elicited the information that she is not claiming to be registered as a local government elector in Kent.  However she does claim to have occupied premises as tenant or owner for the previous 12 months at the address given and also to have resided for the whole of the previous 12 months at the given address.

The mystery deepened.

It has been established that the address she gave - Elm Cottage - did exist once, but it was demolished and stood on land adjacent to the house of her election agent.

It is claimed by her agent that the nomination was a 'sting' by a group he calls 'UKIP Black-Ops'.

There are unanswered questions.

1. If it is a sting operation did it extend to the appointment of Anna Cleves' agent?

2. The candidate's description is:

     English Democrats - "Putting England First!"

In order to put the name of a political party on a ballot paper the candidate has to be permitted to use the name by the Nomination Officer (or a deputy).  So, did the 'sting' extend to this as well?

3. As far as I am aware there has not been statement from the English Democrats stating Anna Cleves is not an English Democrat candidate.  Why not?

4. Her agent published this on his blog:

Note the misspelt surname.  The question is: from whom did Anna's agent secure the information  set out above?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Travel by train and feel the strain

Yesterday I attended an event to celebrate the opening of a cafe operated by the community interest company of which I am a director.  Opportunity to meet up with friends and a have few drinks. So, rather than take the car I decided to go by train from Tunbridge Wells to Gravesend.  Big mistake.

I worked out that by catching the 10.39 train from Tunbridge Wells I would connect with a train to Gravesend at London Bridge which would arrive at my destination in good time.

However, I had not factored in the problem of buying a ticket at Tunbridge Wells station.  I refuse to use the ticket machines having had problems in the past.  I joined the queue in the ticket office, or to be precise the end of the queue outside the office, at 10.25.  By the time I paid for my ticket the 10.39 was long gone.

Only one person on duty in the ticket office.  However a second person then appeared having returned from a 'break'.  Of course staff need a break but in this instance the queue had formed behind one passenger whom it took a good ten minutes to serve.  No flexibility shown by the staff, a case of sod the passengers.

I have completed and posted a complaints form but I shall not be holding my breath in the expectation of any improvement in 'customer care' by South Eastern.

UPDATE: 16th May.

I have received a reply:

Thank you

Southeastern Customer Relations, PO Box 63428, London, SE1P 5FD

Tel: 0845 000 2222

Ref: 598288 / 465846

Dear Mr Hopkinson

Thank you for your comments card dated 26 April 2013.

I'm sorry to hear that when you travelled from Tunbridge Wells station, there was a queue at the ticket office window. I can appreciate how frustrating this would have been. Please accept my apologies for this and for the inconvenience that this caused you.

We do aim to ensure that our ticket offices are manned as advertised, so that they're able to meet expected passenger demand. At busy periods, we also expect them to do everything possible to keep queues to a minimum.

Whilst this is the case, as a commuter network, we operate a turn up and go service. This means that any passenger can turn up at anytime, at any station, purchase a ticket and join the first available train. This can mean that, despite our best efforts, there may be occasions when queues are unavoidable. It's for this reason that we do ask passengers to allow enough time before their trains due to allow them to purchase their tickets.

I can appreciate your concern about the queues on this occasion, especially as it meant that you missed your train. To ensure that the issues you've raised are fully addressed, I've brought your comments to the attention of our station management team. They'll be able to investigate what happened on this occasion. They'll also be able to take appropriate action to make sure that our staff do everything possible to keep queues to a minimum.

Once again, my apologies for the difficulties you experienced on this occasion. I hope that your experience with us is more positive and trouble free.

Yours sincerely

Allan Bradshaw
Customer Relations Officer

Monday, 22 April 2013

KCC election update

So far, two election addresses delivered to chez Hopkinson.  The Labour candidate's is as good as the one delivered for last year's borough council election.  Sharp, easy to read: looks professional.

The Conservative candidates election address repeats the problems of last year's election address: verbose, badly laid out and self-congratulatory.  No mention of the critical reports on children in care and primary schools.

Tunbridge Wells East is even more difficult to call.  The Independent candidate's chance of winning has been boosted by his being proposed by the successful Independent candidate at last year's borough elections.  Now looks like a four-way marginal.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

UKIP Black-Ops

According to Steve Uncles and Robin Tilbrook a shadowy organisation known as UKIP Black-Ops is intent on damaging the English Democrats.  The reality is rather more prosaic, an informal group monitors and comments on the activities of the English Democrats.  Some of the members support UKIP,  some the Conservatives, some the Liberal Democrats and there are a few who do not claim any allegiance to a political party.

The following is from Mr Uncle's Facebook page:

As there is no 'UKIP Black-Ops' its 'sting' cannot have 'backfired'.

Mr Uncles does not inform us how the Kent Messenger and Kent Police came to be involved.  Will he enlighten us?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

All aboard the fish and chips special

Down to the Spa Valley Railway for a ride on the fish and chips special. Two round trips to Groombridge on a glorious evening.  Fish and chips served on the first round journey and dessert on the second.  Excellent fare.

The train was packed,  a birthday party filled one coach.  Real ale on sale.

All in all an excellent night out.

Comedy hour

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Did you know?

Looking through the names and addresses of candidates for the Kent County Council elections it struck me that in a few cases there is a need for investigation of their provenance.  I discovered that the public is entitled to view nomination papers and consent to nomination papers (and make notes) at any time up to one day before the election.

I have arranged to visit council offices to inspect the documents.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Anna Cleves?

According to the Statement of Persons Nominated Anna Cleves is standing for the English Democrats at the Kent County Council election in Malling Central Division.

An evocative name, I needed to know more about her.  Glory be, Steve Uncles has provided the following:

'Cleves' has become 'Cleve'  and 'Anna' is also 'Teresa'.  'She' becomes a 'he'.  Confused?

So, where does Anna (Teresa) Cleves (Cleve) live?  Must say I was scratching my head when a search of the Royal Mail Postcode Finder produced a blank.  A site visit would clear this up - but alas, look as I did, I could not find the abode.

Help! Steve Uncles is her agent, can he help me locate his candidate's address? After all, should she (he) win  to where will constituents' mail be delivered?


The information on Anna Cleves has been amended (See below).  But why persist in calling her Cleve when she is listed as Cleves in the Statement of  Persons Nominated?  Note the use of the word 'live' for 'life' in both versions and the comedy of commas.

Who is Rob?

Friday, 12 April 2013

Well I'll be Cload

Terry Cload, former Conservative councillor in Tunbridge Wells, is standing an as Independent in the forthcoming county council elections.  Mr Cload states he is in it to win.

In a letter in the local newspaper he expresses the opinion that Kent County Council and all the district councils should be abolished and replaced by two unitary authorities, one for the eastern part of the county, the other for the western area.

Now, look at this:


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Cload and dagger

The county council elections are upon us.  Expect an avalanche of election literature in Tunbridge Wells as the Conservatives seek to repulse UKIP's charge and forays by the Liberal Democrats and Labour.

The most intriguing contest is in Tunbridge Wells East.  The Conservatives held the seat in a by-election last year, just - the seat is a three-way marginal.

The recent surge by UKIP in the opinion polls must encourage the party to believe it can win the seat.  The Liberal Democrats also hope to win as the electoral division includes their strongest ward.

The decision of Terry Cload to stand as an Independent adds to the uncertainty in predicting the result.  Mr Cload is a former Conservative councillor on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and a former Vice-Chairman of the local Conservative Association.

In 2012 an Independent achieved a resounding victory in Pembury at the Borough Council elections. He is also a former Conservative councillor.

Tunbridge Wells North should be interesting.   The long-serving Conservative member was de-selected.  One ward in the division is a Conservative/Liberal Democrat marginal.  Labour has won two seats on the Borough Council in one of the other wards making up the division.  The 'surprise' candidate is the former Conservative borough councillor, Brian Ransley, who is standing for UKIP.  Mr Ransley has had a few mentions on this blog.

Finally, the contest in Tunbridge Wells West could produce a surprise.  Normally a very safe Conservative seat,  UKIP has won two seats from the Conservatives on the Borough Council in Rusthall ward.  Last year UKIP gained a seat by ousting the Leader of the Borough Council.