St John’s was full this morning for the service in memory of the Battle of Britain. The Mayor and David Amess MP attended but perhaps the most important attendees were the 5 Chelsea pensioners who had managed to come from London for the service and the veterans of the Southend area. The Air Cadets were out in force looking professional and thankfully the sun shone. I wonder for how many more years this service will continue, will it succumb to the ‘what’s it to me’ or the ‘I can’t be bothered to turn up on a Sunday morning’ set? I hope not, I hope it does continue, it means a great deal to those who were involved and it should mean a great deal to those of us that are younger and that owe them so much.
And yet… and yet… I can’t pretend the turnout by
councillors was all that I might hope for. I absolutely understand that on any
given date a certain portion of councillors will be genuinely unavailable but I
would expect that portion to remain firmly a minority. Councillors are supposed
to be civic leaders, representing their town, their residents and their ward.
Commemorating events such as the Battle of Britian and supporting the part it
plays in our history and national identity is important.
Now I won’t mention any names since individuals may have
good reasons for having missed the ceremony, but I must ask where were the
Liberal Democrats? I mean any of them? Because I couldn’t see a single Lib Dem
Cllr present. Where were the Independents? Only one independent was present out of 9. Labour I realise has a smaller group and given the small number of their councillors their turnout wasn’t too bad.
Because I’m not trying to be political I’d also point out
that I’d like to have seen rather more Conservatives at the event. Council
officers were also notable in their absence. Senior officers who work for the
town should realise that their role includes showing attendance at events
such as this.
But for only a single Independent, no senior officer and no
Liberal Democrat to have attended… such a poor show.