16 - 29 May, 2003
FOLLOWING the last Eye's account of the sophisticated debating skills
displayed by local Tories in Romford, there is more news of the enthusiasm of
IDS's Essex boys.
Just after 1am on polling day, 1 May, Southend's Tory deputy
mayor-elect Roger Weaver found himself in a tussle in a suburban garden with
a local environmental campaigner, Chris Ford, a leading light in protests
against a road scheme which will involve the felling of 120 trees in and
near the town's Priory Park, was checking on posters displayed on the
properties of fellow campaigners after reports that some had been removed
and others defaced with "Vote Conservative" stickers.
The originals read: "Don't Vote Conservative. Save Priory Park. Don't vote
Weaver", in reference to Weaver's former council role as cabinet member for
planning and transport. Ford tells the Eye he saw Weaver, who was
acompanied by his wife, fellow Tory councillor Verina Wilson, enter the
garden of a house displaying a "Save Priory Park" board and fix a "Vote
Conservative" sticker to it. Whereupon Ford walked up, took a photo of the
couple with his digital camera and declared: "I've got you now!"
After a full and frank exchange of views, says Ford, the pair engaged in a
struggle for possession of the board, during which it struck him in the
face, splitting his lip, cutting his nose and grazing his hand. Ford has
complained to the police. Weaver tells the Eye: "Mr Ford's
accusations are not true. Other than that I have nothing to say."