Friday, 6 May 2011

Independent Party - crunch time approachs!

No doubt the members of the Independent Party will be pretty happy after yesterday's elections having increased their tally by 2 councillors. The time to stop referring to them as a "party" is clearly over as in general terms their activities are indistinquishable from the other parties with coordinated campaigns, candidates, publicity and voting.

Of course there is one difference - they continue to have no common policies or vision for the future development or regeneration of the town. This is not surprising bearing in mind they comprise a group including a non adopted Conservative councillor, unsuccessful Labour candidates and others. Working for individual residents and helping with their problems is only one part of our role - the other is to develop a vision for the future whether as the administration or as a viable opposition.It is not enough to simply oppose everything on the doorstep - particularly without similar opposition in the council chamber or without a viable alternative.

The public tell us that they don't like negative campaigning.Maybe - but last night's results in St Lukes, Shoebury and elsewhere confirm that negative campaigning, mis information and personal attack can deliver short term gains for the Independent Party but for how much longer. We are told by councillors who only appear to have found a taste for an Independent Label when striving to gain an otherwise unachievable seat that the public are tired of party politics. I disagree -they may have believed the spin which has conveniently coincided with more general misgivings about the political sysytem, but any council officer will confirm that to function effectively and efficiently a local authority needs a clear direction and element of certainty - whatever the underlying party political direction. To move into the vacuum of independent policy would be a sure route to disaster in these financially challenging times.

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