Friday, 1 August 2014

UKIP & the Indies plot a new coalition

There is an intriguing article in the Echo today suggesting that it remains the aspiration of the UKIP and Independent party groups on Southend council to form a joint administration following the next local elections with supporting quotes from their respective party leaders Cllrs. James Moyies and Martin Terry. It also stated that UKIP would have been in the current Administration save for the objections of the Lib Dems and Labour. Apart from the fact that this would require substantial gains by the 2 parties it raises some other questions. At present UKIP are in opposition and have a responsibility to hold the Administration to account. Is this likely if they still regard the Independents as their most likely route to future power? The current Administration faces a challenging few months and the need to agree and deliver a cost reducing budget. Are UKIP already convinced that they will find an as yet undrafted budget acceptable and a suitable base for future collaboration? Mr Moyies suggests that such an alliance would move away from the constraints of party politics. This of course ignores the fact that it would be based on a partnership between 2 party groups who have shown no greater inclination to disagree on any particular issue than members of the other 3 party groups. But most specifically what are their joint aspirations and policies for the Town which makes this apparent partnership a match made in heaven? If they feel that they have a slate of proactive policies to deliver the required economies, drive up service standards and encourage investment and regeneration why not tell us what they are, as both UKIP and the Independents were decidedly light on any positive policies during the recent election campaign other than reducing borrowing and reversing 3 previous policy decisions. To date from the new Administration, of which the Independent Party is a central player, we have only heard about plans to increase rather than reduce borrowing and the reversal of the decisions on libraries, care homes or flood defence will increase capital and/or revenue costs. Call me old fashioned but when I vote for the representative of a political party I like to have some idea of what they regard as key priorities and what type of Administration I can expect. The Indies and UKIP seem to feel that this isn’t necessary and that we should give them an open mandate. In the interests of local democracy let us hope they are wrong.

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