Friday, 15 May 2015

UKIP - now you see them - now you don't.

I have raised before the issue of the legitimacy of any new Rainbow Alliance which may be formed under the continued leadership of Independent Party member Ron Woodley, but if the rumours are correct then the new team would not look out of place in the pages of an Orwell novel or Private Eye.

Of the five councillors elected under the UKIP flag we are now told that only two remain loyal ukippers and the other three have formed yet another party group calling themselves “The Southend Independence Group”.

Always an interesting question as to whether in these circumstances they should therefore stand for re-election. Probably less relevant for their Leader James Moyies who was a reasonably high profile candidate but as for the other two they did little other than ride to a win on the national popularity of UKIP rather than any personal campaign and as such if they are no longer active members of UKIP it more than slightly undermines their position.

However in the meantime it is noticeable how critical over recent months some local Labour party members have been both of UKIP as a party and the campaigns and qualities of a number of their local councillors and candidate - and on this point I would admit to agreeing with them. In such circumstances it would be bizarre indeed if they ignored all of this history and happily welcomed in “The Southend Independence Party” to the joint coalition. I know they want to keep hold of their cabinet seats but surely this is a bridge too far, working with previously elected representatives of a party that Labour activists often portray as being “…even worse than the Tories”.

Politicians don’t do much to enhance the reputations of themselves or politics more generally when they completely change their position based on personal benefit and it would be interesting to see Labour Group Leader Ian Gilbert welcoming this alliance.

It reminds me of the famous scene from Animal Farm when having trained the sheep to chant “Four feet good – two feet bad” things had to change when the controlling pigs wanted to stand on their rear feet to mimic their previous human masters and arranged to change the chant to “Four feet good – two feet better” without acknowledging that anything had changed.

Are Labour councillors about to move from “UKIP bad” to “The Southend Independence Party better” avoiding the awkward truth that nothing has changed about the policies or priorities of these born again councillors.

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