Another day closer to the election, another example of the independents hawking their particular brand of contradictory political nonsense to the people of Southend. Today I snapped the above picture in St Luke’s ward, coming over the bridge over the railway at the western end of Eastern Avenue.
Placards like these are apparently a big way in which the Independents campaign. Results seem to suggest that this is a fairly successful method — there are
nine eight independents on the council — but for the life of me I can’t tell why. There is no reason on this board for anyone to vote for Caroline Endersby. And from what I have seen of her leaflets, they don’t offer any reasons either.
There is, as things stand, an independent spat going on in St Luke’s. I shall allow Ms Endersby to explain to you herself*:
“BE AWARE! There is another Independent Candidate (ABC) standing for election in St Luke’s Ward. He previously stood as a Conservative Candidate, in the past. He is NOT part of the official Independent Group. Why are there TWO Independent Candidates? Anyone can stand as an Independent, but Caroline Endersby is the official Independent Group Candidate.“
I’d call it nonsense on stilts, but it seems to have forgotten the stilts…
The irony of one independent candidate denouncing another independent candidate as being “unofficially” independent has apparently been missed entirely. ABC (*sigh* Anthony Bryan Chytry) might not be “official” but rest assured he is every bit as useless. He has stood as a Tory councillor before, and Brian Ayling (Independent Party Group councillor for, er, St Luke’s) was previously a Lib Dem. It’s meaningless, but it certainly seems to be making a hypocrite out of Ms Endersby. If St Luke’s residents want a councillor who will really stand up for them, and not vote for Tory budgets, then they should vote for Labour’s Gray Sergeant on Thursday.
All of this is, however, more evidence of how laughable the Independents’ claim is not to be a political party.
What I do notice about the placard, however, is this gem of a line:
This is too often the battlecry of the politician. At the Shoebury hustings both Nick Ward and Roger Hadley opened with monologues on how deep in their bones Shoebury was. It was tiresome then, it is tiresome now. A councillor does not need to live in a ward in order to represent it. It can have its advantages, and I do believe that a councillor should live in the borough, but living within the arbitrary ward boundaries is not essential.
If her living in St Luke’s is the only reason to vote for Ms Endersby rather than another candidate, then that is going to present problems for Independent candidate Paul van Looy next year, when he seeks re-election. Mr van Looy represents St Luke’s — and likely masterminded that particular slogan — but he lives in, er, neighbouring Southchurch ward.
But most of all, this ridiculous line just draws my mind to this image from popular dark comedy show The League of Gentleman. Is this the level we’re headed to?
*I should note that I don’t believe Ms Endersby wrote a word of her leaflets; as a candidate she has been singularly absent from her own campaign, with independent councillors Paul van Looy and Brian Ayling doing the heavy lifting for her.