Well that mystery didn’t last, did it?
On Thursday, in the wake of the announcement that Floyd Waterworth (Who? – Ed) would be standing for UKIP in the Rochford & Southend East constituency, I posed the question of whether James Moyies had a) wanted to win the selection and lost, or b) had his eye on somewhere else.
Now, thanks to the excellent blog-based sleuthing of my good friend Julian Ware-Lane, that question has been answered. James Moyies did indeed want to be the UKIP candidate for the constituency, and therefore we can only conclude that he failed to convince local party members that he was the man for the job.
James’ letter to his local members makes for interesting reading. For one thing, he lists amongst his achievement being a member of the Essex Fire Authority and chairman of the People Scruitny Committee, both gifts of Martin Terry’s Independent
Party Group. For another — and as Julian pointed out — he can’t count. UKIP won five councillors in May across Southend, three in Rochford, and only three in the Rochford and Southend wards within the constituency.
The next question raised is why local kippers said no to Moyies. I’ve met James Moyies, and though his politics are abhorent, he himself is fairly personable. Could it be that he was too moderate, insufficiently reactionary, for the rank and file membership? It certainly suggests a split in the party, and Cllr Moyies falling out of favour with his own.
One thing Julian does point out is an apparent promise not to seek selection elsewhere. That is what Moyies seems to say, but by my reading it’s actually a little more complicated than that. What James actually says is this (emphasis added):
“My Goal [sic] is to be the UKIP Member of Parliament for Rochford & Southend East. I have not approached other constituencies or put my name forward for selection in other constituencies. If you select me I will work hard to secure another UKIP victory. If not, I will still be working hard in our constituency to get another UKIP Councillor elected in West Shoebury. This constituency is my home and I would be honoured to represent you in Westminster.“
That’s a decidedly ‘politician’ statement. Moyies doesn’t say that he won’t seek nomination elsewhere; he says that he hasn’t done so yet. Similarly, he doesn’t say that he won’t seek another nomination now that he has missed out on Rochford & Southend East. Whether standing as a parliamentary candidate elsewhere would preclude him from “working hard to get another UKIP Councillor in West Shoebury” is a matter of personal judgement (I would say it does, but then “working hard” is pretty subjective I suppose — and UKIP made gains in May without, I would say, working hard at all).
What James Moyies does remains to be seen, but he hasn’t actually ruled out standing for somewhere else.
What is apparent is that there is a storm brewing in local UKIP. They have chosen obscurity over a local name, and that will damage their prospects at this election. I don’t think Moyies could have won Rochford & Southend East — but I’m almost certain that Floyd Waterworth can’t.