On a personal level, at least, I like Southend UKIP’s group leader James Moyies. I get on with him, at least. He has a sense of humour, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and manages to avoid most of the cruder stereotypes of his party.
So I’m a little bemused by his recent behaviour.
The bad blood between himself and Floyd Waterworth has given me plenty of material, and I like to think I’ve been a fairly neutral reporter of the Southend UKIP civil war. On the one hand, declaring that you won’t vote for your party’s parliamentary candidate can be seen as an immature reaction to losing a selection battle. On the other, Cllr Waterworth is a singularly uninspiring candidate.
So I’ve been enjoying the theatrics in which the Southend ‘kippers have been merrily indulging, but James reaction to the latest blog of my friend and Labour councillor Julian Ware-Lane, is a little concerning to say the least.
All that remains of the blog now is the title: “UKIP can’t even agree how to get along never mind be trusted to run a Parliament or be part of an administration“.
The original blog contained a passage allegedly overheard from the UKIP meeting where Cllr Waterworth was shockingly expelled from the UKIP grouping on Southend Borough Council. James strenuously objected to this alleged quotation, and demanded its retraction.
I republish it here in the hope that Julian will not be upset (and with the strong suspicion that James will). At this meeting, Cllr Waterworth is claimed to have said:
“Do you really want the members of the Labour Group telling voters in Rochford & Southend East UKIP can’t even agree how to get along, never mind be trusted to run a Parliament or be part of an administration, because that is what you’re saying.“
In the interests of balance, here is Cllr Moyies’ response:
“Please remove this post immediately.
“Firstly there is NO TRUTH in what it says and secondly even if someone thought they overheard something there is protocol about the way we work in very close proximity within the Council. I have tried to ring you. Please act now.
“I am disappointed; as although I disagree with you I thought you were a decent Labour Candidate for Southend West.“
James might be right about the veracity of the quote. Thing is, though, it chimes remarkably well with what my little birds tell me.
Thankfully the chances of UKIP running a parliament or forming part of an administration in Southend are slim, but the current implosion of UKIP in Southend raises the question of whether they deserve anyone’s vote.
In the meantime, I question James’ control-freakery displayed in this demand to take down something which, at root, is reporting what somebody is alleged to have said. If he’s worried that it is damaging to his party then he is right: not because it may or may not have been said, but because it is correct.