But with Southend UKIP a dead horse might be about the best metaphor.
In a short week, UKIP have gone from an awakening force in Southend to a shambolic joke. Five councillors were elected in May, to the general surprise of those political watchers of the town.
Now, eight months later, the UKIP Group on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council effectively doesn’t exist.
Last week the UKIP Group, led by James Moyies, voted unanimously to expel Cllr Floyd Waterworth, who had the temerity to beat Cllr Moyies to the candidacy for Rochford & Southend East at this year’s general election. Yesterday, UKIP high command suspended Moyies, along with the other three UKIP councillors, from the party.
So we have one “independent UKIP” councillor (Waterworth), and four newly “independent” councillors (Moyies, Davies, Callaghan and Burling). The UKIP Group boasts no councillors.
The press release from UKIP, which found its way to my inbox yesterday afternoon, is a sight to behold. The quote from UKIP Chairman Steve Crowther goes as follows:
“UKIP has suspended Cllrs James Moyies, Tino Callaghan, Lawrence Davies and Lee Burling…following their expulsion of Cllr Floyd Waterworth from their Group. The Party considers that the expulsion was unnecessarily damaging to Mr Waterworth’s campaign as the UKIP candidate for Southend East & Rochford. Mr Waterworth has the Party’s full backing as the candidate…“
It’s hard to argue with that; and I did predict that the party would not side with Moyies. The suspended UKIP group leader is, in my opinion, the most able of the UKIP (or ex-UKIP) five, but I don’t see how he thought he could hope to win this one. The responsible thing to do would have been to move on, and back Waterworth — through gritted teeth, if he had to.
Instead, he has destroyed the party he helped to build.
The press release also includes the text of UKIP’s rule H.16, which outlines the terms of their suspension.
H.16 Suspension from Party activities shall entail suspension from:
(a) The use of UKIP logos;
Any existing social media using these logos must be removed.
Any existing promotional websites you are associated with must be removed.
Any personal attire or personal UKIP branding you promote must be removed.
(b) Attendance at party meetings;
These include: Branch meetings, EGMs, AGMs, Hustings and Conferences.
(c) Participation in campaign activities;
These include: Canvassing, leafleting, public demonstration, data entries and telling.
(d) The use of websites to promote UKIP;
As above and any comments, forums or blogs that may promote ukip
(e) Use of the UKIP name in contact with the media;
You may not give quotes, interviews, statements or press releases bearing the name UKIP.
(f) Any other activities as determined by the NEC
So there is now only one UKIP councillor left who is able to do any campaigning. It makes me a little doubtful of Cllr Waterworth’s claim that, “…our campaigning in the constituency is going well…“.
Between the pair of them, Moyies and Waterworth have allowed their egos to destroy their party, in the crossfire of their mutually assured destruction. You will, I’m sure, forgive me if I waste no tears on them or UKIP, but I have the popcorn ready for the next act of this psychodrama.
(My sincerest apologies to Quentin Tarentino — and the world — for the image at the top of this post)