We’re nearly a week on, now, from the bizarre latest clash in the Southend UKIP civil war, and I’m not entirely sure what we’ve learnt.
I did say, back when there appeared to be some sort of reconciliation between Cllrs Moyies and Waterworth, the leaders of the two “factions”, that it wasn’t over. I am delighted to have been vindicated.
The thing is, this isn’t just a battle between egos, but a fight for the soul of UKIP in Southend. I have long suspected that the party’s surge (Isn’t that word trademarked by the Green Party? -Ed) in popularity has brought into the fold a lot of, shall we say, less savoury folks. It would explain how UKIP members in Rochford & Southend East managed to take a no brainer like Moyies vs Waterworth and still get it wrong.
No, it comes down, for my money, to Moyies being “too moderate” for the new UKIP. And my little birds are bringing me suggestions that this is exactly the case.
James Moyies is now “permanently expelled” from UKIP, though he claims to be appealing. I’m sure he’ll be as unsuccessful before the Kangaroo Court of Appeal as he was with the Kangaroo Court of First Instance, and given that the dear leader Farage has described him as not being a “team player”, it seems unlikey he’d get a fair hearing in any case.
So the hinterland of Independence beckons, which is an unbearably ponsey way of saying he’ll go and sit with Ron Woodley and Martin Terry. Which might suit him better, actually.
My little birds report that some of his colleagues, his supporters even, hope that he’ll go voluntarily into exile and as such they won’t have to make the choice between Moyies and Waterworth. Moyies is far and away the more competent of the two (Which sounds like a compliment, but is much like saying, “The sky is bluer than the grass” -Ed), but Waterworth seems to have quite the stranglehold on the local party. After somehow becoming succeeding Moyies as chair of the South Essex branch he alone is determining candidates for the local elections, and his efforts to turn the party into a retirement home for local Conservative has-beens is not universally popular.
To be fair, though, from what I hear their candidate selection doesn’t exactly seem to be going well generally. One particular individual, earmarked for what must be a target ward, has apparently been excluded on the basis of their former membership of, err, the National Front. I won’t name them now, but there’s a chance that they may stand anyway as an independent (Because Lord knows we need more of those… -Ed), in which case disclosure may follow. The electorate deserve to be informed, after all.
So given that he seems to have very little support (I.e. none -Ed) within the council base, who exactly is it that’s backing him? Moyies accusations of intimidation and threats are fascinating, but at the moment unproved — though I would offer that whilst James Moyies is many things, I’d hesitate before branding him a liar. But Waterworth’s meteoric rise, devoid of hard work or wit, certainly raises questions.
The most immediate question raised though, in light of the looming election, is what reason would anyone possible have for voting for UKIP in Southend. Even if you support UKIP’s terrifyingly regressive policies, the cavalcade of clowns which wear the purple and yellow in this town have shown themselves firstly unable to organise a drinking party in a brewing establishment, and secondly disposed to hang anyone who looks as though they might be able to.