There comes a point where even I get a little sick of the back and forth of Southend UKIP’s absurd civil war.
A friend of mine described it as the political wonk’s equivalent of Neighbours, being entertaining to those of us with a political fascination, but not signifying a great deal beyond that.
The latest episode in the saga includes a broadside from Moyies, and a rather weak riposte from Waterworth. It seems undeniable, though, that despite apparently few redeeming features, Waterworth seems to be winning this war.
So the latest chapter starts on Friday evening on that newest of political battlegrounds, Twitter.
In some wisdom which I don’t profess to understand, James Moyies tweeted out a list of endorsements for parliamentary candidates across South East Essex. No particular problem there, except the candidates were a mixture of UKIP and Conservative.
- Castle Point – Rebecca Harris MP (CON)
- Rayleigh & Wickford – John Hayter (UKIP)
- Southend West – Brian Otridge (UKIP)
- Basildon & Billericay – George Konstantinidis (UKIP)
- Rochford & Southend East – James Duddridge MP (CON)
It’s not important but I will be voting @JamesDuddridge in Rochford & Southend East to achieve a referendum on our membership of the EU.
— James Moyies Indukip (@JamesMoyies) March 27, 2015
Knowing that Moyies rates James Duddridge almost as little as I do, I’m disappointed that he has chosen to endorse the man. I’ve no idea what Duddridge’s reaction to this endorsement was, since he’s blocked me on Twitter. I know that it’s a calculated move to hurt his internal adversary, but it should be clear to him that the only alternative to the frankly awful representation that Rochford & Southend East has had under Mr Duddridge is a vote for Labour’s Ian Gilbert.
The response from Waterworth is in today’s Echo, calling on Moyies to resign his seat and fight a by-election, as he’s no longer a UKIP councillor. It seems a little ungrateful that Brian Otridge has joined Waterworth’s call, despite an endorsement which is probably more help to him than anything Floyd Waterworth has to offer.
I can see their argument to some extent though: it’s the residents of the five wards with UKIP representation who are suffering as a result of this ego-battle. I’d call on all five of them to resign, if they’re unwilling to put the needs of their communities ahead of their own ambitions.
Moyies seems to have accepted a degree of his banishment. His twitter handle has dropped “UKIP”, and in his “name” he has amended it to “James Moyies IndUKIP”. Presumably he thinks his appeal will go ill. I suspect he’s right.
I wonder if this Independent UKIP nonsense will become a thing. The status of the two remaining UKIP councillors aside from Moyies and Waterworth (Lee Burling having resigned his seat -Ed), is unclear. As far as I’m aware Cllrs Davies and Callaghan are still suspended from UKIP, but unlike Moyies aren’t expelled. Will they join this “Independent UKIP” group?
I do think that there is something deeply dodgy about Waterworth. I have little sympathy with the aims of UKIP, but I have heard from so many members and supporters in Southend that he is bad news that I can’t think this is simply Moyies’ sour grapes over not winning the selection. I don’t, at the moment, have any detail as to what the full story is, but I know that there’s rarely smoke without fire.
(If any Southend kippers want to fill me in, I can guarantee you anonymity. Drop me a line -Ed)
The Neighbours comparison made by my friend was, I think, accurate. The real shame of it is that this isn’t widely known — though, I will say, most of the residents in Blenheim Park who I’ve spoken to seem to know that their UKIP councillor is a waste of space.
I can’t help but feel that if the people of Southend could see the actions of UKIP in the town, they’d realise that they are interested only in their own careers.