Have the Southend Independents given up the “not a party” farce?

independent party leaflet small

What’s all this then, Ron?

Because it looks, to me, like a leaflet. Like a branded leaflet, going out across Southend.

There’s an election coming (You may have heard- Ed) so in many ways this isn’t surprising. But what I am surprised at (No you’re not -Ed) that the group which has repeatedly insisted that it isn’t a party has produced this. A unified leaflet, for all of the Independent Party Group candidates across the damn borough.

Now, call me out if you like, but that sounds to me like the trait of a party.

The leaflet also repeats the lie that the council is run by the Independent Party Group. This was the claim laid out by Independent Party Group candidate David Webb at the Westborough hustings, and when I bumped into him delivering these leaflets on Sunday he even admitted that the claim was b******s.

The council is run by a joint administration of the Independent Party Group, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. It is often described as an Independent-led administration, because numerically they are the largest of the three elements. But given that getting them to even vote for the administration’s policies, which they agreed, is like herding cats (Bloody difficult, and even once you’ve managed it you’re left wondering if it was worth it -Ed), I don’t see how they can be said to be driving anything.

Looking at their list of seven achievements in the last year, I can pick out three which were Labour-driven — saving care homes, protecting libraries, and building new council housing — and one which was agreed with cross-party support under the previous administration — LED street lights.

I am not a fan of the Independents in Southend local government, I don’t think I’ve made any secret of that. Time and again I’ve pointed out that answering the question of what you’ll do for a community with a shrug and Whatever you want me to,” is the very worst shirking of responsibility. Do you know what your independent candidates (Or councillors -Ed) stand for?

Labour have released a manifesto. It’s not at all impressive, but for once so have the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats can probably be presumed to do the opposite (Multiplied by a factor of three -Ed) to whatever they promise. The Greens won’t win a thing, and UKIP won’t turn up even if they do.

And actually, looking at their slate of candidates, there are at least three “independents” I can pick out as being refugees from the fall of Southend UKIP. Of their councillors, three are former Labour members, two former Lib Dems, one a former Conservative, and God knows about the rest.

The most that I can tell from this leaflet, and the appalling standard of grammar, is that I don’t want the people behind this anywhere near education in Southend (Long live Cllr Jones! -Ed). Rick Morgan — who is standing down, anyhow — has had a C confiscated from his name, and St Laurence ward has been re-christened “St Lawrence”.

And am I the only one who hears the Doctor Who theme at the line VICTORIA AVENuE – use all powers to regenerate?

In the last year, the Independent Party Group have been a break on progress rather than an accelerator. But if Ron Woodley is finally prepared to abandon the farcical pretence of independence, then good. It’s not parties which need taking out of politics, quite so much as ego.

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