In the election campaign, I speculated rather freely on whether James Moyies and the other outcasts from Southend UKIP would go over to the Independent
Party Group. After all, Moyies was expelled and the others roundly condemned by the Dear Leader Farage.
But despite members of Clan Moyies being amongst the Independent
Party Group’s candidates at the local elections just gone, that isn’t how things have panned out. No, flush with UKIP-proper’s abject failure in Southend (Third in both constituencies, and no gains on the council -Ed) Moyies et al have decided to start their own party grouping in the council chamber.
So farewell Southend UKIP; enter New-KIP.
That, regretably, is not the name that they have gone for. In fact, they seem to have disavowed UKIP entirely, setting themselves up as a Southend-focused collective (Of three… -Ed). No, they’re going to be called “The Southend Independence Group”.
And now you see why I’m referring to them as New-Kip. This is going to get very confusing…
Are they after Southend becoming a breakaway state of its own? The People’s Republic of Southend-on-Sea? When I spoke to James Moyies, he talked of a Monaco-style tax haven, but I can never quite tell when that man is joking…
So the chamber now looks like this:
Conservatives – 22
Party Group – 11
Labour – 9
Liberal Democrat – 4
The Southend Independence Group – 3
UKIP – 2
The magic number, for control of the chamber and the council is 26. A majority which no one has. The joint administration is down to 24, whilst the Tories are on 22. UKIP and New-KIP hold the balance of power.
Now, I’ve made my thoughts on the Southend Kippers clear on this blog. I’m not a fan. There are a couple of them who are no fans of me (Hi Lawrence and Floyd! -Ed). That said, I’ve always found that James Moyies is mostly sensible, and whilst I disagree with him on a great many things I‘ve never had any trouble doing so respectfully, and have no doubt that he is dedicated to serving the interests of his ward and the town (A certain Cllr Cox may feel free to disagree below -Ed).
I don’t know how negotiations to form the new administration are going, I am not a part of them. But if my little birds’ reports are accurate, both sides are currently courting potential allies, seeking out a way to take the throne.
My main concern is that the Tories don’t find a way back into power. If they do everything that we’ve achieved in the last year is at risk. Saving care homes, building council houses, retaining paid staff in libraries, and all the rest — they would love to scrap the lot of it. For the sake of Southend, we can’t let that happen.
And meanwhile Moyies, Callaghan and Davies’ public departure from UKIP and what it stands for adds an interesting dimension to Southend politics.